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Expensive Headphones Powered By Weak Systems Are Counter Productive?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

So I recently started doing some research about getting myself some decent headphones and almost everyone asked me the same thing budget, purpose I had for the cans, environment using them in etc....  I read the guide to purchasing Headphones and then I posted it on one of my tech forum and a Audiophile as he labelled himself, after reading what I was planning to use the headphones for (listen to music, listen to audio from movies/anime, play games etc.....) I had my eyes on the ATH-M50, HD 280/380 etc.....

 

He basically told me that a USD200 Headphones or higher is overkill if I will be mostly finding myself listening to MP3 he then went into detail on what level sound card and type of file format I would have to be listening to, to in anyway benefit from using high end Headphones.  In a way I didn't want to hear what he was saying but at the same moment it also lead me to consider if what he was saying if it was actually true he stated if I wasn't listening to WAV, DVD Audio, CDs and or Vinyl and if I didn't have a certain level sound card to be processing all of that, that getting a expensive cans just to listen to MP3 was overkill.

 

And basically recommend that I just get myself the Grados SR60i or SR80i and that would be ideal if not more than enough for what I am going to be using it for. 

So I want to know how accurate is he?

post #2 of 6

A high level headphone is always going to sound better than a low end or mid end headphone, regardless of source. Unless it physically can't be driven, ie HE-6, STAX.

 

You'll hear many more artifacts pass through however and it may not be to your liking.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamerzhell View Post

A high level headphone is always going to sound better than a low end or mid end headphone, regardless of source. Unless it physically can't be driven, ie HE-6, STAX.

 

You'll hear many more artifacts pass through however and it may not be to your liking.

 

Physically can't be driven?  And are you referring to the HE-6 and STAX headphones?

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post

 

Physically can't be driven?  And are you referring to the HE-6 and STAX headphones?

 

Yes, STAX drivers require hundreds of volts to move and the HE-6 is so inefficient that it requires speaker power to get it to perform properly.

post #5 of 6

$500 headphones with 102 db sensitivity aren't going to be harder to drive than $80 headphones with 90 db sensitivity. I don't see how price is relevant.

 

I'm far from the resident headphone amp expert around here (I listen via my '80s pioneer integrated), but it sounds to me like the "audiophile" you mentioned was just going through the motions expected from an audiophile.

 

Randomly telling someone who wants to buy ATH-M50s about Grados and vinyl is classic "Am I an audiophile yet??? How about now? What about now?" behavior. Those aren't better or worse, they're just very specific tastes. Equivalent to your waiter randomly suggesting you exchange your burger for caviar.


Edited by machoboy - 9/21/12 at 3:23pm
post #6 of 6

Just because you're running higher end headphones through lower end system doesnt mean that it's counterproductive, it just means that it won't run it its full potential. Of course, there are limitations to just how much a pair of headphones will scale up. Try out the headphones that you want to buy, and if you're satisfied with the sound, great!

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