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Your most hated audiophile-related misconceptions? - Page 10

post #136 of 201
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

My most hated audiophile-related misconceptions have to do with the wild claims some people on these sorts of forums make about the sonic artifacts and differences in equipment that they swear up and down that they can hear. All sorts of dubious "facts" and guff get spread around as a result, and new members look at that and accept it because it's popular consensus, or else judge the hobby based on the intensity of the often circular arguments that repeatedly erupt about burn in or cables. They often conclude that they need to spend a bunch of money on stuff they probably don't need or, worse yet, they take up sides in these arguments just to fit in and thus keep the cycle going.




Argyris, I won't quote your whole post but I just want to compliment you on it. One rarely reads such common sense so well expressed on the Net, and I would urge those who merely skimmed it to go back and read more carefully. If you're not now spending much time here I'd urge you to spend more, even at the risk of listening to music less. We need more rationality like yours in these threads. 

post #137 of 201
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

Originally Posted by jk6661 View Post

The problem is compounded with "reviews" of audio equipment in which the "reviewer" is basically compelled to say that a more expensive product sounds better than a less expensive one. If they don't, they lose credibility among the vast majority of readers who think more expensive equals better. Honestly, when was the last time you read a review that said, "This product is twice as much as that one but doesn't sound any better."


True, but some expensive headphone didn't have much success here:

hd700, ultrasone  edition 10.

It was surprising that there was some bashing regarding a sennheiser headphone, but soon the fan of the brand came to the rescue.

However, it seems the current trend to bash  ultrasone headphones, while there was a time there were the best for "bass heads".


I  remind someone that kept on repeating that the srh940 was as good as the hd800.

He repeated it so many time, that he exasperated lot of people.He was banned at the end.

And curiously the "debate" encouraged me to get the hd800, as well as an other guy.


I've got to say here, saying you think a cheap pair of cans is as good as an expensive pair wont get you banned, it was because whoever it was (I forget) was abusive towards people who disagreed with his opinions. Hell, I think the ED10s are awful, but regarding the value of other 'phones I think it is a bit more complex than that. Let me explain.


I know what *I* like when I listen and what I seek, which is more detail and a clearer window into the music and the expression of the artist(s).  I think the two problems that are encountered here are both that people don't always understand what they are after (is it more bass or a different "sound" or do they really want higher fidelity) and if they do know, they don't know the best way to go about seeking it. Then there are people telling them they need X or Y without first understanding what the person is actually after, either because the person hasn't said or they haven't read and are projecting their own goals on the answer.


In my own case, the journey has led to changes in my listening tastes and brought me to appreciate different kinds of music more. Much of the music I liked when I began is now relegated to being listened to in the car, including stuff I thought was high quality (until I found out there was, yet, much more that was much better recorded) and I am seeking out more music of the quality I listen to on my main system. What is fascinating is how a well-matched system, even if it isn't the most resolving and detailed can be a pleasure to listen with and, likewise, poorly matched high-end gear can be unpleasant at the same time.


So both the person who spends $10k+ on TOTL equipment and the person who buys an O2 and ODAC and says "That's all you need." aren't wrong, they both have different goals in mind and different beliefs about how to achieve it. Likewise when they argue with each other with the usual comments, such as "Have you actually HEARD this system?"* and "My cheap system has uber low distortion measurements." neither are wrong, but just pointing out one aspect of many involved here. Maybe they would do well to consider Robert M. Pursig's comment:


The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility, it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.


What brings you satisfaction is what brings you satisfaction. Maybe it is because nobody here is truly happy and content (otherwise we probably wouldn't be arguing, or even discussing audio gear or much else for that matter) so we are really seeking some piece of the puzzle to fill whatever it is we feel we lack, even if we don't realise it.  It grates when other people attempt to say that satisfaction can be had through something simple when we believe that to be incorrect, which often comes from a person thinking more than they do.


I'll write more on this later, but I reckon music and system synergy is the key, regardless of cost.



*They should be asking not if they've heard the system, but listened to music though it. Semantics and all that -- they aren't banging it against a table.

Edited by Currawong - 10/12/12 at 11:39pm
post #138 of 201

Currawong, you have a massive advantage over almost everyone on Head-Fi - anytime you want to hear virtually any combination of gear you can go to Akihabara and hear it. Of course, for many that would be the road to financial insolvency, but life was never meant to be that easy.  wink.gif


Any Head-Fier who hasnt watched the Tokyo vid Jude posted a few months back needs to do so ASAP. I'm already planning to fly from Bangkok to Narita in early 2014 - resistance is futile. very_evil_smiley.gif

post #139 of 201

Thinking about the "higher cost = higher quality" and "newer = better" misconceptions, I'm reminded of the one time I had the SR-202 + SRM-212 setup.


I was expecting it to sound better than my SR-Lambda (with rebuilt drivers, at that) + SRD-7/SB + TX-SV515PRO setup (the former two of which I scored for a mere $250), only to fire up some music and ask "What the hell happened to the vocals? They're recessed now, and there's some harsh, grainy texture applied over everything!" The latter part is why EQing around the 1 KHz region wasn't a perfect fix. In addition, the higher clamping force introduced by the redesigned headband/arc back with the Nova series wasn't something I liked a whole lot.


The SR-202 was clearly not my cup of tea. I mean, it clearly had a lot of the Lambda traits that I liked (airy, atmospheric soundstage chief among them), but its own predecessor had spoiled me. A predecessor that usually costs a lot less on eBay, Head-Fi B/S/T, AudiogoN, etc. WITH an SRD-7 variant, at that.


The point is, just because there's a newer model down the line that is likely higher-priced doesn't mean you'll find it to be an actual upgrade. For all you know, your favorite headphone may actually be the one you have right now; you just don't know it yet because you haven't experienced other headphones and found something lacking by comparison. (Heck, sometimes I wonder if even the SR-Omega, SR-007, and SR-009 flagship models would have me running back to the SR-Lambda for reasons that aren't financial. That's what happens when you find the one.)

post #140 of 201
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post



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,

Explain to me why $200 isn't high end?
post #141 of 201
Originally Posted by CrystalT View Post

Explain to me why $200 isn't high end?

That is about 1/10 the cost of several current flagship models....so it clearly is not high end. That does not mean that there are not some $200 headphones that sound excellent though.

post #142 of 201
Originally Posted by machoboy View Post



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.

100% Just Because one person can drop $700+ on a single pair of headphones doesn't mean sub $250 headphones aren't high end. When i told my roommates that my headphones cost about $200 each they both said "wooow... BALLER!!" If i told them the next set of headphones I want (Shure SRH1840) costs more than my third of the rent they'd lose their minds.

post #143 of 201
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead View Post

That is about 1/10 the cost of several current flagship models....so it clearly is not high end. That does not mean that there are not some $200 headphones that sound excellent though.


Is the HD800 not high end because it's 1/10 the cost of the HE90's?


I, personally, think there are too many factors with headphones to rightly separate them "high" "medium" and "low end" categories.

Edited by Kukuk - 10/13/12 at 2:38am
post #144 of 201
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The question is, what's the threshold between "good enough" and "unacceptable" when talking about sound quality?

How much would you pay for it? If you listen to a pair of headphones and say: "I'll pay no more than $20 for this" it's probably  unacceptable. If you'll spend up to $150 on it it's probably decent, and $250+ (imo) is great. 

post #145 of 201

That anything can better the mighty, spinning, black disk! Derisible! wink.gif

post #146 of 201
If a flashship is only a marginal increase of a 150-300 piece of equipment, then there is no reason not to call a $200 headphone high end.
post #147 of 201
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

"Agreed. More outlay doesn't mean more enjoyment, just like more expensive food doesn't make you full better."

So, iPod ear buds provide the same level of enjoyment as a Stax rig. Also, a tin shack provides the same level of enjoyment as a 10,000 sqf mansion, a 1985 Honda Civic provides the same level of enjoyment as a 2012 Bentley, etc. etc. That's the logical conclusion of your argument.

How much enjoyment someone gets from X level of additional spending depends entirely on the person. And for a given person, it varies depending on what type of consumer good you're talking about.

Edited by jk6661 - 10/13/12 at 5:05am
post #148 of 201
Originally Posted by Kukuk View Post


Is the HD800 not high end because it's 1/10 the cost of the HE90's?


I, personally, think there are too many factors with headphones to rightly separate them "high" "medium" and "low end" categories.

But the HE90 is discontinued.

Actually the HD800 is becoming mid-range, thanks to more expensive headphone appearing in the market.


Let me present you the new abyss headphone by JPS  labs, estimated to cost 5000$:


At least the ultrasone ed 10 were beautiful.

post #149 of 201

I actually prefer my Ultrasone ED10 for some music over my Stax SR-009.  My Philips Fidelio L1 over my Sennheiser HD800.  Yeah.  That's life.

post #150 of 201

I don't really like how it is expressed here as if headphones like the HD650 will sound god awful without an amp that costs as much as the headphone itself, when i tried it unamped i felt it sounded great!

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