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Audiophile vs. Studio/Professional headphones.

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Why are studio/professional headphones are usually cheaper than the audiophile/consumer headphones? And how are studio headphones different from the audiophile headphones?
post #2 of 23
Make no mistake, but they are actually exchangeable.

I've seen several photos studios using Sennheiser HD6x0 series, and K702 are basically K701 with different color and detachable cable for studio use. DT770/880/990 were actually studio headphones as well until Beyer decided to sell them as consumer headphones. Joseph Grado and Alessandro headphones are also for studio. K1000 are also for studio/recording. Recent example like HD800 are advertised for not only consumer but also professionals.

HD-25, HD280, high-end Ultrasones, and many other familar headphones are introduced for field recording.

And we see Sony V6, some DJ headphones, Maestro, Beyer DT-150/48 recommended for consumer listening purpose (i.e audiophiles) which are clearly made for studio.

And I don't think studio headphones are necessarily cheaper than audiophile. I mean come on, AKG's so called high definition series are hella expensive while they are not really better than K70x, and high-end Sony studio headphones such as V900HD cost some.
post #3 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post
Why are studio/professional headphones are usually cheaper than the audiophile/consumer headphones? And how are studio headphones different from the audiophile headphones?

Usually "pro" equipment is designed around durability. Some pro/live equipment will have consistent hissing and hum problems, but they are durable like nothing else.

There will always a blurred marketing line trying to attract consumers into "pro" equipment. It all comes down to marketing. Real "professional" equipment is really not suited for home/audiophile use, as home/audiophile use is never meant for the heavy lifting of professional usage. But demand will dictate what gets branded as what.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post
Why are studio/professional headphones are usually cheaper than the audiophile/consumer headphones? And how are studio headphones different from the audiophile headphones?
Because, for the most part, "audiophiles" are gullible consumers with a fondness for imaginary qualities found in "snake oil" products and they have excess disposable income to afford such products.

Audio professionals, on the other hand, just need good quality, durable tools that work.

I say all this with tongue somewhat in cheek but isn't there really some truth in there somewhere?
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by carledwards View Post
Because, for the most part, "audiophiles" are gullible consumers with a fondness for imaginary qualities found in "snake oil" products and they have excess disposable income to afford such products.

Audio professionals, on the other hand, just need good quality, durable tools that work.

I say all this with tongue somewhat in cheek but isn't there really some truth in there somewhere?
yep, definitely some truth. The less cynical view is that pro-audio equipment doesn't need to have the extremes of some aspects of audiophile equipment. A super-wide soundstage is not only not particularly needed, it can actually be detrimental in some usages. You also need a really balanced sound more in pro equipment than you need in audiophile equipment, where a lot of the allure is different sound signatures. And yes, durability is a huge concern for pro equipment.

But yeah, a lot of it is that pro-equipment can't get away with charging the prices that audiophile equipment can. No studio would buy it.
post #6 of 23
As far as I can tell most headphones labeled 'studio' are closed and designed for recording, where you need good isolation and absence of bleed...and also durability because they're going to get a lot of abuse if used in a commercial studio. A totally 'refined' sound sig is not necessary for that purpose. The open 'studio' headphones are for the most part 'audiophile' quality and are suitable for both studio and home use...they're not usually used for recording, but for mixing or mastering...think hd600/650
post #7 of 23
Stax, UE custom monitors, Beyer's, Sen's 600, 650. K1000, Etymotic, even Grado make it into the studio. K1000 are specifically studio monitors. All sought after audiophile phones also. For many there is no real distinction though some swear by the DT48 which is actually a field headset.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by carledwards View Post
Because, for the most part, "audiophiles" are gullible consumers with a fondness for imaginary qualities found in "snake oil" products and they have excess disposable income to afford such products.

Audio professionals, on the other hand, just need good quality, durable tools that work.

I say all this with tongue somewhat in cheek but isn't there really some truth in there somewhere?
Totally agreed w/ this. Not just in audiophilia, but in other electronics businesses like LCD manufacturers quoting their lowest g2g response times whilst the avg. colour responses are much higher (>10ms). Who the hell nowadays just uses black and white? What's the point of paying for a colour screen if one finds himself confined to just grays? And let's not get started on the out of proportioned, inflated dcr they put out. Actual measured dcrs by 3rd party reviewing sites are much lower, especially the ridiculous, bloated numbers on LED counterparts like Samsung XL2370 w/ advertised dcr 5M:1 when actual measured dcr ~ 1k:1 or less. ISPs advertising their speeds in Mbps not in kb/s and the list goes on and on all based on their common assumption, gullibility of avg consumers. After all human eyes are all the same. In our busy lives we just skim and look for numbers that grab our attention 1st and web designers accentuate these numbers in bold or bigger font sizes while putting a tiny little superscripted star next to them and at the bottom of the page w/ font size 1 it says "$3.99 modem rental fee applies".

So whether they're relevant in the context of our usage or not doesn't matter b/c it's right there on the official site hence we assume it's the truth. Since not many of us will fork out extra dough to purchase necessary gear to validate those claims and even if some of us did I wonder how many actually know the proper math or the procedure to carry forth or are willing to go out of their ways to learn 'em.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_h View Post
Stax, UE custom monitors, Beyer's, Sen's 600, 650. K1000, Etymotic, even Grado make it into the studio. K1000 are specifically studio monitors. All sought after audiophile phones also. For many there is no real distinction though some swear by the DT48 which is actually a field headset.
The DT48e was designed ENG/field work.. Taking measurements..Voice reproduction. Testing in research labs & DAT engineers. The DT48a was designed for aural acoustic measurements, Ear, Nose, & throat DRs, audiologist, & to test peoples hearing through various frequencies.. The DT48e are also very capable studio monitors & used in broadcasting, studio's, etc..

As far as consumer use for listening to music, they never crossed over like the HP1/2 & K1000.. Too polarizing, lack of bass emphasis, being flat with rolled off highs, treble & small to average sound stage are too much for many audiophiles to overlook, but the quality is defiantly there..
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnmnkh View Post
Make no mistake, but they are actually exchangeable.

I've seen several photos studios using Sennheiser HD6x0 series, and K702 are basically K701 with different color and detachable cable for studio use. DT770/880/990 were actually studio headphones as well until Beyer decided to sell them as consumer headphones. Joseph Grado and Alessandro headphones are also for studio. K1000 are also for studio/recording. Recent example like HD800 are advertised for not only consumer but also professionals.

HD-25, HD280, high-end Ultrasones, and many other familar headphones are introduced for field recording.

And we see Sony V6, some DJ headphones, Maestro, Beyer DT-150/48 recommended for consumer listening purpose (i.e audiophiles) which are clearly made for studio.

And I don't think studio headphones are necessarily cheaper than audiophile. I mean come on, AKG's so called high definition series are hella expensive while they are not really better than K70x, and high-end Sony studio headphones such as V900HD cost some.
I read from one site that rents recording devices, that the HD-25 II has replaced the DT48 in some circles.. Due to being lighter, more portable & maintaining great sound quality.. Makes me think more highly of the HD 25 II.

One thing that separates serious pro reference, studio headphones & audiophile headphones is durability.. Look at the DT48/Maestro/DBI for instance.. the DBI even has steel protecting the cabling..
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post
Why are studio/professional headphones are usually cheaper than the audiophile/consumer headphones? And how are studio headphones different from the audiophile headphones?
Not always,

The DT48 retails for 449. MSRP.
The Stax 4070 retails for around 1,800 I believe.
The Sen HD II retails for 300 or so.
The CD900SR 250.
702 retails for around 500.

Sorry. No Multi quotes
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnmnkh View Post
Make no mistake, but they are actually exchangeable.

I've seen several photos studios using Sennheiser HD6x0 series, and K702 are basically K701 with different color and detachable cable for studio use. DT770/880/990 were actually studio headphones as well until Beyer decided to sell them as consumer headphones. Joseph Grado and Alessandro headphones are also for studio. K1000 are also for studio/recording. Recent example like HD800 are advertised for not only consumer but also professionals.

HD-25, HD280, high-end Ultrasones, and many other familar headphones are introduced for field recording.

And we see Sony V6, some DJ headphones, Maestro, Beyer DT-150/48 recommended for consumer listening purpose (i.e audiophiles) which are clearly made for studio.

And I don't think studio headphones are necessarily cheaper than audiophile. I mean come on, AKG's so called high definition series are hella expensive while they are not really better than K70x, and high-end Sony studio headphones such as V900HD cost some.

ehh, sort of.

The DT880 was clearly a premium / audiophile product when it was released in 1980. The 990 was it's replacement, and then they brought back the 880 in the late nineties.

The 770 may have been conceived of as a basis for aviation headsets and as a drummer's monitor headphones.

AKG draws a clear line between their pro and personal product lines, and you'll note that if you click on the K701 on their front page you get to the personal audio site. You have to click on the microphone to go to the pro audio site, where you can get interesting things like service manuals.

The K601/701/702 are AKG's premium personal headphones. The K240 and K270 series are their pro studio headphones.

You can't use a K701 in the recording booth because the microphone will pick up the leakage from the open back and you'll get feedback, but you'll notice that while the K240 is semi-open, it's vents are designed in such a way that if you are facing the microphone directly, the leakage from the K240 doesn't radiate toward the mic. This was an intentional - and in the early 70's fairly unique feature.

You'll notice that most headphones designed specifically for studio engineer use do not have a boosted midbass, and generally have a notch around 6 or 7 khz. This has a lot to do with what an engineer really needs to hear and what sounds might distract them from hearing it. The DT250 is a good example of this.

It's generally true that at the apex of quality, audiophile headphones and studio headphones start sounding a lot alike - but in the mid-class, there are very distinct differences in the typical sound signature.

I do know a recording engineer, but I have so far avoided broaching the subject of headphone selection with him, because I am an enthusiast using a toy and he is a working engineer using a tool.
post #13 of 23
DBI cable isn't designed for studio, it's like public telephones, designed for when you bring a baby into a record store and it starts chewing on the headphone.
post #14 of 23
Much of the audiophile gear has added colorations. People have been listening to certain colorations for a lifetime and have come to expect to hear them. If they're not in a piece of gear, they find it lacking.

Also, prices of pro gear are much, much more in line with reality.

Audiophilia is horribly tied to fashion, status and various urinating contests. Audiophiles expect big price tags and boy, do the manufacturers deliver. If you price something "too low," then no one on the boards will take it seriously.

Anyhow, if you like mostly uncolored sound and reasonable prices, take a serious look at the pro end of audio. Be sure to consider various pro sources, too. Pro CD players are built tough and can usually be repaired.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Much of the audiophile gear has added colorations. People have been listening to certain colorations for a lifetime and have come to expect to hear them. If they're not in a piece of gear, they find it lacking.

Also, prices of pro gear are much, much more in line with reality.

Audiophilia is horribly tied to fashion, status and various urinating contests. Audiophiles expect big price tags and boy, do the manufacturers deliver. If you price something "too low," then no one on the boards will take it seriously.

Anyhow, if you like mostly uncolored sound and reasonable prices, take a serious look at the pro end of audio. Be sure to consider various pro sources, too. Pro CD players are built tough and can usually be repaired.
I am pretty sure many Pro audio companies make DAC and monitors (and I have several of them) But I never heard they make CD players...
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