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Can you detect subtle differences in equipment with headphones as easily as speakers?? - Page 2

post #16 of 18

I was trying to show that if you sat in a theater listening to a live concert it would not sound the same if you sat at the front and then moved to the  back . When building an amplifier not to a published design  I and others have found that you can pick up any flaws in that design a lot easier with good  quality headphones I was not talking of a recording studio.

                      I know about piezo electric tweeters as I know about ribbon tweeters and others but they still don't have the sensitivity of high quality electrostatic headphones.

                           Yes you should listen to music not detail but its the detail that gives life to the music without it and it sounds flat. Its just down to the amount of detail.

                                 A lot of people like a smooth rounded sound that tubes do best but that is not me . I like a "live" presentation of music as though you are there near the stage listening to your favorite live music.Music with the right amount of "excitement" but not too much.

                                       This is down to  in the end  to the person themselves you cant force someone to accept your principles unless they like what they hear.

                                             Many people think that because Cd's are digital that they are ""perfect"" far from it .I have no problem telling a badly recorded  CD from a high quality one such as -LINN/NAIM in the UK sell. All Cd's are not equal and if your equipment cant tell the difference then the resolving powers of it aren't to a high standard.

                                                So yes detail shouldn't get in the way of music but lack of it isn't music. 

post #17 of 18
I don't participate in the headphones forums here, Nick. I originally participated in the forum that included speakers, but the powers that be banished us to sound science, so here I am.

The small speakers on the mixing board are usually used for tracking and editing. The mixing is done on larger mains that are often built into the walls. No one mixes with speakers three feet from their face.

It requires room and a bit of money to do speakers properly. It also requires a lot of attention to proper calibration. But none of these things are impossible, or even particularly difficult. It's well within the scope of any homeowner.

The advantages, particularly of a 5:1 system are significant. I spent the first half of my life listening to so-so little box speakers for convenience, but putting on headphones for serious listening. Then I got a house and built a screening/listening room. The headphones haven't come out of the box yet. ALL my listening is serious listening now.

In all art, the key is balance. Painters talk about finding the proper light to do justice to their color harmonies. Conductors strive to keep each member of a 100 piece orchestra sounding clear among the rest. No detail is emphasized, because to do that is to take away from something else in the balance. A truly balanced sound system presents music so you can hear *everything* in the proportion that the musicians and engineers intended. That's infinitely better than hearing little vocal asides or clicking music stands emphasized. If the musician had wanted those things to be more audible, he would have brought them up in the mix.

It's interesting that the struggle for natural and realistic sound isn't the goal of a lot of audiophiles. The audiophiles want emphasized upper mids and highs so they can hear detail. The home theater crowd gooses the mid to low bass so explosions shake the room. But if your system is full range and balanced, you get both.
post #18 of 18
Originally Posted by dfarina View Post

Just curious,I am building a headphone only system,in a general sense are DAC's,cables and source changes as critical with headphones as with a speaker system?My guess is NO,just went through days trying to decide on a DAC,at the end I felt it wasn't worth spending more than a grand on a DAC for a headphone system??I suspect like anything else it comes down to personal budget and choice.


Headphones generally sound more detailed (even if not necessarily more "natural") because they are not affected by room acoustics (reverberation and frequency response problems without room treatment - the CSD of a speaker in a small untreated room is really poor compared to headphones), have much higher channel separation, can typically be listened to at higher SPL without getting high distortion or disturbing others, and can block outside noise to varying extents.


It is not worth spending a large amount of money on a DAC regardless of whether you are using headphones or speakers, since good ones are available at low prices.

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