Provocative question
Apr 29, 2002 at 11:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

Commander

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Having been particularly disappointed recently by the thin sound of the Sennheiser HD280's and Etymotic ER4P's I feel that there is a tendancy for people to get so carried away with the sound of a headphone that they lose sight of what it is actually like to stand in front of an orchestra! I was wondering how many of you can honestly say that if you were to listen to a live band and then monitor the same thing through cans that the sound would be the same? Which cans are actually the closest to the real thing I wonder?

At Abbey Road (studio 1) you can walk from the Live Room into the Control Room and the sound through the monitors is very faithful to the source. There is little or no difference. Is this possible with cans? Most of us can't afford $11,000 for the absolute best, so what about for the mere mortal?

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Apr 29, 2002 at 11:18 AM Post #2 of 29

chych

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You didn't mention what source and amplifier you are using, those can have quite an impact on the sound, not just the headphone alone... Personally, I find the Etymotics amazing. I do not think you can get a real concert with headphones due to the way they work, working inside your head... speakers maybe...
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 11:33 AM Post #3 of 29

LTUCCI1924

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God morning: I am just waking up it is 7am here so please forgive any mistakes that I will surely make. I have never been in a recording studio but I bet that they have good speakers there, If you would like to hear great clear detailed and full soud I would suggest that you consider the sennheiser 580s at 200.00 or cheeper or the 600 220.00. The 600 needs a good amp. but the 580 can use a potrable or not so expensive amp or even your home receiver to sound great. These cans are full size cans and have the respect of many high-fi folk from around the world. You can do a search on them and see what the members think of them. the search engine is at top right of the screen and put in 580s and then 600s and read. Many of us go through many cans befor we find that special one. But this forum can save you that long search if you know what you want in a can and what you will be useing it for. Think about this and then ask for help once you know what you want in a can. these members know a lot and are very helpfull. But dont just go on what they like for that might not be for your likes. You must first determin what you would like in a can and then seek help. Good luck and great sound.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 11:45 AM Post #4 of 29

Poddy

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Quote:

Originally posted by Commander
At Abbey Road (studio 1) you can walk from the Live Room into the Control Room and the sound through the monitors is very faithful to the source. There is little or no difference.


I am sorry but i found this very hard to believe. Having been in Recording Studios before while the sound may be great. You can not faithfully reproduce the impact of a live orchestra and dont let anyone tell you otherwise. As far as finding a headphone that can you are better off spending a great deal on a loudspeaker set. While headphones do provide a great sound they do not have the flexibility a stereo system provides. My advice invest in both. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. But for my listening purposes i mostly use my $6000 stereo. I am yet to find a pair of cans that can match it. Dont get me wrong. Cans sound fabulous. But not that fabulous.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 12:07 PM Post #5 of 29

LTUCCI1924

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SIR: I donot mean to disagree with Poddy for his intentions are honable I am sure. I have a good home system but it cant compair with my 580s amp and good sound source. I be willing to bet that the 580s with good power and good source would bet a 5000 or better home sound system. Now you said that you have 200.00-300.00 to spend so forget a good home system. And I might be wrong but if you got the 580s or 600s you will have no further need to upgrade to new cans. You might upgrad other stuff but not your cans. It is always nice to pay as little as you can for great sound and have money left over for some ice cream.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 12:52 PM Post #6 of 29

Jeff Guidry

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Quote:

Originally posted by Commander
I was wondering how many of you can honestly say that if you were to listen to a live band and then monitor the same thing through cans that the sound would be the same? Which cans are actually the closest to the real thing I wonder?

At Abbey Road...the sound through the monitors is very faithful to the source. There is little or no difference. Is this possible with cans? Most of us can't afford $11,000 for the absolute best, so what about for the mere mortal?


Well, think about it this way...When listening to music live, you are hearing sound coming from many different sources and many different directions. When you listen to speaker playback, the sound is now coming from only two directions (sans reflected sound from walls, etc. of course) but approximates the live experience because the sound is coming from in front of you on a similar physical plane that the original music would have originated from.

Headphones go even a step further, and place the speakers right on the sides of your head, almost completely eliminating the natural stereo effect that in-room speaker listening gives. What you give up in stereo imaging though, you gain in fine detail, which is difficult to hear with even good stereo set-ups because you have a much greater proximity from your ears to the speakers. Crossfeed helps some, but IMHO only reduces the 'in-head' feeling and really doesn't help approximate a natural soundstage.

By all accounts, the AKG K-1000's probablly come closest to approximating the natural stereo soundfield and adds the close up detail that headphones offer. The K-1000's use drivers that are off the ears so natural crossfeed occurs, though not as much as with normal speakers.

Even the Orpheus will have the same lack of realistic soundstage that all headphones offer, though the unmatched electrostatic detail offered on this set-up may make it a superior choice for well-heeled headphone nuts.

Mere mortals (at least, people in my price bracket) can't afford a source/amp/loudspeaker combo that offers the detail that a similar headphone set-up affords. To get that natural sounding stereo field, you'll have to sacrifice some detail, resolution and dynamics to meet a price goal. As in all things life related, you must make compromises
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 2:12 PM Post #7 of 29

Commander

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Quote:

Originally posted by Poddy
I am sorry but i found this very hard to believe. Having been in Recording Studios before while the sound may be great. You can not faithfully reproduce the impact of a live orchestra and dont let anyone tell you otherwise.


Sorry to disagree with you, but it's true. They use B&W speakers, and apart from the soundstage becoming two dimensional (as opposed to all around you) there is virtually no difference in the sound!
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 2:19 PM Post #8 of 29

LTUCCI1924

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If you would like to hear a hugh sound stage with the music all around you then you could consider the philipd 890s for 105.00 and will be very surprised at what headphones can do.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 3:22 PM Post #9 of 29

Joe Bloggs

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Quote:

Having been particularly disappointed recently by the thin sound of the Sennheiser HD280's and Etymotic ER4P's


Thin sound, he said. I don't see any comments from him about soundstage, so let's concentrate on the 'thin' part first, hmm?

Why would they sound thin to him? Do the HD280 have a weak bass response? Is he not getting a seal with the Ety ER4P?

If thin is your complaint, perhaps you just need to get some phat phones?
wink.gif
The Senn HD580 / 600 are pretty phat as hifi phones go
wink.gif
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 3:31 PM Post #10 of 29

dhwilkin

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Yes, more information is needed. What exactly is being referred to as thin (mid-range, vocals, bass, etc...)? Was there anything else wrong (for example, was the tonality of instruments acceptable)?
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 3:47 PM Post #11 of 29

Commander

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Fascinating stuff - I'm very interested to see if there is a headphone Nirvana at a reasonable price!

By thin I mean diluted and weak. Soundstage is okay. Take a drum kit for example. There is a power and depth to a kit that is missing with both the HD280's and the Etymotics. In most recording studios you will find Beyer DT100 headphones which are truly awful, and only really used because they are relatively cheap and easy to repair, offer good isolation and don't fall off the drummers head! Can't see the HD280's are much better really, even after 3 days burn in. . .

I appreciate your comments by the way! For a point of reference my hi-fi system is all Linn (about $35,000 worth) with active Keltik speakers, and doubles as a home cinema. In the studio I use Genelec monitors with subs. Thanks!
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 4:00 PM Post #13 of 29

dhwilkin

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Hmm... so are you saying the sound of the bass is not tight and/or loud and/or detailed enough, or are you referring to the physical impact you get from your speakers + sub, or are you referring to both? Oh, and are you specifically looking for headphones that provide isolation?
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 4:10 PM Post #14 of 29

Commander

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Isolation would be good for studio work (hence the purchase of the HD280's and Etys) but I could live with an open can. As for the bass, I realise there is a physicality to a speaker system with a sub ('trousers' and 'flapping' spring to mind!) and obviously air movement in a headphone is not an option, but it's just not there for me on these cans!

I just want something that sounds 'real'.
 
Apr 29, 2002 at 4:16 PM Post #15 of 29

shivohum

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Commander, you may want to give the Sony MDR-7506 a try. Famous speaker designer John Dunlavy has a pair of these, and apparently loves them. From http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/gen...ges/11056.html :

"I used them for monitoring while recording 70-plus performances of the Colorado Springs Symphony. Using 1/2 inch, instrumentation mics (over $3,000 each), located about 8 feet above my head, I was unable to detect any significant audible difference between the live sound of the orchestra and what I heard through the phones. The recorder was a professional 24-bit DAT machine. Several local audiophiles who occassionally helped me set up the equipment and stayed for the performance said they also could hear no difference between the live orchestra and what they heard through the phones. ... We tried many other headphones, including other Sopny models, but none came even close to the performance of the MDR-7506'S."
 

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