Thanks for the excuse to talk about why I don’t always totally love headphone measurements!
The interesting thing about that notch at 4khz in the Cloud/Cloud II lineup is that it’s designed to mimic the exact same notch that appears in the DT770, when measured, because the base Takstar Pro 80 headphone is totally a DT770 clone.
It also illustrates something I don’t like about objective headphone measurements. Ramble incoming!
When you look at a linear frequency response graph of any of the above-mentioned models, it tends to look pretty bad, having that notch there. But when you play a 4khz tone through any of those headphones, it’s not silent. And they all have a sound that many folks find agreeable. So what’s going on here?
The only headphone measurement that can accurately show resonance in the cup is a CSD, which is a cascading diagram that looks sort of like a waterfall, and it’s sometimes called a waterfall plot.
If you look at a CSD for a DT770, you’ll notice that there’s some ringing/resonance at 4khz, and although the top of the graph shows that dip, those sounds are still present in the overall mix over time, as sound bounces around for a bit in the cup. There’s still a dip, yes, but it’s not silent at all.
“ There is something ‘odd’ about this measurement around 4kHz. When you take a look at the DT990 Pro below you will notice a small ‘dip’ at the same frequency. Here it is rather big and almost completely ‘nulling‘. At first I thought it was a typical measuring error as I did not hear the dip while running the sweep. Also when measuring this headphone using white-noise the dip is there but not nulling like in the plot above.
The CSD below provides a clue as to what’s happening.
The deep null is hidden ‘behind’ the wall and when using white noise (or music) the dip isn’t there.”
In fact, several headphones have a notch in this region because a lot of people find it to be an area of harshness.
And I’m not even saying you shouldn’t dislike this notch, not at all! But it’s harder to hear than the 2D graphs suggest. The 2D graphs that Rtings and Innerfidelity and others use don’t always show the whole sound picture, which is why personal listening tests are always the best guide. The Rtings process for measuring soundstage is also an evolving process that’s been the subject of many debates in online audio communities. I’d link you but no one has time in their life for that. ;)
Soundstage is a bit of an ephemeral concept, and relies greatly on the shape of your ears, your own perception, and the actual recording you’re listening to.
Thanks also for mentioning the Cloud Stinger Core…I had no idea that was a thing. It seems…odd to offer a 40 dollar version of a 50 dollar headset with a dual-entry cord and cloth pads. I’d wager those pads are going to cut down the bass response a fair bit, which is a shame!