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New headphone listening period (giving the headphones a chance even if initially not wowing you)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ok, something that I wondered about.  When we get new headphones that has different sound signature than the one you've been listening to it may sound horrible initially.  Some members here say, you need to give it some time before deciding if the headphones are good or not.  Well, doesn't that mean your ears are adapting to the new sound signature?  Let say you get some lower tiered headphones, and initially sounds bad, but you keep listening to them until your ears adapt.  Can we say this about High End headphones also?

post #2 of 7

Most stereo salesmen will tell you that "burning in" equipment makes it sound better. The recommended amount of burn in time is about a week after your return privileges expire.

 

But all joking aside, if something doesn't sound right, it will never sound right. When you are upgrading, the first rule is to IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM YOU ARE TRYING TO SOLVE. Randomly swapping gear in and out is chaos and will result in random sound quality. If you're looking to improve your sound, figure out what is wrong with your current sound, what you would like it to sound like instead, and then figure out how to achieve that. Very few people on Head-Fi seem to do that. They just churn through equipment.

post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

Ok, something that I wondered about.  When we get new headphones that has different sound signature than the one you've been listening to it may sound horrible initially.  Some members here say, you need to give it some time before deciding if the headphones are good or not.  Well, doesn't that mean your ears are adapting to the new sound signature?  Let say you get some lower tiered headphones, and initially sounds bad, but you keep listening to them until your ears adapt.  Can we say this about High End headphones also?

I would "guess" the high priced headphones are using better materials that do not "change" much from use, compared to lower priced headphones.

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

Ok, something that I wondered about.  When we get new headphones that has different sound signature than the one you've been listening to it may sound horrible initially.  Some members here say, you need to give it some time before deciding if the headphones are good or not.  Well, doesn't that mean your ears are adapting to the new sound signature?  Let say you get some lower tiered headphones, and initially sounds bad, but you keep listening to them until your ears adapt.  Can we say this about High End headphones also?

Sometimes it's not the headphones but the particular album. At other times it's just your mood. How you perceive your senses has both external and internal variables.

So, if you don't like the sound initially, approach the matter with an open mind and try to find what's the problem. If it *is* the headphone then it won't change over time.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

When you go from headphones with with extended treble to recessed, you tend to hear the difference.  For example, there has been long discussion on veil on the HD-650.  The reason why most people think it has a veil is because most headphones emphasizes treble, and 650 is not as sparkly on the high end.  What happens when you switch over is immediately you notice the treble cut-off.  You ears at that point is not accustomed to low treble, so the headphones sound veiled, but in actually it is not.  You use the headphones for a few days, and your ears become accustomed to the low trebles, and your ears starts hearing details.

 

That is one example.  My example illustrates that your ears cannot decern how great a headphones is if you switch from one to another after ears becoming accustomed to a certain sound.  That brings lots of questions about our perception of hearing, that it is not something that is immediate, but there is in fact a physiological aspect to it.  How about you go from expensive high end to mid-tier.  what if the signatures are different?  Is it the signature of is one just lower quality than the other?  Your ears will adjust over time of course. 


Edited by SilverEars - 3/2/14 at 6:40pm
post #6 of 7

To be honest, I can't really imagine getting used to an imbalanced response curve to the point that a balanced response sounds bad. The world around us has a balanced frequency response. That's what we should be comparing to. But I listen to classical music a lot where flat response is required, and bumps and valleys in the curve stand out like a sore thumb.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

When you go from headphones with with extended treble to recessed, you tend to hear the difference.  For example, there has been long discussion on veil on the HD-650.  The reason why most people think it has a veil is because most headphones emphasizes treble, and 650 is not as sparkly on the high end.  What happens when you switch over is immediately you notice the treble cut-off.  You ears at that point is not accustomed to low treble, so the headphones sound veiled, but in actually it is not.  You use the headphones for a few days, and your ears become accustomed to the low trebles, and your ears starts hearing details.

 

That is one example.  My example illustrates that your ears cannot decern how great a headphones is if you switch from one to another after ears becoming accustomed to a certain sound.  That brings lots of questions about our perception of hearing, that it is not something that is immediate, but there is in fact a physiological aspect to it.  How about you go from expensive high end to mid-tier.  what if the signatures are different?  Is it the signature of is one just lower quality than the other?  Your ears will adjust over time of course. 

 

I would agree if the treble cut-off was really abrupt. AFAIK its quite a gentle dip, enough to remove the harshness. The amount of detail that is revealed always makes me like them, even when I switch to them from the relatively brighter and bass-heavy HD239.

 

Obviously, it doesn't suit all kinds of music. Something like rock or metal wouldn't be as 'clear' I guess, no matter how long wait for your ears to get accustomed.

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