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The High End Is Not For Everyone. - Page 2

post #16 of 33

When I got into this, I started where a lot of guys did - with a pair of TF10's and a pair of IE8's - so I had a decent BA headphone and a decent dynamic one - they were heard and shoulders better than anything I had listened to before that point. I had an extensive background in mobile audio, so I know what sounds good and I knew what kind of signature I liked (when I would set up a high end car system, I found myself preferring sealed enclosures and woofers no larger than 10 inches - I liked the bass to hit me hard, not ooze all over my body like ported 12's and 15's did. 

 

Since then I have played the game of $50-$100-$200 FOTM phones and am actually happy that I made the jump to high end CIEMs - What the myriad of middle ground phones has done for me is make it so that my throw away phones (Gym, running, or the ones I have given as gifts) tend to punch way over their price point. But for my listening pleasure, I want the best I can afford - if I make the wrong choice, I can sell and try again - but I am happy with what I have - and upgrade-itus isn't hammering away at me - maybe I'll buy something better down the road - but when I listen to music I am listening to music, not thinking about what another expensive set of cans would sound like.

 

Buying headphones is like buying cars, homes and musical equipment - buy the best you can afford - buy quality - and start enjoying life as soon as you can.

post #17 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. Maybe it's simply that the JH13's are not for me. In my case expensive did not result in "enjoying life"!
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post
 

This is based on my experience. Having recently bought a pair of JH13fp. CIEM's.

If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you were not able to do a bit of research on the internet, buy a pair of headphones and go of to happily listen to your music.

Instead, like me, you probably bought a pair of headphones that you thought were very expensive and were surprised to find that they did not sound marvellous. Good yes but there was something... Missing.

There then followed much excitement, frustration and disappointment, during which time the gear associated with music reproduction became an interest. Even a hobby.

In the end  it starts to make sense to go right to the TOTL. Scrimping and saving or, more likely, spending money you cannot afford on one "endgame" purchase.

Don't do it. It doesn't work like that.

IMO. The high end shares characteristics with the mid tier. There is still no such thing as the perfect headphone. What there are is products that do certain things superlatively well. In the same way that mid tier does certain things very well. There are also similarly different presentations and emphasis. Maybe even flaws and compromises. With the mid tier due to budget. TOTL sheer physics.

You need to have the disposable income to afford to experiment within high end in the same way as perhaps you can in the mid tier. Otherwise it might be better to stay with gear that is designed to get the best out of limited possibilities.

It cost me £1000 to learn this. I offer it here for free!

I would guess that you just don't like the JH13's.   I wasn't crazy about them.  There is nothing warm or lush about them.  If you had JH16 I doubt you'd be saying this.

post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

Hmmm. Maybe it's simply that the JH13's are not for me. In my case expensive did not result in "enjoying life"!

I am hoping there are large swaths of life you are enjoying, with portable audio being only a small pebble in your shoe.

 

....also, it may be that the JH13 isn't for you - I made a conscious decision to get the JH16 because I'm just a fun kinda guy...:D

post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 

That's a very kind reply Ivabign. Yeah life is quite difficult ATM. I guess I was hoping for a treat. My original reason for posting is that I wanted to warn anyone who was hoping to fast forward to a bit of ultimate listening that there are pit falls even at the TOTL. If you are constrained financially maybe even more so as there is too much riding on your choice and expectations are through the roof!

I heard the demo 16. Phenomenal detail in the bass region but I thought maybe rather too bass centric for me. Daft (in a good way!) handle BTW. :biggrin:

post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post
 

I am hoping there are large swaths of life you are enjoying, with portable audio being only a small pebble in your shoe.

 

That is so beatifully said, and certainly something I'm aiming for.

 

Over a period of 15-20 years it's dawned on me that as much as I love buying and listening to these headphones, I always remember the music more than the equipment. I've got a very keen sense of their performance (or so I'd like to think!), but in the long run they almost always fade from the rear view mirror, whereas the music itself sticks without fail.

 

So I am now consciously avoiding expensive equipment, capping myself at $200 or even $100 a pop, and I'm also more careful with those FOTMs. My goal is no longer seeking extraordinary performance, but to find something I really love, that I can truly connect with, which admittedly may not be very good on absolute terms. :etysmile:

post #22 of 33

Having been here for a long time now, I'm convinced that what motivates a lot of buyers has more to do with consumer psychology than anything related to sound.  People seem to get addicted from their first experience with high end audio and start to chase the rush they got when they bought their first pair of high end IEMs. 

 

There's also a social component.  There are a bunch of people who clearly enjoy the interactions they have talking about new gear here on head-fi more than the gear itself.  They like the hobbyist angle of being able to "be an expert" on a newly released IEM and the attention and respect they get from others. 

 

It's extremely fascinating stuff for anyone interested in consumer psychology.  People use really poor critical thinking in analyzing equipment, even the most respected reviewers on this site (minus some science-oriented folks in the science of sound section).  People literally pay thousands of dollars for something that someone with a basic understanding of electrical engineering could tell you will not affect sound quality.   

post #23 of 33
Quote:

Originally Posted by roy_jones View Post

 

There are a bunch of people who clearly enjoy the interactions they have talking about new gear here on head-fi more than the gear itself.  They like the hobbyist angle of being able to "be an expert" on a newly released IEM and the attention and respect they get from others. 

 

Took me a while to realize that that's an insanely stupid game for me to even consider apeing, nevermind actually making an attempt.

 

The only reason I ever thought about it is I've seen a lot of portables and a lot of headphones, even before head-fi (and I've in fact been here a long time too), and it used to feel like if I don't do something with that resource, all of that would've gone to waste... but now I know that I must let them all go to waste.

 

There was a lot of excitement the other day after I auditioned the GR07 and GR07BE for an hour, and just couldn't get myself to like them. They sounded oddly unlike at least half of the descriptions you see around here. Looking at the rapport of all these people, I tend to forget how much experience I carry on my back, I tend to forget that I know what I want, and I tend to give my power away. I recognized that I simply know too much to get stuff just so I could partake in that social game.

 

Which is the perfect time to misquote and paraphrase fleetwood mac: I have by now seen the seven wonders, and it's time to beat a path to the rainbow's end. This game is all about finding the best fit, the most exciting aspects for me and me alone. There cannot be anything else in the equation. :D 


Edited by heatofamatch - 5/18/14 at 7:10am
post #24 of 33

Yep, Roy Jones, it was the same (yet far more blatantly obvious) in my car audio days in the 1990s. Back then, the weekend car shows were the place where people would try to differentiate themselves (to get praise) with fancy speaker displays, boutique cables (caps, and batteries), and source setups. I expected no less on the first day I came to Headfi.

 

The social aspect doesn't (however) totally define any of the people involved and they can still be good sources of info (sifting thru and reading between the lines). For example, there are quite a few people with multiple custom IEMs who aren't writing reviews. That lets me know that these customs are not satisfying (not because they didn't write a review but because they have so many). The same goes for the boutique DAPs.

 

What catches my attention more is like the one guy who bought a DX100 and Heir 8.A and then wrote (and I paraphrase), “goodbye all, the jouney has been fun, but I found my endgame setup and I'm leaving”. I don't know who that was or whether they really stayed away. When I find that kind of contentment with a setup, I'm out as well. So the read on me is that I'm not content because I'm still here.

 

Yep, Heatofamatch, the only experience anyone needs is a pair of ears and the desire to satisfy those ears and not someone else idea of perfect sound.

post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckdriver View Post
 

For example, there are quite a few people with multiple custom IEMs who aren't writing reviews. That lets me know that these customs are not satisfying (not because they didn't write a review but because they have so many).

 

 

...lol... Sounds like you are describing me - but missing the mark a bit. I have a number of customs - but I received them all on the same day :D. One of the reasons I haven't reviewed anything (yet) is probably that I am as yet uncomfortable with both the nomenclature and the idea that I might influence someone into making a $1K mistake. Also, I like to make sure I have upgraded some of the rest of the signal path (DAP, digital music files, etc...) before I put words to print.

 

This is funny because in my experience writing/editing fiction and such, I have critiqued many, many manuscripts - and know how to dish out a harsh (but warranted) criticism - here I don't feel I am on as stable a foundation, so I demur. 

 

I do enjoy the camaraderie here on the forums - and it isn't that I am missing something in my collection that keeps me here. I am now researching about what it will take to get my iMac to sound better - I was hoping the USB/DAC function of my DX90 would fit the bill, and maybe I will wait for the driver to be released - but that's what I'm up to at the moment.

 

This is a cool place. Some of the minds here are sharp as a tack - that in of itself is a joy. Sometimes reading the comments on a Yahoo news story makes me want to slit my wrists.

post #26 of 33

haha, as blasphemous as you would probably sound to many here who swear by their prized TOTL you do make a point OP. I think it is easy to forget the very function of the IEMs we buy, to listen to music. Someone listening to Beethoven or Taylor Swift on Apple Earbuds and SE846s are both still listening to Beethoven or Taylor Swift. 

 

That said, if a hundred dollar purchase sends you to the top of the moon, that is the best IEM. The IEM for you. Though I might add for many people it could be a mistake to jump to TOTL too quick and too fast. I started this hobby several years back and was even researching reviews on 20 dollar iems for my poor wallet as a student. Then it went up in small tiers. While you appreciate the nuances each upgrade gets you, jumping so many tiers will certainly reduce the appreciation one would probably have for the value of "low-fi" or "mid-fi" as well (if that should even be the term to describe it)

post #27 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post
 

This is based on my experience. Having recently bought a pair of JH13fp. CIEM's.

If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you were not able to do a bit of research on the internet, buy a pair of headphones and go of to happily listen to your music.

Instead, like me, you probably bought a pair of headphones that you thought were very expensive and were surprised to find that they did not sound marvellous. Good yes but there was something... Missing.

There then followed much excitement, frustration and disappointment, during which time the gear associated with music reproduction became an interest. Even a hobby.

In the end  it starts to make sense to go right to the TOTL. Scrimping and saving or, more likely, spending money you cannot afford on one "endgame" purchase.

Don't do it. It doesn't work like that.

IMO. The high end shares characteristics with the mid tier. There is still no such thing as the perfect headphone. What there are is products that do certain things superlatively well. In the same way that mid tier does certain things very well. There are also similarly different presentations and emphasis. Maybe even flaws and compromises. With the mid tier due to budget. TOTL sheer physics.

You need to have the disposable income to afford to experiment within high end in the same way as perhaps you can in the mid tier. Otherwise it might be better to stay with gear that is designed to get the best out of limited possibilities.

It cost me £1000 to learn this. I offer it here for free!

 

Honestly, when I first read this I thought it was written by me! You echoed my thoughts exactly. After reading all the hype about TOTL earphones and then hearing it I actually began feeling depressed because I was anticipating the moment so much and leading up to the event when I got to demo them I was expecting the great depths of heaven to grace my ears. Instead I was greeted with, 'these are good', until I realised the asking price. I am going to give it another shot but to this moment it certainly doesn't look promising considering I'm left comparing sub 50 speakers to 1300+ and am having a hard time distinguishing a discernible difference.. Either that or it's time to visit a psychiatrist. 


Edited by Lukalop - 5/24/14 at 1:47pm
post #28 of 33
Thread Starter 
I doubt you need the trick cyclist. smily_headphones1.gif Are you talking about speakers as opposed to headphones? If so the room they are in makes an enormous difference. A £50 pair of speakers in a room with good acoustics will beat a £1300 pair in a room with poor acoustics.
If you cannot tell the difference between cheap and more expensive gear buy some modestly priced kit and live with it for a while. Then maybe go to a dealer and demo some stuff. A lot easier with speakers than headphones but there are also headphone specialists.
post #29 of 33

Comparing HD205 to JH's lineup (and 1964 Ears). I plan on buying headphones on Amazon then will return them within 30 days. Going to start with the W4R. I find though that the quality retrieval for headphones at the equivalent price point to IEMs is drastically better. My impressions are a little hazy, but I remember the SE215 sounding much worse than my HD205, very muddy and extremely congested. The SE425 I'd say is on par with the HD205. Bearing in mind they cost £170 whereas I got my HD205 for just £30. Diverging from the topic a little but it definitely depends on the brand/company. I remember comparing my HD205 to someone's Bose noise cancelling headphones (can't remember the specific model) and they cost £200. I strongly preferred my HD205 and just to make sure I wasn't crazy I got someone else to listen and they agreed that the HD205 were quite a bit better (richer, fuller sound) as did the owner. I asked them to guess how much they cost and when I claimed £30 they were astonished, at first they didn't even believe me.


Edited by Lukalop - 5/24/14 at 10:32pm
post #30 of 33
Thread Starter 

Bose don't have a very good rep on here. I've not heard them so cannot comment. You are going in at a pretty high price point with the WR4's.

Rather than mess around with Amazon I highly recommend http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/ if you can get to Brighton you can demo in ears and full size.

There is also http://www.theheadphonecompany.co.uk/ who will demo in Dalston.

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