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Cant decide on the Grados Ps1000 or the Ultrasone Edtion 8s

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi folks

 

Great forum, but boy is it hard to make any decisions with so much information to hand :)

 

Im trying to get my hands on some headphones for movies, music and games. Roughly in that order. I read one review of the Ps1000s saying they were amazing for detail and they're somewhat akin to full speakers costing more than 5 times the price, so I was really interested in these for films. The same review though did mention that compared to others like the Ultrasone edtion 8, the ps1000s lacked a good punch of bass so thats where the confusion lies.

 

Do you recon for movies like Saving Private Ryan or Aliens where a thunderous sound is at the forfront of attention, is it better to spend a bit more and get a good headphone amp for the ps1000s or should I go for the Ultrasone 8s? Are they better suited?

 

On the music side of things I love listening to Tangerine Dream type synthesizer music, but also pumping bass heavy hiphop tracks so I do like the idea of more detail but would also really appreciate a good kick of bass.

 

Ive thought alot about both but now I really dont know where to land. Both seam to have amazing sound detail but I honesntly I dont know which would suit me better.

 

Thanks

 

 

post #2 of 7
Have you listened to either yet? Before you commit that kind of money, you should attend a meet or find a way to hear them.

Also, I strongly disagree that they "beat" speakers costing five times the price. Speakers do things that headphones simply cannot. A 40mm or 50mm driver can only move so much air - they do not compete with even an 8" woofer properly employed.

Another factor is the high cost of headphone amplifiers. They're mostly boutique items at this point and you might need to spend into four figures to get a high quality one. On the other hand, speakers are not as sensitive to amplification and there are many competent used speakers amps that are a great value.

It actually can cost less to get great speakers and a competent amp. My main speaker rig cost me about $1,500 for the speakers and power amp. I've heard the PS-1000 and Ed. 8, and I'll take my speaker rig over them any day.

If you're open to speakers, look at used ones at Audiogon. You'll find amps there, too. For about $2,000, you can get a good amp and excellent speakers. Don't buy into the myth that headphones are always better than speakers because it is not true. You have to look at both and decide which serves you better. Headphones are better if you have to keep noise down, have issues with space and want a very personal listening experience. If you have room for speakers and no neighbors to complain, speakers can give you better value for your dollar than the new high-end headphones.
post #3 of 7

I agree with Uncle Erik.  If anybody told you a pair of headphones would provide you better sound than a sound system five times the price, they can't be thinking about headphones that cost more than $1,000.  Would a pair of used SR60s sound better than a sound system costing $300-$400?  Sure.  Would you get the same deal on headphones costing $1700 to $1800?  No way.  A decent sound system will give you a larger soundstage, dedicated woofers and tweeters (and possibly dedicated midrange and subwoofer speakers).  The bass, if it's any good, will hit your whole body, not just some part of your ears.  On my system, which cost me less than my PS1000s, I can feel the bass hit my clothes - from my chest down to my socks.

 

I don't know about the Ed 8 but the PS1000 will more than adequately dazzle you while you're watching movies.  At night, when I'm up and my wife is trying to sleep, I don my PS1000s and watch movies with the 15-foot extension cord that comes with the PS1k.  It's not the only set of cans I like to listen to while watching movies.  There are lots of great cans for this - but the PS1k's don't disappoint.

 

As for what headphones do well, perhaps as well as the more expensive consumer loudspeaker systems, is get the sound right up to your ear.  If I want clarity, my headphones are second to few loudspeaker systems.  That's not because they're better, just better suited for the task.  Most of the problems I find with home audio (besides the junk we sometimes buy) is the effect of the home environment and home sound.  Carpets, floors and ceilings, furniture and furniture placement all affect the sound - either suppressing it or magnifying it (often with reflective distortion).  If I want to listen to something carefully and decode a difficult passage - especially dialogue - I reach for my headphones.

 

Buying the PS1000 or the Ed8 so you can play video games is a little like flying to Italy for a pizza.  You can have impressive gameplay sound for less than $1,700 - but if you've got the coin, enjoy.

post #4 of 7

I don't pretend to have experience with audio anywhere near this level but I def agree with Bilavideo here that HP's and Speakers have very different jobs and do different things well

With headphones I can get lost in the music and I can actually understand those fast lyrics

But sometimes you just need to get out of your head and relax

I love my grados do death but I still use speakers ~40% of the time; they just give a totally different experience

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi folks, thanks for your imput here, greatly appreciated.

 

Hi, Uncle Erik, you're right about the comment I made about full speakers sounding anything like a pair of headphones, no matter what built they are, but I neglected to mention that both space and a close proximity to neighbours doesnt really allow me to invest in a proper all singing all dancing entertainment system, so its basically what I can get away with at the moment. Also I like the idea of a very personal listening experience.

 

I also listen to music on my iphone, although the idea of carrying around headphones with that kind of price tag is highly unlikely, id still want to try and get the best listening experince out of it as possible at home.

 

I think I read that the open style of the ps1000s alow for a greater soundstage and less of the "in your head" type sound than the closed Ultrasones so im thinking the ps10000 are probably better suited for movies and listening to music at home in that regard. I do like the idea of a closed headphone so I can take it with me on holiday or on the train, but to be honest, thats a secondry concern.

 

Also with regard to headphone amps - just leave well alone unless im willing to spend silly money on it yeah?

 

Hi, Bilavideo,

 

I read your review of the ps1000s, very informative - Ive also read that the ps1000s arent exactly neutral sounding, that they dont reproduce exactly what they're asked of - they add their own distintive design to the mix. Having said that though, I also play a lot of old sources (like videogames) so something that can bring out additional quality and ritchness in an old 16bit game would be lovely :)

 

Outside of these two designs, is there any other headphone I should be looking at? Granted I idealy need to listen to these things before buying, but is there anything I havent considered in this quality range?

 

Thanks for everyones imput :)

 

 


Edited by Boomeh - 9/12/10 at 3:15am
post #6 of 7

Unless you are already experienced with headphones, I'd stick with something cheaper for now. Sure, it's nice to be able to say you have a statement series headphone. But there are plenty of very capable options that cost far less, and you may want to see what they have to offer before going all out.

 

The Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 are still excellent sounding headphones. They can be found for under $300. I'd probably start there before moving on to higher end models. As long as you don't trash them, they retain the resale value so you can easily make your money back if you don't like them.

post #7 of 7

Originally Posted by Boomeh View Post

 

Hi, Bilavideo,

 

I read your review of the ps1000s, very informative - Ive also read that the ps1000s arent exactly neutral sounding, that they dont reproduce exactly what they're asked of - they add their own distintive design to the mix. Having said that though, I also play a lot of old sources (like videogames) so something that can bring out additional quality and ritchness in an old 16bit game would be lovely :)

 

Outside of these two designs, is there any other headphone I should be looking at? Granted I idealy need to listen to these things before buying, but is there anything I havent considered in this quality range?

 

Thanks for everyones imput :)

 

Grados get a bad rap for lacking "neutrality."  Put another way, they're "colored," and in certain audio suburbs, the "colored" need not apply.  Purists of a feather . . . . 

 

In truth, the neutrality issue is so steeped in hype, I think Ponce de Leon is still down there, trying to huck his way through.  On paper, neutrality is what we're all looking for.  We want "fidelity" to the original sound, with systems that represent it just as it is, or was,  We say we want headphones that don't put their thumb on the scale, representing one frequency more than another.

 

But it never works like that.  Never.

 

I've yet to encounter a headphone with a flat response across all frequencies in the audible spectrum.  Never mind the trouble this causes makers of loudspeaker systems, systems that have the advantage of room-sized soundstages, dedicated three-way systems and a variety of strategies for implementing crossover circuits (First Order, Second Order, Third Order, et cetera).  Just focusing on the major players in the market, it's obvious that nobody deals in neutrality - nobody.

 

NeutralityHype.png

 

In this chart, there are no "neutral" headphones.  All of the major players are above flat on the bass, because we all like bass.  It has been argued that we prefer a little extra when we're wearing headphones - as a compensation for all the bass we're not getting through our feet, legs and chest.  Grado's 32 ohm 40mm drivers don't dig as deep as the 50 and 55mm drivers from Sennheiser and beyerdynamic.  On the other hand, its 100 Hz peak (great for kickdrums) backs off much quicker than the others, so from 200 Hz to 1 kHz, Grado has flatter - and much more neutral - mids.  Between 1 kHz and 15 kHz, there's no neutrality, just different peaks and valleys.  To be sure, the PS1000 has more present highs, which lovers of other brands find excessive for their tastes, just as Grado lovers find their 5 dB suckouts a tad anemic.

 

I love to read the excuses people give for why "flat" is so important except when it's not.  They'll tell you what Headroom says there should be more bass and less treble.  A slight emphasis in bass is to be expected, as is the roller-coaster drop-off at the high end.  "Flat," they'll tell you, is not really desirable because of ear sensitivities and the ridges in the ear.  It's all just nonsense.

 

Sound is what sells headphones.  If you like the presentation in mine more than in yours, you'll be after mine in a heartbeat.  Why?  Because we don't come to HeadFi for diagnostic tools.  We come here for pleasure.  Our headphones are an aural cigarette.  They're an addiction just slightly safer than sex and drugs.  If you're listening to rock, there are certain tweaks you'll respond to, at 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 500 Hz, 2 kHz and 8 kHz.  You'll either want a little more or a little less of something.  Maybe a little more bass will feel more authoritative.  Maybe a little less of the high-mids will be a little smoother.  On the other hand, you want female voices and electric guitars.  Often, the top end is manipulated to create an "airier" soundstage.

 

For all our talk of "neutrality," truth be told, we want a little spice in the chili.  If all you taste is the "purity" of your ground beef and beans, you're probably not having a very good time.  On the other hand, too much coloration is about as obvious as a cheap salesman, wearing cheap cologne, selling you cheap pencils when you've got better things to do.  Most of us prefer Hollywood flicks to some guy with a home camera.  Most of us know that models - and their photos - are airbrushed.  We just don't want the eyeliner applied with a magic marker or the eye shadow applied with a cue stick.  A little bit of lip gloss is a nice thing.  A lot of it is positively frightening.  If white legs were really that attractive, there wouldn't be tanning salons.  But too much of a good thing turns hot legs into leather.

 

The most neutral headphone I've enjoyed - among the current consumer offerings - is the HD800.  It's a surprisingly balanced headphone, very nice, one of my all-time favorites.  But from about 1.5 kHz to about 5.5 kHz, the HD800 sucks out - from a few dB to 6 dB below flat.  At 6 kHz, it spikes a few dB over flat, then goes into that roller-coaster ride through to 15 kHz and beyond.  Does the HF sound as if it's a little repressed?  Sometimes.  It's certainly not as airy through this region as a Grado.  On the other hand, the HD800 is an outstanding headphone - fast, open, spacious, amazing.  The fact that it's not as flat as a pancake doesn't seem to take much away from its glory.

 

It's all about the sound.

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