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AV and Multimedia Related Thread, Headphones - Is more expensive really better? in Technical; Here is one question that has been bugging me for a bit now: Is there a point where you simply ...
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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Headphones - Is more expensive really better?

    Here is one question that has been bugging me for a bit now: Is there a point where you simply do not notice the 'improvement' in audio quality with more expensive headphones?
    I recall watching an Olympic athlete several years ago being interviewed and he said that even the major sportswear manufactures told him (regarding trainers) that once you reach about the 80 price point there is actually no more improvement to be made in terms of the performance a shoe will offer. Is this the same for personal headphones I wonder. It wasn't long back that for a 'top end' set you would pay a maximum of about 100, but now with famous names (mainly rappers whose qualifications in micro electronics and audio engineering I couldn't comment on) putting their names on headsets you can now pay between 200-300. Are they really worth that much?
    I currently have a pair of AKG's which I got several years back from Richer Sounds for 25 and the guy in the shop basically said to forget paying any more than 70 for a good set (these were reduced from 60) as unless you were a piece of audio monitoring equipment you wouldn't notice any sound improvements.
    So, do you think expensive cans are worth it, and if so what is your 'limit'?

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    As I have tinnitus I think the price level for quality of sound is around a tenner... the rest of my family disagree, but won't pay more than 100!

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I like noise canceling or isolation headphones, the quieter I can have them the better for everyone but I refuse to pay more than about $120 (60 pounds). If you're getting your audio from an MP3 or AAC then you gave up on sound quality a long time ago anyway. Unless your audio source is a full res DVD or Blueray audio track on really good gear then there is just not that much quality to begin with.

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    Andrew_C's Avatar
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    The trick with any hifi purchase is to spend the bulk of your cash on things that move (as part of the sound process) So, turntable, stylus, speakers and to a lesser extent CD player. Headphones fall into this bracket.

    That said, I'd put really good money on the DJ branded phones being OK quality, but tweaked to give more bass. 'cause it's kikin, init?

    AKG or Senheiser is where I'd start looking. And listening if this is an option!

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    Domino's Avatar
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    What are you using them for? if its flac files from a machine with a dedicated high quality DAC, then spending a large sum of money on a pair for pure audio replication isn't that silly.

    if it's MP3s on your phone, you'd be an idiot to. don't buy beats, etc - they've a horrible sound profile, and even the top end ones have massive level of spill. I've really liked my RHA C200s RHA CA-200 Black Headphones: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics which are pretty cheap, but the drivers are good quality, they have a warm sound tone, they isolate well and the cable is replaceable (don't usually see that at that price point).

    sooo...horses for courses

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    My limit was a pair of AKG K702 and a decent headphone amp with USB DAC (EHP-O2D miniature desktop headphone amplifier with USB DAC | Epiphany Acoustics). I can tell the difference between them and my old Sennheiser HD265's - which were nice closed cans. The 702's are superior, giving a more balanced sound across the frequency range. They sounded a bit 'thin' at first compared to the 265's, especially in the low end. But after a while it becomes apparent that it's the 265's that are unnatural and the 702's are kicking out an amazing sound.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    What are you using them for? if its flac files from a machine with a dedicated high quality DAC, then spending a large sum of money on a pair for pure audio replication isn't that silly.

    if it's MP3s on your phone, you'd be an idiot to. don't buy beats, etc - they've a horrible sound profile, and even the top end ones have massive level of spill. I've really liked my RHA C200s RHA CA-200 Black Headphones: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics which are pretty cheap, but the drivers are good quality, they have a warm sound tone, they isolate well and the cable is replaceable (don't usually see that at that price point).

    sooo...horses for courses
    Well, that's the thing, many are marketing hugely expensive phones to the MP3 player market where they would have discernible effect on audio quality anyway.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos_Box View Post
    Well, that's the thing, many are marketing hugely expensive phones to the MP3 player market where they would have discernible effect on audio quality anyway.
    Possibly a detrement, cheap headphones with slow/bad frequency responce may well cover up some of the holes left by compression making them less evident. Personally I think 192k MP3s are fine most of the time and those extra few bits of clarity don't really bother me as my hearing is wasted anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew_C View Post
    The trick with any hifi purchase is to spend the bulk of your cash on things that move (as part of the sound process) So, turntable, stylus, speakers and to a lesser extent CD player. Headphones fall into this bracket.

    That said, I'd put really good money on the DJ branded phones being OK quality, but tweaked to give more bass. 'cause it's kikin, init?

    AKG or Senheiser is where I'd start looking. And listening if this is an option!
    This^

    Is your source up to it? I've got Sennheiser 25s (150 at the time) which are brill but them I've got a 1500 mixer and 800 turntables. Wouldn't dream of spending that much money on ones for an mp3 player. Makes my laugh when people spend 100+ on "kiddy brand" headphones for their xbox
    Last edited by j17sparky; 23rd July 2012 at 12:30 PM.

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    Grab your fav CD pop down your local HiFi shop and try them you will be supprised how good some cheapy ones are and probably supprised at how muddy some expencive ones can be, in my humble opinion AKG are great value but can still be expencive.
    You listening experiance will vary with your type of music and of course your age (you lose top as you age).
    But as well stated by most audiologists be careful with headphones you can get huge volume levels in that small gap between your speaker and your ear easly reaching levels equivilent to a heavy rock band in to a 10k amp from your little MP3 player.

    Marc
    Projector Engineer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Domino View Post
    don't buy beats, etc - they've a horrible sound profile,
    I've got a friend who used to insist on walking around with some round his neck at all times. In a town with a large student population (basically anywhere where you can leave the house in a onesie) then this might have been fashionable. But in one of the hippier parts of rural Gloucestershire he looked like a complete and utter melon. Luckily they have now broken.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    There is a ceiling on sound quality, which as you say is about the 100 mark - I reckon it's about 120 personally - but what you pay for above that is either the name (more fool you) or the build quality or fit. Personally i would suggest everyone gets a set of beyerdynamic DT 770. the price/build/value point sits about right. But i appreciate not everyone is happy with a huge set of cans!

    If you want in-ear headphones i reccomend klipsch S4 for the same reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    As I have tinnitus I think the price level for quality of sound is around a tenner... the rest of my family disagree, but won't pay more than 100!
    Me too. I tried calling the Tinnitus helpline but it just kept ringing.

  14. Thanks to laserblazer from:

    aerospacemango (23rd July 2012)

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    aerospacemango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    Me too. I tried calling the Tinnitus helpline but it just kept ringing.
    Ba-ddom Tish!

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    Quote Originally Posted by laserblazer View Post
    Me too. I tried calling the Tinnitus helpline but it just kept ringing.
    Laser........... tut tut.........................but it did make me smile.

    Marc
    Projector Engineer

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