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All the headphones at the Apple Store sound terrible.

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I spent some time in two Apple Stores over the past few days. I tried a bunch of headphones and they were uniformly bad. These were not cheap headphones. They were Beats, B&W, and some other brands, costing up to $300. The Apple Earpods that came with my son's iPod sound better than any of them. They all had a terrible sound signature with too much low-mid bass, unnatural and sometimes even distorted treble, and not enough mids. Anyone else make this observation? Are headphones just becoming a marketing gimmick?
post #2 of 33
Yeah.

"sound signature with too much low-mid bass, unnatural and sometimes even distorted treble, and not enough mids" pretty much describes the vast majority of modern/recent headphone releases. And yeah, marketing gimmick puts it pretty accurately. The sad part is, this is all done at the $300 price point, not at the $40-$60 pricepoint where it would be more acceptable.
post #3 of 33
Sounds like Apple
post #4 of 33

I liked the UE9000 a lot. Isolated well and sounded pretty nice.

post #5 of 33
Does Apple sell those?

The most recent time I was in an Apple store, they had Beats, the B&W P5, various cheapies (like ~$10-$20 "style" headphones), and some less well known ANC stuff (some celebrifones I'm not familiar with probably). I don't even remember seeing Bose headphones. That's pretty lame pickings to be honest, especially if you don't like the P5.

But I'm guessing different stores have different selections. redface.gif I know that Apple has reportedly been the NA dealer for Philips headphones (like the L1), but the one I was in did not have them. Likewise for the Parrots and Klipsch headphones - which they're also supposed to sell (not that the Parrots and Klipsch headphones are "awesome" - but they're not bad by any means (the Parrots are actually pretty neat)).
Edited by obobskivich - 1/6/13 at 5:05pm
post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Does Apple sell those?

The most recent time I was in an Apple store, they had Beats, the B&W P5, various cheapies (like ~$10-$20 "style" headphones), and some less well known ANC stuff (some celebrifones I'm not familiar with probably). I don't even remember seeing Bose headphones. That's pretty lame pickings to be honest, especially if you don't like the P5.

But I'm guessing different stores have different selections. redface.gif

Mine has itbiggrin.gif. Guess its like Best Buy, one persons Best Buy had a HD800.

post #7 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Mine has it:D . Guess its like Best Buy, one persons Best Buy had a HD800.

Yeah I've heard about the HD 800; the two locations near me can both special order them (and a lot of other really expensive options - I was really surprised when they showed me their "extended catalog" (they have the Koss electrostats, a few of the Audio-Technica woodies, the HD 700 and 800, etc - "is this really a Best Buy???")), but their in-store offerings are pretty different (both are fairly sparse, but they don't have the same gear out for demo).

I'm just thinking, if this guy was talking about the Apple store near me, I'd agree, but looking at Apple's online store with all of the various stuff they sell, there's a lot of options, a few that I know to sound relatively good even. Almost thought they had STAX in there - but it's just the new Harman/Kardon headphones. redface.gif
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Mine has it:D . Guess its like Best Buy, one persons Best Buy had a HD800.

Yeah I've heard about the HD 800; the two locations near me can both special order them (and a lot of other really expensive options - I was really surprised when they showed me their "extended catalog" (they have the Koss electrostats, a few of the Audio-Technica woodies, the HD 700 and 800, etc - "is this really a Best Buy???")), but their in-store offerings are pretty different (both are fairly sparse, but they don't have the same gear out for demo).

I'm just thinking, if this guy was talking about the Apple store near me, I'd agree, but looking at Apple's online store with all of the various stuff they sell, there's a lot of options, a few that I know to sound relatively good even. Almost thought they had STAX in there - but it's just the new Harman/Kardon headphones. redface.gif

Haha, my BB had a Peachtree iNova and a AQ Dragonfly. Also, a Mcintosh tube amp or preamp and sweet electrostatic speakers.

post #9 of 33

B&W P5 headphones are pretty good, actually.  They're not everyone's cup of tea, but they have a very pleasing sound sig and are very well made to boot.  Even Jude, likes 'em.

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsudaMan View Post

B&W P5 headphones are pretty good, actually.  They're not everyone's cup of tea, but they have a very pleasing sound sig and are very well made to boot.  Even Jude, likes 'em.

Agreed. I have them and though I don't use them much anymore, their sound sig is quite nice. Warm and very musical. Not to mention the fact that the memory foam and sheep leather earpads feel like a fat lady's ample bossom being pressed ever so delicately against your ear. 

post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfetan44 View Post

Haha, my BB had a Peachtree iNova and a AQ Dragonfly. Also, a Mcintosh tube amp or preamp and sweet electrostatic speakers.

WTF?

The nicer of the two near me have some of the mid-level Logans from time to time, and most of the Denon and Marantz products (they didn't get the separates before they were discontinued), but that's about the top-end for "nice" stuff in person around here. I thought they were doing good to have ML Purity speakers and ESW9s in the "high end" room - but apparently not. Sheesh. rolleyes.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsudaMan View Post

B&W P5 headphones are pretty good, actually.  They're not everyone's cup of tea, but they have a very pleasing sound sig and are very well made to boot.  Even Jude, likes 'em.

The P5 are good, if you jive with them. And I'm seeing if that was the only "good" option on the shelf (which it is/was the last time I was in an Apple store), it's like a guinea pig among hamsters. Sure it's "better" but it isn't the final word. If that makes sense. Build quality is nice. I still like the ESW9 better though (looks and sound).

I think the problem with the P5 is they're just so "average" - they aren't really offensive, but they don't seem to grab me and wow me either. As an overall upgrade over iBuds or something, I think they're fine, but there's so many other options at $300 that it's tough to really praise them. ESW9 being what I come back to for looks and sound, and QC15 for comfort and isolation (and to an extent, sound).

But:
Quote:
Originally Posted by tortex73 View Post

Not to mention the fact that the memory foam and sheep leather earpads feel like a fat lady's ample bossom being pressed ever so delicately against your ear. 

How do you even begin to argue with praise like that? tongue.gif
Edited by obobskivich - 1/6/13 at 5:21pm
post #12 of 33
If your Best Buy is a Magnolia Home Theater location they may have a few good cans back in that area. I was surprised when I found out they had the Nuforce uDAC2, Senn HD598, and AKG K550 in stock along with a much nicer listening station.
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott549 View Post

I spent some time in two Apple Stores over the past few days. I tried a bunch of headphones and they were uniformly bad. These were not cheap headphones. They were Beats, B&W, and some other brands, costing up to $300. The Apple Earpods that came with my son's iPod sound better than any of them. They all had a terrible sound signature with too much low-mid bass, unnatural and sometimes even distorted treble, and not enough mids. Anyone else make this observation? Are headphones just becoming a marketing gimmick?

 

X2.  I also preferred ibuds to the B&W.  It is a strange and gaping oversight by Apple.

post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by eucariote View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott549 View Post

I spent some time in two Apple Stores over the past few days. I tried a bunch of headphones and they were uniformly bad. These were not cheap headphones. They were Beats, B&W, and some other brands, costing up to $300. The Apple Earpods that came with my son's iPod sound better than any of them. They all had a terrible sound signature with too much low-mid bass, unnatural and sometimes even distorted treble, and not enough mids. Anyone else make this observation? Are headphones just becoming a marketing gimmick?

 

X2.  I also preferred ibuds to the B&W.  It is a strange and gaping oversight by Apple.

Jude liked them, the B&W have to be better than the iBuds.

post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsudaMan View Post

B&W P5 headphones are pretty good, actually.  They're not everyone's cup of tea, but they have a very pleasing sound sig and are very well made to boot.  Even Jude, likes 'em.

Very dividing. I'm one of those that detests the P5 sound. The mids are too recessed and the entire spectrum sounded very muddy. Look nice though.

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