Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Why do people have such different opinions about headphones?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why do people have such different opinions about headphones? - Page 2

post #16 of 31
Quote:
And if that was true, there would be no need for places like this, which would be a shame
Unfortunately, it defeats its own purpose because as Mike Walker so eloquently pointed out, it's all personal preference and experience, objectivity and subjectivity.

I love the forum for providing help, input and information, especially the modifications and experimentation. I don't find 300+ differring opinions on the same product to be productive, if you know what I mean. It only reinforces my view that personal auditioning of headphones is a must.
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally posted by Beagle


[...]
I don't find 300+ differring opinions on the same product to be productive, if you know what I mean. It only reinforces my view that personal auditioning of headphones is a must.
I agree, that personal preferences ultimately decide. But given the many headphones out there and the fact that many of us have to drive long ways to a dealer or even have to rely on mailorder, headphone reviews really help to "cut through the crap" and leave you with a shortlist of about 3 or so amps / phones which need to be considered/auditioned. Also, if you know your taste, you can exclude some right away. Just from looking at the boards I can tell that if I am a bass freak, the AKG 501 is obviously out..............
post #18 of 31
Quote:
legoman said...

I agree, that personal preferences ultimately decide. But given the many headphones out there and the fact that many of us have to drive long ways to a dealer or even have to rely on mailorder, headphone reviews really help to "cut through the crap" and leave you with a shortlist of about 3 or so amps / phones which need to be considered/auditioned. Also, if you know your taste, you can exclude some right away. Just from looking at the boards I can tell that if I am a bass freak, the AKG 501 is obviously out..............
Yes, Beagle that was what I meant w/ my previous comment. legoman just stated it much more clearly. This board is wonderful for general observations and matching taste w/ headphones. For instance, this board could tell you that Grados have a very up-front presentation. If you dislike such a presentation, you don't have to waste time auditioning the Grados. And even if you do order from Headroom and use the 30-day return policy, you still have to return the product and pay shipping back. A small hassle, but a hassle nonetheless.
post #19 of 31

Perhaps we should have our auricular histories in our profiles!

LOL...Maybe it would be a good idea for us each to illustrate in our profiles:-

- Ear infections we had as children.
- Tonsilectomies
- Adenoid removal
- etc.

The we could get a "true" idea of each person's auditory inadequacy and go from there...

Just a thought!
post #20 of 31
Yup, I also believe personal taste is an exponentially bigger factor in preferring one headphone over another than any combination of physical traits that may be in a position to influence one's hearing (shape of ears, aural acuity, etc).

I think that perhaps part of it is genetic, as is preference for certain musical instruments (musical taste). As a child, I was drawn to the sound of organs, and to this day, I still love a really honkin' Hammond B-3.

The same can perhaps be applied to aural proclivities - perhaps some people really can't live without bass extension (or perhaps bass volume, which is different), while others may prefer an extended or airy treble, or soundstaging, or midrange transparency, etc. There is usually one aspect of sound reproduction that a given person is unable to give up, even if the rest of the performance is perfect. Some of this has to be innate, I think. That said, bad sound "taste" can be unlearned, I believe. I grew up with a big-ass pair of Cerwin-Vega speakers, and for a long time I correlated good sound with booming bass, piercing highs and an ability to rearrange my furniture when cranked. It took a long time to unlearn that and listen for accuracy and realism, true fidelity to the recording/performance.

Now, after much conditioning, support-group participation and a small dose of electro-shock therapy, I now lean towards headphones (and speakers) that are nuetral as opposed to bombastic in nature, but that is due to my taste, not any physiological characteristics I possess. IMHO

post #21 of 31
The point, everyone, is too talk about headphones. You really can't be productive about the same topic 365 days a year. But personally I find the varying opinions productive. If you don't find varying opinions on a topic productive I can only wonder why your here. I like to hear what everyone thinks about various headphones, even if every opinion seems to be different in some way it's still interesting and in that way productive. Besides there is no real product to be had, we are just talking. The closest thing to product is the interaction based upon a topic that we all find interesting. We are a little society, like a motorcycle gang or something. We are just hanging out talking about headphones, making friends, making enemies, essentially taking part in whole other world completely aside from our daily lives. Someday we will all unite and take over the world and Mike Walker will be in charge of the headphones SS that wipes out those poor people silly enough to have negative opinions on the hd600's bass response. But until that happens we are speaking freely on headphones and we can't be wrong we can only be opinionated.
post #22 of 31
Although thomas and others have pointed out some very interesting ideas that I think are very valid, I believe the biggest difference in opinions is not because of hearing differences or headphone fit differences. These do exist, but I agree with many of the others here that personal preference is probably the main factor. When someone sits in a car and adjusts the radio tone controls, a lot of people boost the bass and treble. This isn't because of their hearing, or to compensate for the acoustics of the car which no doubt is lousy, or for sure because it sounds like the real thing; it because that's what they LIKE. I had a car recently with a Bose Upgrade stereo, and I measured a 20dB rise in the bass when the bass control what set flat! I just had to measure it because I found it so unbelievable. I had to turn the bass almost all the way off to get a decent balance to the sound. Another car I have has a graphic equalizer with it's Infinity Upgrade stereo, and I have to adjust the bass control there almost all the off, but just for fun I look into other people's cars that have the same radio and see that their bass control is most of the way up. The car companies are just trying to please the majority of their buyers. Yikes!

The headphone amps many of us use are plugged into a CD player line out, and as a result there are no tone controls. Not to worry, you can get just about any sound you want by buying the right headphone. Now I realize that the majority of the people here are a special group that isn't interested in the same junk that most people put up with and even like. But I would also guess that if we all listened to the exact same equipment, let's say speakers (in the same room) to eliminate the ear fit issue with headphones, and were blindfolded and given tone controls to turn to where we liked the sound the best, there would be a big spread in where the tone controls ended up. If we could do this, then we could place this information in our profiles, like the idea that Music Lover suggested, to make each of our comments more meaningful. And tone controls would only show up one aspect of our preferences. You would have a similar differences with tubes vs solid state. Many of us own several headphones because we don't have consistant preferences.

Hearing differences from person to person are largely cancelled out due to the fact that any given person uses the same ears to compare what they hear in the headphone or speakers to what they hear when they hear live music.
post #23 of 31
"If it sounds good to YOUR ears, it is good for YOUR ears;
until the next better sound comes along."

Well, the VERY best thing I learned from these forums is not only the opinions and discussions you great kids have taken time out to type and post, but the DISCOVERY and knowledge of the vast array of headphones out there which I didn't know existed before. I give due credit for each opinion and I don't give particular concern to the "differences" in opinion. Just think of it, here we have a thread about the "subjectivity and objectivity" of headphones, the differences of tastes about them. And yet we find "differences" of opinions about these "differences" of tastes in this thread. So I don't break my head in knowing who's wrong or right, who's straight or gay, who's ferrari or honda, who's grado or senn, but I appreciate the fact that we have an array of things, i.e. headphones, to choose from here.

I don't appreciate the fact that I have a Grado and I prefer its sound over anything. BUT I appreciate the fact I came know of its existence because of this forum. These forums have helped me mold and shape my choice. I bought the EX70SLs because of this great forum. And the mods about them were so helpful. I would never have realized these mods, even if I have to walk the miracle mile here in my place, and check out on each and every audio store here.

For me, it is not finding the Holy Grail or the El Dorado of headphones. It simply does not exist. What I know is that it helped me AVOID the bad heaphones that we are,most of the time, in unanimity of.

"And it really does not matter if I'm wrong or right;
Where I belong I'm right, where I belong."
-- "Fixing A Hole", The Beatles, from the Sgt Pepper's Lonely
Hearts Club Band album


Right now, there are two clubs I really would really like to belong to, one is the Diogenes Club in one of those Sherlock Holmes stories, and THIS ONE!
post #24 of 31
"Someday we will all unite and take over the world and Mike Walker will be in charge of the headphones SS that wipes out those poor people silly enough to have negative opinions on the hd600's bass response."

aiOtron,
I can't help but to feel that you are setting the bloodhounds on my trail. What did you say about "making enemies"? Grrrrrrr. Very often, Mike is making an awful lot of sense, though:
"Our opinions are intimately tied to our experiences, and perceptions!" Exactly.

I agree with JohnActon as well: "I also believe personal taste is an exponentially bigger factor in preferring one headphone over another than any combination of physical traits that may be in a position to influence one's hearing (shape of ears, aural acuity, etc)."

We always tend to compare equipment with our experiences in similar situations. It is a learning process, there is an "audiophile" or hi-fi socialization. I had started a thread about this in the General Discussion section and I would like to hint at an article from the "Stereophile" archives once again, that, I think, has a lot of relevance in this context: God is in the Nuances by Markus Sauer. He reports about a psychological experiment dealing with the striking differences between concious and emotional reactions of audiophile listeners. It seems, we do not necessarily know, what is good for us, we can unlearn musical enjoyment.

thomas,
I do not believe this issue of fit (back to the original topic) is as important and decisive as you think, but there is definitely an effect from it. I usually prefer wearing circum-aural headphones shifted to the front of the head, with the drivers' axis aiming at a point slightly in front of the ears. The sonic changes are minute and not as drastic as differences between headphones, but they are there: often, the soundstaging becomes somewhat more natural with more in-front localization, and a certain harshness in the treble seems to disappear. This effect could be more pronounced with headphones that have their drivers positioned relatively close to the ears (Beyer 990 Pro) than with designs like AKG K501 or Sennheiser HD 580/600. With supra-aural headphones, by the way, proper positioning is almost crucial, I think, because interaction with the outer ear is even more immediate.
post #25 of 31
tomcat: I'm not too sure, but I think this article has already been discussed recently - either here or on Headwize.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
very interesting replies...

I definately think these forums are great, and these discussions are very intersting (or why else would i be here )i'm just surprised how sometimes two very experienced headwizer/headfier can have totally different reactions to the same pair of headphones. I guess you guys have convinced me that personal tastes is the most important factor

I still think fit is crucial to the sound of a headphone, so if anything, when you're auditioning a pair of headphones, i'd suggest fiddling around with the fit a bit until you get it to sound its best...
post #27 of 31
I agree with what Mike Walker said about reference points. It's very true. A person who has only heard one pair of headphone will typically think it's the god headphone with nothing else better out there...and it isn't very hard to see this from their review of the headphone, if they give one. On the other hand, if you have been through several different headphones, then you will be much more accomplished at judging, within the realm of headphones specifically.

But, the realm of audio is so very much dependent on so many other variables, right down to even that wall outlet you plug your system into and even where you live around, that it's almost impossible to pin down anything as pure fact that everybody can accept. Ultimately, I've learned not to trust any review, but my own ears.
post #28 of 31
The whole thing is about random variables...

My 7 year old CD Player will sound completely different than someones CD-Rom that they've got running through there SB16 etc etc (Does anyone still own one of those soundcards?!)

My own personal quest for a good midrange as an example... I started off with my Senn 565s on a solid state amp, they sounded really cold... moved on to (after much reading up on HeadWize) the Sony CD1700s... the midrange at the time sounded fabulous, I then upgraded my amp... Whoops... the CD1700s didn't mix with the valves all that well, because they sounded TOO midrangey for me... Up pops the HD580s and, this is a DIFFERENT type of midrange to the solid state combination... to me at least a more neutral prominence (yes... contradiction in terms... but, i hope you get what i mean?! )

BUT... what would have happened if i was running off of a $20,000 CDP... or, at the other end of the scale, a Radioshack CD3904... I think you'll find the outcome a LOT different on both occasions...

Its not JUST our ears... its our sources too
post #29 of 31
Tomcat,

Your feelings however justified are your own invention. I do sympathize with Mike on many issues, he just pisses me the hell off sometimes. Additionally, yes it is an aspect of human existence that we do not all get along but indeed some of us become enemies. And I assure you I seek out no such state of events... It is also true that I will not avoid such an arrangement between myself and another if it is my personal belief and foundation that have been attacked. True not all will love the HD600's as I have and of course humans being flawed as they are not all of you can be expected to!
post #30 of 31
Sorry aiOtron,
I certainly didn't mean to offend you. I felt this statement about Mike Walker going after the HD 600-doubters was primarily a flippant remark, and since I am one of those doubters, I responded in kind. Believe me, aiOtron, I didn't mean to attack you at all. If anything, my mock agitation was critical of Mike Walker's not always too subtle ways of getting his point across. It is certainly easy (and not at all advisable) to make enemies in a testosterone-ridden "motorcycle gang", but I would like to think that we ought to be able of more civilized forms of discussion in this community.

Maybe I should use more smilies in my posts. But I am afraid I am a little emotilliterate (is there such a thing?). I just feel, one can easily overdo it with plastering his posts with smilies. They are so - yellow. They tend to disturb the textual integrity and coherence. As I see it, they are unduely focussing one's attention. Yeah, that's what they are - distorting.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Why do people have such different opinions about headphones?