Originally Posted by bigshot
It's a lot easier and cheaper to do headphones well. Speakers are more expensive, more complicated to calibrate and require the proper space. But good grief! When you hear the sound of an orchestra rushing in to fill the room like a flood of water, it's amazing!
I agree that they are usually more expensive, but I'm not so sure about the "more complicated to calibrate part". Perhaps more expensive because materials are usually required for room treatment, not just equalization as for headphones. Of course, bass is nearly impossible to get a flat response for with speakers, but on the other hand headphones can't reproduce full-room pressure fluctuations at all.
One of the big advantages I see regarding speakers are that they have a consistent objective standard to strive for - measured flat frequency response at the listening position. Normal headphones aren't so simple because of the unnatural placement and thus unnatural acoustic coupling to the ears of headphones (not to mention the difference in angle of sound source). Everyone's ear structure is different and so the desired frequency response of the headphones (to duplicate real life frontal sound sources) is different for everyone.
Speakers don't have that problem because their location far away in front of the listener more closely (but certainly not perfectly) approximates a live frontal sound source.