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Beginning to think all this high end stuff is a con.

post #1 of 174
Thread Starter 

So I have recently been trying to set up a good system but have so far been totally disappointed.  Makes me wonder whether all this audiophile malarky is worth it.


Let me first say that I hate the MP3 revolution where downloading compressed files for convenience over the quality of CD's is the future.


So I have my iPhone 4 and Senn CX300II and my music is in Apple lossless files.  I find the sound OK and adequate.  It isn't poor but I know better can be had.


I therefore decide to try and get a decent setup for different rooms of my house.  First I buy an average system to use as a base reference point.


Based on excellent reviews, I buy the Marantz 6003 CD player (£250), the Marantz 6003 Amp (£250) and the Tannoy Mercury V1 speakers.  I am very pleasantly surprised by this system and the sound coming out of the £100 speakers.  However using headphones with both the CD player or amp is poor.  I initially try the Senn HD 555's but then buy some HD595's.  Both produce poor results through the headphone output of the Marantz (the sound from the speakers though is very good).


With the obvious poor headphone results I decide to go up a step for my other room.  So I purchase a £2000 Shanling 2000 Tube CD player, a Little Dot Mark III Headphone Amp (£160) and some Senn HD 650's (£280).  Listening to the same tunes I am extremely disappointed to find that the results are not that much better than the results with the HD 595's and the Marantz setup.


Why do all headphones sound poor?  I thought a pair of £280 Senn HD 650 is suppose to mimic the sound quality of a £2000 set of speakers?  It struggles to surpass the £100 Tannoy Mercury's.  Also there is very little difference between the HD 650 and HD 595.  In fact there is not much difference to my iPhone 4-CX 300II combination and the HD 650- Little Dot- Shanling combo.


I have since bought the Senn IE8 for my iPhone (and am waiting for it to arrive) as it appears music from the iPhone isnt actually much worse than that from an audiophile CD setup.


Where I am going?


All headphones seem to distort so easily.  They also appear to sound hollow/tinny and not full/meaty as with speakers.




post #2 of 174

Maybe you just dont like the way the headphones you got sound? I have heard speakers that I thought were a $10K joke, the owners loved them. Mneh, peoples tastes will vary.


Regarding the amp distorting:

Is it the headphones or your amp thats distorting? Get an amp that drives the headphones nicely. Sorry.

post #3 of 174

Why are all the headphones Sennheisers? Maybe they're not for you.


I think my HD 650s sound great, although I can't truthfully say they're 3 times better than my previously owned Grado SR80is, but there is an improvement in many regards. I've also had the CX-300s, and I thought they sounded horrible and could definitely discern a difference in quality between those and all my other headphones. At a certain point you're also going to reach diminishing returns, and the benefits of spending an additional several hundreds of dollars isn't going to be worth it anymore. 


I've stood in high-end sound rooms with some incredible speakers, and yes, quality speakers > quality headphones all day, but you're going to be paying quite a lot to perform at the same level.


What I do think is a con is "audiophile" USB cables and the sort.


And if you're a troll, 8/10 for getting me to respond.

post #4 of 174


Originally Posted by ukbondraider View Post
Why do all headphones sound poor? 


Blanket statement alert.

post #5 of 174


Originally Posted by steveotron View Post

And if you're a troll, 8/10 for getting me to respond.



Anyone else scared by how young head-fi sounds, as well as how few long-standing members are still here?

post #6 of 174

How do you connect your headphone amp? Line out from the CD player? or Pre amp out of your Speaker amp?

post #7 of 174

Duh, you try 555's and don't like them.  Then you try 595's and don't like them.  Then you try the 650's and don't like them.


Maybe time to try another manufacturer.






Among many others.


post #8 of 174
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Cankin View Post

How do you connect your headphone amp? Line out from the CD player? or Pre amp out of your Speaker amp?


The Shanling is connected to the little dot with high end reference RCA interconnects.  There is no additional amp as I thought the little dot would be sufficient if my plan is to simply use headphones.

post #9 of 174
Thread Starter 


The reason I like Senns is because I have tried all the mid range in ear phones from Klipsch, Ultimate Ears, and Shure and always went back to the cheap CX300II because they sounded better.  Therefore I assumed the Senn signature was for me.


Have tried listening to some Grado SR325i and they sounded alot worse than the Senns.


I guess the question is whether high end headphones should sound better than £100 speakers?


post #10 of 174
Originally Posted by Cankin View Post

How do you connect your headphone amp? Line out from the CD player? or Pre amp out of your Speaker amp?

he is running on the heapdhone out. 


Saying that the 595 sounds like the 650 is like saying toast tastes like a tree.

post #11 of 174

He should try the ultrasone pro 900/hfi 580.


The senns well they can sound a bit boring..i prefer the ultrasones for electronic rap dnb.


If your after more bass that is, it is a night and day difference to me.

post #12 of 174

i thought i noticed something similar. my 30$ logitech speakers dont distort as much as my pioneer se m390 headphones which were 2x the price. i thought headphones were better value.

post #13 of 174

IMO speakers are the ultimate listening experience, headphones are convenient (why I own a headphone system, not speakers), more affordable (not all lol) and you can argue more detailed but that's about it. As for speakers, you get huge sound with an encompassing quality, the music just fills the room and you can feel it through your whole body. As for your HD595 that sound the same as the HD650, well my friend had the same experience when he started with headphones, the change in sound quality should be audible, though maybe not as much of a difference you were expecting. Remember headphones that enter the mid-high end level are defined by subtleties and preferences, even more so for the "untrained" ear. After all these years, I have acquired enough sensitivity to easily tell the difference between a HD595, HD650 or HD800, but someone else who is not so experienced would probably have more trouble. Others will tell you to try new headphones, if you want my 2 cents, based on your description, save some money and invest it into upgrading your current speaker system! As much as I love headphones, If I could I would easily go for a speaker system, but that's just me... Good luck, 

post #14 of 174

I used to have an entry level Tannoy speaker setup way back. Found myself reaching for my Grado SR60s a lot though.

post #15 of 174

I use a HD650 out of a Marantz PM5003 so I have some idea of the sort of sound you're getting and it's not poor. However you've just said "poor" without elaborating, and it may be you're one of those people who just can't come to terms with headphones. Until you define "poor" as you hear it it's very difficult to make any helpful comments.  

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