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Do you prefer headphones or speakers?

post #1 of 106
Thread Starter 
It might seem like a stupid question to ask on a headphone forum, but having listened to my headphone setup pretty much exclusively for the past few weeks, I spun a disc on my loudspeaker system just now & realised what I've been missing. The imaging & bass of my main system just blows the headphones out of the water. I guess it might not be a fair comparison, my headphone setup is somewhat mid-fi, whilst my loudspeakers are stand-mount Sonus Fabers with diy infinite baffle subs in an acoustically treated room, but it's enough to make me think twice about a ~£2k upgrade to my headphone setup I've been considering as I'm thinking it just can't possibly raise it's game that much.

I originally got into headphone listening when our first child was born, for obvious reasons, and I do enjoy the intimacy and practicality they offer, which is of course something a loudspeaker based system cannot provide. I'm curious as to how other people feel about this...are you using headphones for practical reasons, as a secondary system, or is it really the case that the higher-end headphone systems can match or surpass a decent loudspeaker system?
post #2 of 106
I just think it's more about preference. Sometimes I like music right in my ear and other times I like to hear the music projected to me. Loudspeakers let you feel the music a little more too. The intimacy a good pair of headphones gives can't be touched either. I feel both have their place and neither is "secondary". \diplomacy
post #3 of 106
I'd probably prefer speakers in a room like yours, acoustically treated, subs etc. I don't have that right now and I don't think my in my situation (single student room) I can't do much better than the speakers I have now (those are not too shabby though ).

Right now I'm immensely enjoying the headphone journey and the detail and intimacy this rig gives me. Too bad about imaging and bass, but I love where I am right now. As far as enjoyment goes, it is a tie, with the speakers better for some things and the other way around too. Most depends on time of day and SPL.
post #4 of 106
Speakers hands down.Headphones are very convenient and good for detail,but you lose a lot of dynamic range for some reason.
post #5 of 106
Maybe hte reason they generally only have room for one single driver and it´s smaller then the treble driver on most speakers .

I really can´t decide. If we take movies for example if there is dramas or movies with a lot of piano I pick up my Ultrasone Pro 900. Sometimes it´s nice to have it intimate.

On the other hand if I want to be blown away quite litterary I go for my surround system. Phantom of the Opera you haven´t heard if you just listen to headphones

I need speakers for the big sound and headphones for the small and subtle. But really my speakers and headphones are quite evenly matched in term of sound quality. I have for sure preferred speakers... then for sure preferred headphones... for sure for sure speakers yada yada lol
post #6 of 106
headphones for me

it came down to heat and neighbors on all sides.
post #7 of 106
I prefer speakers. As long as the listening room is of a suitable size, acoustically tuned/damped and placed away from any neighbors.
Do not have access to such a room, and hence headphones keep me perfectly pleased.

So in the end it comes down to space, money and neighbors .
post #8 of 106
in a perfect world where we could all afford what we wanted, I might prefer speakers a little but headphones are awesome and also a must have
post #9 of 106
I prefer speakers, but only if it's under perfect conditions. Else, headphones!
post #10 of 106
I prefer speakers, but they have to be very good.. Good speakers are more expensive then a good headphone..

Also depends on the music I guess, Mahler sounds better on speakers, Glenn Gould sounds awesome on my GS1k.. Bill Evans on both..
post #11 of 106
I like open-back headphones, combines the airy sound of speakers with the intimate sound of headphones. I don't long for speakers when I listen to open-back headphones, but with closed-back headphones it is too absorbing for my tastes, sometimes I like it but most of the time I am just listening casually and don't like the isolation of closed-back headphones.
post #12 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
I like open-back headphones, combines the airy sound of speakers with the intimate sound of headphones. I don't long for speakers when I listen to open-back headphones, but with closed-back headphones it is too absorbing for my tastes, sometimes I like it but most of the time I am just listening casually and don't like the isolation of closed-back headphones.

My thoughts exactly....



until I met the SRH840
post #13 of 106
I prefer headphones. Every time I listen to something on speakers I keep wondering how it would sound on my headphones that are much more detailed, intimate and involving. Speakers sound distant in comparison and I find the usually bone rattling bass a disturbance rather than something to strive for, but then I haven't heard that many high end speakers.

With headphones, there's the sense that the artist is performing for me and the rest of the world disappears, while with speakers the music stays in the background, never quite reaching me.

Like someone put it: "With speakers, they're here. With headphones, you're there."
post #14 of 106
I only liked my speakers since I had a new loudspeaker cable..

I used to be quite sceptic about this, but al the things that bugged me are gone now
Love my speakers now finally, especially given the price (same price as the cables lol)
post #15 of 106
I prefer speakers. However, in terms of what I can afford and practicality I prefer headphones as long as Dolby Headphone is available.

Using Dolby Headphone, my headphone listening expereince is very reminiscent of a very good speaker setup in an acoustically treated room. I don't have access to that kind of speaker setup so the headphone experience is the best available to me.

If it weren't for Dolby Headphone, I would probably only use headphones when I needed portability or wanted to avoid annoying the other half.
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