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Hello Head-Fi! Phiaton offers you free gear! - Page 7  

post #91 of 177
Sound quality should be transparent and as faithful at sound reproduction as possible. COMFORT is also very high as I like to listen to my music for several hours at a time. Good looks, well I think everyone here will agree that if they look good and they sound good they are worth the price. I also like the modular type phones that easily allow you to replace parts easily as they *are* rather fragile things, and the investment is usally substantial at the higher quality levels. That would also lead us into durability. Make them to last with proper care.
post #92 of 177
Phiaton Team,

It is always a pleasure to see a new player in the headphone arena!

What makes the perfect headphone you ask? Well, sadly there is no perfect answer, but there are a few things to really look into.

Balance and neutrality are of utmost importance to me. A headphone needs to be able to play all music properly and faithfully!

So, the headphone needs to have an extended low end response, without sounding clouded. So, there should be as little roll off as possible, and as little boost as possible, making the bass realistic, tight, and often lacking in a headphone -deep, 20 hz deep. Often mid bass is simply bumped, and there is severe roll off after ~60 hz. Mids should be involving, and highs should be high and sparkly but again, they should not dictate how my music sounds, the music should.

Transparency and neutrality are invaluable. If you follow this advice, you can be sure your headphone can be universally liked and respected, but not everyones favorite. Word of mouth is key, so if someone can recommend it without liking it best, you won.

Detail and speed second to me, I should be able to hear everything that was recorded when I play a recording - everything. Drum stick clicks, coughs, sliding on a guitar string while changing a chord, background noises. And a quick headphone will always impress too, being able to keep up with music keeps the sound fresh and clear. What better way to make music sound like and involving than presenting the whole, unadulterated sound?

Thirdly, comfort! A headphone should be overly comfy! Avoid using cheap parts, and excessive clamping. The extra touches go a long way for the user, and will only save at most a few bucks per headphone. Leather would seem to appeal to older folks more, while velor or just high quality padding is more than enough. Durability is of course to be considered. Comfort without durability is useless! Being able to use a headphone without discomfort means you are free to be aware of only the sound!

Looks are less important, especially if you are going to keep your prices more reasonable. And the lower the price, the more likely people will buy it! People can get over looks, they can't get over sound or comfort. So as pleasing as pretty headphones are, it really is superfluous as you can't see them when you wear them!

Visceral impact is something to take into account too. It makes the music sound much more believable. While I can't say how this is achieved, I no longer listen to my speakers much since I got my W1000X from audio technica as it satisfies that aspect of music.

Lastly, soundstage should be be what ties everything together in a coherent, fluid way. It should not be overly large as it sounds artificial and thin, it should not be tiny, as this sounds bad and cramped. It should allow everything to get through, image well, and be downright convincing. Choice of housing and how things echo and reverb is absolutely key! Housing can make or break a headphone, especially when close!

Oh! and replaceable pads and also, the cable should allow the end user to re-terminate (not re-cable) it to a 4 pin balance jack, so have 4 wires (with writing indicating what is what if possible)!!! If your headphone is truly capable, people will want to try it through balanced amplification!

Focus on universal competence, matching to individual taste can always be done through an EQ and amp pairing! It should not be done on the headphone end.

Should you follow these guidelines, you are sure to have a hit, peoples varying tastes aside.

Good Luck!
post #93 of 177
Of course, sq is important in any headphone. IEMs should be well balanced and block an appropriate amount of outside noise so I can enjoy my music in any enviroment. A good seal is a must for comfort and best sound. As for on ear portable headphones, I like good bass, and as some have mentioned a good look since I wil be wearing them in public. Sound blockage is not an issue since I will want to be able to hear my surroundings as well. Over the ear headphones need to have an excellent soundstage so I can really feel my music, and imagine I'm actually experiencing the music live. Comfort is very important so I can wear them for longer periods of times; sore ears distract from my listening experience. That's all! Free stuff please! And thanks for this awesome contest!
post #94 of 177
Interesting idea.

My favourite headphones are the ones that seem the most real: the most plausible; almost tangible. The kind of headphones where you can reach out and brush the vocalists cheek, or where the guitar is plugged right into my brain. Music is truly found, in my opinion, in the neutral - perhaps slightly bright headphone that is brutal and unforgiving of the recording. The headphone that lets the vocalist shine through, without comprimising the rest of the arrangement (cymbals seem lifeless in dull headphones and the tenor sax loses its edge).

Music is a key part of my life (I've been playing music since I was 3), and anything that brings me closer to the music I love is alright with me.

I want a breath of humanity in my music, including electronic music: the humanity that exists in every recording, rather than in a driver that compensates.


Although I am social with my music, I generally feel that headphones are best used as a personal gateway into your own sonic realm, and as such, I either expect to use them when I am alone, or have some sort of passive isolation.

My order of preference:
1) Realism/Neutrality (I feel that generally neutral headphones are the most real for the music I listen to).
2) Instrument Separation (So each part of a complex piece of music is crystal clear)
3) Speed (Related to separation)
4) Comfort (I need to be able to wear it for at least the duration of an album [~1h])
5) Value for money. (Although I will pay almost anything to get the sound I really want, I don't want to feel like I am paying for a brand name, like you are with Bose or Monster, for example. Ideally it should perform well in its price bracket, or at least competatively).
6) Isolation (Headphones don't need to isolate sound, but if I am using them on the go, it is a must).
7) Tip compatability. If an IEM is designed, it should be compatible with a wide variety of tips (or a wide variety of tips should be made for it) so we can choose and select which one we prefer the most and/or get the size we like.
8) Soundstage (Hugely overrated, in my opinion. I value separation much much more)
9) Bass Impact (this is not too important to me)
10) Appearance (not too bothered)
post #95 of 177
Compared to a lot of folks in his forum, I feel quite a noob into this hobby and I'd consider it an insult to audiophiles to consider myself one... but I have invested enough to make all my friends consider me crazy, and I consider myself more picky about how I listen to my music compared to most everyone I know.

As a student, the biggest limiting factor is budget, so as some people have already mentioned: value is paramount. I want to feel like I'm getting a steal. Hook them with something entry level that blows everything else in SQ at its price point that it will make them want to explore what else is up the ladder. Consider the lower profit margins on these an investment in your brand, that may get us wanting more. We won't be students forever afterall.

What I really appreciate about a headphone's SQ is its detail and clarity. When I went from ibuds -> sennheisers, even that much got me hearing songs I've had for years in a new way. Upgrading to the TF10s got me rediscovering my same music all over again, hearing stuff for the first time. Sorry I can't explain it better than that at this point (like I said I'm still new to all this).

I hope I win, so I can expand my arsenal of gear & help mature my listening experience... maybe then I can better appreciate my music+gear & contribute more meaningfully to this forums
post #96 of 177
My primary concern is the most accurate representation of the artists' work, headphones should be a mere vessel that transfers their ideas to my ears. Consequently a versatile set of headphones which traverses the wide spectrum of lows and highs while retaining clarity is paramount.
post #97 of 177
What matters to me, of course, evolves, as does my vocabulary for describing what is important to me (thanks mostly to HeadFi). I am a bit of a bass head, but can not stand for overdone, flabby bass as seems to be more and more prominent nowadays. The best bass I have heard was my wife's stock (no, really) McIntosh car stereo in her Subi. She had worked for them and said that the McI guys drove Subi crazy with testing, but it was, imho, worth it. My daily drivers are UM2s, I originally got SF5pros but could not keep the baby carrots that they use as housings in my ears. I am SOOOO glad I got the UM2s instead, as I am now in love with lush mids. I am used to no real soundstage (but c'mon, its pretty cool to have the artists in your head) but am intrigued when I do get to audition other's full sized cans. Right now I can't decide if I should get some full sized cans or just save up for customs (may take a while given I am in grad school).

Thanks to Phiaton for the chance.
post #98 of 177
Probably soundstage/headstage (both size and specificity). It's nice to have a very large, concert hall-style representation. I missed this aspect from some headphones that I owned prior but sold, and would love to experience a large and vast headscape someday again.
post #99 of 177

What a Headfi-er wants?

It's been a pleasure following the posts here submitted by the vast array of people passionate about the whole craft of personal audio. There are debates about subtle differences in bass response, harshness of treble and sound staging. Virtual essays attempting to convey the particular fit and comfort benefits of an IEM or Headphone. Even though I'm relatively new to the forum (just over a year now) I've noticed there are several obvious patterns that repeat throughout the forum;

1) The vast majority of members are very intelligent, articulate and know what live music sounds like, and how they want it reproduced. They're also very unforgiving of products that don't measure up.

2) The basic selection criteria, whether In Ear or Headphone style, is amazingly consistent. At any given price point, the same handful of specific models and manufacturers are recommended time and time again, proving that generally, we all want the same thing, to be able to slip on our gear, close our eyes, and to get carried away by what we hear, until life comes knocking on the door again.

I've loved my stereo gear since I spent my first paycheck, some 30 odd years ago, on my first rig. Ever since then, headphones have always been a special way for me to escape, and obviously most of you feel the same way. I've noticed the thing that really breathes a previously unknown level of life back into our headphone listening experience is what Simon Cowell would call the "X factor". Those of us lucky (or persistent) enough to make that next new discovery. Whether it's finding a new set of headphones that fit like they were made for us, or the latest find of a set of IEMs that sound so euphoric that it makes us dizzy trying to decide which of our favourite tracks we want to listen to next, right down to a basic bargain set of cans that you simply can't believe sound the way they do at the price you paid. I am one of those people. I wish I had unlimited resources to buy and test all the headphones that many of you so eloquently describe, almost as if they were family, but like most of us here, I don't. So I keep reading the posts, and probably more than my fair share of gear magazine reviews and truly hope, that the next great thing in the world of headphones is .....
the set I buy.
post #100 of 177
I love music. I love music so much that I often consider my listening habits to be a form of self medication. Being that there are so many genres and located within those genres sub-genres I do my best to give everything I come across an honest listen; The way I see it there has got to be a "pill" for whatever ails you. And so you can imagine I take my music with me everywhere....
I live an active lifestyle which entails me lugging around my Sansa Clip+ and a couple extra SD playlists in my Jimi to keep sane.
What's most important to me would be the look and feel of a set of headphones only because after judging the book by its cover I can go back to research sound quality. I like form following function in reference to the style of headphone I prefer. I love durability and a make I can trust. I am not bothered by a set being very expensive as I like to look at these types of things as investments. I save up for them. Thank you!
post #101 of 177
I'm a noob in HeadFi, but I judge by sound quality- clarity and details, clear, deep base with textured sound, and then comfort.
post #102 of 177
Most audiophiles have a favorite frequency, or want it all flat. Me, I don't care. I just want the headphones to be engaging, because to me live performances are engaging. It doesn't matter how crystal clear the highs are, how smooth the mids, or how deep the bass if the phone isn't fun and energetic. I guess that is kinda weird coming from someone who loves high end audio, but what is music if it isn't fun.
post #103 of 177
I have a lot of criteria, but the single most important thing to me is probably a flat and smooth frequency response. I like to hear all frequencies equally, from 20 or 30 Hz up through my limit of around 17 kHz, letting all of the voices in music come through as the mixing engineer intended. Otherwise the sound will be lacking, unnatural, fatiguing, and/or muddy to me.
- Bass extension is important because deep bass notes and effects are typical in the music I listen to, but the bass should also be as controlled as possible. It should be present but not overpowering or boomy.
- Mids should be present and accurate--this is where most tonal content resides, and without tones it's hardly music! Peaks in the mids can cause fatigue and muddiness for me.
- Highs should be smooth and clear, present but not emphasized. Peaks in the treble response (especially around 8 kHz for me) can cause sibilance, fatigue, and harshness.

It's a lot easier to add pleasing color with an EQ than to fix problem frequencies. The flatter the response of my system, the less I have to mess with EQing and the more I can enjoy the music.
post #104 of 177
Goose bump factor and it doesn't come from exaggerated anything. There's a delicate relationship between pitch(frequency), time (phase) and amplitude(dynamics). Resolution is a natural result when those are right as you can here further into the tune even on a less resolved phone. When clarity (low distortion/ low resonance) is added to the mix, you've got something really special. Goose bumps come from surprises in the mix similar to when you weren't aware of someone in a room that suddenly speaks up. In music, it's also startling but in the very best way. Songs transcend time and the music is laid out in very definable and beautiful tapestry of flavor and insight. Hearing into the song and understanding the message of the artists even if the mix or recording isn't perfect. It's not about how much bass or sparkle in the treble. It's about a proper relationship of instruments and how they interact. Quantity is about overcoming things you don't care for in your setup but quality is what makes the world go round.

Technically, besides these musical attributes in an IEM, I want isolation and the ability to be used unamped and without EQ, good build and ease of use. Looks like the PS-200 would be very easy to fit and remove with their flat backed yet conical tapered body. Efficiency is of less import as long as a 5v player can achieve normal listening levels. Warmth, bass, or sparkle are meaningless if it can't convey a message. Give me meaning which does require a certain clarity and naturalness of response and all else becomes secondary. Everything I've heard about the PS-200 says exactly this but I wont now until I try. Rarely does a relative unknown get such good comments on musical goodness in review. It's nice to see a company not take the easy way out with a boom, tinkle phone for the masses and be willing to make something better refined for a more discerning audience. Sounds right up my alley.

In a closed phone, I want the same things. Closed or open is less important as there are defining needs for both. A monitor type needs to be closed and seal pretty well and isolate the mix from a live performance. Durability for this type is essential as they will see some hard use but there is certainly nothing wrong with also looking the part. As these go into bags, portability without bulk is a must. The cups need to swivel enough to lay flat which helps with space and breakage. Goodness comes from the same musical attributes described earlier along with an ability to be worn for hours without significant fatigue.
post #105 of 177
The most important factor in deciding my perfect headphone is the sound quality. The main reason I am ever upgrading headphones is to listen to my music at a better quality. The MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR in deciding my perfect headphone is its ability to clearly articulate each instrument and sound in a recording. My perfect headphone would have great balance across the board, not neglecting a single instrument.
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