W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Friday, March 6, 2009

Strange observation of the day + thought of the day

Google for MS-1000 or MS-1 distancer mod.

Claims to improves sound quality by making the drivers further away from your ears.

On the other hand, there is the doughnut pad mod which improves the sound quality by moving the drivers closer to your ears.

Oooooooooh, so both increasing and reducing the distance improves the sound quality?

So who is right?

If the supporters from both sides were to engage in a discussion it would most likely end up in a flame war instead.

Supporters of either above-mentioned mods, stop reading here. Supporters of this site, continue.


First of all, what needs to be mentioned, is that the sound signature will change as you move your drivers nearer/further/forward/backward/
up/up/down/down/left/right/left/right/B/A. It's not rocket science and it applies to each and every headphones. And speakers, duh.

Secondly, people cannot differentiate between an improvement in sound quality and a change in sound signature. And again, sound signature =/= sound quality, although good sound quality requires good sound signature.

Lets see what a user think of the MS-1000 mod:

"On to the SQ. Firstly, as the head-fi thread says, there really is a MONSTROUS increase in soundstage! everything sounds so much more open and there actually is noticeable spatial positioning with instruments and vocals. i don't think there's much of an increase in bass (i felt the MS1s had plenty of bass already when driven with a good amp) , but there's definitely a change in bass quality. Bass sounds more defined and textured. my initial impression was that there was actually LESS bass, but after getting used to the new bass, i appreciate the improvements. it seems to blend into the music better instead of being slightly overpowering. Vocals sound less intimate than the MS1, but that's because of the increased soundstage i feel. treble is also clearer with the removal of the comfy pads. that nice sparkly sound is enhanced, but the phones may sound more sibliant as well. i think the treble is much affected by the felt used in the distancers. i first tried without any felt and it sounded terrible. i now have a thin layer of felt on the inside of the distancers, and there's an improvement. i may add more felt in the future if i feel it's insufficient."

everything sounds so much more open - because the drivers are further away

my initial impression was that there was actually LESS bass - because the drivers are furter away and there is more leakage... he initially thought there would be more bass. (Somehow, to people, "improvements" must always be improvements, and there will never be a trade-off expected)

but after getting used to the new bass, i appreciate the improvements. it seems to blend into the music better instead of being slightly overpowering -

This is the excuse that people always like to give for underpowered bass. Lets see if it holds true for this scenario, as MS-1's bass response isn't what you'd really call typical. Read on.

Basically, shifting earphones nearer to/further away from you has EQ effect, I'm sure you should've realized that from daily usage of phones - earphone, headphone, telephone. And that's what's being played on here.

So in all actuality, both sides are correct, because either moving the drivers closer or further does make it sound better to them because they like the sound.
But they're also both wrong because this is a personal preference, and it does not hold true for everyone.

Now's the interesting part - if this thing is about personal preference, then each person should adjust to his or her likings.

Then why is there a group of jab*nites queueing up to get a custom-made mod that is of a fixed size (specs from the original modding thread) just because somebody said it would sound better? Actually the answer is in the sentence but I'm asking it anyway.

Enough criticizing, I actually have a way to test out the concept. And you too.

Since it's not hard to just pull your earphones a little bit further away from your ears with your hands.

The effect will not be exactly the same since there is no wood to isolate, but MS-1 doesn't have much isolation to start with, since the sound will leak out from the back.

Pulling the cups a few mm away, immediately I noticed a huge change in sound. But that's to be expected.

The highs are louder and bass softer as expected. But it is actually for the better. Because MS-1's bass is kinda screwed up - there is too much of mids (which gives the impression of lots of bass) but not enough deep bass to support it, hence it sounds very funny without that bass kick. Too tonal and one-note. Definitely good for certain genres of music, but bad for things requiring serious bass. How it struggles to produce the extra midbass makes it sound boomy at the same time. Also, the highs of the MS-1 are slightly rolled-off.

The EQ-ing definitely paid off. At least the bass sounds pretty normal now, and the highs are louder in volume hence making the sound more forward. It has a sound signature similar to that of my Atoms now, which is a good thing, since the Atoms are fairly accurate after I toned down the extreme frequencies. Minus the bass of course, can't expect MS-1 to have much bass rite?

The sound is definitely much much more natural. It also feels less headphone-ish with the extra space. Soundstage is also greater. I believe the spatial feeling will be further improved with the mod as the sounds reflect off the wall.

But there is one problem that stops me from diving in altogether - the highs.

MS-1's highs are not known to be very good. It's not as detailed as the MS-2, and can get a little bit noisy at times.

Increasing the highs makes the sound seem more detailed, but it also amplifies the distortion and lack of detail. Instead of the hard piercing impact I'm supposed to get what I got feels more like a thin unpowerful background-noise hiss. Or more sibiliant as the user put it.

Maybe the reason MS-1 is a bit muffled and highs rolled-off is otherwise it would not attract as many buyers with its flaws more obvious. And the bass is also a selling point for suckers who want bass yet somehow do not want to use speakers or IEMs.

Hence I stand corrected. This mod does not make the MS-1 better. It does make it seem to sound better.

It's just not possible to save a dead horse. In this case the drivers of MS-1 are its limiting factor.

If you can get it modded cheap ($20-30 in the jaben mass mod offer thread) and if you like the sound, you can go for it. Or you can do some makeshift job yourself with socks. But if you were to pay $60-70 and some of your time for a "professional" job done, I'd rather save the money, use the time to work, top-up a little and get a MS-2. And it would sound a lot more nicer with more potential for modding, but there will always be people who think the MS-1000 (wtf for a name, machiam better than SR325 like that) is better, and sell it online for over the cost price of an MS-1 + the mod.

Which brings us to another thing I want to talk about today. There are some people who always think that their modded equipment are always vastly superior to other unmodded products, and spend their whole lives trolling about it. They will claim their equipment beat even things 2-3 times the price. When people test it to be untrue, they turn aggressive and question the tester.

Face it, if companies can make things twice as good for almost the same cost (actually they'd make it just as good for half the cost) they would've done it. And if you could do it you'd be an engineer working for them. But you're no engineer, and the marketing department had most probably thought of the idea before already.

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