1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Good Headphones vs Bad Ones?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by cardboardhome, Jan 24, 2012.
  1. cardboardhome
    I know this is going to sound rather idiotic, but when I listen to rather low end headphones, such as the headphones included when you buy a mp3 or a phone, and compare them to somewhat higher end headphones, monster turbines (refurb), I can't really tell a difference. I know when I listen through the speakers on my computer, I enjoy the music more, but I can't pin point the difference. So could some of you (experts), tell me what the main differences are between good headphones? 
     
  2. NA Blur
    A "better" headphone will be one that:
    1.)  Has a more extended frequency response ( goes deeper toward the bass and higher toward the treble )
    2.)  Has extremely low distortion while following rule 1 ( no weird garble sound at higher volumes or at deeper bass )
    3.)  Is capable of producing both 30Hz and 300Hz square wave responses without changing the waveforms much  This is an indication of how well the headphones can handle harmonic frequencies of 30Hz and 300Hz respectively.
    4.)  With have a clear positive response to an impulse without changing the phase and without introducing ringing.  Ringing in the impulse response lends the headphone to a tinny sound at times as well as other distortion effects.
    5.)  Will not distort at higher volume levels say between 65dB and 75dB.
    6.)  Will properly balance the current flow to the driver and voice coils preventing any sort of signal malformation.
    7.)  Will have a greater sense of space.  ( compare the ATH-50 vs the DT990 )
    8.)  Should be able to produce 100Hz and below frequencies without sounding boomy ( open air headphones do really well at this typically )
    9.)  Will be more comfortable
    10.)  Most of all sound good to your ear and be used daily!
     
    Those are my 10 rules for "better" headphones.
     
    Some great headphones listed from least expensive to greatest are:
     
    1.)  Audio Technica ATH-M50
    2.)  Beyerdynamic 1350
    3.)  Audeze LCD-1 Rev 1
    4.)  Stax SR-009
     
  3. ginetto61
     
    I found very enlightening these words about a very high end headphone
     
    http://www.stereophile.com/content/stax-lambda-nova-signature-electrostatic-ear-speaker-page-3
     
    A very high quality headphone system (also the amp plays an important role) let you hear more, and more clearly.
    It can be called resolution, transparency ....
     
    Regards,
     
    gino
     
  4. Currawong Contributor
    goodschool: IMO this is a waste of time. Listening to music will have the same effect. Not to mention, any changes wont fundamentally change how a pair of headphones sound. The only effect use has (so far) measurably had on headphones is a slight reduction in the level of distortion.
     
    cardboardhome: Use your new headphones for a while, then switch back to your old ones in the midst of listening to music. See if you notice any difference then. Very often, unless the frequency response of the new headphones are radically different to your old ones, you wont notice much or any difference.
     
  5. reddragon


    Quote:


    so are you suggesting good headphones and bad headphones arent very different? cuz im fine with my skullcandy inkd, the treble may be a little harsh but yeah i dont find it that bad... 
     
  6. wakibaki


    Quote:

    That may be all it boils down to.
     
    There are many different manufacturers each with more than one product in their lineup. There's no doubt that if you listen carefully you'll hear differences between them, but you may have to listen very carefully.
     
    The most obvious differences are in the loudness between bass and treble. Some may struggle to produce lower notes, some may be a bit strident in the high tones and everybody has their own preference in terms of balance between high and low.
     
    Modern manufacturing means that even very cheap in-ear buds may be capable of a very high standard of reproduction by comparison with even expensive phones of days gone by. As long as you have no comfort issues with them and the sound has no irritating quirks such as an excessively pronounced treble, there is little pressing reason to change.
     
    Many people enjoy the reassurance of buying a product which gets reviewed as offering high quality and good value for money. This need not be very expensive these days, e.g. the Klipsch Image S4.
     
    w
     
  7. Astrozombie
    Hmm....maybe it's like cars? If there a big difference between a Nissan Sentra and a Ferrari? Probably...but at the end of the day they are both cars that can get you places and if you aren't speeding on curvy roads you won't notice much of a difference maybe? IDK i've never driven a Ferrari [​IMG]
     
  8. juantendo8


    Quote:

    That's actually a good analogy. All headphones generally strive toward the same goal although far too many get a flat or overheat along the way. You can love your Honda Civic (think SR60) and it can take you everywhere with little complaint along with adding some excitement along the way. However, when you buy that Porsche Carrera (RS1), then you realize everything that you were missing before. The speed, the handling, the smoothness is all much greater, but does that make the Civic a bad car? Certainly not! It certainly is a better car from a value perspective.
     
    I also think that good and bad headphones can often be labeled such in both a subjective and objective manner. You must subjectively like the sound of a headphone for it to be considered "good." The objective part has to do more with how the headphone measures. It can be a technically "bad" headphone in its price range, but if you love how it sounds, why should that deter you from using it? Likewise, many headphones with terrific measurements have been completely polarizing and have even disgusted other people.
     
    Moral of the story - Only the individual can truly determine if a headphone is "good" or not. Objective measurements carry some weight, but ultimately, subjective impressions almost always trump this decision.
     
    Edit: A "bad" headphone can only be one that you can not stand to listen to, whether it be abysmal technicals or a tone/frequency response/presentation that you can't stand (but which another may love).
     
     
  9. Currawong Contributor


    Quote:

    Out of an iPod with highly compressed pop (for example), probably not so much, unless we're talking $50 vs. $1000 headphones. I neither use an iPod directly nor listen to highly compressed pop, so there is a difference for me. The point is though, the most noticeable changes between equipment are from changes in frequency response, eg: more or less bass and more or less treble. Anything else depends on the quality of the recording or mastering. Then, most people are used to hearing their music all mushed up, so improved clarity sounds weird, or even wrong at first.
     
     
  10. reddragon


    Quote:

    how will improved clarity sound weird? shouldnt it be a "wow" moment instead?
     
     

Share This Page