European vs. N. American vs. Asian tastes
Jul 8, 2008 at 1:49 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 20

greggf

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Posts
1,279
Likes
190
I was wondering if anybody has any thoughts on the different flavors of headphone sound (and amp sound/hi-fi sound in general) preferred in the European countries vs. those in North America and those in the Asian and Pacific nations.

For instance, the sharper Audio-Technica sound seems preferred in Japan and other parts of Asia. I've also read that the slightly brighter Sennheiser HD600 is more popular in China than the warmer HD650 is.

Tubes seem much, much more readily available in the Americas than they do in Europe. Europe also seems to prefer more compact equipment in general. And Americans seem the most extravagant, in terms of money spent or the complexity of headphone set-ups, including sources.

I wonder if there's a difference in acceptance of the computer-as-source/downloading in different parts of the world, or differences in acceptance of portable audio rigs? Is it more acceptable to walk down the street while wearing headphones in X part of the world, compared to Y?

Some of these things seem explainable in practical terms; houses tend to sprawl a bit more in N. America, so big, lumpy gear is more acceptable.

But I'm at a loss to explain such cultural differences as the preferences for more treble, tubed equipment, and so on.

Just wondered if anybody has any thoughts on this.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 1:56 PM Post #2 of 20

Laptopia

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 13, 2006
Posts
778
Likes
11
I have experienced the differences in food taste preferences between North America and Japan, but haven't noticed an aural preference difference. Interesting.

There are some very popular foods in Japan that would make the average North American wretch, and vice-versa.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:15 PM Post #5 of 20

Float

New Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Posts
39
Likes
0
regardless of their geographics,

I think it's more than the demographics that determine consumer taste...

otherwise, ipod would not have nailed as the num 1 mp3 player across the global market.

but it's a thought-provoking idea to think about, this thread
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:18 PM Post #6 of 20

Elephas

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Posts
3,259
Likes
14
Generalizations about headphone preferences based on regions are useless.

So-called "sharper" Audio-Technica sound is preferred in Japan and Asia? What is this "sharper" sound, exactly? Have you heard the L3000 or W11JPN? Which is sharper-sounding, an L3000, an RS-1 or an Ultrasone 2500?

What about Stax? Sony? Denon? Victor JVC? Aren't these "Japanese/Asian" companies too? Someone should tell all those Japanese that they like listening to the "sharp-sounding" Omega 2.

Audio-Technica and Stax are relatively more widely available in Japan and parts of Asia than Europe or the US. Grados, Sennheiser and AKG are relatively less widely available and often priced higher than in the US or Europe. Maybe a reason that AT and Stax are more popular in certain regions is because of pricing and availability?

As far as I'm aware, Grado doesn't offer a closed headphone. Does this mean that Americans don't like closed headphones? They mainly listen to open headphones or IEMS?

Might the reason (assuming it is true) that the HD600 is more popular than the HD650 in China be because the HD600 is less expensive than the HD650 in China?

These types of generalizations are misleading and useless.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:18 PM Post #7 of 20

Navyblue

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Posts
1,673
Likes
14
As for food, music , aesthetic and etc preference, culture and upbringing are playing no small parts.

As for sound signature preference, I guess it is more or less the same. However "sound culture" might not be very different across the world, I mean at consumer level we are more or less using the same stereo set, TV, video player etc.

As for manufacturer's engineering concept, I'm guessing it is probably culture influenced too. It may have to do with the way that people work across the continents and thus churning out products with different flavours, and it applies to everything from car to clothes to electronics. Just my guess.
biggrin.gif
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:25 PM Post #9 of 20

Float

New Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Posts
39
Likes
0
I agree with the HD600 and HD650 example.

truth is there is alot of people who opted for the HD600 as it's close in performance to the HD650 while being significantly cheaper than the HD650.

To interprete this results as in a china taste could be misleading, as maybe the real value here is that the consumers in china seeks more bang for buck for the dollars.

The above brings me to question, isn't this a universal value? US market ditched their fords for japanese automobiles eventually, just as chinese products eventually enter various market segments in the world market, due to its similar if not slightly lower quality (which is debatable) but gives the consumer best value.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:29 PM Post #10 of 20

Blackmore

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 12, 2006
Posts
5,719
Likes
88
A lot of things depends on how easy you can get them plus how much you have to pay for it. The rest is just the rest.
But then again, you have relatively small group of people who really go for the sound quality, cos majority still listen to a cheap and easy to buy hp, imo
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:42 PM Post #11 of 20

audionewbie

Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 27, 2008
Posts
70
Likes
10
i really don't think you can generalise like this for something such as headphones wich 99.99% of the population will not even know exists.

especially, in a country like china where there are huge amounts of people spread over a massive geographical area and whose influences are to me at least relatively unknown.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 2:49 PM Post #12 of 20

tfarney

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Posts
1,257
Likes
14
Well, you kinda got shot down on that one, gregff, but for what it's worth, I know exactly what you're talking about. More importantly, the syndrome has been going on for decades. Back in the 70s, the England (and New England) sound was restrained, polite, what some would call neutral. There were exceptions, of course, but Advents and KLH and the like were flatter in FR and more restrained, while the Left coast and Japanese stuff was generally characterized by loudness without pushing the button -- boom and sizzle over scooped mids. As far as I can tell, this sonic mojo has held pretty firm, with New England moving up to Canada (do we make anything in the US anymore?) and the British sound going through an incredible surge of success. I'm not sure what the modern equivalent of the West coast/Japanese sound is, but I wouldn't be looking for it. And of course I have no idea where the Chinese are coming from. The one piece of Chinese audio I own is a digital transport from Trends. It seems to add nothng to the signal on its way through - no color, no noise.

I haven't heard Audio Technicas, so I can't comment, but my Sennheisers definitely have that restrained, smooth England/New England mojo of old.

Tim
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 4:55 PM Post #14 of 20

fhuang

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Posts
1,927
Likes
45
Location
Hong Kong
the hd600 and hd650 example, i don't know about that. since when it's more popular in China? here in Hong Kong, part or China. i was trying to get hd650 and couple of shops(av2000 and kingsound) were out. also, i though hd600 is the more popular headphone here at head-fi, comparing to hd650. and i thought head-fi has more American/European member than Asian. sure you can say which part of the world like certain headphones but to me is more about music perference. for example, i doubt people prefer using k701 for dance/trance music or dt770 for country or sr325 for smooth jazz.
 
Jul 8, 2008 at 4:56 PM Post #15 of 20

DemonicLemming

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Posts
953
Likes
24
Wouldn't the popular music in those specific areas also have some influence on the types of headphones people enjoy using?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top