Headphones vs Speakers for listening music

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Akkush, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. Akkush

    Akkush SS.org Regular

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    What do you think which is better in terms of sound quality?
    A cheap or average headphone
    or
    Anykind of speaker with bad placement, in a room with bad acustics?
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Just listening to music? Either are about the same, within reason, so go with what's more enjoyable.

    I'd probably lean towards headphones, as good ones get cheaper and cheaper, but not everyone wants to wear them for a significant amount of time and be tethered when just listening to music.
     
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Is sounds like the question you're trying to ask is "can a bad room or bad placement ruin a listening experience to the point where you'd be better off with any cheap headphones" and IMO the answer is generally no, unless your room/placement is particularly egregious. :2c: A good room is important for accuracy but it's less important for just enjoying listening to something. Alternatively, "there is no answer because it's subjective", which is one of those technically true kinds of answers, but not particularly helpful. If you're trying to mix something, that's a different story.
     
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  4. nightlight

    nightlight SS.org Regular

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    I'd go with the monitors. You can always treat your room in the long run. Plus, there are some cool tools like Sonarworks Sound ID that will allow you to make your room useable for mixing purposes. You can also use them for listening to music.
     
  5. Andromalia

    Andromalia Pardon my french

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    As a whole you will get less ear fatigue with speakers, so I'd advise that whenever possible.
     
  6. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    VE Monk earbuds - $5
     
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  7. Emperoff

    Emperoff Not using 5150s Contributor

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    Speakers during the day, headphones at night.

    No point doing it the other way around to me :lol:
     
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  8. Akkush

    Akkush SS.org Regular

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    Yes, that was my question basiclly, thanks!
    My only problem with speakers is that I can't hear small details and can separet the two sides. Even with cheap headphones, it's much easier hear what's going on.

    Any solution for this?
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    There's no way for anyone to know, from the detail you've given, why you're lacking detail and stereo separation. Could it be the room? Maybe. Could it be the speakers just don't represent high end very well? Sure. There's no general trick to make speakers work better. If you think it's the room, address the room. If you think the speakers suck, try different speakers. If neither of those is within your reach at the moment, then you're probably stuck with the headphones for now.
     
  10. Chris Bowsman

    Chris Bowsman Nu-Metal Apologist Contributor

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    I'm less picky about listening via speakers than headphones.

    When I was buying wireless earbuds recently, I bailed on a cheaper JBLab set because they didn't sound as good as my kid's AirPod Pros. At work, our stereo is an in-dash CD player plugged into a couple 4" car speakers in a small plywood box. It sounds like ass, but I don't really care.
     
  11. Neon_Knight_

    Neon_Knight_ SS.org Regular

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    A counter question:
    Why do you need to settle for either of those options when you know neither is ideal?

    Poor room acoustics might not be easy to sort out, but surely you could improve the placement to enhance the experience with speakers.

    With speakers and headphones, the sound quality does not necessarily correspond with the cost.

    I have £40 earbuds and £100 over-ear headphones that both sound better than some I've tested that were on sale for £300+.

    Also, "better" speakers in an optimal environment might not be better than some "worse" speakers in your room with your setup. If I swapped over the speakers in my living room and my office / music room, both rooms would sound worse.

    Decent monitor speakers are available very cheaply in the used market. Unless they've been abused, you can't go far wrong with buying a pair of monitors used. For example, Wharfdale and Celestion monitors that retailed for circa £150 15-20 years ago (equivalent to circa £300 in today's money) are readily available for about £20 used.

    Monitor stands or wall brackets don't need to be expensive, but go a long way to improving placement.
     
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  12. dspellman

    dspellman SS.org Regular

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    Studio-quality headphones can be had for $100-ish. My favorites have been the Sony MDR-7506, Sennheiser 280s, AKG-240s, and BeyerDynamic 770s. More recently, the Audio Technica ATH-M40x have proven to be worthy competitors in this range.

    Compared to cheap speakers, these headphones give you a wider range of frequencies, better stereo separation, etc.

    Long ago I picked up a set of used KRK Rokit 8's -- I needed something for my keyboards, and these had good range and a bit more punch in the low end than the 5" versions. Over time, Rokit 8's have evolved into a fourth generation, with a lot more power from the amps, but you've got three previous generations out there available used and that are excellent (and less expensive than paying retail for the new ones).

    Bad placement and bad acoustics will kill almost any speaker's sound quality.
     
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  13. Neon_Knight_

    Neon_Knight_ SS.org Regular

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    Grado are also very good in that price range, if you're happy with open-back headphones. Personally, I would always choose open-backed for home use (better sound), but close-back is probably a must if you also need them to double-up for using out and about or are trying to shut out other household noises.
     
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