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Is hi-fi headphones not worth it if I dislike treble?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

Hello~, first time posting here :)

 

I have some friends who like to spend hundreds on their audio gears and they convinced me expensive headphones are worth it.

 

So they lent me some of their headphones like beyer dt770, sennheiser hd600, and akg k702. The headphones sounded amazing at first but I learned that I am extremely sensitive to "sibilance". My ears felt like they were being pierced with needles after about 30min of listening. Well, sennheiser hd600 was an exception but without the treble emphasis, it sounded pretty same as my cheap speakers..

 

So since "audiophile" headphones seem to emphasize treble a lot, which I found out I disliked, would it be waste of money to spend on hi-fi equipment?

post #2 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by coconutghost View Post
 

Hello~, first time posting here :)

 

I have some friends who like to spend hundreds on their audio gears and they convinced me expensive headphones are worth it.

 

So they lent me some of their headphones like beyer dt770, sennheiser hd600, and akg k702. The headphones sounded amazing at first but I learned that I am extremely sensitive to "sibilance". My ears felt like they were being pierced with needles after about 30min of listening. Well, sennheiser hd600 was an exception but without the treble emphasis, it sounded pretty same as my cheap speakers..

 

So since "audiophile" headphones seem to emphasize treble a lot, which I found out I disliked, would it be waste of money to spend on hi-fi equipment?


What did you use to power the HD 600?  They and the K 702 need an amp for sure.  The DT 770 probably do too, depending on the Ohm rating of the version to which you listened.  That said, I would expect that the treble of the HD 600 would sound the best among these three to someone who has sibilance issues.

 

See:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HD600  and

 

and

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_K702

post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by coconutghost View Post
 

Hello~, first time posting here :)

 

I have some friends who like to spend hundreds on their audio gears and they convinced me expensive headphones are worth it.

 

So they lent me some of their headphones like beyer dt770, sennheiser hd600, and akg k702. The headphones sounded amazing at first but I learned that I am extremely sensitive to "sibilance". My ears felt like they were being pierced with needles after about 30min of listening. Well, sennheiser hd600 was an exception but without the treble emphasis, it sounded pretty same as my cheap speakers..

 

So since "audiophile" headphones seem to emphasize treble a lot, which I found out I disliked, would it be waste of money to spend on hi-fi equipment?


Probably ... until/if your ears get more experienced.  It takes quite awhile to "educate" a pair of ears.  Once that's done and  you begin the search for the hidden detail in music, it's hard to stop.

 

At first blush - without a proper initiation - it may very well seem like a waste of time.  We see things every day without paying attention to the details.  Ears are the same way.  Once you really start "looking" at something, you may find out what you're missing.

 

It's also quite possible that your friends have beat their ears up so much with loud music that they've been de-sensitized. ;)

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

One of them lent me O2 Headphone Amplifier. He said it should power all the headphones well. DT770 is PRO 80ohms btw.

 

So if I really want to go into hi-fi world, I should just keep on listening? Well, the thing I'm most curious about is, is listening to such details acquired or born with it? And yeah, I think my friends are de-sensitized. they listen to their metal songs pretty loud lol

post #5 of 25

I agree with you, audiophiles do like exaggerated highs in their headphones. The K702 for example sounds like tweeters to me, but there are headphones available for people who is sensitive to sibilance. The Sony MDR-1R, Philips Fidelio L1, Audio Technica PRO700 MK2 are just a few example.


Edited by RoMee - 8/3/14 at 8:04pm
post #6 of 25

Your hearing is your (likely changing over time) biology.  Listening skills, on the other hand, can be learned and improved with knowledge and experience.

 

Yes--the O2 should power all of them well, especially if you know about and how to use the two setting gain switch.

 

Except if you had a crappy musical source and/or equipment feeding a properly functioning O2, I don't understand these cans--and especially the HD 600--sounding as poorly as you described.  The HD 600 should have sounded something like this:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_HD600

post #7 of 25
Just get something that sounds good to YOU. If you're happy with whatever you currently have them enjoy the heck out of it. The biggest, most obvious differences between headphones are the sound signatures..it just so happened that the ones you auditioned are treble-happy, the HD600 less so but it lacks deep subbass which is what gives it a leaner more bright than what perhaps you're used to tonality. I myself didn't like it and prefer the HD650 which I modified a bit and sounds perfect to ME.

The "details" you mentioned are definitely more apparent in headphones with accentuated treble, this also gives it more clarity and even a wider soundstage with a more open and natural, airy sound. However, if you peruse the site and learn more and more about audio, then you will quickly realize that not every audio enthusiast likes that and many people (like me) are treble sensitive as well. Plus I like more bass, and thick and rich vocals with a rolled off treble. I judge a headphone based on how articulate the sound is, instrument separation, and honestly how fun it is to listen to, etc. and there are plenty of great headphones that have tremendous clarity and are resolving enough to be incredibly detailed with a natural tonality while still having emphasized bass (which suits me).

I have the K701 and I prefer listening to my $8 Philips ear buds, but I can still appreciate how good and immersive the 701 is. I can also appreciate the opposite end of the spectrum too, such as Beats by dre. A good headphone is a good headphone, regardless of tastes but preferences will always be the prevailing factor as audio is as subjective as it gets.

If you're serious about getting into this hobby, then I suggest you get some cheap(but good) headphones and see what you like/don't like about them and then upgrade at a later time when you have a more discerning ear and know exactly what you want out of your headphones. Good luck, and don't ever feel bad if you don't like a headphone, treble sensitivity is a real thing, as is bass sensitivity. The key is to just find what YOU like regardless of what "audiophiles" say.
post #8 of 25

I think your original post answers your own question.  Think of it this way....to me it's kind of like asking "Is skydiving worth it if I'm deathly afraid of heights?".  Most likely the answer is no. 

 

The reason I am in the hobby is my pure passion and love for music.  I love listening, critiquing, hearing in new ways.  If you don't have that desire, then honestly the hobby is probably not for you.  

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

I agree, I kind of exaggerated when I said HD 600 sounded same as my cheap speakers. It was more in line of how no treble exaggeration made it less different from what I already have.

 

So if I'm used to having less treble and more bass (not a basshead tho), would Sony MDR-1R, Philips Fidelio L1, Audio Technica PRO700 MK2 be more fitting for my uninitiated ears?

post #10 of 25
Headphones I like with lower treble: UE6000, Fidelio L1, Sennheiser HD 439, Koss Porta Pro, Bose AE2, Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, Senn HD650, Hifiman HE-400, Sony MA900
post #11 of 25
Good DAC (ODAC?) > O2 > HD 650 = Smooth.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by coconutghost View Post
 

Hello~, first time posting here :)

 

I have some friends who like to spend hundreds on their audio gears and they convinced me expensive headphones are worth it.

 

So they lent me some of their headphones like beyer dt770, sennheiser hd600, and akg k702. The headphones sounded amazing at first but I learned that I am extremely sensitive to "sibilance". My ears felt like they were being pierced with needles after about 30min of listening. Well, sennheiser hd600 was an exception but without the treble emphasis, it sounded pretty same as my cheap speakers..

 

So since "audiophile" headphones seem to emphasize treble a lot, which I found out I disliked, would it be waste of money to spend on hi-fi equipment?

 

It seems you are leaning more toward the euphonic, colored, and fun end of the audio spectrum. There are plenty of high-end headphones without emphasized treble, particularly planar magnetic models from Audeze; however, they are in the four figure range.

 

For around $300, the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 and MrSpeakers Mad Dog are two options you might like.

 

Technically, hi-fi just means high quality sound reproduction. Not a waste of money in my book - but you need to find something that you personally enjoy.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

Good DAC (ODAC?) > O2 > HD 650 = Smooth.

Pretty much.

 

Too strong sibilants which might be unpleasant for your ears can have 2 causes:

1. (and thats the much more important): Low quality music files. Either badly converted into 128 kbit/s, or badly remastered/produced.

2. The Headphone you use have a treble peak.

 

Beyerdynamic headphones almost all have a treble peak. AKG K70x dont have such a strong peak, but they sound kinda bright. HD 600 should be pretty neutral...

 

Its not, that hifi headphones are a wrong choice for you.. just dont take bright/treble-peak headphones ;)

 

The HD 650 IS kinda smooth, warm/dark sounding. I promise, you will enjoy listening to that.

 

Maybe some alternatives you might look into: Philips Fidelio X1, maybe hifiman HE 300/400.

 

Maybe combine with a warm sounding Amp, like the Shiit Vali: http://www.head-fi.org/t/685162/new-vali-schiit-amp

post #14 of 25

the he400 has an accentuated upper treble, i suggest you cross it out of the list.

post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 

Wow Audeze headphones are expensive.. are they made of diamond or something lolol? I think I'll rather buy a new computer with that XD ... Or maybe my opinion will change if my ears become more adapted to hifi

 

Like all you said, my friend said hd650 will fit me better since I didn't like emphasized treble so I'm going to try that

 

Thanks for the help!

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