haha! we both have good taste.
I really want to go to another head-fi meet. It was like walking into a candy store. I'm sure we probably have similar taste in sound preference.
I EQ my DT880s a little bit for slight bass emphasis despite what people say, it doesn't bleed into the mids or highs that much and gives them a little bit more weight for certain genres that don't require as much air/space
Something Tyll Hertsens often says is that once you reach the higher price ranges, you're basically solving problems. The basic presentation is already available in less expensive offerings, though usually with a few obvious flaws. When a company sets out to make a new flagship, they often pin down a few of those flaws and try to mitigate them. Beyer tried to make harmonic distortion as low as possible with Tesla; Sennheiser attempted to get rid of ringing and cone breakup at higher frequencies with the HD800; etc, etc.
A fair amount of engineering goes into this, and the number of people who will find the less expensive offerings significantly flawed is already small, so the company needs to make something back on its investment. Hence, the higher price per unit for these flagship offerings.
Or, that's the excuse I'm sure they would use if you asked. Somehow they managed to make flagships like the HD6x0 and DT880 back in the day for an order of magnitude cheaper than the most expensive current flagships go for today, and I doubt the research and testing were significantly less expensive to do back then. I've never quite shaken the idea that they simply realized people would pay substantially higher prices for the same iterative upgrades they hadn't paid a premium for in the past, if only to have the latest shiny.
I agree with this statement. Just like the evolution of the LCD-1 to LCD-X. I've heard all 4 and they sound relatively similar to each other aside from the much brighter LCD-X. No matter what revision they have, they're still going to sound more lush/warm/dark/fuzzy in comparison to an HE-6 or HD800. It's all a preference of sound signature. I missed my opportunity to try out a Stax SR-009 electrostat headphone :[ I kind of didn't want to listen to it out of fear they would sound too good.
You're right about the development costs for current flagships. Headphone hi-fi wasn't the same back in 2005 as it is today. I still recall buying cheap plastic gaming headsets to play Counter-Strike and BF2 matches back when I was in high school. Today people will pay lots of $$$ to have the next brand new shiny thing and I'm still glad that these manufacturers have upped the ante on product development.
Back in 2005, I'm sure most people would laugh at you if you paid $500 for an HD650. For some reason I recall them being priced higher than that but maybe it was my small frame of reference back when I had no money and I was 16 haha
As for price-to-performance ratio, don't tell the Sennheiser kids but I think it's well known that the DT880 spanks the HD650 :P
Edited by wahsmoh - 11/14/13 at 9:07am