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Can a headphone change musical taste?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

More of a correlation rather than cause effect, but as the title says, has your musical taste been influenced by your headphones?

 

Personally, I felt my musical taste changed from electronic to more towards jazz/acoustic and classical, as I upgraded my music chain. With HD650, I prefer to listen more of real instruments than electronic sounds. Same with Shure SE425.

The dynamics of live instruments made them much more interesting and full of life. Now I'm looking out for those sections of the songs specifically. The raspiness in the singer's voice, the quiver, and the dynamic range seems to be more important now.

I cannot say the same for electronic sounds. They sound better, clearer, but somehow, still the same as before. 

 

So I guess my musical preferences have changed (for the better).

Whats your experience been like?

 

smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by proton007 - 7/17/12 at 7:35am
post #2 of 21
My musical tastes have affected my choice of sound equipment, not the other way around. I think musical tastes grow because of experience and thought, not because of the cans you wrap around your noggin.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

My musical tastes have affected my choice of sound equipment, not the other way around. I think musical tastes grow because of experience and thought, not because of the cans you wrap around your noggin.

 

I see your point.

But the characteristics of your headphones affect your experience, right? Maybe it'll also affect your thought?

I mean, if a headphone makes some parts pleasing and others not much, chances are you'll start growing towards the pleasing aspects.

post #4 of 21
I've found that when your equipment is up to the task of faithfully reproducing sound, every kind of music benefits, and even early recordings sound better. Good for one is good for all.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I've found that when your equipment is up to the task of faithfully reproducing sound, every kind of music benefits, and even early recordings sound better. Good for one is good for all.

 

I guess thats the key.

But most of us don't start from there, do we? Upgrading my sound has taken me about 5 years, to the level where I can really appreciate music properly.

A lot of music I've liked with one pair of headphones is not as interesting as another, and vice-versa. I can see that my taste shifted from bass centric to mid centric in the recent 2-3 years.

A couple of my purchases were purely review based, I hadn't tried them myself, but when I did get them, it gave me a whole new experience.

Maybe some of us are much experienced, so tastes have already been established. For those who've started out recently in this field, maybe this is something to consider.

post #6 of 21
Age is definitely a factor. When I was in high school and college, I kept the bass and treble cranked, and I listened to music with electronic instruments. It's very hard to find the proper balance with that sort of music, because tere's nothing natural to use as a benchmark.

When I started getting into classical, opera and jazz, everything changed. My tastes opened up, and I started to crave a natural sound presentation. I think that was following the lead of the music, not the other way around.

If anything opened me up to new kinds of music, it was listening to new kinds of music. Jazz was the first foray outside my safe zone. That made it easier to investigate classical, which made opera even easier. After that, I hopscotched across a huge swath of music.

Music is like a language. The more variety you hear, the bigger your musical vocabulary is going to be.
post #7 of 21

My biggest change has been sticking to good recordings and leaving the bad stuff in the dust. My first pair of 'phones were a Sony MDR-7506. When I started getting into audio about 2 years ago, I listened to solely alternative rock, electronic, mainstream radio garbage, etc. Nowadays, I lean towards jazz, instrumental music, female vocalists, soundtracks, progressive rock, etc. Whenever I revisit the stuff I used to listen to, I'm amazed at how poor the recording and mastering is. My pursuit of hi-fi has also lead me to get into music from the '60s and '70s, hence the start of my LP collection. I love digging in crates for music and bringing 'em home for a spin. A well-mastered cut from a record certainly beats the crap out of brick-walled digital. I think the next logical step for me is classical music, but I've only dipped my toes into that rink.

 

I'm not sure how much my headphones have to do with the change, as I do most of my serious listening on loudspeakers. Regardless, I think audio gear certainly can change someone's musical preferences.
 

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by OJNeg View Post

My biggest change has been sticking to good recordings and leaving the bad stuff in the dust.

As time goes by, if your tastes continue to grow, you'll realize what a bad idea that is. "There's more on heaven and earth than is dreamed of in your philosophy", to quote Shakespere.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


As time goes by, if your tastes continue to grow, you'll realize what a bad idea that is. "There's more on heaven and earth than is dreamed of in your philosophy", to quote Shakespere.

 

I think there's a certain role of the audio equipment here as well. Some can easily pick up noise, and it can get irritating.

post #10 of 21
If a system makes a lot of older music sound noisy, it's probably over emphasizing the frequencies above 8kHz. If the response of the top is flat, treble is nice and smooth, and tape hiss or surface noise of disks recedes into its proper place.

On my system, I play everything, going all the way back to Edison Cylinder transfers. Pre HiFi recordings sound wonderful and balanced. In fact, good pre-1947 records can be very useful for balancing the midrange. They often have more even of a presentation, and smoother upper and mid bass response than modern recordings. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but I suspect that equalization is used to separate instruments in the mix more today than back then. Older recordings are more direct.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

If a system makes a lot of older music sound noisy, it's probably over emphasizing the frequencies above 8kHz. If the response of the top is flat, treble is nice and smooth, and tape hiss or surface noise of disks recedes into its proper place.

 

Yes, some of the newer audio equipment is pretty transparent.

The general level of tolerance towards tape hiss and noise would be less in the digital generation.

post #12 of 21
Tolerance for tape hiss is directly related to the appreciation of the music in with it. As the digital generation gains more experience, they'll understand the value of performance over sonics, especially with something as insignificant as tape hiss.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Tolerance for tape hiss is directly related to the appreciation of the music in with it. As the digital generation gains more experience, they'll understand the value of performance over sonics, especially with something as insignificant as tape hiss.

 

I discovered Jazz fairly recently and found the poorly recorded stuff difficult to listen to at first. As my appreciation for the music grew so did my ability to listen through the imperfections of the medium. I should be grateful to have the opportunity to listen to Charlie Parker play the saxophone rather than complain because recording standards of the time where less than we'd expect now

post #14 of 21
Be Bop was born during the last years of the war when shellac was still being rationed. That was immediately followed by the musician's union recording ban. We're lucky to have many of those recordings at all.
post #15 of 21

We are indeed

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