What earphones to choose? Sennheiser don't sound good to me

George3356

Commendable
Nov 18, 2016
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1,510
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Hey guys,

Could You please help me pick a new pair of earphones?
Until now I have been using a pair that came with my phone - Lenovo P90 pro - I couldn't believe they had a better sound/bass than my Koss KEB/30i (I have the lifetime warranty on those but in comparison they just sound dull and I don't want to use them anymore for that reason).
I like when the bass is "pulling you" into the song, e.g. when Rohirrim charge in the LOTR soundtrack :)))

These earphones just died however and I want new, quality ones.

Reading the reviews, I bought the Sennheiser CX3, however the bass is almost non-existent and I feel the "highs" are too sharp and the S and F sounds in songs are "sharp" and hurting...
So I returned them, tried the Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision only to discover they sound the same.

So I am checking alternatives and these look good: Sony MDR-XB70AP - but I don't want to buy them just to return them again. Are these good for my requirements? They are priced at 46USD.

At that price there is also the Sennheiser CX2 G but I am really afraid to try another Sennheiser, given I tried the 2 other models of this brand.

At a higher price, I am also looking at Klipsch Reference R6i II or Klipsch Reference R6 II - but that is 100USD - very expensive

I also saw the Beats urBeats3 but I heard the brand is just overpriced...

Also there are the Sennheiser MOMENTUM In-Ear G - but the same comment for the Sennheiser.

Or if there is any other model You would recommend, I would be very happy. The thing is - I usually listen to music at work at my computer and I really want to have good earphones.

Thanks a lot!
George




 
The term you want to search for is "frequency response". This is a measure of the ratio between the input signal sent to the headphones and the sound volume they produce, measured at all frequencies. Studio monitors try to reproduce sound exactly as how it was recorded, and so try to achieve completely flat (neutral) frequency response.

Lately the trend has been to over-emphasize the bass. On a frequency response graph, this will appear as the line at the lower frequencies being higher (each +3dB is double the loudness).

Usually the manufacturer provides a frequency response graph. But those aren't always reliable so a lot of review sites generate their own.

Here's the Sennheiser CX3. It emphasizes bass a good deal, but drops off quickly above 100Hz. It also has spikes near 8kHz and 12kHz, which probably accounts for the sharp S and F sounds you're complaining about.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-cx-3.00.php#rw9

The Sennheiser CS300-II is similar, almost identical.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-cx-300-ii.php#rw9

Here's what I could find for the Sony MDR-XB70AP. Yeah it's in Korea, but that doesn't matter because all you're interested in is the frequency response graph. The profile looks more to your liking, but the bass emphasis peaks at about +8 dB, whereas the Sennheisers peaked closer to +10 dB. It's also deficient between 2k-4k, which may or may not matter to you.
http://goldenears.net/board/GR_Earphones/5720571

The Sennheiser CX 2 emphasizes bass by only about +7 dB, but doesn't have the sharp high frequency peaks you complained about.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-cx-2.00.php#rw9

I couldn't find frequency response graphs for the Klipsch.

The Beats urBeats3 seems like they would be more to your liking. Not only does it emphasize the bass, but it de-emphasizes the higher frequencies. Yeah the brand tends to be overpriced, but that's usually a complaint by people like me who like their headphones to have a neutral flat response. If you happen to like really heavy bass with muddled highs, they may be worth it for you.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/monster-urbeats.php#rw9

The Sennheiser Momentum In-ear-G might work too. Loud bass, weak mids, neutral highs. Although it too begins to lose bass soon above about 100 Hz.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-momentum-in-ear-2.php

So now that you know what to look for, you can search for manufacturer specs and reviews online which include frequency response graphs, and use those to narrow down your selection. Then you can try just those models in a store, or order them from an online store which allows free returns and exchanges.
 
The term you want to search for is "frequency response". This is a measure of the ratio between the input signal sent to the headphones and the sound volume they produce, measured at all frequencies. Studio monitors try to reproduce sound exactly as how it was recorded, and so try to achieve completely flat (neutral) frequency response.

Lately the trend has been to over-emphasize the bass. On a frequency response graph, this will appear as the line at the lower frequencies being higher (each +3dB is double the loudness).

Usually the manufacturer provides a frequency response graph. But those aren't always reliable so a lot of review sites generate their own.

Here's the Sennheiser CX3. It emphasizes bass a good deal, but drops off quickly above 100Hz. It also has spikes near 8kHz and 12kHz, which probably accounts for the sharp S and F sounds you're complaining about.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-cx-3.00.php#rw9

The Sennheiser CS300-II is similar, almost identical.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-cx-300-ii.php#rw9

Here's what I could find for the Sony MDR-XB70AP. Yeah it's in Korea, but that doesn't matter because all you're interested in is the frequency response graph. The profile looks more to your liking, but the bass emphasis peaks at about +8 dB, whereas the Sennheisers peaked closer to +10 dB. It's also deficient between 2k-4k, which may or may not matter to you.
http://goldenears.net/board/GR_Earphones/5720571

The Sennheiser CX 2 emphasizes bass by only about +7 dB, but doesn't have the sharp high frequency peaks you complained about.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-cx-2.00.php#rw9

I couldn't find frequency response graphs for the Klipsch.

The Beats urBeats3 seems like they would be more to your liking. Not only does it emphasize the bass, but it de-emphasizes the higher frequencies. Yeah the brand tends to be overpriced, but that's usually a complaint by people like me who like their headphones to have a neutral flat response. If you happen to like really heavy bass with muddled highs, they may be worth it for you.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/monster-urbeats.php#rw9

The Sennheiser Momentum In-ear-G might work too. Loud bass, weak mids, neutral highs. Although it too begins to lose bass soon above about 100 Hz.
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/sennheiser-momentum-in-ear-2.php

So now that you know what to look for, you can search for manufacturer specs and reviews online which include frequency response graphs, and use those to narrow down your selection. Then you can try just those models in a store, or order them from an online store which allows free returns and exchanges.
 

George3356

Commendable
Nov 18, 2016
3
0
1,510
0


Hi Solandri!

Thanks a lot for such a detailed answer - it took me some time to process it as I didn't understand it much at first haha! :D

I eventually bough the Sony MDR 70 - based on reviews but I felt something was somehow "off" - for example in LOTR soundtracks are a lot of drums (which sounded nice) but then there are trumpets, horns, violins etc and I felt these sounds were very "dampened" by the drums - is this what the frequency response means? That the drums/basses are louder at the expense of trumpets and other higher pitched sounds? Do I get it right?

I went on to the windows equalizer - and I tried upping the 8Khz frequencies (and similar ones) a bit and now it seems I can hear the trumpets/horns/violins "separately" and "powerful" (Which I want) - so is this the frequency response? And should I be satisfied - having to adjust it this way by the equalizer, or should the earphones be "set to go" from the factory?

Thanks a lot pal - it is a very new topic for me so I will be glad for anything :)
George
 
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