Originally Posted by RayleighSilvers
Been at this hobby for around 2 months, reading loads of threads and trying to gain as much information as possible. I've sampled out some commonly recommended headphones on the way and even bought some as well. My problem, or rather the the pressing question I have is this. Out of all the ones I've tried, I haven't been blown away by any of them
Nearly every headphone review I read, the music used to test the headphone is always instrumental, jazz, classical or vocals, but not pop vocals. Whenever someone is looking for a new audiophile headphone it's generally to do with those genres. Some people look for rock and get recommended grado's, others look for trance/dubstep.
Almost nobody every mentions mainstream music. Pop, rap, RnB. There are a few threads floating around, but I've yet to read a review that deals with those genres. I've read something about this loudness war going on at the moment. About how recording studios are compressing their songs lazily, and how they are boosting the treble and bass. Because of the way these people are mastering their songs, would it be pointless to get an "audiophile" headphone? A lot of pop is synthesised, so would cheap headphones pick up all there is to pick up anyway since their is no "air moving from the plucking of a guitar string" etc..
I'm asking this because my music library probably falls into this mainstream category of badly recorded music (check profile). I've sampled lots of headphones only to be disappointed or unimpressed compared to. Would it be best for me to just get a coloured set of phones suited to my genre and be done with it, or is there something to be gained by buying expensive headphones?
This is actually a good question. I've found myself constantly wondering why people ask for a $XXX recommendation for various genres. Poorly recorded material, poorly mastered material, poorly compressed material, will sound poor no matter how awesome your headfi setup is. I've had mixed experiences when it comes to quality of music. I have lossless/vinyl/CD old rock and it just sounds terrible on very resolving headphones to the point where I can't stand it and look for even higher quality remastered versions of the same music. I have a lot of classical and jazz however that is utterly flawless, silent, you don't hear hiss or noise or imperfection of recording, or weird noises here and there, it's literally just flawless and it's absolutely gorgeous to listen to on a higher end headfi setup. I have metal that sounds like a hot mess through very detailed and bright higher end headphones, yet sounds better and more casual through some lesser headphones. When it comes to electronic, which I listen to a ton of, I find I reach for various headphones that are not high-end. I can tell the difference between lossless and compressed MP3 when it comes to even electronic music, but in general, I don't find electronic music to be all that crazy to need high-end headphones. And I can just go on and on about various genres, but end of the day, here's where I reach for my high-end headphones: classical (from modern, solo piano, cello, to orchestra & opera), jazz (basic trio to fusion), acoustic (simple guitar with a female vocal in general for me) and sound tracks (like Hans Zimmer stuff). When I listen to basically anything else, I'm grabbing a different headphone usually. Here's where I grab my HE500.
When I listen to Robyn, Avantasia, Ayreon, John Petrucci, Kiss, Queen, Cranberries, Corinne Bailey Rae, Dave Mathews, The Who, OceanLab, Buckethead, Opeth, BAD, Euphoric Emotions, Deadmau5, Hotel Costes, Sigur Ros, Genesis, Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, U2, etc, I'm usually not grabbing my highest resolving headphone or high-end and I'm usually grabbing my favorite casual headphone, which in my case, is the Denon D5000, but I've had days where I also just enjoyed it fine with a $30 pair of Panasonic HTF600's and lately a pair of $120 M-Audio Q40's or a set of sub-$200 Beyer DT770's.
I don't think every genre is going to demand a high end setup. I for one don't see the value in a $3k setup to listen to pop, for example.