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Do high-end headphones sound more speaker-like than lower-end headphones?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have had my ATH-M50s for six months, and my Beyerdynamic DT-1350 for a month. They both sound great! Anyway, I am thinking of moving ahead to a high-end headphone (the sennheiser hd700). In my upgrade, I am searching for something closer to the big sound produced by speakers. My question is, do those high end headphone have bigger sound than the ones I already own, or is it just that they are better technically in producing lows, mids and highs?

post #2 of 17

No they dont sound bigger.  There's just subtle refinement the higher up you go.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

I was hoping to get relatively speaker-like sounding headphones, but this seems to be far fetched :/

post #4 of 17

In my opinion, polite sounding (open) headphones with wide soundstage sound more speaker-like than the others. And is not about how expensive they are.
My Pioneer Se-A1000 have great soundstage out of my Fiio E07K (Amp/Dac) especially when playing songs with good dynamic range.

Greetings!

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lofthanza View Post

I was hoping to get relatively speaker-like sounding headphones, but this seems to be far fetched :/

Really would scope out all of your options in the price range before you make a purchase. The HD700 is pretty notorious for under performing in its price range, not that many people really seem to like the sound of it either.

 

In regards to your question, I wouldn't say that just because a headphone is higher end it possesses more of a speaker like personal - It's really more of a design to design basis. I will however say that every upgrade I've made thus far in my audio equipment has given me a new level of immersion in the music, I started with the M50s as well and worked my way up slowly.

 

Headphones are a different experience to speakers all together. The best thing is to just have both for either occasion, with what you gain from one you miss out on the other.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

or maybe the bigger the driver, the bigger the sound???

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lofthanza View Post

or maybe the bigger the driver, the bigger the sound???

     Definitely no.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnomeplay View Post

Headphones are a different experience to speakers all together. The best thing is to just have both for either occasion, with what you gain from one you miss out on the other.

     +1

post #8 of 17
The most "speaker-like" headphone I´ve ever heard is the JVC/Victor DX1000.
 
They have a really speaker-like bass and sound stage, I think thats why I can sit and listen to them for hours and hours and just enjoy the music withour ever tiring :)
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lofthanza View Post

I have had my ATH-M50s for six months, and my Beyerdynamic DT-1350 for a month. They both sound great! Anyway, I am thinking of moving ahead to a high-end headphone (the sennheiser hd700). In my upgrade, I am searching for something closer to the big sound produced by speakers. My question is, do those high end headphone have bigger sound than the ones I already own, or is it just that they are better technically in producing lows, mids and highs?

 

 

I would suggest open phones as your next audition.  I have both of your phones, and my HD650s and HF2s have that greater sound stage and impact you describe wanting.  And those aren't even known for that effect, just are more so then my closed phones...

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChriG View Post

The most "speaker-like" headphone I´ve ever heard is the JVC/Victor DX1000.
 
They have a really speaker-like bass and sound stage, I think thats why I can sit and listen to them for hours and hours and just enjoy the music withour ever tiring :)


Agreed! The headstage seems like a headsized sphere with a natural and nice amount of reverb. The only headphone I have heard that does just that... But they still sounds like headphones after all. They do have a very perceivable space, though.

 

Else Stax don't sound like speakers, the soundstage isn't big and spacious, but they do imaging very well. Could be a possibility

 

I have heard some positive things about the Ifi amplifier with its 3d sound thingy also...

 

There's of course the hd800, amazing soundstage, but still not that speaker like.

 

And then there's som other exotic headphones like the akg k1000 and stax sigma, so on so forth... They are more headspeakers then phones.

post #11 of 17
Depends to be honest. Depends what headphones you have, what amplifier (if) you have.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lofthanza View Post
 

I have had my ATH-M50s for six months, and my Beyerdynamic DT-1350 for a month. They both sound great! Anyway, I am thinking of moving ahead to a high-end headphone (the sennheiser hd700). In my upgrade, I am searching for something closer to the big sound produced by speakers. My question is, do those high end headphone have bigger sound than the ones I already own, or is it just that they are better technically in producing lows, mids and highs?

Hi lofthanza,

Since you are used to the Beyerdynamics sound i will sugest the dt880/990 or the t90. In relation to the sennheiser, i would sugest you the sennheiser 650, is a bit cheaper but you can scale them up and get a quite hi-fi sound out of them. the 700hd don´t seem to have lot of reviews :/ . I relation to your question i wondered the same :)

I wanted to imagine some kind of headphones that have the same sound like being in a club :), but thats physically impossible. :(  The headphone which got the nearest to that was the Sennheiser HE-90 ( Orpheus) as i read from the comments. But if ou want bigger soundstage:  bigger driver, good dac/amp, V shape signature, and more airy and grain free treble are key factors for producing more soundstage. As far i see. 
 

post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChriG View Post
 
The most "speaker-like" headphone I´ve ever heard is the JVC/Victor DX1000.
 
They have a really speaker-like bass and sound stage, I think thats why I can sit and listen to them for hours and hours and just enjoy the music withour ever tiring :)
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post
 


Agreed! The headstage seems like a headsized sphere with a natural and nice amount of reverb. The only headphone I have heard that does just that... But they still sounds like headphones after all. They do have a very perceivable space, though.

 

JVC's definately have a speaker like presentation. Propably because of the reverbs etc like davidsh said. Even though open headphones generally have larger soundstage they also sound artificial in a sense. Music is in a empty space with nothing around it. JVC's add a room to the headphone sound. Not everyone likes it though. I have not heard nad viso hp50 but those headphones have something called room feel system. Propably similar to what jvc's did but were not smart enough to market it as such.

 

What op should try is crossfeed. It helps alot. I prefer spl phonitors crossfeed over all the dsp's I've tried but those ad ons are not that bad. There are also some speaker simulators, both digital and analog. I have dspeaker headspeaker which is ok but I can't use it with external amp so it is pretty much unused. More expensive choice is a smyth realiser. That is supposedly excellent. I have not heard it but hopefully someday. Either that or I need to start saving for a house in which I can use actual speakers. :)

 

Bass is something headphones can't do like speakers can. No matter how bassy headphones you have you can't get the visceral impact you feel all over your body. Some say $5000 abyss comes close but I don't believe it until I've heard it myself.

post #14 of 17
The answer to your question is not really. Digital Sound Processing (DSP) in the amplifier or source can make headphones sound a bit more like speakers making intimate (low soundstage) headphones sound like you are further away from the musicians. The Colorfly C4 I owned created this sort of '3D' effect. There is a price to pay for this kind of effect in that you lose a little sound quality and there is a liitle more battery consumption for portables. DSP like equalisation is a distortion of what has been recorded. I think the Pono player utilises DSP also. So you could purchase a relatively cheap pair of headphones and use the source to give you the speaker-like effect.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lofthanza View Post
 

I was hoping to get relatively speaker-like sounding headphones, but this seems to be far fetched :/

 

They can be a sufficient improvement (YMMV) over conventional headphones but even with other tricks like Crossfeed they will not magically take you halfway to speakers (much less closer to speakers than headphones). A headphone with angled drivers for example compared to one that positions the drivers smack over the ear canals (the former simulates speaker toe-in relative to the ears, somewhat; the latter is not how anybody positions speakers) can move the sounds that are too loud at the extreme left or right and move the instruments closer to each other in a way that, to scale, have more believable positions next to each other. Depth of the soundstage may also be increased. Still, at best with the HD800 for example the vocals will be at the forehead, guitars may be moved farther back a little bit but away from around the ears, but in the end it won't project a soundstage that is anywhere near what you can get out of nearfield monitors let alone a larger speaker system. 


In terms of dynamics, even midrange headphones provided you're using an amplifier that can go loud without audible distortion can deliver dynamics well, but of course unlike speakers that pressurize air a few feet from you and can send that air punching you in the chest on hard bass drum kicks, a headphone has a much smaller area to pressurize and they're right outside your ears. You're not going to get that sensation of getting hit on the chest, and for the most part, not on the head either.

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