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Headphones/Headsets Are All Specs Created Equal?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Good day Head-fi

Was recommended to this site by a member of my tech fourm and you guys seem pretty detail, I am looking to step up from the generic audio to what has been described to me as "enhanced/quality" audio.  I am currently using a low end Cyber Acoustic Headset and I started a Sound Engineering Course so I thought it would be a good time to get some quality cans after going through the reviews for a low budget friendly but quality pair of cans I came to the conclusion that I would give the "Audio Technica ATH-M50" a go and perhaps just get a external mic (I am feeling a bit concerned about the whole external mic thing).  

 

But after checking out the specs of the M50 and just doing some random searching I came across the Astro A40 which basically seem to have the same specs and in some instances better specs that the M50 and for USD50 more I would not have to sacrifice my headset setup.  

So this is where my question comes in even though they have relatively the same specs does that mean the quality is the same or because they were built for two different purposes they have two totally different type of sound?  I am really not looking forward to having to have to choose Headset for gaming and then Headphones for other audio needs I really cannot afford that.

 

Hoping you guys can help me out thanks in advance.

post #2 of 14

If by specs you mean frequency range, then no. It doesn't work that way. Most specs are exaggerated or unnecessarily large. the human hearing range don't go over 20khz in most cases and the performance of the headphone has nearly nothing to do with it.

The specs that manufacturers list that matter the most is the impedance and sensitivity, but that only affects the amp you're using. There is nothing to be concerned about external mics since they don't modify the headphone itself and can be taken off anytime. 

 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Yeah I was referring to those specs Frequency Range, Impedance, SPL etc.... I see and if one is not using an amp?  And taken off?  Their are external mics that can be connected to the headphones itself?

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post

Yeah I was referring to those specs Frequency Range, Impedance, SPL etc.... I see and if one is not using an amp?  And taken off?  Their are external mics that can be connected to the headphones itself?


Everything that a headphone connects to has an amp in it. External mics don't damage or alter the headphone. Check out the Zalman mics


Edited by Parall3l - 9/19/12 at 4:58am
post #5 of 14
For gaming? There's a thread somewhere specific for that. The m50 isn't to good for gaming btw. Litterally no soundstage.

For gaming i use the Astro mixamp and DT990 premiums 32ohm. Then just some cheap clip on mic.
post #6 of 14

As a general rule of thumb, specs are utter rubbish. With the exception of impedance and sensitivity which will tell you amping requirements, specs don't say anything about how a headphone will sound. Sound is something that is VERY difficult to quantify, and can only be done so with measurements (graphs of square wave, impulse, FR, etc) which have many major drawbacks and are mostly done by enthusiasts. The only way to know how good a headphone is is to listen.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eskimo View Post

For gaming? There's a thread somewhere specific for that. The m50 isn't to good for gaming btw. Litterally no soundstage.
For gaming i use the Astro mixamp and DT990 premiums 32ohm. Then just some cheap clip on mic.


No not just for gaming, for all my audio needs gaming, music, watching dvd and other vids etc....    Sorry I am a new to this whole audio thing, what is "soundstage"?  It seems that you are doing what I am trying to avoid, you have multiple head gear for specific application?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post


No not just for gaming, for all my audio needs gaming, music, watching dvd and other vids etc....    Sorry I am a new to this whole audio thing, what is "soundstage"?  It seems that you are doing what I am trying to avoid, you have multiple head gear for specific application?

Soundstage is the imaginary stage where the sounds are coming from different directions. Larger the soundstage = better in most cases, until the point where everything sounds distant. What kind of music do you listen to?

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Parall3l View Post

Soundstage is the imaginary stage where the sounds are coming from different directions. Larger the soundstage = better in most cases, until the point where everything sounds distant. What kind of music do you listen to?

 

I listen to a bit of everything but Gospel but for the most part I listen to Rap, Dancehall, Rock/Alternative, Electornic music.


Edited by Audioenthused - 9/19/12 at 7:44am
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parall3l View Post

Soundstage is the imaginary stage where the sounds are coming from different directions. Larger the soundstage = better in most cases, until the point where everything sounds distant. What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to a bit of everything but Gospel but for the most part I listen to Rap, Dancehall, Rock/Alternative, Electornic music.

The ATH-M50 aren't terrible headphones, but I don't think you'll enjoy them for gaming or watching movies. I also don't find them extremely comfortable, but they aren't really bad either. If you don't need the closed-back design, look at something like the Ultrasone HFI-2400 or AKG K701 - they're both good candidates for what you're wanting to do (a good all-rounder that is comfortable and doesn't have insane requirements). If you need a closed-back headphone, the Sennheiser HD 380Pro or Bose AE2 would be good candidates.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


The ATH-M50 aren't terrible headphones, but I don't think you'll enjoy them for gaming or watching movies. I also don't find them extremely comfortable, but they aren't really bad either. If you don't need the closed-back design, look at something like the Ultrasone HFI-2400 or AKG K701 - they're both good candidates for what you're wanting to do (a good all-rounder that is comfortable and doesn't have insane requirements). If you need a closed-back headphone, the Sennheiser HD 380Pro or Bose AE2 would be good candidates.

 

So what would you use the ATH-M50 for Obo?

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post

So what would you use the ATH-M50 for Obo?

I would use the M50 for...uh...nothing. redface.gif

Too uncomfortable for long-term wearing and no soundstage. I guess for FOH they could have uses, but IEMs isolate better and are more comfortable. I like the Sennheiser pro headphones better, but like open headphones better in general for at-home use.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


I would use the M50 for...uh...nothing. redface.gif
Too uncomfortable for long-term wearing and no soundstage. I guess for FOH they could have uses, but IEMs isolate better and are more comfortable. I like the Sennheiser pro headphones better, but like open headphones better in general for at-home use.

 

FOH = ?

I was thinking they could perhaps also make decent entry level Monitor or Mixing cans.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post

FOH = ?


I was thinking they could perhaps also make decent entry level Monitor or Mixing cans.

FOH = Front of House.

Audio-Technica actually markets them precisely for monitoring ("ATH-Monitor"), and they probably wouldn't be bad if you were taking them on and off frequently. I still think Sennheiser makes a better set for ~$100-$150. None of them are anything I would really get fired up about using at home though - stage/studio use is very different from what I want when I'm relaxing with music. Or playing videogames. I don't care if it's "accurate" - I want it to sound good!

If you don't need heavy isolation at home, I'd absolutely take most of the closed headphones out there off your list, because in that $0-$150 range they're basically all monitors of some sort. There are, however, plenty of decent open-headphones around that $150-$200 bar, like the HFI-2400. These won't be "ruler flat accurate" but they're certainly a good time with videogames or music.
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