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Headphones - Sound Quality v Sound

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

 

 

 

Sound quality is a subjective matter. However, I think we can all generally agree on the frequency response, muddiness, detail, sound stage, etc.

 

Please note that when I say 'Sound Quality', I'm not taking into account the sound signature - some headphones have a warmer sound whereas others are more analytical but that doesn't mean any of the two are superior.

 

I made this little thing based on my opinion of what the sound quality to price ratio would generally look like.

 

I say generally because there are a number of exceptions such as cheap headphones that have superior sound and vice versa.

 

 

Explanation:

 

I find that the sound of headphones in the lower end of the price scale improve greatly the more you spend, up to about $300~$350 - hence the steep incline.

 

After about $350, the the ratio between the clearly audible improvements and price is not as great but nonetheless evident until we come to the ~$1000 price range.

 

Past ~$1000 the improvement to sound quality is relatively minuscule (please don't eat me, audiophiles eek.gif). At this stage, we're looking at very minor differences - hence the plateau.

 

The scaling is also purposely inconsistent as I think that the number of headphones is not evenly distributed across the price range, but rather generally massed below ~$350.

 

NOTE: Although the curve doesn't show it, the sound to price ratio isn't such as smooth ascent, but rather quite erratic due to the wild variations. (thanks billybob_jcv)

 

So, what are your opinions?

 

EDIT: Updated the graph and shifted scale/explanation. (thanks Brooko)


Edited by gamerich - 5/8/13 at 12:57am
post #2 of 8

Please refine price - are we talking 'street' or MSRP?

post #3 of 8
I think the bottom of the curve is not nearly so smooth. There are wild variations in price vs performance. If only it was as easy as "spend more get more" - it isn't!
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

Please refine price - are we talking 'street' or MSRP?

 

I was mostly considering the street price for a pair of new headphones.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I think the bottom of the curve is not nearly so smooth. There are wild variations in price vs performance. If only it was as easy as "spend more get more" - it isn't!

 

I agree on the wild variations but in my opinion, wouldn't the curve would still be smooth if we're talking average? For example, the $80 headphones that sound (relatively) good make up for the $80 ones that sound bad.

 

I'm still quite new to this headphone scene so all of your inputs are very much welcome and helpful.  etysmile.gif

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I think the bottom of the curve is not nearly so smooth. There are wild variations in price vs performance. If only it was as easy as "spend more get more" - it isn't!

 

Agree with this, and just in general terms I'd move the steepest part of the curve (if we're talking 'street' value) into the USD 175 - USD 300/350 region.

 

It's in there that you get a lot of the more former flagships - which are still considered excellent value today + also the upper end of the more budget offerings.  A few examples .......

 

DT880 / DT990

K701 / K702 / Q701

HD 598 / HD 600

 

Also in there would be headphones like the SRH840, Mad-Dogs, upper end Grado SR series.

 

I personally believe it's the approximate price point where you get the greatest 'bang-for-your-buck'

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

 

Agree with this, and just in general terms I'd move the steepest part of the curve (if we're talking 'street' value) into the USD 175 - USD 300/350 region.

 

It's in there that you get a lot of the more former flagships - which are still considered excellent value today + also the upper end of the more budget offerings.  A few examples .......

 

DT880 / DT990

K701 / K702 / Q701

HD 598 / HD 600

 

Also in there would be headphones like the SRH840, Mad-Dogs, upper end Grado SR series.

 

I personally believe it's the approximate price point where you get the greatest 'bang-for-your-buck'

 

 

Updated the graph. What do you reckon?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by gamerich View Post

Updated the graph. What do you reckon?

 

The curve represents sound quality compared to $$ spent.  At $350 (on your changed graph) you are only 1/2 way on the quality curve.  Yet at $1000 you're above 90%.  This means (rounded terms) that if you triple the price you get double the quality.  I don't think that's the case.

 

IMO - by the time you get to $350, you should be about 70-80% up the quality scale - after that the remaining 20-30% is spread across the next $600++

 

For the most part your quality sub $70 is going to be pretty low for the most part (a lot of' 'crap' lives down there generally).  Above that you start to climb.  Post $300-$350 quality gain vs $$$ spent will flatten off.  It'll still claim - but that's your major point of diminishing return.

 

Of course this is just IMO.

post #8 of 8

I think most people are aware of this, the higher you go in price the less quality increase you get. To the point that there is a big premium for a relative small improvement (ie LCD-2 > LCD-3)

 

I agree, around that $300-$400 is where you'll find the most value.

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