Originally Posted by upstateguy
While the older listener may not be able to hear the same detail as an 18 year old, the younger listener hasn't been listening long enough to be able to fully appreciate what he is hearing.
This is not a put down either.
Absolutely agree my friend.
I conducted a quick experiment some weeks ago. A local electronic shop had Sennheiser HD 598's on sale for $150, so I thought I'd buy a pair and see if I liked them. I was a bit hesitant, because my research indicated that I might not like these particular cans. But, I decided to try anyway, because it was such a good price.
I brought them home and hooked them up to my Schiit Magni. Caveat: I am currently running my Magni directly out of a laptop headphone output (I know, I cringe when I think of it), because that's my 3rd setup and I still haven't bought a proper DAC for it. Other bills have had to come first, but I digress...
The first thing I did was to run through some audio test tones that I'd generated with Passmark SoundCheck. The other set of cans in use on this setup at present are my old ATH M40fs, which I honestly consider my "worst" set. The HD 598's sounded like crap compared to the Audio Technica cans, much to my surprise. Could that be attributed to more "break in?" Perhaps so.
My daughter, who is 18, had come into the room whilst I was doing this, and I was testing high frequency tones. So I handed her the headphones, hit the 15 kHz tone, and asked her if she could hear it. She could. To me, it was dead silent. Then I hit the 16 kHz tone. She could also hear that, which I could not. I didn't try further, but I would expect she could have heard some higher tones, if I'd had them handy.
I then played the low frequency tones, which could be heard by both of us, down to somewhere around 20 Hz. I'm happy that I can still hear low frequencies
Overall, the Senn HD 598's sounded better to my 18 year old daughter, than they did to me - by virtue of her being able to hear high frequency notes that I could not. On the other hand, I preferred the inferior ATH M40fs cans (that are 1/4 the price), but were better broken in than the brand new cans. This reinforces the observation that younger people who haven't damaged their hearing, can quite easily hear higher frequency tones, that us Old Farts (TM) can't hear any more. What each of us considered "better" was different.
I can hear some of you thinking: "But those HD 598's weren't broken in! You should have broken them in for a couple weeks then tried them!"
Perhaps. Perhaps not. But in the space of two weeks, I might not have been able to return those cans for a full refund To me it was more important to get my money back, than to futz with them for a couple weeks in the hopes that I'd like them later on. So I took them back, and was happy I got my money back. It's an Old Fart thing, lol.
I'm applying the adage, that first impressions are usually correct. Not always, but usually. Maybe the Senn 598's would have opened up after a couple weeks of white noise. Or maybe they would have sounded better, if I'd been using a proper DAC, the list of variables could go on. On the other hand, maybe I'm really a Beyerdynamic kind of guy, and I should stick with what I know sounds good to me. My DT 770's sound so much better. And even the ATH M40's were more tolerable under the circumstances. Or maybe my evaluation of the 598's was correct, and I just confirmed it.
I'm just glad my daughter didn't say, "Dad, can I have these?"