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Home Audio System vs HP sys

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

I'm pretty sure I already know the answer to this but being a new Head Fi guy just want to check it out with you guys.

In a nut shell,...every since I got a Headphone amp and some respectable Cans, my home stereo sounds really bad to me.

I have read that it is really hard for any speaker system to match the experience of a good set of Cans / amp combo. Guess that is what is going on?

post #2 of 33

What headphones do you have?  What speakers do you have?  What kind of room are they in, and how much is it treated?

 

In short, headphones can have a very high detail retrieval for their price, but a set of really good speakers would put even the best headphones to same otherwise.  

post #3 of 33
Speakers require equalization. Good headphones usually don't. You probably aren't balancing your response well. It's possible to get even better sound with speakers than with headphones but it costs a bit more and takes more work to adjust.
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Speakers require equalization. Good headphones usually don't.

 

Let's be fair and compare apples to apples here.  Good speakers can at times need EQ.  Good headphones can at times still need good EQ.  Show me a completely flat headphone?  There are none.

post #5 of 33
Headphones are a LOT more flat than speakers out of the box. All speakers need equalization. Only some headphones do.
post #6 of 33

That's absurd, there's plenty of colored headphones out there, and they all have their own favor.  Ultrasone with their significantly u-shaped response, Denon follows that path as well.  Grado and their brighter than the sun presentation, Sennheiser their treble/bass rolloffs, or in the case of HD700 and HD800, pronounced 5-7khz peaks.  This isn't even to mention the very bad ringing a lot of headphones have that speakers usually don't have.

 

Most problems with frequency response with speakers involve an untreated room, but I'm sure you already know that.

 

 

Can you show me a very flat headphone?

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Speakers require equalization. Good headphones usually don't. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Headphones are a LOT more flat than speakers out of the box. All speakers need equalization. Only some headphones do.

 

Speakers don't simply need equalization, they already are getting equalization...from the room (or car). Trying to get a bigger soundstage can easily get offset by a screwed up room and not having the electronics to correct it, which isn't always EQ. The Focal Polyglass V2+Vifa BC25 powered by a Digital Designs C4 amplifier do well with a flat EQ setting, BUT needed a heck of a lot of Time Alignment fine-tuning (plus Dynamat to curb resonance in the doors), which wasn't all gizmo. We had to properly aim and then fiberglass the tweeters in place.

post #8 of 33
Do either of you have an equalized speaker setup?

My Sennheiser HD590s are much flatter than my speakers, and I have very good speakers. If cans need EQing, odds are it's a dB or so here and there at the ends of the spectrum. Speakers usually need corrections several times larger, throughout the range.
Edited by bigshot - 8/18/12 at 10:32am
post #9 of 33

I have a set of Hifiman HE-500's, and they're awesome. However, at the end of the day I still prefer my speakers. All I have at the moment is a 2.0 setup that cost about $200 per speaker (RS621's). They can't match the HE-500's in terms of sheer detail, but they easily best it in soundstage, convenience, fun factor, and were also way more rewarding to buy (building something vs buying it premade).

 

Throw in a subwoofer and even the planar magnetic's famed bass won't matter to me anymore.


Edited by Rebel975 - 8/18/12 at 10:57am
post #10 of 33
Speakers are the best way to listen to music.
post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Speakers are the best way to listen to music.

 

 

I'm agreeing more and more as time goes on. There's just something about how a speaker fills the room vs how headphones sit right on your head. Besides, I feel like I've hit the wall with headphones. Where do I go from here? LCD-3's? SR-009's?

post #12 of 33
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!
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

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.

post #14 of 33
I have been working on adjusting the response of my 5:1 speaker system for the past several months. It's particularly difficult to get a balanced response in the bass, but it isn't impossible. I'm pretty satisfied with my adjustments now. For comparison, if you gave me a set of headphones and an equalizer, I'd be able to arrive at a setting in a couple of hours. When the sound is all around you, coming from multiple speakers and multiple directions, it takes a lot of work to get right. Headphones are much easier.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

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!

 

Thanks to a house with concrete outer walls and a sloped ceiling, "complicated" was more like "impossible" in my bedroom unless I knock the walls down to move the solid bed the carpenters assembled inside the room and just use my folks' old bedroom. Unfortunately they'll need it when they (or any other family) comes to visit. Nuts. My car's speaker system was a lot easier to calibrate thanks to a Pioneer Premier DEH-860MP's 3-way time alignment - didn't even use the EQ.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebel975 View Post

I'm agreeing more and more as time goes on. There's just something about how a speaker fills the room vs how headphones sit right on your head. Besides, I feel like I've hit the wall with headphones. Where do I go from here? LCD-3's? SR-009's?

 

I've hit the wall - almost literally - with speakers a long time ago. I've decided to stay away from a speaker set-up at home until I build a new house - which will be built with a dedicated audio room and HT in mind from the start. Headphones are a compromise, no matter how good - but a speaker system is really a huge investment. All the more reason why I can't really spend on TOTL headphone products - need to slowly put away funds just for the audio room.

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