How Headphone Soundstage is Made

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FullRangeMan

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How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« on: 10 Aug 2018, 05:20 am »
Found that Rtings.com developed a system to measure soundstage headphones, which is a tremendous useful feature, we dont need anymore buy a HP to know how is its soundstage size:
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tests/sound-quality/soundstage
The main factor is PRTF Distance (Pinna Related Transfer Function) showed in the chart below, which is created by phase cancellations at 10kHz in the concha between the driver and the ear.
HE400i PTRF chart show it is almost good, lacking a deeper groove in 10kHz:


The larger soundstage is the HD800 that measured PRTF Distance: 22.36dB
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/sennheiser/hd-800-s
HD800 PTRF chart:

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Big HPs Soundstage is Made
« Reply #1 on: 10 Aug 2018, 05:24 am »
PTRF Distance value is derived by calculating the difference between the "average PRTF amplitude of the 2KHz-7KHz range" (i.e. PRTF Size), and the "lowest PRTF amplitude value in the 8KHz-12KHz range". In other words, PRTF distance looks for the depth of the 10KHz notch, which is mostly responsible for cues regarding the angle and elevation of the sound source.

As a rule of thumb, headphones with angled drivers and large and deep enclosures have the best PRTF responses. That's why over-ear headphones tend to do better than on-ears, earbuds, and in-ears in this test.

What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is. The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.

When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage to the out of the head. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the external head.

Good value: >13dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB



« Last Edit: 10 Aug 2018, 06:37 am by FullRangeMan »

JohnR

Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #2 on: 10 Aug 2018, 07:53 am »
Interesting.....

dB Cooper

Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #3 on: 10 Aug 2018, 10:50 am »
If true, then there's a good chance that things could be improved with a narrow band EQ (I remember dalethorn, wherever he is, indicating noticing headstage improvements with EQ) . I am currently on a trial version of 'True-Fi' which is designed to compensate for FR variations in headphones. It does seem to help 'headstage' at least somewhat. Unfortunately it's $79, not a princely sum but a little steep when only one of my headphones (Shure SE535) is supported.

If anyone else is interested, give them a shot. Info: https://www.sonarworks.com/truefi. It would be interesting to know if anyone else experiences an improvement in 'headstage' with this software.

FRM, you're a big hifiman fan; the 400i and 560 are supported models.


JohnR

Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #4 on: 10 Aug 2018, 12:00 pm »
PRTF is the difference between the measurement with a pinna ("ear") and without, so EQ won't have any effect on it.

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #5 on: 10 Aug 2018, 07:34 pm »
I will try stuffing or mod the pads to enlarge the soundstage,
much easier than mod the driver or the back side can.

Cooper: Iam not a Hifiman fan per se, as the HE400 price has 25% of black friday I bough one, now its even less $169
http://store.hifiman.com/index.php/he-400i-570.html
I used his custumer service and they reply next day, if other planar manufacturer offer more I will that direction.

dB Cooper

Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #6 on: 12 Aug 2018, 07:33 pm »
Wider adoption of the technology (which isn't actually all that new) will help bring down prices.

I'm not convinced that either planar or dynamic is inherently 'better' than the other; I've heard impressive- and underwhelming- examples of both.

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #7 on: 12 Aug 2018, 08:56 pm »
I all in music it depend on personal taste and how good these driver was made, also its not interesting a great driver at a hi price. So get a Hifiman while they lasts, Audezes are good but price is hi.

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #8 on: 30 Aug 2018, 11:06 pm »
Ananda review to be posted tomorrow in this site,
cant wait to see the soundstage graphics:
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/hifiman

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #9 on: 1 Sep 2018, 02:24 am »
Just in time:
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/hifiman/ananda
Disappointed, I though Ananda soundstage chart could be better than ED.X, Ananda have a PRTF Distance 15.9dB (Ed X = 17.95dB) and comments say its great!-?
Explanations wanted :scratch:

gefski

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #10 on: 1 Sep 2018, 11:04 pm »
Got to plug Ananda into my rig at our late July Seattle meet. A very enjoyable 20 - 25 minutes with several genres. Transparent, lovely timbre, natural placement throughout soundstage, fast yet graceful dynamics.

Some comparisons that day: less "real" bottom end than Utopia, yet not "embarrassed" by it. Two different HD800s (both modded) came off a bit dry compared to Ananda. HD650s more forward midrange was obvious.

I'm impressed and hope to get more head-time with it at our next meet.

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #11 on: 1 Sep 2018, 11:36 pm »
Thanks Gefski for your impressions, how large is the Ananda soundstage do you would say? Smaller than HD800?

gefski

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #12 on: 1 Sep 2018, 11:51 pm »
Yes, smaller than HD800, but I would not describe it as "small".

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #13 on: 2 Sep 2018, 12:02 am »
Thanks bro :thumb: PTRF chart:
« Last Edit: 2 Sep 2018, 02:38 am by FullRangeMan »

JohnR

Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #14 on: 2 Sep 2018, 05:12 am »
Just in time:
https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/hifiman/ananda
Disappointed, I though Ananda soundstage chart could be better than ED.X, Ananda have a PRTF Distance 15.9dB (Ed X = 17.95dB) and comments say its great!-?
Explanations wanted :scratch:

It's third on their overall soundstage score, behind HD800S and Edition X. https://www.rtings.com/headphones/tests/sound-quality/soundstage

(Exactly what that means subjectively, though...)

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #15 on: 2 Sep 2018, 05:54 am »
Nice thanks, that is a useful score.
Noted the Sundara $499 have 7.7 soundstage and the 400i 7.9.

Letitroll98

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #16 on: 2 Sep 2018, 02:14 pm »
Very interesting.  The HE 400i has often been described as having a limited headstage, but I've always found them very open.  Their score here is on the high side, if I'm reading it correctly.

FullRangeMan

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Re: How Headphone Soundstage is Made
« Reply #17 on: 2 Sep 2018, 10:08 pm »
The 400 range are faithful to the recording pan, if the mix made a narrow stage it wont open as a speaker, seems all hp are so?