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Old August 6th, 2013, 09:47 PM   #61
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Re: How does this sound?

Kathy,

In my experience and opinion, Sony headphones typically sound overly bright, that is they have a somewhat boosted level through the midrange (let's say roughly 1,000 - 5,000 Hz) and high frequency (let's say roughly 5,000 upward) region. Especially the midrange is "hot."

That's fine if you're using them to monitor your audio while you're doing some field recording. They will accentuate little noises and unwanted sounds, alert you to their presence, and perhaps lead you to re-record the track making it better.

But that is NOT fine if you're using them to evaluate the overall audio quality of a track. They will take a track that is rather "muffled" or "muddy" like your Test #2, and boost the midrange and highs (exactly the part that is attenuated in the track) and make everything sound fine. Meanwhile, they will take a track like your Test #1, which is already a bit boosted in the mid/high frequency range, and boost that range even further, making that track sound overly bright, strident, call it what you will... and since that track is already a little weak in the lower frequency range, the Sonys will accentuate that problem. All in all, they will make Test #1 sound worse than it is, and make Test #2 sound better than it is.

By all means you need to get some other opinions. I suspect other folks will concur with my opinion about Sony phones. And I think a lot of folks will agree with my preference of Sennheiser "HD 280 pro" phones as having a much better balanced frequency response.

Also, I urge you to get to a reputable dealer and compare the two sets of phones, using some material you're familiar with (preferably something that was commercially recorded, so you can somewhat trust the quality). If you can hear the difference, that's a good start.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 10:06 PM   #62
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Re: How does this sound?

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Originally Posted by Greg Miller View Post
Kathy,

In my experience and opinion, Sony headphones typically sound overly bright, that is they have a somewhat boosted level through the midrange (let's say roughly 1,000 - 5,000 Hz) and high frequency (let's say roughly 5,000 upward) region. Especially the midrange is "hot."

That's fine if you're using them to monitor your audio while you're doing some field recording. They will accentuate little noises and unwanted sounds, alert you to their presence, and perhaps lead you to re-record the track making it better.

But that is NOT fine if you're using them to evaluate the overall audio quality of a track. They will take a track that is rather "muffled" or "muddy" like your Test #2, and boost the midrange and highs (exactly the part that is attenuated in the track) and make everything sound fine. Meanwhile, they will take a track like your Test #1, which is already a bit boosted in the mid/high frequency range, and boost that range even further, making that track sound overly bright, strident, call it what you will... and since that track is already a little weak in the lower frequency range, the Sonys will accentuate that problem. All in all, they will make Test #1 sound worse than it is, and make Test #2 sound better than it is.

By all means you need to get some other opinions. I suspect other folks will concur with my opinion about Sony phones. And I think a lot of folks will agree with my preference of Sennheiser "HD 280 pro" phones as having a much better balanced frequency response.

Also, I urge you to get to a reputable dealer and compare the two sets of phones, using some material you're familiar with (preferably something that was commercially recorded, so you can somewhat trust the quality). If you can hear the difference, that's a good start.
I do have Sennheiser HD 280 pro which I use at work and for in field recordings. For this test I just happened to evaluate the recordings at home.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 10:13 PM   #63
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Re: How does this sound?

Listen to those five tests again, using the HD 280s, and see if it changes your opinion. (It may; then again it may not.)
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Old August 6th, 2013, 10:16 PM   #64
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Re: How does this sound?

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Listen to those five tests again, using the HD 280s, and see if it changes your opinion. (It may; then again it may not.)
I will do so tomorrow. In the mean time I need to figure out what to do with my 2 Sankens that sound totally different.
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Old August 6th, 2013, 11:09 PM   #65
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Re: How does this sound?

Agreed. That surely must be very disconcerting. When and where did you obtain them? Both at once from the same vendor, or otherwise?
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Old August 7th, 2013, 04:56 AM   #66
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Re: How does this sound?

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Agreed. That surely must be very disconcerting. When and where did you obtain them? Both at once from the same vendor, or otherwise?
I got them both from B&H. Separate orders. I waited for them over a month because they were being sent from another vendor and one got lost.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 05:31 AM   #67
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Re: How does this sound?

Kathy is getting plenty of advice most very accurate and considered, but other information could be misinterpreted. Shure SLX is NOT crappy or the other words used in a derogatory manner. Video people who are sound centred often get very hung up and polarised on individual features. Other sound professionals have a broader acceptance and understanding that products perform and sound differently, but very often 'bad' in one context can be 'good' in others. I don't like Shure SLX myself, because I prefer Sennheiser, but I have hired in Shure, Trantec, Audio Ltd and Sony kit and would not object to using any of it. The differences are really split into two areas. Tonality and compression. Both are very subtle, and easily sorted afterwards. What causes the biggest problem is the misunderstanding of gain structure. The Shures have a very wide range of input level adjustment, and on the receivers, a wide adjustment to cope with the typical users. This means it's so easy to under-deviate the transmitter, and then need more gain from the receiver. The result is quite noisy audio. The SLX has good performance when the input gain is set too high, the audio limits quite gently without the brittle sound you get on other brands. Wireless gets treated like magic by many people, when it's not. When correctly set up, SLX along with the others, is quite capable of letting you hear very subtle differences between mics. It's a fallacy that X brand is always better than Y brand. There will always be differences, the same way as expensive preamps sound nicer (note, not better) than cheap ones. Expensive wireless systems are built more strongly, have less plastic, perform better in congested or interference prone areas, and last longer. They all use different companding systems, that either help or hinder the sound source if the receiver doesn't track 100% accurately. I have even heard real budget Chinese wireless systems that are horrible and plastic sound really good - I suspect no companding at all - and with a strong RF signal the audio was almost cable quality. Of course, it suffered badly as the s/n went down - but audio wise, it was good.

Very rarely can we say any audio product sounds bad. They just sound different, and the difference can be critical. Kathy needs to train her ears, and there's a danger here that words used to express our opinions can be misinterpreted. Sound terminology is always flawed. X sounds more 'airy' than Y. We all know what that means, BUT is my 'airy' the same as yours? Is kathy listening on full range studio monitors, near fields, headphones or what? If our comments are made based on what we can hear, can Kathy hear the same things? This is more important than labelling products as good or bad. Some of us can squeeze excellent results out of the 'wrong' equipment, and other repeatedly produce rubbish with amazingly expensive kit.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 12:45 PM   #68
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Re: How does this sound?

Paul, are you sure that you were using the SLX product, rather than some other Shure wireless product?

We bought a couple of transmitter/receivers and two wireless monitors here at work. We used them for live audio that went over an internet video link and as a backchannel to the remote person. We were using the stock lavs with the transmitter/receiver. We were quite disappointed with the lack of high frequency carriage. The speech was a bit difficult to comprehend using the system (before going through the web link.)

The marketing of the SLX seemed to be for a mid-priced solution for live rock bands. That makes sense. The quality isn't pristine, but the SLX seemed to be reliable and usable in a loud, live context.

I was later asked to update our audio system for company meetings. People had problems comprehending the speakers in the cafeteria room with ceiling speakers. I didn't even consider using the SLX. It would have been functional, but wouldn't have improved comprehensibility. We went with a Sennheiser EW100, which exceeded our needs for a live speaking event.

Personally, I wouldn't consider using the SLX for recorded video, except for low-quality, functional stuff. I found the Sennheiser EW100 to be a big step up from the SLX and would be happy to use the Sennheiser in pro settings, unless really pristine audio is required.

Is the SLX crap? Not at all. It's reliable and hits a price point. It would be usable for a local rock band. It's marginal for live speaking events. I'd consider it to have amateur/consumer quality for recorded video. It's certainly not a match for the quality of a COS-11D, which I use with a wire and find to sound beautiful.

In Kathy's example, I'm confident that it's the weak link in the chain.

Our two SLX systems are sitting here collecting dust. I keep them available as "mobile intercoms", but that's about it. We should have gone straight for the Sennheiser.
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Old August 7th, 2013, 02:54 PM   #69
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Re: How does this sound?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
I will do so tomorrow. In the mean time I need to figure out what to do with my 2 Sankens that sound totally different.
Hey Kathy,
Variants between mics do happen and the chances you have a deficient one is possible. Also not sure but are they the exact same model? I have several Voice Technology mics and even though they look the same they are actually different models. Sanken seems to have the same kind of differences.

SANKEN MICROPHONE CO .,LTD. | Product [ COS-11D R-RM-*1-*2 ]

Maybe you have two different models. I have two Sanken Heads which have subtle differences as well. I am in NY City so we could probably test a few things locally if that helps.
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Old August 8th, 2013, 05:33 AM   #70
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Re: How does this sound?

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Hey Kathy,
Variants between mics do happen and the chances you have a deficient one is possible. Also not sure but are they the exact same model? I have several Voice Technology mics and even though they look the same they are actually different models. Sanken seems to have the same kind of differences.

SANKEN MICROPHONE CO .,LTD. | Product [ COS-11D R-RM-*1-*2 ]

Maybe you have two different models. I have two Sanken Heads which have subtle differences as well. I am in NY City so we could probably test a few things locally if that helps.
Daniel,

The mics are exactly the same. I e-mailed Sanken and they are taking the mic back. Thanks for the offer to test the mic. I will just ship it back to them and see what happens. I am also waiting for the TA4 to XLR adapter to arrive so I can see if I can improve the overall quality.
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Old August 11th, 2013, 11:02 AM   #71
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Re: How does this sound?

Sounds like you have arrived at a good solution. Nothing wrong with returning the equipment to the source if you have issues. Let's see what happens with the new stuff. Offer still stands if you need more problem solving
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