I don't know how to really start this post but this has been on my mind for a while. So a few weeks back I attended my first official Head-Fi meet. For days I was excited about getting to listen to many of the headphones I had dreamed about one day owning coming from rigs that cost as much as my car. Phones like the LCD-3, HD-800 and Stax007 were all promised to be there. Upon arriving at the meet I was worried that listening to such expensive gear would spoil me and make my setup (Macbook Pro> Schiit Modi> Schiit Asgard2> HD600) sound like it was coming out from a crappy radio in comparison. My first stop in the room was at a table filled with some middle end headphones that I could actually afford. I began to listen to the HD-25's, K550's and SR225i's. These all sounded very nice. Each had their own sound signature and I was glad that I had a chance to listen to these phones that I had previously only read about. Then as I gained my courage I walked over to a vacant listening station, there they were glistening on the table, the Sennheiser HD-800's connected to a Schiit Mjolnir! Here was my chance to finally get a glimpse of what I was missing out on. I flipped on Daft Punk's latest album and prepared to be blown away. As the music began I still found myself waiting. The music sounded better than my rig but not by nearly as much as I expected. The bass was a bit more detailed, the highs a bit more airy, and the soundstage an inch bigger but everything else seemed less than impressive. After a few songs I had had enough of the HD-800's and decided to move to the LCD-3 Darkstar Rig next door. This was it I was sure. I had only heard amazing things about the LCD series of phones and this rig was massive. The guy who owned the rig only had a selection of Jazz to choose from so I started a random song and had a listen. Despite what I was expecting I was not blown away by this either. The music was very detailed and warm but I could get 95% of this sound from my rig at home. "It sounds great" I told the man next in line and walked away. At this point the meet was over and I left to ponder what I had just experienced. A few years ago I remember when I got my first amp/dac. It was my first experience with headphones coming from something other than the lineout. As soon as I played the first song to my HD-595's a massive smile came to my face. I had to laugh because the music sounded SO GOOD. I guess maybe I was expecting the same reaction from these rigs at the meet and that's why I was disappointed. It seems that the law of diminishing returns is a reality. Maybe my expectations were too high to begin with or maybe my ears just aren't golden enough to recognize what I heard that day. In any case I applaud the commitment to perfection and hospitality that the people at the meet had to offer. For me, I'm not losing any sleep over that 5% that I'm missing out on any time soon, but my dreams won't be filled with my headphone heroes either and that's something I'll never get back.
- productAKG K 550tagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
- productAudeze LCD3 Planar Magnetic Headphonetagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
- productGrado SR225i Headphonestagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
- productSennheiser HD 25 Studio Monitor Headphonestagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
- productSennheiser HD 600tagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
- productSennheiser HD 800 Headphonestagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
- productStax SRM-007TIItagged by nightmancometh, 11/19/14
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Head-Fi Buying Guide (Over-Ear Headphones)
Last edited: 11/28/14
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Never Meet Your Heroespost #1 of 207/3/13 at 6:01pmThread Starter
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #2 of 207/3/13 at 6:07pmpost #3 of 207/3/13 at 6:09pmpost #4 of 207/3/13 at 7:01pmThe problem is that you needed to listen to stuff even higher up the ladder. You need to get a Stax SR009, a BHSE, a PWDAC mk II. Plus all the associated upgraded power cables, interconnects and digital cables. Then you’ll get your moneys worth
/whistles suspiciouslypost #5 of 207/3/13 at 7:21pm
The law of diminishing returns definitely applies.
A $50 DAC, a $60 amp, and $100 headphones can sound quite good. If all you want is to enjoy good music, that may be all you need - ever, period.
Plenty of people had a great time over the years rocking out to crappy transistor radios, and an entry level headphone rig beats that 1000X.
Anything beyond that is a hobby, where small differences can be quite meaningful, because you've chosen to enjoy having them be meaningful.
Edited by DrikTheTroll - 7/3/13 at 8:23pmpost #6 of 207/3/13 at 7:39pm
Maybe you need that cable with the crazy magnets that Patrick82 had? That would make them sound right... Seriously though, I feel your pain - I had that moment with cars. I own a Lexus LS but my dream car is a Bentley or Maybach - once I got up close with a 57S I was traumatically disappointed that it was just a nicer S-class. Maybe just focus on the music with the setup you have an enjoy the moment.post #7 of 207/3/13 at 8:21pmpost #8 of 207/3/13 at 8:42pmpost #9 of 207/3/13 at 8:48pm
You just need to open your ears more. Your own opinion has been burned into your current setup. It's hard to appreciate something from a cursory trial since you'll just be looking for more of what your own system already gives you and miss out on everything that more expensive setups can provide. I find that things like detail and soundstage are not instantly noticable to me unless I'm either looking for them or concentrating really hard. For five years the HD650 was the only phone I had and I got burned into it too. I even bought an LCD-2 thinking it would be an improved HD650 and ended up reselling it because I felt it wasn't. I still haven't found a better HD650 which is why I still have it but after buying an HD800 and living with that for six months, I would wholly agree that the HD800 is the better phone in every aspect by a very wide margin. Switching back and forth between the two is night and day now. The thing is, when I only owned the HD650, I only really knew the type of sound the HD650 provided. I was completely untrained to other aspects such as sound stage and treble detail, which the HD650 has very little of (but still in a very pleasant sort of way).post #10 of 207/4/13 at 12:08am
The cow sort of hit on this already, but one thing I've found that seems to rarely get mentioned is that it's often far more significant to take something away than to add it. If you were to listen to the HD800s or the LCDs for an extended period of time, when you then went from the higher quality headphone to the lesser quality one, it would likely be far more dramatic than what you experienced at this meet. I noticed this when I first treated a room I was in several years ago. The room certainly sounded better once I installed the treatments, but I was in absolute shock the day I took them down and happened to listen to my system. It's one of the few times I will say I experienced a night and day difference in this hobby. But chances are once you got more accustomed to the better headphone, you'd notice what was missing when you downgraded far more easily than you picked up on what was improved during your audition.post #11 of 207/4/13 at 3:10ampost #12 of 207/4/13 at 4:18am
At OP - Also you've already got a rig that is difficult to find fault in. You've been listening to music close to what many people would be happy to live with for the rest of their lives, so anything else in the headphone stratosphere is going to be a different flavour, rather than a whole new listening experience.post #13 of 207/4/13 at 5:25amQuote:Originally Posted by Focker
The cow sort of hit on this already, but one thing I've found that seems to rarely get mentioned is that it's often far more significant to take something away than to add it. If you were to listen to the HD800s or the LCDs for an extended period of time, when you then went from the higher quality headphone to the lesser quality one, it would likely be far more dramatic than what you experienced at this meet. I noticed this when I first treated a room I was in several years ago. The room certainly sounded better once I installed the treatments, but I was in absolute shock the day I took them down and happened to listen to my system. It's one of the few times I will say I experienced a night and day difference in this hobby. But chances are once you got more accustomed to the better headphone, you'd notice what was missing when you downgraded far more easily than you picked up on what was improved during your audition.
+1 to that - I personally find it far easier to notice small degradations in music quality than small improvements. I'm not sure what the explanation is, but for me it is pronounced.
Edited by DrikTheTroll - 7/4/13 at 4:01pmpost #14 of 207/4/13 at 8:41am
- Never Meet Your Heroes
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