Why bother buying a $200 headphone if there's a free solution?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Blackberryroid, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Blackberryroid, Sep 23, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012

    Blackberryroid macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    #1
    Why even bother buying a $200 headphone when you can just tweak the equalizer?

    Too little bass? Increase the bass section of the equalizer, lower the midrange and the treble. Too much bass? Then lower the bass. Too much treble? Go ahead, make it smaller.

    Can't do it on an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch? Then download the App called EQU. Can't do it with a Mac? It's on iTunes. Too much hassle? Then do it once and save preset.

    It makes me curious on why people bother on spending for headphones when they can make a $200 sound fairly close with the equalizer.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. CatsTide macrumors 6502

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    #2
    That may help but it's like putting lipstick on a pig.
     
  3. Blackberryroid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    #3
    Can you please further explain your statement? I'm not good with metaphors.
     
  4. simsaladimbamba

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    #4
    Does that mean, that 5 USD headphones can produce the exact same sound as 200 USD headphones if you just set the EQ correctly?

    Ayway, your threads get better and better, but still no Waloshin material, who is dearly missed by some I hope.
     
  5. Blackberryroid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    #5
    Not really, but fairly close to it. I managed to get a dirt cheap headphones sound like the S4i, nothing with pure equalizer. And I'm satisfied. It did take a lot of bass boost and a lot of midrange drop and some huge volume increase. But in the end, the bass is so good.

    I tried that with the original Apple Earphones (not the EarPods), they were HOPELESS. The bass sounds like the headphones are about to explode.
     
  6. wywern209 macrumors 65832

    wywern209

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    #6
    An EQ is supposed to be a smaller effect fix as opposed to getting clearer sounding headphones. An eq is to help iron out some of the smaller artifacts you get, and s4i sound good but there are better headphones than that so let me know when u get ur dirt cheap headphones to sound like sennheiser hd800.;)
     
  7. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

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    #7
    You basically answered your own question with that statement.

    Some headphones will just perform better than others, and this lies in the design. I know my grados will never sound like my ibuds and that is inherent because of the open aire design.
     
  8. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #8
    The 2 clues that they suck should be Apple and earbuds.
     
  9. Roller macrumors 68020

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    #9
    There's a lot more to sound quality than simply boosting or attenuating specific segments of the audio spectrum to compensate for deficiencies in frequency response. But whether it's worth spending the extra $$$ to get a high end set of headphones is entirely up to the listener.
     
  10. imaketouchtheme macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Exactly. You can have the most talented audio engineer in the world adjust an equalizer to be exactly perfect for a $20 pair of headphones, but it still won't sound as good as me setting the equalizer for a $200 pair of headphones. Unless, of course, those $20 headphones are the ones on sale at Monoprice right now and you do some available mods for it. :p
     
  11. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #11
    Try adding that much bass to any earphones and see how long they'll last you... Not very long. If there's no clarity to begin with, an EQ is not going to make much difference. Not all music is mixed the same, and you'll find that on some songs, those EQ settings will make tracks sound horrible. You can use presets, but having to switch between them every time? No thanks.

    Those $50-200 headphones also have a warranty. Mine have 2 years. And just as I mentioned above, those $20 one aren't built for heavy use. Too much bass/volume = They can pop, cheap wires = They break easily.

    I have cheap Samsung earphones, and do customize my EQ when using them, but they don't even come close to the nice sound of my Sennheisers.
     
  12. Blackberryroid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    #12
    That was what I was referring to when I said "dirt cheap but sounds like the S4i with EQ".

    How is your Samsung Earphones compared to the EarPods (If you have one)?
     
  13. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #13
    If it works for you, more power to you. Not everyone agrees.
     
  14. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

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    #14
    The equalizer isn't going to make any headphone sound better; it may change the dynamics of the sound, but it doesn't increase the quality.

    Assuming your source is good, the only way to get "better" sound is to buy better headphones.

    Think of car seats. You want your seats to feel like leather so you put a cover on your cloth seats. Underneath it all, it's still a cloth seat, so if you want a real leather seat you need to pay for it.

    Want better sound? Pay for better headphones.
     
  15. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    #15
    I don't have a pair yet. Will get them in October with the new Nano.

    But I will say that the Samsung earphones are built really well. I don't make it four months with Apple branded earphones because they either tear apart, or pop. I've had these since March, and so far have just changed the little rubber pads. They're flat too, so it's really easy to accurately edit the EQ.
     
  16. rei101 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    As an audio engineer myself...

    EQ = equalizer = to put all the frequencies equal.

    A good headphone does not need to be $200 but usually the good ones are.

    If not about "what you feel the right sound should be", it is about how loyal the sound from the headphones is to the original recording (fidelity).

    When you see an audio spectrum, that line that goes up and down like an earthquake. It represents literally how the diaphragm of the speaker should be vibrating to push the air that becomes sound.

    Fidelity is how accurate the speaker (diaphragm) moves to that graphic. To achieve that you need speakers with very good components. The magnets that the speakers uses need to be made in certain materials and so the rest of the system, in this case the iPhone or iPod.

    An equalizer is used to compensate the lack of fidelity by adjusting each frequency adding more or less amplitude (volume) to each. That final signal has to be monitored by an spectrum analyzer (not your ear) that shows how each frequency is received at the other end.

    That is a bit on why and how the calibration is made.

    Expensive headphones then, are used to deliver accurate audio signal. Some headphones are meant to be used for long hours without making your ears tired too.
     
  17. Blackberryroid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    #17

    What is "quality" of the sound? And what is it's difference with dynamics?

    It's clear enough, I'm listening to ALAC (AKA FLAC) 1000+ KB/s. I can hear the detail.
     
  18. boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

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    #18
    Out of curiosity, have you tried a comparison with $20 headphones and good headphones? It's pretty easy to hear the difference, even if it's not something you care about. Obviously all headphones will sound different, finding one you like is up to you.
     
  19. Blackberryroid thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blackberryroid

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    #19
    I heard from a pair of $300 earphones, a Klipsch. Can't hear the difference with a $70. I heard from a $100 TDK WR 600, from Apple's In-Ear, From the S4is, From the Sennheisers.

    None of them sound any different if they were equalized.
     
  20. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    #20
    This is almost hilarious.

    What else should we do?
    Lower the brightness and contrast on cheap TV's so they look as good as a nice high-end Bravia? Put petrol in a nuclear reactor because it's also a fuel? Buy an iPhone 3 and look at it from a distance so you don't need a retina display? Cook ham and pretend it's bacon? Ditch SLR cameras because the iPhone 4S and 5 are just also 8mp?
     
  21. okrelayer macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    If you can't hear the difference between a pair of free earbuds, and a mid range Sennheiser headphone I think making an Otolaryngologist appointment is necessary.
     
  22. boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

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    #22
    You shouldn't need to equalize good headphones for them to sound good, and EQ'd cheap ones will never sound as good as EQ'd high fidelity ones, nor will they be as comfortable or durable. You can modify a Honda all day long, but it'll never be a Ferrari.
     

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