Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Why are some headphones more expensive than others?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why are some headphones more expensive than others?

post #1 of 107
Thread Starter 

This may seem like the dumbest question on headfi, but seriously, why are some headphones more expensive than others? I have apple headphones that came with my iPhone 5, ws55's, and SRH840's, and I honestly can't tell any significant differences in sound quality. For example, everyone on headfi praises the SRH840's for being revealing, but my apple headphones are just as revealing! I just don't understand why I would pay an additional $170 on SRH840's when I feel that other than features and small specs, they are equal in quality! Is it just me?

post #2 of 107
Headphone's price varies due to the cost of materials, level of design attained, comfort, durability, whether closed or open and other factors. Surely at home you notice an improvement in quality between Apple's earbuds and full size headphones. Earbuds tend to miss out alot of the low frequency component of music, so most full size headphones will provide much more bass level as well as more detail and greater frequency extension. More expensive headphones give relatively less for the extra money, I have heard comments that Beyerdynamics DT880 which cost £200-300 give quite alot of what you pay for in the £1000 Beyerdynamic T1.
A headphone might be expensive because it is a hi-fi headphone or it is a fashion statement or it caters for some demand like extra bass or nothing but midrange. In the world of vast choices and models just about every combination is catered for and naturally prices vary (and some are hard to justify).
post #3 of 107

People do have a way of exaggerating small differences on this site, but it's probably just you. Listen to something with a lot of deep bass. 

post #4 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR4599638 View Post
 

This may seem like the dumbest question on headfi, but seriously, why are some headphones more expensive than others? I have apple headphones that came with my iPhone 5, ws55's, and SRH840's, and I honestly can't tell any significant differences in sound quality. For example, everyone on headfi praises the SRH840's for being revealing, but my apple headphones are just as revealing! I just don't understand why I would pay an additional $170 on SRH840's when I feel that other than features and small specs, they are equal in quality! Is it just me?

 

When did you get the SRH840? I know when I started out, I couldn't really tell the difference between my stock headphones and the headphones I upgraded to, but after using the new pair of headphones for about a week and I let my brain understand the differences, I was shocked by how different they sounded.

post #5 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sefelt103 View Post

Headphone's price varies due to the cost of materials, level of design attained, comfort, durability, whether closed or open and other factors. Surely at home you notice an improvement in quality between Apple's earbuds and full size headphones. Earbuds tend to miss out alot of the low frequency component of music, so most full size headphones will provide much more bass level as well as more detail and greater frequency extension. More expensive headphones give relatively less for the extra money, I have heard comments that Beyerdynamics DT880 which cost £200-300 give quite alot of what you pay for in the £1000 Beyerdynamic T1.
A headphone might be expensive because it is a hi-fi headphone or it is a fashion statement or it caters for some demand like extra bass or nothing but midrange. In the world of vast choices and models just about every combination is catered for and naturally prices vary (and some are hard to justify).

That's the thing: I can't tell much of a difference in sound quality from my apple headphones and SRH840's (they are both well extended, IMO.) I feel that the SRH840's are a waste of money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

People do have a way of exaggerating small differences on this site, but it's probably just you. Listen to something with a lot of deep bass. 

Like what? I listen to some dubstep and my apple earphones are quite extended.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ishcabible View Post
 

 

When did you get the SRH840? I know when I started out, I couldn't really tell the difference between my stock headphones and the headphones I upgraded to, but after using the new pair of headphones for about a week and I let my brain understand the differences, I was shocked by how different they sounded.

I got the SRH840's on Christmas. It's true they sound different than my stock headphones, it doesn't make it better quality, does it?

post #6 of 107

Guessing you are talking about the Apple Earpods right?  They're actually surprisingly decent compared to the older buds they used to have,

 

Suggestion - you're probably very used to the Earpods signature - and then trying the SRH840 and then A/Bing the two will most of the time not give you an impression of what the SRH840 can do.

 

Try using your SRH840, and only your SRH840 for a week - then going back to the Earpods.  Your thoughts may change.

 

Saying that though - I still use my Earpods quite a lot (especially at work where I can't typically use IEMs) - and I still really enjoy them.  It's not that the SRH840 are overpriced / overhyped - it's more that the Earpods are very, very good for the money.

 

As to your original question - as an owner of both the Earpods and SRH840 (former owner now - but they were so good I actually bought them twice) - with very well recorded material - IMO there IS better detail retrieval on the SRH840.  Try some very good jazz, or decently recorded rock (Steely Dan / Dire Straits etc) - you will notice it.  However - unless you can shed some light on what you listen to (there is nothing really in your Head-fi profile to go on) - then it's really hard to comment much further.

 

At the end opf they day - if the Earpods are better for you - sell the SRH840's, buy more music, and wear a bigger smile on your face :)

post #7 of 107

The Apple earbuds are actually way better than they should be for the price. People love to hate, especially on head-fi, but i think for under 50 bucks they may actually be one of the better value products you can get. As for why headphones differ in cost? Well to me it's insanely, hilariously obvious. Once I got my first pair of real headphones for christmas (Grado SR-80s) I could never go back. Now the effect is only amplified, especially with a collection of different headphones for my different moods. 

 

TLDR? It's just you. :/

post #8 of 107
Different sigs don't necessarily mean better quality, but they can affect absolute realism of the sound. The biggest issue here is that we don't really know what you're listening for. I have a set of Earpods beside me right now and while they sound a lot better than the older iBuds, they don't do the greatest job at conveying timbre, which is the main reason I upgrade.

If you're looking for an explanation as to why you don't hear a drastic difference, I can't really help you with your particular headphones because it's been ages since I've used an SRH840, but the reason most of us upgrade is to get just a little closer to our idea of how our music should sound (I've never been the biggest fan of neutrality; I like coloration in my music 90% of the time). If you don't hear a significant difference between your earphones and the SRH840, consider yourself lucky, and don't try too hard to appease us by straining to hear enough of a difference to justify them. Trust me, one you start, it's hard to stop. I've been in this hobby since 2007 and have yet to be completely satisfied by how my setup sounds. rolleyes.gif

And like the others, I'll agree the Earpods are pretty dang good for stocks. They easily (to my ears) surpass the budget IEMs we all raved about a couple years ago.
Edited by Ishcabible - 1/5/14 at 1:55pm
post #9 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

Guessing you are talking about the Apple Earpods right?  They're actually surprisingly decent compared to the older buds they used to have,

 

Suggestion - you're probably very used to the Earpods signature - and then trying the SRH840 and then A/Bing the two will most of the time not give you an impression of what the SRH840 can do.

 

Try using your SRH840, and only your SRH840 for a week - then going back to the Earpods.  Your thoughts may change.

 

Saying that though - I still use my Earpods quite a lot (especially at work where I can't typically use IEMs) - and I still really enjoy them.  It's not that the SRH840 are overpriced / overhyped - it's more that the Earpods are very, very good for the money.

 

As to your original question - as an owner of both the Earpods and SRH840 (former owner now - but they were so good I actually bought them twice) - with very well recorded material - IMO there IS better detail retrieval on the SRH840.  Try some very good jazz, or decently recorded rock (Steely Dan / Dire Straits etc) - you will notice it.  However - unless you can shed some light on what you listen to (there is nothing really in your Head-fi profile to go on) - then it's really hard to comment much further.

 

At the end opf they day - if the Earpods are better for you - sell the SRH840's, buy more music, and wear a bigger smile on your face :)

I guess it's just my poorly recorded music (dubstep, Indie rock, and classical), and the SRH840's, being as unforgiving as they are, reproduces poor music, while the apple earpods masks the poor quality.

 

Actually, today was the first day since months that I used my earpods, simply to compare the two.

 

Thanks! 

post #10 of 107

I listen to plenty of dubstep and indie rock on a very resolving system. The mastering isn't great sometimes, but it's not bad enough to sound like crap. I'd be more concerned about the file format you are using. If you are listening to music on Youtube or using 128 kbps mp3s, that would probably explain your problem. 

post #11 of 107
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

I listen to plenty of dubstep and indie rock on a very resolving system. The mastering isn't great sometimes, but it's not bad enough to sound like crap. I'd be more concerned about the file format you are using. If you are listening to music on Youtube or using 128 kbps mp3s, that would probably explain your problem. 

I listen mainly to music bought on iTunes, from my laptop and iPhone 5.

 

For example, "Act Now" by Arkasia+PIXL sounds like crap, because of the hissing.


Edited by JR4599638 - 1/5/14 at 2:10pm
post #12 of 107

I have heard the HD800 out of the O2/ODAC which drives them as objectively good as they can get. Incredible sound quality. However when I go back to lower priced headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum and/or NAD Viso HP50, the enjoyment factor increases because they have the sound signature suitable for my genre preferences. The HD800 is a technical beast, however in real world applications, It doesn't work out well with DnB, Trance, etc...

 

In the end, sound signature is more important than sound quality for me.

post #13 of 107

Ok, but what type of mp3 did you buy from iTunes?

If you pick songs that sound well recorded, do you hear more of a difference?

post #14 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

Ok, but what type of mp3 did you buy from iTunes?

If you pick songs that sound well recorded, do you hear more of a difference?

There's a vibe that you have to listen to certain songs to appreciate the higher quality of more expensive headphones. It's like watching a movie you don't enjoy just to see the vivid detail and color reproduction of your new HDTV. 

 

It's should be what headphone sounds best to "you" with the music "you" enjoy. However, I do prefer to have the best bitrate possible for those songs.

post #15 of 107

You might want to get electronic music from a site like Beatport since they can get you MP3-320s which will sound much better than the lower bit rate sound files you can get off itunes. That may help you going forward, and may highlight the differences between more headphones. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Why are some headphones more expensive than others?