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cyclebrain
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Joined: Jun 16 2006 - 11:40pm
earphones vs. speakers

I have always listened to music from loudspeakers.
Having to go on a around the world flight I deceided to purchase a pair of Shure earphones. Pretty different sound compared to room loudspeakers. Seemed like the sound location was no longer in front of me, but more located right in the center of my head. Kind of neat but also kind of strange.
But what got me thinking, was the often used term here, fast. To me the term fast is meaningless. If a speaker can reproduce the full audio spectrum then it is capabile of going as fast as it needs to be.
After listening to the earphones I wondered about the effect of the compressability of the large volume of air in a room relative to the very small volume of air in the ear canal when wearing earphones. Kind of like using a surge suppressor in a hydrualic system. Dampens the response. Reduces rise time.
Any thoughts on this?

dcstep
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Re: earphones vs. speakers

I find speakers and cans equivalent, except that speakers actually give you bodily interaction from the sound waves. In my system, my speakers (Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby Grannds) and my cans (AKG 701s primarily) sound pretty much the same.

Dave

Jan Vigne
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Re: earphones vs. speakers

Oh, what one banned individual would do to this thread!

WATTS, SLAM, 5k of WATTS! You NEED a DOZEN DRIVERS and they HAVE to STAND 7 FEET TALL. CAN'T DO IT with TABLE RADIOS! SLAM, SLAM, SLAM! 18" WOOFERS, WATTS! SLAM!

And teh.

And then the thread would be over and nothing would have been mentioned except teh SLAM.

Well, ...

I don't know that I would describe the difference between headphones and speakers as coming down to "rise time". Surely a loudspeaker must deal with the volume of air that sits on its surface but that can be dealt with in various manners depending on the type of driver you use. Get yourself some of those good ol' acoustic transformers in the shape of expotential horns and front and back load the drivers like in a K'Horn and you'll have a system that isn't all that concerned with the air sitting on the face of the driver. Or try a filament of plastic driven by an electrical current running on either side of the plastic panel and once again air sitting on the driver becomes a different matter all together. Try an open baffle woofer and see what you think about "fast". Stick with bigass dynamic drivers slugging their way through a mountain of air sitting on their face and you'll have a different perspective on "fast".

All that said, IMO, the largest difference in the "speed" of loudspeakers vs headphones is still the loss of SPL with distance experienced with loudspeakers and not with headphones. Then you must consider the multiple reflections that arrive at your ear out of phase to each other when you play a loudspeaker in a confined space. The time smearing alone when you use multiple drivers vs the single driver of most headphones is going to affect the perceived speed of the signal.

So, yes, if you are aware of such things, perceived speed is vastly different between headphones and loudspeakers.

syntheticwave
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Re: earphones vs. speakers

There are huge differences in the reproduction of speakers and headphones of course. That

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