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Old 05-11-2018, 08:13 PM   #5
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Part 3: Stereo content

So I enabled SXFi


And disabled it

And enabled it again...


And disabled it again

I get that the goal is to reproduce speakers in a room. But if you're reproducing cheap speakers in a large hall, I'd rather you not.

A large part is related to that frequency response. (Keyword: Related, but not necessarily caused by. The FR itself may be the result of that other root cause.) The "cheap" sound. It is unfortunate that I don't have any SXFi-certified headphone / earphone. I only got, like, some obscure models from unknown brands like Alessandro MS-1 and Klipsch X11, I mean what has Klipsch even done before, like manufacturing loudspeakers since 1946?

But looking at the FR data above, the selected headphone / earphone only contributes to a small fraction of the FR, the bulk of it is still due to the SXFi effect. And testing different selected headphone / earphone confirms this - Selecting different headphones / earphones results in a noticeable and possibly important difference, but the effect is still small compared to the whole SXFi effect.

The sound also feels more distorted (as in the high THD kind of distorted) and details are lost. Definitely sounds more hollowy and reverb-y.

More importantly, this is what the SXFi effect does: Soundstage is compressed towards the center and moved forward. But not all of the sounds get this treatment. Some are spread around you including to the back.

The normal headphone sound sounds like sound hard-panned to the left and right, and in terms of front-back positioning it feels like right in the middle. The SXFi does take the sound out of this position and moves it more outside, some more forward and some more around. But still feels like it is coming from the headphones.

And I'm not sure if this can already be achieved by other competing effects, or if it can be done without resulting in such a big change to the sound. It does shift the sound forward which is relatively unique, most likely thanks to the included surround-sound technology. One thing I will say, and will say again in the 3D part of the review, is that the SXFi effect is very aggressive.

Here's the thing. I have earphone / headphone. I have speakers. My earphone / headphone have sounds that sound like my speakers, except they sound like they are coming from the sides of my head but otherwise they sound pretty much the same. And I believe most of you reading will agree with this statement.

So, why did the creators of SXFi feel like they need to change the sound *THIS* much? This is not "experience that’s indistinguishable from a dedicated set of surround speakers" or "high-end multi-speaker system in a professional studio", to be blunt I don't know wtf this is. Maybe an attempt at the feeling of magical immersion beyond the normal speakers sound? Then they should have written that instead of trying to simulate speakers, because it gives less things for people to pick at, and less things to fail.

Btw just for the lolz, if you apply SXFi effect on speakers, you get a soundstage that is even more compressed into the center and even further away from you forward. Logical, because the sound of speakers is already more center and forward, unless you are lucky enough to have a big studio with speakers far apart.

Also, you can recreate the headphone sound on speakers by putting your head right in between the speakers and pointing them at you. And even without pointing them at you (i.e. leaving the speakers pointing forward) the effect is already pretty close. (because speakers can be considered point sources, after ignoring that the frequency response certainly changes with direction, and baffle effects, and cabinet depth... and multi-driver interactions... but for the most part, speakers can be considered point sources)
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Last edited by wwenze; 06-11-2018 at 05:12 PM..
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