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Where has time GONE...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Wow has time past, I've been frequenting and participating on this site for years and recently find it next to impossible to keep up with how HUGE the scene has gotten. I remember back in the day when there was maybe 10 manufactures making headphones and the TOTL stuff was etymotic for IEM and the Senn HD600 were the big thing. I remember the meta42 was the best budget amp you could get. I used to talk to my buddies about high end headphone amps and such and they would just look at my cross. Now people are carrying things in there pockets that would outperform anything I had on my shelf at home years ago. 

 

Now I just feel like an old man looking into the forums and checking out all the different topics and things that are going on... 


Please tell me I'm not the only one :)...

post #2 of 7
You are not the only one! biggrin.gif

Of course, there are pros and cons to the rise of head-fi. The small hobbyist suppliers have either moved upmarket or been supplanted by the low-cost Asian imports. However, the availability of incredibly good gear is far, far larger than ever before. With the good also comes some bad (ie $400 celebrity fashion 'phones), but those really shouldn't bother the audiophile - we've been separating the wheat from the chaff in audio for decades!
post #3 of 7

I still think you can't hate on the fashion phones, because they opened the market up for other big names. Until Monster and Beats proved that people were willing to drop $300 on a pair of headphones, it was considered a luxury pair for most of us if they cost $50. The evolution of headphones over the past 15 years has been nothing short of mindblowing. 

 

Like, when I was in high school, there were two kinds of headphones: the little earbuds that just sat in the curve of the ear, and kind with the foam pads and a metal wire that went up and over your head (and then later the Sony "street" headphones that went behind your head). There were no such things as IEMs or supra-aural and circumaural. Just sat loosely in your ear or sat flat on your ear. We all destroyed our hearing because we cranked up the volume to drown out the noises around us, and the concept of "leaking" wasn't even a factor because there was no such thing as "seal". IEMs and big all-encompassing ear cans were the purview of professional musicians and sound engineers.

 

Now for five bucks you can get canalphones in the checkout line at the grocery store. For ten a pair of "DJ headphones". Planar magnetic headphones are within the reach of casual hobbyists. People are using studio quality headphones and amplifiers for recreational listening. 

 

And don't get me STARTED on the digital revolution of music...

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post

I still think you can't hate on the fashion phones, because they opened the market up for other big names. Until Monster and Beats proved that people were willing to drop $300 on a pair of headphones, it was considered a luxury pair for most of us if they cost $50. The evolution of headphones over the past 15 years has been nothing short of mindblowing. 

Like, when I was in high school, there were two kinds of headphones: the little earbuds that just sat in the curve of the ear, and kind with the foam pads and a metal wire that went up and over your head (and then later the Sony "street" headphones that went behind your head). There were no such things as IEMs or supra-aural and circumaural. Just sat loosely in your ear or sat flat on your ear. We all destroyed our hearing because we cranked up the volume to drown out the noises around us, and the concept of "leaking" wasn't even a factor because there was no such thing as "seal". IEMs and big all-encompassing ear cans were the purview of professional musicians and sound engineers.

Now for five bucks you can get canalphones in the checkout line at the grocery store. For ten a pair of "DJ headphones". Planar magnetic headphones are within the reach of casual hobbyists. People are using studio quality headphones and amplifiers for recreational listening. 

And don't get me STARTED on the digital revolution of music...

I'm not sure when you were in high school, but the Ety ER4 was introduced in 1991 - way before the current mobile craze. Westone has been making custom-fit inserts since the 1960s, and has been working with musicians almost as long.

Of course, full-size headphones have been around much longer. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 424 that I still use and that sound every bit as good as modern mid-priced headphone. Stax has been making audiophile headphones since 1960. The audiophile head-fi world was there - it just wasn't being purchased by every spoiled teenager... biggrin.gif
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post


I'm not sure when you were in high school, but the Ety ER4 was introduced in 1991 - way before the current mobile craze. Westone has been making custom-fit inserts since the 1960s, and has been working with musicians almost as long.

Of course, full-size headphones have been around much longer. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 424 that I still use and that sound every bit as good as modern mid-priced headphone. Stax has been making audiophile headphones since 1960. The audiophile head-fi world was there - it just wasn't being purchased by every spoiled teenager... biggrin.gif

 

And do you think any of those products were sold at department stores? Oh right, 1991, when Amazon was huge! Come on dude, think for a moment.

 

It wasn't until the internet got big and brands like V-MODA and Skullcandy took a leap to say that headphones could actually be a fashion statement, which Beats then hit the ground running with and proved that high-end audio equipment actually IS a consumer product, so now we're at a point where you can buy AKG and Beyerdynamic circumaural cans in a strip mall on your way to Starbucks. The audio world is AMAZING now.

 

Oh noes, spoiled teenagers! I was enjoying my music until I realized spoiled teenagers were ALSO enjoying music. :P

post #6 of 7
When I was a teenager in the 1970s, almost every town had at least one store with mid-fi or better audio components for sale. As far as department stores, plenty of young audio buffs bought stereo gear at Sears, Montgomery Wards, Macy's, JC Penny, Boscov's, etc.

My point is not to say that audio today is not great or better than the old days - I'm just saying that caring about audio fidelity and music has been around a long time. It didn't start with the iPod or even the Walkman. Zillions of teenagers in the 1970s had headphones from Koss, AKG, Realistic, Superex, Pioneer, Stanton, etc. One could argue these were the fashion headphones of 1970:

post #7 of 7

Over here there's more variety, but maybe there's also more ignorance, which makes it easier for it to seem as if it's a circus compared to the public.

 

Better audio was available in one form or other going back to the 60s at the latest. My dad bought a white pair of HD414 some time back then. My first "good" pair, bought in 1999, was K501 which is still very good.

 

The public is still very far from decent sound, and people balk at buying "expensive" models unless they see them in the mall.

 

I don't think separating audio from public taste is necessarily bad. Professionals need a different sound from consumers and don't have to be as portable.

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