Katz's Corner

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Bob Katz  |  May 03, 2018  |  51 comments
I believe that second harmonic distortion is sonic gold for audiophiles: It's very seductive, especially if you want a warm sound quality, three-dimensionality, and beautiful reproduction of ambience and depth. Based on the listening tests, there does not seem to be a sonic negative side if the proportions are done right. Yes, too much second harmonic and detail will be lost or the sound can become flubby, like some inferior tube preamp designs. That's why this listening test was so useful, as we can discover how much harmonic distortion is "just enough".
Bob Katz  |  Apr 05, 2018  |  91 comments
Nelson Pass's Lab has produced an impeccable headphone amplifier with more than enough power, that's quiet, solid, and very clean. Several other reviewers have reflected on this excellent amplifier, but I want to weigh in with my unique sonic perspective and also measurements of its performance.
Bob Katz  |  Jan 09, 2018  |  39 comments
I was planning on presenting the next episode in my "How Insensitive" series, but that'll have to wait till next time because a wonderful new toy has just arrived straight from the technical geniuses in Hong Kong. Today we're going to introduce you to a powerful new and affordable investigative tool: The MiniDSP EARS Headphone Jig, costing $179 USD. MiniDSP has been manufacturing audio-related DSP products since 2009. Led by charismatic Frenchman Tony Rouget, MiniDSP has made some innovative and affordable audio amplifiers, digital equalizers, DACs, calibrated measurement microphones and measurement tools.
Bob Katz  |  Dec 19, 2017  |  14 comments
May I have a drumroll, please! Here is the expanded amplifier measurement chart, presenting the essential measurements in a way that consumers can actually use, without forcing them to become engineers. At first it appears to be a daunting looking chart, but consumers will be presented with only a few of these measurements.
Bob Katz  |  Dec 06, 2017  |  13 comments
So today we'll pick up on this principle and briefly compare the sound qualities of six very different headphone amplifiers, concentrating on their headroom, impact, perceived loudness, detail, and depth. Then, in the next episode, I'll try to make sense of the listening and see if there is any correlation between what we measure and what we hear. Don't expect a miracle—listening versus measurements is an ongoing debate, but in Episode 22 I promise to reveal some tantalizing clues!
Bob Katz  |  Nov 27, 2017  |  34 comments
These specifications confuse consumers, who would be forced to use logarithms and equations to answer the basic questions. We need to make headphone sensitivity and amplifier level specs more user-friendly, useable, interchangeable and effective. So I think it's high time to ditch both sensitivity approaches, and we can do better than both Sennheiser and the IEC if we start thinking outside the box!
Bob Katz  |  Aug 31, 2017  |  14 comments
I have a love affair with my Stax SR-007 Mk2 phones, which I judge to be superior, smoother, more musical and accurate than the expensive SR-009 model. What's with Stax? For them "better" seems to mean brighter, but why manufacture an even brighter headphone when the 007 model already sounds too bright? Stax seems to be obsessed with detail at the expense of musicality or even accuracy. But after-market amplifiers have sweetened that tune to a great extent.
Bob Katz  |  Aug 14, 2017  |  24 comments
Today I'd like to discuss what I mean by sonic perfection or sonic neutrality. Most audiophiles have observed that excellent playback systems of different manufacturers can sound radically different! Even the most accurate loudspeakers are subtly voiced and are different sounding. But how can there be more than one "right"? Philosophically speaking, two different-sounding playback systems can't both be "right": one of them must be correct and the other must be incorrect! Or maybe both are wrong!
Bob Katz  |  May 01, 2017  |  66 comments
After those episodes, conspiracy theories have abounded: Did somehow my brainwaves have managed to influence five strong-minded individuals in my direction. Was it valid for Bob to use different amplifiers for the two headphones? And why did Bob and Tyll's findings on the Utopia and LCD-4 differ so much?

Let's find out!

Bob Katz  |  Mar 18, 2017  |  47 comments
It’s nice to hear different listeners’ perspectives: Each listener brings something different to the table. I learned a lot about how different people perceive sound and their preferences when putting together this post about experienced listeners listening. Come enjoy our quintet of expert listeners' take on the Audeze LCD-4 vs. the Focal Utopia.
Bob Katz  |  Feb 20, 2017  |  96 comments
In my previous episode, I threw down the gauntlet: Can the world’s best headphones hold up to the world’s best loudspeakers in a perfectly-treated room? Of course we know that headphones image completely differently from loudspeakers. The transient impact of transducers lodged on your ears is distinctly different from loudspeakers at 9 foot distance. The loudness ratios of forward and distant elements, direct and reverberant sound are also different between phones and speakers. But we certainly can compare the tonal accuracy of the two presentations.
Bob Katz  |  Dec 07, 2016  |  36 comments
This kind of performance leads us to this question: Can a pair of state-of-the-art loudspeakers placed in the far field of a room sound as transparent, defined, impacting and pure as the world’s best headphones? These Dyns give my Stax 007 MkII headphones a good run for their money. The Stax are driven by a KGSS amplifier. And what about dynamic headphones? I upped my game here, selling my Audeze LCD-X to invest in a pair of LCD4’s. And I borrowed a Deckard headphone amp on reviewer’s loan. No slouches here!
Bob Katz  |  Mar 08, 2016  |  79 comments

Bob Katz has fallen in love with the Oppo PM-3 and HA-2. A rather long review, but hey, he's in love. Waxing prosaic is part of the deal.

Bob Katz  |  Feb 16, 2016  |  133 comments
Hooo boy! Bob pulls out all the stops in his latest episode.

This is a little treasure trove of incisive opinion on a bunch of pretty darn good $150-$500 full-size sealed headphones.

Bob Katz  |  Feb 02, 2016  |  21 comments
I'm not a shy guy. If I don't like a headphone, I'll pull it off my ears within five minutes! So far, I've had the Astell & Kearn AK T1p on for over 40 minutes and I keep wanting to check them out—so there must be something about them that's keeping me listening.

Pages

X