Hello Head-Fi! Phiaton offers you free gear!
Mar 25, 2010 at 6:54 PM Post #136 of 177

jpelg

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The 3 "T"'s

Tone - should be able to accurately reproduce the tone & timbre of every instrument & note, doing so with a linear frequency response across the hearable spectrum.

Transient response - should able to accept the most complicated of sonic passages, nimbly disect each component, & reproduce them all properly timed according the original recording, of course across the entire hearable spectrum (and possibly beyond).

Tactility - should be able to reproduce the tactile nature of instruments & voices resonating as they would in any natural setting.


After that, build quality, comfort, and the ability to scale up with associated equipment.

smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 25, 2010 at 7:19 PM Post #137 of 177

Ak24

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Hi Everyone!

I must say, we've been very impressed with the replies so far. It has really been a pleasure to read about how passionate this community is for headphones. So much so that our upper management is strongly considering having Phiaton participate in CanJam 10'. I'll let you all know more about that later.

But, we have a few days left till the contest ends and I just wanted to stop by and thank you all who have read or replied to this thread. And keep in mind the First Place price will be chosen randomly and the runner up prize will be chosen based on the content of the reply. We appreciate that some people really are too busy to write a gigantic essay on headphones even though they really want to
wink.gif


Again thank you all and I'll be back once winners are announced.

Akio
Phiaton Team
 
Mar 26, 2010 at 5:03 AM Post #138 of 177

Cirkustanz

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For me, some of the most important things about headphones is a very easy question. Most of the time when I am using my headphones I am commuting to work (on the bus) or at work on a lunch break.

In both situations, I really have very little interest in hearing any of the nonsense around me, whether it be traffic, some random person on their cell phone, or the sound of my neighbor at working pounding away on their keyboard. Isolation of course, is what I am looking for.

The second most important thing would absolutely have to be having a good balance in representing the chunk of a guitar riff, and the whisp like sound of a drummers cymbals. This is hard to do in a headphone, and in my budget range, especially hard to do in an earphone.

With those two being said, being distortion free would be an easy third. With a lot of my favorite artists intentionally using distortion in their recordings, the last thing I would want is for the headphones to falter when it comes to the quality of sound they produce. I don't have golden ears, but in my view an earbud should give me the same feeling of awe with a great song that even a moderately priced set of speakers can. Having the headphones falter on the more intense parts of songs is a glaring disappointment and has resulted in several sets of earbuds being thrown straight in the garbage.
 
Mar 26, 2010 at 1:16 PM Post #139 of 177

wabbit

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I think i am what they call a "typical" consumer in the music space. To me, music is not an exact science - more of an art thing. I keep a couple of headphones and depending on the mood, I swap. For e.g. I could "feel" I want to enjoy like the punch of the HD650. Other days, I feel like having a light and easy listen - so i reach out for my ESW-10 jpns.
Then again there are just some days I feel a bit more "vocal" and i go and grab my PS1000....So i do keep a bunch of headphones and use them for what is the mood.

There are 2 things that I determine if I like the headphone/earphone.

1-Should i buy it?(aka first impressions or girlfriend mode)
2- Should i keep it?(aka marriage mode)

For 1-"should I buy it" (first impressions/girlfriend mode):


I would think that "hype" or herd "instinct" is pretty important in determining purchase- Usually this is where i check the forums on what headphone are good and what are not. (and that's what makes this forum really important). Because that is what happens before we get a chance to audition. See what the guys are saying - what's hot and what's not. Of course if there is a bunch of head-fiers saying "headphone X" is the ultimate headphone and has decimated all the previous headphones known to man- the incentive to try "headphone X" is great. And conversely, if "headphone z" is like yuck spit puke, then the incentive to try is much diminished.

Next comes the buying decision, which again is many factors.

1)The looks /Packaging - very important. what appeals to the eye. (like Adam reaching out for the forbidden fruit). It must look really tasty! On this point, I say the audio tech Japanese chaps are masters of packaging.

2) Price/Quality - not really saying go cheap. but i think value. if i am paying USD500 for a headphone, surely it must not sound marginally better than say a USD100 one. After playing around with a few headphones, I think I already have a "benchmark" for what I consider value (nothing to do with the DAC!) .

3) Mood- no point shopping when i just quarrelled with my wife or my boss gave me a hard day.

4) Faith - I often end up buying a headphone just for fun even though initially impressions did not impress me - just because some headphones take a longer time to burn in than others.
I did not like the PS1000 or the HD650 but after burning in, man, they are just night and day to me.

Then there is marriage mode:

I think headphones are the equivalent of shoes to women. After after trying them for awhile, you really know if you like them or not. For example, no matter how people say the IE8s were good, I just didn't find the sound to my "taste" so I tried them, didn't like them and the great thing I sold them to someone else who will like it.

That's my unscientific 2 cents worth
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 26, 2010 at 4:46 PM Post #140 of 177

Shayla

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What is most important to me about headphones is getting lost in the music. I am an amateur musician and have heard many live (acoustic) performances. I want to hear the tiny nuances in the singer's voice, the squeak of fingers on strings, and be able to separate each instrument in the track without it being sibilant at all. I want to feel like I'm watching a private performance, and have only to close my eyes to see the performers right in front of me.

I like headphones.
 
Mar 26, 2010 at 7:31 PM Post #141 of 177

Fantoon

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A phone is stylish enough that you want to wear it and show it off.

Be comfortable enough to wear them for long listening sessions.

And most importantly, be able to deliver a euphoric listening experience.
 
Mar 27, 2010 at 8:54 AM Post #142 of 177

Tsuioku

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Although build quality and comfort are also deciding factors in purchasing a product for me, sound quality is definitely the number one item on my checklist.

A set of cans that is transparent with good instrument separation and a wide soundstage would be my preference. On a more personal note, the sound would also be a
little warm since I'm sensitive to bright sound and slightly laid back to get a better feeling of depth, instrument placement and detail.

Treble would be engaging but not harsh or sibilent. Eagerly following every key and detail without being strident.
Mids would silky but not fatiguing. Every sound blending together musically but still distinct and in harmony with each other.
Bass would be agressive but not bloated. Accurate attack and decay yet still showing its presence.
 
Mar 27, 2010 at 12:48 PM Post #143 of 177

ljcii

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To me, the most important feature of an earphone is all-roundedness - sound quality, durability, isolation and at the very least, acceptable design for the price. Models like the Westone come to mind
smily_headphones1.gif


In terms of sound, whats most important to me is the mids. This is because most audio information comes from the mids. Vocals etc have to sound defined and forward and not hazy and unclear. It just kinda distracts and destroys the listening experience when the vocals are hazy and unclear.

The treble and bass comes like an added bonus to the mids.
In terms of treble, the highs have to sound natural where in my opinion is its ability to remain clear when there are alot of cymbals and not sound "busy".
I also prefer there to be sufficient amount of highs to bring out the effect of guitars and also to deliver a sense of space. I also prefer to have mid-highs that bring out percussions more lively because it contributes to the Pace, rhythm and timing of a phone in my opinion.

In terms of bass, it has to be fast and punchy and have a sufficient volume to deliver the Pace, rhythm and timing which makes music so fun to listen to as it gets your feet tapping. Bass extension is less important as long as it is audible and not overemphasized.
 
Mar 27, 2010 at 5:00 PM Post #144 of 177

Seidhepriest

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Oh gee...

1. Isolation. This matters, as most headphones are used on the go with a headphone amp.
2. Speed. Denon headphones have been a favourite because of that: they have quick dynamics. Headphones have to be fast to paint percussion accurately, and of course quick dynamics make everything much more real.
3. Space. Phase accuracy is important - headphones have to not only paint left/right, but also front/up, sides, and so on.
4. Harmonic accuracy: "warmth" is more a matter of hеadphones being able to paint all the harmonics there are - this is more important than tonal "warmth" (bass and midrange over treble/high frequencies).
5. Frequency range - for coarser MP3 files and audio CDs going over 11-15 KHz is only going to show ugliness, but for finer vinyl, tape and high-sampling-rate records headphones have to cover some 20-23 KHz of range.
6. Comfort and ambience - this means the headphones have to be circumaural, supra- or eaprhones just aren't comfortable and natural enough.
7. Looks - they don't really matter much, but either modest looks or "musical" looks (as an example, AKG K-240 Studio say "musician's coming" :) ).
8. Electric properties - efficiency and impedance, 32-ohm and 108 dB/1 mW are pretty good.
 
Mar 28, 2010 at 4:32 AM Post #146 of 177

saintalfonzo

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The most important quality of a headphone is its ability to accurately reproduce every aspect of a recording, from frequency response to separation of instruments and everything in between.
 
Mar 28, 2010 at 5:47 AM Post #147 of 177

AVDweeb

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Personally, I've been a fan of IEM's due to convenience when traveling in a city. With that being said:

• Sound Quality - Airy highs. Powerful, extensive bass. Creamy midrange.
• Great isolation.
• Clean look and feel.
•*Quality company, with solid values and coverage.

Hit those four, combine a quality price / performance ratio, you'll get my vote.
 
Mar 28, 2010 at 6:34 AM Post #148 of 177

KingStyles

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I think the most obvious answer would be to have a completely neutral can. That might have been my response a couple of months ago untill I heard the T1. After hearing the T1, I think a neutral can may come off a bit boring. Most of the highly sought after cans all have a unique coloration or sound signature that makes them special or unique. If you want to make a can that appeals to many is to have a can that does not sound like can x, but to make the can with your own stamp on its sound that people will find refreshing or unique enough that there own cans cant produce.

The cans that I would like to hear would have detailed, transparent highs that are fast in order to produce all the detail that the high end cd/dacs can portray. Throw in a midrange that is smooth and liquid to really bring out the best instrument, the human voice. It would also have to have bass. No bass light can here. Not overbearing though. It needs to produce reverb when needed on rock and pop (electric bass and drums) but also needs to be able to pull back a little to accurately portray the bass that is provided in classical and jazz blending in and never overstepping its bounds. I would settle on a mediam size sound stage. Too large of a sound stage all the time fits large concert halls and stadium performances in a real way but always seems out of place when in a smaller venue that is a more intimate performance. Maybe an adjustable sound stage by including different size headphone pads maybe? That might work for the bass too. Hmmmm.... As always it needs to be comfortable to wear and if it looks good too that is just icing on the cake.
 
Mar 28, 2010 at 6:42 AM Post #149 of 177

BIG POPPA

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Nice write up KingStyles.
 
Mar 28, 2010 at 12:55 PM Post #150 of 177

Audio Addict

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I find it is difficult to put into words but it is basically the overall presentation by the headphones or IEM just makes you want to stop what you're doing and listen with the big smile on your face.

It is a little of all the qualities that when the trade-offs made (and there are trades in almost any product) synergize together like there really were not any. This is when the onlookers can't believe you have no clue they are even around, it is that mesmerizing.
 

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