Mysphere 3.1 Review and Measurements

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by purr1n, Sep 3, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yeah, tiny low amplitude narrow spike at 8kHz. Usually this comes off as sibilants, but I didn't hear anything concerning.

    What! How dare you ask your Great Leader, cult of SBAF, to do such things! I shall now wave my hand and tell you this is not necessary.

    Actually, I'll see what I can do.

    In the comparison to Grados, I think we should consider distortion too.

    Here are the typical measurements where I blast them at 100db (maybe more) at 1kHz. Note that these do clip, hit physical excursion briefly.

    Mysphere 3.1
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz to 100db SPL
    Mysphere 3.1 L HD.jpg
    Mysphere 3.1 R HD.jpg

    The above probably isn't fair because these are not high SPL cans, not even moderately high SPL level cans. But I've included them for reference in comparison to other gear. I will provide 90db and 80db SPL measurements next. Ignore the chunks for the 90db measurement. Note that the noise floor moves up as we decrease the volume. This is normal.

    Mysphere 3.1
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz to 90db SPL
    Mysphere 3.1 -10db R HD.jpg

    Mysphere 3.1
    Harmonic Distortions
    1kHz to 80db SPL
    Mysphere 3.1 -20db R HD.jpg
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Well, while there are some similarities, there are also quite a few key differences:
    • The K1000 clamp on the temples is truly horrendous. The design of the Mysphere is intended to wrap around the head and make contact throughout except the very top where some people such as myself have Klingon ridges. The problem for me is that I have a round Southern-Chinese / Pacific Islander / Dutch head instead of a skinny European head like yourself or @Clemmaster. The region around the back and top of ears is wider than that of Michael Schumacher's head, so the C-shaped band is expanded a bit and only clamps on this area. I actually think this could be a good fit for you.
    • The high-end of the Mysphere sounds "higher-fidelity" than the AKG K1000. The lower-end is downright low-fi. The K1000 lows and mids are better. A lot of this will depend upon volume level where the K1000 does better at higher volumes.
    • Both K1000 and Mysphere have that narrow 2kHz+ emphasis - that "shoutiness" - I had forgotten the word. However, the K1000, at least the "bass heavy" ones, do have a mid-bass bump that helps it not sound so thin.
    • The Mysphere is less coherent between lows and highs. Sure many headphones start to exhibit more distortion in the lows as we increase the volume. However, even at lower volumes, there is a bit of discontinuity between the lows and highs. I didn't feel this was the case with K1000 or SR1a.
    Here are @ultrabike's K1000 FR. His headphone measurement rig is somewhat comparable to my Flat Plate Coupler / FPC measurements (comp removed for apples to apples):

    K1000 Frequency Response
    [​IMG]

    Mysphere 3.1 Frequency Response
    FPC (no comp)
    upload_2020-9-4_9-29-39.png


    Here is an overlay with the axes aligned
    K1000 vs Mysphere Frequency Response
    upload_2020-9-4_9-22-10.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The Fs is 59Hz. Both channels measured the same. Nominal impedance looks to be about 14.5-ohms. What is interesting is that the impedance shoots up to about 100-ohms at the resonant frequency. At 100Hz, the impedance is 35-ohms. What this means is that the Mysphere 3.1 frequency response will be very reactive to higher Zout.

    @Hands: From this measurement, I don't think magical amps are necessary for "synergy". Yes, magical amps are indeed magical and many of us own them, and they will sound better than amps for "normies". However, I am beginning to think of a lot of this synergy may lie with amps with higher Zout where we will get more bass. I will report back on this later.

    upload_2020-9-4_10-7-12.png

    upload_2020-9-4_10-6-3.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
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  4. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    According to the MySphere’s website, the 3.1 was optimized for amplifiers with 10-30 ohms output impedance. You may want to try adding some resistance in series and re-listen & measure
     
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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I've wanted to bring up this topic for years but never found a great opportunity to do this until now. Many readers know how I eschew using different musical selections as basis for review. While I totally understand why this is done, I've personally disliked taking this approach because it seemed largely like using the frequency response irregularities of a headphone as an "EQ" of sorts of judge different masters. Of course some stuff is going to sound better than others depending upon our preferences and how a specific track is mastered!

    My take was that if a recording was bright, then it better sound bright on good gear. Or if a recording was laid-back, it better sound laid-back on good gear. I didn't want an EQ altering the master to suite my case. I essentially want to hear was was approved as the final master, whether this approval came from the band or the big wigs is immaterial*. The best reason is what @ChaChaRealSmooth implied: the masters good or bad do average out to a "neutral" - hence gear where the majority of everything will sound good is much more desirable.

    Is this to say that other approaches such as using specific headphones for specific genres or even recordings is a wrong approach? Not at all.

    It's only her most recent release that works. The Mysphere 3.1 would be pretty disastrous on her first few albums, particularly the second and the third where the mastering emphasized the 2-3kHz region to make her voice sound super shrieky at times. I don't know if this was intentional.

    Anyway, back on topic. I will make points succinctly.

    Daft Punk - Get Lucky
    Way too much bass, most of it below where Mysphere feels comfortable. This amount of excursion creates not only issues in the lows, but also pushes the VC past where it is linear thus also affecting the mids, the highs, everything else.
    getlucky.jpg

    Juliana Barwick - Envelope
    Not much bass, which would otherwise be fine. This track is very midrangy. 500Hz extending up to 4kHz. The slightly lean tonal response and 2kHz peak of the Mysphere added on top of this mastering was just a disaster. Thin and tinny, painfully so.
    Juliana Barwick.jpg

    Taylor Swift - The Last Great American Dynasty
    Her latest album is on the mellow side. The masterings are warm and laid back. There is bass content, but it's not pounding like with Daft Punk. Note depression in the upper midrange and lower highs. This worked very well with the Mysphere
    upload_2020-9-4_10-56-54.png


    *BTW, check out the Albini "original" master of In Utero, which blew me away because it shows how the corporate big wigs wanted to clean up the sound for Top 40 hits.
     
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  6. numbercube

    numbercube Acquaintance

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    The resistance decreases from Rdc to 30 Hz. I wonder if there's a cap in series.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Good catch. It would appear so. No doubt to protect against over-excursion. I've extended the min frequency down to 2Hz:
    upload_2020-9-4_11-13-25.png
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not quite 10-ohms, but this is with 6.8-ohms in series. I'll need to scrounge around for more values. I thought there would have been more of an effect, but looking at the FR and impedance curve, it makes sense now. The bump at Fs is narrow and doesn't take effect until we are near Fs. Also the bass starts to roll-off early.

    Mysphere 3.1
    Frequency response from different Zout
    YEL = 0 Zout
    CYN = 6.8 Zout
    upload_2020-9-4_14-49-16.png
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Just something to note. At 15-ohms nominal and low sensitivity, this may take a few more watts than usual to drive. We're still talking fractions of watt though into the load. And really, I don't see anything wanting to run the Mysphere this loud since it doesn't sound good loud.

    Voltage RMS required to reach 102db SPL at 1kHz
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1.888 Mysphere 3.1 (drivers fully extended) <--
    1.828 Sennheiser HD6XX
    1.447 Dan Clark Audio Ether
    0.541 Focal Utopia
    0.369 Drop x Beyerdynamic DT177x
    0.217 Grado HF 2

    Note we will get 6db better sensitivity with the drivers fully closed (x 0.5 to the voltage for 6db)
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here are two photos that show the range of adjustment for drivers. Eyeballing it, let's say the range of adjustability is from 10° (closed) to 45° (full open). If the drivers are fully closed, the padding material on the front of the drivers will touch my ears.

    IMG_20200904_144119.jpg

    IMG_20200904_144129.jpg

    Here is the FR from fully open to fully closed. Note the closing the drivers gets us better sensitivity.

    Mysphere 3.1
    Frequency Response
    Drivers open (45° ) to closed (10°)
    upload_2020-9-4_15-16-39.png

    Here is the same, but with the values normalized at 1kHz. This is a better way for us to see the effects upon frequency response.

    Mysphere 3.1
    Frequency Response
    Drivers open (45° ) to closed (10°)
    upload_2020-9-4_15-23-46.png
    upload_2020-9-4_15-24-11.png
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    This 50Hz is about 87db. It just craps out.
    upload_2020-9-4_15-32-55.png

    This 75Hz is about 87db. Not much better.
    upload_2020-9-4_15-35-46.png
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    OK, so someone mentioned to me there is a special pad that will increase the bass that will come out soon. I'm just going to steal a page from RAAL Requisite's playbook and do this myself as a proof of concept: make little flaps that seal the ear phones to the face, like this:

    IMG_20200904_155926.jpg
    IMG_20200904_160132.jpg

    There's nothing like good ol' Creatology foam and double-sided tape. The results are below.

    Mysphere 3.1
    Frequency Response
    Compensated (and Y-axis compressed)
    YEL = drivers fully open
    GRN = drivers fully open with flaps.
    upload_2020-9-4_16-11-21.png

    Looks like we go an overall 3db increase in SPL 3kHz and below. The increase in sensitivity, particularly in the lows is welcome. Unfortunately, the flaps also increase along with the 1.5kHz to 2.2kHz rise. the rest of the highs stay more or less the same.

    Taylor Swift's Folklore sounds much better now. Get Lucky is a little bit better, but still far from ideal. Doin' It Right is a disaster. I feel like I am breaking these drivers with those high SPL bass drops that sound like farts.

    I am thinking with some bigger resistors in series, maybe 12 or 15-ohms, we could get a slight lift 120Hz and below at least to 60Hz. Still, the doesn't solve the problem of distortion at moderate SPL in the lows. I don't listen that loudly! Or maybe I do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    @ChaChaRealSmooth: I went back to try this out. One recording I like to use to test for this is Alanis Unplugged. Mind you that this record has sibilants! It's just the way it was mixed and mastered. I like to use this because on gear that has peaks or other odd behavior, those sibilants are emphasized to the point on nastiness. I can't say that the Mysphere handles these well.

    --

    At the end of the day, it's what @n3rdling said: it's track dependent. Some tracks will sound awful, and others will sound magickal. Taylor Swift's Folkfore works great on these. As does Billie Elish's my future.

    Oscar Peterson is seems great, until he hits certain keys on the piano an octave or two above middle C. Ella Fitzgerald with Count Basie's band is great too, that is until the brass comes on and then I want to kill myself. Nothing from Daft Punk will ever work. FSOL is more mellow, but the low bass sustains are crucial, so FSOL is out too.

    My opinion of them is that while they show signs on brilliance from time to time, at the end of the day, they suck.

    Too may hoops to jump through to get synergy. I don't want to locate OTL amps with 20-ohm output impedance (Craig's nearby, but really I already know the ZDS won't pair well). And even after the application of EQ, flap mods, angling in the driver slightly, wiring resistors in series, the bass stiil rolls off way too early and what is left of is is highly distorted (I don't know how people aren't hearing this: are they deaf or does everyone listen at 62db SPL?). Have people not noticed how small the drivers are? The laws of physics cannot be violated. I don't listen to music with peaks at 70db. The K1000 and SR1a have similar issues, but not to this extent!

    If I'm paying a good amount for a world class football player, I want someone who produces every day under any condition. I don't want a diva that needs special managing, special conditions, special encouragement to perform. I don't want to to spend hours finding music on top of Folkfore and Elish's single that suits this hardware. It should be the other way around - gear should get out of the way or enhance the experience so that one can concentrate purely on exploring all sorts of music.

    The Mysphere 3.1 remains a highly niche product. If folks can get them to work, then more power to them. I can appreciate the vision, open ear speakers without any influences from the pad or cup, but the compromises to achieve this are too severe. Maybe the 3.2 is better. I don't know. For now, I will remain the one reviewer out of dozens who does not like them. I'm OK with that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
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  14. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    Try high pass filtering them in the bass range, 50-80Hz, and add a powered sub
     
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  15. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    That 75hz measurement would suggest something over 100Hz would be needed, and you would still have the upper mids and sibiliance to deal with, and the price, and headband/fit, and...I don't see how these can be thought of anything but a fail.
     
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  16. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    @Dash - care to discuss your opposite stance or reason for dislike? Do you believe a premium headphone should not have to reproduce the full human hearing range or attempt to get close? You've basically eliminated a Piano from your headphones capabilities if you believe that.

    I'm open to discussion if you are going to use the dislike button.

    Cheers and peace to all
     
  17. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    After reading all this if someone likes the sound of these headphones they should buy them. Like any other piece of equipment. Personally looking at Marv's subjective opinions and measurements. I just don’t see how they’re worth the money.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2020
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  18. ruinevil

    ruinevil Acquaintance

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    You are giving up perfect frequency response and some coherence for better spatial presentation. I thought these and the RAAL sounded pretty similar, but these made my head hurt and the RAAL was heard in a loud room at CanJam 2020.
     
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'm going to lay all this out in comparative distortion analysis with Grado, SR1a (not very good either). In the meantime, here is an FR comparison with Grado HF-3 in stock pads.

    Mysphere 3.1 (fully open) vs Grado HF-3 (GRN)
    Frequency Response
    FPC
    upload_2020-9-6_10-8-26.png

    Here is the difference. The Grado HF-3 has a darker tilt, but with more emphasis at 10kHz, the tape hiss region, Yes, the Mysphere 3.1 has a overall brighter tilt (until we get to 10kHz) than a Grado!
    upload_2020-9-6_10-9-38.png
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here is the Grado HF-3 difference with the Mysphere 3.1 when the driver is angled from 45 degress to 25 degrees. It's a little bit better, a few db in the lows and the lower-treble. However, the difference really isn't huge. Also, angling the drivers any more inward toward the ears renders the soundstage of the Mysphere not much better than a Grado.

    upload_2020-9-6_10-16-32.png

    I like the idea and love the effect of the design with the driver hanging over the ears, but this frequency response (relatively brighter than Grado, even less bass and higher distortion) is too simply too steep of a price to pay.

    I'd rather hang these small Logitech computer speakers off the top of my head, at least in terms of sound. (It should be noted that the design, construction, and mechanics of the Mysphere are without a doubt ingenious and first rate - which is what leaves me very conflicted on them).
    IMG_20200906_102331.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
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