Premium headphones to use with youtube?

Leonell11

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Hi all, so I've always used cheap earphones that come with your average smartphones. However, i have decided to take the "next leap" if you will, towards better audio. I had already upgraded to a Sennheiser 201 headphone, as an entry level pair. However, truth be told, i was massively disappointed by both the audio and the comfort, or lack thereof, of those headphones. They only merely sounded better than a £10 cheap plastic earphones and their comfort was downright horrendous, giving me headaches and jaw aches etc, when compared to my light-as-feathers cheap £10 earphones. Anyways, I have now decided to go with the AKG 701s or 702s (whichever when is the cheapest at time of purchase) since i have been told they sound identical. Along with that, i have decided to also opt for the Fio e10k amp/ dac. Now, my question is, are these too overkill to be used with mostly youtube videos (on 1080p or higher settings) as i mostly listen to music via that or spotify premium? Should i be looking for a cheaper alternative? I am merely buying these as a better "sound" experience and I will not be doing any studio work whatsoever in the foreseeable future. What sort of audio quality are these designed for? Is youtube too bad for these? Do i need to be using FLAC or other lossless formats?
 

RazerZ

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Using those with spotify premium should work fine. It's just that youtube could be a problem as you might start hearing things you don't want to depending on the quality of file that was uploaded. Like I said earlier they are very revealing and your audio experience will be only as good as your weakest link. If the file playing sounds like crap, that is exactly what you will hear.

The 701/702 are one of those headphones that NEED a decent amp to sound good. An O2/Schiit Magni would work great. If you are not ready to spend more money for an amp, there are other choices out there that are easier to drive.

The DT 990 Pros might be a good option, they do not have the boomy bass you are thinking of. If you want boomy bass look at the Sony XB 500 or turtle beaches. Compared to the 701/702 they would be more "fun" sounding, you would get a vibrant sound compared to the very neutral sound signature of the AKGs. They have a decent amount of bass for an open back pair but it is controlled and precise unless the recording says otherwise. They do not need an amp and would likely run fine from your devices, but they will benefit from one. UK pricing for them is quite good compared to pricing elsewhere so I would say that's another option to look into. They are also be more comfortable than the AKGs.



 

RazerZ

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IMO it is a waste of money to use studio grade reference headphones for streaming low bitrate music on youtube. I would avoid those specific pairs since they are analytical and detailed, meaning you will hear any flaws in the recording. Youtube is the last place to go to for high quality music. Spotify premium streams at 320kbps where youtube is limited to 128kbs iirc.

The whole topic of bitrate is a beaten horse...it comes down to the genre, how well it was recorded/mastered, as well as perception by your own ears to see if you can tell a difference in fidelity.

There is such a thing as hearing bias and expectation bias. To quote nwavguy

"Just like with taste and vision, our hearing is heavily and involuntarily filtered. Only around 0.001% of what we hear makes it to our conscious awareness. This is hardwired into us for survival. We would go crazy from sensory overload if this filtering didn’t take place 24/7. Studies show you can play the identical track, on identical equipment, two different times, and the odds are good people will hear significant differences if they’re expecting a difference. This is called expectation bias and it’s the brain “helpfully” filtering your hearing to match your expectations—just like wine tasting."

I have found that with my midfi headphones it is possible to tell the difference b/t 128kbps vs 320kbps tracks, but anything higher than that can be very hard to tell at times.

Check out this site: http://mp3ornot.com/

I listened to all the tracks with my Yamaha EPH 100s and after coming back to the site for the third time with no distractions around me I could tell the differences in bitrate. I found some genres are a lot easier to distinguish than others. The third track felt like a mess and I had to relisten to it many times before I could hear a difference. The rest of them it was easy to identify with critical listening, they would sound dull and less detailed. By a slight amount. Lower end headphones also tend to be more forgiving of the track.

TL;DR bitrate is just a number, unless the audio quality is so bad it detracts from your listening pleasure don't worry about it. However the higher the bitrate the higher quality the track will be. If you are using midfi headphones I would try to keep your collection at 320kbps.

Have you already tried the 701 or 702? Compared it to other headphones? Trying them out for yourself is really the best way to go since online descriptions will only get you so far. Neutral headphones can be considered boring, just as headphones with a V shaped sound signature (increased bass and treble with recessed mids) are known as fun. Whether you find them fun or boring is all up to you.

What are your sound preferences, what genres do you primarily listen to?
Will these headphones be used on the go, or at home (is isolation and portability important)?
Will sound leakage be a problem?
What are you comfortable spending for the headphones?

Just a few questions before recommendations can be made.
---
On another note I did a search for my IEMs on amazon uk and found a pair for 70 pounds. They are fake!


It is easy to tell the difference b/t these two. The top are fakes, bottom is real. However not all fakes are so obvious! Make sure you buy from a trusted seller if you are ready to spend more for higher end headphones.

 

Leonell11

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I haven't tried the 701s or 702s, there aren't any music stores around me that stock these so that's not really an option. I'm buying them from Amazon UK so if i don't like them I can quite simply return them. As far as my sound preferences go, I have always stuck with cheap earphones and so don't have much of an idea as to what higher end headphones sound like. I just want something that sounds good i guess. I am not a basshead, however, and i think would prefer a wide soundstage with crisp detail. I did quite a bit of research and that is the reason i chose the AKG 701/702. Another option i was considering was the DT 990 Pros, however, they seem to have particularly boomy bass, and I don't like that. I guess to shed better light on what sound i like, i could point out that i have tried Turtlebeach X12s, and they were too bassy for me, if i turned the bass down, the treble was just muddled and horrible. Similarly, i didn't like the HD 201s because i think they sounded rather "boring".
To answer more of your questions, i will be using at home, no portability issues whatsoever, sound leakage is not an issue in fact i want to avoid "close-back" headphones since both turtle beach x12s and HD 201s were closed back. I listen to pretty much all types of music, excluding rock.
Oh, and to clarify the "fake" issue, here are the links to
701= http://www.amazon.co.uk/AKG-701-Headphones-Ear-Hook-Black/dp/B000EBBJ6Y

702= http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B001RCD2DW/ref=s9_simh_gw_p267_d0_i3?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=0ACJ4BJ247MEQ7FCNHK6&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=577048787&pf_rd_i=desktop

Also, since you say that it is very hard to distinguish after 320kbps and spotify premium offers that bitrate, then shouldnt the AKG 701s be fine with it? As far as price is concerned, the total package (headphones + DAC/ AMP) should not be above £200. But anyways, if the AKG 701s are too "high end", if you will, for youtube and spotify premium, then what pair would you recommend that doesn't go to waste on youtube and spotify premium?
 

RazerZ

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Using those with spotify premium should work fine. It's just that youtube could be a problem as you might start hearing things you don't want to depending on the quality of file that was uploaded. Like I said earlier they are very revealing and your audio experience will be only as good as your weakest link. If the file playing sounds like crap, that is exactly what you will hear.

The 701/702 are one of those headphones that NEED a decent amp to sound good. An O2/Schiit Magni would work great. If you are not ready to spend more money for an amp, there are other choices out there that are easier to drive.

The DT 990 Pros might be a good option, they do not have the boomy bass you are thinking of. If you want boomy bass look at the Sony XB 500 or turtle beaches. Compared to the 701/702 they would be more "fun" sounding, you would get a vibrant sound compared to the very neutral sound signature of the AKGs. They have a decent amount of bass for an open back pair but it is controlled and precise unless the recording says otherwise. They do not need an amp and would likely run fine from your devices, but they will benefit from one. UK pricing for them is quite good compared to pricing elsewhere so I would say that's another option to look into. They are also be more comfortable than the AKGs.



 

ssddx

Glorious
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DT990 seconded.

the akg cans are very bright/sibilant and detailed. they can be extremely fatiguing for some people. they also do not have much bass quantity (unless you wanted bass-light headphones).

the dt990 is going to be bright (though not as bright as akg) with more bass (although quality bass not boomy bass) with overall better comfort.

you can warm up either of them with fiio amplifiers. while the schitt magni is a great amp for the price it would keep either option sounding cool and a little harsh. depends on what kind of sound you want from them. tube amplifiers can also warm up a cold set of headphones.
 

Leonell11

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Well I've almost always opted for bass-light headphones. Since the AKGs are reference headphones, I'm guessing that music will sound like it was supposed to sound with them, with no "icing" if you will like the DT990s may add with their bigger bass. Even so, the Fio e10k dac/amp has a "bass" switch on it anyways, so if i don't like the AKGs (which is what i have finally decided on now) even with the bass switch, i will simply return them and buy the DT990s. Also, as far as comfort is concerned, i have almost always used feather light earphones, the AKGs are slightly lighter in weight than the DT990s. Not to mention, the cushiony look of the DT990s also puts me off a bit, compared to the relatively "light" look of the AKGs. The less I feel it on my head, the better it is. But anyways, thanks for all your help guys! I appreciate it. I shall get the AKGs and then decide on my experience with them.

EDIT: Also, I'll be sure to include my experience with the AKGs in this thread so that others planning on buying them may get some help
 

RazerZ

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No problem, let us know how it goes. The biggest comfort issue with the AKGs is the headband. It is a thin leather strip with bumps on it that can really dig into your skull after a while of use. I'm sure there are work arounds for it though, just search around.

The AKG's bass is tight and precise but it is very low in quantity. You'll either love them or hate them. They should sound great for genres like rock,jazz, and classical, but anything bass oriented like pop, rap, electronica you might find them dull sounding.
 
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