What determines the quality of a set of headphones?
Aug 12, 2016 at 2:03 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

esteiner

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Hello everyone
  I intend to buy a new headset but I can't distinguish good headphones from bad ones. At first I thought that the quality was determined by the frequency range of the headset (20-20000 Hz) but I've seen some expensive headphones that have the same range as some cheap for what I do not believe that it is a determining factor.
  Can you help me?
  PS: Sorry if you don't understand something of my message but I don't speak English.
  Best regards

 
Aug 12, 2016 at 2:22 PM Post #2 of 13

cel4145

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Ignore manufacturer rated frequency range. It's often meaningless for understanding actual useable frequency response. In fact, specifications from manufacturers will rarely tell you anything about the headphone's quality.
 
Aug 12, 2016 at 2:24 PM Post #3 of 13

Orestes1984

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Frequency response is just one factor in terms of actual numbers, lower khz means that they will have greater ability to produce lower sound frequencies, higher khz means that they will be able to pronounce higher frequencies. Lower frequencies are found in your bass, higher frequencies in your treble range. That only gives you a limited insight into it though.

Go to golden ears and have look at some of the graphs in the reviews sections:
 
http://en.goldenears.net/
 
But generally what determines a better speaker vs a worse one? If you look at the frequency response rate and the line is not smooth like this then its generally the sign of a speaker that is not particularly brilliant. This is what distortion looks like on a frequency response curve before it gets really terrible.

The good news is that its very hard to find a set of headphones that will reproduce a frequency response curve like this anymore. Even a very modestly priced headphone like a Sennheiser Momentum looks like this:
 

 
What that means in general is that it is very hard to find a set of headphones these days that are generally considered "bad." They are generally various degrees of good to excellent. This is a similarly priced Shure SRH-1440. You will note its much more closer to what they consider "ideal." You can tell just by looking at this graph that the Shure headphones are more likely to produce better sound reproduction. Also notice how much smoother the curve is, which indicates a much smoother, more linear sounding speaker in these headphones.
 

 
The problem therein is coming to terms with whether you like the sort of sound that headphone produces.
 
Aug 12, 2016 at 3:07 PM Post #4 of 13

VNandor

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 At first I thought that the quality was determined by the frequency range of the headset (20-20000 Hz)

A generic 20Hz ~ 20kHz spec is a very poor indicator of quality. It might tell you which are the lowest and highest frequencies the headphones can reproduce but it doesn't tell you what happens between. Frequency graphs (like the ones that's been posted) are a better indicator of quality but since there isn't a standard way to measure headphones it often can be unreliable.
 
 but I've seen some expensive headphones that have the same range as some cheap

Price is an even worse indicator of quality, just because something is expensive it doesn't mean it's good!
 
If you want to determine whether a headphone is good or not the best you can do is to listen to them.
 
Aug 12, 2016 at 3:10 PM Post #5 of 13

Orestes1984

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That is the final piece to the puzzle, just because it looks good, doesn't mean your ears will tell you its good and given that the thing between our ears [the brain] processes sound differently and your ears are all different sizes and shapes what looks and sounds good to me, may not sound good to you.
 
Aug 12, 2016 at 3:21 PM Post #6 of 13

Music Alchemist

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To get an idea about the quality of a headphone, aside from hearing it, look at the measurements.
 
http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-data-sheet-downloads
http://www.innerfidelity.com/headphone-measurements-explained
 
Frequency response, distortion, and impulse response are the main things to look at.
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 12:36 AM Post #7 of 13

ProtegeManiac

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  I intend to buy a new headset but I can't distinguish good headphones from bad ones. At first I thought that the quality was determined by the frequency range of the headset (20-20000 Hz) but I've seen some expensive headphones that have the same range as some cheap for what I do not believe that it is a determining factor.
  Can you help me?

 
That's because that only tells you the extreme limits of the response range. What is more important is the response graph/curve, which can show you how much weaker or stronger the headphone's response it at any frequency relative to 1000hz.
 
Also, what exactly do you need, headphones or a headset? The latter refers to a headphone with a mic, most commonly for gaming communications.
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 1:22 PM Post #8 of 13

esteiner

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Thank you all for responding, you are very kind.
  Then to know if I am buying a good headset I use information from goldenears and innerfidelity. Hope does not make a bad purchase
smile.gif
.

 
ProtegeManiac
 
Also, what exactly do you need, headphones or a headset?

 
Currently looking for an in-ear headphones because I believe that they will be cheaper than some headset and more comfortable as the headphones button.
  Now I am using some headphones of button because the headpset that was using not are good. Sounds bass, such as a battery or an explosion, produce a sound as of crumpled paper
rolleyes.gif
.
 
  I hope to make a good purchase thanks to information from previous web pages and will trust in the brands of good reputation.
  Thank you all again.
  Best regards

 
Aug 13, 2016 at 1:28 PM Post #9 of 13

Music Alchemist

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  Then to know if I am buying a good headset I use information from goldenears and innerfidelity. Hope does not make a bad purchase
smile.gif
.

 
Currently looking for an in-ear headphones because I believe that they will be cheaper than some headset and more comfortable as the headphones button.

 
You can also read reviews to research subjective opinions on the various headphones out there.
 
If you want in-ear headphones, this is worth checking out:
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/478568/multi-iem-review-352-iems-compared-pump-audio-earphones-added-04-03-16-p-1106
 
Aug 13, 2016 at 3:17 PM Post #10 of 13

ProtegeManiac

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  Then to know if I am buying a good headset I use information from goldenears and innerfidelity. Hope does not make a bad purchase
smile.gif
.

 
Always go for the smoothest curve, unless you don't mind using EQ. In that case some planars that are almost ruler flat from 1000hz down to 10hz are great since the midrange dip can just offset the human hearing bias for midrange, and then you just EQ the treble peak.
 
 

Currently looking for an in-ear headphones because I believe that they will be cheaper than some headset and more comfortable as the headphones button.

 
Not sure what you mean by "headphones button," but in any case these are cheaper also because they have very high efficiency. That means you don't really need a dedicated amplifier to drive them. However, look out for the ones with very low impedance (16ohms and lower, but preferably get anything that has 32ohms to 120ohms) as some mainstream devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, motherboards/soundcards, etc) have a high output impedance.
 
 
  Now I am using some headphones of button because the headpset that was using not are good. Sounds bass, such as a battery or an explosion, produce a sound as of crumpled paper 
rolleyes.gif
.

 
That's the driver diaphragm crumpling and hitting its excursion limit. Either your device is bad enough that it's clipping to play your desired listening level, or you're just plain listening too loud. Or you have too much bass boost. Dynamic drivers move back and forth and to increase the loudness it has to pump farther. The movement of a quality driver can be kept in check by a good amplifier, but no amp can compensate for a badly designed driver.
 
Aug 14, 2016 at 2:11 PM Post #11 of 13

esteiner

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Hello everyone
  Thank you Music Alchemist for the website, proved me to be very useful, the author of the table done a fantastic job. Didn't know existed headphones so expensive, I am impressed
bigsmile_face.gif
.
  Reviewing that table I found ones that I think are very good, they are the 'Xiaomi Piston 3'; they are cheap, according to the author of the review have good sound and have a 32ohms impedance as recommended me ProtegeManiac. I found others but they had an impedance of 16ohms, thank you very much for clarifying that point because already I would have been wrong.
  But there is one point that concerns me is the length of the cable. I am concerned that as some headphones for mobile phones have a too short cable. In the reviews there is a paragraph in which says 'cable', is refers to the length? The headphone cable that I now have a length of 90 centimeters approximately, but I think that I can connect one a little shorter in the back of my monitor.
 
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 32Ω | Sens: 98 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 4.1′ I-plug w/mic & 3-button Android remote
Nozzle Size: 4.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down

  Made a good choice? The others are too expensive for me at the moment
wink.gif
.
 
ProtegeManiac
 
Not sure what you mean by "headphones button,"

 
Sorry for that, I've been checking websites in english and call them Earbuds Headphones
smile.gif
.

 

  Best regards

 
Aug 15, 2016 at 1:38 AM Post #12 of 13

ProtegeManiac

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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteiner /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
Reviewing that table I found ones that I think are very good, they are the 'Xiaomi Piston 3'; they are cheap, according to the author of the review have good sound and have a 32ohms impedance as recommended me ProtegeManiac. I found others but they had an impedance of 16ohms, thank you very much for clarifying that point because already I would have been wrong.

 
As long as you think you won't have a problem with the ergonomics then the only thing left really is to get to try them yourself.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esteiner /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
But there is one point that concerns me is the length of the cable. I am concerned that as some headphones for mobile phones have a too short cable. In the reviews there is a paragraph in which says 'cable', is refers to the length? The headphone cable that I now have a length of 90 centimeters approximately, but I think that I can connect one a little shorter in the back of my monitor. 

 
What exactly are you connecting them to? Why the monitor? These need to be hooked up to the soundcard or motherboard audio output.
 
If by monitor you mean you have a hybrid laptop-tablet hybrid, then you'll just have to get used to not leaning back too far on your chair or standing upright and the cable won't be a problem for the most part. Or look into IEMs that have removable cables, so you can just go buy a longer cable. Look up IEMs like the removable cable version of the VSonic VSD3 (note there's a fixed cable version so make sure you get the right one).
 
 
Aug 15, 2016 at 4:06 PM Post #13 of 13

esteiner

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My monitor has a headphone output on the back. I proposed plugging them there if the cable was very short because the monitor is closer than the computer. Anyway if I can buy a longer cable that is no longer necessary
wink.gif
.
 
Anyway, I think that already having all the necessary information to make a good purchase.
  Thank you all for your help,I know it's difficult and boring having to 'decode' an automatic translation. I am sure that in other forums should not received response. You are very kind and this forum is fantastic, really thanks.
  Good bye
smile.gif


 

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