$199 MiniDSP EARS vs. Jude's GRAS?

Discussion in 'Headphone Measurements' started by purr1n, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    Sennheiser HD58X
    HD58X.png

    From EARS
    EARS HD58X.png

    Focal Clear (note: it's the dotted line we are comparing to, not the solid line)
    RMS-Level_1-9_DF_Massdrop-x-Focal-Elex_Focal-Clear_10-Hz-to-20-kHz.jpg

    From EARS
    EARS Clear.png
     
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    This is very preliminary with only a small dataset to work with. Other than the EARS being of simpler design, other factors leading to less than perfect translations are variances between the headphones used and variances in placement of the measurements rig, the latter of which could be significant.
     
  3. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yeah, but, how is the noise floor? Also, I will accept nothing less than the HD800 and HD800S showing basically the same level of low-end distortion.
     
  4. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Uncomfortably close, I would say.
     
  5. logscool

    logscool Friend

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    From what I've seen from this so far I'm pretty happy to see that it's at least in the same ballpark type of response that we see from GRAS and Head Acoustics. I think it is a good thing to try and simulate the human ear for general measurement. This is a inexpensive, hopefully consistent, and simple way to do that.
     
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  6. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    White graphs are a step in the right direction, but you're missing the fancy logos ;)

    Also the graph lines are too easy to read in yours.

    Jokes aside - well done, that is a spectangular job on the calibration, considering the initial EARS data I saw.

    Yes, spectangular is a word now, fite me.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    The EARS to Jude's GRAS compensation curve was arrived by the simply taking the average of deltas from the raw EARS HD580X and Clear to Jude's GRAS compensated measurements. The hardest parts were digitizing Jude's plots and linearly interpolating them to a standard set of frequency points. We will need more data points (more plots from Jude) to confirm how close we can really get.

    Looking back at the plots, the HD580X EARS measurement is missing that small bump at 8kHz. Correcting for this would increase the Clear's measurement at 8kHz, resulting in a slight peak there, instead of the null seen on Jude's plots. However, I strongly suspect the 8kHz null on the GRAS45CA is actually a peak in disguise - see here for discussion of this: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...s-and-what-they-tell-us.65/page-2#post-162886)

    I'll go through the data and confirm as I actually have my own measurements of the Focal Clear taken on a GRAS 45CA.

    BTW, I will be making all data public.
     
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  8. Dotard

    Dotard Acquaintance

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    Yeah, don't you know the best way to compare two graph plots is to combine them into the same graph and use two slightly different shades of grey to differentiate them? /s

    At first glance it seems like the main difference between GRAS and EARS is the smoothing function. It looks like at certain points the EARS has more "resolution" around small changes. It almost seems like you could simply apply a different smoothing function and be almost right on top of GRAS...
     
  9. TomHP

    TomHP Almost "Made"

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    Can you show what the RAW data looks like?
     
  10. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Conclusion that I can draw from this:

    1. Up to 8KHz is similar enough that whatever is different could be attributed solely to manufacturing variance or other factors (placement, fit, seal), I think.

    2. Past 8KHz is different enough that I'd say it may be a matter of difficulty to measure things past that point. But that also implies that we should not claim anything as "definitive" past 8KHz until multiple measurements done by different people on different systems show the same thing because... science.

    3. For enthusiasts who are looking to change FR either by modding or by EQing, at least, it seems EARS is already more than good enough, and they don't need GRAS. It remains to be seen how distortion and other things stack up. If all else is similar enough, this begs the question: what exactly does GRAS offer that warrants its price tag over EARS?
     
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  11. TomHP

    TomHP Almost "Made"

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    A lot.
    • Super tight tolerances on their couplers (+/-0.5 dB between units if I recall correctly)
    • Different coupler options for a variety of applications (high SPL, low noise, ...)
    • Individually calibrated units with unique DF compensation curves per unit
    • Different ear sizes. softness, types
    • mouth simulator
    • mounting mechanisms for DUTs

    The list goes on.

    The EARS are cool, but it's no a professional tool.
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    The highs are tricky. The couplers with ears seem to be more sensitive to headphone placement than the flat couplers like the V2 that I used for years here. Much difference can also be attributed to the person doing the measurement. (Jude's measurements seem to bit a little bit all over the place, a result of him playing with the latest GRAS holes or simply just getting the hang of things). Basically more data is required to make a good assessment how close the EARS can get to the GRAS with the right compensation.
     
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    Clear EARS Raw
    EARS Clear.png

    HD58X EARS Raw
    EARS 58x.png
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    EARS to Jude GRAS compensation (L channel, Marv's miniDSP EARS)

    EARS to Jude.png
     
  15. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    I'm not sure I'm seeing the real practical benefits of the majority of the above from the measurements that Jude has posted (granted, he hasn't really posted a lot). Or maybe we need much more data and some more direct comparisons.

    The EARS is indeed not a professional tool but from what I'm seeing, it is able to provide results that are close to GRAS in critical regions. For anything else that's different, I'm not sure you can claim that GRAS is showing "better" results either.

    Shouldn't a "better" measurement system be able to show in more details how something should behave in real life? I'm not seeing that with Jude's GRAS results. My subjective impressions do not seem to match up with what he's showing. Hell, multiple other measurement systems do not seem to agree with his results either.

    My question was geared more towards the end results (measurement data) rather than about features, on that note. But again, yes, I do agree EARS is not a professional tool.
     
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  16. Dotard

    Dotard Acquaintance

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    I'm not sure why the EARS would not be considered a professional tool? Can that point be expanded upon? It seems to do a very good job at measurements, and it's not like set ups like GRAS are everywhere in headphone manufacturers warehouses, headphone reviewer offices, and so on. Most of the so called issues with the EARS seem like they can be compensated away - DF tuning, DB differences between couplers, etc.

    If one were using it to detect and tune away measurement artifacts, or present a consistently presented set of measurements to consumers (the former being a headphone manufacturer concern, the latter being a headphone reviewer concern) - it seems appropriate for use in either professional setting.

    I mean, if something like the Yamaha NS-10M can be considered a professional tool, I think the EARS can also qualify, used appropriately.
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Possibly psycho

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    The major difference is that the makers of GRAS provide its customers with ready made handy compensation curves for results that look somewhat decent and actually shockingly close to that of my DIY flat coupler.

    GRAS also gives us the privilege of needing to buy ancillary crap for thousands more like specialized preamps with special connectors used in Star Trek.

    GRAS should have an advantage for IEM measurements, although I have not tested the EARS for IEMs.

    The EARS has issues, i.e. two high Q resonances, but from we have seen, these behaviors are linear and can be compensated out, at least for simple frequency response measurements.

    Lastly, let us not forget the cachet behind owning a GRAS. It's like modern Porsche where the cars practically drive themselves on the track. Noobs can establish immediate cred with a GRAS.

    EARS makes you work for it. Time is money, hence GRAS is more pro.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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  18. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    Yeah, as Marv said, and it's also something I realized when I read @TomHP 's response:

    GRAS as a professional tool provides more ways to interface and more customization options readily available via the manufacturer directly. EARS is just what it is: you get it and that's all you get. In a nutshell, GRAS works for you but you have to work for EARS. That's a pretty good reason why GRAS is a "more professional" tool.

    The other thing would be that since GRAS already has its own compensation curves, you don't have to build up a database and use your Jedi skills to "force" it to do your bidding. You just use it to get results. EARS would be for the Jedi apprentice to try, figure out how things are, what makes it work, and then strive to make it produce things closer to what GRAS can spit out already without any extra work on your part.

    As Marv also very eloquently put: GRAS is a "professional tool" in that it can "somewhat" make the user look more "professional" without doing extra work, whereas EARS will require extra work to get there.

    I got this distinction from the camera world, too: a "professional" camera, surprisingly, is one that almost any noob can use to grab potential award-winning photos, most of the time without really knowing anything other than pressing a button to snap what they're seeing.

    This is not to say professionals are noobs (some of them are), but that by taking away the extra work, it allows the photographers (and in this case, the person conducting the measurements) to focus more on the end results.
     
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  19. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

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    GRAS is targeted at companies like Sennheiser and Beyer that actually develop headphones, but i'm sure even it has its flaws. I would choose someone with good/consistent methodology and a willigness to admit they are fallible with an EARS over a shill like Jude with a GRAS any day.
     
  20. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I disagree @TomHP. I don't see why the EARs is just cool, and cannot be a professional tool.

    • Super tight tolerances: I have measured headphones with my POS system and I can get within +/-0.5 dB all the way to the mids. Highs are difficult, but that's due to placement. Given what I get with my POS rig, I fail to see how the EARS would fall short here.
    • Different couplers or different products? I think the EARS should be compared to the GRAS 45CA.
    • Calibration and compensation can be done in house. As far as compensation curves it's convenience, not capability, what you are paying for at a step price.
    • Ears, softness... Again, GRAS 45CA.
    • Mouth simulator... Again, different product.
    • The EARS has a mounting mechanism for DUT.

    I will further mention that in professional design, many times you will find DIY rigs that serve a purpose better than uber-expensive options. This is not always the case, but in this case I think it is.

    EDIT: That is not to say that the MiniDSP EARS is a DIY rig. IMO, it is not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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