Headphones listening or Loudspeakers ?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by P3ESRXD, Aug 4, 2022 at 7:16 AM.

  1. P3ESRXD

    P3ESRXD Active Member Thread Starter

    Montpellier France
    Long story with no winner for me.

    For many years ...
    Sometimes I did love to listen my prefered music or lecture/ebooks with headphones.
    Other times I prefered same listenings with a good amp + nice speakers.
    Those headphones/speakers were soso ( at most "good enough" ).

    Changes occured though.
    Many days ago, I asked myself if I had to choose, which one would it be.
    Untill now, I can not choose yet.

    Many months ago, I bought second hand the "best headphone I can buy" ATH-ADX5000,
    a wonderful experience which led me to "upgrade" my speakers sets, strange thing.
    Since then, I listen less those nice headphones, only when I have to ( preserving my wife's sleep for example ).

    What are your experiences ?
    The Pinhead, Static and Glmoneydawg like this.
  2. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    I love my headphone rig but it can not replace a good pair of speakers .....
    33na3rd, peskypesky, bdfin and 8 others like this.
  3. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I've always hated the headphone listening experience. I find for me there's a kind of unnerving cognitive dissonance between what's physically going on around me and while happening in my ears. I'm always physically aware of the headphones -- I've used close back over the ears, open back over the ears, IEMs, etc. Then, on top of that, the thing I love about listening to hifi is the stereo imaging, the spread, the sense with a good recording and well set up stereo in a treated room, that you-are-there and the music can envelop you and bloom in the room. I don't ever get any of that with headphones. The music is always weird and in my head. But even in a non high fidelity context, I'd rather stream music from my 1" laptop speakers than listen to good headphones. At this point, unless I'm on a plane or something and trying to block external noise, I'd mostly rather not listen to music and just go do something else than listen to music with headphones. Just not for me.
  4. BackScratcher

    BackScratcher Forum Resident

    Boston area
    I have several pairs of nice headphones that sound great. But I only prefer to use them when loudspeakers would disturb others in the household (which is much of the time because a lot of my listening is early morning or late at night).
    33na3rd, Lowgroove, CDFanatic and 2 others like this.
  5. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Midwestern US
    Why both, of course. Just depending on the mood and more of where I am sitting that particular day/night. I tend to go more headphones in the summer to help cut down heat from large power and rectifier tubes heating up the room. The headphone amps I use have a single preamp tube and are not very hot.
  6. Neonknight1

    Neonknight1 Well-Known Member

    My preference is for loudspeakers. My headphones are in the bedroom and that is the only place I listen to them. I have a closed pair of Focal Stellia to not disturb people with. I also have a pair of Stax Lambda Pro that I absolutely adore. I find dynamic and fun type of music an awesome experience to listen to on them. The dynamics, bass response, and even spl are crazy. For music that I want the "energy" from and don't care about soundstage and depth or those sorts of things I will glady take the Stax. With that said I only use them once of twice every couple of weeks, the majority of my listening is done in the audio room.
    CoryG85 likes this.
  7. Swann36

    Swann36 A widower finding solace in music

    Lincoln, UK
    Stax are fantastic I have LE 300 and like you don’t listen that often but man every time I do it’s like WOW
  8. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Forum Resident

    Most of my headphone listening is at night , they actually sound pretty good Klipsch HP3 driven by Quicksilver’s Headphone Amp
    CoryG85 likes this.
  9. whaleyboy

    whaleyboy Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA
    I like both and have a great headphone setup and a great speaker setup. My preference is for speakers, mainly because I like the interaction with the room and being able to interact with other people or the room.

    I don't avoid headphones but I have moved my good headphone setup out to my office and I rarely use it because I get interrupted by the phone or whatever too much ;)
  10. P3ESRXD

    P3ESRXD Active Member Thread Starter

    Montpellier France
    Thanks for your insights
    So the two "systems" can be equivalent (if different of course depending on situation ) when the gear is correct, now that I use more musical speakers (because of buying better headphones ! ).
    Such a strange path :righton:.

    Now I would enjoy more what I have.
  11. imsjry

    imsjry Forum Resident

    Neenah, WI
    I have what I'd consider fantastic headphones (Focal Clear) for late night listening but i still never feel as enveloped and present in the music as I do when playing via my speakers. Its really a night/day experience. My 6xx headphones do get me "closer" to the music but still, no match for nice speakers.
  12. P3ESRXD

    P3ESRXD Active Member Thread Starter

    Montpellier France
    Another great writing @imsjry
    you are right spot on I think that it is how I use these systems :
    - speakers when possible, these "new found" Harbeths are wonderful
    - headphones ( less many nice things from speakers ) when not possible using speakers.
  13. scottys

    scottys Here I am, you pod bastards!

    Prescott, AZ
    I'm the same way - I don't care for cans. I'm mean sure If I'm trying to be quiet in the middle of the night but not in general when I'm enjoying the hifi.
  14. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Transient

    new york city
    I prefer listening to my digital music through headphones.

    I prefer listening to my analog music through speakers.

    I end up listening to digital through speakers a lot of the time anyway, though.
    Swann36 likes this.
  15. tumpux

    tumpux Well-Known Member

    I like them both. Each have its own place..
    peskypesky likes this.
  16. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Forum Sciolist

    Tri-Cities TN
    I like both but prefer loudspeakers.
    peskypesky likes this.
  17. Humbuster

    Humbuster Big hat, no cattle

    Like em both, but there are times when "she, who must be obeyed" demands her quiet, so out come the good cans.

    For this reason, I invested in a few nice headphones and headphone amps the last few years. It helps keep the peace.
    CoryG85 and Baron von Tollbooth like this.
  18. shug4476

    shug4476 Nullius In Verba

    A glass of wine and a my Senn HD-600 when the missus is sound asleep. It isn't quite up there with speakers but it gets me 80% of the way without interrupting anybody's sleep.

    For sheer visceral enjoyment, speakers usually always win, but I have listened to some very nice Audeze headphones which seriously challenged my thinking on this and went further into a recording than any speaker I have heard.
    Ntotrar likes this.
  19. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    I listened solely using headphones last month, out of necessity.
    I ordered a power amp that arrived broken, took a month to get a new one.
    Going back to my previous power amp would’ve been a hassle, since I would have to redo the wiring again (different connectors).
    But overall, it’s like 15% headphones 85% speakers since I’ve got Sennheiser HD800S headphones about half a year ago.
    I’ve never been into headphones before, those are my first proper headphones.
    It’s nice to listen through the HD800S for a change… they’re the opposite of my speakers in terms of sound color.
    A bit of variation from time to time keeps things fresh and interesting.
  20. Christian Evans

    Christian Evans Forum Resident

    Headphones for night before sleep, speakers during the day.
    New music is generally through headphones, known and liked music-speakers.
  21. Lowgroove

    Lowgroove Forum Resident

    I hadn't thought about this - but I guess I never listen to my main headphone rig instead my speakers unless it is because speakers would annoy someone else (sleep, TV or some other reason). So I guess this means I prefer speakers. Having said that my headphone amp is probably overdue for an upgrade - but I am not sure if that would change the situation, just make it more enjoyable when I did listen to headphones.

    However I do choose to listen to my second (portable) headphone rig when I want to listen in another location - e.g. in my hammock. The second rig is based on Roon through iPad, Dragonfly Cobalt DAC and Sony MDR-Z7M2 headphones - so it is still a pretty good system. Obviously no vinyl here.
  22. Lenny99

    Lenny99 The truth sets you free.

    Clarksburg WV

    I like my headphones. They are very handy especially when loud music may not be appreciated by others nearby. However I'm first and foremost a speaker person.

    I have decent headphones; Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, cost about $100, but Crutchfield says they are discontinued. I bought them for the above mentioned times. They receive great reviews for low cost phones.

    If I had very good phones with a very good separate headphone amp who knows. But until that occurs if ever, my favorite mode of listening are my Klipsch RP 160Ms with my Yamaha S501 Intigrated Amp and my Audio Technica AT LP7 or my Yamaha 301 CD player. Prob my TT.

    Obviously, if I use my phones the only difference is the speakers.

    However, there is an intricate, intrinsic difference. Something which is to me beyond the sound. I can't explain why.

    It was like this when I first started in April of 2018. For sound I had a pair of Polk T15 speakers, with a Sony STRDH190 receiver and a Sony pl 300usb TT. At that time I had significantly better headphones. Sony's Bluetooth's for about $200. (My wife's) Still, I went with speakers.
  23. Francois1968

    Francois1968 Forum Resident

    I do prefer loudspeakers since they manage to reproduce the music way more lifelike than headphones. The holographic picture just isn't there when listening with the latter.
    Sometimes in the evening I do listen with one of my headphones. It can be satisfying , but only a few hours.
  24. P3ESRXD

    P3ESRXD Active Member Thread Starter

    Montpellier France
    I tried so many times to find out why when possible I do prefer speakers over headphones.
    My findings can explain why some of us have preferences for speakers and/or headphones.
    When I listen from speakers (very good ones like now !) the music is "there" in flesh with realistic "dimensions" even with one musician or one lecturer.
    My entire body is "moved" by the sound.
    While I hear/listen to the same music on headphones, the lacking of "whole body response" (only my ears "responses" which can be enough but not as good).
    Maybe also in less amount of environment "responses" with headphones.

    Environment "responses" can explain also why there is no "best" loudspeakers ( or headphones or amp or whatelse ! ) for everybody.
    This to say why I do appreciate so much the P3ESR-XD with direct "sound" without environment "distortions" as with other speakers.
    Going further, I feel that these small wonders of speakers are "headphones + speakers " all-in-one :wiggle:.
    So nice feeling, in fact.
    The Pinhead and Lenny99 like this.
  25. SteveFord

    SteveFord Forum Resident

    Shnecksville PA
    Stax for lying down, Magnepan for sitting up.

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