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are expensive headphones really worth it? - Page 3

post #31 of 65
Thread Starter 
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. 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.

I hear you on 4chan; point taken.

 

I am not a speaker person. However, I am a HUGE low fi recording, low-fi-head, if you will. I listen to way more music than just gris. That was just what I happened to be listening to at the time. Some of the music I listen to is in hi-fi, but I'd wager that the thrash, death, heavy, and black metal bands of the 80s-90s or even 00s purposely don't use high quality recording techniques, or just didn't use high fidelity recording because they were poor tongue_smile.gif. I'm sure that maybe some technical death metal bands, or some gaudy new power metal bands may do that, because power metal is rainbows and unicorns and stuff, so it wouldn't surprise me. I'm getting way off track though. I'm sure some of the music I do listen to is high quality. Take animal collective, flying lotus, my bloody valentine. You know, pitchfork core, for when I don't want to listen to metal (which I usually do). It's pretty difficult to find music sometimes in the first place. I certainly don't think that hi fi recording quality is something I'm on the hunt for at all.

 

What I mean by harshness can be heard in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21exnGWN-uI this song. I don't know if the same piercing quality is present in this youtube video, but last night, perhaps because my ears get really tender when I'm tired, it was burning my ear drums. I think that harshness is expecially apparent int one of my favorite black metal songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_50v7EuIWck The difference is all to apparent on these hifiman he-400s. This song is my bread and butter. I have it in 125kbps on my iTunes and when I listened to it on my old logitech G35 headphones, the forgiving quality of those headphones, with the added fuzziness of having no emphasis on sound quality made this one of my favorite album. Now that I listen to it with these headphones, the emphasis kind of ruins what I loved about that song in the first place. However, on other songs I feel like I really like hearing it in high fidelity. 

 

You brought up a good point about how the headphones aren't for me. I'd like to address that fact. I kind of feel like perhaps it was lazy of me to let someone else do all the research for me (i.e. my brother). He did mean very well, except now I kind of feel like I wish I was the one on the forefront doing all the research. I think maybe once I decide to return these, which I do want to do, that I'd still like to look out for headphones that are right for me. It would be nice if there were headphones where everything I want is under the same umbrella. Instead of having to switch headphones for 'effect' like I have been with that album I mentioned earlier. However, that is a topic for another thread like you mentioned. I think I covered what you said in your last paragraph that you edited in when I mentioned my music selection. It is a very wide selection of artists I have, over 600 artists on last fm alone. However most of them are metal artists. I'm not sure what that technical talk of hz was though.

 

That would be cool to know what kind of music these headphones are designed for.

 

Edit: Also I would like to address that I am very well rested now, and I now have the ability to read more deeply into people's responses, and make more in-depth responses to people now. 2am is not my hour of choice for having serious conversation tongue_smile.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

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.

 

I'm not sure what you mean with the ts and zs.


Edited by Hifi Man - 1/27/13 at 7:02am
post #32 of 65

Just gave some of your mentioned music a spin.

 

Can you please post some song that you are positive is of good recording quality? I don't find what I've heard of My Bloody Valentine to be of good recording quality. Solely because of that I wouldn't listen to that band.

 

My former favorite band was Machine Head (I had ibuds and logitech g35 be4). Today I almost don't hear any of their music due to bad recording mixing and the like. Especially their album 'The Blackening' has distortion and weird pops and stuff.

The album itself would be epic if it was recorded properly.

 

Also, I don't find Flying Lotus to have above mediocre production, but on the other hand I don't like the genre anyways, whatever it is..

 

Just wanna throw in another experience of mine while I listen to Animal Collective. You have probably heard Pearl Jam before or at least know 'em. They made an album called 'Ten' in 1992. Nice album, nothing exceptional but of good and realistic production quality. In 2007 they made a remaster. This album, on the other hand, sounds unrealistic and processed and the dynamic range is not very good, it suffer from the loudness war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war). The remaster simply isn't engaging and it sounds dull and a bit fatigueing to me. At the same time it sounds unrealistic! 

 

Anyways, back on track. Animal Collective seems to deliver a decent production quality to me. Again nothing exceptional but definitely good enough for me to listen to it if I liked the music they are making.

 

If you want good quality albums I can recommend: Master of Reality (Black Sabbath), Ten (Pearl Jam, the original album from 1992) or maybe The best of Leonard Cohen just to mention a few.

post #33 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Just gave some of your mentioned music a spin.

 

Can you please post some song that you are positive is of good recording quality? I don't find what I've heard of My Bloody Valentine to be of good recording quality. Solely because of that I wouldn't listen to that band.

 

My former favorite band was Machine Head (I had ibuds and logitech g35 be4). Today I almost don't hear any of their music due to bad recording mixing and the like. Especially their album 'The Blackening' has distortion and weird pops and stuff.

The album itself would be epic if it was recorded properly.

 

Also, I don't find Flying Lotus to have above mediocre production, but on the other hand I don't like the genre anyways, whatever it is..

 

Just wanna throw in another experience of mine while I listen to Animal Collective. You have probably heard Pearl Jam before or at least know 'em. They made an album called 'Ten' in 1992. Nice album, nothing exceptional but of good and realistic production quality. In 2007 they made a remaster. This album, on the other hand, sounds unrealistic and processed and the dynamic range is not very good, it suffer from the loudness war (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war). The remaster simply isn't engaging and it sounds dull and a bit fatigueing to me. At the same time it sounds unrealistic! 

 

Anyways, back on track. Animal Collective seems to deliver a decent production quality to me. Again nothing exceptional but definitely good enough for me to listen to it if I liked the music they are making.

 

If you want good quality albums I can recommend: Master of Reality (Black Sabbath), Ten (Pearl Jam, the original album from 1992) or maybe The best of Leonard Cohen just to mention a few.

Ah! Yes, you're referring to my music library. Unfortunately black sabbath "masters of reality" is probably the only band I know out of the ones you just mentioned. I think that leads me to believe that maybe these headphones are for people who are seeking out music solely for it's high fidelity sound? That is not the case with me, no sir. I'm actually not sure if there's any albums I have listened to recently that have "good recording quality." In fact, I'm not sure what that is! I thought the recording quality for my bloody valentine sounded better on these headphones than my logitechs, in lossless quality, so I figured that meant it had good production. If that's the point of having high quality headphones, that brings the specific question to mind, and I think it will require a simple, straight forward and specific answer; that is are high quality headphones for listening to high quality music? Whatever the answer, it ties in with the idea of the OP, in that I'm to figure out if these headphones are worth it. Although I think people have been extraordinarily helpful in this process of understanding, I kind of feel like if I don't know what they're talking about, I'm kind of wasting my money on these headphones, and I'm wasting everyone's time by asking all these questions, that out of the context of being relatively important to the decision I'm trying to make, is kind of making me feel spoiled, and maybe all this incessant thinking I'm doing is actually [i]over thinking[/i]. Maybe I'm just driving myself crazy with these headphones, when in fact I shouldn't be.

post #34 of 65
Low fi recording will always sound "better" on low quality headphones.

But if you want to hear the truth in the recordings, listen to them with "good" headphones. Else you will be cheating yourself. Appreciate hearing the low fi, its part of the fun really.


Return the headphones and try a different one! Report back.
Edited by ev13wt - 1/27/13 at 8:15am
post #35 of 65
Thread Starter 

As a matter of fact I have already sent in a request to set up a return the hifiman he-400s.

post #36 of 65

Well, you are supposed to be able to enjoy your music more when it is well recorded biggrin.gif

post #37 of 65
Thread Starter 

Eh. I enjoy music enough when it's low fi. I feel more at ease already now that I'm returning them.

post #38 of 65

You can't really have Hi Fi if the recording is bad. You can have the most expensive hi fi setup in the world but if the recording sucks, you're not listening to hifi music.

 

Eric Clapton's unplugged album sounds very good and is a decent reference. Portishead's Roseland Live in NYC sounds great as well. Common's Be, produced by Kanye West, also sounds very good.

Just giving you a few random references from the back of my mind, but usually it should be very clear when the recording is lacking.

post #39 of 65
I would purchase a headphone valued $200 or less and possibly buy used to minimize any losses if you have to resell. This will get you into the lower midfi quality headphones. They will have better clarity and dynamics than low end equipment but not have so much detail as high end equipment. Buying used will save you money and allow to experiment.

For the music you like you might like something like the Allesandro M1 or Grado 60 or 80. I don't think I would recommend the SRH940/M550 even if you could get a good price as they will likely be just to revealing. In fact when reading reviews and impression threads avoid the ones that discuss clarity and detail as the primary quality of a headphone.
post #40 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

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.
This should help:

post #41 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


This should help:

 

This is an AWESOME picture.  

post #42 of 65

I got the DT770 Pro 80's just for casual listening and they are a little too revealing sometimes but luckily I do not have trained audiophile ears. Plus the bass emphasis on these make them fun to listen to.

post #43 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

You brought up a good point about how the headphones aren't for me. I'd like to address that fact. I kind of feel like perhaps it was lazy of me to let someone else do all the research for me (i.e. my brother). He did mean very well, except now I kind of feel like I wish I was the one on the forefront doing all the research. I think maybe once I decide to return these, which I do want to do, that I'd still like to look out for headphones that are right for me. It would be nice if there were headphones where everything I want is under the same umbrella. Instead of having to switch headphones for 'effect' like I have been with that album I mentioned earlier. However, that is a topic for another thread like you mentioned. I think I covered what you said in your last paragraph that you edited in when I mentioned my music selection. It is a very wide selection of artists I have, over 600 artists on last fm alone. However most of them are metal artists. I'm not sure what that technical talk of hz was though.
Take a look at these 2 links. Measurements can give you insight into what you are hearing, but can be hard to interpret, so don't trust them blindly.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD650.pdf
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/HiFiMANHE400.pdf

Look at the HD650 frequency response chart on the top left. Notice how going from left to right there is a small raise then as you get towards the middle of the chart it starts sloping gently down? This means this headphone has basically no peaks of any kind and has slightly elevated bass and reduced highs. This HD650 would be one of the top candidates for you to consider, IMO. Now look at the HE-400 frequency response chart also on the top left. Notice how the graph is flat until it reaches near 1KHz (marked on the bottom) which is a frequency that would be somewhat up in position on the E string of a violin. Remember standard tuning A is 440Hz, so this is higher than that, but not too much. As a cellist that should help you a bit. At 1KHz it peaks rather sharply as much as 10 decibels, which is enough to be noticeable and then some. Then it falls into a valley as low as 30 decibels lower than that peak. 30 decibels is huge and obvious. After that it goes back up 25 decibels to peak at about 9KHz which is where you'll find sounds like the shimmer of cymbals being crashed together or the piercing resonance of a piccolo. After this peak it has a couple more jagged peaks as it falls in response with the higher frequencies. It is normal for headphones to fall with high frequencies, but some manage to retain high energy through this area. Typically those will be your more analytical, brighter headphones. Frequency response charts are less reliable as you go higher in frequency, that's why all charts start to look like a mess as you go up. Anything beyond 10KHz is generally not useful.

Looking briefly at some of the other measurements, you can see the 30 and 300Hz square waves are cleaner and better defined on the HD650. The %THD graph (harmonic distortion, or 'noise') shows in the HD650's favor until you reach bass frequencies. This is typical of dynamic drivers versus orthodynamic planar drivers. Dynamic drivers will almost always gain distortion in bass while orthodynamic drivers tend to be flat across the spectrum. The only graph the HE-400 wins is the impulse graph at the bottom left. This is also mostly a dynamic versus orthodynamic difference. Ortho drivers are faster just by their nature, and so when you apply a sound and then cut it instantly and measure how quickly the driver returns to dormant, the ortho will win in most cases over a dynamic. In case it wasn't clear the HE-400 is an orthodynamic driver which is a thin membrane controlled by magnets. It is light and agile. The HD650 is a normal dynamic driver like you are used to seeing in speakers where it is a cone that is pushed along an axis by a magnet on the back. This is a heavier mechanism and thus is at a speed disadvantage right away.

The HD650 is a very forgiving headphone meaning these nasty recordings won't sound as irritating, and it has slightly elevated bass which you will probably like. They are very comfortable and durable. Being a Sennheiser and having been in production for a decade, you know they are engineered well and have almost no chance of defect. There are other options, but I just wanted to get you started on the path if you choose to stay with quality headphones.
post #44 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hifi Man View Post

Ah! Yes, you're referring to my music library. Unfortunately black sabbath "masters of reality" is probably the only band I know out of the ones you just mentioned. I think that leads me to believe that maybe these headphones are for people who are seeking out music solely for it's high fidelity sound? That is not the case with me, no sir. I'm actually not sure if there's any albums I have listened to recently that have "good recording quality." In fact, I'm not sure what that is! I thought the recording quality for my bloody valentine sounded better on these headphones than my logitechs, in lossless quality, so I figured that meant it had good production. If that's the point of having high quality headphones, that brings the specific question to mind, and I think it will require a simple, straight forward and specific answer; that is are high quality headphones for listening to high quality music? Whatever the answer, it ties in with the idea of the OP, in that I'm to figure out if these headphones are worth it. Although I think people have been extraordinarily helpful in this process of understanding, I kind of feel like if I don't know what they're talking about, I'm kind of wasting my money on these headphones, and I'm wasting everyone's time by asking all these questions, that out of the context of being relatively important to the decision I'm trying to make, is kind of making me feel spoiled, and maybe all this incessant thinking I'm doing is actually over thinking. Maybe I'm just driving myself crazy with these headphones, when in fact I shouldn't be.
High quality headphones aren't just made for high quality music. There are high end headphones that are colored to certain tastes that will be better for lower quality music while retaining most of the advantages of the high end.

You aren't wasting anyone's time and questions are the only way to learn (short of buying lots of stuff and experiencing it yourself, which is too expensive). I don't think you are spoiled, just that it was a leap without looking. Now you have a reference point and can build from there. If you go after 1-2 more headphones that 'should' be in the right direction and still it doesn't work, perhaps that's the time to say 'well I tried and it didn't seem to work' and move on.
post #45 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

I would purchase a headphone valued $200 or less and possibly buy used to minimize any losses if you have to resell. This will get you into the lower midfi quality headphones. They will have better clarity and dynamics than low end equipment but not have so much detail as high end equipment. Buying used will save you money and allow to experiment.

For the music you like you might like something like the Allesandro M1 or Grado 60 or 80. I don't think I would recommend the SRH940/M550 even if you could get a good price as they will likely be just to revealing. In fact when reading reviews and impression threads avoid the ones that discuss clarity and detail as the primary quality of a headphone.

I just hope everything goes smoothly with the return of these headphones. Now that I have my hifimans all boxed up, I'm already back to listening to music with my old headphones. I do want to look into getting less expensive headphones than the hifimans. I still want an upgrade from my old pare. Maybe a simple, general entry level, all purpose listening headphone is what I'm after. I want to hear music the same way I heard it before, except I want something that can handle any music I put into it, with good clarity. I don't want to have to listen to music that's tailored to fit the sound of my headphones. I want headphones that all around good for all music I listen to. 

 

Maybe a mid fi headphone you mentioned are a good suggestion. I feel like the hifiman he-400s actually hurt my ears. It's hard to say why. Yet some parts of the music like the guitars felt almost hard to hear. It felt like instead of having the headphones do the work for me, I was having to put in extra work to listen to the music with them, which was more or less a double edge blade. While some sounds actually sounded too high pitch, and would actually hurt my ears, others sounded more present and clear. However, I wouldn't be surprised if prolonged listening with the hifimans would cause hearing loss. I noticed my ears were hurting immediately after I put on my old headphones. That's a sure sign that these aren't producing the sound for me! In my case, headphones that are supposed to be making things sound better, make it sound worse. The negatives outweigh the positives.

 

I think in the hifiman he-400s, that hard magnetic plate inside of them is good for giving really clear vibration, and it can handle some pretty tough sounds, basically anything thrown into it. They actually made me feel like I was hearing sound more wide and openly, more like I was hearing the instruments playing around me instead of inside the headphones, if that makes sense. I thought that was cool. Except those negatives still bog down the enjoyment I would get from that. I dunno. I think I'm doing some pretty hardcore nitpicking, it may sound like I'm making a big deal out of stuff, but these were realizations that took me a while to become clear in my mind.

 

My logitech G35s just sound a little bit 'tired out' now that I have listened to these sharp headphones, the hifimans. My logitechs can't handle the microphones "the glow pt.s". It sounds horrible. Like I mentioned in paragraph 3, I get more of that sensation of music 'sounding like it's coming from headphones', which obviously it is, but it's just different from the hifimans, which sounds more spacious. That probably has something to do with the hifiman's open ended design. I noticed when I put my hand over the end of the headphones, they sounded tinny and bad. Maybe for the Logitechs, flac file is a bad idea, which is why the microphones sound bad? They sound way overly distorted. Should I put lower sound quality into lower quality headphones for a better sound? Whatever.

 

In any case, I learned a lot by just using them for a week. I guess I can understand why some people would like the kind of sound. My biggest gripe, aside from every nitpick I mentioned formerly in this post, is that they don't match the music I listen to. Everything else is kind of just a complaint. The fact that these don't go with the kind of music I listen to is actually something that's not tolerable. It's something I tried to get used to, but it just ended up driving me crazy. That being said I really really really really really hope the return for these goes smoothly. I'm going to be crushed if I get stuck with all this equipment, and be out of hundreds of dollars and stuff. For right now I'm just going to focus on keeping on listening to music like I normally would have, and getting rid of these headphones.


Edited by Hifi Man - 1/27/13 at 12:22pm
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