Headphone FAQs: should we do it? If so, how?
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kerelybonto

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[Edit: This series of posts was extracted from markl's Petition to update Stereophile's recommended headphones/amps list thread, in which Tyll Hertsens suggested having official threads for important products. -kerely]

I heartily support Tyll's suggestion of an 'official' page or thread for each of the common or well-regarded headphones and components. I've often wondered why Head-Fi didn't have such a thing. I may be worth even doing a Headwize-style off-forum page dedicated certain components -- not only would that offer a more permanent solution, it would allow search engines to find it.

I would also be interested in seeing Head-Fi's own recommended components thread/page, perhaps updated annually. An easy way to do this would be to set up a well-constructed poll (probably using a run-off system) to select the components, then have certain members cooperate to produce a comprehensive review -- a lot of it's already been done, so it's just be a matter of assembling information.

And I think the idea of sending more letters to more audio rags is great. Keep it up, markl -- and whoever else is helping out. I look forward to seeing more printed attention paid to headphones.

kerely
 
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taipeileviathan

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Quote:

Originally posted by kerelybonto
An easy way to do this would be to set up a well-constructed poll (probably using a run-off system) to select the components, then have certain members cooperate to produce a comprehensive review


hehe, remember this thread? well-constructed is the operative phrase, and i guess it's actually pretty hard... but it is a great idea tho, having an in-house recommended list of components
...

tyll, just to add on ur idea of official threads and having ppl with only over a certain number of posts be able to post there... it could be like, u have to have over a certain number of posts or have been on the forum for a long long time, cuz i think there are some gurus who just like to lurk but when they actually say stuff it's like, important stuff, as opposed to the stuff ppl like me say...


or the system could work as a coordinate function thingie (it's been 2 years since my last calculus course... forget exactly what it's called), where u have the number of posts posted from a user on one axis and the time spent on forums for the same user on the other axis, and when the integral of that point exceeds a certain number, then the user is allowed to post...
something like that...

and one more thing, when i first read mark's letter, i didn't know exactly how accurate his statement about the blossoming of head-fi consumerism in the past few years is... but having read a coupla threads where ppl talk about the good ole days on head-wize and such, i'm starting to think that the head-fi culture really has changed a lot in the year or so before i found u guys... is this so? and how dramatic has this change really been?

head-fi rocks... it rocks saddamn hussein's ass....
 
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post-197557
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MacDEF

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I think Tyll's suggestion of an official one-post "summary" of headphones is a great one.

However, I don't think a poll is a good way to do it. I think a better way to do it is to create a "call for comments" on a model, and then people who have listened to the headphone extensively can comment. After a couple weeks, someone can consolidate the thread into one "official" post, which includes general comments about the headphone, including the most commonly mentioned pros and cons. In fact, a new forum called "Headphone Reports" might be a great place to confine such discussions, with the "official" thread going in the "Featured Reviews" forum.
 
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carlo

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macdef,
Quote:

However, I don't think a poll is a good way to do it. I think a better way to do it is to create a "call for comments" on a model, and then people who have listened to the headphone extensively can comment. After a couple weeks, someone can consolidate the thread into one "official" post, which includes general comments about the headphone, including the most commonly mentioned pros and cons.


Duncan tried that, not many participated: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...ghlight=sticky

bastards.

markl,

cool
 
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bkelly

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Mark,

These magazines kind of need a feature section on headphones since headphones are a stand alone sub-category of the high-end audio world. That would be more benificial than a Recommended List of components. You should be the feature writer.

Tyll has a great idea with the official post of equipment at Head-FI. This would be much more helpful and informative than a Recommended Components list and could be updated as related equipment became available.

Talk soon





Best
Brian
 
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andrzejpw

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MacDef: When you say a seperate forum, will this be a forum with ONLY posts like:

Grado SR-60

Grado SR-80

etc?

I see this as the only viable solution. Splitting the headphone forum in two, imho, is a bad idea.
 
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post-197659
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kerelybonto

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carlo, I didn't think that thread was supposed to address the relative merits of any of the headphones mentioned. Plus a real recommended list would include the best headphones, not just those under $500. Maybe we should appoint a Head-Fi oligarchy to do this.

And I still think the results should be posted as a webpage, not a thread. I mean, if you search for the word 'headphones' on any search engine, Head-Fi pops up near the top. But search for any specific model and it's nowhere on the list. That's the bad thing about being a forum-only site, but it's correctable.

kerely
 
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carlo

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kerelybonto,
dude, you did read duncan's first post right?

Quote:

we need your opinions (good and bad ~ but no flame wars) for any popular headphones that are available for less than $500 (standard MSRP... Discounted products aren't really applicable)

The replies need to be as short, and concise as possible, because they're (hopefully ~ if this takes off) going to be used as quotes within a new sticky (locked) thread...


anyway, here's the original thread so that way people who want to chat it up can do it (its open) while keeping this thread on track (or whatever): http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...ght=suggestion . i think $500 was just the first starting point.

personally i'd prefer if the impressions of sonics were actual quotes by people, in which case i'd know a)who said it (important to me) and b)what they actually said (also important to me). i'd rather have a list of headphones with comments than a recommended list since recommendations don't mean anything unless you respect the opinion of the person who's doing the recommending.

your website proposal sounds like a good idea (but its not a subject i know about).

word.
carlo
 
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post-197687
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MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by carlo
macdef,

Duncan tried that, not many participated: http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showt...ghlight=sticky


Right, but what we're proposing is a separate "call for comments" thread for each headphone. We'd put a couple models up, give them a couple weeks of comment period, then write up a summary. We'd post the summary, give another week for people to criticize the summary
then post a final summary in a "Library" of Headphone info here on Head-Fi that users could visit for basic info.



Quote:

Originally posted by andrzejpw
MacDef: When you say a seperate forum, will this be a forum with ONLY posts like:

Grado SR-60

Grado SR-80

etc?

I see this as the only viable solution. Splitting the headphone forum in two, imho, is a bad idea.


I agree; yes, the "comments" forum would just be a place ONLY for "Call for Comments" threads -- not really a discussion forum, and not a substitute for the Headphones forum. It would only have a few active threads at any one time (one for each of that week's "discussion" headphones).
 
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Calanctus

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
The Absolute Sound's latest issue, which includes their "Recommended Products" for this year costs $10 to download, and maybe $5.00 on the newstand.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/current.html

So... who's up for getting TAS's "Recommended Products" to post here?

*cough* Tim Schirmer *cough*!

Anyone????

Mark


I have TAS' recommended components issue in front of me. No headphones or dedicated headphone amps are listed. The following are the recommendations' categories:
  1. Speakers over $2,500 a pair
  2. Speakers under $2,500 a pair
  3. Power amplifiers
  4. Multichannel amplifiers
  5. Integrated amplifiers
  6. Preamplifiers and line stages
  7. Phono stages
  8. Passive volume control
  9. Digital sources
  10. Turntables
  11. Arms
  12. Cartridges

Sorry, I'm not going to post the whole list!
 
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post-197753
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markl

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Thanks, Cal!

This is actually not such a bad thing. I think my/our approach to TAS is "hey-- why aren't headphones/amps included in your recommended components list?"

As I recall, TAS has done a high-end headphone amp review in the recent past (RKV, Moth 2A3, Headroom Max, Cary?), so it's not like we're asking them to cover an area of audio thery don't already addreess-- all we'd be asking for is for them to compile these reviews into a coherent list for their Reco Components, and to focus on headamp performance of all products with a headphone amp/jack.

I'll work something up this weekend and submit it here.

Quote:

Right, but what we're proposing is a separate "call for comments" thread for each headphone. We'd put a couple models up, give them a couple weeks of comment period, then write up a summary. We'd post the summary, give another week for people to criticize the summary


Hmmmm... I think this may take away from the individual reviews already in the "permanent" sections on which many folks worked quite hard. These threads threaten to completely overshadow these complete reviews. I suppose individuals could cut 'n paste these reviews into the new thread, though....

However, I, for one, am not sure I'd like to see such important threads only open for a short time. That prevents future folks from disagreeing with "prevailing" views expressed in the threads. I think these threads should be always open, but individual posters should be required to submit their comments to the mods before-hand. Comments should be intelligent and well-written, and maybe only full reviews should be allowed. "You suck, and you're ugly so your opinion is worthless"-type comments should be excluded.

There's also the issue of who's review is featured before the others. People will stop reading after a while and will not get to the end of the 300-post strong thread on the HD600. Earlier posts will carry more weight.

These threads have the *potential* to be the most important and influential content on this entire site and should be treated as such, IMO-- that is, very carefully and thoughtfully.

Food for thought.

Mark
 
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bootman

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Congratulations on a job well done Mark!

The proposed equipment threads could be broken down by manufacturers.
(then threads within by equipment)

The current featured full equipment reviews can be organized in this fashion as a starting point.
 
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carlo

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Quote:

Right, but what we're proposing is a separate "call for comments" thread for each headphone. We'd put a couple models up, give them a couple weeks of comment period, then write up a summary. We'd post the summary, give another week for people to criticize the summary then post a final summary in a "Library" of Headphone info here on Head-Fi that users could visit for basic info.


mac,

its the summary part thats bugging me. by making a summary you either:

a)homogenize opinions, write a description based on the collective, and therefore make a recommendation that is worthless.
b)choose who's opinions/words are used, therefore omitting others.

once again a recommended list is only valid if the reader trusts the opinion of the person recommending the product. the way to do that right is to use quotes and notate who said what. if you want to do a seperate post per headphone leave it open and allow people to post to it, moderate it by editing extraneous comments or collect the quotes and make a list. but don't summarize it or open the door of having a person or group of people edit whats been said.

if a short summary of each headphone is what you absolutely want to do, allow members to choose who makes the summary. unless the people here get the opportunity to choose the editors its not truly "head-fi's recommended list." that person or panel should not be writing new material - simply choosing which quotes best state a position.

then again, this is looking way too complicated. once again i'd rather see a list of comments about the most popular headphones in a given price bracket than a "recommended list" (head-fi isn't a collective mind, its a collection of minds. we obviously don't all have the same taste).

just my two pennies.

carlo.
 
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MacDEF

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I think you guys are worrying too much about this idea of headphone summaries


These aren't substitutes for full reviews, nor are they going to be hundreds of posts long. It's also not going to be subject to the "whims of the current consensus."

We're talking about a page on Head-Fi, separate from the forums, that gives general descriptions about models, intended mainly for new members. Quotes from specific members are unnecessary -- not only would they cut down on the readability of the summaries, they'll be irrelevant to new members who really have no idea who the members are.

Besides, done right, a good summary will represent multiple opinions and perspectives on each headphone. For example, a headphone like the HD 590 is considered to be "bright" by some, and "accurate in their detail" by others. A good summary would comment on the detail the HD 590 present, and include both views of this detail. In other words, it would be an objective summary. Despite the paranoia about the "tyranny of majority opinions," a thorough comment thread can result in a very good, representative summary that provides both majority and minority opinions.

(If people are really paranoid about this, instead of a separate web page, it could be a new forum, with the summary at the beginning of each thread -- the summary would be blank until the discussion is complete, and filled in later, with the comments remaining. That way someone could read the summary, and if they wanted to see the individual views, they could.)

These summaries would not be the end-all, be-all word on each headphone. Rather, they'd be a primer for a new user looking for information about a lot of headphones; after browsing they could then go to the forums and the "Featured Reviews" section for more subjective discussion.
 
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bkelly

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Everyone

Since not all of these headphones are readily available for audition the most important thing to keep in mind is that what you are ideally trying to do is convey, in words, is what the different models actually sound like to someone who has no experience with a particular model. There really no other good reason to do it than that. For an example, I have been very interested in learning more about the Beyer Dynamics heapphones for quite awhile now but I have been unbable to decide which model to pursue primarilly because, from what I have read, this brand has more of a "house sound" than some others and the differences between some models may be slight. I would love top see review sunmmaries on all the models, side by side, so I could make a decision on which model to pursue first.

Covering related equipment is important to me, too. Which to use with which amps is more difficult but if there is a known preference it should be covered along with music styles that a particular headphone may be a more suitable match for than others. Also, some people are using headphones for gaming as much s music.

Some consideration about price I think is important, also.




Best
Brian
 
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