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l33tplaya

Insane sale (60% off) -Best Bang for the Buck Headphones - Electrostatic Affordable Phones for Audiophile Sale

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I just received my Koss ESP-950 headphones from drop.  These are some of the most affordable, comfortable electrostatic headphones now made.  Electrostatics yield - imho - a much finer treble response than diaphragm based phones.  The midrange is to die for, though doesn't quite compare to my STAX 009s, at ~ $4500. list.  At this price, $400., (list is $1000.) it is an insane deal. https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-koss-esp-95x-electrostatic-system  Note that the pads have been redone by massdrop (foam and velour, making comfort even higher), and there is no battery pack, just an "energizer" with a wall wart (and no leather carrying bag)

In Europe, it is or was even cheaper (~$250. US), but I can't properly access the UK site, because it is blocked from the US. It was about $250., as drop, formerly massdrop, tries out a new shipping system. At that price, they will or did sell out.

Why is it most professional musicians have horrible audio equipment? 

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22 minutes ago, l33tplaya said:

................

Why is it most professional musicians have horrible audio equipment? 

Maybe the same reason that most audiophiles have regrettable instruments?  :ph34r::lol:

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1 minute ago, Violadamore said:

Maybe the same reason that most audiophiles have regrettable instruments?  :ph34r::lol:

Like. :-)

 

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Why is it most professional musicians have horrible audio equipment? 

As a certified audiophile of well over 50 years, I will explain it to you:  audiophiles listen to sounds while musicians listen to the music.  As an example, if the music involves a conductor, musicians are listening to the conductor, while audiophiles are listening to the errors of the 2nd chair violist extending his note too long.  A particular favorite sound of mine is the breathing sounds of a solo violinist on a recording where the soloist was recorded with a close microphone. Continuing with the example above, if you are listening to the conductor you are picking up all the the romance, drama, emotion, etc.  that the conductor imposes on the performance, completely different from listening to sounds.   On the other hand, audiophiles are looking for what changes the sound to their liking.  On one of the audiophile forums some years ago one participant claimed to hear the differences of which solder was used to solder in the components of his amps, preamps, etc.  He regularly wicked the old solder and re-soldered  all the components with a different solder alloy, manufacturer or what ever.  He would then give us learned discussions of his results in terms reminiscent of a wine critic.  Tube-rolling to hear the sonic differences imparted by different (say) 6SN7 tubes, depending upon their manufacture by RCA, GE, Tung-SOL, Shuguang, whomever, whether made in 1960 vs 1962 is another favorite activity of tubeophiles.  To simply hear the music is much less complex and will not subject the musician to serious discussions of whether vacuum tubes sound better with AC or DC heating of their cathodes.  And because of their different demands of their audio equipment, musicians require much less sophisticated equipment and markedly less snake oil.  Audiophiles obsess over new improvements to their equipment, musicians over whether Perhia or Ashkenazy gives a better interpretation of Mozart piano concertos.  Nothing special in equipment is required.

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:wacko:

Now I'm seriously stressed out...

 

Oh don't be!  Anything worth doing is worth over doing.  Combine several hobbies appealing to the insufferably anal and you are a well balanced polymath    :)

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7 hours ago, Roger Hill said:

As a certified audiophile of well over 50 years, I will explain it to you:  audiophiles listen to sounds while musicians listen to the music.  As an example, if the music involves a conductor, musicians are listening to the conductor, while audiophiles are listening to the errors of the 2nd chair violist extending his note too long.  A particular favorite sound of mine is the breathing sounds of a solo violinist on a recording where the soloist was recorded with a close microphone. Continuing with the example above, if you are listening to the conductor you are picking up all the the romance, drama, emotion, etc.  that the conductor imposes on the performance, completely different from listening to sounds.   On the other hand, audiophiles are looking for what changes the sound to their liking.  On one of the audiophile forums some years ago one participant claimed to hear the differences of which solder was used to solder in the components of his amps, preamps, etc.  He regularly wicked the old solder and re-soldered  all the components with a different solder alloy, manufacturer or what ever.  He would then give us learned discussions of his results in terms reminiscent of a wine critic.  Tube-rolling to hear the sonic differences imparted by different (say) 6SN7 tubes, depending upon their manufacture by RCA, GE, Tung-SOL, Shuguang, whomever, whether made in 1960 vs 1962 is another favorite activity of tubeophiles.  To simply hear the music is much less complex and will not subject the musician to serious discussions of whether vacuum tubes sound better with AC or DC heating of their cathodes.  And because of their different demands of their audio equipment, musicians require much less sophisticated equipment and markedly less snake oil.  Audiophiles obsess over new improvements to their equipment, musicians over whether Perhia or Ashkenazy gives a better interpretation of Mozart piano concertos.  Nothing special in equipment is required.

I'd agree with all that, except I couldn't care less about the conductor and absolutely reject anything that he/she "imposes on the performance". Performing musicians (including most conductors to do them justice) try to deliver what the composer had in mind. Unfortunately the conductor often gets in the way of that, as I gather was the recently stated view of a member of the Berlin Phil. Chamber musicians get by very happily without a conductor. From the armchair perspective, in a good performance of a work by a great composer you don't "simply hear the music" but can be taken inside the composer's world, regardless of trivial things like the quality of reproduction.

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13 hours ago, l33tplaya said:

Why is it most professional musicians have horrible audio equipment? 

Perhaps it's because professional musicians have easy and regular access to the real thing. No need.

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2 hours ago, David Burgess said:

Perhaps it's because professional musicians have easy and regular access to the real thing. No need.

I think so too...

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Quote

Perhaps it's because professional musicians have easy and regular access to the real thing. No need.

Perhaps I have not known a large enough sample of professional musicians, but anecdotally, every one I have known has a stereo system at home. None of them are obsessive/compulsive about the quality of sound reproduced by them as are audiophiles.  Rachel Barton Pine comments that she loves AC/DC.  She can't be listening to them live very often.........:D

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19 hours ago, Violadamore said:

Maybe the same reason that most audiophiles have regrettable instruments?

Yes, but regrettable instruments paired with crappy equipment yields the sound of the angels!

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No argument from me, as an audiophile (not audiofool) I believe fine audio equipment can, and should enhance ones enjoyment of music. @Roger Hill notes above how some audio nuts go to the ends of the earth to fine tune their audio system to their own ‘personalized representation of sound’. The very sad reality is - they are listening to distortion. Simply head over to Stereophile and look at some of the measurements of many of the high priced audio equipment. Many (not all) measure so poorly that they are little better than tone controls. Some products costing $100s easily outperform some costing 10 x that.

My advice to anyone here who wants excellent quality playback in their home (I mean broadcast level quality) is to look at a pair of Harbeth speakers and an affordable 100 w solid state amp. There are alternatives of course but the Harbeths are domestically friendly, easy to set up and used by countless studios to monitor and mix television, radio and film. reason being is their mid band frequency response is flat. 

Too much hassle? An Apple HomePod is an excellent device for casual listening. It uses incredibly powerful dsp to deliver a relatively flat frequency response. 

The koss phones mentioned above are quite good as well for personal listening.

Simple rule of thumb with audio gear - listen to speech. If the human voice doesn’t sound natural than nothing else will.

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6 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Insane sale (60% off)

You can save 100% if you don't buy any of that crap

:lol: whata deal!

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5 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

 

My advice to anyone here who wants excellent quality playback in their home (I mean broadcast level quality) is to look at a pair of Harbeth speakers and an affordable 100 w solid state amp. There are alternatives of course but the Harbeths are domestically friendly, easy to set up and used by countless studios to monitor and mix television, radio and film. reason being is their mid band frequency response is flat.

 

I've always liked good sound, but not to the audiophile level.  I just looked at the price of Harbeth speakers in Oz, they range from $3,700 to $28,000.  Quality is never cheap, but is the pricing similar in the US (remember our dollar only buys about 61 UC cents)?

Regards,

Tim

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22 hours ago, Roger Hill said:

As a certified audiophile of well over 50 years, I will explain it to you:  audiophiles listen to sounds while musicians listen to the music.  As an example, if the music involves a conductor, musicians are listening to the conductor, while audiophiles are listening to the errors of the 2nd chair violist extending his note too long.  A particular favorite sound of mine is the breathing sounds of a solo violinist on a recording where the soloist was recorded with a close microphone. Continuing with the example above, if you are listening to the conductor you are picking up all the the romance, drama, emotion, etc.  that the conductor imposes on the performance, completely different from listening to sounds.   On the other hand, audiophiles are looking for what changes the sound to their liking.  On one of the audiophile forums some years ago one participant claimed to hear the differences of which solder was used to solder in the components of his amps, preamps, etc.  He regularly wicked the old solder and re-soldered  all the components with a different solder alloy, manufacturer or what ever.  He would then give us learned discussions of his results in terms reminiscent of a wine critic.  Tube-rolling to hear the sonic differences imparted by different (say) 6SN7 tubes, depending upon their manufacture by RCA, GE, Tung-SOL, Shuguang, whomever, whether made in 1960 vs 1962 is another favorite activity of tubeophiles.  To simply hear the music is much less complex and will not subject the musician to serious discussions of whether vacuum tubes sound better with AC or DC heating of their cathodes.  And because of their different demands of their audio equipment, musicians require much less sophisticated equipment and markedly less snake oil.  Audiophiles obsess over new improvements to their equipment, musicians over whether Perhia or Ashkenazy gives a better interpretation of Mozart piano concertos.  Nothing special in equipment is required.

As a nearly lifelong electronics fiend (I used to love watching and asking questions when the TV repairman visited, my first magazine subscription was to Radio-TV Experimenter, and my elder sister never got over my tinning her Ungar woodburning pencil ["Mom, what's a 'precocious little b****'?"]), I know a great deal about tubes, amplifiers, and solder connections, but I never obsessed over them like that, even when I was doing moonbounce. 

Like, is the "-phile" on the end telling us something special here?  :huh::lol:

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How did this get on a violin making forum? 

Sure there's sone minor degree of topic overlap, but really?  You're in the wrong aisle dude.

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Yes I agree a side topic of its own,  but I think good audio recording and playback equipment can help violin makers make informed decisions about making (if one is able to keep some level of control over the recording and playback chain).

The headphones referred to above could be a very useful and affordable reference tool for makers who archive the sound of their instruments.

If one is use to simple mass market headphones -- listening to a pair of good electrostatic headphones will be quite a shock

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17 hours ago, TimRobinson said:

I've always liked good sound, but not to the audiophile level.  I just looked at the price of Harbeth speakers in Oz, they range from $3,700 to $28,000.  Quality is never cheap, but is the pricing similar in the US (remember our dollar only buys about 61 UC cents)?

Regards,

Tim

Ha, I'm Canadian so i feel your pain regarding the dollar. I agree, very expensive but well-priced compared to a lot of audiophile nonsense products. Especially for folks who make their living from audio engineering. Generally, the street price through a dealer will be less. 

Tying back to this forum... I simply mentioned this brand as a starting point for makers or musicians considering high quality audio playback  equipment - a way to cut trough some of the Audiophile media noise. 

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On 3/29/2020 at 7:24 AM, jacobsaunders said:

Insane sale (60% off)

You can save 100% if you don't buy any of that crap

Thank you.  I was thinking of getting 5 of them to save money, but you convinced me.  I guess that does qualify as an insane sale.  :wacko::D

P.S.  The everyday price on the ones I usually use is 5 for $37.  Not joking.

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6 hours ago, Urban Luthier said:

Yes I agree a side topic of its own,  but I think good audio recording and playback equipment can help violin makers make informed decisions about making (if one is able to keep some level of control over the recording and playback chain).

The headphones referred to above could be a very useful and affordable reference tool for makers who archive the sound of their instruments.

If one is use to simple mass market headphones -- listening to a pair of good electrostatic headphones will be quite a shock

At the higher- end of anything, there needs to be a syntax or a specialized or adapted language that is developed among professional and enthusiasts to better describe phenomena. Better audio gear allows us to become more familiar with sonic qualities related to timing, attack, decay loudness-clarity and overtone related signatures. I love hand hammered cymbals, but the complexity and uniqueness of the sounds can not be described well with words, even by fine drummers. We express their cymbals capabilities by just playing them, much like the fine violins with the drumsticks ( bows ) of choice as they yield individual characteristics. The goal is fit in a sonic landscape that can be both emotional and dramatic, without cluttering the soundscape for others. If the cymbal is too dominant, that it can only be used for that single purpose. 

One difficulty is in that the threshold of learning can be a costly and lengthy process. The one other difficulty ( of many aspects of  human nature ) is that there is degree of arrogance and ego involved in discussions regarding higher- end experiences. Many which are not quantifiable. As interesting as they are, they can be big fish stories until we catch that sturgeon, bonefish or 50lb catfish. And then there are the anomalies that occur that lack repetition which is great for those who had the experience., but... well... You had to be there...

Audio- philia  is a learning experience for hobbyists. For those who love music and need a playback system, then there are varying degree of what we can financially manage, to hear what the artists intended. The beauty of the listener's brain, is that it is capable of squeezing out pleasure out of whatever playback speakers, they own.  Better will always be there. 

So it is lovely to experience gear that is out there, but we often manage with what we have, until desires and urges become necessities. I don't need Vuillaumes and Peccates as that urge has passed... 

But for the listener or player who is fortunate enough to try new gear, the pleasure of hearing or trying the media on new gear can be wonderful. When i get to break in gear, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms become more interesting and insightful. I can often hear and feel the struggle of the composer, maker and player. It's like trying a favorite food at a nice new restaurant ( if that is your thing ) where one gets to experience the vision and delivery of another creator. The consumer must try to understand both the ingredients and the cook to better appreciate the chemical ( sonic ) breakdown occurring within our senses. 

( Do not have a witty Marty-esque comment to complete the post. ) 

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I got into the high-end headphone thing for a while. I found it interesting that when those people named their favorite recordings, it was never about the music. One of my faves from that period is a recording in a church where only with the good phones can I hear the street traffic. Another fave from that time is because you can hear the cellos turn pages, and the conductor panting.

Anyway, I enjoyed the experience, but went through it, and now I listen to low quality music from the web, through my phone's earphones quite happily. The elite headphone experience was a bit too much like my day job. :-)

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On 3/28/2020 at 9:00 PM, Roger Hill said:

As a certified audiophile of well over 50 years, 

i think that's all true, but the overriding thing is if the audiophile doesn't have musical training, he has no idea what to listen to!  but he has to listen to something, right? 

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On 3/28/2020 at 4:25 PM, l33tplaya said:

Why is it most professional musicians have horrible audio equipment? 

i'm a decent musician but don't try to earn a living from it.  i think after a while, great audio gear can sound as horrible as most any other.  you may listen to your new equipment and when the excitement wears off, go back to the stuff it replaced and like that just as much for awhile.  i ducked into a restaurant once and the audio sounded great so i climbed around until i could read the make and model of the speakers in case i wanted to buy some sometime, and it was j.c. penny type stuff

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My son fancies himself an audiophile. Five or six years ago, he got a patent for a specific type of bass circuit and another one for a type of spun aluminum ear cup. Then he decided he was going into the headphone business. He built prototypes and approached several groups who made headphones with certain entertainers' labels on them which were marketed to the younger generations. He very quickly learned that the industry here in the U.S. and sub-contracted product from China, has absolutely zero connection to quality. He got caught up in the hype for a minute. I don't know if there is a moral to the story, he's a stock broker now, relieving people of their money faster and more efficiently.

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