Guide to Headphones
Mar 17, 2006 at 6:43 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

seacard

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Posts
1,163
Likes
40
This was brought up in another thread in the members lounge, but it struck me as a good idea. Someone suggested having some of the headfi experts here getting together and writing up a definitive guide to top headphones (something along the lines of a Wikipidea guide). This has really become the site people turn to for anything headphone-related, and while HeadRoom has some pretty good descriptions of the headphones they sell, it would be really nice to have something along those lines here, but maybe a bit more detailed and include Sony and Audio-Technica, as well as electrostats in the guide. There is such a vast amount of knowledge on this site, and so many people looking for this info, that I think through a little work this could become a tremendous resource that could continue to grow as new headphones come out.

It would basically be the encyclopedia of top headphones (I doubt we could really do them all) with detailed and accurate descriptions of their sound qualities and characteristics. I realize that headphones are also source and amp dependent, so this would have to remain somewhat general in some aspects. I just think it would be better than getting 20 "AKG K701 or HD650?" threads a day and telling people to do a search.

It's so hard to try out headphones, and sometimes a bit time consuming to read through all the threads to gather the general consensus on a certain headphone. Plus, people's subjective opinions change so often (sometimes even within a thread -- see the R10 vs. K1000 thread by Nik) that it would be really nice to have the objective data and characteristics available.

One way to do it would be take the what are universally considered top headphones** and just do a write-up on those. I know I would find it extremely useful and interesting to learn about the AudioTechnica W series, its history, etc. Plus, it would be nice to have this archive as many of these top phones are disappearing. Anyway, just a thought -- probably won't go anywhere.


**I have no idea what this would be, as I haven't heard most of these headphones. I would probably take the top headphone in the line (e.g. HD650) and then in the same chapter compare the predecessors (e.g. HD600, HD580, etc.) But my guess would be:

AT: W Series (W5000, and the history of this series)
AT: AD 2000
AT: A900 (and others in this series)
AT: L3000
Sony: R10
Sony: Qualia 010
Sony: SA5000 (discuss 3000, 1000 here)
Senn: HD650 (discuss 600/580 here)
Senn: HD595
Grado: PS-1
Grado: HP1000
Grado: RS-1
Grado: SR325i
Beyer: 770/880/990
AKG: K1000
AKG: K701 (discuss 601/501 here)

Electrostatic
Senn: HE90/HE60
Stax: ??? -- I don't even know where to start
Koss: ESP-950
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 6:45 PM Post #2 of 12

JaGWiRE

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 16, 2006
Posts
3,386
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by seacard
This was brought up in another thread in the members lounge, but it struck me as a good idea. Someone suggested having some of the headfi experts here getting together and writing up a definitive guide to top headphones (something along the lines of a Wikipidea guide). This has really become the site people turn to for anything headphone-related, and while HeadRoom has some pretty good descriptions of the headphones they sell, it would be really nice to have something along those lines here, but maybe a bit more detailed and include Sony and Audio-Technica, as well as electrostats in the guide. There is such a vast amount of knowledge on this site, and so many people looking for this info, that I think through a little work this could become a tremendous resource that could continue to grow as new headphones come out.

It would basically be the encyclopedia of top headphones (I doubt we could really do them all) with detailed and accurate descriptions of their sound qualities and characteristics. I realize that headphones are also source and amp dependent, so this would have to remain somewhat general in some aspects. I just think it would be better than getting 20 "AKG K701 or HD650?" threads a day and telling people to do a search.

It's so hard to try out headphones, and sometimes a bit time consuming to read through all the threads to gather the general consensus on a certain headphone. Plus, people's subjective opinions change so often (sometimes even within a thread -- see the R10 vs. K1000 thread by Nik) that it would be really nice to have the objective data and characteristics available.

One way to do it would be take the what are universally considered top headphones and just do a write-up on those. I know I would find it extremely useful and interesting to learn about the AudioTechnica W series, its history, etc. Plus, it would be nice to have this archive as many of these top phones are disappearing. Anyway, just a thought -- probably won't go anywhere.


**I have no idea what this would be, as I haven't heard most of these headphones. I would probably take the top headphone in the line (e.g. HD650) and then in the same chapter compare the predecessors (e.g. HD600, HD580, etc.) But my guess would be:

AT: W Series (W5000, and the history of this series)
AT: AD 2000
AT: A900 (and others in this series)
AT: L3000
Sony: R10
Sony: Qualia 010
Sony: SA5000 (discuss 3000, 1000 here)
Senn: HD650 (discuss 600/580 here)
Senn: HD595
Grado: PS-1
Grado: HP1000
Grado: RS-1
Grado: SR325i
Beyer: 770/880/990
AKG: K1000
AKG: K701 (discuss 601/501 here)

Electrostatic
Senn: HE90/HE60
Stax: ??? -- I don't even know where to start
Koss: ESP-950



I'de also like to see some definition guide. I'm very new here, and new to the audio world. The other day I got a response in my thread about impedance, a lot of terms that I looked up on wikipedia, and got results that were designed I think for electrical engineers (i.e. impedance, which I still don't understand.)
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 7:54 PM Post #3 of 12

Asr

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Apr 12, 2004
Posts
8,216
Likes
779
Quote:

Originally Posted by JaGWiRE
I'de also like to see some definition guide. I'm very new here, and new to the audio world. The other day I got a response in my thread about impedance, a lot of terms that I looked up on wikipedia, and got results that were designed I think for electrical engineers (i.e. impedance, which I still don't understand.)


Impedance is basically electrical resistance to current. A low impedance indicates a low resistance to current, and therefore implies more power is sent along the signal. Higher impedances mean you have a greater resistance to current, so a device will need more power. If a lower impedance sounds like it's automatically better, not necessarily.....higher impedance electronics is often more efficient.

If you don't know what a "resistor" is (the resistance to current), they're found in just about every electrical apparatus known to man. Switches for dimmer lights and volume controls are the most common applications of resistors.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 8:02 PM Post #4 of 12

sgrossklass

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 3, 2004
Posts
2,803
Likes
19
The idea is far from bad. Sounds like a wiki would be perfect for something like this.

Oh, and explaining impedance properly (namely, à la Einstein, as simple as possible, but no simpler) is not trivial. The concept of impedance is an extension of the classic Ohmic resistance (if you apply a certain voltage V to an ideal resistor, the current I flowing will be proportional to the voltage, with the resistance R being the constant linking the two: V = R * I) which allows covering capacitors and inductors (coils) as well. Impedance is generally complex (in the mathematical sense), with the real part corresponding to resistance and the imaginary part covering capacitance and inductance. Despite the use of scary "complex" numbers it actually makes life a lot easier.
wink.gif
(Side note: A physicist likes to simplify the world as far as possible, which for an engineer it always is very complex...) If someone is talking about impedance (at this and that frequency, usually - it need not be constant), the absolute value is meant. For a headphone, impedance is typically spec'd at 1 kHz where the imaginary part tends to be fairly negligible. (But if you look at the impedance graphs you can "build" at Headroom, you'll see a nice hump typically in the midbass region - here the imaginary components do come into play.) Together with the sensitivity, the impedance allows judging how "hard to drive" a headphone will be, with both fairly high and low impedance values having their pros and cons in practical use.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 8:51 PM Post #5 of 12

JaGWiRE

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 16, 2006
Posts
3,386
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by sgrossklass
The idea is far from bad. Sounds like a wiki would be perfect for something like this.

Oh, and explaining impedance properly (namely, à la Einstein, as simple as possible, but no simpler) is not trivial. The concept of impedance is an extension of the classic Ohmic resistance (if you apply a certain voltage V to an ideal resistor, the current I flowing will be proportional to the voltage, with the resistance R being the constant linking the two: V = R * I) which allows covering capacitors and inductors (coils) as well. Impedance is generally complex (in the mathematical sense), with the real part corresponding to resistance and the imaginary part covering capacitance and inductance. Despite the use of scary "complex" numbers it actually makes life a lot easier.
wink.gif
(Side note: A physicist likes to simplify the world as far as possible, which for an engineer it always is very complex...) If someone is talking about impedance (at this and that frequency, usually - it need not be constant), the absolute value is meant. For a headphone, impedance is typically spec'd at 1 kHz where the imaginary part tends to be fairly negligible. (But if you look at the impedance graphs you can "build" at Headroom, you'll see a nice hump typically in the midbass region - here the imaginary components do come into play.) Together with the sensitivity, the impedance allows judging how "hard to drive" a headphone will be, with both fairly high and low impedance values having their pros and cons in practical use.



Ah, no, I know electrical basics, ohms law, etc, I probably understand this stuff as much as the average guy here. The problem is many of these terms are not simplified on wikipedia, and yes, add the sigmas, and the electrical engineering formulas, and you have yourself some very complex stuff. Like a sine wave I am still lost about, I did some wikipediaing, and I finally found sort of what a sine is, which goes back to triginometry. To say the least, I know what electrical engineers think of math after completing their degree, as I have spoken about this to many. A lot of people actually avoid electrical engineering just because of the math. I am very young, and I may end up taking that, like my dad who took it twice (Once in Russia, once in Canada), but remembers absolutely nothing after being out of the field so many years, he's now a computer consultant.
 
Mar 17, 2006 at 10:24 PM Post #7 of 12

Mercuttio

Key Conspirator in the Quest to Murder Music
Joined
Apr 22, 2005
Posts
5,774
Likes
89
Well, if you're looking for a thread that covers most of the less expensive cans, try the "Bose alternatives" one in my sig. A lot of people contributed to it, and there are lots of decent pictures. It might help out...
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 1:50 AM Post #9 of 12

stewgriff

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Posts
680
Likes
10
(rehash of thread in Members' Lounge...)

headphonereviews.org is a great site, but many models don't have any reviews at all, and other models have only one, maybe two reviews. Given that each review is subjective, how can one review accurately point out the qualities of a headphone model?

Since my old thread and this one, I've done some reading (and self-professed editing) of Wikipedia's headphone articles. The people already watching the audio articles didn't mind when I rehashed model lines from Sennheiser...or lessened bias in Etymotic (the original writer used it basically as ad copy for his ER-6i's, didn't even know of the original ER-6 version)...but bucked when I mentioned the Sennheiser HD 600 and Grado SR-325i in the "Bose Headphone Family" article, while telling that the Sennheiser was an open 'phone. They told me in an edit page to keep a NPOV, and they rationalized each flaw of the Bose headphones by saying, basically, that Bose was surely working to remove every flaw. They also removed every mention of canalphones as opposed to active noise-cancellation , saying that the two technologies were essentially different, despite the fact that they compete for the same purposes of noise isolation+good SQ. Maybe I'm just b***hing, but Wikipedia could really use some senior members to improve their headphone articles (after we get noobs to actually read those articles).

On a positive note, I said that people on Head-Fi were among the most outspoken opponents of Bose headphones...
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 4:27 AM Post #10 of 12

trevor1189

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 26, 2006
Posts
112
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by JaGWiRE
I'de also like to see some definition guide. I'm very new here, and new to the audio world. The other day I got a response in my thread about impedance, a lot of terms that I looked up on wikipedia, and got results that were designed I think for electrical engineers (i.e. impedance, which I still don't understand.)


Yeah I had the same problem and did a google for "audiophile terms" and found this website http://www.audiolinks.com/glossary.shtml They have a lot of terms on there and they are listed alphabetically so it is easy to locate them I hope this helps you.

P.S. usually the first sentence is all you need the rest fo the definiton on there is for people who really know what they are talking about or are electrical engineers.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 4:48 AM Post #11 of 12
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Posts
691
Likes
0
Also, think besides audible characteristics, I would love to see a picture, and info like:

Produced from 19xx to XXXX
Retail price from $xxx.xx to $xxx.xx
Any production details (e.g., change materials, design etc. and when)
Terminations Type
Technical Specs
Type (closed, electrostatic, etc.)

And so on.
 
Mar 18, 2006 at 11:48 AM Post #12 of 12

JaGWiRE

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 16, 2006
Posts
3,386
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by trevor1189
Yeah I had the same problem and did a google for "audiophile terms" and found this website http://www.audiolinks.com/glossary.shtml They have a lot of terms on there and they are listed alphabetically so it is easy to locate them I hope this helps you.

P.S. usually the first sentence is all you need the rest fo the definiton on there is for people who really know what they are talking about or are electrical engineers.



Thanks dude!

Pawl see : http://headphones.warzone.org/?page=glossary
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top