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Are more "popular" brands and more "expensive" headphones always better?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

This may sound sly or even sarcastic, but how many users are actually influenced by the names and brands, rather than the actual audio quality? I mean, most users tend to glorify brands like Sennheiser or AKG (and numerous others) while other less popular ones amongst "audiophiles" hardly gather modest points, in spite of good reviews by others? They also seem to look down upon those that they don't like or whatever that does not belong to the above said "popular" brands? (I guess it's the same with other stuff like those big branded handbags or shoes which are super expensive, yet there are cheaper alternatives, even unknown brands which are better both in quality as well as looks. Most seemed to be carried away that if it's from a particular brand and expensive, it must be good.

 

As a newbie in this forum, this may draw flaks but I just would like to know. Thanks.

 

 :popcorn:

 

 

 

So far, I have streamlined my choices to

 

1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

2. Sony MDR-1R

3. Shure SRH940

4. A-T A900X

post #2 of 11

Akg and especially sennheiser are really respected around here. The popular brands that you talk of is usually beats, bose, skullcandy...ect. Beats have the highest headphone sales ever and is marketed as the best sound quality and reference level, which is completely bs. For their price, you can get much much better cans.

 

Also, it'd help us if you listed your favorite music genres and your budget. I assume that you want a closed headphone right? Do you want balanced or bass heavy sound signature?


Edited by b0000 - 4/6/14 at 8:46pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I like bass heavy headphones, but not too much that it drowns the higher notes. I prefer closed cans since I can only buy one and will be using both at home and when I'm out.

 

I listen mostly to the Electronica, Lounge, Alternative Music, World Music, Rock and Pop, and Synth based music. I also will be using it for gaming on my laptop. I'm planning to use the Razer Surround software for emulating the 7.1 surround in games, and hence instrument spacing or soundstage is important, I guess.

 

I'm "triggered" by very deep bass in both games and music. But I also want the high notes to be prominent - the strings, pianos and electric synths in music, and for the voice and footsteps and positional audio clarity in games.

 

And I'm also looking for the most comfortable cups - I really want the circum-aural types since my ear lobes seem to be very sensitive to the on-ear cups which produce the ache after a few minutes. And also looking for a headband that won't press on my skull too much. I had used the Kraken 7.1 before which caused a dull aching pain where the headband rests. And the on-ear design also caused pain in my earlobes after some time and gets really uncomfortable.

 

So far only the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro seem to satisfy most of the points above. Not sure about gaming using the Shure or Sony, though. The thing keeping me away, though still in sight, from A900X is that I read reviews that the ear cups are not comfortable. As my ears are quite sensitive to pressure, I tend to look for the worst case scenarios when it comes to comfort.

 

I don't have access to any testing premises or demo shops (or lack thereof here), and so, I'm trying to gather as much info as possible before spending.

post #4 of 11

the dt770 80 ohm version is the best in its price range. If you want to step it up, you can get the vmoda m100 with the xl pads. If you're never going to take them outside, an open headphone will be even better because of improved soundstage. If you're interested in the open headphone route, look into the philips x1 or the hifiman he400.

 

I'm not too sure about the razer software. i suggest you ask the people here for help with a software or external soundcard that will enhance your gaming experience.

post #5 of 11

Head-Fi is definitely a biased community, as you noticed.

 

As another head-fi'er put it, people tend to hate "popular" headphones to show you have more experience. Generally the procession goes from hating Beats, to hating the M50, and when you get to hating AKG's then you're really a big boy.

 

As for your question, the answer is no. Popularity, price, flagship-status, whatever don't guarantee superior performance and personal enjoyment.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by malibd View Post
 

This may sound sly or even sarcastic, but how many users are actually influenced by the names and brands, rather than the actual audio quality? I mean, most users tend to glorify brands like Sennheiser or AKG (and numerous others) while other less popular ones amongst "audiophiles" hardly gather modest points, in spite of good reviews by others? They also seem to look down upon those that they don't like or whatever that does not belong to the above said "popular" brands? (I guess it's the same with other stuff like those big branded handbags or shoes which are super expensive, yet there are cheaper alternatives, even unknown brands which are better both in quality as well as looks. Most seemed to be carried away that if it's from a particular brand and expensive, it must be good.

 

As a newbie in this forum, this may draw flaks but I just would like to know. Thanks.

 

 :popcorn:

 

 

 

So far, I have streamlined my choices to

 

1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

2. Sony MDR-1R

3. Shure SRH940

4. A-T A900X

I for one am not highly influenced by the brand name.  Good sound is good sound, bad sound is bad sound... regardless of the name or price paid.  the DT880 is too treble boosted for my tastes, so despite its popularity or price point it remains out of my collection.  I have a Bose AE2 that I like for its strengths.  Despite how little respect Bose (deservedly) does not get here on HF, they did a good job designing the AE2, good enough to keep it in my rotation.  I am a huge Koss fan extending back decades before headfi... yet the Koss cans in my collection are no where near perfect.

 

People are just posting their opinions.  I don't think "glorify" is the right way to look at it.  "Glory" is achieved in winning some sort of competition.  When you finally have a good sounding rig, you have achieved a goal, and I guess in that light it is a "glorious" achievement... if that's how you want to look at it.   When members feel strongly about something, they post appropriate commentary.  I don't think the intent is to glorify anything, although there is definitely a sense of satisfaction.. no doubt.  It took me four tries, and hundreds of hours to finally build a working Cmoy... that no doubt was a major accomplishment for me!!!  I gloated appropriately for the moment I guess.


Edited by kramer5150 - 4/6/14 at 10:40pm
post #7 of 11

I haven't actually found Head-Fi biased, so much as sort of uniform. It's fairly easy to tell where people stand.

 

Sure, plenty of members have tried only one model and say it's the best. Probably some who've never tried HD800 use it as their avatar too.

 

The only people who are consistently snobby about price are some of the guys who like the flagships, and more than a few are inexperienced and gullible.

 

But the good outweighs the bad, especially amongst modders.

 

 

As for recommendations, I would otherwise recommend M100 but it's hard to hear the highs in all that dark. DT770 is fine, but I think you might get more out of M50x. SRH940 is kind of a treblehead phone, so no. 

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by malibd View Post
 

This may sound sly or even sarcastic, but how many users are actually influenced by the names and brands, rather than the actual audio quality? I mean, most users tend to glorify brands like Sennheiser or AKG (and numerous others) while other less popular ones amongst "audiophiles" hardly gather modest points, in spite of good reviews by others? They also seem to look down upon those that they don't like or whatever that does not belong to the above said "popular" brands? (I guess it's the same with other stuff like those big branded handbags or shoes which are super expensive, yet there are cheaper alternatives, even unknown brands which are better both in quality as well as looks. Most seemed to be carried away that if it's from a particular brand and expensive, it must be good.

 

As a newbie in this forum, this may draw flaks but I just would like to know. Thanks.

 

 

As a newbie you probably haven't heard of how these opinions don't have enough dissenting opinions against them. Just read through the K701 thread and you'll see what I mean; to a lesser extent read also the HD800 threads. In any case one reason why these two brands are more popular is because they do make good products and their companies go waaaaaaay back, as in Wermacht/Kriegsmarine equipment way back, so for some it extends (even subconsciously) to "if Donitz and Rommel relied on these, and so do these studios, then it's likely good." By contrast people tend to think of tanks and subs with headphones more than we think of linking an Evo with a Zero (most likely because by 1944 the Zeros were doing more 9/11-inspiring flight vectors than epic dogfights, especially with Sakai gone). In any csae being around longer, not just as a brand but also certain product lines, helps gain fans, and at some point, the older headphones will cost less and the newer competitors aren't that much better than the old ones but cost more, so it ends up being more endearing to the owners. Check out the details of the posts of people who have had their HD580/600 and HD25, K240, MDR-V6, DT770....

 

Also I don't think it's a matter of Sennheiser and AKG over Beyerdynamic and Sony, Shure, AT, given they belong in that list above. And if people looked down on other brands that don't have their pedigree, much less a Germanic one, how does that explain the quick penetration and rise within  the market of Audezee, HiFiMan, and Fischer Audio?

 

So really what it all comes down to is that the longer time some brands and product lines have been around likely gets them more loyal followers for the reasons outlined above, but that doesn't mean they don't own or would look down on other brands. Unless they're some of the brands that garner hate threads here (I won't mention anymore because this can quickly get derailed into another one like those).

post #9 of 11

Having owned Sennheiser HD600, 650, HE90 as well as the AKG K-1000, it's hard to see how these brands are over-glorified at all.  I look forward to picking up the HD800 one of these days and hope AKG puts out other great cans.

 

Best,

 

-Jason

post #10 of 11
Quote

So far, I have streamlined my choices to

 

1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

2. Sony MDR-1R

3. Shure SRH940

4. A-T A900X

 

At the same time, having owned a variety of Audio Technica ATH-A900, I hope the X has improved dramatically over prior iterations.  It's kind of sad considering how much better AT was 20 years ago with the likes of the W10VTGs at that price point. 

 

I have a pair of Sony MDR-1R MK2, I've been listening to a lot and I like them quite a bit.  They don't compare to the aforementioned VTGs, but they're certainly far more portable.  I'll post some thoughts on them soon - they're certainly not perfect (horrific-ly congested soundstage) but remarkable in their level of micro-detail.  But at the end of the day, they're yet another consumer ~$300 headphone.

 

If you're looking to spend ~$300 - unless you need a closed or portable can, why not get a used HD580/600/650?

 

Best,

 

-Jason

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Jason. I'll consider the Senns too. Now testing them would proove difficult. Still, I'll keep an eye on those models.

 

If the MDR-1R's soundstage is congested, it might not be ideal for positional audio via the software/dedicated Dolby headphone USB devices, right?

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