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Where is your point of diminishing returns?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I spent over $600 to setup my current system and expect to spend a few hundred more for a DAC. I think I won't get a significant upgrade without spending at least twice more compared to my current system.

So, this is my point of diminishing return for headphone systems. I'm curious where you settled at, and how you decided.
Edited by codeninja - 4/24/11 at 7:46pm
post #2 of 15

Probably $250.

 

What's weird is that I once said to myself that if I bought a $400 USED headphone it would only be very slightly better than my other headphones like the HD-600 and K702 that I had at the time! WRONG!

 

I bought the ATH-AD2000 and felt it was on a whole different level, but too bad it didn't fit me very well. That thing sounded better than a $400 headphone, but maybe not worth the full $700 or whatever it costs. I forget.

 

I've had headphones often that are $200 not sound better than my $80 favorite pair. Quite sad really and it's not just due to preferences. At the moment whenever I take off my DJ100 and put on the HD-650 I'm kind of disgusted at how it cost about $250 more, has less detail (yes, I've tested this) and sounds maybe 25% better.

 

It seems like the more I spend, the biggest thing that changes is how clear the sound is. 90% of headphones under $100 to me now sound like muffled crap. There are a few exceptions. I personally would like to find a headphones that sounds more clear than the K702 and has even more detail. Does it exist? Maybe the SA5000? I can't afford an LCD-2. Too bad he K702 makes some music not very engaging. Especially Jpop and female vocals. For that I use my HD-650 and HD-598.

 

 

post #3 of 15

It's all about personal enjoyment rather than a technically "better" headphone to me. I've spent thousands over the years on headphones. Been into this since I was 15 in the year 2000. I've yet to find headphones that bring me overall greater joy than the SRH line of Shures. But that's just me and that's now, it could change, maybe it will stay the same. For the meager price I paid for them and how much I love them, $200 is my absolute point of diminishing returns at this point in my headphone journey that seemingly never ends and is forever changing.

 

I can theoretically spend a lot more, and receive very little that makes my ears happy, regardless of whether or not the headphones I buy will be technically better than the SRH's. I've heard everything from PortaPros to the HE90s, Omega 2's and HD800s with some amazing amps too and while they are mind-blowingly good, for my use... generally unamped because I think amps are a pain in the neck... I found my happy place. :) 

post #4 of 15
You get that initial wow factor from any stock buds to something like KSC75/PX100/Portapros. The next level gets better, but not 5x better, and anything beyond is personal preference.
post #5 of 15

well, unfortunately, or fortunately, my hearing is not good enough to warrant expensive headphone equipment. i discovered this last night after extensive ABX testing. i spent a long time trying to tell the difference between FLACs and 320k mp3's. i failed. then i tried to tell the difference between FLACs and 256k mp3s. Again, failure. Even when I compared 192k mp3s to FLACs, my guesses were just that, guesses. At that point, I just gave up and figured that at my age and after so many concerts and band practices, my hearing is sub-par. i definitely do not have "golden ears".

 

as we all know, when an mp3 is made, audio information is thrown away. they try to throw away info that is not audible. well, for me, it really isn't. i don't know what i'm not hearing, but getting high-end gear probably doesn't make a lot of sense.

 

UNLESS I move to a place where I can have a stereo system and speakers!!   lol

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by peskypesky View Post

well, unfortunately, or fortunately, my hearing is not good enough to warrant expensive headphone equipment. i discovered this last night after extensive ABX testing. i spent a long time trying to tell the difference between FLACs and 320k mp3's. i failed. then i tried to tell the difference between FLACs and 256k mp3s. Again, failure. Even when I compared 192k mp3s to FLACs, my guesses were just that, guesses. At that point, I just gave up and figured that at my age and after so many concerts and band practices, my hearing is sub-par. i definitely do not have "golden ears".

 

as we all know, when an mp3 is made, audio information is thrown away. they try to throw away info that is not audible. well, for me, it really isn't. i don't know what i'm not hearing, but getting high-end gear probably doesn't make a lot of sense.

 

UNLESS I move to a place where I can have a stereo system and speakers!!   lol

I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME successfully ABX flac v 192kbps mp3, or even 128 for that matter! (I'm not making this up to make you feel better or anything, I just can't friggin do it bro).

But I didn't let that stop me from jumping into high end audio, because to me, it's not about hearing moar details, it's about giving a different presentation of the sounds that ARE there, or, what's audible to my tin ears hehe.

And hey, even with my mighty Stax O2's, I still can't successfully ABX lossless and 128kbs mp3. But I definitely prefer the way music sounds through them, regardless of whether there is more detail or not.

Don't forget, the whole purpose of mp3 compression is to be able to remove as much data as possible, without losing transparency to the lossless copy, so there's nothing wrong with not being able to ABX the difference.

 

Anyway, diminishing returns are a personal thing, because if nothing else but a >$3000 setup can keep you happy, then isn't it 'worth it' to get there at the end of the day?

So maybe that is the point of diminishing returns. Then again, I was once perfectly happy with the ~$150 AD700's =P.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deadlylover View Post

I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME successfully ABX flac v 192kbps mp3, or even 128 for that matter! (I'm not making this up to make you feel better or anything, I just can't friggin do it bro).

But I didn't let that stop me from jumping into high end audio, because to me, it's not about hearing moar details, it's about giving a different presentation of the sounds that ARE there, or, what's audible to my tin ears hehe.

And hey, even with my mighty Stax O2's, I still can't successfully ABX lossless and 128kbs mp3. But I definitely prefer the way music sounds through them, regardless of whether there is more detail or not.

Don't forget, the whole purpose of mp3 compression is to be able to remove as much data as possible, without losing transparency to the lossless copy, so there's nothing wrong with not being able to ABX the difference.

 

Anyway, diminishing returns are a personal thing, because if nothing else but a >$3000 setup can keep you happy, then isn't it 'worth it' to get there at the end of the day?

So maybe that is the point of diminishing returns. Then again, I was once perfectly happy with the ~$150 AD700's =P.


lmao. so i'm not alone!  thanks for the reply, and you make a good point. its about making the most of the sounds that ARE there.

 

post #8 of 15

Mine is with balanced equipment.  I think the gap between balanced and single-ended is a cable's worth of difference, if even that.  Balanced setups cost about twice as much as good SE setups.  Massive diminishing return there.  I like my upgrades to come in leaps and bounds.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by forsberg View Post

You get that initial wow factor from any stock buds to something like KSC75/PX100/Portapros. The next level gets better, but not 5x better, and anything beyond is personal preference.

This is so true, biggest jump for me was to AD700 and sounded decent even with onboard sound. All upgrades after that weren't nearly as big, I'm still quite glad I have upgraded though

post #10 of 15

Cables, "power conditioners", and all the other fancy black magic is where I stop.  75% of a headphone's cost for a cable is asinine.

post #11 of 15

My current setup has my maxed out my budget entirely. For me to get any better sound, I'd have to buy an  LCD-2, and probably an $800+ amp (maybe I can get away with a Lyr), which would end up being a $2000 upgrade. I can't afford this right now, and I'm more than happy with my rig.

post #12 of 15

My points of diminishing returns is roughly equal to my mortgage payments. Actually, it's probably closer to half, but I can self-justify spending up to that much.
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tdockweiler View Post

 

I personally would like to find a headphones that sounds more clear than the K702 and has even more detail. Does it exist? Maybe the SA5000?

 

 


Have you tried the Beyer DT48? They are the most detailed cans I've ever owned/heard.

 

post #13 of 15

The point of diminishing returns began when I pieced together my first stereo out of hand-me-downs and yard sale finds. For a modest amount of money, I went from nothing to being able to hear all the music I wanted, and it wowed me just as much as almost anything I've heard since.

 

Everything beyond that has been refinement, refinement, refinement at escalating expense.

post #14 of 15

Quote:

Originally Posted by kingtz View Post

My current setup has my maxed out my budget entirely. For me to get any better sound, I'd have to buy an  LCD-2, and probably an $800+ amp (maybe I can get away with a Lyr), which would end up being a $2000 upgrade. I can't afford this right now, and I'm more than happy with my rig.


You can definitely get away with a Lyr.  =]

post #15 of 15
My point would probably be with a HD-600, a Dynalo or M^3 and a modest used DAC. It is tempting to go back to this and roll the cash into something else. Though I'd probably keep the HD-800, K-1000 and DT-48 along with a DIY tube amp. I just might, too. The speakers are taking more of my listening time lately. (Yes, I'd keep the speakers, too.)
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