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Thread: Headphones VS Speakers

  1. #1
    Senior Member Kevin Pearson's Avatar
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    Default Headphones VS Speakers

    My last thread has inspired this discussion. How do you usually listen to your classical music?

    Do you use headphones? or loudspeakers?

    Do you prefer one over the other?

    Are your headphones cheap earbuds to be used with an Ipod or mp3 player or do you have a decent set?

    Are your speakers built for classical music and do they handle the range well?

    Much of my musical listening is at night when my wife and neighbors are all in bed so unfortunately the majority of my listening is on headphones but I own Sennheiser HD590s

    http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD5...5180798&sr=1-1

    A little pricey but well worth every penny I have spent. They are comfortable to wear and non-fatiguing of the ear over extended playing. I about cried when I accidentally stepped on them and broke the cross piece but I was able to send them off to Sennheiser and they came back like new for around $50.00 (Better than spending another $200!).

    One day a week I am off during a weekday and since my wife and neighbors work weekdays I can blast my B&W DM 640 speakers! They were made and designed for classical music listening pleasure and I have loved owning them. I've had them at 18 years now and would probably not change unless something went bad with them.



    Kevin

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    Headphones are OK for casual listening and to aid in judging noise reduction, but music requires air to unfold around the listener. I've spent 25 years building myself a frankenstein monster of a speaker setup that now totally satisfies me. It wasn't easy. It took the right speakers, the right room and careful EQ. I have good cans but they sit in a drawer most of the time.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I know one highly knowledgeable classical enthusiast listens to high-end electrostatic headphones by preference. Personally, I use Ohm Walsh "Super Two' loudspeakers with a sub-woofer when possible. I have Sennheiser 595 headphones, which have excellent sound reproduction, but like all headphones they place the sound stage behind me.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member Oskaar's Avatar
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    I am not a soundfreak! So I really enjoy my Beyerdynamics headphones from my stereo, connected to computer and spotify. Spotify has very good sound in average. Only limited by the sound card in computer. But I have heard there is a way to "cheat" the soundcard...
    Last edited by Oskaar; Dec-29-2011 at 20:57.

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    Senior Member Oskaar's Avatar
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    I have some mordount short speekers, and I am satisfied with them too.

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    I hate headphones (strong fear of hearing loss), but I have to use them so as not to disturb my family.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I hate headphones (strong fear of hearing loss), but I have to use them so as not to disturb my family.
    mama, send you family, one at a time until they are gone or as a group, on errands. Tell them to take at least an hour. Then....
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member jalex's Avatar
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    I only listen to chamber/solo music through headphones. Still prefer a good set of speakers even for that though (not that I own a good set of speakers).
    Last edited by jalex; Dec-29-2011 at 21:35.

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    Senior Member Oskaar's Avatar
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    Some in ear plugs is eminent. I had a Monster set, but they was not good in the plug, but very good in sound
    "the end plug....)

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    Senior Member opus55's Avatar
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    I have an old, inexpensive stereo+loudspeaker set but I strongly prefer it over head phones. I like the sound with some breathing room. There are often times that I have to use head phones, rather, ear phones because I'm outside walking or at work.

    I think I need stereo upgrade.. arghh
    Last edited by opus55; Dec-29-2011 at 22:48.

  14. #11
    Senior Member (Ret) Lenfer's Avatar
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    Headphones =]

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    Quote Originally Posted by oskaar View Post
    I am not a soundfreak! So I really enjoy my Beyerdynamics headphones from my stereo, connected to computer and spotify. Spotify has very good sound in average. Only limited by the sound card in computer. But I have heard there is a way to "cheat" the soundcard...
    By the way, for those who wish to use Spotify but don't live in a country that has approved it yet... you can simply log in to their website through a proxy (located in a country where it is available) and download the program. once Spotify is installed, they don't filter IPs by country.

    If you want to download the actual audio files, i'm not sure how. meanwhile you can always record the digital streams with a program like Audacity using the WAV or Stereo mix. you can save the recorded audio in a lossless file, although the content won't be lossless itself, most likely decompressed AAC. if you transcode it to MP3 (or ACC), you'll lose further quality... will it be audible? maybe, but probably not, given that the bitrate is high enough.

    edit:
    We use the Ogg Vorbis format for streaming. There are three quality ratings that we use:
    q3 (~96 kbps)
    q5 (~160 kbps)
    q9 (~320 kbps)
    Note: not all tracks are currently available in high bitrate.
    Desktop: Streams are q5 quality. Premium subscribers can enable higher bit rate streaming at q9 from the preferences menu.

    http://www.spotify.com/us/help/faq/tech/codec-quality/

    So it's not even worth your time trying to save these files... there's an open source program called despotity which let's you save them from the offline cache (since Spotify is P2P based), but ultimately you get a 160kbps OGG file, which isn't great, especially if you have to transcode it.

    I did a spectral analysis on random streams and the audio has a sharp cutoff at around 16Hz. very average in terms of quality.
    Last edited by Philip; Dec-29-2011 at 23:45.

  16. #13
    Senior Member Kevin Pearson's Avatar
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    I stream Spotify through my PC into my 500 watt receiver and play on my B&W speakers and I find the quality mostly acceptable. I only subscribe to the first level to avoid commercials but am seriously thinking of upgrading. I just wonder if the majority of the classical material is in 320?

    Kevin

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    Senior Member DavidMahler's Avatar
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    Speakers are way too room dependent and also listener-placement dependent. It becomes a hassle using them.

    I almost exclusively listen with headphones. You can retrieve a lot more detail with headphones. Speakers have the advantage of realism and 3-dimensionalism. Headphones are more often better sounding in tone due to the factors already mentioned.

  18. #15
    Senior Member Crudblud's Avatar
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    Headphones. Always headphones.

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