your prefference: phones or speakers?
Mar 7, 2006 at 3:10 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 64

uzziah

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Posts
4,049
Likes
13
what do you prefer? not: what do you find yourself listening to more because of circumstances (noisy neighbors etc.). but rather, in a perfect room enviroment, would you still listen to headphones, or do you only use them because of imperfect conditions?

what i am asking is: are heaphones a marriage of convenience, or one of true love?
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 3:50 AM Post #2 of 64

tyrion

Can Jam '08 Lead Organizer
Joined
Dec 25, 2003
Posts
10,904
Likes
34
Quote:

Originally Posted by uzziah
what do you prefer? not: what do you find yourself listening to more because of circumstances (noisy neighbors etc.). but rather, in a perfect room enviroment, would you still listen to headphones, or do you only use them because of imperfect conditions?

what i am asking is: are heaphones a marriage of convenience, or one of true love?



I prefer speakers. There are times, however, when headphones are the difference between listening to music or not. This is what makes them invaluable and a vital part of my listening gear. So for me headphones are both a convenience and a love. Given the choice, I will almost always use my speakers, unless there is an external reason, I can't. On the other hand, there are times when no one is around and I choose headphones. I should add that there is no question that I listen with headphones more than speakers due to circumstances.

I am not sure there is anything about headphones that have an advantage over speakers sonically. My $1600 speakers sound better to me than pretty much any headphone system I've heard. There just is no substitute for real soundstage and imaging, imo.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 4:10 AM Post #3 of 64

warnsey

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 14, 2005
Posts
394
Likes
10
I would have to say speakers. I like their freedom. While not quite as accurate as headphones i find them more fun. I also love sharing my music and speakers are the best for that. i also find it easier to concentrate with music through speakers rather than headphones when doing work.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 4:44 AM Post #4 of 64

dwc

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 13, 2005
Posts
233
Likes
11
When I first joined head-fi and bought my ppx3 and hd600 cans, my headphone system outclassed my speaker rig by a mile. Since then I've been working on the speaker system bit by bit and now have gottten it to a point where both systems have strengths.

I prefer speakers because of the way the speaker rig images in front of me and the feel of the bass. I can also still hear the tunes when I get up to go get a beer. With regards to detail, I can still hear further "into" the music with the 'phone rig, but the benefits of the speaker system win out most of the time. Late at night in bed the phone rig is where it's at.

-Dan
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 9:41 AM Post #6 of 64

stewtheking

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 6, 2005
Posts
2,671
Likes
27
Wow, this old chestnut. It can be summarised in about 4 points you know.

1) Speakers can do some things better than headphones.
2) Headphones can do some things better than speakers.
3) Some people like the speaker-better things more.
4) Some people like the headphone-better things more.

And that's the whole argument, that goes around and around.

But to add into the mix a little... To those who claim speaker rigs have better imaging, inherrantly than headphone rigs. Have you heard any well-recorded binaural stuff? In my experience, that soundly eclipses in terms of imaging anything that any speakers I have heard can do.

Just stirring it up.

Stew

P.s. I voted the third option, even though I would have preferred a "they both have their good qualities"
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 11:16 AM Post #7 of 64

Wodgy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Posts
4,657
Likes
12
I used to prefer headphones, but my tastes are slowly drifting towards speakers.

The problem is that it's fairly easy to find listenable headphones, but devilishly hard to find listenable speakers in my opinion. After much experimentation, I've realized I dislike metal cone drivers (especially metal dome tweeters), ported speakers, speakers with inadequate baffle step compensation, single driver speakers, and speakers with an uneven power response. I would prefer higher efficiency speakers, but am willing to compromise on that. Price is rarely correlated with loudspeaker quality (there are many terrible $1000+ speakers), but good engineering generally is. People with weird theories (crossoverless, etc.) but no knowledge of the tradeoffs involved make it difficult for the novice to select good speakers.

Headphones are much easier. They all have a pretty uneven response, so you have to take your pick there, but as long as you avoid the known dogs, most headphones are at least moderately likeable.

Strangely, mid-fi or better integrated speaker amps are often cheaper than headphone amps in the same quality class, so I think it's fair to compare slightly more expensive speakers to less expensive headphones.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 6:46 PM Post #8 of 64

dwc

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 13, 2005
Posts
233
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by stewtheking
Have you heard any well-recorded binaural stuff? In my experience, that soundly eclipses in terms of imaging anything that any speakers I have heard can do.


I've heard the "lighting of the match" and other little clips like it, but we're talking about music listening here, not specialty clips. It would be nice if they had more music recorded intended for 'phones.
-Dan
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 7:12 PM Post #9 of 64

ShaolinRasta

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 19, 2005
Posts
276
Likes
10
Since I got my Scout, I've found that the vast majority of my vinyl listening time is spent with speakers. I suspect that there's a strong correlation between records and speakers, even on this site.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 7:37 PM Post #10 of 64

Sleestack

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Posts
2,194
Likes
11
I have an SDS-XLR, which I love, but gets used about an hour or two a month. For me, as great as headphones are, in comparison to speakers, they just don't cut it. Sure you get intimacy, detail, etc., but they just simply can't present music with a realistic soundstage. Headphones can have decent imaging, but its still very restricted by the soundstage. Headphones can only give you realistic soundstage and imaging if you're used to listening to music made by people who are 6 inches tall and stand within 3 feet of each other.

As for detail, listening to headphones reveals detail but a good pair of speakers will do just as good, if not a better job. Detail is great, but without a realsitic soundstage or imaging, you're only getting half the picture.

Maybe there will come a time where my wife forces me to turn down my speakers and use headphones more often, but thankfully for the time being, she appreciates the marvels of a great speaker system.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 7:53 PM Post #11 of 64

tyrion

Can Jam '08 Lead Organizer
Joined
Dec 25, 2003
Posts
10,904
Likes
34
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sleestack
I have an SDS-XLR, which I love, but gets used about an hour or two a month. For me, as great as headphones are, in comparison to speakers, they just don't cut it. Sure you get intimacy, detail, etc., but they just simply can't present music with a realistic soundstage.


This is my feeling as well, as I stated in an earlier post. However, you mentioned intimacy as an advantage to headphones. This is the word I was trying to remember when I posted last night. It's an advantage to headphones that I've heard mentioned before.

Considering your speaker rig, you might agree with me that there is tremendous imtimacy when listening to an engaging piece of music through speakers. For me, as long as there are no external distractions, I find listening through my relatively modest speaker rig can be as or more intimate than headphones. The problem I have (which you fortunately don't) is that my wife doesn't marvel at my speaker rig and the sound it produces. Perhaps that is a weakness of my speaker rig. However, I tend to think she just has no interest.
biggrin.gif
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 7:59 PM Post #12 of 64

stewtheking

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 6, 2005
Posts
2,671
Likes
27
Quote:

Originally Posted by dwc
I've heard the "lighting of the match" and other little clips like it, but we're talking about music listening here, not specialty clips. It would be nice if they had more music recorded intended for 'phones.
-Dan



There was a stax test disk that had a few tracks of well recorded binaural, and I own "Down to the Wood [Or Martin and Jim Go Binaural]" By Martin Stephenson and Jim Hornsby.

Yes I agree very stongly that there is very limited availability of binaural recordings, but they are out there... somewhere, and the imaging you can get with them is simply stunning.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 8:00 PM Post #13 of 64

iSleipnir

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 9, 2005
Posts
1,363
Likes
0
I listen to speakers on ocassion or when I'm watching a movie, but when I'm listening to music by myself, I love headphones. Intimacy is everything in that circumstance.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 8:05 PM Post #14 of 64

Sleestack

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 22, 2005
Posts
2,194
Likes
11
Quote:

Originally Posted by tyrion
This is my feeling as well, as I stated in an earlier post. However, you mentioned intimacy as an advantage to headphones. This is the word I was trying to remember when I posted last night. It's an advantage to headphones that I've heard mentioned before.

Considering your speaker rig, you might agree with me that there is tremendous imtimacy when listening to an engaging piece of music through speakers.



I agree. To me closing my eyes and actually feeling like a band is playing in front of me is about as intimate as it gets. With headphones its more of a forced intimacy because the music is being directly funnelled itno your ears. I always compare headphnes to miscroscopes... fascinating and revealing, but ultimately not the way I would really want to see things most of the time.
 
Mar 7, 2006 at 8:29 PM Post #15 of 64

tom hankins

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Posts
5,730
Likes
14
SPEAKERS
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top