Like with pc, once you get a certain cpu, videocard ect it is a horrible return for the dollar on the performance you get..at what price point does this happen with headphones?
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At what price/pojint does the vaule for the money become riduclous?post #1 of 327/17/11 at 3:29pmThread Starter
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #2 of 327/17/11 at 3:38pm
It's only ridiculous if you're not willing to pay it. In which case you don't pay for it, and it's of course, ridiculous to you.
Someone else on the otherhand may be willing to pay it. And will. And so to them it's not ridiculous. However, one may think they are ridiculous.
There is a diminishing return for everything. Nothing is a linear climb. You're not just paying for performance in anything. It's far more complicated than that.
You will find some people who are perfectly happy with around $100 headphones that have no dedicated DAC nor AMP who will listen to a flagship setup and like it but not think it worth the thousands it would cost. And vise verse.
Myself, for me personally, I think the ~$300 range equipments are the sweet spot. I find the quality is at the upper end of mid-tier without entering the "thousand dollar bracket" for the equipment, where I just can't warrant spending that much for what I'm getting. But when I try things in the lower brackets, sub $200 for example, they leave me wanting big time compared to what I listen to in in the $300 bracket. Above the $300 bracket, I've yet to be impressed by a headphone enough to buy something at double or triple the cost. To me, after that point, which is not the money, but the current mid-tier `flags' if you will, are simply excellent and beyond them is simply tweaking the sound and further refinement. This is why I have not replaced my HD580's in over 10 years. The HD600, HD650 and the HD800 simply do not sound so much better that I would want to upgrade to them for the cost. That's just me though.
So in my not so humble opinion, it's the $300 bracket that really has the price/quality before the diminishing returns hit a massive plateau that goes on and on where your chart just can't even display it anymore.
Very best,post #3 of 327/17/11 at 3:41pmpost #4 of 327/17/11 at 3:43pmThread Starterpost #5 of 327/17/11 at 3:54pmQuote:
There is no definitive point, sorry.post #6 of 327/17/11 at 4:05pm
Since headphones take into account a lot of subjective experience it's hard to say. Computer hardware on the other hand is completely objective and easy to tell what the drop off point is. For gaming, anything beyond two graphics cards sees a lot of extra money for a relatively small gain. Don't even think about 4 GPU's.
Folding at home and such would use whatever you have, and so there would never be a drop off point. There would be a direct 1 for 1 ratio of money put in to performance gained.post #7 of 327/17/11 at 4:08pm
$2500 for electrostats because you can get a good Stax O2 rig at that price w/ Stax SR323s.
$1600 for orthos and dynamics. Honestly, amps don't change orthos/dynamics that much. Probably less since a Lyr seems to go well with the HE500 or LCD 2.
Of course, you'll get more performance with better equipment, but I find the difference minimal when I don't think my enjoyment of the music is improved much at all.
Edited by wind016 - 7/17/11 at 4:09pmpost #8 of 327/17/11 at 4:13pm
Here's a diffeent viewpoint, based on my personal experience: I once bought an HE-6 for $1000, paired it with a Reference 9 and a speaker amp. To me sounded very good, but all I kept thinking was, "it's not worth the thousand to me", even though I was willing to pay that if I found that it was the headphone for me. So I sold it. A week or three later I got a used AD2000 for $475 and it blew me away, because it was an enrapturing sound that blew my mind, and all I could think was, "I'd have NO problems paying a thousand dollars for these if I had to-easily".
I'm currently saving for either a Zana Deux or CSP2+/Taboo to get the most out of these. This will run me over $2000 on amping alone, but to me will be worth it if it squeezes out another 10% on these AT's. Since I've found 'my' headphone, I'm willing to pay almost anything to maximize that sound that I love. Moral of the story: let your ears determine everything in this hobby, and you may find your own point of diminishing returns is never cut and dry-and it may be much more, or less, than you'd think!
-Danielpost #9 of 327/17/11 at 4:31pmAbout $500.
That's the point where you can start finding good used speakers that offer many things headphones don't, like a good bass response and soundstage. If you go DIY, you can lower that. Go up to $1,000 and some (but not all) used speakers better pretty much any headphones. By around $2,000, you are solidly in the realm of diminishing returns and headed for the land of status symbols.
Anticipating counterarguments, rooms are not that important. Sure, you can spend hours with a SPL meter and glue foam/fabric traps all over the room and get anal about things. But a typical placement in a triangle with your listening seat is usually fine. I adjusted the distance apart, toe-in and distance from wall with my speakers and they sound pretty good. I'm sure a dedicated listening room would be better, but a little work has them sounding better than the HD-800.
Someone is bound to say that speaker amps are more expensive, too. Bull. A used quality receiver for $100-$400 gets the job done nicely with probably 90% of the non-exotic dynamic speakers out there. When you have a driver 1 cm off your ear, you need a well-constructed amp with little noise, preferably class A. Go six feet out and a touch of hum and a class AB circuit is mostly fine. Also, there are good stereo amps going back nearly 60 years. There's a wealth of used gear. Headphone gear has only taken off in the last five or six years, so there isn't the depth of deeply depreciated - yet good - gear out there. I run my speakers off a 1980s tube amp I found for $700. I paid almost $2,000 for my primary headphone amp. If I could have gotten a great tubed headphone amp from 1985 for $700, I would have. But we're going to have to wait another 20 years for that.
Side note: I'm running ProAc Response 2.5 clones with a Conrad-Johnson MV-52 tube amp. Roughly $1,700, or the cost of a PS-1000 by itself. I've heard the PS-1000 and there's no comparison. I'll keep my setup.
Edited by Uncle Erik - 7/17/11 at 4:34pmpost #10 of 327/17/11 at 4:37pm
Um, I think he's probably more interested in the point of diminishing returns for headphones? Great write-up though UE! Once my headphone gear is complete, I'll be getting into the whole speaker setup (again) unfortunately lol. Another can of worms!
-Danielpost #11 of 327/17/11 at 4:38pmpost #12 of 327/17/11 at 4:51pmpost #13 of 327/17/11 at 4:59pm
Great write-up, Uncle Erik. I do agree speakers are the way to go when considering sound quality to price. However, space is really a big limitation for me. So limited that I can not possibly consider it with my constant relocating so I'd have to find the headphones with a non-fatiguing presentation and sound quality like speakers but also isolates from neighbors. I find Stax to be the best for that since I feel no fatigue from the O2's fast drivers and the sound quality is excellent.post #14 of 327/17/11 at 5:26pmThread Starterpost #15 of 327/17/11 at 9:09pmQuote:
Yeah, yeah. I used to have the Signature S2 V2 Paradigm, they are okay but over priced. I like the RC10 energy better from the price to performance
For headphones, My limit is set for under 1K. Above that, to me it ain't worth it. Speakers, be it dynamic, ribbons/ plannar, electrostatic if you have a coherent pair, SQ is more real than HPs. There is no competition there.
I love HPs for what they are and their limitation and under 1K, they are as good as they can be for me . YMMV.
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