Sponsors

Headphone Measurements

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, October 2018

I measured the Elegias using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp, with an Audio-gd NFB-1AMP used for distortion measurements. On the Model 43AG, I used the new KB5000 anthropomorphic simulated pinna for most measurements, and the original KB0065 pinna for certain other measurements, as noted. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Elegias’ frequency response measured with the new KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. This is the best match I was able to achieve between the left and right channels. They match very closely in the midrange, where it counts most. There is a pretty big difference in the bass, which I have to suspect may be due to the way the earpads seal on the face of the ear/cheek simulator (which has to be turned 180 degrees when doing left-ear measurements), but the bass response you see here was very consistent as I moved the headphones around on the simulator, and I usually get a better match than this. Caveats aside, this is an unusual measurement in that the peak in the 3kHz region (which is generally considered to make headphones sound more like speakers in a room) is very mild, only about 4dB above the response at 500Hz; often, the peak is more like 12dB above the 500Hz response.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Elegias’ right-channel frequency response measured with the old KB0065 pinna (which I’ve used for years) and G.R.A.S.’s new KB5000 pinna, which I recently switched to because it more accurately reflects the structure and pliability of the human ear. This is just for sake of comparison with older measurements of mine.

Frequency response

Here you can see how the Elegias’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. It’s a significant effect; the higher-impedance source produces a broad boost that maxes out at 2.6dB at 90Hz, enough to audibly tilt the tonal balance (and in a way I think would likely be to most people’s taste).

Frequency response

This chart shows the Elegias’ right-channel response compared with two other high-end closed-back headphones (the Audeze LCD-XCs and the MrSpeakers Æon Flows with their two-hole white filter installed), as well as the Sony MDR-7506es, a standard fixture in audio production work that generally conform to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred over-ear headphone response for most listeners. These measurements use the older KB0065 pinna, because that’s the only measurement I have for the LCD-XCs. You can see how unusually flat the Elegias’ response is here.

Waterfall

The Elegias’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows a fairly strong resonance at 3.2kHz, which doesn’t seem to correspond to any particular feature of the frequency response. It’s well-damped, though, and nearly gone after about 5ms.

THD

Measured total harmonic distortion (THD) of the Elegias is almost non-existent above 150Hz, and barely breaches 2% in the bass even at the extremely loud level of 100dBA.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The Elegias’ isolation is very good for a passive closed-back model, generally beating the MrSpeakers Æon Flows and easily beating the smaller NAD Viso HP50s. I threw in the Focal Clear isolation measurement to show the advantage in isolation gained by the closed-back design of the Elegias.

Impedance

The Elegias’ impedance response is typical for closed-back, dynamic-driver headphones, with the impedance generally hovering close to the rated 35 ohms and rising to 57 ohms peak at the 70Hz system resonance. The phase response is fairly flat for large dynamic-driver headphones.

The sensitivity of the Elegias, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz with the leatherette pads using a 1mW signal calculated for 35 ohms impedance, is 102.9dB. That’s quite high for audiophile-oriented headphones, and it should be enough to get loud volumes from almost any source device.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, January 2019

I measured the HE6se headphones using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp, with an Audio-gd NFB-1AMP used for distortion measurements. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the HE6ses’ frequency response. This is comparable to what I’ve seen with many HiFiMan models, and not far outside what I’ve seen from most open-back planar magnetics, except that the peak between 3 and 4kHz (which is generally considered necessary to create the illusion of hearing real speakers in a real room) is a few dB higher than normal.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the HE6ses’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. (Of course, the headphones’ low sensitivity means it’s practically impossible to use them with a low-quality amp.) There’s essentially no difference at all, which means the HE6ses’ tonal balance probably won’t change if you decide to use them with, say, a high-output-impedance tube amp.

Frequency response

This chart shows the HE6ses’ right-channel response compared with three other open-back planar-magnetic models (the Audeze LCD-Xes, Focal Clears, and Quad ERA-1s with the leather pads). The strength of that peak between 3 and 4kHz is evident here; no way these headphones won’t sound a little bright.

Waterfall

The midrange hash -- the very narrow, high-Q resonances between 3 and 5kHz -- of the HE6ses are seen in almost all the spectral decay (waterfall) measurements I’ve done of planar-magnetic headphones, but here they’re focused across a smaller band and are higher in magnitude. This corresponds with the big peak in the frequency response in this same range. Meanwhile, the bass resonance is practically non-existent, the least I can remember measuring in any headphones.

THD

The HE6ses’ measured total harmonic distortion (THD) is pretty low, except for a weird little bump to about 3.5% centered near 1.5kHz. This is at the extremely loud listening level of 100dBA, though.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The HE6se headphones offer among the least isolation from outside sounds that I’ve ever measured -- but of course, open-back models aren’t supposed to isolate you from outside sounds, and the fact that the HE6ses provide so little isolation also means that the acoustical impedance of their rear grilles is very low, which may have contributed to the big sense of space I heard from these.

Impedance

As usual with planar-magnetic headphones, the impedance magnitude of the HE6ses is almost perfectly flat. It’s about 65 ohms through the entire audio range, and the impedance phase is also flat.

Brace yourself, because the sensitivity of the HE6ses, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for 50 ohms rated impedance, is 79.2dB, more than 4dB lower than the already-low rating of 83.5dB. Which means you will definitely need an exceptionally powerful amp for these.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, December 2018

I measured the LCD2 Closed-Backs using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp, with an Audio-gd NFB-1AMP used for distortion measurements. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the LCD2 Closed-Backs’ frequency response. This is a typical measurement for audiophile-oriented headphones, with maybe just a dB or two more bass than many large planar-magnetic models offer.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the LCD2 Closed-Backs’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. This is a little surprising, because most planar-magnetic headphones show no variance on this test. With the LCD2 Closed-Backs, the higher-impedance source produces a boost of 1 to 1.5dB between 1.5 and 3kHz.

Frequency response

This chart shows the LCD2 Closed-Backs’ right-channel response compared with two other audiophile-oriented headphones (the Fostex TH909s and Focal Elegias), as well as the AKG N700NCs, a new closed-back model said to deliver response very close to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred over-ear headphone response for most listeners. The LCD2 Closed-Backs are clearly in the ballpark of a “standard” headphone response, with perhaps a little more treble and a slightly fuller midrange than we see in most over-ear headphones.

Waterfall

The LCD2 Closed-Backs’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows slight comb filtering effects between 2 and 6kHz that are commonly seen in planar-magnetic headphones, but they’re far better-damped than usual, probably because of the closed back and perhaps some damping material inside.

THD

Measured total harmonic distortion (THD) of the LCD2 Closed-Backs is near zero, barely above the noise floor of the measurement.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The LCD2 Closed-Backs’ isolation is about average for headphones of this type, and notably better than a conventional, smaller set of closed-back headphones such as the NAD Viso HP50s (also shown) -- and, of course, better than Audeze’s open-back models.

Impedance

Here’s an unusual result -- most planar-magnetic models have a dead-flat impedance curve, but the LCD2 Closed-Backs’ impedance response has a large peak of 108 ohms, centered at 2.4kHz; through most of its range, the impedance magnitude is flat at 72 ohms. Despite the fairly large magnitude swing, the phase response shows just a mild shift at the same frequency. This peak is why the response of the headphones changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source.

Sensitivity of the LCD2 Closed-Backs, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for 70 ohms rated impedance, is 97.5dB (the rating is 97dB). That’s high enough that you’ll get a somewhat usable volume from typical smartphones, but low enough that you’ll want to use a high-quality portable music player or amplifier for most of your listening.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, January 2019

I measured the T60RPs using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator with KB5000/KB5001 simulated pinnae, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp, with an Audio-gd NFB-1AMP used for distortion measurements. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the T60RPs’ frequency response. This is a fairly typical measurement, except that the T60RPs show a response peak at 1.3kHz and a dip between 2 and 4kHz, while most good-sounding headphones show a dip around 1.3kHz and a peak around 3kHz.

Frequency response

This chart shows how the T60RPs’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. With the high-impedance source, there’s a roughly 1.5dB boost in the bass below 70Hz, which will be just barely noticeable.

Frequency response

This chart shows the T60RPs’ right-channel response compared with two moderately priced open-back models (the HiFiMan HE400i’s and the Massdrop-Sennheiser HD6XXes), as well as the AKG N700NCs, a new closed-back model said to deliver response very close to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred over-ear headphone response for most listeners. Besides the peak at 1.3kHz instead of 3kHz, the T60RPs have a little more bass than the open-back models, and less than the AKGs.

Waterfall

The T60RPs’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows a little bit of resonance in the bass, but overall it’s pretty clean, and doesn’t have the hash we often see with planar-magnetic headphones between 2 and 5kHz.

THD

Measured total harmonic distortion (THD) of the T60RPs is pretty high in the bass (note that I’ve expanded my scale from the usual 20% max to 50% max in order to show the result at 100dBA). I repeated this measurement with a different amp on a different day just to check it, but the result was comparable.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. You can see that the semi-open-back T60RPs’ isolation is better than that of the open-back HiFiMan HE400i and Monoprice M650 headphones, but not as good as closed-back headphones such as the NAD Viso HP50s can provide.

Impedance

As expected from planar-magnetic headphones, the T60RPs are just about dead-flat in impedance magnitude at 49 ohms, with only a slight bump in the curve at 65Hz. The impedance phase is essentially flat, too.

Sensitivity of the T60RPs, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for 50 ohms rated impedance, is 90.8dB, slightly lower than the rated 92dB. This is low enough that you’ll want to use a high-quality portable music player or amplifier; you could probably use the T60RPs with a smartphone or computer in a pinch, but they won’t sound very loud.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, December 2018

I measured the R-220s using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp. On the Model 43AG, I used the new KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae for most measurements, and the stainless-steel coupler included with the RA0045 for certain other measurements as noted. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the R-220s’ frequency response measured with the KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. Above 1kHz, this measurement looks typical for earphones. But below 1kHz, there’s a lot less bass than we usually see.

Frequency response

This chart shows the R-220s’ right-channel frequency response measured with the RA0045 ear simulator’s stainless-steel coupler (which I’ve used for years) and the new KB5000 simulated pinna, which I recently switched to because it more accurately reflects the structure and pliability of the human ear and provides a more realistic simulacrum of what you’ll actually experience with headphones or earphones. This is just for sake of comparison with older measurements of mine.

Frequency response

As usual with earphones incorporating balanced-armature drivers, the R-220s show a tonal balance shift when you go from a low-impedance source device (typically between 0.5 and 5 ohms) to a relatively high-impedance source device (typically 75 to 125 ohms). In this case, the bass and lower midrange will be attenuated by about 1dB, and the treble boosted by 2 to 3dB.

Frequency response

This chart shows the R-220s’ right-channel response compared with two other earphones in the same price range (the Campfire Comets and the Acoustic Research AR-E010s used in wired mode), as well as the AKG N5005s, the earphones that currently best conform to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred in-ear headphone response for most listeners. Again, the R-220s’ response is much more heavily balanced toward the treble than the other models -- even the AR-E010s, which have only a little more bass but also balance out the sound with a somewhat reduced treble response.

Waterfall

The R-220s’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows only an extremely high-Q (i.e., narrow) and weak (-40dB) resonance around 5kHz. There’s no chance this would be audible.

THD

The R-220s’ distortion is modest for balanced-armature earphones, running about 1% at the loud listening level of 90dBA, and 2% at the extremely loud level of 100dBA.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The R-220s’ isolation (shown with and without its flange) is about average for earphones of this type, maybe a little above average between 500Hz and 1kHz.

Impedance

Most balanced-armature earphones show some impedance swing, but the R-220s show a little more than most, rising from the rated 29 ohms below 500Hz to a high of about 130 ohms at 20kHz. The phase also swings a lot, from 0 degrees in the bass to +60 degrees at 20kHz. This is why the sound changes with high-impedance sources.

Sensitivity of the R-220s, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz, using a 1mW signal calculated for the rated 29 ohms impedance, is 97.2dB. That’s low for earphones; the reason for the low number is that the response is skewed toward the treble. So the upper mids and treble will be a lot louder than that, but the bass will be lower.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, December 2018

I measured the Solarises using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp. On the Model 43AG, I used the new KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae for most measurements, and the stainless-steel coupler included with the RA0045 for certain other measurements as noted. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the Solarises’ frequency response measured with the KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. This is pretty standard response for earphones, except that they have less bass and treble response (or more midrange response) than we usually see. The measurement here was done with medium-size Campfire Marshmallow foam tips. I also tried using the supplied medium-size silicone tips, and the result was almost identical.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Solarises’ right-channel frequency response measured with the RA0045 ear simulator’s stainless-steel coupler (which I’ve used for years) and the new KB5000 simulated pinna, which I recently switched to because it more accurately reflects the structure and pliability of the human ear and provides a more realistic simulacrum of what you’ll actually experience with headphones or earphones. This is just for sake of comparison with older measurements of mine.

Frequency response

Here you can see how the Solarises’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. As usual with earphones incorporating balanced armature drivers, there’s a tonal balance shift when you go from a low-impedance source device (typically between 0.5 and 5 ohms) to a relatively high-impedance source device (typically 75 to 125 ohms). In this case, the bass and lower midrange will be attenuated by 2 to 4dB relative to the treble. Note that this measurement is normalized to 1kHz; it would probably be more accurate to say the treble output from the balanced armatures is boosted by 2 to 4dB and the bass from the dynamic driver stays about the same.

Frequency response

This chart shows the Solarises’ right-channel response compared with a few other midpriced earphones: the Fidue A85 Virgos, Campfire’s own Comet earphones (which cost less than one-seventh as much, but I was curious to see if there was a family resemblance), and the AKG N5005s, the earphones that currently best conform to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred in-ear headphone response for most listeners. The Solarises’ response does look similar to the other brands, just flatter.

Waterfall

The Solarises’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart shows no significant resonance at any frequency within the range of this measurement (i.e., above 200Hz).

THD

The Solarises show a little more distortion than I’m used to seeing in high-end earphones, and the distortion seems to be coming mostly from the midrange driver; it’s about 1 to 2% at the fairly loud level of 90dBA, and a little above that at 100dBA. That may seem like a lot of distortion if you’re used to looking at amplifier distortion numbers, but in speakers, headphones, and earphones, this level is barely, if at all, audible.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The Solarises’ isolation is maybe a hair better than average for large earphones, although a small earphone such as the Campfire Comet (also shown here) may achieve somewhat better isolation because it can go a little deeper into the ear.

Impedance

The Solarises’ impedance response is very low in the bass, at about 3 ohms. Once the balanced armatures kick in, it rises to 7 to 11 ohms, and the phase shifts positive. This is why the tonal balance changes with high-impedance source devices.

Sensitivity of the Solarises, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz using a 1mW signal calculated for 10 ohms impedance is 115.7dB, which is very high for high-end earphones.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, November 2018

I measured the XFree Tunes using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface, and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp. On the Model 43AG, I used the new KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae for most measurements, and the older KB0065 right pinna for certain other measurements as noted. For measurements in Bluetooth mode, I used a Sony HWS-BTA2W Bluetooth transmitter to get the signal to the earphones. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the XFree Tunes’ frequency response measured in Bluetooth mode with the new KB5000 and KB5001 anthropomorphic simulated pinnae. If that upper bass hump centered at about 150Hz were instead centered at about 70Hz, this would be pretty close to a “textbook” frequency response for over-ear headphones.

Frequency response

This chart compared the response of the XFree Tunes using Bluetooth versus using a wired connection. There is bass roll-off below 50Hz with the Bluetooth connection, but otherwise the plots are effectively identical. It’s possible that the roll-off could be due to the signal gating I had to use to counteract Bluetooth’s latency, but I got the same result no matter how I set the gate, so I suspect the bass roll-off is inherent to the sound of the XFree Tunes in active (i.e., Bluetooth) mode.

Frequency response

This chart shows the XFree Tunes’ right-channel frequency response measured with the KB0065 simulated pinna (which I’ve used for years) and the new KB5000 simulated pinna, which I recently switched to because it more accurately reflects the structure and pliability of the human ear. This is just for sake of comparison with older measurements of mine.

Frequency response

Here you can see how the XFree Tunes’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a wired connection into a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. There’s barely any change at all, just a roughly 1dB drop in bass response centered at about 55Hz.

Frequency response

This chart shows the XFree Tunes’ right-channel response compared with two other over-ear headphones in Bluetooth mode with noise canceling off: the NAD Viso HP70s and the Bowers & Wilkins PXes. I also included Sony MDR-7506es, the over-ear model that currently best conforms to the “Harman curve,” shown in research by Harman International to be the preferred over-ear headphone response for most listeners. While it’s difficult to determine exactly what headphones sound like based on comparison charts like this, it’s pretty clear that the XFree Tunes have some excess upper bass energy, perhaps to offset their relatively modest bass response.

Waterfall

The XFree Tunes’ spectral decay (waterfall) chart looks clean except for some resonance around 300Hz, but it’s down to -30dB within 12ms, which is equivalent to four cycles at 300Hz.

THD

The XFree Tunes show significant distortion only at the extremely loud listening level of 100dBA, and only below 100Hz. At the still-very-loud level of 90dBA, the distortion measurement is about average for a dynamic-driver over-ear model, and there’s not enough distortion that you'd be likely to notice it. This was measured with a wired connection; the internal amps of the XFree Tunes may add some distortion, but my analyzer can’t compensate for Bluetooth’s latency when doing distortion measurements.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL, and numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The XFree Tunes’ isolation is about average for over-ear headphones without active noise canceling.

Impedance

The XFree Tunes’ impedance response is very close to flat, averaging about 37 ohms and staying within a tolerance of ±2dB.

Sensitivity of the XFree Tunes with a wired connection, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz using a 1mW signal calculated for the rated 32 ohms impedance, is 106.7dB, so you don’t have to worry about getting adequate volume when you plug into an airliner’s inflight entertainment system.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reviewed on: SoundStage! Solo, September 2018

I measured the Base Audio G12s using a G.R.A.S. Model 43AG ear/cheek simulator/RA0402 ear simulator, a Clio 10 FW audio analyzer, a laptop computer running TrueRTA software with an M-Audio MobilePre USB audio interface and a Musical Fidelity V-CAN amp, and an Audio-gd NFB-1AMP for the distortion measurements. On the Model 43AG I used the original KB0065 simulated pinna for most measurements, as well as the new KB5000 pinna for certain measurements, as noted. These are “flat” measurements; no diffuse-field or free-field compensation curve was employed.

Frequency response

The above chart shows the G12s’ frequency response with their standard earpads installed. This is a nearly by-the-book response for headphones, with response peaks centered at approximately 2.6 and 5.5kHz, a response generally considered to deliver a sound close to that of speakers in a room. What’s unusual is that the treble is a bit elevated relative to the bass, which corresponds with our listening impressions.

Frequency response

This chart shows the G12s’ right-channel frequency response measured with the old KB0065 pinna (which I’ve used for years) and G.R.A.S.’s new KB5000 pinna, which I’ll be switching to because it more accurately reflects the structure and pliability of the human ear. I include this mostly for future reference rather than as something you should draw conclusions from; I intend to show both measurements in every review until I completely switch to the new pinna.

Frequency response

Here you can see how the G12s’ tonal balance changes when they’re used with a high-impedance source, such as a cheap laptop or some cheap professional headphone amps. Turns out they’ll have a little more bass with high-impedance sources -- they might actually sound better with a cheap laptop!

Frequency response

This chart shows the G12s’ right-channel response compared with those of two modestly priced open-back headphone models, the Monoprice M650 and HiFiMan HE400i, as well as Grado Labs’ RS2e. (The Grados cost $495, but I wanted to include measurements of a Grado model, and this was the only one I had on hand.) The G12s are clearly more trebly than the M650s but, according to the measurements, slightly less trebly than the HE400i’s, and much less trebly than the RS2e’s.

Waterfall

The G12s’ spectral-decay (waterfall) chart shows a little bit of resonance that corresponds with the response peaks in the upper mids and treble, but they’re well damped.

THD

Though the measured total harmonic distortion (THD) of the G12s is negligible above 130Hz, it’s a little on the high side below that, though none of the listeners noticed any distortion in their tests.

Isolation

In this chart, the external noise level is 85dB SPL; the numbers below that indicate the degree of attenuation of outside sounds. The G12s’ isolation is about average for open-back headphones: a little better than the HiFiMan HE400i’s, not quite as good as the Beyerdynamic Amiron Homes. If you want better isolation, you’ll need to get a closed-back model such as the NAD Viso HP50s, also shown here.

Impedance

The G12s’ impedance runs about 19 ohms, except in the region around 55Hz, where it rises to 31 ohms. This corresponds with the difference I measured in the 5 vs. 75-ohm sources. The phase response is generally flat, except for a mild flip at the frequency of the impedance peak.

The sensitivity of the G12s, measured between 300Hz and 3kHz with the leatherette earpads and using a 1mW signal calculated for the rated 32 ohms impedance, is 99.4dB. That’s reasonably high for audiophile-oriented headphones; you should get good volume from the G12s with practically any source component.

. . . Brent Butterworth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This site is the main portal for
SoundStage!

All contents available on this website are copyrighted by SoundStage!® and Schneider Publishing Inc., unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.

This site was designed by Rocket Theme, Karen Fanas, and The SoundStage! Network.
To contact us, please e-mail info@soundstagenetwork.com