Looking for new headphones.

zeus224

Estimable
May 16, 2014
5
0
4,510
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For the past 4 years I have had Beats by Dre. Yes i know i have heard it all, how there not worth it and how they are over priced. I have had a great experience with them and I stick to my purchases as it was most viable at the time. The time has come though to get a new pair of headphones. Im not sure what to really get and googling information on which ones to get tend to have too much bias. That's why i am here, I'm looking for non-bias information on headphones. I dont want opinions or theories. I understand that everyone hears stuff differently but i need the science behind what makes headphones good.

1.What makes certain headphones attuned to certain music types (the technology and science behind the reason).
2.What makes headphones better at noise cancellation that others.
3.What causes great risks for distortion in sound.
4. What cord types and input types are better for signals passing from the phone/computer to the headphones

Pricing is not a huge issue im just looking for the best sound. I would like headphones with very good noise cancellation. My taste is music is varied to a large extent, I prefer music with vocals and base. I would like headphones with good base but not in exchange for the distortion in music.
Thank you for any help that you audiophiles can give me, even if someone has a link to were i can get this information i would be grateful.

 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
1. opinion and taste has huge influence on what you think sounds good. frequency response is also important as for instance things such as EDM tend to sound great to most people with a v-shaped (bass and treble) signature given that is where such songs focus on. songs with intense vocals may benefit more from heightened mids. faster and more detailed headphones may be able to bring out small subtleties in audio while slower more mellow headphones are more easy listening and less fatiguing. while there is certainly some science behind it, its very much opinion-based

2. bear in mind "noise cancellation" such as in active-noise-cancellation is completely different than "noise isolation" which is passive. isolation is the muffling of outside audio due to factors such as closed headphones acting like earmuffs or in ears sealing your canal and not allowing sound in. noise cancellation is possible with active electronics which create opposite soundwaves to cancel out external sound however this can often make audio appear distorted or off. personally i can not stand active noise cancellation since i notice this distortion so stick with isolation instead. if you expect the best quality, i would suggest isolation over cancellation.

3. depends on what you mean by this. active noise cancellation distorts audio to cancel sound waves from outside the cans. having a headphone with a frequency response other than completely flat (neutral) means that certain frequencies will be more prominent. a poor quality amplifier, emi, ground loop, poor quality source or poor quality song file quality can also introduce distortion. regarding frequency response, some headphones (such as bass-cannons) overemphasize bass to such a degree that treble and mids are muddy and less defined which could also be classified as distortion.

4. generally most headphones are going to be either 1/4" (6.3mm) or 1/8" (3.5mm) analog. some include an adapter to go from 1/8 to 1/4. when you start getting into high end audiophile setups some people use balanced amps and xlr balanced cables http://www.headphone.com/pages/balanced-headphones-guide but this is a bit much for the average user. not all headphones will work fine without an external amp on mobiles or some onboard audio solutions. if you are opposed to using an amplifier your choices may be limited. if you do not mind using an amplifer then your choices are opened.

you fail to list what properties besides cancelling out external noise you are interested in.

given that you are coming from beats... you might like the dt770-80 which are also high bass output but not muddy like the beats. closed design which means noise isolating.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
1. opinion and taste has huge influence on what you think sounds good. frequency response is also important as for instance things such as EDM tend to sound great to most people with a v-shaped (bass and treble) signature given that is where such songs focus on. songs with intense vocals may benefit more from heightened mids. faster and more detailed headphones may be able to bring out small subtleties in audio while slower more mellow headphones are more easy listening and less fatiguing. while there is certainly some science behind it, its very much opinion-based

2. bear in mind "noise cancellation" such as in active-noise-cancellation is completely different than "noise isolation" which is passive. isolation is the muffling of outside audio due to factors such as closed headphones acting like earmuffs or in ears sealing your canal and not allowing sound in. noise cancellation is possible with active electronics which create opposite soundwaves to cancel out external sound however this can often make audio appear distorted or off. personally i can not stand active noise cancellation since i notice this distortion so stick with isolation instead. if you expect the best quality, i would suggest isolation over cancellation.

3. depends on what you mean by this. active noise cancellation distorts audio to cancel sound waves from outside the cans. having a headphone with a frequency response other than completely flat (neutral) means that certain frequencies will be more prominent. a poor quality amplifier, emi, ground loop, poor quality source or poor quality song file quality can also introduce distortion. regarding frequency response, some headphones (such as bass-cannons) overemphasize bass to such a degree that treble and mids are muddy and less defined which could also be classified as distortion.

4. generally most headphones are going to be either 1/4" (6.3mm) or 1/8" (3.5mm) analog. some include an adapter to go from 1/8 to 1/4. when you start getting into high end audiophile setups some people use balanced amps and xlr balanced cables http://www.headphone.com/pages/balanced-headphones-guide but this is a bit much for the average user. not all headphones will work fine without an external amp on mobiles or some onboard audio solutions. if you are opposed to using an amplifier your choices may be limited. if you do not mind using an amplifer then your choices are opened.

you fail to list what properties besides cancelling out external noise you are interested in.

given that you are coming from beats... you might like the dt770-80 which are also high bass output but not muddy like the beats. closed design which means noise isolating.
 

zeus224

Estimable
May 16, 2014
5
0
4,510
0


I am open to an amplifier, I have been reading all day on the different drivers. It seems from what I found electrostatic headphones seem to have the best sound quality as the sound is driven equally around the diaphragm compared to dynamic drivers which seem to distort as sound spreads across. Seeing as electrostatic are appealing i will in turn need an amp. With the concept of noise isolation that seems much more appealing. Thanks for the help i do appreciate it , that information you have given me is very useful to buying smart. Is there any other important information i should know before I start looking to purchase?
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
it is worth mentioning that just because a product is expensive and on paper it is a better design does not mean that you will enjoy it or like it more than a product which is inferior on paper. people often have very specific ideas of what they think sounds good so preferences matter very heavily. also, not every has ears which are capable of picking out subtleties of sound so may not really benefit from a super high end can. also, you get less and less return on your investment in terms of quality per dollar the higher you go up the chain. improvements are more and more slight. the $200 range offers the best bang/buck while $200-500 would be the next best segment.

planar magnetic headphones are also worth looking at. models such as the hifiman he400 and he500 can be had without breaking the bank. ($300-500ish without amp).

electrostatic headphones can be quite expensive at $500-3000+ for over-ear models and for those you would likely be looking at stax. most of the kits come with an amplifier.

you can of course buy on the used market for cheaper and pick up some cans from the 70's or 80's relatively cheap. also, the earbud/in ear type designs are less than over-ears.
 
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