Monitor/Audiophile/Field Headphone Page
Re: Higher sensitivity = higher volume?
Higher sensitivity = higher volume?
>Date: Sat, 06 Jan 2001 04:17:57 GMT
>I am choosing headphones for my MZR70 and wonder if higher sensitivity
>translates to higher volume? Sony MDR-EX70's sensitivity is
>MDR-E888 is 108.
>Does this mean that the latter is louder than the former?
>>Sent via Deja.com
The sensitivity rating is usually for 1 milliwatt POWER input
to the phones and a corresponding sound pressure level (SPL) output
(USUALLY 102 to 106 dB SPL output for moderate to high sensitivity
connecting different sets of phones with the same 1 milliwatt
to SPL output sensitivity rating to the same headphones amplifier
output may, or may not give corresponding equal
or loud enough SPL operation!
impedance (the ohms rating of the phones voice coil)
determines how much audio 'voltage' needs be applied
to get that '1 milliwatt' or more power into the phone's motor
example: A low 16 to 45 ohm headphone (low ohms
impedance that's typical for Sony headphones) will easily
get to operate for many milliwatts for providing close to
live loudness on battery powered portable equipment that typically
output only .5-1.5 volts RMS volts output.
A 65 to 600 ohms phones set impedance (higher ohms typical
of Sennheiser, Beyer, & AKG headphones). will require
a higher headphones amplifier output voltage signal to get
the same milliwatts into the phones voice coil for providing
of these higher impedance phones require connection to a headphone
amp circuit that has ability to drive at least 2-6 Volts RMS to
get reasonable loudness for phones listening. Not the type of headphone
to use on most portable powered deck's with low voltage phones outputs.
These high ohms phones really need a an AC powered amplifier's headphone
jack or even direct connection to 10 watt or more power amp's speaker
outputs for realistic (loud) listening. There are headphone amps
available for this purpose and some are battery powered with at
least (1 or 2) 9 volt batteries, the minimum supply needed for higher
impedance phones to work at reasonable loudness.
line: Phones sensitivity is only a measure of the ability
to play loud enough only if comparing phones with about the same
ohms impedance that are being driven by the same headphone amplifier.
before buying is to try out the phones on the exact equipment you
to use while playing typical sounds of interest.
current choices for best natural sound and loud enough (for
most) listening ability with portable mini-decks is
MDR-CD2000 and MDR-F1.
models of phones are large and comfortable with the MDR-F1
being extremely comfortable with best audiophile speaker-like
imaging and pleasurable sound. Alternately, the MDR-CD2000 is
a tad bit heavier, work nicely as warm and cozy ear muffs for
working in cold windy places, and couples very low bass better.
The CD2000 seems most suitable for mastering where best resolution
for hearing high and low frequency detail is most important.
MDR-F1 & CD2000 Monitoring/Mastering Stereo Headphones
(edited from Pro Audio Mail Response)--<<
site has 'too high a quality for streaming' but file downloadable .mp3
encoded sound/music selections.
samples were recorded with an
HRTF baffled omni mic method I pioneered & patented in the mid 80's
and now offer as product on my site via Mail Order.
are stereo 'psycho-acoustical' recordings that are NOT binaural,
but are naturally 3-D Stereo encoded and Dolby 'pro logic' decodeable
for full surround speaker playback.
listening with full 'outside the head perceived' ambient is only fully
accomplished using headphones like Sony's MDR-F1
with drivers 'floating in space' forward of the ears and angled to firing
back into the ears.
MDR-F1 the only 'stock' phones that seem to give seamless surround
sound with none of the hard left/right and weak middle sounds common with
all other headphone designs.
Sony has a few other models with
similar designs with the same comfort and imaging ability,
but these are rather inexpensive and "dark" sounding and found to be not
very good for critical listening of details.
While the MDR-F1 may not be the
ideal phone for binaural (where
closed or in-ear inserted types might be far more suited, it now seems
the perfect phone for 3-D or VR type ambient stereo recordings where isolation
from outside ambient sounds is not demanded for playback listening.
This model also seems fully suitable
to substitute for using nearfield speakers and with audible perception
advantage of more consistent stereo image QA monitoring.
This MDR-F1 also seems ideal for
headphones playback of recordings made with the DSM microphone method
and . . . perhaps
those ambient type recordings made with the Soundfield mic (I haven't
as yet listened to any Soundfield recordings to check this out for sure).
Listen to DSM recordings:
I've searched and continue searching
for very high quality
headphones that meet professional monitoring requirements for natural
ambient and synthetic stereo recordings.
So far, the stock Jecklin 'Float-Phone'
electrostatic (is actually the best imaging with driver angle modification)
and the even better imaging (as stock) Sony MDR-F1 remain the only phones
found suitable for this purpose.
>>---(More edited E-mail posts)---
Subject: Re: Nothing is easy! (headphone help
Ever hear of the Sony MDR-F1??
I've tried all
the other phones discussed and they (sigh) all fall
short of giving full unbiased details of the whole audio range, do not
allow accurate stereo imaging perception, have various impedance difficulty
being driven by the majority of available phones outputs, and most are
not comfortable after just a few hours or less.
The F1 is a very different
design with a completely open frame construction (note: zero ambient
noise isolation) with the usual 10-30,000 cycle bandwidth, but it delivers
it with large 50 mm open, semi-ported drivers placed away from the ear;
actually angled forward facing back.
Stereo imaging is more identical
to the best nearfield monitors (image with a solid center for a change)
and are not at all like what phones normally do to stereo image perception
(wide & hard in_the_head "left - NO MID. - right").
I've been for over a year searching
for a better replacement for the now discontinued MDR-D77 models which
were very suitable for accurate mastering, was completely driveable by
any phones output, and was (as a bonus) very fold-up pocketable, but lacked
the true stereo imaging and absolute comfort of this F1 model.
sound suitable for monitoring very critical projects, and comfortable
after 10 hours continuous use!! The MDR-F1 is well worth considering as
one of the best choices for monitoring/mastering where isolation isn't
a requirement when working in a quiet ambient, but unbiased resolution
of the full audio spectrum for speaker reproduction is of prime interest.
Easily driven, provides excellent sound and adequate output on all equipment
tested from smallest lo-power MiniDISC portable to a Mackie board.
What I'd wish better with the
F1 is to have be a more compact folding design as these are physically
very large phones. The bass is very deep, even, and extended sounding,
but is not nearly as 'gut-thumping' powerful as with V600, 7506, and similar
more close coupled (nearer the ear) phones.
MDR-F1 in-stock anywhere remains a real challenge. If you can find
one or two sets, I'd suggest a quick adoption you'll never regret.
those not so lucky in finding a set
and are still interested in this headphone, please E-Mail me with the
word "MDR-F1" in the subject line for news of availability and price as
I'm hot on the trail to land some of these here (almost
at any cost) before Sony again discontinues another "dark horse"
obscure headphones model of exceptional usefulness and value.
Impedance Measured at 17.5 ohms (DC) indicates a higher value
than the 12 ohms (AC) specified . 1 kHz AC impedance should be a
bit higher than 17.5 ohms (DC) if I remember my engineering correctly.
There's been NO problem noticed with getting more than adequate
volume with being driven even by small MD and DAT portables.
MDR-CD2000 model seems an excellent monitor quality headphones, and is
one of the only (sensitive/low ohms enough) choice if also wanting dynamic
listening levels with battery powered portable equipment.
MDR-F1, AND CD2000 ARE ALL OUT OF PRODUCTION AS OF 2006
IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY
SOUND FOLDING PHONES HOLD UP STUFFED INTO POCKET OR BACKPACK
since Sony's excellent (but
costly) fold-up 40 mm driven MDR-D77 became unavailable,
I have searched for an equivalent performance 'pocket-size'
quality headphones for remote location uses. While I have yet
to try out the intriguing MDR-D66SL model that looks and costs
similar to the D77, the G74SL model has good field purpose potential
at a small fraction of D77 or D66 cost.
no mistake, Sony's 'street-style' 30 mm MDR-G74SL is NO substitute
for D77's incredible crystal clear, detailed sound, and rock solid
However, this even more compact 'neck-worn' model (see diagram
at right) does have OK full natural sound, and is ONE OF
THE BEST pocket-size, field worthy (break resistant-rugged
when folded) light weight phones that's currently available
at many places.
Other good news is MDR-G73SL is almost
comfortable enough for day-long wearing.
MDR-G74SL seems an excellent
Suggest always carrying
a folded set in a jacket pocket or
recording equipment pack.
Purchase at www.Amazon.com
(or one of their many affiliates),
for about ~$30-$40 USD
(after shipping cost)
is VERY sensitive (specifications
above) so monitoring at high loudness levels with low voltage
battery powered equipment is guaranteed.
BLUETOOTH & WIRED MODES
NOT AS YET REVIEWED
~$400 USD EXTENDED FREQUENCY BANDWIDTH HEADPHONES
|While available in several models including an external noise
canceling version, and essentially a closed phones design, the
Bluetooth/Wired model shown at left is my next headphones to
try and review.
Might be almost as good as the no longer made previous Sony
reviewed open phones I prefer, and loved by critical audiophiles/professional
audio engineers & sound designers
Type Closed Supra-Aural, Dynamic
Drivers 1.5" (40 mm) Dome-Type (HD, OFC Voice Coil) Liquid Crystal
Polymer Diaphragm High-Energy Neodymium Magnet (360 kJ/m³)
Frequency Response 4 Hz to 80 kHz (Effective Range)
Impedance 24 O @ 1 kHz
Sensitivity 105 dB/mW
Wireless Bluetooth: Version 3.0+EDR1, 2.4 GHz band (2.4000 to 2.4835
GHz FHSS)Network Transport Protocol: A2DP (Sampling Frequency: 44.1
kHz)Transmission Range: 20 Hz to 20 kHzLine of Sight: 30' (10 m) (Approximate)
|Microphone Type: Omnidirectional
Electret Condenser Frequency Range: 100 Hz to 4 kHz
Remote Control Play, Stop, Pause, Fast Forward, Fast Rewind
Power Battery Charging: 6 Hours (Approximate)Battery Life: Playback:
Up to 30 Hours Playback or Communication (Approximate)Standby: Up
to 200 Hours
Battery Type DC 3.6 V Built-In Lithium Ion Rechargeable
Power Handling 1500 mW
Connector Gold-plated L-Shaped Stereo Mini-Plug
Cable Length 47.25" (1.2 m) (Approximate)
Weight 10.48 oz (297.00 g) (Approximate)
DESIGN FEATURES DETERMINE BEST PHONES TO CHECK OUT
a message dated 2/8/04 4:38:28 AM Pacific Standard Time, email@example.com
I've read most of your site with great interest
having just come in possession of a Sony PCM M1.
Sonic Arts is my thing and I'm looking to
collect ambient rural/nature and urban sounds.
Headphones are also an issue.
Are there any cans that have recently been introduced that will
do the job as well as those mentioned on your site. It seems
the Sony pair are not readily available over here.
While I do not know if MDR-F1 is easily available for you,
I have found natural sounding headphones that also image well (sounds
can be heard all around seamlessly, especially with 3-D recordings
like DSM) have similar DESIGN characteristics or traits.
NOTE: These design traits are ONLY indications that
a particular headphone is worth trying out. Phones with
these (see below) same features are MOSTLY NOT good
enough quality to use for critical professional and/or audiophile
entertainment purposes. You still need to try each model
to see if satisfactory natural sound and with 3-D spatial imaging
ability is present in sufficient measure.
COMMON DESIGN TRAITS OF NATURAL SOUNDING, GOOD IMAGING HEADPHONES:
All natural sounding phones are OPEN-BACK
(also called OPEN-AIR, and Aura-Nomic) design
(NOT closed back 'can' types), have larger 40-50 mm
sized transducers inside (for good bass), AND the transducers
(the inside speaker elements) ARE NOT FLAT positioned
close against and/or parallel to the ear, but instead are
positioned ANGLED at a distance slightly IN FRONT of the
ear; like is shown clearly in diagrams of MDR-F1.
While not so obvious, the 'angled-in-front-the
ear headphone design is found in MDR-CD2000 model. Although
not yet common, also now found designed into 'more-or-lesser'
quality headphones models from Sony, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic,
Panasonic, Koss, and more. Sometimes looking and/or feeling
(with a gentle probing/sliding finger) the inside 'ear-cup'
area may help determine if the transducers are front-angle positioned
if this not already stated in the manufacturer's literature.
ALSO important (for field recording use) is LOW <40
ohms impedance, and high >103 dB/1 mW sensitivity rating. These
two additional design issues are important
for adequate listening loudness when driven by compact battery
powered portable equipment.
Wearing comfort is another consideration
sometimes important depending on intended use.
Suggestion: Copy some DSM (MP3
encoded) recordings to CD for playing at stores to find suitable
headphones(for your purposes) before buying.
NEW FOR MASTERING QUALITY HEADPHONES
Headphone models is like asking people opinions on the best available
shoe to purchase. Everyone walks a bit differently and over ever-changing
terrain suited to personal interests and comfort fit requirements.
considerations and exceptions
Most natural sound/imaging are from open types, best isolation/bass
is from closed 'can' and sealed in-ear type phones.
EXCEPTIONS: In my experience the most natural sounding 'closed'
phone is the long departed Sony MDR-D77. A folding 40mm closed/ported
design with very strong tight bass sound, and sense of exceptional
wide bandwidth detail; with usual lousy imaging and a pain to put
on. An excellent quality/compact-monitoring field phone. Been out
of production for 10 years, and I still get e-mail from people wanting
a set as there is NO close feature/performance equivalent as yet.
Best sounding bass I've yet to hear is from open type MDR-SA3000.
Best sound mostly from 40 - 50mm size diaphragms for closed and open
24-to-70 ohm/>100dB SPL output for 1 milliwatt input sensitivity
is desirable for good performance/loudness with battery/computer powered
Most all headphones WILL more or less sound differently with EACH
headphone amplifier that's driving it. Long cords are most usable
feature, but present design challenges for lowest distortion phones
Model numbers do NOT change, but materials/components to make these
models DO CHANGE.
is my experience with original V6 purchased mid-to early 80's. I
loved the natural sounding excellent detail of those phones, especially
if driven with a good amplifier. 10 years later, wanted a second
set but every V6 purchased, also tried V600, V7506 Grado SR60, sounded
noticeably inferior, at least compared to the definition/clarity
still heard on the original V6.
that different V6 components were being used, and it all added up
to NOT being a V6 I could live with. Settled for V900 as judged
best available, but found this set limited and most useful for having
long cord, good isolation sound check purpose, and being much easier
to put on/take off than most favored D77 with a bit too short a
cord for some purposes.
tried and liked very accurate Jecklin electrostatic float phones
with 4x4 inch diaphragms, Sony MDR-D77, MDR-F1, MDR-CD2000 in order
of acquiring, and currently (in production) MDR-SA3000 as likely
one THE best performing open dynamic phones AND the best dollar
value ever found.
SA3000 are now my personal 'fully usable for recording mastering' favorites.
One of the most comfortable headphones ever made. Only complaint
is this model's ear pad was changed from synthetic leather over soft
foam to proven more durable synthetic woven poly-fabric over fairly
stiff foam; or the reverse as there seems two descriptions of either
leather or fabric SA3000 in the marketplace.
I think NOT to like the fully synthetic fabric with longer lasting
stiff foam pad design as this makes LOUD RUBBING SOUNDS with head
movement. So you got to be still otherwise, its like rubbing a rubber
balloon next to your ears and is disturbing until learning to ignore
the noise with every movement of the head.
like to sometime try the twice as costly SA5000 model (with real
leather pads) as the SA1000 model's sound (at ~60% of SA3000 cost)
was noticeably weak in the midrange and not the most natural sounding,
even after break-in period, especially in comparison to the SA3000
that needed little or no break-in time.
I naturally wonder what the SA5000 might be like.
MDR-SA1000,SA3000, SA5000 model series seems more or less based
on original MDR-F1's open frame design and retains the outstanding
imaging ability of the F1.
make reviewed SA3000 model sound nothing like the weaker bass/softer
detail experienced of F1 or weak mid-bass of SA1000 with having
astonishing-natural sounding high frequency detail, strong solid
bass, and wearing comfort improvements over already extremely comfortable
Credit for transparent high frequency detail, natural sound, and
strong extended bass likely in part due to evolved refinement of
the original F1 design with new 50mm transducer materials, and effective
acoustic lens technology
Sensitivity --- 100dB/mW
Impedance --- 70 ohms at 1kHz
Frequency Response --- 8-100,000Hz
Type --- Open air, dynamic
Headphones --- Circum aural
Headphones --- Urethane Texture type and Low Dispersion
Unit --- 50mm diameter, dome type
Diaphragm --- Nano composite HD
--- Neodymium (360kJ/m3)
Cord --- Single sided, 3.5m texture type cord (6N-OFC)
Plug --- Straight stereo unimatch plug (gold) screw type
Headband --- Wire frame with adjusting mechanism
Headband --- CFRP Frame
Power Handling Capacity --- 1,500mW (IEC)
Unimatch plug adapter (gold) screw type
2004-2014 Sonic Studios (Last update 5-8-2014)
on Sonic Studios Web Site?
(Click underlined text, and navigation photos)
Stereo-Surround Microphone Technology
DSM Mic Powering/Bass Filters
Baffle mountable matched omni mics
wind blast noise; transparent acoustic design; records real wind
MD, DAT, CF, HD, and Video Field/Event/Studio Recording
Omni Mic Baffle for Stand, Fishpole, Studio Boom, and Ceiling
Deck Power Solutions
Monitoring Headphones, Reviews
low noise, very wide bandwidth preamp designs to fit any field/event/studio
application using DSM stereo-surround mics.
ONLY 'Lombardo' Lapel Mic for interview, Narration, Lecture,
and clip-on acoustic instrument Recording