Do you think an expensive pair of headphones can sound better than speakers?
Mar 14, 2004 at 5:13 AM Post #32 of 33

fewtch

Headphoneus Supremus
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The thing is this -- most music was recorded with speaker playback in mind. It isn't that either speakers or headphones are intrinsically better, but that (non-binaural) stereo itself was designed around the concept of speakers, as is multichannel surround. Just my 2c...
 
Mar 14, 2004 at 6:58 AM Post #33 of 33

Cor

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Quote:

The thing is this -- most music was recorded with speaker playback in mind. It isn't that either speakers or headphones are intrinsically better, but that (non-binaural) stereo itself was designed around the concept of speakers, as is multichannel surround. Just my 2c...


When you acoustically treat a room you are typically trying to reduce reverb and perhaps smooth out a couple bumps in the lower frequencies if possible. (a much more difficult matter to be sure!) Hardwood floors and bare walls do not make for a good listening room! However, it is entirely possible to go too far. Few people would want to listen to music let alone spend any significant ammount of time within an anechoic chamber! I know some on this board insist headphones are inherently superior because they remove the room from the process of reproducing the music. However, I tend to think that most cans introduce their own sort of virtual "room" to the sound, or they wouldn't sound very good at all! I'd be curious to hear from a can designer on this though. I strongly suspect that a large part of their design efforts go towards making music sound like it's coming from a room rather than a pair of transducers a few centimeters from your ear canals! (or closer)

There is one thing I just cannot conceive of any headphones, no matter how good they are, being capable of. Namely, reproducing the kind of bass you *feel*. Granted, they might be able to dip below 20Hz in the space surrounding your ears, but when dealing with bass that low it's something you feel in your entire body as the waves wash over you. I must confess that I normally listen to music at very modest volumes, however, every now and then I put on some organ music (Bach is great for this) and crank the volume so I can feel my whole body being assaulted by the sonics. Anyone who has ever heard a live pipe organ can attest to the fact that it is one instrument you can feel with every sinew in your body. The pipe organ is one instrument that I have yet to be convinced any set of cans can do proper justice to. There is plenty of music out there that low-bass reproduction is simply not important for, but organ music demands it!
 

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