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If I mostly listen to mp3's, does it make sense to spend more than $100 on headphones?

post #1 of 151
Thread Starter 

The reality is I listen to mp3's about 90% of the time. FLAC the other 10%. Most of the mp3s are high bit-rate (256 or 320k).

 

I have Grado SR80s and Shure SRH440s. I can't imagine that it would make sense to buy more expensive headphones for listening to mp3s. Am I right?

post #2 of 151

No, you're pretty much wrong.

 

I would say there is no point in paying over $1000 for a setup if you only have MP3's.

 

You need quite a decent setup before MP3's have a really significant impact if they are 256k or 320k

post #3 of 151

Subjective. If you feel like you're COMPLETELY pleased with the current sound quality (smooth sparkly nonsibilant detailed treble, lush mids, hard-hitting textured deep but not overpowering bass, great soundstage) coming from your equipment from your music collection, then no. Otherwise, prepare your wallet.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peskypesky View Post

The reality is I listen to mp3's about 90% of the time. FLAC the other 10%. Most of the mp3s are high bit-rate (256 or 320k).

 

I have Grado SR80s and Shure SRH440s. I can't imagine that it would make sense to buy more expensive headphones for listening to mp3s. Am I right?



 

post #4 of 151

Yes, definitely. The MP3 format isn't complete garbage, but I myself probably wouldn't get an HD-800 with MP3s normal_smile%20.gif

Even the HD-650 will sound good with just MP3s. It's less forgiving than some other headphones, but still quite picky.

Once I got a good pair of headphones I completely re-ripped my entire collection to WAV, FLAC and ALAC.

It's totally worth it, but unfortunately a 32gb Ipod touch and lossless isn't a good combination!

 

Of course some will say there is no difference between 320k MP3 and lossless. Does it matter? I personally would just rather use up the extra space and know I'm getting the best sound file possible.

 

 

post #5 of 151

A good majority of people can't even tell the difference between an MP3 and a lossless file in a blind test. You will definitely hear differences in quality by going over $100, even if you are listening to MP3s. I'd say that as soon as you get to the $500 range, the point of spending any more starts to decrease. So to answer your question, yes it is worth spending more.

post #6 of 151

I used to have all FLAC, but I converted everything to 320kbps MP3 once I realized I couldn't tell a difference even on my DT880s

post #7 of 151


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peskypesky View Post

The reality is I listen to mp3's about 90% of the time. FLAC the other 10%. Most of the mp3s are high bit-rate (256 or 320k).

 

I have Grado SR80s and Shure SRH440s. I can't imagine that it would make sense to buy more expensive headphones for listening to mp3s. Am I right?



 


I'd have to say you're wrong. 320 MP3 sound great, and only better with better headphones. I'd say depending on the type of music you listen to, it makes a bigger difference from MP3 to FLAC. Either way, 100 is a pretty low price point to cut off at. I mean...Senn 25-1 IIs are 200...TMA-1s are 200, even most 'DJ cans' are over $100, and you will here massie differences between $100 dollar pair and a $200 dollar pair.

post #8 of 151
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockgod213 View Post

A good majority of people can't even tell the difference between an MP3 and a lossless file in a blind test. You will definitely hear differences in quality by going over $100, even if you are listening to MP3s. I'd say that as soon as you get to the $500 range, the point of spending any more starts to decrease. So to answer your question, yes it is worth spending more.



i've done some comparing of 320k mp3s to FLACs and barely noticed a difference. i had to really listen hard to notice. but i wasn't sure if that's just because of my headphones, i.e. if i had better headphones i would hear the clear superiority of the FLAC.

post #9 of 151

FLAC = I use it to archive so I can transcode whatever format I wish. But since most of my music is already stored in FLAC I'll just listen from it out of convenience.

MP3 = I use v0 for my portable setup. Sometimes FLAC when I'm lazy lol.

MP3 isn't as garbage as people perceive them as, given the condition the original source is properly ripped and transcoded.

Try a ABX and see if 320 CBR or v0 is transparent for you.

 

Choosing to spend more is entirely up to you. biggrin.gif

 

post #10 of 151
Thread Starter 

hey, i'll actually be glad if I'm wrong. if my music collection can sound even better than it does with the Grados, I'll buy better phones.

 

post #11 of 151

In my experience there is an audible difference between lossless music and even 320 mp3 on quality recordings.  I tend to hear it on top end where highs become less sharp and in the background where detail is lost.  You can see it sometimes if you play the same track (lossy vs. lossless) back to back in software like WMP with the waves visualization.  There are some blind tests on the Web that compare different formats and compressions so maybe check those out and listen for yourself.

 

I guess I would lean towards ensuring that the actual source files are the best they can be before investing in expensive equipment.  Having said that I would think that you would still be able to get better "sound" from better gear even if the major bottleneck in your system was the actual source file. 

 

 

Edit:  I'm looking for more tests but here is one between 128 and 320… listen to the snare, it’s a dead give away:

 

http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/03/mp3-sound-quality-test-128-320/ 


Edited by VanCitySound - 4/6/11 at 1:07pm
post #12 of 151

Still worth upgrading, but not the best situation.

post #13 of 151

I ripped my cds before learning the errors of mp3. They still sound great on great gear.

post #14 of 151

I'd say don't bother the difference between 320k/v0 mp3 and lossless..

post #15 of 151

There was HI-FI with FM radio. There are great Nakamichi cassette decks. You can grow with MP3s too, though I wouldn't recommend it.

Someday someone will likely ask the same about the 16/24-bit divide. 

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