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Loudspeakers vs headphones

post #1 of 175
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone:
 
Perhaps this is a silly question because basically this is a site for headphones, but I'd like to know what are your preferences if you had to choose between a system based on speakers or headphones -theoretically similar level.

What would be your choice and why?

Which parameters you think headphones are superior to speakers?
 
Regards
post #2 of 175

If I have the room for it, speakers. IMO hp's don't need a room, its only superiority.

post #3 of 175

Headphones also allow you to hear a lot more detail, and offer a much more intimate experience - it's hard to describe the sensation. 

post #4 of 175

For one...This thread is just asking to blow up into a flame war. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

Headphones also allow you to hear a lot more detail, and offer a much more intimate experience - it's hard to describe the sensation. 

 

Pretty much what Doug said but I'll expand a little.

 

They're more detailed, ultimately lower priced for the best of the best, more intimate, no room needed, much easier to deal with children and SOs, much less space (for the most part), much easier in apartments or condos...

 

The list could probably be longer, but those are some biggies.

 

EDIT: Another thing I like that goes hand in hand with a more intimate sound is the fact that headphones are much easier to 'vibe' with because they cut you off from the world in a sense.


Edited by MorbidToaster - 10/11/12 at 9:58pm
post #5 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

For one...This thread is just asking to blow up into a flame war. 

 

 

Absolutely, no one would post a question like this in a speaker forum.

post #6 of 175

From a practical stand point, headphones win hands down when you have lack of space, need transportability, need isolation from your environment, or desire the personal nature of the experience (e.g. not bothering others... too much).

 

You included the phrase "theoretically similar level" but there are financial realities. I can afford (without major sacrifice) the very best headphone system on planet. The only way I could get (maybe) the sound quality from speakers would require me to completely gut my daughter's college fund...something that isn't going to happen.  So if I want to maximize my SQ, my finances suggest headphones would be the wise path.

 

As to the "more detail" and "more intimate" that you get from headphones suggested earlier, I am not sure I completely agree with that IF the speakers and headphones are at a similar level, at least in the past.  In the mid 1990s I thought the Lambda Signatures were the very best headphones I had the pleasure to use. [I am talk past because that was the last time I did serious listening to top end speakers]  There were no speakers I could afford that could touch the Lambda Signatures.... but there were some speakers I listened to that I thought has just as much detail, and when I sat in the sweet spot of properly positioned speakers I have the same sense of intimacy I got from the Lambdas. I know headphones have improved and now there are several headphones that exceed my Lambdas and the speakers I heard in the 1990s.  Have speakers kept pace in the last 15 years?  I don't know.  If they have, I expect that they have a sky high price.

 

Why speakers?  It can be nice to feel the bass slam in your gut. Given most mixing, speakers typically give better imaging. It can be really nice to share music with others.  When doing casual listening, especially when talking with others, speaker are much less of a distraction / barrier.

 

I have always owned both speakers and headphones.  Every 15 years or so I flip which is my primary method of listening.  The driver has typically been somewhat external - financials or the nature of family life. In the last year I have started the to transition from speakers to headphones as my primary transducers.  Will I switch back to primarily speakers?  Maybe, ask me in another 15 years.

 

--Mark


Edited by verber - 10/11/12 at 10:59pm
post #7 of 175
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

For one...This thread is just asking to blow up into a flame war. 

 

 

 

Hello:

It is not my intention to cause any war. I'm just interested in your opinions and nothing more than that. If we behave like civilized people I do not understand where the problem is...basshead.gif


I do not think that it is a complicated question to cause any kind of problems...I'm sure that it's possible to know the opinion of each one and to respect it.

post #8 of 175

Personally I much prefer listening through decent speakers and a proper hi-fi.... However this is a problem because it annoys other people... If I had a detached house and could make as much noise as I wanted I would probably not use headphones... Also I think external speakers are probably better for your ears.

 

The quality and detail of high end headphones is probably technically better but you can't beat listening through proper speakers IMO. I have not tried some LCD3 yet though so maybe I would prefer them.


Edited by nicholars - 10/11/12 at 11:07pm
post #9 of 175

The biggest thing with detail especially at the level of the 009 and a good amp is that speakers that'd give that much detail are ridiculously expensive...I haven't heard anything that comes close, and while I haven't heard say 6 figure speakers I've heard some 4-5x the price of the 009.

 

Intimacy is easier to achieve with headphones but speakers are perfectly capable of being that way, too.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by verber View Post

From a practical stand point, headphones win hands down when you have lack of space, need transportability, need isolation from your environment, or desire the personal nature of the experience (e.g. not bothering others... too much).

 

You included the phrase "theoretically similar level" but there are financial realities. I can afford (without major sacrifice) the very best headphone system on planet. The only way I could get (maybe) the sound quality from speakers would require me to completely gut my daughter's college fund...something that isn't going to happen.  So if I want to maximize my SQ, my finances suggest headphones would be the wise path.

 

As to the "more detail" and "more intimate" that you get from headphones suggested earlier, I am not sure I completely agree with that IF the speakers and headphones are at a similar level, at least in the past.  In the mid 1990s I thought the Lambda Signatures were the very best headphones I had the pleasure to use. [I am talk past because that was the last time I did serious listening to top end speakers]  There were no speakers I could afford that could touch the Lambda Signatures.... but there were some speakers I listened to that I thought has just as much detail, and when I sat in the sweet spot of properly positioned speakers I have the same sense of intimacy I got from the Lambdas. I know headphones have improved and now there are several headphones that exceed my Lambdas and the speakers I heard in the 1990s.  Have speakers kept pace in the last 15 years?  I don't know.  If they have, I expect that they have a sky high price.

 

Why speakers?  It can be nice to feel the bass slam in your gut. Given most mixing, speakers typically give better imaging. It can be really nice to share music with others.  When doing casual listening, especially when talking with others, speaker are much less of a distraction / barrier.

 

I have always owned both speakers and headphones.  Every 15 years or so I flip which is my primary method of listening.  The driver has typically been somewhat external - financials or the nature of family life. In the last year I have started the to transition from speakers to headphones as my primary transducers.  Will I switch back to primarily speakers?  Maybe, ask me in another 15 years.

 

--Mark

post #10 of 175

Not saying it's your intention, but threads like this pop up every now and then and just go down in flames. 

 

By all means let's try and keep it civilized. beerchug.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara View Post

Hello:

It is not my intention to cause any war. I'm just interested in your opinions and nothing more than that. If we behave like civilized people I do not understand where the problem is...basshead.gif


I do not think that it is a complicated question to cause any kind of problems...I'm sure that it's possible to know the opinion of each one and to respect it.

post #11 of 175

I used to own a pair of full range ribbon speakers, my HE-6 does not even come close to the soundstaging and 3D that it was capable of. I listen to the same music on my headphone and everything is small and bunched together compared to my speaker system then.

post #12 of 175

Soundstage is definitely one of the ways headphones will never best speakers. With the exception of a few cans like the K1000.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuwhere View Post

I used to own a pair of full range ribbon speakers, my HE-6 does not even come close to the soundstaging and 3D that it was capable of. I listen to the same music on my headphone and everything is small and bunched together compared to my speaker system then.

post #13 of 175

Different sense of space and scale, I prefer speakers.

post #14 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Soundstage is definitely one of the ways headphones will never best speakers. With the exception of a few cans like the K1000.

 

 

No hp will ever come close to a full range panel speaker that is 57" tall and 30" wide that I had. As far as detail, with a small jazz ensemble, it was a lot more realistic compared to my hp. I owned that system for a few years and I was intimately familiar with its capability and weaknesses. I also had a friend who had the same speakers and amps.

post #15 of 175

I'm a big fan of huge panels. If I had room I'd still have my Maggies, tbh. It's a totally different experience from headphones or dynamic speakers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wuwhere View Post

 

No hp will ever come close to a full range panel speaker that is 57" tall and 30" wide that I had. As far as detail, with a small jazz ensemble, it was a lot more realistic compared to my hp. I owned that system for a few years and I was intimately familiar with its capability and weaknesses. I also had a friend who had the same speakers and amps.

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