For portable use, headphones are of course the most sensible option. At home, though, I can't see them ever replacing the speaker setup. Then again, I'm fortunate enough to have a dedicated listening room where volume etc isn't really an issue.
I feel headphones provide a more intimate listening experience (like when listening to skull-shattering metal solos
), and especially since my RS-1 are made for rock and metal. But when I'm not listening to the RS-1 (which is a 95-5% ratio), I am always listening to things like George Michael and softer music on my speakers. Not because I feel that the Grado can't handle the other genres, but because speakers seem to set that relaxing tone (especially in genres like R&B and Pop that I don't prefer on headphones at all).
But in the end, after getting my first pair of good headphones (Denon C751 IEM), I purchased the Audioengine A5's just for morning getting-ready routine.
Like others have said, replace is different from be the same as. Headphones can replace speakers, but they will never be the same as speakers. Personally I would never replace my speakers, the main reason (as I suspect many people also feel) being bass. With headphones, bass only goes to your ears/the side of your head. Speakers can rumble your entire body - its a much more powerful and engulfing experience - one that headphones simply cannot achieve. Let alone the fact that no current headphone can simulate soundstage like speakers can at the moment, but I think that given time that is, at least theoretically, possible.
edit: I suppose if you could get an external sub hooked up in sync with your headphones you might be able to achieve a speakerlike feel, but I doubt it would work quite right.
Originally Posted by robm321 /img/forum/go_quote.gif No - but they aren't meant to
In a perfect world, I would always be sitting in the sweet spot between my speakers.....
In this world, I mainly listen to my headphones and don't get much time at all with my speakers.....
This post sums it up perfectly for me. In an ideal world, I simply wouldnt bother with headphones. They are a compromise, simple as that. If you are arent likely to get complaints, and can play your music as loud as you want, whenever you want, speakers are simply the superior choice.
People who say headphones are better or just as good are kidding themselves IMO. They can be good, yes, but not AS good.
So I'd say if you can play your music whenever you want, guilt free, at whatever volume you desire, forget headphones.