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i'm starting to feel all this audiophile grade equipment isn't as good as its cracked up to be?  

post #1 of 123
Thread Starter 

i have tried 2 higher end headphones in the $100 to $200 range. and they distort way to much. i would sometimes prefer to listen to i buds but i don't as they don't have any details whatsoever. is it that the higher end shure headphones. The srh750dj's and the srh840's need an amp. everyone says its easy to be ran out of an iPod. but the distortion makes me feel they require an amp. if i were to buy an amp would the distortion go away. i would love to hear all this wonderful quality everyone praises on hear. i'm starting to feel like any pair of headphones over $50 that have certain size drivers require an amp. though my pioneer se m390 sounds terrible in comparison it doesn't distort as much though it still does on certain frequencies. it seems to me to nice quality you must buy an amp and that will run another $100 for a cheap one and can even go up to around $400 for a good one or more. this will not do. i heard my friends Bose triport around ears and i thought they sounded great. i think you guys are to harsh on Bose especially when he got them for $150. they were impressive though if my shure srh840 didn't distort i would undoubtedly agree that it sounds much better. will a fiio e5 solve my problem or will i need a much more expensive amp. i feel to get the Bose quality and no distortion in the end you will spend the same price for both the amp and the headphones themselves. maybe getting Bose isn't such a bad idea. but i will definitely avoid beats as they sound absolutely terrible with the exception of the beats pros which i actually liked. yes they had very recessed mids but they didn't distort yet they were huge. why is this. perhaps we are a little harsh on these 2 brands. all i want is decent sound quality that sounds realistic and no noticeable distortion. distortion to me is very fatiguing.

any thoughts. i still love my srh840s but i feel maybe they are harder to drive then everyone describes on here. i think everyones definition of drivable out of an iPod or normal laptop is lots of details which i can assure you i get but a lot of the sound distorts. i don't know how people can monitor and make records with headphones that distort. it seems it would lead to very badly recorded albums.
thanks for your time.

post #2 of 123

To respond to your title:

Same here, which is why I regressed all the way back to the Compact Cassette and I'm planning to get a MDR-110LP to go with my Walkman.

post #3 of 123

I can't comment on the headphones you mention but it seems to me that, along with a lot of other newbies here, you're worrying too much about amps. Buy a decent pair of headphones such as is recommended in whatever your price range is (use the reviews and comments to guide you), then simply either use whatever HT or stereo amp you happen to have or, if you have none, buy a Cmoy or the Fiio you mention. When people here obsess about amps they're speaking from the point of view of--obviously--people with an obsession, which you don't yet suffer from. Using headphones out of an ipod usually results in indifferent sound and sometimes distortion due to lack of power, but a good brand speaker amp will drive anything and will sound just fine to most people (I've never used anything else). When people here say, "It needs to be amped" they mean a dedicated HP amp, but I'm telling you from 40 years of using headphones that that just is not necesary. To my ears, and certainly in the price range we're talking about, dedicated HP amps have nothing over quality speaker amps, which many if not most people already have.

 

Just as an afterthought, I think these two posts in some ways demonstrate what's wrong with Head-Fi, in that we've lost perspective. Newbies are getting the idea that whatever heaphones they buy, they're going to have to spend twice as much on an amp or their phones will sound like crap, and that just isn't so.      


Edited by pp312 - 3/9/11 at 3:44pm
post #4 of 123

To be honest, I think the case with HD anything be it audio or especially video - there's an element of getting used to it. This is both a positive and a negative, as there's every chance that it will take some experience before the qualities of your headphone become apparent - this is of course burn in too - but over time with constant exposure something horrible happens with high definition video and audio.... you do get used to the quality so that *it* becomes the norm and anything less is suddenly horrid! aka your headphones are no longer as mind blowing as it initially was. This phenomenon is ultimately why people upgrade their stuff quite a bit and not just in headphone circles. 

 

I think it also has a lot to do with how experienced you are as well not to mention where you came from, for example if you aren't that experienced at all (im not) and you came from surround sound systems, then headphones are bound to be a little underwhelming because they cannot match subwoofers for the glass shaking bone moving bass rumble. Also the headphone fidelity goes hand in hand with the resolution of the files you play too. Often harshly and hilariously so.

 

As for amps, I have a Fiio E7 and a Xonar Essence ST card which both double as dac+amp combo units....both are excellent. But do they make that much difference ? I'm not convinced it's night and day but there's definitely appreciable differences - for starters you can normalize your volume instead of having to set to full volume like you had to previously. They take some harshness out and add some detail by allowing the rest of the spectrum a more even landscape. And usually there's bass boost and eq settings on tap if you wish to play with those or use them. Are they worth the money ? Yep. Necessities ? Umm I'd rather use the term desirable. Or highly suggested. But you don't absolutely need one as you can use without and hear things and quality. But it's a fair bit better with an amp to say the least. 


Edited by Thommohawk - 3/9/11 at 3:55pm
post #5 of 123

Any of the cheaper Grados are way above average; no distortion. I run the 325's out an iPod with no issues. Though I did add a Ray Samual Hornet portable battery powered amp. Sounds great and never had any distortion with any Grado configuration. And, I like to play loud!!!!!!!!!

 

I also run a Little Dot III tubed headphone amp in the house; $199. I had no headphone jack on the CJ preamp. So,,,,,,,,,,,,, I love/hate this hobby. But, music is the greatest.


Edited by parnlyp - 3/9/11 at 3:53pm
post #6 of 123

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post #7 of 123

This topic reminds me of something Uncle Eric posted. He said "audio is fashion for men".

 

That has stuck in my mind and anytime I start thinking that $1000 is a reasonable price to pay for a pair of headphones I plug my SR60's into my iPod Shuffle. 

With that "rig" I can enjoy my favorite music as well as I can with anything.

 

Yes, I have more expensive gear, and yes it sounds better than the SR60/Shuffle but I don't spend enough time just listening to music to justify spending more.

 

 

 

post #8 of 123

I think you need to describe this "distortion" you are hearing...

You're really not describing the issue enough.

 

Describe what it was that you liked about the Bose, that you didn't like about the SRH840's

And do so without using words like "Distortion"

 

 

FYI, Bose headphones distort like crazy

post #9 of 123
Thread Starter 

thanks for all the responses. i am really starting to feel that perhaps high end audio may be a little overrated. i definitely notice a difference between cheap headphones like ibuds and expensive headphones like my srh840 but i would easily be satisfied if all i had were i buds (which in my opinion aren't as bad as everyone says they are. the only reason i don't use them all that much is do to the fact they don't fit in my ears properly and they are uncomfortable. i like my shures better as they have way more details. i just feel that i wish i never discovered this hobby because then i would still be satisfied with cheapies. believe it or not but 2.5 years ago i was satisfied with dollar store ear buds and i would never spend more then $20 on headphones. i felt $20 was way to much. i still am today a little hesitant to spend a lot on head gear.

 

and regarding my headphones distorting i contacted shure and they said the srh840s do not need an amp. if that is the case then i am starting to feel that in order for me to be satisfied with audio i need to buy headphones in the $600 or more range. perhaps i am just more sensitive to these things then others. in a way i wish i wasn't because i would be satisfied with these and never want to upgrade.

post #10 of 123

 

Could you please read my post above and describe the issue in more detail?

 

I don't think what you are hearing is "distortion" at all.
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post

thanks for all the responses. i am really starting to feel that perhaps high end audio may be a little overrated. i definitely notice a difference between cheap headphones like ibuds and expensive headphones like my srh840 but i would easily be satisfied if all i had were i buds (which in my opinion aren't as bad as everyone says they are. the only reason i don't use them all that much is do to the fact they don't fit in my ears properly and they are uncomfortable. i like my shures better as they have way more details. i just feel that i wish i never discovered this hobby because then i would still be satisfied with cheapies. believe it or not but 2.5 years ago i was satisfied with dollar store ear buds and i would never spend more then $20 on headphones. i felt $20 was way to much. i still am today a little hesitant to spend a lot on head gear.

 

and regarding my headphones distorting i contacted shure and they said the srh840s do not need an amp. if that is the case then i am starting to feel that in order for me to be satisfied with audio i need to buy headphones in the $600 or more range. perhaps i am just more sensitive to these things then others. in a way i wish i wasn't because i would be satisfied with these and never want to upgrade.



 

post #11 of 123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nullstring View Post

I think you need to describe this "distortion" you are hearing...

You're really not describing the issue enough.

 

Describe what it was that you liked about the Bose, that you didn't like about the SRH840's

And do so without using words like "Distortion"

 

 

FYI, Bose headphones distort like crazy


 

at the time i heard the bose i had a very cheap pair of sony mdrv150s and i thought the bose sounded amazing and didn't distort. the distortion i am getting happens when i listen to music at a higher level then 60%. i get a very annoying screeching noise with vocals mainly though the instrumentals sound just fine. i also find it hard to differentiate instruments sometimes. also flutes and folk instruments make a squeaky screeching noise as well.

post #12 of 123

Thats not distortion, thats called sibilance.

 

Basically, you need headphones that aren't as bright.

(Or a source, or amp that is less bright.)

 

EDIT: Cheap components can bring out this issue too.

I have the same problem listing to stuff on my laptop... Though my ipod 5G had no such issue.

[EDIT2: I REALLY have this problem with the my psp. I have to use my old $5 IEM's with the psp or I will get a horrible headache]

 

Solutions:

  • Less bright/warmer headphones
  • Warmer Source
  • Warmer Amp
  • Cheap solution: EQ

 


Edited by nullstring - 3/9/11 at 4:25pm
post #13 of 123

1. disable the EQ on your ipod.  all it does is induce distortion and other artifacts.

 

2.  if the EQ is disabled, then the distortion is coming from you listening waaaaaaayy  too loud...  rolleyes.gif

 

3.  if you listen at sane levels, and the EQ is off, and it still distorts, then i suggest you download some decent tunes.  'cuz you're listening to too much Red Hot Chili Peppers or something...  (in other words, lots of newer music is brickwalled.  and has distortion all over it.)

 

seriously, it's one of those things.   or a combination.

 

distortion isn't something that just "comes with higher end headphones".

in fact, it's quite the opposite.

 

peace,

the wuss

 

 


Edited by TheWuss - 3/9/11 at 4:26pm
post #14 of 123
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post

thanks for all the responses. i am really starting to feel that perhaps high end audio may be a little overrated. i definitely notice a difference between cheap headphones like ibuds and expensive headphones like my srh840 but i would easily be satisfied if all i had were i buds (which in my opinion aren't as bad as everyone says they are. the only reason i don't use them all that much is do to the fact they don't fit in my ears properly and they are uncomfortable. i like my shures better as they have way more details. i just feel that i wish i never discovered this hobby because then i would still be satisfied with cheapies. believe it or not but 2.5 years ago i was satisfied with dollar store ear buds and i would never spend more then $20 on headphones. i felt $20 was way to much. i still am today a little hesitant to spend a lot on head gear.

 

 

I was like that not so long ago in truth, but, there's also the element of the fact that I can no longer go back firstly...secondly there's also the fact of you get what you pay for. Also there's the possibility that the headphone you purchased just isn't fully doing it for you...I had that with the first pair of expensive (at the time) headphones I purchased as they more or less totally lacked bass and they were rather boring - great for TV watching though because the mids projected in front of you. Not so much for music for me though. Everything else was great about them but for that. What I mean is there's a headphone and set up out there that's spot on for you at a fair price for what you would be getting. For example my set-up I have the Beyer DT 990 Pro which honestly tick all of my positive boxes and none of the negative ones, ASUS Xonar Essence ST sound card which is excellent, and a Fiio E7 portable dac/amp unit for on the go. All of this netted an awesome and discreet audio rig for £300. Which considering what I got for that and what I could have spent, I'm extremely happy with the price/performance ratio of it. So there's likely something out there for you as well. 

 

Also look at it this way, had you not got into this hobby yes you would have been blissfully ignorant or unaware - but you'd have missed out on all this quality. And the journey. The research and reading etc that's the fun part to me, collating the info. Then pulling the trigger and judging for yourself. At that point it's either hit or miss.
 

 

post #15 of 123
Thread Starter 

alright thanks all. in all honestly though all my recording well most anyways are in 320kbps mp3. and i usually dont notice any distortion/sibilance what ever it is on levels below 60%. but thanks for all the help guys i guess i listen to music to loud. really should turn down the tunes. rolleyes.gif

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