Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Studio vs. Audiophile headphones?

Keystone Nyan Cat
 Share

Hello! 

 

I got into an argument with one of my friends who said that studio headphones sound better than something like the HD800s which are consumer headphones. What is the difference between these two types? He said that studio headphones have a flat audio (can someone please explain me what this means? I'm genuinely curious) and that is important when listening to music.

 

In addition, he said that FLAC is noticeably better than MP3 because it's lossless and when you cut off the frequency post 20000 and below 20, you loose quality automatically. This effects other frequencies which have more room now. I didn't know this since based on a poll conducted at Head-fi.org, both MP3 and FLAC sound the same; could it be that that is not the case?

 

He is a music producer after all, but I did want a third opinion. I would greatly appreciate sources! 

 

Thanks! :)

PC in Profile

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Studio monitors or headphones have perfect frequency response and flat audio to allow you to hear exactly how the audio is coming out of your device. It does not change any levels of frequencies, like consumer headphones usually do to give a bit more bass, or more treble, of less mids, or whatever.

Studio monitors will give unbiased sound. They will also sound worse to normal consumers because people are used to hearing non-flat sound signatures. Many people will say they lack bass.

NEW PC build: Blank Heaven   minimalist white and black PC     Old S340 build log "White Heaven"        The "LIGHTCANON" flashlight build log        Project AntiRoll (prototype)        Custom speaker project

Spoiler

Ryzen 3950X | AMD Vega Frontier Edition | ASUS X570 Pro WS | Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB | NZXT H500 | Seasonic Prime Fanless TX-700 | Custom loop | Coolermaster SK630 White | Logitech MX Master 2S | Samsung 980 Pro 1TB + 970 Pro 512GB | Samsung 58" 4k TV | Scarlett 2i4 | 2x AT2020

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference between studio monitoring headphones and audiophile headphones is studio headphones are meant to be flat or as close as possible in order to eq and mix music as scientifically accurate as possible and audiophile headphones are made to sound the most pleasing sounding and accurate to your ears or natural sounding depending on the music. So while studio monitoring headphone might be accurate they might not sound as good as consumer headphones while listening to music.

 

As for the FLAC vs MP3 debate in my opinion most people can't hear the difference in a ABX test in foobar and FLAC itself is compressed to a certain degree so it isn't completely lossless unlike WAV Or OGG. He does have a point about the 20 khz thing though as harmonic frequencies lower than 20khz get effected when you chop off the frequencies above 20khz thus you lose the entire chord or note. There have also be studies about how even though human can't hear above 20khz psychologicaly frequencies above 20 khz activate your brain more. Having frequencies above 20 khz also helps with the sound stage or space between instruments because the notes aren't compressed down to 20 khz.

 

TL;DR Studio Headphones are made for a different purpose and there are frequencies above 20 khz present in music.

 

CPU: AMD 3600 GPU: MSI GTX 1080ti AERO OC MOBO: Gigabyte B350-Gaming 3 RAM: 16GB XPG Gammix D10 3000Mhz

PSU: Corsair Rmx 550w OS:Windows 10 pro Case: 4U Rackmount  HDD/SSD:WD 1 TB Blue/ Patriot Scorch m.2 512GB

You can't spell ignorant without IGN...-TheSLSAMG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

To me Studio Vs Audiophile headphones it only comes to the feel and funtionality. 
Both categories focus at flat frequency responce with detailed and natural sound. However studio headphones tend to be uglier, less comfortable and maybe have a coiled cable. Most audiophiles can pay for a pair of good headphones so they buy the "audiophile" grade headphones, when the pros just want something that they can trust and do their job with fairely cheap equipment. 

Many pros have audiophile headphones and vice versa. It's not about the sound, it's about the features. (keep in mind that audiophiles headphones are not always flat, while the pro headphones have to) 

When you buy pro headphones you buy 
1)Flat frequency responce
2)Good sound quality for the money
3)Durability

When you buy audiophile headphones you buy
1)Great sound quality (in most cases flat & neutral)
2)Look
3)Comfortability
4)Feel
5)Durability
6)The extra detail in sound that some people are looking for.


Keep in mind the HD800 are probably the best studio headphones and many audio engineers use them. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Music producer huh? You sure he doesn't mean a 17 year old with a macbook and Traktor pirated off the internet? Studio grade headphones usually have coiled cables, 1/4" plugs as standard, mostly locking, very tight fit for noise isolation and a generally pretty flat response. Headphones don't have a studio grade category as such but more meet the needs I've just highlighted. For a more in depth look at headphones, I'd have a look at this video set from Dave Rat (Rat Sound USA) - source; I used to and occasionally still do work in live sound.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJh8B1QfEn0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Music producer huh? You sure he doesn't mean a 17 year old with a macbook and Traktor pirated off the internet? Studio grade headphones usually have coiled cables, 1/4" plugs as standard, mostly locking, very tight fit for noise isolation and a generally pretty flat response. Headphones don't have a studio grade category as such but more meet the needs I've just highlighted. For a more in depth look at headphones, I'd have a look at this video set from Dave Rat (Rat Sound USA) - source; I used to and occasionally still do work in live sound.

 

Dayum, you don't hold any punches. Nice one, good sir.

 

 

Also, not all audiophiles are looking for a flat frequency response, but if they really want sound as it was envisioned by the artist, they will choose a flat frequency response. But making music with a non-flat headphone is pretty retarded because you don't really know what your track sounds like. Bad quality control. Most music makers mix on monitors, not headphones anyways.

 

About the FLAC vs lossy argument, it's old and it's been decided ages ago. Your audiophile friend is a placebo-sucking mosquito. He's deluded and needs to do a proper abx test pronto. I'm also not gonna butter up my words - people that tell me they can tell a proper mp3 track from a lossless track better provide evidence or shut the hell up. Audiophiles have been humiliated over and over again over things like lossy and speaker wires. 

"when you cut off the frequency post 20000 and below 20, you loose quality automatically"

LOL, what the actual fuck is he saying? Based on your friend's statement from that alone I would not listen to anything he says. I know he's your friend, but call a spade is a spade. He's obviously a moron.

 

"I didn't know this since based on a poll conducted at Head-fi.org, both MP3 and FLAC sound the same"

Hmmm, from Headfi? Unless it's from Sound Science section that sounds unlikely. But I am interested, can you show me the link?

 

Being a music producer, EVEN A LEGIT ONE, does NOT mean you are immune to placebo and expectation bias! Only proper tests can avoid this. That is not any person's fault, that is the way human brains work - but I do attack people who don't take steps to minimize these subconscious cognitive biases yet still want to make grand claims.

In Placebo We Trust - Resident Obnoxious Objective Fanboy (R.O.O.F) - Your Eyes Cannot Hear
Haswell Overclocking Guide | Skylake Overclocking GuideCan my amp power my headphones?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Enderman- That was insightful! Thanks! :)

 

@h3ll0- Haha, I did read it! :) Thanks!

 

@theodoro- so one of the defining charachteristics of studio equipment is producing audio just as it is, even if that means it may sound worse to some people?

 

I did not quite understand what is a flat sound signature though; can someone clear this up please?

 

@Windspeed36- He's 18 and has been producing music since quite a few years now. He does not use headphones, but rather the Yamaha HS8. So far, whatever he's said though does appear to be true...

 

@Dark_wizzie- Thanks for your input! I did want to ask though- I've spent the last ~15 minutes looking into this myself and FLAC allows the source to be reproduced perfectly, whereas MP3 is approximations. As other users have confirmed as well, other frequencies do get impacted due to MP3s limitations. While I will be asking him to do the ABX test, can you kindly comment on what I've read and other users confirmed please? Thanks! (also, I would really appreciate it if we could be a little more respectful please :) )

PC in Profile

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Enderman- That was insightful! Thanks! :)

 

@h3ll0- Haha, I did read it! :) Thanks!

 

@theodoro- so one of the defining charachteristics of studio equipment is producing audio just as it is, even if that means it may sound worse to some people?

 

I did not quite understand what is a flat sound signature though; can someone clear this up please?

 

@Windspeed36- He's 18 and has been producing music since quite a few years now. He does not use headphones, but rather the Yamaha HS8. So far, whatever he's said though does appear to be true...

 

@Dark_wizzie- Thanks for your input! I did want to ask though- I've spent the last ~15 minutes looking into this myself and FLAC allows the source to be reproduced perfectly, whereas MP3 is approximations. As other users have confirmed as well, other frequencies do get impacted due to MP3s limitations. While I will be asking him to do the ABX test, can you kindly comment on what I've read and other users confirmed please? Thanks! (also, I would really appreciate it if we could be a little more respectful please :) )

Regarding the flac vs MP3, you said you read on Headfi that people thought they were the same - so I'm not sure what there is to debunk there. The question isn't whether MP3 is identical to lossless (in other words whether there are 'estimations'). By definition a lossy file won't be lossless. Nobody will debate against that. The question is whether the human ear and brain can determine the difference between the two. You can tell people to do ABX testing but some people don't believe in double blind tests/abx tests/etc and they "trust their ears" because "their ears don't lie to them" when in fact our brain hears and it's a compulsive liar. It might sound dodgy for me to say "it's an estimation but you're not gonna hear a difference!", but do you think the human senses are that accurate? We're not a testing machine, we're not an electron microscope, we cannot discern the difference between a car going 199.999 mph vs 200mph. Poor analogy, but my point is we've done tests over and over and gotten consistent results from many, many people.

 

I don't see much point in reading online posts for something like this in particular, because it's something that you can set up yourself without too much inconvenience (especially if you already use Foobar to listen to music). Grab a real FLAC file, get just the latest Lame encoder, make a 320kbps mp3 file from it. Now download and use the ABX plugin. Pass with 9/10 score. If you do, grats, you're now the top 1%. (Although statistically there is a higher chance you did something wrong while doing the test than there is that you are actually the 1%. But it HAS happened before, once in a blue moon. Then take your test to Hydrogenaudio, they will do everything they can to double-check what you did.)

 

While believing that MP3 sounds noticeably worse than FLAC isn't that harmful practically (cool beans, I lose a few gigs on my hard drive, there are thousands more where that came from), that comes from a line of thinking that can cause other problems elsewhere.

 

You can just think of flat FR as sound that is not over or under-emphasized in any frequency... In other words, the bass or treble or midrange is neither more than it should be or less than it should be. Artists should be mixing from neutral gear. Because this is the standard, neutral gear plays music exactly as it was intended by the artist because that's what the artist heard when he/she mixed it. It's a "reference sounce". An artist can mix in NY and go to LA and hear the same thing. And if a track sounds bad on neutral gear, the artist dun goofed.

In Placebo We Trust - Resident Obnoxious Objective Fanboy (R.O.O.F) - Your Eyes Cannot Hear
Haswell Overclocking Guide | Skylake Overclocking GuideCan my amp power my headphones?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some information above 20khz and below 20hz but most of the time the headphone can't properly reproduce that.

There are people that look for movies with <20hz content, but those people have subs that are linear to ~10hz.

Those frequencies are not really audible, but with a lot of cone area you'll be able to feel it (explosions, choppers, etc)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×