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Are headphones really high end?

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
My question is,are high end headphones high end only when compared to other headphones?or are they high end even when they are compared to speakers for example,or to any type of Transducer?
post #2 of 88
yes




IMO some headphones definately give many speakers a run for their money regarding sound quality. Of course you can't expect quite the same soundstage and physical sensation.
post #3 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by pearljam5000 View Post
My question is,are high end headphones high end only when compared to other headphones?or are they high end even when they are compared to speakers for example,or to any type of Transducer?
Just got an AKG K701, and it beats any speaker based system I have heard, even with a cheap (but decent) phone amp. They won't shake your floor, however.

I have had SL3's and Audiophysic Calderas here, if you wonder about my references.
post #4 of 88
A headphone that costs just a few hundred dollars can be as good as a $10,000 speaker system, at least technically. It's easier to get good measurements and performance out of a single, small driver with no room to fill. Whether or not you like experience as much is another story.

My only exceptions are games and movies. For these, I prefer a good speaker system 100% of the time. I just... do. It is very odd to have the visuals coming out of the TV in front of me, but have the sound in my head.
post #5 of 88
A headphone system most certainly can provide "high end" quality sound.

I prefer my speaker based system, it's generally what I use unless the hour gets too late. But consider this: one of the most challenging aspects of a speaker based system is arranging your speakers in your room to achieve the best possible sound. In fact, even before the speakers are arranged, they room in which they will be placed should be kept in mind while deciding which speakers to audition. It is also important to audition speakers in your room if it's at all possible, what sounds great in a showroom will likely sound very different in your listening room. The way your speakers interact with your room can have a HUGE impact on the SQ you achieve.

But headphones remove the room from the equation. This is one of a headphone system's greatest advantages.

All you have to do to answer your own question is to audition a good headphone system yourself.
post #6 of 88
i've heard some pretty expensive speaker systems. and they have sounded good, but i just prefer the more intimate experience of headphones. and one could certainly spend a fotune building a headphone set up. does that make it high end or comparable to speakers. i don't know.
post #7 of 88
You can own $10,000 speakers but if your room acoustics aren't good, your $10k is wasted. with headphones this very large problem is eliminated, IMHO $300 headphones will sound as good as thousands of dollars worth of speakers in an acoustically correct room.
post #8 of 88
I prefer headphones to any speaker system I've heard. The only time I use speakers is when watching movies. Nothing like the subs pounding you to death when watching something like Black Hawk Down.
post #9 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by pearljam5000 View Post
My question is,are high end headphones high end only when compared to other headphones?or are they high end even when they are compared to speakers for example,or to any type of Transducer?
High end, denotes cost IMO. The cost difference between these two types of Hi-Fidelity reproduction "Systems" favors the headphone reproduction system based upon cost / benefit of a Hi-Fidelity reproduction sound system IMO & E. Although, the two are quite different in their presentations, they can be compared. I would love to have a floorstander and amps that would sound like my Opera/k701s but i fear it would cost $5000+ plus room treatments and higher operating costs.
post #10 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi-Finthen View Post
High end, denotes cost IMO. The cost difference between these two types of Hi-Fidelity reproduction "Systems" favors the headphone reproduction system based upon cost / benefit of a Hi-Fidelity reproduction sound system IMO & E. Although, the two are quite different in their presentations, they can be compared. I would love to have a floorstander and amps that would sound like my Opera/k701s but i fear it would cost $5000+ plus room treatments and higher operating costs.
I'd say more like $10000, if you buy second hand. $20000 for new stuff. IMHO.
post #11 of 88
i love speakers for movies... but headphones are just a much cheaper option of getting better sound for less money/hassle (as for reasons stated above)

nothing beats a big subwoofer pounding bass into your chest though
post #12 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek View Post
A headphone that costs just a few hundred dollars can be as good as a $10,000 speaker system
Gonna have to disagree there... a $10,000 speaker system in a room with the proper room acoustics will put the orpheus to shame. In fact, given that you have proper room acoustics you could probably put the orpheus to shame for less than $10,000.

Now on the other hand... sticking a $10,000 speaker system in your bedroom or family living room will equal $10,000 wasted, as stated above.
post #13 of 88
You have to further define "high-end" to get more specific answers to your question. Some properties of sound quality, such as resolution and channel separation, will almost always be better when using headphones, while visceral impact, sound stage, and imagining will almost always be better when using speakers. The problem with proclaiming the superiority of one over another is that the determining factor of such superiority is one's own listening preferences and sound priorities; one who craves soundstage in music will be generally more drawn to speakers, while one who enjoys picking out individual instruments within a soundstage will more likely embrace the resolving abilities of a headphone driver. So, in short, there really isn't a direct answer to the question you have proposed above; like most things in audio, personal taste is the one and only deciding factor which controls your likes and dislikes of general equipment.

Regards,
Nick
post #14 of 88
to someone who has not experienced a TRUE high fidelity sound system, whether headphones/speakers, a decent speaker system will always sound BETTER than a technically 'superior' headphone
post #15 of 88




This modest $2k speaker system will put 95% of the headphone systems I have heard to shame. The sound actually improves substituting a $160 Axiom passive preamp for the GS-1.
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