Are ANY headphones worthy of high end equipment?
Nov 9, 2006 at 5:51 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 46

dead of night

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Hi. Compared to the price of a pair of great loudspeakers, headphones, no matter the pair or brand, are pretty cheap. Are they going to be a weak link when listening to expensive sources and amps?
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 5:57 PM Post #2 of 46

Mercuttio

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dead of night
Hi. Compared to the price of a pair of great loudspeakers, headphones, no matter the pair or brand, are pretty cheap. Are they going to be a weak link when listening to expensive sources and amps?


Seriously? You have posts here... you... have read the forum, right?
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 6:04 PM Post #3 of 46

Scotty757

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seriously, I'm sure this is some misguided attempt to get flamed and/or be "funny," but its all sorts of lame.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 6:22 PM Post #4 of 46

PhilS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dead of night
Hi. Compared to the price of a pair of great loudspeakers, headphones, no matter the pair or brand, are pretty cheap. Are they going to be a weak link when listening to expensive sources and amps?


No. In fact, they often reveal the nuances and finest attributes of expensive sources and amps.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 6:27 PM Post #5 of 46

dead of night

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Quote:

Originally Posted by PhilS
No. In fact, they often reveal the nuances and finest attributes of expensive sources and amps.


That's great news. I just ordered an upgrade from an Arcam CD73 to an Arcam CD192 to go along with my Senn 650 and my Ray Samuel HR2 and I want to be sure. Thanks. I was not aiming for humor or flaming, but I am a little naive compared to many here.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 6:34 PM Post #6 of 46

LeonvB

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Translate the size vs. price of your headphone drivers to the size vs. price of your speaker drivers. When measured per square inch of driver area, the cost of headphones like HD650 or K701 is huge. It's only natural all that money translates into getting a much more revealing sound.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 6:44 PM Post #7 of 46

drarthurwells

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dead of night
Hi. Compared to the price of a pair of great loudspeakers, headphones, no matter the pair or brand, are pretty cheap. Are they going to be a weak link when listening to expensive sources and amps?


[size=medium]NO.[/size]

My headphone system reveals peerless inner detail and timbral nuances - no room speaker system I have ever heard (some costing more than $100,000) can equal my headphone system in these respects, which I consider vital to maximum musical enjoyment.

Sure, headphone listening is a miniature sound - a smaller soundstage compared to a room speaker system. But then a home speaker system is miniature sound - a smaller soundstage compared to a real orchestra in a concert hall.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 10:12 PM Post #8 of 46

Piotr Ryka

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Quote:

Originally Posted by drarthurwells
[size=medium]NO.[/size]

My headphone system reveals peerless inner detail and timbral nuances - no room speaker system I have ever heard (some costing more than $100,000) can equal my headphone system in these respects, which I consider vital to maximum musical enjoyment.

Sure, headphone listening is a miniature sound - a smaller soundstage compared to a room speaker system. But then a home speaker system is miniature sound - a smaller soundstage compared to a real orchestra in a concert hall.



I must say, that Ancient Audio system (CD Lector Grand + Amp. 300B Silver Grand Mono + monitors Holography) was far better even than Stax Omega II + SACD Accuphase PD-78 via IC XLO Limited or the same SACD with my mod. ASL Twin-Head + Grado RS-1 via Tara Air1. But generally it is truth, what You write.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 10:21 PM Post #9 of 46

robm321

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Quote:

Originally Posted by drarthurwells
[size=medium]NO.[/size]

My headphone system reveals peerless inner detail and timbral nuances - no room speaker system I have ever heard (some costing more than $100,000) can equal my headphone system in these respects, which I consider vital to maximum musical enjoyment.

Sure, headphone listening is a miniature sound - a smaller soundstage compared to a room speaker system. But then a home speaker system is miniature sound - a smaller soundstage compared to a real orchestra in a concert hall.



Wow, your credibility will take a hit with a statement like that.
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 10:37 PM Post #10 of 46

GlendaleViper

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Quote:

Originally Posted by robm321
Wow, your credibility will take a hit with a statement like that.


I don't think that's a fair thing to say. First of all, he did qualify what it takes for his own musical enjoyment, and second of all, these inexperienced ears would have to mostly agree.

With headphones, you definitely need to recognize that you are going to take a hit in some areas that a headphone design just can't replicate: Soundstage, force and impact, room ambience (good or bad), etc. However, you really do gain detail and depth that would be impossible to hear outside of the most expensive speaker systems simply as a result of their design. On top of that, you get intimacy and portability! Remember headphones are analytical by design - sound engineers often mix with cans for the detail and finer nuances and then monitor through speakers for the end result. I would hedge my bets that even with the best speakers in the world, a sound engineer would still keep the trusty headphones nearby.

Remember too, that the OP was asking if Headphones are worth the investment - do they scale to high end components - not whether headphones are better than speakers.

I personally prefer headphones for many of the reasons listed above - but I do not discount speakers... I just know what my financial limitations are and spend more money on cans and components as a result. People often claim that a $1500 head rig equates to about $15000 in a loudspeaker system. I don't necessarily agree with cut-and-dry assumptions like that, but headphones are miniature in a LOT of way$.

[EDIT] Audiofiler said it better. See below!
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 10:41 PM Post #11 of 46

Audiofiler

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Cans get 'philes closer to the music, simple. I have heard some really sick systems that entail wonderful top of the line speakers, multiple amps, conditioners, and even a designed room layout specifically to deal with sound in the most efficient manner possible. Still the sound does not come close to the intimacy or range in dynamics that most subtle nuances and overtones provide through headphone listening..this is why recording engineers and artists opt to monitor their sound downs via a studio monitor..not a loudspeaker system.

That said, there is the feeling and experience of the physical sound waves of bass that flow through and around the listener that cans cannot simply NOT provide.. It is this impact along with soundstaging and sheer energy of louder sustained volume levels through listening aloud that gets people excited when listening to a decent hifi. In a really great system, you needn't pump up the volume aimlessly to retrieve low level detail in the sound and in stead, the fullness and richness in dynamics should be presented via a nice front end and accompanying Pre-amp/amp that shows synergy with the IC and material used..making the music more dynamic.

It is this phenomenom through a proper headphone rig that people are able to achieve many more times the amount of sound quality with their hard earned clams VS speaker listening, but comes at a price in terms of total allowable gain. Since the sound and marks in the higher band take longer to reach the ear and travels through more space when listening to speakers, it becomes difficult without the regular use of an SPL meter to identify safe sustained listening levels through headphones as cans never "sound louder than are", they are usually louder
tongue.gif
 
Nov 9, 2006 at 10:49 PM Post #12 of 46

Audiofiler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dead of night
Hi. Compared to the price of a pair of great loudspeakers, headphones, no matter the pair or brand, are pretty cheap. Are they going to be a weak link when listening to expensive sources and amps?


.. from the vantage point of a fine speaker system vs a dedicated headphone rig...

Used to own actually a much sweeter hifi rig than I do now for speaker listening, (I am sure I am not alone here
very_evil_smiley.gif
) so can offer to those wishing to get into speaker-fi that the "sweet spot" problem is just as bad as the often mocked sentiment from non-heafiers, friends, family "I can't sit down and enjoy music, I must move around" that often is heard.

Great sound out of loudspeaker setup has a VERY limited proximity where the soundstage and imaging is projected accurately; therefore, to achieve the same level of detail and dynamics, one must sit relatively in the same spot regardless to wearing cans or not. There is a smaller margin for error to my ears with listening to speakers and in hearing the music the way that the owner intends it..What I enjoy about my headphone rig is that when I turn my head, stand up to stare out the window, or even want to monitor in another room of the house, I can easier do so than VS hearing on a loudspeaker setup in my one spot sitting down (Maxell commercial style)..
 
Nov 10, 2006 at 12:16 AM Post #13 of 46

spacemanspliff

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Yah, I too went for speakers for a bit but quickly realized that while headphones can be expensive, speaker sytems can be REALLY EXPENSIVE.

That, and the SQ was so damn hard to attain without the perfect environment which I totally lack lol.

End result? Got a Zhalou D2 modded out and some V2 Headphile 600s ftw.

aaand some Klipsch Promedia 2.1s lol. Ok my HT setup is a bit better but it is also 2.1 w/ a Tannoy sub and those nice Best Buy Insignia $50 wonders driven by an old ass Sony Pre-amp(top of the line circa 1993) and an NAD 330 watt amp lol. Total cost for all speaker systems?

$500 lol
 
Nov 10, 2006 at 12:26 AM Post #14 of 46

seasterl

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It's far, far easier to appreciate a great source and i/c when you're using a nice headphone and headphone amp. In fact, depending on room acoustics, that's the only time you can fully appreciate some of the high-dollar investment.
 
Nov 10, 2006 at 2:42 AM Post #15 of 46

nikongod

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how good do $10k usd speakers sound in a bad room?
what happens when these speakers are in this bad room, and you improve the amp?
what about the source?

just a question i have wondered about.
 

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