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Maybe I should just quit headphone and go Loudspeaker?

post #1 of 148
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I own a Senn HD650 and a Grado GS1000. And today I went to the only dealer of Stax in Paris (to my knowledge) to audition an O2.

Unfortunately, their O2 is loaned to a customer. So I tried the 4040 system instead. (I've tried them, but not thorough enough for making a buy decision). It impressed me. The music flows out more effortlessly than HD650 and GS1000. And what's more, it's a lot more neutral.

O2 + 007 is sold at 5400 euros in France (I know you american fellows must have a wow wtf at this price). So instead of waiting for O2, why not try some loudspeakers at the same price range?

The dealer connected a Martin Logan Vista for me. My first listen is a Bethoven piano concerto by Helene Grimaud. Then I tried Symphony No.5 and No.9 of Bethoven orchestrated by Karayan. I should say that gives me a totally wow. It wins hands down over any headphones I've auditioned.

Knowing that pair was the cheapest in the audition room (That's in my price range, 4800 euros), I asked myself from then whether I even need to try the O2, or just pursue the loudspeaker way instead? I just love the impact, the tide that drives me away when I listened to Symphony No.5 and No.9.

Has anyone here had the same experience like me? What keeps you in the headphone world? Please shine a light on me.

Thanks.
post #2 of 148
My main preference for headphones over speakers is due to living in an apartment, I couldn't blast my brains out with speakers or the police would be knocking.

Get what you like!

post #3 of 148
I like both cans and speakers. Each has its advantages. But given enough space, proper and careful set up and equipment (much, much harder and more expensive w/ speakers), sure, I prefer speakers. If the goal is a life-like musical experience, you need the size, space, distance, and perspective of speakers. The advantage of cans is convenience (size, space, easy control over environment), performance for price, and maybe more detail. Just my opinion ...
post #4 of 148
Can you afford the amp the Martin Logans? If so, definitely go that route, speakers are supremely more satisfying than headphones. I like the intimacy of phones, but speakers blow me away.
post #5 of 148
As said before. If you can listen to speakers go for it. The cost will be higher. I ran the gamut with high end headphones. Now I'm able to listen in a dedicated "music" room. Bang for the buck=headphones.
post #6 of 148
Perhaps the Moderators could start a forum about speakers and move threads like this to it? Those of us who like both speakers and headphones, at least this one, are getting pretty darn sick of running into this kind of talk on the high end headphone forum.

Quote:
...speakers are supremely more satisfying than headphones
I joined this site to discuss, learn and share all things headphone and statements like this I could read on any speaker fan site. Not to mention that stating opinions as unequivocal facts is a behavior that doesn't belong on a civil, learned high end forum. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the contributions of the quoted poster. But not in a high end headphone forum.

Perhaps since this is a headphone site speakers should be in an off topic forum area.

Clark
post #7 of 148
I like speakers, but headphones mean I don't have to have anyone telling me to "turn that damned music off"
post #8 of 148
Apples and oranges imo. I have decent setups of each and they fill different roles.

A good speaker set-up is a full-body experience if done right (proper placement, room treatment, etc). The music completely envelops you head to toe and there is something about the way sound travels through air that brings a certain life to it.

A good headphone set-up doesn't do this in the same way. It's more concentrated in your head, obviously, which tends to create an internal musical island in which you are the sole inhabitant.

They both have their pluses and minuses, but personally I couldn't live without speakers. They are always on, like air, but when I REALLY want to get into the music that's the time for the cans.
post #9 of 148
Just be aware that you should not compare the cost of speakers to the cost of headphones and headphone amp. A speaker system requires a bigger monetary investment in (1) a preamp (2) a power amp (3) an extra pair of interconnects between preamp and power amp (4) speaker cables. You didn't mention which preamp or power amp the dealer was using with the Martin Logan's, but a good preamp and power amp could easily cost you an additional $5,000 used, if not more. (If the dealer was using a top of the line preamp and power amp, those components might have cost $20K or more and in part accounted for how fantastic they sounded to you.) Also be aware that what you heard at the dealer may not be what you hear when you get the speakers home. A lot of the time, audio dealers have room acoustic treatments that make speaker gear shine. It won't sound as good once you get it home unless you have really good room acoustics or are willing to make the investment to create good room acoustics.

Also, because a speaker setup has more components, it is more "finicky" as some components in the audio channel are not symbiotic (don't sound very good together) and have to be sold or traded in and then replaced. This trial and error process tends to be expensive, because it is hard to fully recoup the purchase price of stereo equipment even if you bought it used.

In comparison, a headphone system really only requires headphones (duh) and a headphone amp. (Obviously, you need a source for either type of system.) It is really not finicky. One possibility is that you just don't like Stax and should stick with a good dynamic headhpone like the HD800s or DX1000s.

I own a very good speaker setup and a very good headphone setup. The former cost me over $20K, the latter about $3K. I enjoy them both almost equally for different reasons. Both provide different windows to musical enjoyment. In general, resolution is generally better with a good heaphone setup, while a speaker system offers a much better soundstage (naturally) and better dynamics. If you live with other people, headphones also offer the advantage of being able to listen to any type of music whenever you want. You cannot do that with a speaker setup.

Certainly, if you decide to go the speaker route, do a lot of research on other components that match well with the Martin Logans and then try to buy used, as used power amps and preamps sell at really substantial discounts to retail. The discounts just aren't as big on headphone equipment.
post #10 of 148
I agree with sesshin above. I love great wine and I love great microbrewed beer. They are both non-hard alcoholic beverages that accompany meals, but are completely different experiences, both equally pleasurable in the right context.
post #11 of 148
I really like both headphones and speakers.
But currently the advantages of headphones weigh stronger than the advantages for speakers, and hence that is what I use.


I think you should audition the O2 before making up your mind.
post #12 of 148
Thread Starter 
I think I'll sure try the O2 before making any decision. As suggested by many, maybe I should just keep both. I listened extensively to my HD650 yesterday night trying to find back the "blow away" experience that I had when I first met it. I still love it, but the blow away just disappear.
post #13 of 148
Speakers everytime for me. Those electrostatics will need high end poweramps. So probably looking at another £4000. And not forgetting the pre-amp which is pretty important too.
post #14 of 148
aren't Quad electrostatics even better for classical than Martin Logan?
post #15 of 148
What keeps me in the headphone world... Upgraditis it´s so much easier to cure to feed your upgraditis with headphones rather then lumpy speakers. And the fact it´s so quick and easy to change sound signature.

Isolation and thus the immersion they offer I suspect mainly. Also it has gotten kind of a ritual putting my headphones on. It has a calming effect like now you are going to listen to music/movies or whatever and have a good time. Same thing as giving a 4 year old his teddy bear then he knows he will go to sleep. I feel naked without my headphones on my head at times

It´s more personal as well. But otherwise there is no doubt my speakers are more high fidelity then any of my headphones. They are cheaper too. I have the luxury to play as much I want whenever I want with them so it´s a bit weird I still do most listening with my headphones. Used to it I suppose and all the auditioning they allowed allowed me to found headphone that suits me. Speakers are just to bulky to go switching around with.
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