how viable are headphones for home theatre?
May 8, 2002 at 1:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

mediahound2

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how viable are headphones for home theatre? i recently moved into a converted industrial building (loft sorta place) with high ceilings and cement all around. the echo sorta makes speech in movies a bit un-intelligible.

i was thinking of employing headphones and perhaps a headphone amp for critical home theatre and music listening in my new place.

is the experience/sound as good? i'm curious about surround sound. any info would be great, thanks for any info/suggestions!
 
May 8, 2002 at 3:12 PM Post #2 of 16

Audio-Me

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The center/LF channel and surround channels are there for a reason, use of headphones defeats the purpose of home theater, which is to recreate the cinema experience.
 
May 8, 2002 at 8:14 PM Post #3 of 16

phidauex

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Hey, just had to respond. I used to live in a converted Incense factory! It actually wasn't converted too much.. it still had a drop ceiling, cement floors, etc. 3000sq ft. of one giant room.
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The place smelled nice though. And with the big huge doors, we could just drive our motorcycles right in the front door and park inside.
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But the acoustics were terrible. Drop ceilings + cinderblock walls + cement floors = terrible.

As to your question.. I did a bit of movie watching in the place. I only had a two channel speaker system, but the acoustics really were quite bad, and a bit of a distraction. With headphones, I feel it is important that you have a Dolby Headphone processor.

Basically, it accepts the 5.1 Dolby signal, and then introduces crossfeed, and reverberations to make it sound like you are in a room, listening to 5 speakers and a sub. The effect isn't perfect, of course, but it is FAR superior to simply downmixing to stereo. I'm not sure if there are hardware decoders for Dolby Headphone, but I know that most of the DVD player software for computers supports it (WinDVD, etc.).

If you plan on doing some good headphone movie watching, and bothering people around you isn't a problem, I suggest you check out Dolby Headphone processors (see if your unit has one maybe), then look into getting a nice pair of headphones. The Sennheiser HD600 is one of the phones that they used to do the modeling, so you might do well by getting either the HD580s or HD600s. They are open headphones, so they leak a lot of sound, but in your situation, their openness would mean you could leave the sub on, and wear the headphones instead of the 5 speakers. Then you would still 'feel' the impact of the bass. Sounds like it could be very neat.

Anyway, hope this helps a bit.

Peace,
phidauex
 
May 9, 2002 at 1:58 PM Post #5 of 16

Satori

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Headphones for Home Theater doesn't spound like a good idea to me. or Home Theater it seems you would really need the depth that the seperate speakers gives you. Also, what are you going to do if you have 3 or 4 friends over?
 
May 25, 2002 at 4:32 PM Post #6 of 16

daycart1

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Sennheiser makes a little headphone amp that decodes 5.1 into a surround illusion. I think you can find it at Audioadvisor, etc.
 
May 25, 2002 at 5:50 PM Post #7 of 16

LTUCCI1924

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On my sony stereo amp 5.1 there is a mode for headphone thearther and puts a lot of the sound into the headphones.
 
May 26, 2002 at 2:44 AM Post #8 of 16

mikeg

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I use the Sony MDR-DS5100 Digital Surround Headphone System to watch movies on my computer. This system consists of a digital surround processor (which contains a surround decoder, a logic 3D processor, and an infrared transmitter), and a pair of infrared cordless headphones. Although I copied the preceding statement from Sony's literature, it is a reasonable description of the unit. Although there is some surround effect when viewing DVD movies, it is far less impressive than that obtained with a five speaker system. Per instructions in this unit's literature, the sound quality (and to some extent the surround effect) is improved by using Sony's wired MDR-F1 headphone, in place of their included infrared cordless headphone. I have tried substituting an HD600 for the MDR-F1 but found that the surround effect with the MDR-F1 was better. Overall, the sony MDR-DS5100 (with the MDR-F1 headphone) fully satisfies my desire for a personal movie viewing system, but it in no way equals a good speaker based home theater system.
 
May 26, 2002 at 6:47 AM Post #9 of 16

vb1

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I also use headphones to watch DVDs on a computer. In some ways the sound can actually benefit from headphones, as the need for very loud dynamics/volume can be a problem, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, headphones can?ft give a surround effect that the speaker system can (although it can sound pretty good-directionally).

One thing I?fve noticed when using PowerDVD 4.0, is that I prefer the regular ?eDolby compatible?f setting to the ?eDolby Headphone?f. The Dolby headphone does something to the sound, which makes it thin to my ears.

PowerDVD 4.0 has a remarkable number of audio settings.



.
 
May 26, 2002 at 12:29 PM Post #10 of 16

rickcr42

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Quote:

Headphones for Home Theater doesn't spound like a good idea to me. or Home Theater it seems you would really need the depth that the seperate speakers gives you. Also, what are you going to do if you have 3 or 4 friends over?


Use speakers of course ! The reasons behind watching a movie and using headphones for surround are the same as for getting into headphones to begin with.
1-no one but you likes your choice in music.Screw 'em.Use headphones and crank it up
2-you are young , living under your parents dominion.The words "turn that crap down " never come up with headphones
3-you have children,they want to sleep (poor them)
4-tough day and you want to just chill out,be left alone for a time.Headphones are very antisocial (except for these forums of course
biggrin.gif
)
5-the wife has something to say that you don't want to hear (just kiddin' honey
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)

Movies have some of the same requirements as above.we do not all like the same things and viewing times are not always ideal.Plus there are times in my home when all five TVs are going at once and it would be rude for one to dominate the sound field of the entire house (the surround system pushing some big time watts)

And Dolby Headphone is for real.The next best thing to loudspeaker surround.Long time coming though.
I use a cobbed up DIY system for now and love it
 
May 26, 2002 at 5:31 PM Post #11 of 16

kelly

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I use headphones on occasion to watch movies and with the receiver in 2-channel mode, think it's pretty adequate. My HT receiver does not have a Dolby Headphone mode.

While I agree that the concept of home theater involves a surround soudn system, it's important to keep in mind that the average consumer has only two speakers--and likely the two that are built into the TV set. Movies are, thus, designed to reproduce well under this less than ideal cicumstance. Compared to this, headphones will center the voices better (without a center channel, the imaging of left and right is forced to create the voices--the only problem is that the imaging in most HT speakers and especially stock TV speakers are very poor and even when they're capable they're set in the TV as a matter of convenience and aesthetics, not in the most ideal way to phantom a center channel. Headphones of course don't have this problem and the voices center naturally (unless you're going deaf in one ear).

I prefer my NHTs for home theater but I also prefer having company and sitting on the couch. If no one's here and I'm maybe watching a movie while playing on the computer or the like, I often prefer the headphones especially when its late at night.
 
May 26, 2002 at 6:20 PM Post #12 of 16

vb1

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The audio tracks 2 speaker mode seems to work well with headphones.

I think the audio tracks on 90% of the films made in the last 15 years are really very involved even in stereo. I just watched ?eMemento?f on DVD with a pair of V6?fs, and the sound was great.

I recently bought an entire DVD collection motivated mainly by soundtracks and the wide aspect ratio of DVDs.

It?fs orders of magnitude more pleasurable this way compared to TV.
 
May 26, 2002 at 6:29 PM Post #13 of 16

kelly

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Directors, and more importantly producers, do very much consider television when creating films. In fact there's been more of a trend TOWARD this than away from it. Action tends to be more centered these days to reduce the effects of pan & scan. Voices are always centered in the front, and not just because of the small handful of theaters still running in "stereo."

In fact, it's frequent these days that the television rights have already been sold before the film ever hits the theater.

Many directors have said things in interviews like "that'll be on the DVD version" implying that they were more ok with the cut for the theatrical release because they knew the LARGER audience was the home market.

Anyway--that was a ridiculous statement. TV is omnipresent in the minds of the directors and producers, moreso today than ever.
 
May 26, 2002 at 6:49 PM Post #14 of 16

vb1

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It's funny because I edited that post 1 minute after I posted it, not because I realized that it was a 'ridiculous statement?f, as you claim, but because I realized I hadn't read your post accurately.

I know that the 'producers' care "very much" about the viewablilty in ?epan&scan?f, however,I would imagine that the director?fs job would be to produce the finest artistic creation that the can.

If this ever changes (but I really don't think there?fs much chance of this-thank God!)

Then we are lost : )
 
May 26, 2002 at 6:56 PM Post #15 of 16

kelly

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I think it has definitely changed even with the role of the director. If you look at James Cameron, for example, he shoots in a certain format and specifically frames every shot for 1.33:1 to make sure there isn't critical information missing for when the film goes to pan & scan. Cameron has many times touted his preference for P&S for home viewing. I, of course, disagree with his position on the matter but he's a good example. I'm sure the older directors who have grown set in their ways and have a auteur sort of freedom to do whatever they want may not take home video and tv so seriously but I think most of the new directors do.

In any case, this is especially true in sound. The movies are made to sound good in 2 channel in addition to multichannel. Thus, they're pretty ok on headphones--for me, anyway, and I tend to have pretty high standards for home theater.
 

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