Originally Posted by asko
1. I have in my possession the Beyerdynamic DT990 (MSRP = $430) and the Audio-Technica ATH-ES88 (MSRP = 21000 JPY = $240). I suppose the sound of the DT990 is very similar to HD800's one. For now I would not hesitate to choose between these headphones: the ATH-ES88 is much better for me due to the sound and the construction (closed, small and portable, have a small resistance). And I think that the sound of ES88s is more natural and pleasant. The price difference is not so big, but I think the point here is the same.
2. DT990s accentuate the high frequency sound. But the amount of the sound and the quality is not the same thing. I would call this a pseudo-clear sound due to a specific frequency response.
3. I believe that the self-justification and the submission of our opinion to the opinion of the society are the key aspects of the life of an audiophile. In addition audiophile develops not only in itself as the existence of the individual and society, it is growing due to marketing and high expectations in relation to the "famous masterpieces." Because of these aspects people make the wrong choice for themselves and, worse, often hear what is not there. Just remember that marketers and consumers often brag about the performance of its smartphones. But why do we need eight processors on smartphones, if all the tasks that we do require very little CPU resources? No one remembers why do we need this performance =). Also, no one can say why it's cool that the iPod is very thin =). Can anyone say me why the DT990 is better? I think no one. Because I take the headphones to enjoy music, and I know in which headphones I am pleased to hear music. This is just a matter of taste. (And besides that, I am sure that in these headphones to me much easier to understand, from what acoustic instruments (playing almost in unison in one octave) the melody composed.)
4. I would like you to read an interesting article about the social experiments (use the Google Translate to translate it). http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%AF_%D0%B8_%D0%B4%D1%80%D1%83%D0%B3%D0%B8%D0%B5
Thanks for the thoughts. Certainly useful. I have already expected the kind of hostile reception I am receiving from folks who own some of these state-of-the-art headphones, and I don't blame them. Most of the points you mentioned in #3 of your post above are indeed valid. Some people think it's a case of sour grapes, and that I'm poor and cannot afford the HD800s coming up with this thread. They fail to see the other side of the story. Yes, although I prefer specific headphones over something that costs 20 times more, that doesn't mean the cheap headphones are better than the costlier headphones. On the other hand, it also doesn't imply that the costlier headphones are better than the cheaper headphones even if somebody else vastly prefers them over the dirt cheap ones.
Now, how can we define something as BETTER? Say between the HD800 and S500. We may objectively conclude that the HD800s have a more extended high frequency response ie. treble that is more detailed or extended, more detail across the frequency spectrum ie. better resolving capabilities, better soundstaging or layering etc. Some of these properties can be ascertained and measured, so a design that shows better measurements may indicate it as better headphones, technically that is. Most often the costlier state-of-the-art headphones will show better resolving capabilities with higher levels of transparency and detail. However, some folks fail to see that a technically superior pair of headphones does not translate to higher levels of musical enjoyment. This is where the subjective part lies. Sometimes, a technically inferior pair of headphones will be able to offer higher levels of enjoyment than a pair of headphones that are technically better(usually more $$$).
In summary, I guess it is inappropriate to say that headphone A is better than headphone B or vice versa. The term is often misused though majority of people will still tend use it to simplify things. Having said that, when some says he prefers a cheap as chips pair of headphones over another costlier design, he may be subject to ridicule. It's a rather complicated issue, but guess that is just the way of people seeing things, and I understand how all the hatred had come by since there may be some folks who are genuine sour grape cases.
I haven't read the article you've provided in the link above but will do so later.
- as an edit, I tend to believe people sometimes tend to justify on the merits of their costly acquisitions, establishing a paradigm in an attempt to entrench in the minds of others on the superiority of costlier designs.