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post #1 of 19 Old 05-18-2016, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Canlanta 2016

Headphones are an important part of the audio hobby, and gatherings of enthusiasts are great places to listen to different models and technologies, compare notes, and interact directly with manufacturers. If you're a headphone geek who will be in or near Atlanta, GA, this Saturday, May 21, 2016, be sure to stop by one of the newest conclaves called Canlanta, held at the Marriott Century Center from 10 AM to 6 PM.



Hosted by the Audio-Video Club of Atlanta and HeadphoneAudiophile, the inaugural Canlanta will have many manufacturers on hand showing their latest wares—and not just headphones, but associated products as well, such as DACs, amps, and cables. Exhibitors include Oppo, Sennheiser, Kimber Kable, Empire Ears, Noble, Questyle, Violectric, Meze, Cavalli, and others as well as retailers HeadphoneAudiophile and Sight+Sound Gallery.

Tyll Hertsens, editor-in-chief of InnerFidelity.com and frequent guest on my Home Theater Geeks podcast, will deliver the keynote speech and hold two "table sessions" in which he'll chat with showgoers, answer questions, and simply be his witty, sparkling self! In addition, there will be three raffles with prizes from Oppo, Matrix, Sight+Sound Gallery, Kimber Kable, Norne, HeadphoneAudiophile, HeadAmp, Oppo, Questyle, HeadSonix, and Meze.

General admission to Canlanta is only $5 (free for students, military, fire, and police personnel), and parking is free. For more info, visit canlanta.org. Even if you have only a passing interest in headphones and happen to be in the Atlanta area this weekend, it will be well worth your time to check it out!
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 04:56 AM
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I'm starting to truly appreciate the value proposition of modern headphones. By the time you get to $300, you have every right to expect fidelity that is on-par with very expensive stereo systems. The real trick is figuring out the design and form factor that works for you (comfort as well as sound quality). Shows like this are really helpful in that sense.
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post #3 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I'm starting to truly appreciate the value proposition of modern headphones. By the time you get to $300, you have every right to expect fidelity that is on-par with very expensive stereo systems. The real trick is figuring out the design and form factor that works for you (comfort as well as sound quality). Shows like this are really helpful in that sense.
Couldn't agree more Mark and its tempting to make the 2 hour drive to Atlanta this weekend. Just got back into headphones during the past year, nothing fancy yet as I have stayed below $300 (cost) on my purchases. That's likely to change as I am about to get some Sine's (those reviews had to come out right when I was about buy the Oppo PM-3), but am working through your second to last sentence. Interesting circle given I started out with Koss headphones 40+ years ago and then some Sennheiser's when the small foam ear pads were the hot new thing during college. My focus like many AVSers for a while has been making investments in my HT.

The other nice thing about headphones is they are something I can pass on to the kids/grandkids given they listen and watch most content via computers/phones/tablets, can't get any of them interested in a SVS PC12+
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I'm starting to truly appreciate the value proposition of modern headphones. By the time you get to $300, you have every right to expect fidelity that is on-par with very expensive stereo systems. The real trick is figuring out the design and form factor that works for you (comfort as well as sound quality). Shows like this are really helpful in that sense.
As i understand it only some of the $1,000 + headphones, which often only work well with a headphone amp, have sort of 3D imaging so i think you can forget about $300 equals very expensive stereo system.
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post #5 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 08:36 AM
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As i understand it only some of the $1,000 + headphones, which often only work well with a headphone amp, have sort of 3D imaging so i think you can forget about $300 equals very expensive stereo system.
I'm not sure that's an iron-clad rule that you need to drop four figures to hear a nice soundstage through headphones. With the right mix you can do it with inexpensive headphones, as DTS has demonstrated.

Not to say that a grand doesn't get you great cans, and it's true that sensitivity becomes less of a concern for flagship models. I can't put a hard number on it but, but one thing I do know is you don't have to spend a ton on a stereo system to get 3D imaging, either. But if you spend a grand on cans, you best be hearing truly heavenly music, lol.

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post #6 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 09:23 AM
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In not sure that's an iron-clad rule that you need to drop four figures to hear a nice soundstage through headphones. With the right mix you can do it with inexpensive headphones, as DTS has demonstrated.

Not to say that a grand doesn't get you great cans, and it's true that sensitivity becomes less of a concern for flagship models. I can't put a hard number on it but, but one thing I do know is you don't have to spend a ton on a stereo system to get 3D imaging, either.
It would be nice if you folks would do some comparing of headphones and give us your impressions. A headphone faq sticky would also be welcome.
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post #7 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 11:57 AM
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It would be nice if you folks would do some comparing of headphones and give us your impressions. A headphone faq sticky would also be welcome.
It's definitely and opportunity for AVS - see HeadFi as one example of the popularity of headphones. My only concern would be all the distractions from many who frequent AVS and are from the cables, amps and dacs no audible difference camp. While I will refrain from voicing my opinions on those things, equipment/accessories seem to be very entrenched in the world of headphones. For some reason those items don't seem to cause the controversies at dedicated headphone forums vs. one more like AVS. Without a doubt we know what a vast majority of those coming out of school use to listen to music, hint its not speakers. Easy to see if one spends any time on a college campus.

A little more attention to headphones could likely help drive more traffic to AVS, more clicks, more ad dollars

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post #8 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I'm starting to truly appreciate the value proposition of modern headphones. By the time you get to $300, you have every right to expect fidelity that is on-par with very expensive stereo systems. The real trick is figuring out the design and form factor that works for you (comfort as well as sound quality). Shows like this are really helpful in that sense.
IMHO that's a bit odd of a statement. Headphones such as on-ear or over hear can often be significant more the $300. At that price point you start to see some semblance of good physical build quality, but fidelity quality is all over the map. How a headphone handles its frequency response, THD+noise, looking at LFE square wave response at 30hz/300hz, how good is it at impulse response, can all play a role to your impression of all it equates to being compared to a very expensive stereo system. Then you have open aired vs closed air and the obliviously different traits these designs merit. A lot of headphones are quite bright, some are more mid range, other offer strong bass. Yes you have headphones that offer fairly flat or neutral response out there. This is where the headfi.org crowd gets into the very fine details of all headphones/in-ear plugs to judge and compare how they work out.

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post #9 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 01:17 PM
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It's definitely and opportunity for AVS - see HeadFi as one example of the popularity of headphones. My only concern would be all the distractions from many who frequent AVS and are from the cables, amps and dacs no audible difference camp. While I will refrain from voicing my opinions on those things, equipment/accessories seem to be very entrenched in the world of headphones. For some reason those items don't seem to cause the controversies at dedicated headphone forums vs. one more like AVS. Without a doubt we know what a vast majority of those coming out of school use to listen to music, hint its not speakers. Easy to see if one spends any time on a college campus.

A little more attention to headphones could likely help drive more traffic to AVS, more clicks, more ad dollars
Looking over the headphones forums, there is pretty light activity. There is no specific reviews or discussion against recent headphones that stand out. Most posts are very general, hard to pick out discussion against a particular product. Comparably Headfi.org is heavily orientated on particular categories, such as earbuds, gaming headsets, in-ear, noise cancellation, on-ear, over-ear, wireless and more. Don't forget the other side too, such as personal hi-res mobile players, mobile DAC's, higher end DAC's, and other gear. In a nut shell AVS has a very long way to go to being even interesting in that neck of the woods!

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post #10 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnAV View Post
Looking over the headphones forums, there is pretty light activity. There is no specific reviews or discussion against recent headphones that stand out. Most posts are very general, hard to pick out discussion against a particular product. Comparably Headfi.org is heavily orientated on particular categories, such as earbuds, gaming headsets, in-ear, noise cancellation, on-ear, over-ear, wireless and more. Don't forget the other side too, such as personal hi-res mobile players, mobile DAC's, higher end DAC's, and other gear. In a nut shell AVS has a very long way to go to being even interesting in that neck of the woods!
As much as I love headphones I am a realist, Head-Fi rules that category.

Last edited by imagic; 05-21-2016 at 07:34 AM.
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post #11 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 01:39 PM
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IMHO that's a bit odd of a statement. Headphones such as on-ear or over hear can often be significant more the $300. At that price point you start to see some semblance of good physical build quality, but fidelity quality is all over the map. How a headphone handles its frequency response, THD+noise, looking at LFE square wave response at 30hz/300hz, how good is it at impulse response, can all play a role to your impression of all it equates to being compared to a very expensive stereo system. Then you have open aired vs closed air and the obliviously different traits these designs merit. A lot of headphones are quite bright, some are more mid range, other offer strong bass. Yes you have headphones that offer fairly flat or neutral response out there. This is where the headfi.org crowd gets into the very fine details of all headphones/in-ear plugs to judge and compare how they work out.
Is my personal opinion, at $300 you should expect your headphones to sound really good. Doesn't necessarily make it so but it's a price range where quality headphones with a good balance can be found.

On a related note speakers come in all sorts of flavors, and pricey high-end systems as a rule do not always achieve perfect flat reasoned in-room.
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post #12 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 02:14 PM
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Is my personal opinion, at $300 you should expect your headphones to sound really good. Doesn't necessarily make it so but it's a price range where quality headphones with a good balance can be found.
True you can find some diamonds in the ruff so to speak if you are willing to profuse some online article at various sites including AVS. There are some very reasonable in-ear, or over ear headphones that are fairly comfortable, good performers around $300, but typically a lot more can be found at $400 IMHO.

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post #13 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 06:14 PM
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As i understand it only some of the $1,000 + headphones, which often only work well with a headphone amp, have sort of 3D imaging so i think you can forget about $300 equals very expensive stereo system.
I just had dinner with Jude Mansilla and his take is the same as mine... 3D imaging is about mastering and processing and not something that the headphones themselves do. Perhaps more importantly, Jude was unwilling to even loosely correlate price and performance when it comes to headphones.
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post #14 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 07:37 PM
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True you can find some diamonds in the ruff so to speak if you are willing to profuse some online article at various sites including AVS. There are some very reasonable in-ear, or over ear headphones that are fairly comfortable, good performers around $300, but typically a lot more can be found at $400 IMHO.
My only comment here... is that what I'm doing this weekend puts a very interesting twist on the discussion of what makes for a good pair of headphones, how they should sound compared to speakers, and at what price you can get the "great speakers in a great room" listening experience from headphones. Alas, I can't discuss details until I get a piece posted early next week.
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post #15 of 19 Old 05-19-2016, 08:15 PM
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I just had dinner with Jude Mansilla and his take is the same as mine... 3D imaging is about mastering and processing and not something that the headphones themselves do. Perhaps more importantly, Jude was unwilling to even loosely correlate price and performance when it comes to headphones.
I said sort of..to quote Tyll Hertsens ''they create a sense of space and image so incredibly well" (HD800). So i wonder if folks like you would agree with that when checking out such headphone yourself.

Looks like Jude Mansilla goes for the most expensive headphone stuff money can buy..
What device do you covet most?
''The Sennheiser Orpheus. It was a very limited edition, electrostatic headphone system that originally sold for around $13,000 in 1991, but can only be found used nowadays for around $30,000 or more. The Sennheiser Orpheus system sounds glorious. At meets and events, I still get to hear the mighty Orpheus from time to time and it never fails to amaze me.''
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post #16 of 19 Old 05-21-2016, 07:35 AM
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It would be nice if you folks would do some comparing of headphones and give us your impressions. A headphone faq sticky would also be welcome.
I agree, these are good things.

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post #17 of 19 Old 05-21-2016, 07:50 AM
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I have for the last 10 years or so been using the Sennheiser HD580's, which I bought new for around $125. They have a listed freq. response of 10hz to 38 Khz, which gives them a far wider range than most speakers can handle and is one of the cool factors of a decent headphone. They sound really nice to this day and sound great even when plugged into my Macbook Pro.
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post #18 of 19 Old 05-21-2016, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 8mile13 View Post
As i understand it only some of the $1,000 + headphones, which often only work well with a headphone amp, have sort of 3D imaging so i think you can forget about $300 equals very expensive stereo system.
You need to listen more. Try the PSBs (too cheap-looking and ugly to merit purchase consideration, IMO, but very good sounding), Oppo PM-3, or the evergreen Senn 580/600. The NADs probably sound similar to the PSBs, but I've not heard them.

The only reason headphones cost four figures is that companies have figured out people will pay that. When I started in this hobby IIRC there were only three cans in that price range: Sennheiser Orpheus, AKG K1000, Sony ??? with some sort of living diaphragm. The two of them I've heard (Orpheus, AKG K1000) were not better all around music enjoyment devices than the Senn 580. Now it seems there are scores of four-figure headphones. Some sound excellent, I'm sure.

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***
Looks like Jude Mansilla goes for the most expensive headphone stuff money can buy..
What device do you covet most?

''The Sennheiser Orpheus. It was a very limited edition, electrostatic headphone system that originally sold for around $13,000 in 1991, but can only be found used nowadays for around $30,000 or more. The Sennheiser Orpheus system sounds glorious. At meets and events, I still get to hear the mighty Orpheus from time to time and it never fails to amaze me.''
The Orpheus on their tube amp throw an inferior image (width, depth, texture) to a pair of Sennheiser HD580s driven by a HeadRoom Total AirHead, with the same source driving both amps. They also sound markedly thinner. (Both comments at least apply on my head.) I know because I've actually done the comparison.
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I have for the last 10 years or so been using the Sennheiser HD580's, which I bought new for around $125. They have a listed freq. response of 10hz to 38 Khz, which gives them a far wider range than most speakers can handle and is one of the cool factors of a decent headphone. They sound really nice to this day and sound great even when plugged into my Macbook Pro.
The other great thing about 580s is they can be completely rebuilt from Senn parts. I've had a pair for at least 20 years. I refreshed them a couple years ago with new ear pads and a new headpad. Brought them completely back to life and now they're my favorite headphones again.

Unlike some headphones the 580s do benefit from a headphone amp. They are fairly high in impedance and even a MacBook Pro doesn't swing that much voltage through the amp. But I agree they still sound better than most things even when playing through a RMBP's headphone jack.
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