Realistic Soundstage in headphones impossible?
Mar 29, 2006 at 4:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

RobxMcCarthy

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Hi, I've been into audio equipment for a while. I have two Athena towers in my living room and a host of headphones in my bedroom.. But none of the headphones I've tried gave me the impression of a "real" soundstage.

It always sounds as if the singer is somewhere up infront of me just a few inches infront of the headband and that the stage doesn't really extend very far past the headphones themselves.

I get a completely different feel when I'm listening to my speaker setup. It's as if the performers are infront of me, I can pinpoint the singer, the drummer, even where the guitar player is standing when he shuffels his feet. It's so much more entertaining than listening on headphones.

I'm starting to think that I may have made a mistake when I recabled and put one of the drivers in reverse phase. I would think this kind of mistake would be very obvious (but is there any way to test it?)

So far all I have in my posession are Sony MDR-V600's Recabled Beyer 770's and koss Ksc75's. I've listened to grados (60 80 125) and sennheiser (580 650 a while back) but was never really impressed by the soundstage presented. Am I just never going to be satisfied with headphones in this aspect?
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 4:46 PM Post #2 of 23

E.B.M.Head

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Go electrostatic dude. If you want a huge soundstage it is the only way.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:04 PM Post #4 of 23

Arainach

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First of all, if you want Soundstage, throw your Grados in the trash can.

Second, if you want a realistic soundstage you'll have to invest a bit of money. Right now you have two rather low-end cans (V600 - ew, KSC75 - great for their price point, but still cheap), and one decent can (DT770). What are you amping them with?
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:26 PM Post #5 of 23

]|[ GorE

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I think that speakers are better than headphones in every way.I heard some reference series Klipsch the other day and i stood shocked in amazement for more than a minute with my mom looking at me weirdly.
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:28 PM Post #6 of 23

marvin

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If you're looking for soundstage in headphones that's anywhere near speaker level, you're not going to find it.

The K1000s are often said to be the best, and widest, soundstage headphones that you can get. But, even those pale in comparison to speakers. My (now sold) AKG K1000 + Clari-T (upgraded T-Amp) combo is throughly beaten in the soundstage arena by my lowly Athena S-3 + T-Amp combo.

So if you're looking for soundstage, get out of the headphone game and go for better speakers. That's what I decided to do.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 5:29 PM Post #7 of 23

jagorev

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ]|[ GorE
I think that speakers are better than headphones in every way.I heard some reference series Klipsch the other day and i stood shocked in amazement for more than a minute with my mom looking at me weirdly.
biggrin.gif



I beg to differ. I've never heard the detail resolution and intimacy of good headphones on any speakers.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:11 PM Post #9 of 23

F107plus5

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The lack of soundstage in speakers relative to "Good Room" and "Bad Room" is amazing.

In my "Old Room", by definition a "Good Room"; I had phenominal imaging and soundstage. I had an endearing love affair with my speakers!! My "New Room" is Not a "Good Room".

Sucked the stage right outta my speakers!
frown.gif
The fireplace took a chunk; the big open area to the right sucked up some more as did the new entertainment center(ugh)and the vaulted ceiling. I tried moving my listening chair, adding fireplace drapes("Stockings hung by the chimney with care..." helped over the holidays)stacked pillows behind the chairs and hung towells on the walls, it did make a difference til the wife....

My MS-1s had No imaging at first, ten days later they surpass my listening room speaker system. Ears seem quite adaptable!
biggrin.gif
Not as good as in my old room, but getting better all the time!
smily_headphones1.gif


I have good retreival of detail from the speakers if I toe-in my speakers considerably and stand(or sit in a diningroom chair)up real close in just the right spot for near-field listening, then the inverse-square law is repealed. But that isn't always practical.

Retreival of detail thru my MS-1s absolutely amazes me!! I can go anywhere and sit anywhere and ALL the instruments follow me obediently everywhere I go!!

Only thing between my ears and the drivers is....

.....is there such a thing in the medical industry as "Audiophonic plastic surgury"!! or something??!!
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:19 PM Post #10 of 23

Michael G.

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Generally speaking, headphones cannot soundstage like loudspeakers do. They sound more like loudspeakers when you use "earspeakers" like the AKG K-1000's. But even with standard headphones the illusion of realistic soundstaging can be there at times, it's just that it can be very recording-dependent. Even with Grados (which some say don't soundstage well at all), the illusion of realistic soundstaging has fooled me. There have been times when I've forgotten I was wearing my Grado headphones, mistakenly believing that the loudspeaker system was turned on instead. I think it's because some stereo recordings enough left/right acoustic crosstalk engineered in to help defeat the feeling of 100% channel seperation you normally get with headphones.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:26 PM Post #11 of 23

Tyll Hertsens

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jagorev
I beg to differ. I've never heard the detail resolution and intimacy of good headphones on any speakers.


I agree. In the past audiophiles have justified headphone listening on the basis of not always being in the listening room or not being able to turn up the big rig at night. I think it's time for headphone audiophiles to rightfully claim that the high end of resolution is on headphones, NOT speakers. To me this is not only obvious by simply saying that there isn't a room between the speakers and your ears (not to mention multiple drivers, crossover, and multiple output device amplifiers) but it's also pretty quickly obvious just by listening.

I believe that a serious high-end big rig just isn't functionally complete without a headphone capability. A serious audiophile should be able to do some listening; hear something that they can't quite identify; slap on the cans; listen to exactly what's going on; and then go back to speaker listening with a fuller appreciation of the recorded material.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 6:27 PM Post #12 of 23

needmoretoys

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jagorev
I beg to differ. I've never heard the detail resolution and intimacy of good headphones on any speakers.


I never have either, but I wonder if it could be achieved with enough money. For instance, my GS-1 and DT880 beat my GS-1 + Parasound Halo + Role Audio Windjammers in detail easily, but my power amp and speakers only total about $2000. Is $2000 really enough money to equal the detail that I can get out of $240 cans? The DT880 are somewhere in the top bracket of dynamic cans. What if I had a $10,000 amp and $40,000 speakers? Would I now get the detail that I get out of my DT880? Of course, I would need a perfect listening room also. My DT880 work perfectly in the corner of the living room or in the kitchen. I have no idea where to listen to such expensive speakers and amp, nor do I care to, so I will never know the answer. Perhaps someone who has that kind of equipment can answer this.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 7:05 PM Post #13 of 23

granodemostasa

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before the meet i declared it impossible, and decided to get a new source/325i and then get out of the headphone hobby. Then i heard the orpheus' soundstage, resolution, and clarity....now i've decided to never get high end speakers....at least until i've completed my headphone rig.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 8:14 PM Post #14 of 23

Visigodo

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First, as other have said, if you want soundstage, Grado is not the way to go. Other brands do better soundstaging than Grado.

Second, if you want hyper-realistic soundstage, try some BINAURAL recordings. It will blow you away.
 
Mar 29, 2006 at 8:17 PM Post #15 of 23

bobbyk

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My speaker set up was worth equivelant to $10,000 and it couldn't get me into the detail of the music like my Grado RS-1's can.

Yes I have sacrificed sound staging to a large degree, but hey I ain't complaining.

What you win on the swings you loose on the round-a-bouts.

I'm just starting to see why headphiles do their thing..... COOL!
 

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