Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Is basic as good as uber expensive
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is basic as good as uber expensive - Page 3

post #31 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kn19h7 View Post

Loudness is not sound quality.

But surely if you want to listen to music quietly you don't need an amp.

And as to the argument that expensive gear is better, isn't the reason that its usually expensive because it is a niche product and therefore sells in small quantitys necessitating a high retail price.
post #32 of 34

In a perfect world if you spent a bit more you would always get better quality. In the beginning the quality increase is quite big but gets smaller and smaller. In the end you're probably paying >10 times the price for <1% quality increase.

The sweet spot is between cheap and expensive stuff, where the cost-quality curve has its knee point.

 

In reality there's expensive equipment that has low quality, and cheap stuff that has great quality. Price does not always correlate with quality. In fact, there are a lot of products targeted at audiophiles that are crap considering the price.


Edited by xnor - 1/26/13 at 7:13am
post #33 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminy View Post


But surely if you want to listen to music quietly you don't need an amp.
 

 

Maybe some will call it heresy, but I listen to my HD 600 straight out of my Clip+ in bed...  At low volumes there's absolutely no need for an amp in such a situation.

 

 

 

Quote:

And as to the argument that expensive gear is better, isn't the reason that its usually expensive because it is a niche product and therefore sells in small quantitys necessitating a high retail price.

 

That's part of the story but of course not all of it.  For example, even if Sennheiser manufactured as many HD 800s as it does HD 201s, they'd still be far more expensive to produce.

 

There was more money put into R&D, the materials cost more, the manufacturing processes are much more complicated and some won't scale as well to high production, and quality control is much more stringent.

 

All of these add to the cost, and although scale of manufacture would bring down the cost somewhat at high volumes, there's still going to be a vast difference between the two.  Take high-production luxury vehicles like the BMW 3-series, for example.

 

Of course, market forces have an impact on price.  I'm sure Sennheiser wants to maintain the HD 800 as a "halo" product for the time being, so it may keep the price high even though its retail price may be out of proportion with its manufacturing price.  But that's not the same as the production cost being high because of low production quantity and low demand.

 

Now, for smaller, esoteric "high-end" manufacturers...  You're right, I think the "high-end" is weird.  Sometimes people will buy things because they cost more.  The manufacturers can also be different - some running the business more out of a passion for the esoteric "high-end" hobby than trying to make more money.  The end result isn't so much that they provide better products for the price because they're not so concerned with profit - but that they focus on the esoteric and the expensive because that's what they like, and they want to make it.  It's not a bad thing - just that it loses sight of the original idea of "high fidelity" - accuracy in reproduction of sound.  As a result, the objective performance of products by such a manufacturer is often not in line with its price.

 

Nor is this universally true.  I'm sure many could name off half a dozen or more "white hat" small manufacturers that do in fact strive towards better objective sound quality, while delivering other things as well.

 

The point is that such esoteric and expensive products are often not made primarily to objectively perform better, and even if they are made with that goal in mind they may not meet it.  They're made to fit the "high-end" culture, which can be as much about aesthetics, exclusivity, luxury, and perceived sound quality (as influenced by the previous factors) as it is about actual sound quality.


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 1/26/13 at 9:49am
post #34 of 34

This is what you need, in a nutshell:

 

1) A DAC with a flat response and a high signal-to-noise ratio (most DACs have a flat response, but cheap DACs like those in laptops can be noisy/hissy)

2) An amp that drives your headphones to a level you deem is sufficient, with an output impedance that is 1/8 your headphones' impedance or less - my 16 ohm MEElectronics S6 in-ears get loud enough off my 4G iPod touch, but the bass is much tighter when I add my Fiio E11 to the chain, as the Touch has a 7 ohm output impedance and the Fiio's is near 0.

3) A very adjustable equalizer - presets just won't cut it 99% of the time.

4) The headphones don't have to have a flat response if they can be easily equalized to a flat response. A headphone that has a 3 dB bass peak from 40-160 Hz with a center at 80 Hz, for example, can be equalized to eliminate that bass peak by setting the center frequency at 80, the level to -3, and adjusting the Q to cover 40-160 Hz. A headphone that has a 3 dB bass peak at 80 Hz but with a 70-200 Hz bandwidth cannot be equalized flat unless you can draw a manual curve like with the Denon Audio EQ app. Other properties of headphones, such as soundstage and distortion, cannot be improved with an equalizer, which is why a $20 headphone with a flat response will not sound like a $1000 headphone with a flat response. My MEE S6's respond well to EQing, but there's nothing I can do to make them sound as good as my Audio-Technica M50's.

 

What I love so much about headphones is that you can have a great mobile sound system for far less than an equivalent speaker setup, whether home or car audio. If Head-Fi's motto is "Sorry for your wallet", then diymobileaudio.com's should be "I send my deepest condolences to your wallet."

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Is basic as good as uber expensive