Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Members' Lounge (General Discussion) › Where does Mid-Fi end , and Hi-Fi Start?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Where does Mid-Fi end , and Hi-Fi Start?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I am just generally interested in what you guys think is the difference between a mid-fi, or hi-fi set of cans/iems.
Whilst in reality, almost all of the headphones discussed on here are hi-fi in the sense of the meaning (high fidelity) , there does seem to be a bit of a price tag on what the difference between hi-fi and mid-fi. The way I see it is that Hi-Fi starts around the area of he-400 and hd600 so around $400, from there up you start to enter into the realm of hifi. It does go unsaid that there are obviously headphones considered hi-fi that are cheaper, and mid-fi cans that are a little more expensive, but this is just the way that I see. 
Personally, I believe that in a headphone should be considered I better or worse headphone by the frequency results, but they you need to take into account, that some people may head one headphone, and think that it sucks, because they don't like it, even though it has a good response.
TLDR; I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter.
please don't shoot me down, as i am in no way trying to educate anyone in anyway, in fact quite the opposite, I would like you to tell me your thoughts,
Thanks

post #2 of 14

I think it's a little hard to pin down the definition of hi-fi and mid-fi because it has changed recently. The HD650's and DT880's and other comparable cans were considered hi-fi until much more expensive headphones like the HD800's came out. Now there are a lot of people who would say that anything below, say, $700 is at best mid-fi. But did the older hi-fi stuff suddenly start sounding worse? Of course not. And they didn't really get cheaper either.

post #3 of 14

I don't think I own a hi-fi headphone yet.

post #4 of 14

I hope you asked this question purely in an academic sense, like you said there's no hard and fast rule where hi-fi starts and where mid-fi ends.

I personally would say where you see fast diminishing returns is where hi-fi starts (i.e around the area of HD600/650, K701 and DT880)

Others see it in absolute dollar terms which means the above is considered mid-fi.

 

I have no problems with people pointing out to me that my HD650 is only mid-fi because hey, it sounds good and everyone has different financial limits.

post #5 of 14
Oh no, not this subject again... wink.gif

I think "mid-fi" is a huge category, starting as low as $80-100 and going up to 500-600. But there are a lot of exceptions. There are cans that cost $1000 or more that aren't "hi-fi", I won't name names to keep from offending owners, but they do exist. By the same token, there are others that are raging bargains for their SQ, like the Koss ESP/950s, which are near summit-fi but only run $650-700. In other words, there are rough outlines, but nothing clear-cut.

Mid-Fi: $80-600
Hi-Fi: $600-1500
Summit-Fi: onward and upward

Look for the special headphones that go against the grain and provide a great experience for their cost (big bang for your buck) and you'll be happy in this hobby, avoid the "usual suspects" and you'll often be pleasantly surprised.
post #6 of 14
IMHO, hi-fi does not need to be a state of your pocketbook, it can be a state of mind. If you care about the quality of the sound - and more importantly, about how the gear contributes to the quality of the sound, then you are experiencing the high fidelity audio hobby. The rest is simply a matter of scale.
post #7 of 14

Arranging by price (and let's not forget discontinued models) won't give you a gradient at all from mid-fi to hi-fi - a look at acoustic measurements will support that. To me on this audiophile forum, hi-fi starts at a quick decay and a flat frequency response over most of the spectrum. Mid-fi falls just short of that.

 

In other words, hi-fi may set you back $20 while mid-fi an unlimited amount.

post #8 of 14

About $100. I am amazed by the HD 555's. If you think ~$300 headphones are not hi-fi you are just delusional. rolleyes.gif

 

i.e. The HD 650 is not mid-fi. The HD 800's measured performance is nearly identical to models all the way down to the HD 580's (again like $100). 

 

The new ~$1000 headphones are not anything revolutionary, just more of the same technology except for the planar magnetic ones, and the performance of those vary wildly from crap to impressive seemingly independent of the price.

post #9 of 14

Are there huge differences in Mid to High Hi-Fi?

 

  There has to be some diminishing returns in terms of price to performance and really will you hear the difference from say a 300 dollar headphone and a 600 dollar headphone from the same company, Maybe at most refinement but again is it worth it to you  to pay double the price for slightly better mids that you only hear when you are tearing apart track,,

 

  If you just listen to the music I think a pair of 10 dollar headphones could be Hi-Fi to you, yes you will be missing some refinement, But if you understand what you have then I would just say enjoy it. I would strongly suggest that you find a sound signature that you like IE, Beyer,Senn,Grado etc etc and get what you can afford as far as price to performance, IF all you can afford is a 325i And that is whatever something like 80% of a Gs1000, And you understand that, enjoy those 325i's They will be awesome for you. 

 

Some of the upper HI-Fi headphones of recent offerings The 1000 plus dollar headphones, Just do nothing for me, I have heard the hd800,lcd3,t1,th900 and d7000. and out of all those The only one I could say that i could justify the price on was the LCD3, That is because i like darkness it just carried its self in a manner that was just overwhelming almost. The rest of the other offerings to me I could get the same sound in head phones half the price or less, yes there is a bit of "refinement" that i will be missing out but i am not looking to just tear apart a tracks I would rather just find my end game and be happy, Which I did the LCD3 thus far is my favorite headphone that i have heard ever.  

 

This is just my opinion Take it as that.

post #10 of 14

If you're still getting noticeable improvements by spending more money, it ain't Hi-Fi wink_face.gif

 

Seriously though, Hi-Fi is just short of high fidelity. There isn't any hard and fast line between mid and high, but I think around the point where all the headphones either have a basically flat response or only intentional coloration is where mid transits to high. It doesn't really correspond cleanly to a price range. Out of the headphones I currently own, I would say:

 

  • Beyerdynamic Tesla T1: Definitely Hi-Fi
  • Denon AH-D5000: Hard for me to say; I think they're too flawed to be truly high end, but I would still put them in low hi-fi.
  • Beyerdynamic DT770: Some of my favorites, but colored enough that I'd say probably high end of mid-fi or maybe low end of hi-fi.
  • Ultrasone HFI-780: Mid-fi. Quite decent, but they lack the sophistication and balance of my higher-end headphones.

 

However, I'm sure if you asked another audiophile to rate the same four headphones you'd get a different answer, because ultimately it's a subjective distinction.

post #11 of 14

I think Magick Man got it right in categorisation of price-wise only. There is no such thing as summit-fi elsewhere except on these boards and put it simply, summit-fi is just another level for the hardcore enthusiasts or the most hardcore audiophile. But if we were to categorise headphones by sound, the Audeze headphones would be mid-borderline hi-fi and most of the vintage Stax Lambda frame models in the hi-fi to summit-fi categories. But yet again subjective to change as it varies with every listener.

 

In response to above: The D5k is mid fi, DT770 is mid fi and yeah the T1's are hi-fi.

post #12 of 14

I agree with some of what is said above. Hi-fi vs Mid-fi is all in what you value each pair as. there are 700 dollar headphones that are mid-fi IMO.( I may get some hate, but SOME grados come to mind) Yet I find something like the Mad Dogs for 300 dollars to be Hi-Fi, and compete with LCD2s to an extent. Price and not be looked at. If you take something like the stax and say cut the price of those down the middle to get the "mid" pricing range, you would be out of budget for 90% of headphones. 

 

just my two cents after being up for 24 hours L3000.gif

post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon View Post

I think Magick Man got it right in categorisation of price-wise only. There is no such thing as summit-fi elsewhere except on these boards and put it simply, summit-fi is just another level for the hardcore enthusiasts or the most hardcore audiophile. But if we were to categorise headphones by sound, the Audeze headphones would be mid-borderline hi-fi and most of the vintage Stax Lambda frame models in the hi-fi to summit-fi categories. But yet again subjective to change as it varies with every listener.

 

Interesting that you say that, because while I haven't sampled very many headphones, there's this Normal bias Stax SR-Lambda I've had for about a year now. Only paid $250 WITH an SRD-7/SB transformer box included, and it's only in retrospect that I realize what a steal that was. Rebuilt drivers be damned, I just love the way it sounds.

 

Since then, I've auditioned the SR-202 (with SRM-212) and the HE-400, things that I know would fetch more than that these days, and didn't like either nearly as much, partially because they went for the exact opposite sort of sound signature with vocals taking a back seat, and partially because they're just not as comfortable. (I also technically had an SR-303 for a bit, but it was both imbalanced and I didn't have a Pro bias amp at the time, so I don't comment on its sound quality...just the comfort. Softer pads made it feel better than the SR-202, but that higher clamping force compared to a vintage Lambda still bugs me over long periods of time.)

 

I still don't know if I can find something else that competes for my particular preferences and sense of comfort. The Normal bias SR-Gamma could've been a contender (factoring in the imbalance that my set had), but the earcups are just way too shallow compared to the Lambda design, which kills the comfort for me because they constantly press against my ears. Still need to audition an Omega-series (SR-Omega, SR-007, SR-009), the Orpheus, and the ESP/950, but that's probably not going to happen unless there's a big headphone meet in the Atlanta area.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 3/26/13 at 9:42pm
post #14 of 14

Yeah it's slightly the same with me, my first exposure to the Stax electrostatic sound was the original 007's MKI's. Thanks to those and after acquiring the Lambda Pro's and hearing other Lambda frame models after acquiring the LCD2's and the HD800, I knew I wouldn't want to waste any of my time on modern orthos such as the HE500,HE5, LCD2's, LCD3 as to my ears they are far far away in terms of high fidelity. The HE-6 is one exception as when I heard it I felt that the amp driving it at the time was massively hindering it's performance and they are the only ortho to have certain traits of sound similar to some of the stats I've heard. Even though some of the Stax veterans here don't like the LP as compared to say the 202/404/407w/507 pads, it is one of my headphones that get the most head-time except only losing to the HD800 and the expensive Omega's which I don't have anymore in my possession at least till I get the BHSE or build the KGSSHV if I get around to it in the future. 

 

Maybe once I get a good stax amp, I might grab the ESP950 and terminate it to run off pro-bias via a Stax inlet as the last time I heard the ESP950 the stock adapter is rubbish (some will agree), while some find it alright. The build quality of the ESP950 is 1 major factor that put's me off buying them right away.

 

Either way I've pretty much hit my nirvana as nothing else interests me no more whether be it a new LCD4 or HE-7/8 or HD900, once you're exposed to the sound reproduction electrostatic transducers are capable of, it hit's you like a disease and stay's with you forever as long as your ears work. The only next upgrade step for me is maybe when I get my own place, I would get both of a reference end analog and digital setup paired up with speakers and a few monoblocks, though that is quite a long way ahead of what I'm aiming for.


Edited by DefQon - 3/27/13 at 3:17am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Members' Lounge (General Discussion) › Where does Mid-Fi end , and Hi-Fi Start?