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post #31 of 175
I think my answer is ultimately: both. It's more of a pragmatic thing - even with the best speakers in the world, they're gonna annoy housemates, family, my dog, etc at 3 AM when I'm blasting whatever flavor of the week tune that I'm addicted to. I also don't like speakers for videogames, but I'm thinking it's because I've spent so much of my life playing with headphones out of necessity that I'm just used to the experience.

That said, a good speaker system (especially multi-channel) is basically requisite for movie-watching or sharing music with another person. For example I watched Harry Potter 3 last night on my big-rig surround system, and wouldn'tve had it any other way - none of my headphones come close to reproducing the same experience (keep the TV and everything else equal, and just switch to headphones - it's still no good imho).

I think the points on detail retrieval with headphones are well taken too - but that isn't to say that good speakers can't be fairly detailed in their own right. But it is much different, to say the least. Sometimes I just want to hear how the music would sound through a pair of Grados, and other times I'd prefer to listen to it DSP'd onto a 8.2 speaker array with big subwoofers and feel my chair shake when the bass kicks. There's no "technical" reason for either preference, it's just whatever mood strikes me. Unfortunately the later is far less practical (the big-rig is capable of getting loud enough to be heard from the street, I'm sure my neighbors would not appreciate that during the night)). Still, during the day, when that's a non-concern, and I have the house to myself (except for my dog (she really hates the subwoofers and the automatic relays in most amplifiers)), it's kind of a coin-flip in terms of what I'd like at a given moment. So I appreciate having both.
post #32 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahara View Post

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

 

Speakers all the way... Bass you feel with your body and a more natural soundstage. Headphones are for when you want isolation.

post #33 of 175

I'll post a reply to this thread.

 

Until yesterday, I had never heard any speaker convery the fine detail that my Adeze LCD-2(rev.2)/ Violectric HPA V200 headphone/ headphone amp combination had revealed. Yesterday I installed a pair of KRK Expose E8B studio monitors into my listening system. These monitors expose considerably more detail than the above combination and do it without sounding over analytical or lifeless or without taking the beauty out of the music.

 

The KRL Exposes give you the recording with warts and all but still manage to convey the performance.. They are a lot better than my headphones.

post #34 of 175
I really enjoy both types of transducers. I use both headphones and near field monitors. They definitely have different strengths and weaknesses. I am enjoying just how good small active monitors have become.
post #35 of 175

I know it isn't an option, but car audio beats out both imo. You can get such a cool sound stage in a car. It sort of reminds me of headphones, but I just love it. I also like the power of seeled subs hitting your back. My favorite time to use headphones is at night. I love laying in bed closing my eyes and escaping into the world of music.

post #36 of 175

I'll begin by saying, there are two types of people in this world...

 

Having seen this topic arise here before there has always seemed to be a consistent undertone something along the lines of 'such a general topic can't provide a conclusive answer'. Furthermore you'll see things in the context of this dilemma like, 'to have an equivalent speaker rig would cost several times what my headphone system costs' etc. At the end of the day, there is a lot of emotion wrapped up in these mindsets because people have become so invested in some way (financially, temporally, etc.) in whichever side they're defending that they may end up refusing to admit a very simple and honest reality. With fervent emotion and without further adieu, here's my audiophile reality:

 

The experience of listening to speakers well exceeds that of listening to headphones just like going to a live concert in a proper hall with proper levels exceeds the experience of listening to speakers. What it comes down to more than anything is being in a physical space where the sound surrounds you and fills the room. And, unless you live in a barn where you can crank horns or large electrostats, you're likely going to be compromising on a day to day basis. (electrostatic) Headphones are a great way to make this compromise.

 

The essential factors that define my engagement with the musical listening experience are as follows (somewhat hierarchically):

 

A sound that is coupled to the space around you (fills the room), and thus to you, is the first requisite of emotional engagement (presence/soundstaging/transients). I often (though have not quantified to what extent) find concerts unpleasant as the hall doesn't provide good acoustics and the detail and instrument separation is lost (resolution/speed/separation/imaging). Furthermore I think heavily treated listening rooms, while they serve a useful purposes for mastering and professional work, can be equally unsatisfying for the opposite reasons. On this same note while furthering the neutrality of a system is an important criteria of mine, finding a balance between the low distortion, low noise floor, fast transients of solidstate amplification and 3D palpable harmonic richness of tube amplified distortion is the ticket. It's being able to tune these factors, and ultimately experience more detail/instrument separation while still feeling engulfed, that's the main justification for recorded material played through loudspeakers, according to my ears.

 

Through lot's of research and experimentation (initially with headphones which I'm very grateful for as it's enabled me to optimize my system without wasting too much money trying various things out) I've come to the conclusion that loudspeaker technology (or headphone technology) sounds more similar than different (despite its apparent diversity). Furthermore, while systems have gotten smaller (and costs have been cut), sound has not improved. That is, the best systems/technology of yesteryear (size and price factored out) rival anything today. Electrostatic, electrodynamic, dynamic, and ribbon technology, were all developed around the same time, in the 1930's by a small (5'2") one man audiophile aficionado/sommelier who went by the name of Klangfilm. Certainly since then, the audiophile standard of what sound should sound like however, has improved... but in my experience, this is almost completely irrelevant. Almost is reserved for the advancements that have come out of the DIY community/some commercial avenues and those who know a thing or two about sound reproduction, electrical engineering, etc. and have shared their advancements in the field. More frequently than not, these are electrical (not mechanical) advancements.

 

Most of the differences and positive/negative qualities of a musical experience are in the quality of the recording. It's essential to understand this before venturing deep into the audiophiledom -- hopefully doing so will prevent such a thing from ever happening. After all, who really wants to listen to Diana Krall? 

 

With proper knowledge, some diy ability and willingness to reserve space for largeish monoliths (a stereolith) in your living room, one can likely develop a speaker system for under $5000 (amps, speakers, preamp, source) that is as detailed as a pair of Stax Lambda signatures, and is far more engaging and thus in use. I've owned others though haven't heard the latest orthos or 009s so I can't comment. I have owned the O2's which are better than the K1000's which I also owned.

 

Here's a list of some headphones you might like: on a budget -- koss portapros sans amp. avid jogger -- etymotic er4s sans amp. avid walker -- stax sr003. budget enthusiast -- stax lambda pros. high roller enthusiast -- stax O2s. insano enthusiast -- Stax 009 (having never head them I can say with the utmost confidence that these are pretty decent). And while the others might look pretty, I wouldn't bother. I could be happy (musically) for the rest of my life, with any of the aforementioned headphones. The differences are miniscule at best.


Edited by milezone - 10/26/12 at 8:21am
post #37 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by theophile View Post

I'll post a reply to this thread.

Until yesterday, I had never heard any speaker convery the fine detail that my Adeze LCD-2(rev.2)/ Violectric HPA V200 headphone/ headphone amp combination had revealed. Yesterday I installed a pair of KRK Expose E8B studio monitors into my listening system. These monitors expose considerably more detail than the above combination and do it without sounding over analytical or lifeless or without taking the beauty out of the music.

The KRL Exposes give you the recording with warts and all but still manage to convey the performance.. They are a lot better than my headphones.

Just out of curiosity; what others speakers did you hear before ?
I have KRK VXT6 (had RP 5 before but they sound too analytical, but its great as a recording tool) and they indeed sound much better and realist than my LCD-2, but the audeze's are also the best headphones I have heard, easily. And I love using headphones for watching videos, much more immersive.
Studio speakers are the the best speakers for the money, period. I find that nearfield speakers offer the best of both worlds. biggrin.gif
Edited by Omega17TheTrue - 10/26/12 at 11:58am
post #38 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omega17TheTrue View Post


Just out of curiosity; what others speakers did you hear before ?
I have KRK VXT6 (had RP 5 before but they sound too analytical, but its great as a recording tool) and they indeed sound much better and realist than my LCD-2, but the audeze's are also the best headphones I have heard, easily. And I love using headphones for watching videos, much more immersive.
Studio speakers are the the best speakers for the money, period. I find that nearfield speakers offer the best of both worlds. biggrin.gif


My previous speakers were diy activated Altec Valencias.

 

I have not listened to my Audeze LCD-2/ Violectric V200 since the KRK EXpose E8Bs came into my house.

post #39 of 175

I never enjoyed listening to headphones, regardless of quality, until I bought a Smyth Research Realiser. Now I have pinpoint sound staging about 10 feet in front of me (virtual, but my brain can't tell the difference), which tips the pro/con balance in favor of headphones for me. I still don't get the visceral impact, but a Crowson tactile transducer would provide much of that and is next on my list of purchases after I finish paying off my LCD3s.


Edited by jk6661 - 11/2/12 at 12:28pm
post #40 of 175

Speakers first.  I am a DIY type with a limited budget, headphones have always been far down on the list.   Haven't had good cans for a couple of decades, have not wanted to settle for just ok but never the budget for excellent.  Going to change that within 12 months.

 

My preference in speakers in descending order is   Horns / Stats / Planars / Monkey coffins (cone & dome)

 

there are lots of different approaches to good sound, and not everybody hears the same way.

post #41 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7S Cameron View Post

I know it isn't an option, but car audio beats out both imo. You can get such a cool sound stage in a car. It sort of reminds me of headphones, but I just love it. I also like the power of seeled subs hitting your back. My favorite time to use headphones is at night. I love laying in bed closing my eyes and escaping into the world of music.


This really makes sense because unlike a large room, a car is better sound proofed, so sound doesn't travel the same and utimately, can feel a lot more enclosed and isolated for the listener.

 

I really like listening with headphones as the soundstage can be perfect as its just the headphones, and your ears; no inbetween mess such as acoustics, and the like.

 

That said, nothing beats a great speaker system in a room that is properly set up.

But, if I could afford a great sound system for my car, I would probably prefer listening to music using that

post #42 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by musical-kage View Post


This really makes sense because unlike a large room, a car is better sound proofed, so sound doesn't travel the same and utimately, can feel a lot more enclosed and isolated for the listener.

 

I really like listening with headphones as the soundstage can be perfect as its just the headphones, and your ears; no inbetween mess such as acoustics, and the like.

 

That said, nothing beats a great speaker system in a room that is properly set up.

But, if I could afford a great sound system for my car, I would probably prefer listening to music using that

I assume you're not just parking the car in the driveway to listen. The road and wind noise in all but the most expensive cars (e.g. a Bently) when you're driving will make you feel anything but isolated.

post #43 of 175

Loudspeaker, I also had a siilar experience, I heard some budget active monitors and thery sounded like headphones but with a real soundstage. I now own somedynaudio bm5a oh ghow great they are :)

post #44 of 175

I'm surprised the Realiser hasn't gotten any mention.  With a 007/009 and a proper PRIR, the Realiser is one of the best kept secrets in headphoneland.  They're not as good as speakers, but they can get you about 80-90% there.  The Realiser is far, far superior to any equalization software I've ever used.  I didn't believe it until a friend kept pushing me to demo his unit, and the results made me a believer.  I've gotten a lot of PMs asking me about selling my Realiser, but I don't think I can part with it.  It didn't work that well with the HE6, but it's amazing with Stax headphones.

 

That said, next to a Realiser+stat chain, for soundstaging, a properly amped HE6 and a HD800+Balancing Act would be runners up.  I agree with the earlier posters; speakers are king.  I've met a lot of HFers in a similar boat as me.  Prefer speakers, but can't make them work due to living situation.

post #45 of 175

You'd get more intimacy from headphones because the sound is literally on your ear and you hear it from only 2-3 cm's away. Just like headphones there are hidden gem's with speakers out there and given that you don't need a 6 figure speaker system to rival a flagship headphone from x manufacturer, you can get away with some cheap speakers well given that the rest of the chain is of quality and the room acoustically treated. But for some, they don't have the space or money for a speaker setup, so a headphone one is the way to go.

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