Originally Posted by k3oxkjo
Well, I have some sympathy for this, but the problem is there is no one concert hall sound! The balance in the hall can vary greatly depending on where you sit.
I go to concerts in NYC and on vacation in London (Barbican, RAH, Southbank center) and Monte Carlo (MC Philharmonic). I have sat all over the hall, but personally enjoy the sound best in the front half of the venue.
I heard Mahler 9 at Avery Fisher from front row center and it was the most overwhelming sonic experience. The sound there is powerful, with a brighter treble balance than further back but with the bass to balance. With no treble artifacts, that brightness is never harsh, just beautifully exciting.
So there is a variety of balances that could be called "concert hall sound". It's a matter of where YOU like to sit...
Of course there are different balances depending on the hall and where one sits. But I think any regular concert goer trying the various phones recommended here for the first time is going to have some pretty immediate reactions, such as rejecting certain of them out of hand as making no attempt at a realistic balance. Obviously a number of manufacturers have no interest in a concert hall balance; their aim, if it involves accuracy at all, is to emulate the more up-front experience of a jazz concert or pub gig. Still others just want to impress with boom and fizz. Sennheiser I think have always adhered to the realistic balance ideology, which means their phones sound far from impressive to those coming off more flashy phones.
I've been genuinely shocked by some of the anti-595 comments here--not just that they're "boring", which is an old complaint, but that they're "no good with music"--an astonishing claim of a phone that not only has rave reviews all over the Net but won the Hi-Fi Choice award as the best phone under 200 pounds. What are people using as the standard by which to make these absurd statements? Certainly not the sound of live music--in any part of the hall. No, they're using the Grado SR80 they've been listening to since they were 15. And the music? Probably rap or electronica.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not knocking other people's choice of music, even if I wouldn't listen to it myself in a fit. It's just a pity so many people have forgotten what this hobby is about--Hi-Fi--high faithfullness to the original sound, which, when the term was coined at least, meant live music. If people prefer boom/tizz phones that's fine; no law against that at all. The problem is when they condemn out of hand phones with a more realistic balance, a concert hall balance, due to lack of experience.
Sorry to rant, but as you can tell two or three people on another thread really got my goat, and I just had to vent.