Originally Posted by paradoxper
Nope, very good point. I think it's looking pretty irrelevant though, considering..."we'll" pay for it no matter where they set the price at.
I guess if every 2 years products were released with quantifiable differences you wouldn't have an issue with upgrading?
Oh no, I'm a hypocrite - but I will say that most of the cans I've bought since ~2010 were released originally before 2000. But I would still buy something new if it's cool and neat, I just tell myself it's about as practical as collecting shoes or ties or what have you - I don't need it and it doesn't benefit me, I just really really want it.
Originally Posted by LCfiner
No, because there are headphones that are better and/or more expensive than them.
I would place the MD at a similar level, or higher, as the HD600, HD650, D5000, RS1, LCD2, PS500. These are all really good. Th MD are better than some of those headphones at some things, worse at other things. But none of those headphones are "summit-fi".
summit-fi is all about creating something with as few compromises as absolutely possible regardless of price.
But your quote was about headphones in general being more affordable, so i thought I'd bring up the MD.
summit headphones will never be affordable.
I would say the D5000, RS-1, and LCD-2 don't deserve to be in that inclusion, because they were all originally designed as a cost-no-object flagship for their respective companies. They've just been surpassed by more expensive models that offer slight differences (in the case of the Denon slight improvements).
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy
IMO the >500g HE-6, so far is surprisingly comfortable, I don't feel the weight of them any more than I do on HE-400, and overall more comfortable due to better gimbal flexibility. This surprised me greatly.
See, and I've heard this before - I remember a discussion with Val (from V-MODA) about weight not being the sole factor to if a can feels "heavy" (and as a personal experience, the ESP/950 are about double the RS-1, and feel lighter on the head), but there was no consensus on how to figure out whether or not a given can will or won't feel heavy beyond avoiding the doorstop stuff.
I think the "old trio" is still a hi-fi classic, but I don't think of them as "summit", and I still don't really believe they ever were "summit'. Orpheus, Stax etc always outperformed them. But they were wholly unobtainable to all but the uber-rich so they didn't factor in for most people. Now there's this new "in between" group that it's cheaper than Stax, but more expensive than anything else, so it got lumped in with summit. I don't see the standard for hi-fi having been bumped up a peg so much as the standard for summit-fi slowly moving downward. I don't think of HD800 as an "expensive HD650" so much as "a cheap Orpheus." That's a stretch, but the idea holds.
Very true. I often point out that virtually EVERYTHING often discussed at Head-Fi is hi-fi. It's a forum almost entirely about hi-fi. Summit is just that, it's the split out of whatever the top performance currently is above the general norm of hi-fi enthusiasts. And that will either always be a moving target, or will wholly stagnate. I think we're close to full stagnation though unless prices start moving down or tech creep starts moving downward. Though HE-400 indicates at least in one corner, that's starting to happen.
On the contrary, I think consumerism is more about never maxing out. People will by the best Walmart item around for $20 without looking to see that the REAL version of what they're buying costs $200 somewhere else. So they'll run the treadmill of $20 cut-corners Walmart knock-ofs totally $1000 of purchases on the same item that never really served its purpose right to begin with rather than just spending the $200, buying it once, and never having to worry about it again
I see this, but I also see people who want to do this (for what I reason I don't know) instead of just doing it right the first time (so to speak).
Headphones are a whole different animal, laregely because there's no such thing as maxing out. Doing that would involve buying an R10....and then being told it's not good enough
For me, personally, I prefer maxing out. I maxed out (short of stax) with HD650 5-6 years ago. It was a good purchase. I love my HD650. To the point of recently paying to fix them. I doubt I'll ever get rid of them. Now I bought my HE-6. Today it's summit, tomorrow it won't be, but it will always be very good hi-fi. And unless there's a massive breakthrough in tech that alters headphones forever, as long as they continue to work I doubt I'll be buying anything "better" for a good few decades. Maybe better DAC or amp...because I didn't max out on that. But you get the idea. Consumerism is mostly about not knowing what you actually want and what's really available.
The HD650 and HE-5 purchases are based on knowing what there is, knowing how the cycle works, and knowing what I desire, then spending the money on it. Consumerism is just a rampant cycle of "the best" without even knowing what "the best" is. and too many people at HF get sucked into it. How many people bought HD800 to get "the best" without an understanding of what Orpheus and Stax, and R10 etc is?
Oh, I do see it happening. Not yet, but it certainly will. HD800 at $500 is valid because 10 years ago HD650 at $500 was the benchmark of diminishing returns. Focusing on a 10-year cycle is close enough. They're milking it, and it's slow. But there will be tech creep downward in the not so distant future I think. The summit prototypes are paying off in a few areas. Beyer's moving Tesla downstream finally. HiFiMan has the HE-400, that takes a good chunk of HE-500 which took a good chunk of HE-6. They made it much more efficient (electrically) and 1/3 the cost. The tech of the prototypes certainly creeps down. Sure HE-6 is still better than HE-400, but the point is the tech of the HE-6 and the benefits that tech brings are moving mainstream. That's how it's supposed to work. Senn may have fallen asleep but everyone else hasn't.
Okay, so then what about the HD 580 being essentially the same headphone, from 1992, and the ESP/950 being from 1990-1991, and the STAX SR-Lambdas dating back into the 1980s, or the R10 being from the 1980s, or the HP1000, etc?
And the existence of orthos....rehashed from the 80's which themselves were a pared down cheaper stat is an example of a very slow creep downward. We went from Stax to HE-400 along those tracks.
Planars != stats. Different design tech. You might be thinking of electrets (which haven't come back, would be neat if they did).
Nothing revolutionary though....just evolutionary. I've said before, I think without new RECORDING technology, we're kind of at an roadblock for what a speaker can do. I suspect someone will be enterprising enough to revolutionize recording and hi-fi with it at some point, but it's not on the horizon now. The last major recording breakthrough was when Bing Crosby started multi-track recording. And that was not a good revolution.
I think the "next step" is DSP based, at least in most people's eyes - things like DeQX, Trinnov, Audyssey, etc. But that's slow going to headphones.
Obob: You realize that this showdown between the two biggest windbags of Head-Fi will become the stuff of legend, right?! We're going to overload Google!
Two enter. One leaves.
Exactly. I'm at odds with many folks over "mid-fi" monickers for some excellent hi-fi pieces like HD650. (Uhm, LCD-2 at the same level as D5k?) but over the summit-fi monicker there can be little confusion I think. It's the crazy expensive stuff for the people who don't mind paying for the crazy expensive stuff to get whatever prototype represents a new theory or material in practice, or an old theory or material applied in a new way. I do concur that "summit" being out of rational affordability is kind of expected. They're small batch things, often experiments. The exotic and quasi-exotic stuff needs a name to keep it seperate from the things sane people would buy. "summit" is the chosen name
I'm fine with that - I view "hi-fi" as the "old school trio" and thereabouts (there's modern stuff that could be jumped in there too), and anything above that is just an exotic - like cars. A Ford Mustang or a Dodge Challenger is a fast car, but it's not an exotic car, a Ferrari is. But both of them are fast enough to get your licence taken away.
Only when people then take the stuff sane people would buy and start calling it "I guess it's ok for a mid-fi route" because it's not crazy-priced summit prototypes that it gets dishonest.
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy
Returning the the amp/avr conversation yesterday, you have a good working knowledge of amps etc. What's your thoughts on tone controls in general versus bypassing the tone controls with something such as "source direct" button in terms of general performance? Paranoia tells me to keep the tone controls off. But they are interesting to play with!
Really depends on how the tone controls are implemented by the device. With older analog components (I have an old stereo receiver with a "Pure Direct" switch for example), I would agree with using the P-D mode (and it audibly drops background noise so on, and the manufacturer has specs to back it up, and so on), but with modern digital front-ends you can pretty much go buck wild with EQ, tone controls, etc because it's all applied by DSP and done extremely accurately (versus some 5% resistors or whatever that are trying to center on 100hz and may or may not pull that off and so on - it's like the difference between a butter knife and a chef's knife). With digital front ends, the only advantage to "source direct" and similar is if you want to nerf bass management or room EQ on-demand, and there are scenarios where I can see this as worthwile.
I experimented with a Jesse Cook album and cranked the treble all the way up (or what I would call "I set it to full HD800 mode") and found it actually sounded good. In fact, having seen him live, amplified, twice, I can say that I'm pretty sure he runs his concerts "in full HD800 mode"
) When I set it back to normal it sounded amazingly veiled. It isn't of course, but the brain perceives the drop in treble that way. Also, setting bass and treble to max makes HE-6 a great low-volume-listening can!
Yeah, that's about what I'd expect. But if you had done this with an EQ you could get closer to the desired goal - it's a matter of precision. This isn't to say that tone controls are always bad, it really just depends on the device in question. Variable loudness is a similar thing - it can be great, or it can be a pain.
Originally Posted by rasatouche
My thoughts on this, The key is finding that balance point between bang for buck, and save now pay later. In other words, I want as much performance as I can get per dollar, while also spending extra dollars now if it will delay having to spend more money shortly after the purchase, and then also balancing against how often I will realistically be using it, whatever it is. I took the plunge from astro a40's / etymotics hf5's to lcd-2's / lyr / bifrost combo, I was jumping around, looking at he-400's or pro 900's, all which would have had a compromise of some sort compared to the next tier up basically, where the compromises are less technical and more subjective (do you want bass & rolled of treble or sparkly treble and airy soundstage basically). Even if it's only mild, it's one of those things that once I'd been exposed to, which would have happened at some point, I'd never be able to not 'notice' it again, and in future would have ended up selling my 'mid-range' gear and upgrading, and in the process spend more money than I had initially. The etymotics hf-5 wasn't like a huge leap in clarity, but it was a huge jump in terms of presence, body, that sensation of actually being there rather than just hearing a nicely recorded & mastered record. Are they 4 or 5 times better? No, but they are better, often quite notably, on some tracks I'd even say it's night and day, the music goes from sounding clear and analytical to vibrant and alive. I don't have a 'mid-priced'/'old top dog' headphone to compare though.
This is where I'm saying the "treadmill effect" does people a disservice. And imho the general quality of modern non-exotic headphones (and cars, and food, and so on) has drifted down as costs have risen, so it makes the exotics more appealing. I remember a thread talking about this a while ago and someone (I think Asr, but don't quote me on that) made a comment that modern exotics are better for buyers than old exotics, because stuff like the SR-507, HE-500/HE-6, ESP/950, RS-1/GS-1000/PS-1000, LCD-2/3, etc are all right around a grand, and are all top-notch, while older exotics like the R10, Ed7/9, L3000, W2002, K1000, etc could run up to $5-$7k for a similar top-shelf experience. So I think the cost-no-object class is still doing what it does best, and popularity has brought the cost of exotics down, but it's the tier under that that truly suffers. We've gone from the HD 580 and K701 to the Beats Pro and so on, and it just inflates the quality of the more expensive stuff by contrast, and makes the "mid-range" look unappealing as a whole ("if this $400 headphone sucked, what says all $400 headphones don't suck and aren't a lot of compromises and crap?").
It applies to all hobbies almost the same way, for example with a computer, I can build a system that will give me 90% of the performance of the most expensive available for 2/5 of the price, sometimes less, depending on the scenarios I'm using it in. Same with cars, $200,000 gets you a porsche, A million gets you a veyron, which is only a little faster to 60, but it makes all the difference if you're driving it. While I'm not rich and loaded I'll juggle bang for buck with the best I can afford, I'll get the best headphones I can afford, and use an amp / dac that does the job, I might not be getting 100% out of the headphones, but getting 90% out of them for 1/8 the cost is the smarter move for me right now, otherwise I break the bank, then in another 5 years I have to upgrade again, or when the tech drops in price I can get today's top tier amp a few years down the road for much cheaper. If summit-fi is spending the extra 20% to get that last bit of performance I won't be bothering because I have too many other things to spend my money on right now :P, but getting to that 80 - 90% is good enough for me, even if it means spending 10 - 20x the cost of consumer level tech, to me it's cheaper than constantly upgrading / selling / eating depreciation. Headphone tech doesn't move as fast as my other hobby (computers), which is good, or else I'd need to start whoring myself out, But if I spend say 2k every 5 years...that's like $7 a week to get goosebumps when I listen to music, well worth it IMO.
I get this, but where I'm having an issue is the assumption that technology somehow moves along that fast (the same claims are made about computers and performance, and it's generally untrue there too - same with AVRs, and cars, and so on; technology CREEPS along - the engine, comfort, features, etc in my 1987 are almost identical to what you could buy in a 2007, and my 2008 computer is still top-tier; I have amps from the 1970s that are still top-shelf performers too, so buying it once and doing it right certainly has some merit). Sure, something like the HD 800 does represent an R&D investment but it's a bucket of cash for minor improvements that may or may not be subjectively better for a given listener over whatever they had previously - that's basically all I'm saying.