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Your most hated audiophile-related misconceptions?

post #1 of 201
Thread Starter 

Hey there Head-Fi,


Just another Monday night, curiosity bugging the hell outta me about this. What's you guys' most despised misconception about your headphone hobby? Just go crazy, anything from the differences between 320 .mp3 and .FLAC to even the copper vs silver debates.


Mine however, I guess is a little less "professional", but I bet is common all the same. I absolutely detest people hearing about my constant use of audio gear and saying "if you keep using your headphones like this, one day you'll go deaf." even though my volume slider has never touched above the 50% mark.


Heh. Heheheheh. I appreciate the concern, but I doubt I'm at higher risk than them volume-lovin' youngsters. Like that nephew who loves to blare his iBuds through his Macbook at maximum volume. Seriously though, just because my headphones are large, don't mean I like to listen "large".


So, what kinda opinions related to/toward your hobby that you hate?

post #2 of 201

That somehow headphones portray anything close to "accuracy"...

post #3 of 201

Just found this yesterday, but our use of the term "microphonics" is misguided and incorrect.

post #4 of 201

I suppose that what I detest most about how people regard headphones is that they think they're incapable of positioning beyond basic, one-dimensional left/right panning, when in reality they're just hobbled by most sources being mixed in a fashion most optimal for loudspeakers.


This goes to the point where some people think that, somehow, anywhere from 2 to 5 crappy little drivers stuffed closely together in an earcup can provide better positioning than one high-quality driver in each ear coupled with a bit of HRTF mixing, which better reflects how we actually hear things.

post #5 of 201



Things that I think are over-emphasized about headphones, or straight up misunderstood and/or utterly false, here:


01. Accuracy

02. Neutral

03. "Forwardness" of a particular range of frequencies

04. "Recession" of a particular range of frequencies

05. Specifications of a headphone or piece of equipment being used instead of actual experience (this includes graphs)

06. Requirement, scaling effect and general "better with" of an amplifier for headphones

07. Impedance is somehow associated with higher quality or "audiophilia"

08. Reposting of ancient information that is not accurate about a headphone or line of headphones (Denon's screw, etc)

09. Too much guess work from reading, with fewer and fewer posts having experience behind the commentary

10. Burn in

11. Overhyped headphones that get re-posted as the singular greatness in audio with no experience with other headphones

12. Flavor of the month anything

13. Brand loyalty

14. Cable upgrades with differing metals in the context of low power and short distance (ie, headphones)

15. What hi-fi is, and/or what reproduction is, all things involving "what the artist intended"

16. Headphones that are only good for one or two things, yet still recommended & funded (ie, "good for gaming" "good for movies")

17. Compressed audio versus lossless audio digital formats & physical media formats (compare this to audiophiles with speaker setups)

18. $200 headphones being referred to as high end

19. Fashion headphone posts, both praise & hate (obvious bias is only interesting to read if meant in a context of humor)

20. Cost reflecting quality only


I find the biggest factor to be psychology and it's discounted or not considered at all when talking about audio in general.


The psychology of preference and it's involvement with what something looks like, something that is popular compared to less commonly known, associations of sound better and quality with something that is more expensive or commonly known, such as branding, or simply being posted more often and therefore somehow better because of that. In other words, if it's more expensive, is something you've heard of, and is the newest thing around or a well known classic, it will sound better than something that people state over and over sound inferior (basic herd mentality; note, this is not a negative comment or description, this is simply an aspect of psychology that heavily applies here and is often utterly not considered). There are a lot of headphones that are technically inferior to others yet sound better to more people. There's simply way too much, also, of an over-riding idea that if you spend more money, get a nicer cable, nicer amplifier, better DAC, your entry level headphones will sound better with your compressed MP3/iTunes collection. Of course if you want it to seem/sound better, it will to your brain. Psychology plays a massive, massive role here.


Very best,

post #6 of 201
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

"Insert Awesomeness Here"

Greatest. Post. Ever. Whenever MalVeauX comes in a thread...it's pretty much end thread. There's absolutely nothing left to expand on after this.

post #7 of 201

99.999% vs 99.9999% (I don't think I could ever hear the difference). Might be great for science, but I don't feel we can really improve cables through increasing purity without chalking up massive diminishing returns.

post #8 of 201
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post



Things that I think are over-emphasized about headphones, or straight up misunderstood and/or utterly false, here:


03. "Forwardness" of a particular range of frequencies

04. "Recession" of a particular range of frequencies

20. Cost reflecting quality only




post #9 of 201

I'm always told that if I keep always buying 300$ + headphones I'm always gonna be broke.  Oh wait ... we're talking about misconceptions

post #10 of 201

I agree with MalVeauX's statements, except 5 and 9.


If experience is all you could go by, half the technology in this world wouldn't exist. There's a whole lot of learning, experiencing and re-learning to do if information cannot be quantified, and there's no way for information to propagate.

The fact that a headphone sounds good is because there's some aspect of its performance that increases listening pleasure, albeit different aspects for different people. Its an inherent part of design, and graphs and measurements depict that performance mean, statistically speaking.

Edited by proton007 - 10/9/12 at 12:40am
post #11 of 201
18. $200 headphones being referred to as high end



High end is all relative to the person buying. Even though i paid $300 for a pair now, I still think even $100 headphones are "high end" and never planned to spend this much on headphones.


Sure, they're cheap compared to the few $2,000+ models out there, but they're still high end on the grand scale since most people will go their entire lives without spending more than $20 on a pair of headphones.


Porsche (DT-880) and Corvette (SRH840) are still "high end" cars even though they don't cost as much as a Bugatti Veyron (Stax). That's more like ridicul-end.

Edited by machoboy - 10/9/12 at 12:50am
post #12 of 201
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post






To expand:


3 & 4. Fowardness & recession of a range of frequencies is often not universally agreed upon because there is the problem of people using graphs and people using their ears. The graphs are sometimes accurate enough to make this claim from a technical stand point, yet someone can listen and say it sounds fine or balanced to them. This applies vise verse when someone hears something normal to them, but then see a graph or a measurement which suggests it should be recessed or forward. The two influence each other, yet are separate, and often completely back and forth, mixed, and completely subjective since the measurements are not actually accurate each time and the ears are so imperfect for making the differential. The short and skinny: someone will say a headphone has forward mids, and another person will say they are normal; someone will say a headphone has recessed mids, and another person will say they sound normal. And a graph simply doesn't tell the truth about what you hear, so it doens't fix this inconsistency, yet it's always in threads about headphones which sound great, and the term recession is often sounding like a negative value for a headphone, and yet forward often times (like with mids) is sounding like a positive value of a headphone, when that's not true at all--it all becomes a preference battle for what someone is looking for. Since no headphone is perfectly flat, every headphone has forward and recessed zones, but we lump them into just saying "mids" for example most often, being recessed or forward (usually recessed frankly). This is inaccurate, misleading, and annoying. Why I bring it up? I listen to several headphones that have proclaimed "recessed mids" and yet the vocals sound right to me and instruments sound clear and present and not hidden below a cloud of bass and treble. Just looking at the language used, and the context, that shouldn't be possible. Yet we all have similar experiences with this and they all differ.


20. There's always the rash that higher cost represents higher quality, and that's completely false. Higher cost represents a far more complex relationship. Quality is a small grain of sand in that picture. But it often comes up in the form "X costs twice as much as Y and therefore is going to be better."




except 5 and 9.


Hearing 24khz and knowing it's sound from 19khz is dubious. But someone will look at a spec sheet and think the one capable of higher frequencies is better, without ever having listened to it, or knowing that they likely can't even hear that frequency. Simply an example. And when people simply read a review, which is questionable depending on its source and highly dependent on that person's experience and technical knowledge, then start talking about a headphone like they own it and have listened to it for the past 10 years, it becomes problematic as you get this mass of inconsistent information cropping up. It's like someone reading a graph and saying "Get this headphone, it's bassy" when it's not bassy as described by those who actually have listened to it. Again, simply an example.



High end is all relative to the person buying.


This logic basically can be divided down to $1 ear buds, allowing for a $10 headphone to become a high-end based on it's relative cost to the buyer's place in time, space, and dimension--this becomes absolutely ridiculous if you want to boil it down to a scale that shifts based on "relative" natures when there is in fact a hard cap on what a high-end model is since there is not an infinite scale of flag ship models of headphones, there are far fewer, compared to the clumsy ant-pile of mass produced trash-phones that populate big commercial chains and com pre-packaged with audio devices of all kinds. If we allowed for the relative relationship of high end to the person buying to simply be that open ended, it would be ultimately beyond confusing and there would be two conversations going on: one for the people who don't know of anything more than what they've seen in the $XYZ range, and one for the people who have extension knowledge of everything upwards to the most celebrated euphonic devices available. It's not sensible without a context. It's like someone saying "high end Beyers like DT880's" when obviously the T1's exist, but then someone comes in and says Stax and/or Orpheus. If we allow for "relative to the person buying" then the DT880 is a high end when it clearly is not in the context of Head-Fi since the information is readily available.


Very best,

Edited by MalVeauX - 10/9/12 at 12:59am
post #13 of 201
People who add a cable to there kit (amp, cans cd etc) so that they can say theirs is superior to the exact same kit someone else has. My biggest annoyance isnt with audiophiles, its with my mate Gary who says all cans sound the same to him and its not worth spending more than £10 on them, this from a man who happily spent £2000 on his TV! Why do some people discount their hearing as a sense, they will splurge on things they can see but audio is just noise to them.
post #14 of 201

LCD-2 and the other headphones below 2000 dollars being called "mid-fi"... basshead.gif

Edited by MHOE - 10/9/12 at 1:17am
post #15 of 201



Folks who believe that all amps sound exactly the same. I don't hate the misconception, I hate the audiophile. At times I really think these folks are trolls.






Folks who believe all Apple products sound the same. I don't hate these guys, but really feel sorry for em. 

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