The Living Force
Remember that we are listening to MP3 sources, a far cry from audiophile! In particular, the first thing that MP3 encoding does in the interest of compressing is to clobber the high frequency range, only to have the decoder sort of mimicking it back in.
This means that a planar magnetic headphone’s excellent response and fidelity in the highs (up to 50kHz!) is for naught.
The experience might actually be unpleasant – assuming that your auditory system is young enough to perceive the crappy details in the highs: It so happens that we lose sensitivity to high frequencies as we get older.
In a nutshell, listening to NO’s MP3 source with a 300$ planar magnetic is akin to eating a fast food meal out of Joseon chinaware. IMO.
Ok, but what I'm interested is how fast can they deliver sound feedback based on brain waves compared to the ordinary headphones? Besides, we can always use our own music in FLAC if the MP3 becomes the problem.
Besides, all headphones have a fundamental shortcoming which makes many listeners tire rather quickly, become apathic and sometimes slightly nauseated. This because in the production studio, most stereo music is mixed in a way which optimizes the listening experience with external loudspeakers, trying to create a soundstage as wide as possible. To this end, instruments are positioned arbitrarily far apart, without any negative effect because with loudspeakers, both ears are “served” more or less the same sound except that one hears it a bit later, in attenuated and phase-shifted form. In other words, the combination of delay, attenuation and phase shift helps in locating the sound source in our natural way.
In contrast, with a headphone whatever the left channel says goes exclusively to the left ear, same for the right side. So in principle there is no spontaneous cross-feeding between channels to aid in reconstructing a somehow “familiar perception environment”. It seems that this is at the root of headphone listening fatigue.
That would explain why most of those headphones are open. Thanks for explaining that. In that case, HE400S is really the best option.
I don’t have an idea about how much of a factor music fidelity is in shaping NO’s efficacy. I can try and find out, subjectively of course.
It would be nice if you could. But what I'm interested is not music fidelity but speed of feedback that planar headphones give. You might not be able to perceive this consciously, but if there is a difference in speed of feedback, than perhaps the effect of the NO on your brain would be different. I remember that Val said that they worked on improving the audio feedback for the NO3 by making it longer. But perhaps they should've also work on making it faster. And to make it faster, you need faster headphones. Which is what they say that planar headphones are.