Headphone Market News

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dB Cooper

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #100 on: 1 Jul 2017, 01:55 pm »
A couple points...
1) I was commenting more on Fang's extremely poor reaction to the backlash and his engagement with the trolls.
Got a link? Sounds amusing.

Armaegis

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #101 on: 1 Jul 2017, 03:22 pm »
Got a link? Sounds amusing.


The thread was heavily moderated/pruned after it went off the rails. Here are some screencaps, though some pruning had already started by then...

http://imgur.com/serEDX7
http://imgur.com/Aw18slq
http://imgur.com/PWsRJd6
http://imgur.com/gmWGIZ9
http://imgur.com/SFQ2rnv
 
The final page on the official thread ends with him comparing people's attitudes with that of the Chinese cultural revolution... which is basically the Chinese equivalent of comparing to Hitler/Nazis. It was shut down shortly after that.

dalethorn

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #102 on: 1 Jul 2017, 09:00 pm »
It wouldn't hurt for him to give a detailed account of where the costs are.  He needn't give away any proprietary info like formula ingredients or exact production methods, but for example if the $3000 headphone has a $1500 labor cost (prorated from wholesale/dealer cost), he could list some degree of detail that indicates real steps performed, etc.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #103 on: 1 Jul 2017, 09:27 pm »
At the HifiMan V2 upgrade program on see that the V2 drivers cost is very low.

George Jackson

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #104 on: 14 Jul 2017, 03:43 am »
Really, the headphone market is just playing catchup on the speaker world. How many people actually buy the 5-6 digit toys? With very few exceptions, those serve more as statement pieces to inflate the company ego/perception.
'
 Can't agree with you more. more and more people tend to listen to music on mobile devices

FullRangeMan

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #105 on: 14 Jul 2017, 05:44 pm »
'
 Can't agree with you more. more and more people tend to listen to music on mobile devices
They use ear buds, hi-fi HPs arent mobile, the amp usually is a heavy tube amp.

dalethorn

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #106 on: 14 Jul 2017, 08:56 pm »
They use ear buds, hi-fi HPs arent mobile, the amp usually is a heavy tube amp.

How true.  If there were more attention on better sound, and more competition in the better headphones and amps, the prices could be much lower.

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #107 on: 15 Jul 2017, 12:07 am »
They use ear buds, hi-fi HPs arent mobile, the amp usually is a heavy tube amp.

Are you saying that ear buds can't be hi-fi? To be sure, most are not, but most fullsize headphones aren't great either, and the best IEM's can sound pretty damn good. When I listen to Tidal HiFi or lossless files on my phone through my Audioquest Dragonfly and Etymotics or SE535's, the sound is quite respectable. I'm also puzzled by the apparent assertion that headphone amps are "usually" heavy tube units; there are plenty of SS amps out there, both desktop and portable.

Far from being non-competitive, the headphone market is probably the single most competitive segment of the audio market. As usual, the really good things are a small portion of the overall market (even at 'high-end' price points), but there are literally hundreds of options out there, and a good selection even after one separates the wheat from the chaff. Granted, a lot of manufacturers (I'm looking at you, HiFiMan) seem a lot more interested in pushing the boundaries of what they can get people to pay than there are trying to bring hi end performance to more moderately priced products, but that's how high end works.

charmerci

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #108 on: 15 Jul 2017, 12:17 am »
How true.  If there were more attention on better sound, and more competition in the better headphones and amps, the prices could be much lower.


It's kind of hard to get to the end so they might not all be headphones but amazon shows over 50 thousand results for headphones!  :o


There should be something for everyone!  :lol:

Russell Dawkins

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #109 on: 16 Jul 2017, 12:22 am »
Are you saying that ear buds can't be hi-fi? To be sure, most are not, but most fullsize headphones aren't great either, and the best IEM's can sound pretty damn good. When I listen to Tidal HiFi or lossless files on my phone through my Audioquest Dragonfly and Etymotics or SE535's, the sound is quite respectable. I'm also puzzled by the apparent assertion that headphone amps are "usually" heavy tube units; there are plenty of SS amps out there, both desktop and portable.

Far from being non-competitive, the headphone market is probably the single most competitive segment of the audio market. As usual, the really good things are a small portion of the overall market (even at 'high-end' price points), but there are literally hundreds of options out there, and a good selection even after one separates the wheat from the chaff. Granted, a lot of manufacturers (I'm looking at you, HiFiMan) seem a lot more interested in pushing the boundaries of what they can get people to pay than there are trying to bring hi end performance to more moderately priced products, but that's how high end works.

I certainly agree with all of this. I consider my Etymotic ER4Ss to be an important and dependable reference. I first heard gross tonal aberations on my Beyer
1350s by cross checking with my ER4Ss at one of my choral recording sessions. The BeyerDynamics sounded great until I tried the Etymotics, then whoops!
I can hear significant details on these that escape even very good speakers. For one example, 20 years ago, spured on by rave reviews, I bought a copy of an orchestral recording made by Peter McGrath with the best quality microphones, cables and mic preamps. I was sufficiently impressed by the sound of the violins (easily the best reproduction I had ever heard) to pursue the dealership of the microphones (Schoeps) for western Canada. A while later, I listened to the recording again only to be disappointed in that the violins sounded not so special anymore. I was listening through a pair of Harbeth HLP3s, a respectable set of near field monitors. Then I remembered I had been listening through my Etymotics, but had not thought of them as particularly superior to my Harbeths, but I hadn't done a careful comparison. When listening to the recording again through the Etymotics, all the magic returned.

Apparently Dan D'Agostino used to use Etymotic ER4s IEMs to check on the sound of his new amplifier designs.

Also, all this is audible through ordinary headphone amps, too. The only good headphone amp I have is the Headroom Supreme, vintage 1996 or so, and I don't take that to recording sessions (but it was what I heard the Peter McGrath recording through).

Earbuds certainly can be considered hi-fi!

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #110 on: 16 Jul 2017, 01:03 am »
95% of them are crap, but the same can be said for speakers, albums, movies, TV shows, restaurants etc etc etc. The really good ones will light you up though!

Never heard any of the ER4 series but I'd like to, especially the new version. My Shure SE535's beat my Etymotic hf's in some ways (more detailed, 'faster' sounding, more punchiness at the low end), but drift towards the 'warmer' side and don't have the scrupulous neutrality of the Etys. Even though there is a 3:1 price ratio difference, I listen to both, depending on the recording and/or my mood..

Russell Dawkins

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #111 on: 16 Jul 2017, 02:09 am »
Interestingly, the closest an over-the-ear 'phone has come to the ER4S, in my experience is the long-discontinued AKG K 240DF, the 600Ω version, not the current one, the K240 MkII (which doesn't deserve to use the same model designation).
They are demanding of an amp, being 600Ω, but can be fairly easily found still and are usually in good shape because the construction is really durable. My son bought a pair on my recommendation and had good results changing the ear pads and using the FiiO E12 Mont Blanc amplifier.

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #112 on: 16 Jul 2017, 12:58 pm »
Harman bought AKG; then Samsung bought Harman- and moved all production to China for low labor costs. I guess 'all' would include the 240. So it is disingenuous when Massdrop claims '67% off' on the K7xx (vs the K712 Anniv) while conveniently ignoring the fact that the 712 was made in Austria and the 7xx in China. May be a non sequitur but this thread is 'Headphone Market News'...

Russell, have you heard the updated ER4 (either version)?

Russell Dawkins

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #113 on: 16 Jul 2017, 09:37 pm »
Harman bought AKG; then Samsung bought Harman- and moved all production to China for low labor costs. I guess 'all' would include the 240. So it is disingenuous when Massdrop claims '67% off' on the K7xx (vs the K712 Anniv) while conveniently ignoring the fact that the 712 was made in Austria and the 7xx in China. May be a non sequitur but this thread is 'Headphone Market News'...

Russell, have you heard the updated ER4 (either version)?

Apparently AKGs are made now by a factory in China who also market their own brand—"iSK", the HD-9999 model of which is well liked, if you can tolerate the cosmetics:   https://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-end-theory/1030466-isk-pro-audio-low-end-heaven.html
I bought a pair and can understand why they are popular, but I had to obscure the garish gold logo on the headband with black felt pen.

I have not heard the newer ER4SR and XR but I would guess I would like them a lot, based on what Etymotic says about them. I just couldn't justify buying them even at the reduced price for current owners when my current pair are working so well and have probably another ten years in them. I think I would go for the SR, based on two comments; one on the subtley reduced distortion in the SR and the other that the SR has a tad more bass than the original ER4S.
Etymotic themselves, if you read very carefully between the lines, seem to say that the SR is the more accurate and the XR is their attempt at trying to please the 'more bass' crowd. They are a serious, research based company, apparently engineer-driven and that gives me confidence in them.

Here's a thorough review:  https://www.innerfidelity.com/content/25-years-making-good-thing-better-etymotic-er4sr-and-er4xr

Russell Dawkins

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #114 on: 16 Jul 2017, 11:01 pm »
I've gotta say, what is being said about the new Audeze iSine 20 (and 10) has me intrigued, too, given that the iSine10 sells for a mere $50 more.

For example:
https://www.head-fi.org/f/showcase/audeze-isine-20.22038/reviews

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #115 on: 17 Jul 2017, 03:30 am »
Had a really interesting visitor in my store today. As he was getting his card out, I saw a Sennheiser business card in his wallet. Turned out to be Sennheiser's Director of Global Sales. Wish I could say I got some hot intel on Sennheiser's product plans- but I didn't. We did, however, discuss the HD800 versions, the 650, and my wish for Sennheiser to give Audeze and Hifiman some competition in the rationally priced planar space, i.e. to filter down some of the technology from the Orpheus blingphone. (I specifically said "If Audeze can put a nice sounding planar on the market for ~$700 (the EL-8), then I know Sennheiser can put something out in the $1K-2K range." I had the impression that Sennheiser was lukewarm on jumping wholeheartedly into the planar space; he kind of implied that the 800 series filled this niche, but on the other hand, he may have just been playing his cards close to his chest.

It was an interesting conversation for a headphone nerd to say the least.

Armaegis

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #116 on: 17 Jul 2017, 04:29 am »
Oh to have been a fly on that wall...

Russell Dawkins

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #117 on: 17 Jul 2017, 06:14 am »
(I specifically said "If Audeze can put a nice sounding planar on the market for ~$700 (the EL-8), then I know Sennheiser can put something out in the $1K-2K range."

Fascinating. What an great chance encounter.

I would have thought that Sennheiser with all its resources and technical experience should be able to match the efforts of a small independant like Audeze at 2/3 the price, not double. On the other hand, frankly, I wonder if they could improve or even match what some others are doing, even if they wanted to.

I haven't heard the current top of the line Sennheisers so can't comment on those, but I did borrow a pair of HD-650s 13 years ago to take to Armenia as a convenience backup to my Etymotic ER4Ss while recording an orchestral concert, convenience in that they would be faster to put on/take off than IEMs. I was monitoring what I was doing off the mixing board with the Etymotics. When I tried the 650s on to see how they compared, expecting them to be similar—possibly better, based on price and reputation—I was shocked at what I heard. The Etymotics sounded (and always have at other recording sessions) almost identical to the acoustic sound I heard when taking them off; the Sennheisers were not even in the ballpark. I really was puzzled; you could say shocked. It sounded like I was listening through three layers of blanket.

I never used them again on that trip, but when I returned home I made a point of tracking down another 650 and a 600 to make sure that the pair I heard were not defective and an aberration. Apparently they weren't.

This was the beginning of my realization of the sometimes profound difference between what has become considered desirable in 'high end' home hi-fi and the better professional gear.

Sorry Sennheiser fans, but this is a carefully considered recounting of my experience and I write this in an effort to stimulate the re-thinking of some long-held assumptions. Headphones, like loudspeakers, are the biggest variables in the replay chain.

dalethorn

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Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #118 on: 17 Jul 2017, 12:00 pm »
Fascinating. What an great chance encounter.

I would have thought that Sennheiser with all its resources and technical experience should be able to match the efforts of a small independant like Audeze at 2/3 the price, not double. On the other hand, frankly, I wonder if they could improve or even match what some others are doing, even if they wanted to.

I haven't heard the current top of the line Sennheisers so can't comment on those, but I did borrow a pair of HD-650s 13 years ago to take to Armenia as a convenience backup to my Etymotic ER4Ss while recording an orchestral concert, convenience in that they would be faster to put on/take off than IEMs. I was monitoring what I was doing off the mixing board with the Etymotics. When I tried the 650s on to see how they compared, expecting them to be similar—possibly better, based on price and reputation—I was shocked at what I heard. The Etymotics sounded (and always have at other recording sessions) almost identical to the acoustic sound I heard when taking them off; the Sennheisers were not even in the ballpark. I really was puzzled; you could say shocked. It sounded like I was listening through three layers of blanket.

I never used them again on that trip, but when I returned home I made a point of tracking down another 650 and a 600 to make sure that the pair I heard were not defective and an aberration. Apparently they weren't.

This was the beginning of my realization of the sometimes profound difference between what has become considered desirable in 'high end' home hi-fi and the better professional gear.

Sorry Sennheiser fans, but this is a carefully considered recounting of my experience and I write this in an effort to stimulate the re-thinking of some long-held assumptions. Headphones, like loudspeakers, are the biggest variables in the replay chain.

I still haven't heard anything that can match the upper-end sparkle of the Sennheiser HD800.  None of the planars I've heard could do it.  Possibly the Orpheus could.  I wonder what kind of target Sennheiser would set for themselves in the under-$4000 range?  I remember a few years ago when people had high hopes for the $1000 HD700, but that kinda fizzled.

EDIT: I except IEMs here, some of which may match the HD800 in that "sparkle" sense, but IEMs are so different in other ways I wouldn't want to go off on that tangent.

dB Cooper

Re: Headphone Market News
« Reply #119 on: 17 Jul 2017, 12:37 pm »
Fascinating. What an great chance encounter.

I would have thought that Sennheiser with all its resources and technical experience should be able to match the efforts of a small independant like Audeze at 2/3 the price, not double. On the other hand, frankly, I wonder if they could improve or even match what some others are doing, even if they wanted to.

I haven't heard the current top of the line Sennheisers so can't comment on those, but I did borrow a pair of HD-650s 13 years ago to take to Armenia as a convenience backup to my Etymotic ER4Ss while recording an orchestral concert, convenience in that they would be faster to put on/take off than IEMs. I was monitoring what I was doing off the mixing board with the Etymotics. When I tried the 650s on to see how they compared, expecting them to be similar—possibly better, based on price and reputation—I was shocked at what I heard. The Etymotics sounded (and always have at other recording sessions) almost identical to the acoustic sound I heard when taking them off; the Sennheisers were not even in the ballpark. I really was puzzled; you could say shocked. It sounded like I was listening through three layers of blanket.

I never used them again on that trip, but when I returned home I made a point of tracking down another 650 and a 600 to make sure that the pair I heard were not defective and an aberration. Apparently they weren't.

This was the beginning of my realization of the sometimes profound difference between what has become considered desirable in 'high end' home hi-fi and the better professional gear.

Sorry Sennheiser fans, but this is a carefully considered recounting of my experience and I write this in an effort to stimulate the re-thinking of some long-held assumptions. Headphones, like loudspeakers, are the biggest variables in the replay chain.

I have both Etymotics and HD650s and the voicings are indeed different. (And my Shure SE535's are somewhere in between...)

It seems to me that there are two general approaches to voicing transducers: Make it as neutral/flat as possible and let the chips fall where they may; and 2) Voice in the context of expected source material. Ety took the first approach, Senn the 2nd IMJ. I find that quite a bit of digitally-mastered source material is mixed 'hot', and I think the 650 is voiced to take that into account.
Sometimes I add some boost to the highs with my 650's and sometimes I taper off the highs just a smidge with my Ety's. It's all about what makes that particular recording sound most believable to my ears. I'm not the purist I once was.