Earphones vs Headphones

Discussion in 'PC Purchasing Help' started by (((interference))), Aug 19, 2010.

  1. (((interference)))

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    Ok, so I have a pair of Audio Technica's excellent noise cancelling ANC7-B headphones and they sound fantastic.
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/re...uietpoint-active-noise-cancelling-headphones/

    But I've come across a pair or Ultimate Ears 700 dual driver earphones going for $120 USD and so I was wondering if I should get them as they are highly rated.
    http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/reviews/entry/ultimate-ears-700-noise-isolating-earphones/

    Now, I've always assumed that headphones have better sound quality than earphones as they have much bigger drivers and sit outside the ear, so will the UE 700 sound significantly better than my ANC7-Bs?
     
  2. Davros

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    Id say no
    imho a quality set of headphones will sound just as good as any other set of quality headphones
    i buy them based on build quality and comfort
     
  3. V3

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    IEM is all about fit. If you can get it to fit correctly with your ears, they'll sound very good. If it doesn't fit well, they'll sound terrible. I went through several models before finding the one that fit properly. Headphones are easier fit, but can be hot in summer.

    I've never heard the Ultimate Ears 700, but the TripleFi10 is great but only suitable for larger ears, AFAIK the UE700 is the smallest IEM in their range so if they sound the same, go for it.
     
  4. Blazkowicz

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    I own intra-auricular earphones, cheap stuff but not the absolute cheapest (10 euros), they sit unused because I totally hate them - you have to stick them deep for it to work, the rubber cap thing pops out from one of my ears, the extremely short cable makes it useless (even on the Y part it's too short) - move a few centimeters and you feel weight from the playing device, tension on the cord, ear stuff falls out of the ear.

    this drove me insane, almost down to the point of maniacal homicidal rampage ;)
    I had more luck with regular earphones I bought 3€ at a flea market a decade ago.

    I second Davros's comment.
    I was offered headphones that got crap reviews everywhere on the internet but had awesome comfort, and sounded great to me anyway.(sennheiser HD-500)
    I miss them (I should have been an ass and not let anyone else ever use them)

    high comfort + long cord with not even Y cabling + high stability = you using the headphone.
    regardless of sound quality difference that's a huge win over not using them :)
     
    #4 Blazkowicz, Aug 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2010
  5. MfA

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    You do realise that non blind non objective testing is worth exactly squat right? At least as far as sound quality is concerned, discomfort and pain are less easily ignored based on price tags and preconceptions (although given how much hi-fi reviewers are swayed by those I wouldn't be surprised if they could have blood streaming down the side of their face and call it the greatest thing ever if they liked the brand enough).
     
  6. Rolf N

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    I swear by my Sennheiser PX 100. Not even the PX 100-II, which sound a little speechier and have a cable going in on one side only, but the good 'ole ones. I've recently replaced the foam pads, because they were all gross after a good four years of regular use.

    Speaking of years, I'm starting to be impressed with how durable the cable attachment is. It has taken and shrugged off way more abuse than it has any right to. Within the same time I've gone through three headphone extension cables which were all annoyingly thick and stiff and heavy, and which all broke despite being taped into place under a desk with almost no movement left to absorb.
     
  7. V3

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    This, IEM is all about fit and they are a bugger to get the right fit. Forget reviews, price point, etc. If you go this route, just pick one that fit you well and be done.

    With proper fit, IEM is awsome. Your ears shouldn't feel any pain or any sort of discomfort what so ever and they should stay on your ear even if you're jogging. The easiest way to achieve this is to go custom.

    Trying your luck with universal fitting IEMs can drive you insane. :)
     
  8. Blazkowicz

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    well when they do stick they are indeed a good experience, the bang-for-the-buck is here regarding sound quality/immersion (you have to watch out on volume and on your surroundings obviously)

    that may explain the ridiculously strong frustration I had :lol:
    yep I would love trying/having custom-molded ones but that's probably about the price of a speakers pair..
     
    #8 Blazkowicz, Aug 19, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2010
  9. (((interference)))

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    Thanks for the replies,

    I am sure you will be able to hear the difference between quality IEMs and average ones, and fit shouldnt be a big issue seeing how many tips they usually come with.

    So assuming that the 700s fit properly (they do come with foam tips after all) will they sound better than my ANC7b's?

    I'm not too concerned about practicality as I have another cheaper pair for on the go listening, so I don't need the 700s, am only interested if they'd offer noticeably better sound quality than the ANC7bs.
     
  10. eastmen

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    I have marshmallows by jvc. They are really good for the $10 bucks they cost on amazon and they are like a memory foam so they actually fit well in my ear.

    I don't think i'd every pay more than $50 bucks on a set of headphones
     
  11. V3

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    Well, if you have a good EQ and know how to use it, you can fix any well made headphone or speakers to sound the same ie, reference level or to sound how you like it to be.

    If you're already happy with the ANC7b's comfort and general usage, why bother with the IEM ? Unless you're not happy with the sound cancelling and wants some isolation which IEMs generally offer.

    The only time I buy new headphones, is when they break from usage. Generally how they sound is very low on my list, its all about comfort, usage and durability. You can make any headphones to sound the same with EQ. So I suggest don't waste your money on IEM, if you're just looking for sound quality improvement. Trust me there is none.

    I have audiophile friends, they have heaps of expensive gears, I had done some blind testing with them, and trust me they can't tell the difference between the standard $4000 studio monitors and $50,000 fancy audiophile loudspeakers with god knows the cost of the amps that are attached to them. Not only they can't tell the difference but they prefered the studio monitors in the end anyway. .

    High fidelity sound can be had for very cheap now days, why waste your money especially you already have something you're happy with.
     
  12. Davros

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  13. MfA

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    Even 4K for a speaker means it has a ridiculously large markup from manufacturing cost.
     
  14. MfA

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    Of course there are very few good EQs ... especially for portable audio.

    Which is a shame, because it's not like it's hard ... let the user set some points on the bode diagram, compute a spline through them to get the rest, turn it into a high tap minimum phase filter (linear phase is tempting but a really bad idea) with FFT based filtering and bob's your uncle.
     
  15. Sigfried1977

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    I have tried a wide range if IEMs now, from the Koss Plug for €10 up to €250 for the Ultimate Ears Double-Fi Pro (or whatever it's called. It's like the Triple-Fi, only with two drivers per ear instead of three). The IEMs with 2 drivers sounded a bit better than the half as expensive ones with just one, but I'd still take my 30€ Koss Porta Pro over all of them any day.
     
  16. (((interference)))

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    I think there definitely is a difference between $50 headphones and $200 ones, it's not like HDMI cables, you can actually see that the hardware you're getting is more complex and exotic.

    Like IEMs with multiple drivers per ear, that will have to sound better than a $50 single driver one.

    And EQ settings might make cheap headphones sound better but they skew a song's sound away from what the artist originally intended it to sound like
     
  17. MfA

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    The above mentioned 21K audio cables are complex and exotic too ... it doesn't do anything for the sound, but it's complex and exotic.
     
  18. Blazkowicz

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    monitors have strict requirements in terms of flat spectrum response, unqualifying builds are discarded.

    (((interference))) has well explained why it's desireable, and studio monitors even are the original reference for knowing how the sound you've just made sounds like :)

    obviously those $4000 are more justified for mutualized recording equipment than for private listening equipment.

    someone I know got hold of studio monitors that had been rejected because of some tiny defect (which maybe developed with use), such as 1db too much above what it should be on a certain frequency. here is it, awesome set of speakers for cheap :)
     
  19. V3

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    That's a given, it's still low volume specialty products, you could DIY for less that's for sure. Distribution ain't cheap for this type of product. Though some of these manufacturers are starting to aim their technology at PC users or home studios, so you could get good monitors for a lot less now days.
     
  20. Blazkowicz

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    amps are cheap on the other end. cheap electronics can do nothing to cheapen speakers, but the rest of the chain can go cheaper.
    there are über cheap class D amplifiers on sale, basically built around an IC that contains most of the thing. (650kHz switching MOSFETs inside the chip do some digital switching based amplifying)

    I own a lepai ta2020 which I paid 16€ on ebay (£13 + cheap shipping), it's tiny, 2x12W and has cheap ass knobs but has very high fidelity over the spectrum - it reflects everything there's in your source.

    I'm confident modern tech will make great audio affordable, but leaving the bulk of the expense on the actual physical devices (speakers, phones, mics)

    disclaimer : I don't know much at all about audio gear especially the classic, high end stuff.
     

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