Submitted by governmentthief t3_y9fijm in headphones

I've a set of Aryas, Focal Clears, Anandas and several others. I invested in some decent amps. Even an EQ.

Then I just bought some tower speakers, a center, and a sub from Dayton Audio. I'd never heard of em, but I asked around with the budget audiophile folks, and decided to get them. I got a Denon receiver. Nothing fancy. Nothing about this setup is fancy.

But they just sound better than my headphones. All of em. And I know it's completely different. Headphones don't sound like speakers, and vice versa, but damn. I can feel the music. It's thicker and more powerful.

I'm just kinda stunned by my feelings. I don't expect anyone to feel the same, I'm just surprised by the difference I guess. To me.



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michael2v t1_it5arym wrote

Nope, that’s exactly it…you can feel the music, and that’s a fundamentally different experience.


governmentthief OP t1_it5azpg wrote

I feel guilty. Lol


phoebdroid t1_it6uabv wrote

Sound is an entity that travels through solid/liquid/gas and hits you, that is your entire body. Yes your ears hear that sound but there is much more to it than that , which gets discarded by headphones. Especially so for low-end / subsonic frequencies. Your bone marrow, your spinal fluid and all the way to your synapses between your neurons vibrate with low frequencies.

This is the body-feeling difference in the comparison. And then there is what we call the sound stage, that open / deep perception of the stereo composition. Let alone coloration through added harmonics of cabinets, room, objects etc. (Which actually effects the sound produced but makes it more alive, like an entity that shares the same space with us)

So no guilt to be felt here. If you want precise monitoring of audible frequency range, headphones indeed can offer an awesome alternative. But if you want to float in music and let it massage you, a stereo speaker setup is where it's at.


seekingadvice432 t1_it5b7q8 wrote

speakers are nice. if I lived alone, I'd use my speaker setup 90% of the time, and my headphones 10% of the time. Instead, it's the inverse.


governmentthief OP t1_it5cdfm wrote

Yeah. I lived in an apartment for almost a decade. Now I can enjoy something louder.


rajmahid t1_it5hz9s wrote

It’s not either/or. Each listening venue has its advantages. Nothing tops a live concert in total listening experience, but while the very best and expensive speaker systems can come somewhat close, most mid to upper end ones offer enjoyable experiences while good and really accurate cans are capable of putting you in the recording studio. Whatever, it’s all about the love of music.


extraboxesoftayto t1_it75983 wrote

Actually partly disagree. The vast majority of live events I’ve been to are awful in terms of sound quality. It is too loud, awfully bloated bass and piercing highs. I have accepted that sound guys are half deaf (and don’t really know what they are doing).

And I’m not talking about local country music fests. I’m talking about anywhere from superstar tours to indie bands in a small venue or bar.


rajmahid t1_it75k87 wrote

Sorry, I was talking about classical concerts. That’s my reference.


GupDeFump t1_it8t54n wrote

Yeah I'd agree with that. Also arenas are acoustically awful if you're sat in the wrong place. I recently saw TOOL though and had the most perfect seats and it was the most sonically terrific experience of my gig going life. Visually spectacular too.


[deleted] t1_it6agmx wrote



ghost_tdk t1_itbpw4t wrote

I think you misunderstood. They weren't saying headphones are used more in studios. They were saying that speakers come close to the wide open sound of a concert while headphones have a more intimate sound akin to what you would hear if you were physically in a recording studio with the artist


ricardo9505 t1_it5b70n wrote

Headphones don't rattle your whole body when ACDC starts with the bass. I've got great cans for the week but Sundays is cleaning day and music bliss is happening all over my apt. Turn the sub up a little.


chandrassharma t1_it5lm3t wrote

Yup. Headphones have their place, I live off of them most of the time due to apartment life, but they'll never compete with a great 2ch speaker setup IMO.

I miss the time I lived without neighbors nearby and could crank my Magnepan's without bothering anyone.


snozerd t1_it67c55 wrote

Dampened your love of headphones and inflated your neighbors hatred of you.


testurshit t1_it6bgvy wrote

For the overall listening experience speakers really can’t be beat. The bass hitting your body and the physical enveloping feel of vocals and the way treble is presented is second to none for home audio.

What keeps me loving headphones is being able to more easily be able to distinguish microdetails and how the sounds are presented in a surround sort of stage around my head.

I also find the whole hobby of headphones a lot more interesting as there are so many different things that go into it such as different target curves and innovations.

I’m sure there are innovations in the speaker world, but I assume all that is in the more expensive than I can fathom area of the hobby.

I hope to eventually just have one great pair of end game speakers/sub and my headphone/iem collection. I love it all.


Dan_706 t1_it66y2a wrote

There's space in your life for both, no need for buyer's remorse.


FoucaultInOurSartres t1_it641rs wrote

Yeahhh it's really not even a "hot take", it's basically the industry's dirty lil secret that most ppl prefer a good pair of speakers, even at the audiophile levels. Is just that the type of urbanization seen in Europe and Asia does not allow people to blast tunes freely


BaconVonMeatwich t1_it5ea11 wrote

Okay - let's have an equipment list! I'm a home theater guy with a penchant for accurate reproduction; I'm tempted to go down the headphone rabbit-hole but afraid the payoff won't be there.

For your new setup - REW and a calibrated mic are your best friend. Environment & Tuning > tech for so much of listening room pleasure, something you don't necessarily have to worry about in the headphone world.


governmentthief OP t1_it5fdac wrote

Denon AVR S660H

With Dayton Audio MK442T Center channel Subwoofer

That's what I bought for home audio.

Do you want my headphone setup?


Noxinator t1_it65p17 wrote

Am I right that they only cost around 200 dollars? Or am I finding a wrong price because I am not from USA


elzafir t1_it6c8ea wrote

Dayton Audio drivers are cheap and good. They are usually sold in individually or as part of a DIY kit.

I'd say they're on the same level as TangBand, Vifa, Tymphany, Peerless, SB Acoustics (their cheaper ones), etc.


Gofa_Kirselph t1_it5r2yc wrote

Yeah… that’s why I have yet to purchase headphones over $1000, or justify keeping a pair actually. No headphone has better soundstage than a pair of speakers. Even cheap near field active speakers sound much more wide in comparison. And you can literally feel the music. I love the way a good sub shakes me all the way down to the core. I’d rather invest in speakers but… I can’t really turn them up loud so headphones and KRK monitors it is for now!


No_Fisherman_8384 t1_it6zciy wrote

The thing is, I can listen to headphone anytime I wanted, can’t say the same for speaker


DukeNukemSLO t1_it6ag3r wrote

I would also use speakers, but i simply dont have enough room for them


audioen t1_it6axyb wrote

Appreciate headsets for what they are: they have edge in producing much less distortion, their low end can hit close to 20 Hz, and there is no reverberation of a room to produce peaks and valleys in the frequency response due to booms and cancellations. Headsets simply are inherently very precise, but they are also unnatural compared to an actual sound that comes from a point in room.

Ultimately, it raises the question how to get best of both worlds. You want to control the reverb, but that is actually pretty costly, as it can involve placing multiple subwoofers, adding bass traps, placing acoustic foam panels and diffusers, doing room equalization with microphone, and so forth. Depending on your living setup, it can be unacceptable to design everything from acoustics first perspective. In fact, it would be best to have a dedicated room for music, whose geometry can be set up for great acoustics and which doesn't have to double as living space. So add cost of such a thing to the purchase price of great speaker system, I guess.

The barber shop DSP listening experience might be a decent middle ground here, where you'd have fake artificial treated room with directional sound constructed by computer simulation of a great listening room. Perhaps someone can come up with a transducer you wear under your clothes that then thumps your chest in tune of the bass to get the tactile feel.


Gr33hn t1_it6btwh wrote

Only reason I am "into" headphones is because I have kids and live in an apartment, my stereo would see significanly more use if things were different.


sandtymanty t1_it7en7o wrote

Now you have chosen a worse path of being an audiophile. Welcome to HT.


lickmyclit6969 t1_it7s2pv wrote

Fucken hell bro ill take em off ur hands if you dont want em gawt dayum


governmentthief OP t1_it8woti wrote

Lol. I still love my headphones, just don't use em as much. I might sell the Focals though.


MPCK1967 t1_it8935s wrote

I honestly prefer headphones. I like the more intimate and private experience. Speakers are nice occasionally


Vegetable-Barber6062 t1_it8b2mi wrote

Same, since i got my q acoustic 3020i speaker in my listening room and i got hooked on speakers and decided to explore more into it and i ended up selling my hd800s to help me fund my next set which will be diy kit from css audio 1TDX bookshelf speakers, can’t wait to build them and getting them in my listening room


GupDeFump t1_it8sr69 wrote

I've just ordered a nice set of headphones (Quad Era-1) for the first time (I've owned all sorts of headphones in the past but never anything more plush than my current "work" pair which is some Philips Wireless things - ph805k i think).

I'm not expecting to love them more than my speakers but I'm looking forward to being able to listen to them more often than my speakers can be played. My set up is underneath my boys room in a small house.

I've only recently been sucked into this headphone land but I do feel the experience of having the music wash over you can't be replicated in a headphone. Still looking forward to experiencing a really nice set of cans though!


thisisnotdave t1_it66i54 wrote

I go back and forth on what I prefer. I have a set of Q acoustics floor standers with an SVS sub in the living room, and vanatoo t0’s in the office with a kanto sub as well. I love them every time I list to them. But I also love my Stax, my Focals, and my FiiO IEMs when I listen to them. I took some time cycling through gear until I found what I like and I like them all for different reason, but I can’t say I have a huge preference beyond different types of music sounding better on a specific pair.


naldo4142 t1_it6b33j wrote

I was like that when I got my first bookshelf speakers they are Klipsch they sound pretty nice to me but I do got to admit that if my iems had not broken I would probably hear them more then I currently do cause they sounded really good 👍


CeeBee2001 t1_it6bok7 wrote

It's true. As good as my 650's sound, they will never hold a candle to my fairly modest Heybrook HB1's from the early 90's.


ascl00 t1_it6bqjj wrote

For me there is a time and a place for both. Most of my listening is with speakers but there can be something very intimate with headphones that speakers can’t do. Of course the experience of good speakers is an excellent one, a visceral one, that headphones can’t beat… but sometimes the intimacy of headphones is what I want.


Exact3 t1_it6f77v wrote

Same thing here. My HD800 barely gets any use anymore outside of gaming with friends when I need to use Discord or just want to blast music in late-late hours.

My speakers just simply crap on them, but it took a lot of tinkering with my room. Placement, acoustic treatment and proper decoupling.

With a bare room I''d probably use the Sennies more. Now I'm considering just selling them due to lack of usage. :(


moneylefty t1_it6ki9p wrote

i feel exactly the same. i literally unplugged my schiit magnius and schiit modius. literally havent worn my headphones since i found this subreddit and bought a pair of towers, subwoofer, and avr. originally cost $150, but of course...been upgrading lol.


jsk-ksj t1_it6qmbw wrote

Speakers have the huge advantage of presenting the music from the front, rather than the side of your head.


porkupine92 t1_it6yr7l wrote

The Hifimans at night or for when the neighbors are home / the 5.1's for times when the aural punch won't impact others negatively. Gotta be considerate.


hurtyewh t1_it6yvtb wrote

Speakers (in a good space) are much easier to tune and thus sound good. Different use case. EQ is room treatment for headphones in a way and not doing it leaves a lot to of potential unused.


Fred011235 t1_it79quj wrote

you are correct good speakers > good headphones. i use headphones because my old school "rack" system is really loud and will rock the neighborhood.


hamipe26 t1_it79r98 wrote

In my experience my $1200 speaker setup is miles better than my main $7500 headphone setup.

If I had more space where I live I’d spend that money on a better speaker setup any day of the week.


MindfulVagrant t1_it7bgrm wrote

Headphones opened the door for me on speakers. Got all the way up to HD800S and Focal Clears before purchasing a pair of Edifier 1700BT for $100 on OfferUp and realizing I somehow liked them better…

Hard to get as detailed as headphones and hard to get the presentation since speakers are affected so much by the room itself, but nothing beats the feeling of sitting inside a room full of music.


jumboshrimp93 t1_it7irgu wrote

I got a speaker set up myself just recently, never really used speakers before. I got the JBL Stage A130 which I’d say are mid-level bookshelf speakers. Even those get pretty damn close to the performance level of tue headphones and IEMs I’ve tried. Plus not having to wear something like a headphone or IEM just makes the experience better. But i still like the presentation of all the others. I could never be without my Clear or U12t.


SPLWF t1_it7v4y2 wrote

You are exactly right, feeling music is very, very different than hearing it only. I'm running a pair JBL Professional 305P w/ JBL LSR310S subwoofer. Nothing but music bliss.


thaeyo t1_it7wyt7 wrote

Yeah I recently discovered this too picking up some used Polk speakers for cheap, wired them up to the Mojo 2.

Latest grab was a pair of Polk Monitor 45B for $80, the clarity and spaciousness is unreal.

Crazy thing is, my housemates plugged the M20 tower speakers into the Apple Dongle… it works and it gets decently loud! What!


Shogun3025 t1_itab550 wrote

For me personally I find listening to a good pair of speakers a visceral experience headphones offer for me a more immersive and intimate experience they each have their own place depending on mood and what I want to listen to


hyde0000 t1_itaupwj wrote

Yeah I feel the same, like at home I have Lawton modded TH900 and Violectriv V200. But somehow my stock car speakers (Mazda 5, nothing fancy) just do human voices better.

I think it's hard to get over the physical limitation on size. Speakers are just bigger and do certain frequencies better. And Sub will just do bass better.

Unfortunately my work computer is in the living room so I need the isolation so a headphone is a must. Otherwise I do enjoy using speaker before the whole baby/work from home thing LOL.


DoctorOakFit t1_itc5qxk wrote

I have a HD58X, DT990, AKG K712 Pro, Grados, and access to nice Sony and Bose headphones. I have an interface and amp that will nicely drive any of them. I listen 99% of the time off my Yamaha HS8s and sub. Not audiophile grade at all and “cheap” in the music production and mixing world. I get it. I still buy new headphones from time to time but the speakers win every time.