Why Balanced Armature Drivers Suck

Discussion in 'Audio Science' started by purr1n, Oct 2, 2021.

  1. YMO

    YMO Friend

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    I did like the plastic stuff that was on the Moondrop Blessing 2. Actually that one is another good size IEM with a hybrid design, just the nozzle will be short for some.

    However....whatever is mostly popular in Asia will mostly be driving what is cool in the IEM me thinks. *Vocal Fetish*
     
  2. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    I probably already told you the ADSR is all off on BA's with their quick decay which leads to their plastic timbre. Glad we now have science to back that up. DD's do seem to need a bit more energy to get going.

    I think there are some DD dynamics, but they don't split up the frequencies. They are just there so that the bass can sound tighter. I am just still surprised that Senn is the one that as always stayed dynamic and even their flagship has some major issues.

    I am still waiting on an IEM that has a more refined sound than the Vsonic GR07 (single biocellulose DD).
     
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  3. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    People who say inaudible ultrasonics (or infrasonics for that matter) don't mean jack diddly for perception are likely people who have not had the opportunity to distinguish the feel between heavily industrialised areas, the space near wind turbines, and just quiet places out away from skyscrapers.
     
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  4. lagadu

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    As far as I'm aware, that's pretty much what the Z1R is. Might want to give that a listen sometime.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    That was reviewed here. It suffered terribly from incoherent lows, mids, and treble. Possibly the most incoherent IEM I have ever heard. Think not only bad DD / BA hybrid, but bad BA / piezo hybrid.

    Also, not the same thing described. IEM-Z1R has DD lows/mid, BA mids/highs, and that awful piezo as the supertweeter. Although in later marketing material, references to piezo seemed to be deleted.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    EST112 was generally not offensive sounding on the part of its tonal signature. However the BA to electret (not a real stat) deal did not work at all.
     
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  7. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    I don't think DDs are that far off (if any) from the technical proficiency of BAs, it's just that portable gear aren't good enough to drive DDs. Combine that with the etched sound of BAs and you will fool 90% of audiophiles thinking that BAs are more technically proficient.
     
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  8. BarnBurner

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    I remember a guy on a different site called my attempt to discuss ultrasonic frequencies as "romantic nonsense". I didn't have the heart to tell him about the UV light rays we can't see that can still affect us :confused:

    Thank you all for a fascinating discussion. This is the kind of stuff I come here to learn about. More of a speaker guy but traveling more these days so I'm trying to up my headphone game.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Let's say an aluminum tweeter has a peak at 24kHz (and BTW these ultrasonic peaks tend to be very bad, very high in amplitude). 12kHz in music sets off a second harmonic at the 24kHz made worse by the tweeters tendency to go nuts there. Say there's 14kHz in the music too - combine that 24kHz and viola, something extraneous at 10kHz IMD (24-14 = 10).

    Ultrasonic peaks in the frequency domain can manifest as an overshoot in the time domain. This overshoot would be of a higher frequency than we can technically hear, so in theory, we shouldn't be able to hear it. However overshoot also means momentary excitation higher than what should be there. How do the hair cells in our inner ears respond to this? It's an interesting question.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Combined the separate 2D FFT graphs into 3D visualizations.

    upload_2021-10-3_10-52-26.png

    upload_2021-10-3_10-52-39.png

    • When stuff gets loud (yellow), the distortion pattern looks more or less the same between DDs and BAs.
    • When stuff is moderately loud (gray), BAs have higher odd order distortion whereas DDs have a triangular pattern with less distortion with each successive harmonic
    • BAs have highish third order that sticks out no matter the volume level.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  11. GoldenOne

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    @purr1n this is some awesome stuff!
     
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  12. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    Tell that to @Crinacle who just posted that they are the best iems and gatekeepers to the promised iem land LOL...Literally was the worst IEM i have ever heard in terms of coherency. I do agree with the extension of the highs, which I feel are lacking on most iems, so i wonder if iems will really reach the hd800/utopia level of resolution.

    BA iems have timbre issues, DD drivers have weird spikes/response problems with less technical resolution and smaller soundstage? haven't heard one with a big one. Hybrids have coherency issues, Physical fit due to size issue. Pinnae gain issues for different upper mids. At this point, I feel like its better to just listen to it on a headphone/speaker system or just live in silence, and imagine sound in your head.

    Still waiting for some magic iem, but every year, all these new products with meme designs actually don't have any solution to the problems. Also frustrated at all the phone manufacturers gimping their phones out of sd cards/headphone jacks, so people have to stream, get a dongle, or a dac :(.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 2, 2021
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    The problem is this: no real progress on the building pieces of IEMs. It's the same old stuff over and over. Or if it's new stuff like the EST, it's not ready for prime time. I'm looking at BA drivers and I see no reason why the technology can't be improved with a rod pushing at the middle of the diaphragm instead of the edge. However, this will increase complexity and there's not much money in it. You think there would be given how much some IEM makers charge - but this is probably the model for them to stay in business. It's super competitive and they are chasing an audience with a wide preferences.

    The IE900 had HD800 level of resolution or very close to it. Not surprised because this is Sennheiser which does have a clue. Other problems though.
     
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  14. Stuff Jones

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    Aren't there R&D limitations due to the small scale? It must be much easier to tinker around with a speaker or even headphones till you get things just right than to do that with IEMs.
     
  15. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Speaking out of my bunghole but with how transistors are still shrinking and the fact that microarchitecture is a whole-ass thing, think Moore's Law or equivalents will not apply to transducers until we get to neural-link implants or cold shower levels of shrinkage. Given how much money appears to be in audio, even with the excoriating prices charged by many they'd rather take the gross in as profit rather than reinvest in massive improvements since this is still a highly niche hobby.

    What the heck. This is approaching "how is this not a thing yet" levels of fridge realisation.
     
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  16. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    To be quite honest I think IEM enthusiasts have made peace with the state of their section of the industry. I’m not trying to paint with too broad of a brush but I think there’s a desire by some IEM fans to have their chosen transducers seen as being on par with headphones, which is why they’re cool with multi thousand dollar pricing and a general lack of real innovation. Those of us who are demanding more from IEM manufacturers and are willing to look critically at IEM tech are in the minority.
     
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  17. Sqveak

    Sqveak Friend

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    I think Sony is doing something like this with their custom BAs in the IER-M7 an IER-M9.

    quote: "Sony's original T-shaped Armature directly drives the diaphragm for more linear motion and clean, faithful high notes."
    source: https://www.sony.com.au/electronics/in-ear-headphones/ier-m7
     
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  18. Crinacle

    Crinacle Friend

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    The IER-Z1R never had a piezo driver; it has a 12mm DD woofer, BA for mids, and a 5mm DD as a tweeter.
     
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  19. Tachikoma

    Tachikoma Almost "Made"

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  20. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    My bad. The supertweeter still sounds like ass though. Would be curious at its ultrasonics.
     
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