Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › are expensive headphones really worth it?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

are expensive headphones really worth it? - Page 2

post #16 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oblique63 View Post

Lol, never thought I'd see 4chan quotes up in here; love the contrast, even though I'd say they were mostly generally trolling.

The fact of the matter is that no one can convince you to be happy with a headphone purchase, if you don't feel like the purchase was justified, don't worry about what other people think, just return them.  If you've already given them a chance, and there's no benefit that you feel is in it for you, no big deal, they're just not your thing.  I could chime in here and say that "oh, you just haven't found the right headphone etc etc etc..." like a 'good' head-fi-er, and even though deep down a part of me does believe that, I don't think people should be peer-pressured into going on a wild goose chase for something that may in fact, just not be their thing *gasp*.

I know that with me, I wouldn't really be able to tell you why a purchase was worth it to me exactly, but I can tell when I start to get the sense that it wasn't. For me, I usually do get a bit of a buyer's remorse feeling when I first make a big purchase, but the key is, whether or not that feeling goes away, and/or how fast I forget about it.  I am one of the owners of those 'HD800' things, and as you know, those are mighty pricey. So naturally, when I first got them I was kind of missing that large wad of cash I just spent, however after about a couple day's worth of use, I completely forgot about it. Does that mean they are worth $1500? Hell, I don't know. But I do know that I don't regret buying them. If my feelings of doubt hadn't gone away, and I was still frequently thinking about returning or selling them weeks after, then I would've almost certainly said "no, they are not worth it". But since that was not the case... yeah. I guess I just don't feel comfortable making broad statements about the objective 'worth' of something, given everybody's different interests/tastes/financial situations/etc...

This is a niche market though. And as with any niche, it's gonna have a small hardcore following that will pay attention to literally mountains of tiny details. Because the more you get into something, the more you're gonna pick at it, and the more you'll be noticing smaller and smaller details. It's just the nature of human interest. Same thing for wine/cars/fashion/tech/whatever. The thing about 'super expensive' headphones not being much of an improvement over 'cheaper' headphones is two-fold:

1st) Given the sound of any headphone, how can you ever determine how much better a competing headphone is? What does a headphone that's '2x' as good sound like? 3x as good? 5x? etc... it's just too abstract to quantify like that, so the price/value ratio you get out of these things is never gonna be even remotely the same for everybody.

2nd) The paradox of the 'huge' difference top-tier headphones make, and the comments about the difference really not being that big, comes down again to that fact about us making mountains out of tiny details. Since people that are really into this (or any other) hobby make a big deal about tiny details, a headphone that improves upon a whole mountain of them, is going to feel like a huge difference. However, since your average non-head-fi-er doesn't really care about small details, that mountain is meaningless and so the sound really doesn't improve that much. Add into that the fact that there is no objective measure of improvement like I mentioned above, and the whole pillar of 'value' upon which these really expensive headphones stand quickly comes crashing down for your average consumer. 

High-end 'niche' interests in anything, are something I feel should be discovered on an individual basis, not pushed upon you by others. I have plenty of friends that just roll their eyes at me when they listen to my headphones (not even telling them how much they were!). But once in a blue moon, I get a random friend that just asks to try them out of his own curiosity, and is totally blown away, so from there I might start making recommendations and such. But I would never suggest someone 'upgrade' their headphones without showing a legitimate interest first. You sound like you actually had a slight interest in it first, so I wouldn't feel too bad saying that yes, maybe those particular phones weren't for you, and you might prefer a different sound. But if you don't legitimately feel that this interest is coming directly from you, then just ignore that and return your setup, because it seems like that would make you happier in the long run.

And about 'dark' headphones: it's kinda hard to explain the sound of it if you haven't had much experience with different types of headphone sounds, but basically it just means that a phone is lacking in the higher frequencies (like where a drum's cymbals live and such). I haven't tried the HE-400 yet myself, but judging from it's frequency response graph, they don't seem like they would be very dark to me. But it does seem to have humps at around 1k and 9k with recessed upper-mids, so maybe it's just that 'V' sound signature that you don't like? Who knows. The only way to know that would be for you to try out more headphones; but again, I don't recommend doing that unless you really want to for your own sake.

I just read this entire comment, and it was really helpful. I want to say that I feel you've brought to light a couple key factors. Not doing things based off what other people think. Hi end headphones aren't for everyone and it is a niche market. Probably something I'm not into. I feel like you've helped me fulfill something I was looking for tonight; I've been looking for an honest opinion, something that's honest and reasonable. For one, I like these headphones, but right now I feel like the pressure to make a decision I might regret is really hindering any enjoyment I could get out of them. I don't think I really am in to these kinds of headphones, and I think I'm going to go ahead and return everything for a full refund. It would really ease my mind, and I could always come back to high fidelity if I really feel like it, but if I don't return them, then I'm stuck with them. I feel like I gave it a lot of though, and it's not an easy decision, but the important thing is it's MY decision, and I think it's the right one. It certainly has been a very interesting, if not a little bit stressful experience. 


Edited by Hifi Man - 1/26/13 at 10:34pm
post #17 of 65

Well, people on 4chan are pretty blunt so I'm not really surprised. They have some good points, however. Getting into expensive headphones is a gradual process. Four years ago when I bought the ATH-M50, there was no way I would have justified anything over $100 on something as petty as headphones. But trust me, if you've spent an X amount of money on headphones, after a while, you come to justify spending a little bit more each time you upgrade...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

 

 

 

>I'm curious to know, what is everyone's problem with head-fi?
you can't post anything that reveals something negative about their sponsors.

 

I certainly hope this isn't true...

post #18 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by winenerd View Post

If it's just the return policy on the Magni/Modi you're worried about, you could keep them a bit long and always sell them later. Someone would definitely snatch them up. You might lose a bit on them, but could probably recoup most of your money. A lot of items in this hobby don't depreciate very quickly.

 

Actually why don't you email Schiit and explain what your situation is? They might extend the return policy for you? This is a pure guess, but it can't hurt.

That actually might be a good idea.

 

I also see that I overlooked a couple of posts in the time I was writing my last post. Maybe I should just go to bed so I don't start messing up posts in my own thread. I do want to rethink getting rid of these, because as far as emphasis goes, I think that they do emphasize things, but also they do make things sound clearer than my old headphones. 

 

I tried out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtsK-Zre130 (depressive black metal; not for everyone; has some screaming that may annoy) this song on flac file with my new headphones , next to my old headphone and decided that it did sound clearer with my old headphones. A smoother sound, and also more emphasis on instruments where I could actually tell a lower sound quality on my other ones. So yeah, I do like that a lot and would be reluctant at the very least, if I decided to return these. I think messaging schiit would be a great idea.


Edited by Hifi Man - 1/26/13 at 10:54pm
post #19 of 65
Interesting topic, one i have been asking myself alot lately.
I had a pair of MDR V700s for years and loved the sound. They finally broke on me and i got some v-moda crossfade lps for.80 bucks. To me, they destroy the ones I had, and certainly sound better than anything i have demoed at radio shack, best buy or apple store.
I read here that the Crossfades are supposedly crap, but to my undiscerning ears, they sound like magic.
I guess my point is, expensive headphones are worth it if you can tell the difference. I have a feeling unexperienced mooks like me would be quite happy for a while with a "subpar" headphone like the crossfades, but someone with a more critical ear would be quite displeased.
post #20 of 65

Quote:
Originally Posted by jetjaguar72 View Post

Interesting topic, one i have been asking myself alot lately.
I had a pair of MDR V700s for years and loved the sound. They finally broke on me and i got some v-moda crossfade lps for.80 bucks. To me, they destroy the ones I had, and certainly sound better than anything i have demoed at radio shack, best buy or apple store.
I read here that the Crossfades are supposedly crap, but to my undiscerning ears, they sound like magic.
I guess my point is, expensive headphones are worth it if you can tell the difference. I have a feeling unexperienced mooks like me would be quite happy for a while with a "subpar" headphone like the crossfades, but someone with a more critical ear would be quite displeased.

If you like them, that's all that matters. If they pique your interest in trying others, it's certainly a fun a journey.

post #21 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by oblique63 View Post


The fact of the matter is that no one can convince you to be happy with a headphone purchase, if you don't feel like the purchase was justified, don't worry about what other people think, just return them. 


This is exactly how I feel. You have to make a decision yourself as to whether or not spending $600 on headphones is worth it. Everyone's ears are different, and everyone has a different level of appreciation for what they hear. 

post #22 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

I just read this entire comment, and it was really helpful. I want to say that I feel you've brought to light a couple key factors. Not doing things based off what other people think. Hi end headphones aren't for everyone and it is a niche market. Probably something I'm not into. I feel like you've helped me fulfill something I was looking for tonight; I've been looking for an honest opinion, something that's honest and reasonable. For one, I like these headphones, but right now I feel like the pressure to make a decision I might regret is really hindering any enjoyment I could get out of them. I don't think I really am in to these kinds of headphones, and I think I'm going to go ahead and return everything for a full refund. It would really ease my mind, and I could always come back to high fidelity if I really feel like it, but if I don't return them, then I'm stuck with them. I feel like I gave it a lot of though, and it's not an easy decision, but the important thing is it's MY decision, and I think it's the right one. It certainly has been a very interesting, if not a little bit stressful experience. 


Good on you! It's not worth it to stress yourself out over trying to comprehend things that other people like. And like you said, you can always come back to it later smily_headphones1.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

 

I tried out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtsK-Zre130 (depressive black metal; not for everyone; has some screaming that may annoy) this song on flac file with my new headphones , next to my old headphone and decided that it did sound clearer with my old headphones. A smoother sound, and also more emphasis on instruments where I could actually tell a lower sound quality on my other ones. So yeah, I do like that a lot and would be reluctant at the very least, if I decided to return these. I think messaging schiit would be a great idea.


Cool music choice. Unfortunately black metal is notorious for poor recording quality, so be sure to try out some nice recordings out there too before you return everything. If there's anything that this hobby has done for me, is expanded my musical palate. It's made me a lot more curious about how different recordings/sounds would be like through some nice headphones. Still a total metalhead, but having a nice sound system has made it easier to appreciate a wider variety of music now. Again, recording quality is not a ginormous difference, but it does make nice headphones easier to appreciate. Try some recent Dimmu Borgir, Rotting Christ, Behemoth, or Satyricon stuff, they usually have pretty good production for black-ish metal. Also maybe some Type O Negative or Nine Inch Nails if you're into that.

post #23 of 65

I have a feeling the amp and DAC are fine but the headphone isn't quite what your looking for signature wise. Yourstruggling because it just doesn't suite you. The thing about buying a bit lower end gear is can afford to try different headphones to get an idea of what you like signature wise. You mention that the song above sounded clearer with your old headphones, what are they? If your used to headphones with a stronger midrange and treble focus you might want to try a different pair of headphones. I thought I was into bassy headphones for years but in the end I found I prefer mids and treble clarity over bass. So my favorite headphones are the SRH940/K550 (closed) and SRH1440 (open).

post #24 of 65
First of all, asking 4chan for an opinion on anything will get you trolled beyond belief, you really shouldn't take anything said there seriously. I don't think you should take everything here seriously either because there are a lot of people that post here without experience, just trumpeting opinions they've read. That said, the signal to noise ratio (good advice vs bad advice) is certainly higher here than a site dedicated to trolling.

Secondly, headphone audio is a somewhat learned experience. The level of detail you can get for comparatively not much money absolutely blows away any speakers short of a high end audio shop. This detail is not something you are used to hearing from speakers most people can afford. This detail will expose poor recordings, low bit rate files, and harshness put in on purpose, but exposed to a degree that it may be distasteful. This is likely what you are experiencing, and as your brother mentioned, you will get used to it and actually learn to appreciate it down the road. The reward comes when you find a high bit rate song that is recorded well and wasn't sabotaged by the engineer 'for effect, dude!'. Little nuances, dynamic changes, positional cues.. all of these are significantly harder to detect on layman headphones and consumer 'best buy' type speakers.

I have not heard the headphones you bought so I can't give you any specific advice, but there is a legitimate possibility that they just aren't a good match for you. Don't let that bring down the entirety of quality headphones, however. The Magni and Modi seem to have generally excellent reviews and the products themselves are quite cheap. Cheap enough that you will likely get more in return by gaining the experience of having them and then selling them if you decide later for almost the same as what you could get with a refund. As far as I know, the Magni and Modi are not full refunds, nothing from Schiit is, but their restocking fee on anything but these is fairly benign at 5%. The Magni and Modi are 15% fees so with both of them, even returning them you are only going to get $170 back, plus you've already paid for shipping once (~$10) and would have to pay again to send them back (another ~$10). I don't mean to sound negative, but these products at these prices are sort of buy it for keeps items. You've already invested $40 that you can't get back and might use another $10 to get your $170 back. Is the Magni and Modi worth $160? This is what you stand to gain by losing them. I haven't heard these products either as they are new and below my usual interest level, but at these prices and with the reviews I've seen, I don't think these are the problem. Changing headphones will likely fix the problem. Finding out which one might be the next step is a topic for another thread.

edit: Listening to your music selection. My rig is designed to be a microscope and I can certainly see why you would have a headache listening to this after a while. I'm about halfway through the song and I'm already starting to get one. If this song were recorded better it would actually be something I would listen to occasionally. I like the elements of the song, it's just presented so poorly it's hard to enjoy. What some people do is keep a headphone that is less resolving (less detailed) for their music that is not easily listenable on their more detailed gear so they can still crank and enjoy it when they desire. Do you enjoy the HE-400 with any of your music? If so, does it tend to be the cleaner clearer, perhaps higher budget recordings? I would be willing to bet this is the case. I took a look at the frequency response chart someone posted above and while generally they aren't too dark or bright, there are a few areas of concern for my taste. A peak at 1KHz will tend to produce a tinny sound and the peaks at 9K and 10K will bring a piercing quality to your music. I had a very high end headphone, the Stax SR-007 MK1, that had a similar spike around 9K that ruined them for me. I didn't own them for long and moved on to other headphones that I found much more enjoyable. Perhaps you are sensitive to this as I am.

Looking at the charts more, the distortion numbers are not the best for an ortho, the wave forms aren't too great, and the impulse response looks downright bad. I'd return/sell the HE-400 and move on.
Edited by Maxvla - 1/27/13 at 12:01am
post #25 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by winenerd View Post

If you like them, that's all that matters. If they pique your interest in trying others, it's certainly a fun a journey.
Yeah, my interest is piqued, tempered by the knowledge i have a limited budget and my source is a 5 gen ipod and macbook pro!
I'd really like to try a set of Sr60s ( I love Bowie and word is, these are great for rock) and I'm interested in the Tiesto k67 to see if they are a marked improvement over my Crossfades.

I feel for the OP. You want to ensure you spend money wisely, but if your gut tells you the purchase feels wrong, most of the time it is...
post #26 of 65
Quote:

are expensive headphones really worth it?

 

Are they?  It all depends upon your perspective.  However, you really can't blame any of the members on this forum after you read about their impressions, so you placed your order for the HE-400s.  It was your own level of expectation that has let you down.  Honest truth.  You can't listen to everything that you read.  Sooner or later, you have to take some plunges on your own to form some valid opinions of your own.

 

Now, in regards to the original question, which is also the subject title of this thread: "Are expensive headphones really worth it?"

 

The answer is unique to each person who has taken the time to ask the question here in the forum, or to ask the question of themselves.  In each case, all of the answers vary.  Many people don't think a $399 headphone is an expensive headphone.  People have $9,000 Stax rigs.  Now, that's what I'd call an expensive headphone.  Finally, your post almost seems full of buyer's remorse.  I'm not even sure that you're upset that you paid $399 for a pair of headphones and you feel that they didn't perform to your expectations.  However, instead of agonizing further, I think it would be best if you were to go ahead with the return.  You'll be happier in the end.

post #27 of 65
My upgrade path: etymotic hf5 -> fiio e17 -> beyerdynamic dt-880 -> HE-500 -> MF x-can v8 amp
Every single upgrade was worth it. The only thing I regret was the dt-880, but they were a nice stepping stone towards the HE-500. First time I am satisfied with my setup
post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

First of all, asking 4chan for an opinion on anything will get you trolled beyond belief, you really shouldn't take anything said there seriously.

Actually, some people there can give you really good advice, for example, the quote "The more money you put into it =/= the better it is." is partially true. While it is true that the price is higher for better headphones, it doesn't mean that Beats for example would sound better than my Superlux HD 681. I do agree with you about the fact that the amount of trolls on 4chan is higher than on Head-Fi, though, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take anything serious from 4chan at all. You should just take it with a grain of salt.

post #29 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

I have a feeling the amp and DAC are fine but the headphone isn't quite what your looking for signature wise. Yourstruggling because it just doesn't suite you. The thing about buying a bit lower end gear is can afford to try different headphones to get an idea of what you like signature wise. You mention that the song above sounded clearer with your old headphones, what are they? If your used to headphones with a stronger midrange and treble focus you might want to try a different pair of headphones. I thought I was into bassy headphones for years but in the end I found I prefer mids and treble clarity over bass. So my favorite headphones are the SRH940/K550 (closed) and SRH1440 (open).

It sounded clearer on my new headphones is what I meant. I'd like to understand what I should be listening for when I hear the word "treble." I played a cello for 5 years, but quit a couple years ago, so I'm kind of familiar with the word, but not really. When I think of treble, I think of treble and bass clef. It's been forever since I thought about music in terms of notes though.

post #30 of 65

Bass - self explanatory, but I'll go a bit more in depth anyways. The subbass is the low bass that you almost feel as well as hear. It is heard as a deep rumble, and is often subtile. Mid-bass is where you ffind bass drums and the like. It is the mid-bass that delivers the punch from a drum

 

Mids - Lower mids (amd downwards) tend to be where I find the underlying texture of a good male vocalist's voice (Leonard Cohen for example) and the deeper guitars. The mids house the main part of guitars, voices and other instruments. The higher mids is where I tend to find the underlying 'timbre' of voices, violins, trompets, saxofones and the like. Also an emphasised upper mid range tend to make voices and instruments 'shouty'.

 

The treble is where the hi-hats, percussion and the like is found. Also vocals and guitars are affected by the treble. If there is say a bad treble roll of above 10kHz in your phones, for example, they would tend to sound congested and not extended. Lower treble will typically sound like 'ttttz' and mid-high treble will typically sound like 'ttzzz' whilst the high treble tend to sound like 'zzzz'

 

Correct if I am wrong.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › are expensive headphones really worth it?