Dissapointed with high end headphones... what am I doing wrong?
Aug 21, 2020 at 6:14 PM Post #46 of 186

Deolum

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Massive diminishing returns past like $300.
That's actually wrong. If i could give myself a tip in the past i'd say search for a brand with a stable used market (sennheiser, focal, stax) avoid an unstable market (hifiman, grado) and go for the totl headphone used. A used bought Utopia for 2300 can always be sold for around the same price which means you use a totl headphone for no cost. The worst thing to do is buying midfi headphones new after auditioning them on a unknown gear (for example in a store)
 
Aug 21, 2020 at 6:56 PM Post #49 of 186

loregnum

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Just the law of diminishing returns. The key in this hobby is to realize most that spew forth how so and so sounds a zillion times better than something else are just embellishing.

I got the Stellia a couple weeks ago and while it is amazing, it's not night and day different and X times better than my Focal Elear (using Sonarworks EQ with it) or my Aeon 2 Closed. I'm glad I got it and the improvement is worth the cost to me yet I'd never try and act like it is 3+ times better than those other two. Comparing directly to the A2C given they're both closed models, the Stellia is absolutely the better sounding and performing headphone for me but the A2C is absolutely the better deal. IF someone has money burning a hole in their pocket ten I'd recommend the Stellia but if they are on a budget then I'd recommend the A2C and get probably 75-80% of the Stellia performance.

I think the law of diminishing returns is there with everything though (including cars), not just headphones or audio and a problem is some people assume if something costs 2-3 times more than a solid performing product that it should be 2-3 times better. It's not going to happen.

Be happy you didn't hear a big enough difference to justify the increased prices of the items you tested, that you're content with what you have, and you get to save some money.
 
Aug 21, 2020 at 7:44 PM Post #50 of 186

Colors

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That's actually wrong. If i could give myself a tip in the past i'd say search for a brand with a stable used market (sennheiser, focal, stax) avoid an unstable market (hifiman, grado) and go for the totl headphone used. A used bought Utopia for 2300 can always be sold for around the same price which means you use a totl headphone for no cost. The worst thing to do is buying midfi headphones new after auditioning them on a unknown gear (for example in a store)

Or can just buy a pair of $300 headphones and save $2000 and be happy with it.

$2000 not exactly pocket change.
 
Aug 22, 2020 at 5:58 AM Post #51 of 186

ThanatosVI

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Or can just buy a pair of $300 headphones and save $2000 and be happy with it.

$2000 not exactly pocket change.
That depends how your Brain works.
If you can buy a 300€ pair of headphones and truly be happy, by all means do it

I could not, knowing that it can sound significantly better. Therefore I invested like 10x the money by now.

Now I am at a point where I think that a better headphone still has to be invented.
 
Aug 22, 2020 at 8:11 AM Post #52 of 186

HBen

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High end headphones and associated gear is very chain dependent and of course the end result is pretty subjective - depending on your hearing, your preferences etc.

I've hardly ever had a good listening experience in a high end shop - there are just too many variables that are different from home. Better bring your own music and if possible even your own amp/dac or your DAP at least and try to compare like this.

Maybe the source was not good enough, maybe the DAC or amp didn't fit well with the rest of the equipment etc. etc. Just because stuff is expensive doens't mean it's a good match with other expensive stuff. And just because you felt disappointed of the setups in the shop doesn't mean it could't have sounded better if connected to better matching gear.

The first time I've heard a Stax 009 in a headphone shop and brought my old SR-202 to compare, I was convinced the 202 was at least equal - which it is of course not (now I own both^^). Still hard to say why I felt like that at that moment in the shop but maybe the 009 was connected to an amp I didn't like, the quality of the streamer was just average or I just had a bad day ...

I wouldn't draw conclusions fast and easy like this ... give yourself some time and try other setups in other places or friends homes and find what works for you and what not. Also listening to something more than just focals might help your broaden your horizon a bit ^^
Cheers and best of luck :)
 
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Aug 22, 2020 at 11:52 PM Post #53 of 186

E8ArmyDiver

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If you want to try a high end headphone that should immediately impress you & keep impressing long after that,seek out an audition of the Sennheiser HD800S,well run in & driven by good Class A amplification...
 
Aug 23, 2020 at 12:00 AM Post #54 of 186

Tex Irie

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If it hasn't been stated already. The source music files are important. As well as knowing the sound signature you enjoy the most. It's a journey but you can arrive at a satisfactory stopping point if you remember to listen to enjoy the music vs the gear. Tube amps and tube rolling are also good for an inexpensive way to get a different listening experience.
 
Aug 23, 2020 at 2:07 AM Post #56 of 186

Tex Irie

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@headwig I suppose that is a byproduct of knowing what sound signature you like. I like clarity with a hint of warmth. So hybrid tube amps and Planars are what I gravitated toward after research, trial, and error. As far as the tube rolling goes It can be as expensive as you deem necessary. I researched then asked someone that listens to similar music and has similar gear about their tube preferences. I conducted more research based on the information I obtained. I spent far less money than I would have with trial and error. 1 set of Brimar tubes and a pair of socket savers later ....I have found my own personal nirvana! YMMV.
 
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Aug 23, 2020 at 3:50 AM Post #57 of 186

BananaOoyoo

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Just spend an amount you're comfortable with and buy gear that you like at/below that price point. There isn't too much to it - personal preferences should be dominating purchasing decisions over all else. (For example, I think the HD820 is hot garbage even before factoring in the $2400 price tag, but if that's the headphone you like, then why should you care about what anyone else thinks?)

That said, there certainly are massively diminishing returns in this hobby, and price isn't indicative of performance anyways.
 
Aug 23, 2020 at 6:41 AM Post #58 of 186

JMR77

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Some things to consider IMO:

- Indeed, sound-quality differences between audio gear are typically much smaller than price difference suggests, this approach is a confirmation bias that can lead to big disappointments. That happened to me when I was able to test the Sennheiser HE-1 or the Chord Dave, although now I may buy a Dave knowing better what to expect and how to appreciate it.

- Reading audio forums does not help to said confirmation bias. People can get too "passionate" on audio forums and magnify things too much, as if sound difference between two components was worlds apart, when maybe it's just a 15% (which can be big for audio gear) difference or pure placebo.

- Testing multiple gear within a limited timeframe does not help to appreciate things properly, compared to doing it relaxed at home and at your own pace.

- The more (top) gear you listen too the more educated you are to discern differences and appreciate them, it's like training your ears/brain. Like wine experts.

- Identify your ideal sound signature; are you a bass/treble head? soundstage lover? etc, this will help you find gear that you can appreciate more and feel is worth spending more money on. For instance, you like bass try a Sony Z1r, Audeze, Fostex, you want to know how big soundstage is like? try an HD800S, I would certainly try this one.

- What's your budget? spend (much) more on headphones/iems than with sources to make the most out of your money to get a more notable sound improvement. Spending more on a Dac/Amp is typically a bad idea.

- Warning about iems: you need to find a good seal with them, learn how to insert them and try different tips, a great/expensive iem can sound terrible without proper seal or the wrong tips.
 
Aug 23, 2020 at 8:01 PM Post #59 of 186

Lazysnakes

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With the DT770 being your current favorite, I recommend a Sony MDR-1AM2. Or if you want to spend more, the Sony MDR-Z7M2 or possibly even the MDR-Z7. Going from closed backs to open backs can give you a sense of a lack of punch. I personally prefer closed backs and IEMs over open backs any day. Don't go all crazy on a high end DAC/AMP purchase either. I've been in this hobby over 10 years and I'm still not convinced any of these people are really hearing a difference between DACs. I'd pick up a Schiit stack of Magnius/Moduis ($400 total, order today you'll have it by Monday), an XLR male to 4.4mm female adapter and a couple of the aforementioned Sony closed back cans and have at it.

it took me 2 years to really tell the differences in audio quality. but I am sure within the high teir opinionated snake oil, tone is important, but there is always a bigger fish.

I belive 100-1000 dollar audio has a long way to go before it will really be the best stuff. you still have to spend 2k-10k for your whole system to noticeably achieve better audio.

a few hours is a joke, its like your riding a bike around the bike shop instead of owning it for years.
 
Aug 24, 2020 at 9:44 AM Post #60 of 186

fiiom11pro

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trust me. there is a difference. Auditioning them in a meet/ showroom environment is different from owning them and trying them out for longer listening. And the higher tier, usually the better. Diminishing returns is real but still differences between different tiers of headphones exists and can be discernible.
 

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