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Headphones or earphones give better sound quality?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Im wondering headphones and earphones at the same price rang, which one gives better sound quality? Which one gives deeper bass?
post #2 of 21

Generally headphones, at the expense of portability.


Edited by Synergy Sound - 5/16/11 at 11:49pm
post #3 of 21

x2. It's common sense really. Sacrifices have to be made in order to make the earphone portable, and capable of being powered by a portable source. The general rule of thumb is speakers (least portable) > headphones (somewhat transportable) > earphones (most portable). Not that there isn't any vacillating between the lines, but on the whole it is what one can expect.

 

It's all give and take. You take what you want and pay for it. Now, what are your needs, and how do you plan on using said headphones? Give us a bit more info, and we can provide some better advice.


Edited by JxK - 5/16/11 at 11:59pm
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
I mean at the same price, same manufacture, headphones or earphones give better sound quality? Why are some people so into earphones rather than headphones. I find that most $200 headphones sound even better than $400 earphones. The fact is that headphones are less portable but they sound a lot better
post #5 of 21

I wouldn't say it's always true, but generally full-sized headphones will sound better than IEMs at a similar price.  However, quite often full-sized headphones need to be amped to sound their best and very few IEMs benefit greatly from amping, though many benefit slightly.  But there are some IEMs that are competitive with comparable full-sized headphones.

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by simbeane View Post

I mean at the same price, same manufacture, headphones or earphones give better sound quality? Why are some people so into earphones rather than headphones. I find that most $200 headphones sound even better than $400 earphones. The fact is that headphones are less portable but they sound a lot better


Yes, what you wrote is usually true. The problem is that fullsize headphones are big and heavy, so you typically have to be stationary to use them. Plus the best ones tend to be open, meaning you get no noise attenuation and leak music into your surroundings. Earphones are popular simply because they can be used on the go. Are they as good as fullsize offerings at the same pricepoint? No, not typically. But again, you can't use your large, heavy, open sennheiser hd650s on a busy street or an airplane. IEMs on the other hand are designed to function at such environments.

post #7 of 21

so would a $5XX pair of headphone be comparable to custom IEMs?

 

Im primarily using a UM3X now, and im looking to try to get a pair of headphone as well, would sth like  the ATH-ESW9 be a significant improvement, or would i be better off saving for JH-16s :p

 

 

i've managed to stay away from head-fi for many months now, but curisoirty has gotten the best of me!!!

post #8 of 21

From what I understand, the JH16s aren't really even that massive of a jump from the JH5s.  What exactly are you looking for, anyway?  Are you asking for advice for what headphones to get or what?

post #9 of 21

For me, high end custom IEM's always seemed to be more intimate and detailed than headphones of a similar price range. While the headphones of the similar price range as high end custom IEM's always had a more open, convincing and natural sound. Choose your poison. tongue.gif

post #10 of 21

i think im looking for a stepping stone for the next step in terms of quality, or even just trying something new. Since theres not much point getting another universal IEM (for me, althought im curiousty to hear the SM3) so i starting looking at headphones in around the $500 range. I guess what im trying to find out is how much difference is there when comparing a headphone and IEM (universal or custom) that are around the same price.

 

thanks!

 

post #11 of 21

For me, they're different. I don't know if one is better. I'd say over the ear headphones are more natural; in ears are more demanding. But more demanding can also mean more engaging. I find that that in ears are more like looking through a magnifying glass and over ears are more like just seeing. My experience with over ears is limited though.

post #12 of 21

I personally prefer full size headphones to iems. They sound more natural and cleaner to me. All the iems I have heard sounded congested. Then again my old iems were only $100 and my new headphones are $200. But my full size cans definitely sound much more realistic. Though the portability of iems is unbeatable and i might want a good pair for going out. Possibly the Shure SE215.

post #13 of 21

I have been thinking about this myself for awhile now and I have concluded that there can't be any single answer to this. Even disregarding portability as a factor, there are so many parameters to think about. Think about RE0s or Xcapes v1 (this is the one I heard personally) for example. Is there any full size sold at 80 dollars brand new which has the clarity and detail of them? I have AD700s and CAL!s at that price range, both well regarded, but cannot match above mentioned IEMs in terms of detail and clarity. But when overall presentation, comfort etc. come into play, there are a lot of people who would prefer these full-sizes. 

post #14 of 21

I don't really know if there's a clear cut answer to this.

 

I have some good headphones but not the T1/HD800 level and some customs and both are very good so it's not like one is clearly worse than the other.

post #15 of 21

I'd echo that it's mostly a different presentation. I own both MS-1s and RE-ZEROs. Both are $100 new. Is either one 'better' than the other? Not really.

The ZEROs have the edge on detail and separation, but the MS-1s have the better sound signature and intimacy. Both are utter steals at their retail prices, in my opinion.

 

As you move up the scales I think that fullsize headphones gain the edge because of the mid-priced killers like the HD6X0 and the K70X, but lower down I think that IEMs, particularly the well-priced Chinese ones, are competitive. It's also worth noting that the IEM market has been around for a lot less time than the full size market has.

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