Focal Elear Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by Marvey, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. Serious

    Serious Immature child

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    So how do you like the midrange balance now (obviously don't expect immediate response), especially lower mids to mids and 1k-2k transition.
    I think I'm super anal to weird shit in the 1-2k region. SR009 and Lamdba is terrible in this regard. HD600 is better but not perfect. UERM isn't perfect. Andromeda isn't perfect. Orpheus HE90 isn't perfect. HD800 stock is utter shit. Modded HD800 has potential to be good, but not with stock metal ring and even less so with shit on top of the metal ring (like cork or foam or even felt).
     

  2. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    It's all weird. With these particular measurements (on this rig), there needs to be a slight slope. Even too flat line at 1kHz (especially if there is a sudden drop afterward around 2kHz) would indicate an emphasis in the middle mids, not to mention a bump. This is a $1k headphone which can't away get with the eccentricities that something like the much cheaper TH-X00 can get away with.

    Andromeda to me is perfect despite the bump at 2kHz, which IMO is needed to simulate the effect of pinna, since IEMs bypass pinna.

    The Utopia tonal response didn't sound perfectly right to me either, and in many ways worse than Elear. But hard to say. I'll need to get the Utopia in the house.
     
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  3. jowls

    jowls Something related to poop - Friend

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    Eww, that suckout in the upper mids... I was hoping it was an anomaly in Jude's measurements. How apparent is it?
     
  4. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    I can't speak for others, and I don't mind a very slight, wide, smoothly integrated depression in the upper mids (the Paradox for example is like this, also the Fostex speaker drivers in the BLHs), but 5-6kHz is crucial for me in terms of NOT having a deep suckout there. I'm actually not very sensitive to 5kHz peaks (could be hearing damage). Bottom line is that a 6-7db drop at 5-6kHz means no bite to trumpets, no crunch on guitars, no harmonics on strings, no edge on percussion. I like aggressive sounds when the recording calls for it. I know that a lot of other people won't hear this, won't mind it, or actually prefer it.

    Now that being said, the upper mid suckout is not so bothersome once the bass has been shelved down 3db. Everything is relative (between bass and treble), and shelving the excessive bass down does help. But the suckout is still there though. I know that someone like @Psalmanazar will not be satisfied with this.

    A suckout a 3kHz would have been a better spot, coinciding with the "BBC curve" and excess reverb in concert halls picked up by microphones. But a 5kHz suckout.... no.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  5. Serious

    Serious Immature child

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    Yes, I think I found the same thing. I have comparo measurements between V1 and V2 at home. With my "V1" measurements I like to see nearly flat to 500Hz with a downward slope to 2kHz. I think the other coupler had a similar profile. Maybe less of a sudden drop at 2kHz? With my most recent measurements I don't like to see a sudden drop at 1kHz like you said. It depends a lot on the coupler design. Downward sloping straight line from 500Hz - 2kHz might be better. My target now looks different from what I've posted in the other thread.

    I only listened to the Andromeda from my Leck where it was too warm for me. The 2kHz bump is definitely needed. Andro bump may be slightly too slight for me and UERM bump slightly high. Hard to say for sure without longer direct comparisions against speakers.
     
  6. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Friend

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    The problem is not really a lack of "bite" (nobody likes a Grado) on trumpets/guitars/violins but total loss of harmonics leading to holes even with uncompressed recordings. Take guitars: nobody wants to hear the fundamental/string being plucked with some harmonics, nothing, and then other harmonics and the distortion. Yeah if the guitarist was dumb and dialed in a chainsaw or TV static tone that bleeds into every frequency you'll feel it more but it will still piss you off with normal instruments. The wider the staging of the chain, the worse this sounds in practice too. Stick the Elear, K7XX, or stock HD 800 on a Bifrost AK4490 or a Yggy and just laugh at how ridiculous violins sound.
     
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  7. imac2much

    imac2much Friend

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    How peculiar, I didn't notice any particular upper mid suck out but I guess I didn't try enough test tracks. I do love the bass so I guess I'm a bass head haha. It doesn't sound any bassier than my ZMF and I definitely prefer this sound over the Ether C.

    When will you get the Utopias in Marv?
     
  8. songmic

    songmic Friend

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    The Elear's bass extension does look good but I figure it would be more bassy than I'd imagined, and the regressed upper mids at 5kHz do seem a bit worrisome. Since I shift between treble-head and bass-head depending on what I listen to, my intention to buy the Elear is not to replace my HD800S but the HD650 if it really is the "Super HD650" everybody's talking about. But the last thing I need is another V-sounding headphone like TH900.

    Which DAC/amps were used your your subjective evaluation of Elear? Do you think that 5kHz suckout could be somewhat brought forward with proper amp matching? How did it fare with BW and ZDS in particular?

    By the way I took a short nap after lunch today and in my dream I was invited to Eddie Current to listen to Elear/Utopia with the Studio amp, but before I could actually try them on my head I woke up... :(
     
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  9. Ryanr1987

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    Judging by the measurements it doesn't look like a Super HD650 to me, it actually looks closer to an open Nighthawk. Bass extension looks amazing for an open dynamic, you usually only see that type of extension in a semi open headphone or a planar.

    I don't like those two peaks, they look really unnecessary. I need to demo these but Usually when a headphone measures like that it ends up lacking vocal presence and sharp. I like the bass, it doesn't seem too elevated to me and won't punk out on recording issues like bass bloat that a bass light headphone will miss.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  10. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    To me this looks most like an LCD-X. My LCD-X at least was very bass and lower mid-centered, and while the middle-upper mids remained energetic out to about 2-3khz, the transition area between upper midrange and lower treble at 4-6khz sounded very dull and recessed, leading to a lack of energy and bite. Lastly, there was a peak in the treble around 10k. Tyll did say the Elear seemed to have more treble energy overall though, leading it to not sound as veiled as the LCD-X, so I hope he means more energy in the lower treble, and not just more 10k spike.

    I don't mind an extreme lack of bite-- I used and loved the HE-400 for 2 years, and that headphone's upper midrange-lower treble suckout starts at 2k instead of 4k, leading to the crucial 2-3khz area of the midrange to be recessed and causing major loss of harmonic for many instruments. The 2-3khz area affects timbre moreso than attack and bite, which is why having both recessed wasn't too bad once you've gotten used to it. Like Marv, I would ideally prefer to have the area around 3khz to be a little more recessed, while the area around 5k to be more energetic-- think HD800 but without the massive peak at 6k. When a headphone's midrange is full out to 2-3khz, and then the frequency response takes a noisedive starting at the lower treble, things start sounding very honky to me-- aka Hifiman RE-400 and to a lesser extent the LCD-X.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
  11. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

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    Thanks. OTOH, I don't per se dislike the HD 650, but just prefer the HD 600. I also like the sound signature of Audeze LCD-2/3 but have never actually owned them so may have found their darker nature a nice short-term change of pace. In any event, based on the latest posts I think it is prudent to just wait and try to hear rather than pre-ordering something. I always audition first and the one time I deviated from that I did, in fact, have regrets.
     
  12. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    :( but still hope they're in stock soon to try out..
     
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  13. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Not really like a Nighthawk. The entire midrange of the Nighthawk sounded recessed. Not quite LCD-X either. Maybe a little bit like LCD-X - like LCD-X with more bass, better timbre, and better cohesiveness. Not like HD650 either as HD650 is more filled or perhaps even slightly emphasized at some points in the upper mids. Elear is really just... Elear.

    I would like to point out that once properly EQ'd, the Elear is quite fantastic.

    Based on our discussions, I figured you would like these. No idea when Utopias come in, but hopefully soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
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  14. Ryanr1987

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    Would you say the HD650 is much of a step down or a side grade? Debating about getting the Elear or repurchase the 650. I'd love to have the 650's beautiful tone and vocal presence with more low bass.
     
  15. spoony

    spoony Friend

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    Do you think you could try earpads that tend to boost the presence region like the Brainwavz Velours?
     
  16. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    Difficult to say.

    It comes down to if you are willing to use EQ or if you can use EQ. The Elear does not have the "beautiful tone and vocal presence" of the HD650 as you put it. In my hypothetical situation running a turntable as a source, I can't use digital EQ. This leaves me with hardware EQ. Unfortunately, the deep recession in the upper mids is not correctable with a circuit, unless you want to use a dozen parts, which kind of defeats the point of headphones - simplicity in lack of complex crossover / EQ circuits.

    Now as @TMRaven pointed out, if you are used to the upper midrange dip, the lack of energy, the lack of harmonics (a la original HE-400), then the question becomes easier. If there are any concerns about too much bass, a bass shelf circuit consisting of a small high quality cap of a few uF and a resistor should do the job according to my calculations in my head unless I've had a brain fart.

    And then it comes down to synergy and scaling. The Elear does scale as much as the HD650. The problem with this is that the HD650 (modded) scales just a much if not more, even though in technicalities, the HD650 is behind: less clear, a tiny bit slower, a tiny bit less dynamic (although still one helluva more dynamic than any planar). Seriously, an HD6X0 and used Zana Deux, S7, ECP T3, Sonett, Mjolnir 2 might be a better choice than Elear + $500 FOTM amp.

    @TMoney at the Bay Area meet mentioned that these are worth $600, and I totally understand this point of view. I would say that these are definitely worth $1000 if you are willing to use digital EQ and $949 if you are willing to use a two component bass shelf filter.

    Finally, I want to point how out difficult it is to correct the upper midrange dip. Here are two pink noise RTAs of the Elear. The top is stock - no EQ, the bottom has digital PEQ settings applied in JRiver. I'm using +6db at 4500Hz and even that doesn't fully correct the dip. (I don't believe in extreme EQ settings, especially bumping UP, because we start to lose dynamic range / resolution. A digital pre-attenuation of 6db needs to be applied to prevent clipping.)
    Elear EQ settings.png
    Elear EQ settings 2.png

    Might be interesting. My concern is that might introduce other issues. Definitely worth a shot though.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
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  17. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Suffice to say, the upper mid dip under discussion seems likely to be a characteristic of the Elear that prospective owners are just going to have to decide for themselves whether they can tolerate or not. Modding and/or EQ can't fix every artifact in a headphone's presentation, nor should it realistically be expected to.

    For my part, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this worrisome trait isn't a deal breaker. There seems to be much worthwhile about the Elear, despite its somewhat unimpressive FR measurements.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
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  18. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I wonder how easy it is to disassemble and get inside these. A bit of damping behind the driver and in front might just be what these need. Rear damping should bring up some treble spots, and there's plenty of bass to spare if you lose a bit from rear damping, and a bit of front damping would smooth out the existing treble roughness and any caused from additional rear damping. Looks like these need just a bit, nothing crazy.

    Would also be worth playing around with the open areas of the enclosure to see if there's a way to boost that treble depression and not affect much else. It could be that the open spot in the baffle just to the side of the driver, ear-side, could have various materials placed over it to help. Just guessing. Could be wrong.

    I'm not trying to fault the Elear. Haven't heard it. HD650 isn't perfect either, hence why we all mod it. The difference between something like this and the Nighthawk is the NH has such a screwy default frequency response that it's, on paper, much more of an uphill battle getting it where it needs to be despite other excellent measurement areas.
     
  19. Huxleigh

    Huxleigh Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    If anyone can make the tweaks necessary to bring the Elear's (potential) trouble spots into line, it's probably you @Hands. ;) Fun to see that your wheels are already spinning away on this! Maybe I'm just speaking for myself, but I suspect that a lot of us less technically inclined enthusiasts are rooting for your inevitable efforts.
     
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  20. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    We'll see. I'll eventually get a pair of my own to tinker with, but it might be a month or two. Some headphones are tricky too. There have been enough times where I've said, "Wow, this is really close subjectively/on paper...just a bit of tweaking, and it'll be right where it needs to be." only to have it be a real PITA and ultimately not worth the trouble over what you get stock. Not to say I haven't had those easy wins, or that I haven't had plenty of trouble children get into great shape with a tiny bit of work. Like I said, we'll see. ;)
     

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