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How do Headphones compare to actual sound systems? - Page 2

post #16 of 26
Originally Posted by BloodTotal View Post
headphones are 20% better than speakers generally?
That's like saying chicken is 20% better than beef generally. Not everything can be quantified so neat and orderly.

Headphones: Micro-detail (the breath of a singer, a missed note, fingers on frets) and intimacy (on the stage, at a personal concert). Basically, stuff you'd never really hear in real life. Better than life, sometimes, but unrealistic.

Speakers: The "there" feeling; like there's a band in front of you and your room's a bar. Like you're within panty-throwing distance of your favorite boy band. If you're into that sort of thing.
post #17 of 26
The biggest and main advantage of speakers is that you won't have any restriction when using them like you would with headphones. You can be ANYWHERE within audible distance including taking a shower.

The drawback is that you have to be cautious about how loud you use them if you live with or around people. With headphones, this is not really an issue.
post #18 of 26
Imaging and sound stage is way way better with properly calibrated speaker setup. I do not think any headphone can beat that, of course I did not sample all headphones in the market. Also accurate presentation of bass can be absolutely stunning from a good quality setup(source, amp, speaker & subwoofer). Also instruments can sound more like real instruments.

I have to admit I spend more of my time listening to headphones simply because I do live in a condo and my wife would go crazy if I left the speakers on for long time! . But there will be a day when I am retired, have a speaker setup in every acoustically perfect room in my house, rock and roll every night and party every day!!.

post #19 of 26
Originally Posted by ridiculous View Post
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 $600) to my wife
I think this only works for the 30$ and lower headphones the higher you go in price the less it sounds true.
post #20 of 26
There is speakers and there is PC speakers... PC speakers are almost without exception total crap!
post #21 of 26
Getting into headphones derailed my interest in speakers back in '05, and I'm glad it did. I feel like a much better listener for my headphone experience, which I can now apply to speakers. I guess I have a thing for easily managed hobbies. As with tea, headphone audio doesn't take a tremendous amount of cash to facilitate a good deal of experience.

Since getting a couple SET amps capable of driving efficient speakers, I have had my eye on some Omega or Tekton models, but always stopped short of clicking the booty, especially since I had some decent towers on loan from a friend. Only just recently did I pick up a pair of AV123 525. For under $200 used, they are a lot of sound for the money. I might compare them to something like a Beyerdynamic DT250 or Sennheiser HD595 in terms of quality (not sound signature). Depending on genre, their enjoyment factor is much, much higher. Forgetting the lack of body-bass feeling, there's something about filling up a room with sound that headphones can't compete with.
post #22 of 26
I have a Creative Zen 32gig that I paid $140 for. I have my Grado SR60i headphones that I paid $80 for. I don't think there is a stereo system under a grand thats as good, I could be wrong. One thing for sure, there isn't a stereo system for $220 that can touch my setup. However, the battle with the upgrade monster is a losing effort. As soon as I get the fundage it will be GS1000 and a DAC/amp setup to plug into the puter. Of course that'll mean redownloading my music in lossless. So I guess speakers have one advantage.
post #23 of 26
Originally Posted by BloodTotal View Post
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?

I wonder how different headphones are from speakers for music.
Some of this will repeat a bit what others have said, but when it does, it'll just reinforce it

The thing with speakers is that they are actually much more restricting than headphones. Why? Positioning. To get the maximum, accurate sound out of speakers you have to be fairly precisely positioned, and the room has to be well laid out so as not to have weird sound reflections. To actually get the best out of speakers, you actually can't move around too much. On the other end, I get the best out of my headphones making dinner, folding laundry, and taking walks outsid. I can hear my speakers while doing all those things, but they don't sound so hot from downstairs, or from a block away.

The bottom line is that a really good speaker setup will beat a really good headphone setup, hands down. It will have equal detail, but it will sound more natural and exciting. The problem is that you need a huge cash outlay to equal headphones. I have $1000 Klipsch speakers on a decent Luxman amp from the late 80's, and my DT250's (which, SQ-wise, I consider the lowest on the totem pole of those that I own) blow them out of the water in terms of detail.

But I will try to answer your $1000 question, even though it's such a different beast it really doesn't make sense. I'd say you'd need to spend at least $10,000 on speaker equipment to be equivalent to $1000 of headphone equipment, probably more. I mean, you could get some really nice monitors that have great detail for cheaper, but for me, using 3-way bookshelf monitors robs the fun out of speakers that makes me want to pick them over headphones. You really need those big drivers to send that big sound over a decent distance to make you feel the music, but if you want to feel the music and get the resolution of an Omega2, it means BIG money.

Personally, I still prefer to listen to my music on my $1000 speakers when I can, even over my $700 RS1i's (which I absolutely adore, and are technically better in every way).
post #24 of 26
With speakers, they're here. With headphones, you're there.

I prefer the transporting properties of headphone listening. Sometimes, reality disappears almost completely. I never get that with speakers.
post #25 of 26
Speakers do sound more natural, and let you experience a much bigger soundstage than headphones could ever offer. Not to mention, they aren't as fatiguing and you can actually "feel" the music (with the bass).
Headphones offer a much more intimate experience, allow you to hear the details much better, and you keep your music to yourself. Plus they're cheaper in general
(I got my entire speaker setup for free, however, since it's all my dad's old gear LOL)

PS: If anyone is interested in a full copy of the journal article BloodTotal referred to earlier, shoot me a PM
post #26 of 26
I wish I had speakers...
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