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Just checking -- is it widely accepted that a $1,000 speaker system will sound better than a...

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

I've spent many hours now listening to both (a) my speaker system (total cost, receiver + 6 speakers/subwoofer  of about $1,000 [edit: I purchased the set for $1,000 in a sale over 10 years ago, not sure what a modern equivalent would cost, possibly much much less due to technological advancements]) and (b) my HD800.

 

It's a little hard to say which is "better" because they sound so different that you have a bit of the apples vs. oranges problem. But I have to say the HD800 seems to sounds sort of muddy relative to the speaker setup (yeah you heard right, I said the HD800 sounds muddy). Imaging is also weaker on the HD800, I think (yes you heard right again). The HD800 sounds "fuller" as you would expect for something right next to your ears, but the speakers might sound better at the same dB level at your ear. I haven't done careful listening tests re: detail (like, finding a piece of detail in music and seeing if it shows better in one vs. the other) and this is just a general sense impression.

 

Does this sound right? Or am I mishearing something?

 

If it's right -- then why do people use headphones? I use them because I don't want to annoy my neighbors with music. Is that the reason for others? Are we all just people without enough space to enjoy our speakers?


Edited by ag8908 - 3/14/14 at 7:23pm
post #2 of 71

I would imagine that it has a large amount to do with the amping and what dac you are using with the HD800s. It also has to do with how used to each one you are. If you've had the speakers longer, then you are likely very used to hearing what it is they sound like and anything else is going to sound a bit off.

 

All that said, I haven't had any experience with hardware in this price range and am very interested as to what others think about it.

post #3 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by potatoos View Post
 

I would imagine that it has a large amount to do with the amping and what dac you are using with the HD800s. It also has to do with how used to each one you are. If you've had the speakers longer, then you are likely very used to hearing what it is they sound like and anything else is going to sound a bit off.

 

All that said, I haven't had any experience with hardware in this price range and am very interested as to what others think about it.

Yes, you "used to" comment makes sense because they sound so differently that they're hard to compare, and one might be biased based on expectations. But that being said, I find it hard to conclude that the speakers don't sound better, with better detail and better imaging. They're both plugged into my computer, via HDMI (5.1 sound on the speakers), and the HD800 is plugged into the receiver's 300 ohm output jack.

post #4 of 71

Define what you mean by muddy ? You can't be mishearing btw.. your hearing is yours ;)

 

Honnestly, I've yet to hear a 1500€ 2 channels system which would be better than my hd650 on perceived dynamics and tonal accuracy (especially voices reproduction), which are the points that matters most to me. But I know plenty of people who could never adapt to the "in head" effect of headphones and strongly prefer speakers.

 

And to answer your question, I started with headphones to avoid bothering a roommate in a university dorm but found out that I really liked some stuff that headphones do and that I cannot get from speakers.

post #5 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00940 View Post
 

Define what you mean by muddy ? You can't be mishearing btw.. your hearing is yours ;)

 

Honnestly, I've yet to hear a 1500€ 2 channels system which would be better than my hd650 on perceived dynamics and tonal accuracy (especially voices reproduction), which are the points that matters most to me. But I know plenty of people who could never adapt to the "in head" effect of headphones and strongly prefer speakers.

 

And to answer your question, I started with headphones to avoid bothering a roommate in a university dorm but found out that I really liked some stuff that headphones do and that I cannot get from speakers.

Less crisp, less detail, warmer. Like the effect of going from FM radio to AM radio.

 

Please note I listen to my setup in 5.1 surround sound (my receiver converts the 2 channel input into 5.1 using a variety of codecs, e.g. dolby I, dolby II, neo etc., or just pumping it out of all five equally without any codec, which sounds best to me).

 

What can't you get from speakers?


Edited by ag8908 - 3/14/14 at 7:34pm
post #6 of 71

I prefer speakers to headphones, and I've always tried to find headphones that sounded the closest to a 2-speaker system.  I use headphones for the privacy, to lower the noise floor of the listening environment, and to keep from bothering others around me.  I prefer closed headphones over open versions.  I would rather lower the ambient noise 6 dB than increase the volume level 6 dB.  Headphones have always been a compromise to what I want to hear/feel with my music.

post #7 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ag8908 View Post
the HD800 is plugged into the receiver's 300 ohm output jack.

 

Do you mean by that that the output jack has a 300ohms output resistance ? That could explain a lot.

post #8 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00940 View Post
 

 

Do you mean by that that the output jack has a 300ohms output resistance ? That could explain a lot.

Yeah. It's the receiver's headphone jack, which the manual claims has 300ohms. I've also tried it on an objective 2 amp and it didn't sound materially different.

post #9 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitus mirus View Post
 

I prefer speakers to headphones, and I've always tried to find headphones that sounded the closest to a 2-speaker system.  I use headphones for the privacy, to lower the noise floor of the listening environment, and to keep from bothering others around me.  I prefer closed headphones over open versions.  I would rather lower the ambient noise 6 dB than increase the volume level 6 dB.  Headphones have always been a compromise to what I want to hear/feel with my music.

 

One privacy advantage for me is that my neighbors won't know my taste in music, e.g. that I listen to, for example, George Strait and Debbie Gibson lol.

post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ag8908 View Post
 

 

One privacy advantage for me is that my neighbors won't know my taste in music, e.g. that I listen to, for example, George Strait and Debbie Gibson lol.

 

Yep, I know what you mean. I've got my own...eclectic taste in music. :tongue_smile: 

 

http://www.last.fm/user/jammarnew

post #11 of 71
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonitus mirus View Post
 

 

Yep, I know what you mean. I've got my own...eclectic taste in music. :tongue_smile:

 

http://www.last.fm/user/jammarnew

lol that's a pretty random list. I checked out a few of the tracks, redding and taj mahal, and they were good. good stuff.

post #12 of 71

It is generally accepted that an apple is better than an orange.

post #13 of 71

This is an interesting one. I have a speaker system when new costing around £2k and with my liking to play my music at a bit of an annoying level when my neighbour is home from work i tend to switch over to my headphones. Now don't laugh but they are only UE6000's which i use through my pc system using a creative Z soundcard and listening through the headphone amp. I have to say that i'm really impressed with the sound. Now bear in mind I'm unable to work any more due to poor health issues so unless i find an unbelievably generous deal online then i'm sticking with the UE's. But do i think they get close to me speaker set up ? No not even close the sheer volume and clarity just isnt there with the headphones but i can live with that. Does this help you you might ask ? Well compromise is a fact of life !

Check out my profile on lasFM too http://www.last.fm/user/obv 

 

:)

post #14 of 71
I am completely unsurprised at the HD800 having inferior imaging when playing a recording designed for speakers.
 
If the HD800 sounds a bit dull and less 'detailed', try dialing up the treble.

 

300 Ohm output impedance would give you a 'small' increase in the mid-bass.

post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by higbvuyb View Post
 

300 Ohm output impedance would give you a 'small' increase in the mid-bass.

 

It would probably also increase the distortion of the headphones by a few dB.

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