Home Gadgets The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing

The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing

by admin

From my very first material about the excellent budget wireless headphones from China Bluedio in the comments asked to give for each model of "ears" graphs of frequency response (for simplicity I will further use the abbreviation AFC). I did not do it not because I am lazy. Just with these graphs everything is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. However, I promised the honorable public by oath to do a material comparing AFC, and we must keep our word. And yes, by your request, no funny pictures this time.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing

Let’s start with the matrix

Let’s first remember very quickly what this graph shows. The AFC graph shows the sound pressure level (loudness) across the entire spectrum of playable frequencies. It usually looks something like this :
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
At first glance it seems strange: what kind of curves if we want all frequencies to play the same way?! Give us a straight line! But that’s where biology comes in, namely the structure of our ear canal. Sounds in the ear are distorted, and in order to perceive music harmoniously, some frequencies should play louder and some quieter. Again, the form factor of the headphones: if they fit on the outside of the ear, some frequencies are heard better than others. If they are inserted into the ear canal, other frequencies come to the forefront. To compensate for this, audio engineers have to tweak the sound of the headphones by bending this very frequency response line. That is why it is perfectly normal to have a slight dip in the high frequencies – it compensates for the peculiarities of sound in the human ear.
Another nuance is that we all have different ears. And we hear sounds differently. So the same headphones in the ears of two different people can sound oh-so-different. So I strongly advise against buying headphones by their AFC without listening to them first.
Users’ personal preferences also play a role: not everyone needs "precise" music reproduction. Someone likes to have more bass, and someone, on the contrary, can’t stand low frequencies. So the manufacturer adjusts as it can, experimenting with the AFC.
And if you still don’t have enough nuance, here’s another one: the older we get, the worse we hear the upper frequency spectrum. If a child hears 20 Hz to 20 kHz perfectly, an adult can’t hear anything above 17 kHz unless he has specifically trained his hearing. So, you don’t have to pay much attention to the ultra-high frequencies in the graph.
In general, the rule for reading such graphs is the same: good headphones differ from bad ones in the absence of sharp drops in the graph. If the lines are smooth, with no narrow peaks or dips, the sound will be harmonious and pleasant. You will not necessarily like it personally (tastes!), but in any case, headphones with a smooth curve are of high quality.

The subtleties of measurement

It seems to be very simple: look at the graph and decide. Here the bass is overdriven, here the middle is low, and there is nothing at all. But it’s not. The main question is who made the graphs, on what equipment and how they were measured.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
In a good way, the AFC should be measured with an ultra-sensitive microphone mounted in an exact imitation of the human ear. That’s what all headphone manufacturers do (and some, like Bluedio, even have the courage to publish these graphs). You can read more about the stands and the inevitable inaccuracies even in laboratory conditions here at Hicktimes, in A tear-away piece of But that’s not what’s important to us: most manufacturers don’t put up any AFC charts at all. Either they have nothing to be proud of, or the arrogant vendors think that such graphs are not for average minds – in any case we are left without important characteristics. And all we are left with are the AFR charts from the reviews of journalists. And there the variation is even greater, because not every editorial board can provide good studio measurement conditions.
In order not to be unsubstantiated, let’s take a particular model of headphones and look at the graphs. Already familiar to you Beats Solo 2 headphones got the following graph of AFC from Ferra.ru resource, which I respect very much.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
As you can see, the journalists got the typical "bass" headphones with overdriven bass, sagging mid and high frequencies. It is a real mumbling noise, what kind of 15-20 thousand rubles is it! But wait! The same headphones from Inner Fidelity got the following graph:
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
The emphasis on the low frequencies is weaker here, and the middle frequencies are much better developed. And there is no point in guessing which of the journalists is right – most likely, both editors encountered interference and measurement inaccuracies. Moving on. Beats Solo 2 Wireless headphones in the clutches of the Rtings editorial board:
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
Great chart with bass that doesn’t clog up the rest of the spectrum, but at the same time collected and powerful, without overshoots. Very good midrange and only in the high frequencies there is some slump. How is that possible? After all, the Solo 2 and Solo 2 Wireless are models of the same series, which differ mainly in the Bluetooth module. All the same measurement errors! By the way, in my opinion and in the opinion of the sound engineer Dmitry Ostrovsky (audiofun.ostro@gmail.com) already known to you, it is the Rtings chart that best reflects the real sonic handwriting of all Beats Solo of the second generation. Well seriously, let’s reject prejudices: Beats has already learned how to make good headphones long time ago. It’s another matter that they will always cost ten times more expensive than their competitors, so it’s such a market model. If you don’t have enough money for Beats and don’t want to show off, you can always buy the hero of my last reviews – "FuckIo" (read with an accent on the I).
And let’s have a look at Bluedio’s graphics already! Measurements are made by the manufacturer itself in a professional studio and on the stands. Subjectively, during the audio tests Dmitry Ostrovsky and I did not hear significant deviations from the claimed curves of the AFC.

Bluedio A (Air) (3, 000 rubles)

The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
The smooth graph shows that there are no serious differences in the sound. The bass is not enough, the ultralow frequencies are cut off. But the middle and treble are reproduced wonderfully. Even the ultra-high frequencies look very decent on the graph – if you are more than 40 years old, it is likely that the detailed reproduction of Bluedio Air headphones is even too much.

Bluedio R+ (not available at this time)

The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
The legendary Bluedio R+ Legend headphones are, alas, already completely sold out. However, it wouldn’t hurt to revisit them again. Here’s what I wrote earlier, quoting sound engineer Dmitry Ostrovsky :
"This model has very deep and detailed bass, the entire bass spectrum sounds very good. The midrange frequencies are a little bit sagged, there is no accent on them, the detail is lower. But the high frequencies are good and detailed.
What do we see in the graph? Exactly this. It can also be noted that the ultra highs in the headphones are also clipped. From about 18 kHz onward the sounds will be almost inaudible.

Bluedio Vinyl Premium (4 300 rubles). Flagship headphones line Bluedio with a classic vintage design and the original "floating" cups

The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
The Bluedio Vinyl Premium headphones cost a little more (and look MUCH more expensive). Online retailer UMmall’s blog is dedicated to them separate review What about the sound quality? And the sound quality is great! Seriously: amazingly smooth graph with a slight rise in the upper bass and lower midrange. Good midrange, great highs with a slight dip at 15kHz. This is a very good graph. I also heard these headphones live and I can confirm, everything is as good as it is written here. The sound of the headphones is great! And two times super, if you remember the price tag – you could expect that the headphones with such a high quality material and assembly, and with such a good sound would cost 10-12 thousand dollars. But Bluedio’s Vinyl Premium model is offered for only 4, 300 rubles.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing

"B" vs "B"

I often get rebuked as to why I compare Bluedio headphones specifically to Beats and not another Chinese company? Allegedly the Beats engineers don’t matter, it’s the marketing positioning that counts and you have to compare like with like. Regarding the former Beats engineers who "landed" in Bluedio after Apple purchased Beats I have already written an impassioned speech, I can only repeat link And about like with like : here are two more charts, this time side by side. Beats Solo 2 Wireless for 17, 000 rubles and Bluedio Vinyl Premium for 4, 300 rubles.
Beats Solo 2 Wireless with partially sagged midrange and sagged treble.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
Bluedio Vinyl Premium with a noticeably more harmonious and balanced sound.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
You can talk about measurement errors for a long time, but the fact remains. Based on the AFC charts, the Bluedio and Beats headphones are quite worthy to be discussed in the same article.

And what about others?

Want to see a really bad AFC graph? Apple EarPods in the studio!
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
The bass just isn’t there. No bass at all! Something similar to the sound appears only in the upper bass area. The tops are sagging too, only symptomatic peaks depict something like sound. Due to what Apple EarPods are considered by many to be excellent headphones, such that "more is not needed"? Exclusively because of the middle part (many people like the vocal parts of the music, and everything else is perceived as background) and the Apple logo. Without the Apple nameplate nobody would even look at these pokes and take something cheaper and well made. Even a VE Monk Plus, for example.
Philips, whose headphones also participated in our big sound audio test also takes its example from Apple and Beats and does not publish its AFC charts. In the archives of the resource I found a graph of a rather expensive Philips SHP9500 model, which was discontinued several years ago, but used to sell for about $150.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
It’s silly to compare, but the graphic is really similar to the Apple EarPods: the same lack of bass and even more problematic treble. But the middle is cool, the company did a great job here. However, overall, these headphones should cost about 3-4 thousand, not the 6-10 that these Philips were selling for in 2014.
If you sometimes visit audio forums, you probably noticed there members of the Koss Porta Pro sect of witnesses, not yet banned in Russia (but very close to it), who believe piously and unconditionally that "no headphones were, are and will never be better". Please, here’s a chart of those "there’s no better and won’t be" divine ones of theirs:
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
There are no ultralow frequencies at all, they are compensated by an abundance of upper bass. The middle frequencies are failed, there are no and will not be any normal vocals. Instead of high frequencies – a disaster. And this for 3, 500 rubles! Translated into our money, it is like taking Bluedio T2+ (price in UMmall store – 2 000 rubles), cut the player and the radio, remove Bluetooth, degrade the middle and double the price tag to 3 500 rubles. Nevertheless, even for such a product there is a merchant, the Koss Porta Pro model in this modification has been on sale for more than ten years.
And here are the excellent Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 wireless headphones for 14, 000 rubles (the Sennheiser Momentum wireless were also in our audio test) demonstrate how headphones should be made.
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing
Smooth balanced sound on the whole spectrum, except for the high frequencies, where the dips are clearly beyond the limits of reasonable "compensation" distortion. It would be interesting to listen to them in comparison with Bluedio Vinyl Premium, which at the time of our audio test were not yet sold in Russia by the only official representative of "Bluedio", online retailer UMmall In my opinion, both models have extremely decent and generally comparable AFC charts. Here’s another look at the Bluedio Vinyl Premium:
The AFC charts of Bluedio and other brands of headphones: parsing, unmasking, choosing

Let’s summarize

1) The AFC graph is not an absolute and universal means of determining sound quality. There are too many measurement errors.
2) Even headphones with a perfect AFC chart will not necessarily work for you personally due to your particular ear structure and/or musical tastes.
3) Brands are reluctant to share the AFC of their headphones, Bluedio is one of the few honest manufacturers that reveals all the cards to the customer.
4) The AFC curves of Bluedio headphones are comparable to those of more expensive headphones and playfully "do" the inexpensive "ears" of big name brands.
5) Will you buy Bluedio, I recommend the flagship model Vinyl Premium and only from the official representative of "Bluedio" in Russia – online retailer UMmall.ru Fortunately sold at UMmall headphones at fair "Chinese" prices – on any Ali-Express price tags are the same as on UMmall.
Good music to you, friends!

You may also like