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I don't understand the difference between buying a 100$ pair of heaphones and a 600$?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I'm confused about headphones, bear in mind I'm very new to learning about audio, I've been reading a lot on forums and informative websites about headphones, sound cards, and the like. I've been asking around what makes a good headphone? I've been finding out what Frequency Range is and Frequency response is. So far, I'm finding that headphones generally have the same stats if you want to look at them that way. When asked specifically or by looking at forum posts such as from http://www.head-fi.org/t/372051/how-to-tell-if-a-headphone-is-good/30, what makes a good head phone? The only answers I can muster to find are "You have to listen to a lot to get experience" or "If you enjoy the way a particular headphone presents the music to you, then it's good." However, then I find answers like "In this case, your K340's are better." Which, in this case, this individual must have some knowledge to say headset X is better than headset Z.

 

So I guess my questions are these:

 

1.) Are headphones something that you can compare statistically like a graphics card or car?

 

Yes, by which someone can take stats from them and compare aspects by saying "Oh, yea this graphics card is better because it has 4 gigs of memory and the other 2 gigs" or "Yea, this Volkswagen GTI is awesome because it has an extra 45 horsepower compared to a Honda Civic."

 

2.) Are headphones something that you can not compare? It simply comes down to listening experience and being able to tell the difference that way.

 

No, These ATH-M50's and Ultrasone EDITION 5 HEADPHONE are simply about just knowing the difference between them by listening.

 

So then that leaves me with my final questions:

 

3.) If they are comparable statistically what should I be looking for?

 

4.) If they are not comparable statistically why are ATH-M50's $125.00 and Ultrasone EDITION 5 HEADPHONE's 4999.95$?

 

Thank you for reading and for any answers. I'm really just trying to figure out the audio world so any help is appreciated. By the way in case you are a car lover, I don't really know if and Volkswagen GTI is better than a Honda Civic in horsepower etc, they were just the first cars to come to mind. I guess you can answer that question if you like as well.


Edited by Fruhstuck - 12/6/13 at 10:14am
post #2 of 4
1.) Are headphones something that you can compare statistically like a graphics card or car?

Only somewhat. You can take a look at the frequency response and other graphs to gain an understand of what you expect a headphone to sound like, but other things that are important to the overall presentation of a headphone are difficult to measure, ex) soundstage

2.) Are headphones something that you can not compare? It simply comes down to listening experience and being able to tell the difference that way.

You can certainly compare via graphs and trusted reviewers.

3.) If they are comparable statistically what should I be looking for?

First you have to understand the sound signature you're looking for and your preferences, i.e. what kind of music do you listen to, do you like very bassy headphones. There's not a one-size-fits-all headphone that's perfect for everyone.

4.) If they are not comparable statistically why are ATH-M50's $125.00 and Ultrasone EDITION 5 HEADPHONE's 4999.95$?

Think you added an extra 9 to the E5s, although I haven't looked up Ultrasones. There are very cheap to very expensive headphones, whether due to matierals used, labor, R&D, or just plain overcharging. I currently think the sweet spot of audio is in the $250-$400 range where you'll get the most bang for your buck.
post #3 of 4

The 9 is not a mistake, as the E5 is REALLY MSRP for $5k, which really isn't worth it based on all the frequency analysis and testing.

post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fruhstuck View Post
 

 

1.) Are headphones something that you can compare statistically like a graphics card or car?

 

Yes, by which someone can take stats from them and compare aspects by saying "Oh, yea this graphics card is better because it has 4 gigs of memory and the other 2 gigs" or "Yea, this Volkswagen GTI is awesome because it has an extra 45 horsepower compared to a Honda Civic."

 

2.) Are headphones something that you can not compare? It simply comes down to listening experience and being able to tell the difference that way.

 

No, These ATH-M50's and Ultrasone EDITION 5 HEADPHONE are simply about just knowing the difference between them by listening.

 

So then that leaves me with my final questions:

 

3.) If they are comparable statistically what should I be looking for?

 

4.) If they are not comparable statistically why are ATH-M50's $125.00 and Ultrasone EDITION 5 HEADPHONE's 4999.95$?

 

Thank you for reading and for any answers. I'm really just trying to figure out the audio world so any help is appreciated. By the way in case you are a car lover, I don't really know if and Volkswagen GTI is better than a Honda Civic in horsepower etc, they were just the first cars to come to mind. I guess you can answer that question if you like as well.


1) Headphones have statistics that you can compare, but they don't tell you that much. Almost every headphone will be advertised as having a 20Hz-20,000Hz response for example -- doesn't really tell you much. Frequency response charts such as the ones available on Headroom can give you a better idea of the headphone's sound (e.g. emphasized bass, spikes in the treble, etc.), but still don't really tell you how they sound. You can also look at things like square wave response, THD measurements, etc. All of these things are informative to a point, but they don't really tell you enough.

 

2) Pretty much. You need to hear headphones to really understand the differences. Properties like soundstage size, imagining, detail retrieval, refinement, etc. are difficult to measure. In terms of cars, you can compare horsepower, torque, etc. but none of that really tells you how comfortable the seats are, what the steering "feels" like, what the ride is like, etc. 

 

3) The only thing I really look for are impedance and sensitivity, since these give you an idea of what kind of amp has an appropriate output for the headphones. 

 

4) The Ultrasone ED5 aren't the best example. They are overpriced because of branding. Limited edition and all that. Generally, more expensive headphones will give you more refinement in the sound. It depends a lot on the headphone and it's hard to generalize. 

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