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Headpones good?
HTS
post Jun 12 2008, 21:18
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Are headphones good for music listening? I put on a cheap plantronics one, and the sound was much clearer and detailed than my 5.1 system of pc speakers. And even the low frequencies are clear! So are headphones the best way to listen to music?

Even if so, do they cause hearing damage? I don't mean the cheap earplugs, I meant the good noise cancelling ones.
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Gow
post Jun 12 2008, 21:30
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Yes, headphones are good for music listening. Best way is debatable but it has always depended on evironment and equipment.

Headphones will only cause hearing damage if you turn them up too high. Don't turn them up too high and clean the wax out your ear every so often if you used inner ear monitors (the little headphones that go in your ear). Do that and you shouldn't damage your hearing.

Noise canceling headphones can introduce a electronic hum that can be heard in quiet environments. An alternative is to stick heaphones into hear protection designed for extremely loud enviroments.

Like so: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/548578/headp...nating_headset/


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HTS
post Jun 12 2008, 21:37
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QUOTE (Gow @ Jun 12 2008, 16:30) *
Yes, headphones are good for music listening. Best way is debatable but it has always depended on evironment and equipment.

Headphones will only cause hearing damage if you turn them up too high. Don't turn them up too high and clean the wax out your ear every so often if you used inner ear monitors (the little headphones that go in your ear). Do that and you shouldn't damage your hearing.

Noise canceling headphones can introduce a electronic hum that can be heard in quiet environments. An alternative is to stick heaphones into hear protection designed for extremely loud enviroments.

Like so: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/548578/headp...nating_headset/

So what I don't understand is, why can headphones, with such small size, produce so much detail? I'm surprised to hear details in the music that my 5.1 speaker system didn't produce as clearly!

Is there some inherent advantage to headphones over loudspeakers? Because the PC speakers are bad because they are light and small compared to those large Klipsch cabinet sized speakers.

Another thing is, there are there "surround" headphones around, are they the best? If so, can you recommend one for me?

Thanks.
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Gow
post Jun 13 2008, 04:58
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QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 12 2008, 16:37) *
So what I don't understand is, why can headphones, with such small size, produce so much detail? I'm surprised to hear details in the music that my 5.1 speaker system didn't produce as clearly!


It is not sending the sound-waves into a large space where the setup becomes extremely important. It is just sending the sound-waves right into the ear.

As for PC Speakers, some are good and some aren't, as with all speakers it depends on build quality. Bose makes great speakers that are really tiny and have good sound by using all of that little speaker to reproduce the sound. Other makers do it in various ways. Some have a more bass sound, others treble and others natural but that is all dependent upon the listener's preferences.

Hear with your ears to make the judgement.

Surround speakers are relatively new as most still stick with the tried and true stereo format as almost all music is designed for the stereo format.

For headphone selection it comes down to these criteria:

1) In ear, on ear or over the ear?

2) Closed can or open diaphragm?

3) Price point?

4) Use? (Environment)

5) If going high grade for use with mp3 player, does the player have a suitable amp for the headphones or will it need a headphone amplifier?

You can check out http://www.head-fi.org/ for headphone suggestions as that is all they really deal with.

I use Alessandro Music Series One $99 (open diaphragm, on the ear) from their site. They are re-branded, re-tuned Grado SR-125s. Open diaphragm is good for sound reproduction but it suffers in noisy environments. I could probably supplement them with that headphone trick in that video. They have a natural sound.

One good closed over the ear headphone maker is Sennheiser, the HD-595, 555 and 280 are pretty good.
Another one is AKG.

Inner ear monitors...not sure...the only pair I bought was the Etymotic ER-6i (or something like that) and I don't use them anymore. Gave them to my sister in favor of having the Alessandro's.

DJ Headphones can also be an option, this are the on the ear swivel cup headphones. Sony and Technics make a good pair and they are usually pretty heavy duty.

I can't really suggest what headphone is good for you as I don't have your ears. Just try some out at a local audio store, call around to find a suitable store for that purpose before just going out. Also, read through Head-fi and take what they say with a grain of salt.


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Leto Atreides II
post Jun 13 2008, 05:02
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Not all those Sennheiser headphones you mentioned are closed. Sennheiser has lots that are open but are still circumaural (fit around the ear).
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HTS
post Jun 13 2008, 06:21
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QUOTE (Gow @ Jun 12 2008, 23:58) *
For headphone selection it comes down to these criteria:

1) In ear, on ear or over the ear?

2) Closed can or open diaphragm?

3) Price point?

4) Use? (Environment)

5) If going high grade for use with mp3 player, does the player have a suitable amp for the headphones or will it need a headphone amplifier?

1)Not in ear.
2)doesn't matter
3)sub 100 dollars
4)home, infront of pc.
5)I listen to FLAC.

So are the headphones you recommend all stereo? I watch dvds and dvd audio that has 5.1 channels, and I really like to not downmix them.
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Gow
post Jun 13 2008, 20:29
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QUOTE (Leto Atreides II @ Jun 13 2008, 00:02) *
Not all those Sennheiser headphones you mentioned are closed. Sennheiser has lots that are open but are still circumaural (fit around the ear).


I was making a general list and was not going for the nitty gritty details. I know the 555 and 595 are open diaphragm circumaural. Heh, you could have added some suggestions for HTS though instead od being picky. tongue.gif

QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 13 2008, 01:21) *
1)Not in ear.
2)doesn't matter
3)sub 100 dollars
4)home, infront of pc.
5)I listen to FLAC.

So are the headphones you recommend all stereo? I watch dvds and dvd audio that has 5.1 channels, and I really like to not downmix them.


Some good sub-100 headphones are the Sennheiser HD-555 and HD-280, Grado SR-60 and SR-80, Alessandro Music Series One, Sony MDR-V700DJ, AKG K81DJ, Razer Pirahna, and I am sure there others.

All will work great for PC use, Razer is a headset (in case the detail police come again) and comes with a pretty good microphone.

However, none of these headphones are useful as 5.1 surround sound headphones. Although I see a few on Amazon and people mentioning JVC 5.1 surround sound adapter: http://www.amazon.com/JVC-SUDH1-Surround-H...4438&sr=8-7

I don't know much about them though as I use stereo headphones for listening to music and watching some shows but use a home theatre system for watching shows in DTS, Dolby 5.1, etc.

I am sure someone out there knows a lot about 5.1 headphone setups but that someone is not me, which as many informed members of HA has there should be at least one to stand up and know the answer. Why they haven't answered is beyond me.


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DVDdoug
post Jun 13 2008, 23:18
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QUOTE
So what I don't understand is, why can headphones, with such small size, produce so much detail? I'm surprised to hear details in the music that my 5.1 speaker system didn't produce as clearly!
Mainly, because you don't need much volume when the "speaker" is so close to your ear...

An average pair of headphones can go "rock concert loud" without requiring lots of amplifier power and without badly distorting. It takes good-big speakers and a big amplifier to reproduce "realistic" levels in a living room. (Even a classical orchestra can play louder than the average home stereo.)

With headphones, a single driver can cover the whole frequency range. With a speaker system, you need a large driver to "move lots of air" and generate bass in the room. But, a large, heavy, woofer can't move fast enough to generate high frequencies, so you need a tweeter.

Since the components are smaller and cheaper, you get more sound for the money with headphones. You can get very "high end" headphones for a few hundred dollars. High-end speakers cost thousands.

The headphone manufacturers have an advantage that they don't have to worry about room acoustics. The room can make a big difference! I've had my speakers in a "dance hall", and they sound waaaay better than they do in my living room!

On the other hand.... Sound is much more natural in a "good room". You get reflected "ambient" sound that comes from all-around you (even with 2-channel stereo), and you can "feel" the bass (at higher volumes) from a woofer/subwoofer. I prefer listening to music through good speakers.

QUOTE
Another thing is, there are there "surround" headphones around, are they the best? If so, can you recommend one for me?
I've never tried these, but I'm skeptical because I know something about directional perception.

You detect direction mostly by level differences (and maybe phase differences) between your right and left ears... When a sound comes from directly in front, directly behind, or directly above you, the sound in both ears is equal. In order to detect (triangulate) the direction in 3-dimensions, you need to move your head slightly. Of course, this doesn't work with headphones, since the sound-source moves when you move your head.

Most of the time we are not aware of these head-movements, but you've probably seen an animal turn it's head in reaction to a sudden or strange noise. When we hear a sound, sometimes we look around to see where it's coming from. This head movement gives you more "readings", and if you do see the source of the sound, the visual clues feed-into your overall perception.
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n3tfury
post Jun 14 2008, 01:39
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i've said it before, but it bears saying again. stay away from the sony DJ headphones. they're complete rubbish.
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HTS
post Jun 14 2008, 05:38
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QUOTE
I've never tried these, but I'm skeptical because I know something about directional perception.

You detect direction mostly by level differences (and maybe phase differences) between your right and left ears... When a sound comes from directly in front, directly behind, or directly above you, the sound in both ears is equal. In order to detect (triangulate) the direction in 3-dimensions, you need to move your head slightly. Of course, this doesn't work with headphones, since the sound-source moves when you move your head.

Most of the time we are not aware of these head-movements, but you've probably seen an animal turn it's head in reaction to a sudden or strange noise. When we hear a sound, sometimes we look around to see where it's coming from. This head movement gives you more "readings", and if you do see the source of the sound, the visual clues feed-into your overall perception.



http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/multimedi...ad_5.html#sect0

The Zalman didn't do too well for surround here. And did you all notice the last comment? About headphones being damaging to hearing?

Also, aren't there any good mainstream headphones out there? Like from Logitech, Plantronics etc... I have a hard time shopping from these "boutique" stores, they aren't as accessible and they are mostly online with their modified stuff.
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pawelq
post Jun 14 2008, 05:43
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QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 13 2008, 01:21) *
2)doesn't matter


It should: closed vs. open sound different and feel different. In my case, that would be the most important choice after I decided on style (in ear canal/in ear/on ear/around the ear)


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HTS
post Jun 14 2008, 05:48
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QUOTE (Gow @ Jun 13 2008, 15:29) *
Some good sub-100 headphones are the Sennheiser HD-555 and HD-280, Grado SR-60 and SR-80, Alessandro Music Series One, Sony MDR-V700DJ, AKG K81DJ, Razer Pirahna, and I am sure there others.

I checked them, not all of them are available in Canada. The Sennheisers are overpriced. The Razor is the only option available. But it seems to be a gaming headset? Is it also good for music listening>
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shadowking
post Jun 14 2008, 06:22
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Heaphones can be good for music when setting up speakers is prohibitive., but only good ones like alessandro MS1 , grado etc.. Once you learn to setup speakers correctly you can get good detail without sacrificing soundstage plus other headphone quirks. Even a simple cheap Sherwood reciever + bookshelf speakers will put most headphone setups to shame.

Headphones are much easier to setup and teach you about good sound. Many people cannot have speakers (share houses, small rooms etc etc), others don't know how to set them up correctly or end up buying boomy home theatre stuff. A real shame as most speaker setups I heard are crap and most people use crap headphones.

This post has been edited by shadowking: Jun 14 2008, 06:24


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HTS
post Jun 14 2008, 06:37
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QUOTE (shadowking @ Jun 14 2008, 01:22) *
Heaphones can be good for music when setting up speakers is prohibitive., but only good ones like alessandro MS1 , grado etc.. Once you learn to setup speakers correctly you can get good detail without sacrificing soundstage plus other headphone quirks. Even a simple cheap Sherwood reciever + bookshelf speakers will put most headphone setups to shame.

Headphones are much easier to setup and teach you about good sound. Many people cannot have speakers (share houses, small rooms etc etc), others don't know how to set them up correctly or end up buying boomy home theatre stuff. A real shame as most speaker setups I heard are crap and most people use crap headphones.

So even for good PC speakers properly set up in 5.1 can beat headphones? I guess I just need to place my speakers properly then, because I have them all clustered in front of me below the monitor.
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shadowking
post Jun 14 2008, 07:50
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QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 14 2008, 15:37) *
QUOTE (shadowking @ Jun 14 2008, 01:22) *

Heaphones can be good for music when setting up speakers is prohibitive., but only good ones like alessandro MS1 , grado etc.. Once you learn to setup speakers correctly you can get good detail without sacrificing soundstage plus other headphone quirks. Even a simple cheap Sherwood reciever + bookshelf speakers will put most headphone setups to shame.

Headphones are much easier to setup and teach you about good sound. Many people cannot have speakers (share houses, small rooms etc etc), others don't know how to set them up correctly or end up buying boomy home theatre stuff. A real shame as most speaker setups I heard are crap and most people use crap headphones.

So even for good PC speakers properly set up in 5.1 can beat headphones? I guess I just need to place my speakers properly then, because I have them all clustered in front of me below the monitor.


A matter of taste I suppose, But I would still prefer good headphones with crossfeed over the typical pc speaker sound I hear. Your 5.1 might be better though.

Regarding placement for 2 channel : 5.5 ~ 6 ft apart, 1 ft from the wall, no EQ if possible, sit back 3 ft. Try that for starters. For more soundstage / less detail pull them wider apart. For more bass push them closer to the wall or sit back closer to the back wall.

This post has been edited by shadowking: Jun 14 2008, 07:56


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Martel
post Jun 14 2008, 10:54
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QUOTE (Gow @ Jun 12 2008, 12:30) *

Just taking out the electrodynamic core of the headphones and placing it into a different enclosure might (and probably will) wreck the sound!
Anyone who has open headphones may try to cover them with palms and hear the difference it can make.


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pawelq
post Jun 14 2008, 16:06
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QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 14 2008, 00:48) *
The Sennheisers are overpriced.


I used to think like that. Until I heard HD580 and 600. Bought 580 immediately.


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n3tfury
post Jun 14 2008, 18:17
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QUOTE (HTS @ Jun 13 2008, 22:37) *
So even for good PC speakers properly set up in 5.1 can beat headphones? I guess I just need to place my speakers properly then, because I have them all clustered in front of me below the monitor.


cheap headphones maybe. i'm not sure why you'd want to listen to music with a 5.1 set anyway - get a good 2.0.
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