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I was wondering if headphones + headphone amp actually represent better value for money and sound quality over speakers and amplifier. Do people who use headphones primarily do so because they think they are better than speakers or is it because they don't want to annoy the neighbours? 

I have Sennheiser HD660 which I use with a Marantz PM8005 and they sound pretty comparable to Tannoy 6.2 Precision or the AVI DM10s. If this is true then headphones do represent better value for money. The only thing is you can't feel the deep bass physically with headphones I suppose.

I must admit I am intrigued by high end electrostatic headphones surely that is as good as it gets?

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I prefer the intimacy of headphones which also remove the room interactions inherent with 2 channel.

I used headphones a lot 30 years ago, mainly for monitoring my own recordings. I lived in a ground floor flat, Mrs Noisy and her kids lived upstairs, they were allowed to make any kind of noise they l

Most of my listening used to be with speakers and I love big bass, used to have a three way active Linn system but nowadays most my listening is through headphones. Initially this started due to

50 minutes ago, AntA said:

I must admit I am intrigued by high end electrostatic headphones surely that is as good as it gets?

Different people will prefer different things but I've heard entry level Stax electrostatic headphones ('earspeakers' I think Stax call them) and I'd take a budget speaker system over them any day.

This is just me but I don't like the 'soundstage in your head' thing with headphones and the bass experience is just no substitute for the real thing as far as I'm concerned.

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Just now, MartinC said:

Different people will prefer different things but I've heard entry level Stax electrostatic headphones ('earspeakers' I think Stax call them) and I'd take a budget speaker system over them any day.

This is just me but I don't like the 'soundstage in your head' thing with headphones and the bass experience is just no substitute for the real thing as far as I'm concerned.

That is interesting, I can understand that. I would like to hear an electrostatic system but I don't have the money to buy one at the moment and I don't want to waste a dealers time when they eventually are allowed to re-open.

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2 hours ago, AntA said:

I was wondering if headphones + headphone amp actually represent better value for money and sound quality over speakers and amplifier.

Absolutely yes. A high end hifi system costs a lot more than a high end headphone system and even then your room would have to be pretty much perfect for them to be comparable.

That said, it is just a lot nicer to sit back and listen to speakers in my experience. 

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I'm new to the headphone experience having been forced down this route due to neighbours and my OH not going out to work at present. It was either no music at all or headphones so I bought Sennheiser HD650. My system is a modest aged Linn system bar the turntable. My initial thoughts on the headphones was a little disappointment but having turned them up a little more I'm quite impressed. However for me it's speakers all the way. MartinC summed it up perfectly, the soundstage in your head, it just doesn't feel natural. I do notice more detail from the headphones but I haven't been able to relax and truly enjoy the music in the same way as my speakers. Perhaps I'll get used to them and feel different given time? With the way things seem to be going in the world right now, I suspect I'll be given ample opportunity to find out unfortunately...

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for me headphone listening is just as valid and good as speakers; all my life been using both, 50/50.. personally, I don't go for headphones just not to annoy neighbours ( but that's added benefit)... it's a different way to appreciate my favourite music. Open backs works better for me than any other, but I also use in-ear... it's the consistency of sound and portability ( even for my open backs as I use them with pro field recording/ monitoring headphone amp) I like soo much, if I had to choose - headphones or speakers - it wouldn't be easy or obvious. 

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Headphones in the morning for me as the wife is a late riser and she gets a bit grouchy if the music wakes her up, bless her..
Also in the garden connected to my phone/Qobuz when gardening or just lazing.

I guess about 30-40% of my listening is on headphones atm, what with the virus lockdown and decent weather, and I'm fine with that.  I find headphones that I like easy to listen to - sure it's a different experience to speaker listening but as long as the music comes across.  I tend not to listen to bass-driven music, I'm a classical music fan, so the lack of vibrating intestines doesn't bother me.

Speaker-wise I'm devoted to my MBLs, but I keep a variety of headphones to hand -- open backed Sennheiser HD700, Philips Fidelio X2HR, Stax SR3 stats - closed backed PSB M4U and B&O H6.  And I've a pair of semi-vintage Sony MDR CD1700 on their way, I've had them before (15-20 years ago maybe) and loved them then so curious as to how they compare now.
This collection is the endgame of a several-year- long period of headphone experimentation, many have come and thankfully gone in the process.
I find that ultimately it's the tonality of a set of headphones that is the clincher and the usual reason why a pair gets rejected quickly - way too many are just too bright for me, I prefer a richer tone than is often presented by hi-rez audiophile cans.

So, headphones or speakers? Both, please. :)

Edited by JANDL100
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It seems generally that people use headphones as they don't interfere with other people around them rather as a preferred way of listening to music. I have found that I can hear more subtle detail in the music that can be missed with speakers however I think I prefer listening through the speakers.

In addition to the HD660s I have some Sennheiser HDR170s which are great if you want to walk around the house or even in the garden without annoying others with your choice of music.

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I’ve just about moved over to headphone listening from the 2 channel although I’ve still got it.TOTL cans should sound quite superb these days. Stax - which I use - do require a decent energiser though, and Stax offerings are not up to the demands. I’m also using Stellias for a streaming setup. Also very good when closed headphones are needed.

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6 minutes ago, monya said:

I’ve just about moved over to headphone listening from the 2 channel although I’ve still got it.TOTL cans should sound quite superb these days. Stax - which I use - do require a decent energiser though, and Stax offerings are not up to the demands. I’m also using Stellias for a streaming setup. Also very good when closed headphones are needed.

Why did you change? Was it because you were being considerate to others around or do you prefer the headphones?

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I prefer the intimacy of headphones which also remove the room interactions inherent with 2 channel.

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11 minutes ago, monya said:

I prefer the intimacy of headphones which also remove the room interactions inherent with 2 channel.

Can not get on with headphones, I don't like the soundstage and after about 20 minutes they feel uncomfortable. The last pair of closed ones I sold after a few weeks, they felt claustrophobic to me. You may hear more detail but I would never choose them unless I had a free choice. I only use so not to disturb others. I found details such as tape hiss was more apparent on headphones, so more detail is not always a good thing in my opinion. 

Are they worse for your hearing?

Edited by BeeRay
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I found the crossfeed feature on Chord products helps combat the claustrophobia.

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On 03/04/2020 at 15:24, AntA said:

I was wondering if headphones + headphone amp actually represent better value for money and sound quality over speakers and amplifier. Do people who use headphones primarily do so because they think they are better than speakers or is it because they don't want to annoy the neighbours? 

I have Sennheiser HD660 which I use with a Marantz PM8005 and they sound pretty comparable to Tannoy 6.2 Precision or the AVI DM10s. If this is true then headphones do represent better value for money. The only thing is you can't feel the deep bass physically with headphones I suppose.

I must admit I am intrigued by high end electrostatic headphones surely that is as good as it gets?

Fritz Sennheiser himself once said that headphone listening wasn't for everybody for that very reason - the missing physicality that is the compromise of direct ear injection.
Having said that headphone listening can be a revelation with a good set & a good headphone amp. It can get right into a recording.

 

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Most of my listening used to be with speakers and I love big bass, used to have a three way active Linn system but nowadays most my listening is through headphones.

Initially this started due to the wife watching the soaps in the evening so I would put the headphones on but now I've endedup appreciating the isolation that headphones give me and connecting more to the music. Whereas I may not get the bass weight that I get from big speakers I get a tighter and more tuneful bass that allows me to follow the basslines better and I think I end up listening to the music more thanks to the isolation. 

I enjoy to read a lot and putting on a classical piece or some jazz allows me to follow the book better than if I have external noises around me. and as a fan of very extreme and noisy music I can follow it better and dissect it more - over recent years I've started to enjoy the analytical side far more then I did 10 years ago.

I still have a simple speaker system system which I use now and again but I find I start to miss the listening experience I now enjoy.

Also I have a few different headphones, amp and dacs which I like to play around with as my mood changes I find it a lot easier than hugging big amps and speakers around.

Edited by griffo104
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