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How do Headphones compare to actual sound systems?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
How do headphones like HD 800 compare to a sound system like a Logitech Z5500?

How do they compare to a Logitech X540?

??????
post #2 of 26
By "actual" i'm assuming you mean speaker setups.

Headphones like the HD800 will have much much higher resolution which exceed cheap systems such as the Z5500. What the Z5500 will offer that headphones cannot is speakers can produce true 5.1 and a more natural soundstage is possible. Personally i'd rather my DT880/600 over the Z5500 which is more expensive.

Sound gets from the speaker to your ear differently from how a headphone gets sound to your ear. Most headphones don't present the sound as speakers do.

Why ask?
If you're deciding between headphones and speakers.. its all about if you need personal audio and budget really. Its easier to get higher quality sound with headphones. But speakers offer things headphones cant give.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
wow really? I have always thought that sound systems are better sq, so headphones are actually better for sq?

what do speakers have over headphones?

I also found this:

Quote:
Comparing speakers versus headphones in listening to news from a computer – individual differences and psychophysiological responses

Kari Kallinen, a, and Niklas Ravajaa
aHelsinki School of Economics, Knowledge Media Laboratory, Tammasaarenkatu 3, 00180 Helsinki, Finland

Available online 18 November 2004.
Abstract
When audio is listened with speakers, the sound comes from a distance. With headphones, the surrounds are more isolated and the sound comes closer to the listener, and may thus create a more intimate and immersive listening experience. We examined the emotion-related subjective and psychophysiological responses elicited when listening news from a computer with speakers versus headphones, and the individual differences in these responses. Self-reported preference, valence, arousal, and understandability of the news, as well as electrodermal activity (EDA), pulse transit time (PTT), respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), and facial electromyography (EMG), were measured.
Headphone listening was preferred over speaker listening, and it elicited more positive emotional responses as indexed by orbicularis oculi and zygomaticus major EMG activity, and higher attention as indexed by shorter PTTs, than speaker listening. However, speaker listening prompted more attention as indexed by RSA among subjects scoring high on the sociability and activity personality scales. Speaker listening also elicited higher physiological arousal as indexed by EDA among high impulsive-sensation seeking and sensation-seeking scorers. The results are discussed from the interpersonal distance and isolation of the surrounds point of view.
The present results are of practical importance, given the possibilities afforded by modern technology to present multimodal information effectively and adapt the information and/or interfaces to fit the individual characteristics of the user (e.g., personality).
source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...892e52e4359b3c
post #4 of 26
Sorry, didn't communicate that well

HD800 vs Z5500.. Theres no contestant there.

Opinion:
Just.. for price, headphones are better in terms of resolution if you can live with the fact they're not speakers (see below). Of course speakers are better but are you willing to drop more money?

Just pre-packaged stuff from logitech aren't really that great from my experience (to memory - wasn't that impressed with my friends' Z5500 - this is before i found headphones. Their cheap stuff is great for price though i must admit.). I mean, you can probably pick up a much better pair of stereo speakers for the same price as the Z5500 (although they may require amping). For example...

Adam Audio A5 vs Logitech Z5500. I'm sure most people here would choose the A5 over the Z5500 because Logitech is well... Logitech. I mean... they make random accessories for computers lol (yeah yeah.. generalization i know). Their speakers aren't "bad", just there could be better had for price. I haven't actually heard the A5 but i'm sure it'll sound better than the Z5500.

Personally, I enjoy speakers more but.. for my bedroom, headphones are perfect. Plus they're cheaper and much easier as an interest hobby :P

Oh, also hardcore speaker enthusiasts sometimes find headphones weird sounding at first (explained below)


Fact:
I read this in another post but.. Sound dissipates in the air over a distance, there is less distance from the headphone to ear so headphones need to make up for this with EQing (this is why headphones frequency response graph dip in the higher frequencies as high frequencies dissipate the quickest. This is why speakers sound more... natural)

Also, presentation of music is different because the sound coming from the left and right channel reach each ear. Headphones.. obviously nothing from the left channel will get to the right ear as each driver is seperate. With speakers.. they're both in front of you. Your brain has these timing cues and of when sound reaches each ear to locate where sounds are coming from. This is why soundstaging works better with speakers (crossover filters try to accomplish this for headphones).


I'm open to being criticised :P
post #5 of 26
Headphones won't allow you to feel realistic vibrations in your chest and feet etc. I think that's about the only advantage, people don't give ears enough credit. You'd probably couldn't listen to a speaker setup that let you feel the vibrations in your chest often anyway, without causing hearing damage. Headphones are basically good for lots of solitary listening. It's kind of silly to compare them with speakers when it is really two completely different experiences and purposes.

The only level you can really compare them on is that headphones are really a one step relatively inexpensive process... Speakers require knowledge of how to build a proper room for them, the time and effort to set it up just right, and basically just a huge pain in the butt for any layman (which includes most 'audiophiles' )

If you're talking about trying to recreate the experience of music perfectly... Go to a damn concert you silly man I suppose speakers are better, since you'll never exactly forget you're wearing headphones, and that's distracting, but that's not the reason you should be making a decision like this. If you have the time and money to do a proper speaker setup, you already have a nice set of headphones for when you're not in your special room :P :P
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef View Post
Speakers require knowledge of how to build a proper room for them, the time and effort to set it up just right, and basically just a huge pain in the butt for any layman (which includes most 'audiophiles' )
Not really, i mean.. just plain ol' "audio enthusiasts" or people trying to just get better sound wouldn't worry about that. I'm content with the setup in my lounge which is far from perfect accousticly.
post #7 of 26
Speakers are a more realistic listening experience because you never sit inside of the bands instruments, they play infront of you. But headphones are better for intimate listening.
post #8 of 26
A more valid comparison would be a headphone amp + HD-800s vs. a speaker amp + equivalent speakers. You'd probably get more micro-detail from the HD-800s, but if you are clever, you could now probably get a pretty good speaker rig for similar money. It might be an interesting comparison, say: B22 + HD-800s vs. B24 + Harbeths. Tempting thought actually, but the reason I have headphones is that I can't listen with speakers all day.
post #9 of 26
I've been researching which speakers and amp to buy, and to get the level of detail from the equivalent cost of headphones is almost impossible.
And getting below 30 Hz with speakers is very hard on a budget (without a subwoofer, might I add).
post #10 of 26
Lifestyle (portable quality) brought me here but I've learned how to listen with headphones. I like the micro-details without all the db and if that means I have to sacrifice some impact, ok. Now movies are a different issue. Impact and full throttle exhilaration needs speakers.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by BloodTotal View Post
wow really? I have always thought that sound systems are better sq, so headphones are actually better for sq?

what do speakers have over headphones?

I also found this:



source: ScienceDirect - Computers in Human Behavior : Comparing speakers versus headphones in listening to news from a computer – individual differences and psychophysiological responses
Better imaging & spacing.. More visceral.. Bass impact you can feel.. True channel seperation.. 5.1.. & a sound stage that no headphone can compete with..
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
thanks a lot for the awesome informative replies

I really want to understand this well right now, forgetting z-5500s, a $1000 pair of headphones vs a $1000 pair of speakers. I want to kind of feel a grasp of it, like a comparative number estimate. headphones are 20% better than speakers generally?

EDIT: I actually wanted to post this comment before the last 4-6 replies

I think I understand now

I will use the headphones for everything if I get them. Music, Movies, etc. everything.

I wonder how different headphones are from speakers for music.
post #13 of 26
My speakers out of a cheap receiver give me a great amount of enjoyment, and the presence that I get is amazing compared to headphones. Headphones are an entirely different experience, so intimate and full of detail. Both are great. That said, even an improperly amped HD800 will blow the Logitech thing out of the water, that is a very odd comparison.
post #14 of 26
It's very difficult to quantify the difference.
Simply put, it is cheaper to get the very realistic tone quality in a headphone setting. But that's just for ears. If you been to live concert, you'll know that the sound wave actually hits you both on body and ears. Headphones cannot reproduce the punch on your chest, but even a lossy bass booster speaker can do that easily. To reach the level of tone quality and detail a headphone like HD800 can give you, you probably need a dedicate listening room. That by itself is a luxury, and we haven't count the price of equipment yet. On the other hand, if you want the room fill by soundwave, any reasonable speaker set up can serve you well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BloodTotal View Post
thanks a lot for the awesome informative replies

I really want to understand this well right now, forgetting z-5500s, a $1000 pair of headphones vs a $1000 pair of speakers. I want to kind of feel a grasp of it, like a comparative number estimate. headphones are 20% better than speakers generally?

EDIT: I actually wanted to post this comment before the last 4-6 replies

I think I understand now

I will use the headphones for everything if I get them. Music, Movies, etc. everything.

I wonder how different headphones are from speakers for music.
post #15 of 26
I've heard it explained fairly simply (I think even on head-fi someplace?) that as far as it relates to budget it's a 1/10 relationship. So $1,000 headphone rig will approximately equal a $10,000 speaker setup.

It sounded good to me when I read it at the time and I am currently using it to justify spending another $400 (I've already dropped $600) to my wife
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