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Are ASR members headphone or loudspeaker users?

Are you a headphone or a loudspeaker user?

  • By choice, headphones 90% or more of the time

    Votes: 15 6.2%
  • By choice, loudspeakers 90% or more of the time

    Votes: 130 53.9%
  • By choice, headphones between 50% and 90% of the time

    Votes: 7 2.9%
  • By choice, loudspeakers between 50% and 90% of the time

    Votes: 32 13.3%
  • By choice, 50/50

    Votes: 19 7.9%
  • Not by choice, headphones 90% or more of the time but prefer loudspeakers

    Votes: 10 4.1%
  • Not by choice, headphones between 50% and 90% of the time but prefer loudspeakers

    Votes: 19 7.9%
  • Not by choice, 50/50 but prefer loudspeakers

    Votes: 9 3.7%

  • Total voters
    241

IAtaman

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It appears these results indicate the average age of the respondents more than anything. In general, people over a certain age tend to prefer speaker systems, those under a certain age tend to prefer headphones/personal audio.
I do agree there is a correlation with age, but I don't think that relationship is causal, and there are some underlying factors at play.

I do think younger people listen to music with headphones majority of the time, by choice, for a number interrelated reasons.

First one is tonal balance and bass response. You can get great sound out of a good pair of headphones with a decent DAC/AMP and EQ.

In order to get the same tonal balanace and bass response with a speaker system, you'd need a DAC, a decent amp, a MiniDSP maybe, a good pair of floor standing speakers, a few subs; you gotta get a decent measurement mic and fix your "room modes"; you need to pay attention to your ceiling, your carpet, your curtains and walls. Even if you don't do all of those things, you still need to put in a lot more money, time, effort and physical space to speakers than you would to headphones - a physical space you own most likely if you are gonna put all that effort.

And yet still, you need to be there, in that room to enjoy it - you cannot take it to the office with you, or to a walk; you cannot use it on the plane, or by the pool while you are on vacation - which is the second advantage of headphones : mobility. You can get good sounding ones that work wireless even! (imagine that high-end speaker cable sales guy)

Third one, which is related to the first two, is time. I, for one, (not that I am young) spend a lot more time during the day listening to music than I can afford to spend sitting in a somewhat treated room with multiple subs and floor standing speakers and carpets and curtains and whatnot.

In my view, in order to be able to do most of your listening with speakers, either you gotta be doing relatively shorter listening sessions, or you gotta have the money, the space and the time to sit in a room where your main setup is, which is probably your home, and must be able to afford spending a lot of time in that room. With all those in mind, I think it is not very surprising that younger people use headphones more.
 
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Anonamemouse

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The only headphones I used were during my DJ days, which are a distant memory. Right now the only headphones in my house are the crappy cabled in ear things that once came with my cellphone and which are still in the box.
 

NIN

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100% loudspeaker by choice. Unless I'm outside walking or traveling I'm not using headphones. Don't like them for serious listening.
 

derKoekje

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80-90% headphone user. I only use my Linton 85's on Sunday morning with the wife (her music), for entertaining guests or when I'm maybe home alone, and then its pretty low volume. And of course for shows and movies but I'm not counting that.

The reason for me is that I'm quite embarrassed about sharing my music. I don't share my musical tastes with anyone so I can't really blast the volume my system. Even if I have thick walls and no neighbors would notice, it's a perceptual thing. I am private about my music, why not create a zone that is for me and my ears alone? Since I spend most of my time behind my desk, headphones just make the most sense.

The other reason is that it's much easier to control. I am sure my speakers aren't set up properly enough and basically only sound good enough in one spot in the room. The room is also not treated and won't be because its primary use is a living space, not a music space.
 
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CleanSound

CleanSound

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80-90% headphone user. I only use my Linton 85's on Sunday morning with the wife (her music), for entertaining guests or when I'm maybe home alone, and then its pretty low volume. And of course for shows and movies but I'm not counting that.

The reason for me is that I'm quite embarrassed about sharing my music. I don't share my musical tastes with anyone so I can't really blast the volume my system. Even if I have thick walls and no neighbors would notice, it's a perceptual thing. I am private about my music, why not create a zone that is for me and my ears alone? Since I spend most of my time behind my desk, headphones just make the most sense.

The other reason is that it's much easier to control. I am sure my speakers aren't set up properly enough and basically only sound good enough in one spot in the room. The room is also not treated and won't be because its primary use is a living space, not a music space.
I listen to almost every kind of music, pop, 30% of rock music ever created are to my taste, country, hip hop, jazz, classical, blues, latin jazz and some foreign music (foreign to the US).

I'm sure everyone is wondering, what do you listen to that is that embarrassing for you?
 

derKoekje

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I listen to almost every kind of music, pop, 30% of rock music ever created are to my taste, country, hip hop, jazz, classical, blues, latin jazz and some foreign music (foreign to the US).

I'm sure everyone is wondering, what do you listen to that is that embarrassing for you?
I'm just a private person in general, I like to keep my true preferences, intentions and ideas to myself. It doesn't really matter, since this is simply based on perceived and ultimate very mundane experiences in the past that shaped that feeling. Parents telling me the music of their generation is good, not mine. Friends here or there that don't like a particular song I put on, or think my stuff is too experimental or too niche. Some people get snobby when describing how cool and niche their music taste is, I feel the exact opposite. So as a solution when entertaining, I mainly default to sharing music that I think is good, and know that generally other people will like or find inoffensive.

When I'm by myself I don't want to face those limitations, so I prefer headphones.

Whether this is by choice I feel is a loaded question. That would imply that if I had a house in the middle of nowhere, where people wouldn't be able to hear me that I would prefer to use loudspeakers rather than headphones. I might say yes but that answer is very simplistic. Ultimately I live in an urban area with neighbors sure, but also culture, life and activity. I made a conscious choice to live there, and consciously accepted certain concessions I would have to make.
 

Chrispy

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I much prefer speakers, and have many of them.....at home and a portable system as well as what's in the truck. I only use my headphones during a power outage when that's just easier to power, maybe in a crowded campground.....but just don't like speakers clamped to my head or stuck in my ears in general.
 

dedobot

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Excuse me please, but I see the phones like masturbation. Both bring pleasure, but they are still imitations:)
 

kemmler3D

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I'm mostly on headphones right now because my good speakers are in the living room and my wife tends to camp out in there.
 

KenA

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It appears these results indicate the average age of the respondents more than anything. In general, people over a certain age tend to prefer speaker systems, those under a certain age tend to prefer headphones/personal audio.
I’d think with youngsters affordability would be a factor here. My speakers are over 20 times the price of my headphones and I certainly couldn’t have afforded a set of decent speakers as a young fella even though I wanted to have some.
 

KenA

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I have both, but way more use on speakers, and headphones only when I don’t want to annoy the household. I like my music loud, and like to feel the vibrations!
 
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CleanSound

CleanSound

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Outside of a highly specialized forum like this, when comparing speakers to headphones a large majority are comparing wireless earphones to portable/mono smart/Bluetooth speakers. In that scenario the earphones easily best the speaker.
Especially if the bluetooth speakers is a crappy one and you have nice headphones.
 

Mart68

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Loudspeakers only here. Don't like headphones and I don't listen to music when out and about, I prefer to have all senses available if in a public place.

I have houses adjoining either side but I only listen to music in the daytime - I watch TV in the evenings - so the neighbours have no cause for complaint, and I've never had a complaint in the 25 years I lived here.

The way I see it is if someone is so sensitive to neighbours making noise then they need to get a detached house or join a monastery. I'll bet I'm a lot quieter on balance than living next to a family with children.

For a couple of years both adjoining houses were empty but I only rarely took advantage and played music late at night. Generally not in the mood for music late on in the day so it works out for me.

never understood the 'Young people don't have the space for loudspeakers.' When I was young I lived in a variety of rented places, some rooms were only about 10' by 7' - I still deployed big three way speakers!
 
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CleanSound

CleanSound

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never understood the 'Young people don't have the space for loudspeakers.' When I was young I lived in a variety of rented places, some rooms were only about 10' by 7' - I still deployed big three way speakers!
I know in some parts of the world, more and more young people are staying with their parents longer and longer due to unaffordable housing, low wages and sometimes cultural norms. So many times, these young people spend time in their own room playing their music through their headphones.

For the young people who lives on their own, usually lives in apartments or with apartmentmates, so it doesn't make sense to spend that kind of money to put your system in a community space of the living room, after all, you just can't trust people taking care of your stuff like your would. And yes, there is an element of keeping the volume low to not disturb your adjacent neighbors.
 
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