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Most powerful, yet detailed sounding headphones you have heard.

echopraxia

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#81
Hello,

I have a question to all headphone lovers here.
What are the most hugely, yet holographic (detailed) sounding headphones, that also give you 3D-soundstage audio feeling, you have ever heard? I mean that the instruments you would hear in the song give the feeling that they are really in the same room you are and sound they're producing almost resonate with your bones, giving you goosebumps. (I am not reffering for just bassy HPs, ofcourse they have to have concrete filled low frequencies, but it is not most important here).
As someone who got into hifi headphones before getting into hifi speakers, I've owned or extensively auditioned most of the major flagships. And I think I know exactly what you're looking for. I'm surprised nobody else seems to have mentioned this. To give you the sensation you're looking for, what you need is: Speakers.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but if I'm understanding what you want correctly, it's true that speakers are the only current solution. When you talk about 'that feeling that they are really in the same room', sound that 'resonates with your bones', '3D soundstage audio feeling', 'holographic', 'thick lush sound' all together, I think what you're looking for is the combination of reproducing the full 20hz-20khz audible spectrum not just to your ears, but all around you such that you feel the tactile sensation of it all.

When you say '3D soundstage' ,'holographic', 'detailed', most audiophiles will usually associate these with the quality of higher frequencies by default. I would as well, except that you mention 'feel they are really in the same room' and 'almost resonate with your bones' and 'thick lush sound' in the same sentence, and by that I know exactly what you mean:

I think what you are referring to is deep bass extension that is not just heard through your ears, but felt on your skin. The latter actually contributes hugely to even the '3D soundstage' and 'holographic' feel in a way headphones simply cannot match, and more obviously contributes to that 'thick lush powerful' sound. There are some exceptionally well mastered orchestral music recordings I play, where even though it doesn't seem to have a huge amount of deep bass content, when you switch the subwoofer on it's amazing just how much more deeper and wider the 'soundstage' feels than without. If I play the same content on headphones I know technically reach 20hz without attenuation, it's just not the same. I hear the frequencies, but I barely notice them because I do not feel it.

It's very hard to describe. If you listen closely on headphones, you can hear these deep resonances and echoes through the large hall in which it was recorded, but with speakers it is effortless and natural because you don't just analytically hear them -- you feel and experience the space that these low frequencies convey, and you percieve this space all around you. Even if subconsciously, it creates a powerful sense of space and depth that simply doesn't exist without these low frequencies played in the air around your body so that they are literally "felt in your bones" as you would put it, rather than just heard by the ears alone.

But unfortunately, as I've said, you won't get this from headphones. You could get close with headphones+subwoofer, in which case you might as well just go all the way to speakers+subwoofer.

There have been attempts to solve this with portable solutions to pair with headphones (so you don't have to carry a subwoofer around with you), but I have no idea how well they work; for example: https://www.woojer.com/vest/
 
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napilopez

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#82
As someone who got into hifi headphones before getting into hifi speakers, I've owned or extensively auditioned most of the major flagships. And I think I know exactly what you're looking for. I'm surprised nobody else seems to have mentioned this. To give you the sensation you're looking for, what you need is: Speakers.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but if I'm understanding what you want correctly, it's true that speakers are the only current solution. When you talk about 'that feeling that they are really in the same room', sound that 'resonates with your bones', '3D soundstage audio feeling', 'holographic', 'thick lush sound' all together, I think what you're looking for is the combination of reproducing the full 20hz-20khz audible spectrum not just to your ears, but all around you such that you feel the tactile sensation of it all.

When you say '3D soundstage' ,'holographic', 'detailed', most audiophiles will usually associate these with the quality of higher frequencies by default. I would as well, except that you mention 'feel they are really in the same room' and 'almost resonate with your bones' and 'thick lush sound' in the same sentence, and by that I know exactly what you mean:

I think what you are referring to is deep bass extension that is not just heard through your ears, but felt on your skin. The latter actually contributes hugely to even the '3D soundstage' and 'holographic' feel in a way headphones simply cannot match, and more obviously contributes to that 'thick lush powerful' sound. There are some exceptionally well mastered orchestral music recordings I play, where even though it doesn't seem to have a huge amount of deep bass content, when you switch the subwoofer on it's amazing just how much more deeper and wider the 'soundstage' feels than without. If I play the same content on headphones I know technically reach 20hz without attenuation, it's just not the same. I hear the frequencies, but I barely notice them because I do not feel it.

It's very hard to describe. If you listen closely on headphones, you can hear these deep resonances and echoes through the large hall in which it was recorded, but with speakers it is effortless and natural because you don't just analytically hear them -- you feel and experience the space that these low frequencies convey, and you percieve this space all around you. Even if subconsciously, it creates a powerful sense of space and depth that simply doesn't exist without these low frequencies played in the air around your body so that they are literally "felt in your bones" as you would put it, rather than just heard by the ears alone.

But unfortunately, as I've said, you won't get this from headphones. You could get close with headphones+subwoofer, in which case you might as well just go all the way to speakers+subwoofer.

There have been attempts to solve this with portable solutions to pair with headphones (so you don't have to carry a subwoofer around with you), but I have no idea how well they work; for example: https://www.woojer.com/vest/
Oh man, this is something of a loaded topic, but I can't say I fully agree with the above.

Like many, especially younger audiophiles, I started my audiophile journey with headphones and still hold them in high regard. My focus on learning the science behind speakers has helped me quell my desire for new headphones, but whenever I go back to headphones, I can't help but remember I find them so much more revealing.

I have yet to hear a pair of speakers I perceived as more revealing or detailed than a decent pair of headphones. Not in professional recording studios, not $100,000+ pairs. There are many potential reasons I percieve things this way, but that's been my experience so far.

While I generally agree about the spatialization aspect of speakers, no pair of speakers nor fancy surround setup sounds even close to a good binaural recording in terms of spatial cues. If binaural recordings included the tactile sensation in the bass and allowed you to share the experience with friends, I'd have the perfect audio system. It's a shame more music isn't available in binaural format.

I haven't tried the bacch system though. Would really love to give that a go.
 

echopraxia

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#83
Oh man, this is something of a loaded topic, but I can't say I fully agree with the above.

Like many, especially younger audiophiles, I started my audiophile journey with headphones and still hold them in high regard. My focus on learning the science behind speakers has helped me quell my desire for new headphones, but whenever I go back to headphones, I can't help but remember I find them so much more revealing.

I have yet to hear a pair of speakers I perceived as more revealing or detailed than a decent pair of headphones. Not in professional recording studios, not $100,000+ pairs. There are many potential reasons I percieve things this way, but that's been my experience so far.

While I generally agree about the spatialization aspect of speakers, no pair of speakers nor fancy surround setup sounds even close to a good binaural recording in terms of spatial cues. If binaural recordings included the tactile sensation in the bass and allowed you to share the experience with friends, I'd have the perfect audio system. It's a shame more music isn't available in binaural format.

I haven't tried the bacch system though. Would really love to give that a go.
I must not have explained well because I don’t think you’re disagreeing with me. Basically I was trying to say that by my interpretation, I bet what OP really wants is the tactile sensariom of low frequencies that you’ll only get from speakers.

I agree with you that headphones are generally more “revealing” than most speaker setups (though much of that is likely due to the room and reflections), and in fact thats why I’m thinking what the OP wants is probably not more detail but more tactile bass — which definitely does (to me, at least) enhance soundstage/spaciousness/whatever in a was no headphone ever has or likely ever will.
 

napilopez

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#84
I must not have explained well because I don’t think you’re disagreeing with me. Basically I was trying to say that by my interpretation, I bet what OP really wants is the tactile sensariom of low frequencies that you’ll only get from speakers.

I agree with you that headphones are generally more “revealing” than most speaker setups (though much of that is likely due to the room and reflections), and in fact thats why I’m thinking what the OP wants is probably not more detail but more tactile bass — which definitely does (to me, at least) enhance soundstage/spaciousness/whatever in a was no headphone ever has or likely ever will.
Fair enough!
 

Gabs

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#86
Senfer Ues Pro + Apple dongle
The 1more triple drivers headphone (not the iem) is also "holophonic", but sometimes in a weird way, and too much bass for me.
 
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#87
@echopraxia Thank you for your input. I know that no headphones will replace that feeling when audio waves hit your whole body. I'm just looking for a headphones that repreduce low ends in the most natural way (so extended, not especially boosted) having harmonic mids and cristal highs as well. Personally I noticed that pads of HPs must wrap around your whole earlobes (and not touching them with the edges of pads) to get closer to that. Of course it is only one of necessities here, the rest like shape, size and material of cups, the size of driver, material of diaphragm, they all together create the whole sensation of course. Not mentioning the mastering of certain song you are listening to ;)
 

Gabs

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#88
I just tried something crazy that (probably) makes holophonic sound !
I have a Chord Mojo which has 2x3.5mm jack output, and I put on a pair of earbuds - medium centric graphene Senfer PT15 - , and then put a headphone - M60X higher bass and treble than the Senfer - (I tried with the Aeon and HE400i but of course impedence is not matching).
It really increased detail, I did not hear phase problems.
Track of test : "Momento Magico" by Youn Sun Nah.
Maybe it's something to dig, find complemantary curves iem/earbuds/headphones, and even add a subwoofer for the subbass and physical feel that @echopraxia mentioned.
 

solderdude

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#89
I put on a pair of earbuds - medium centric graphene Senfer PT15 - , and then put a headphone - M60X higher bass and treble than the Senfer - (I tried with the Aeon and HE400i but of course impedence is not matching).
It really increased detail, I did not hear phase problems.
Look for 'Nuraphone'
 

echopraxia

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#92
@echopraxia Thank you for your input. I know that no headphones will replace that feeling when audio waves hit your whole body. I'm just looking for a headphones that repreduce low ends in the most natural way (so extended, not especially boosted) having harmonic mids and cristal highs as well. Personally I noticed that pads of HPs must wrap around your whole earlobes (and not touching them with the edges of pads) to get closer to that. Of course it is only one of necessities here, the rest like shape, size and material of cups, the size of driver, material of diaphragm, they all together create the whole sensation of course. Not mentioning the mastering of certain song you are listening to ;)
I know. I only wanted to mention my experience here, so perhaps you don’t replicate my fruitless search for a speaker-like headphone that simply doesn’t exist. I’ve owned dozens of headphones, and at this point I’ve just accepted that it’s not possible.
 

scott wurcer

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#94
I know. I only wanted to mention my experience here, so perhaps you don’t replicate my fruitless search for a speaker-like headphone that simply doesn’t exist. I’ve owned dozens of headphones, and at this point I’ve just accepted that it’s not possible.
The Smyth realizer is a big step toward that, the demo was dramatic. https://smyth-research.com/
 

echopraxia

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#95
The Smyth realizer is a big step toward that, the demo was dramatic. https://smyth-research.com/
Yes, the blending and room effects you get from speakers is one of the two important factors for headphones to sound speaker-like.

The other is being able to feel the tactile/haptic sensation of the sound (particularly the lower frequencies) on your skin, which some companies are trying to solve but I’ve heard mixed things about their effectiveness.

I hope they do succeed though, but I am skeptical that the tactile sensation can ever truly be simulated without a full body suit (which seems ridiculously impractical). Maybe you can get really close with just a few simulated points of haptic vibration, but it will never be 100%.
 
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#96
Even some software 3D DSP's can be really good, the one i have on foobar can open up the ER4SR i have. But I'm sure allot audiophiles will ignore this to justify there HD800S and CA Andro that fake it through FR dips/peaks. Since they got angry that AKG 7xx line up came very close to the HD800 soundstage at mid tier pricing. lol
 

Tks

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#97
Honestly, IEM's almost always sound "cleaner" to me than speakers or even headphones. And with good reason with respect to "detail" or "cleanliness". That reason being the elimination of noise of ambient. They do lose out over speakers with respect to "soundstage" which makes sense as no other part of your ear is being hit with any sort of sound, nor are there any sort of natural resonances/reflections and such other properties at play.

Sure the sound doesn't sound natural since there is no pinna activation, there is no earlobes rumbling from bass (natural impossibility of the form factor of how IEM's function). But in terms of "clean sound" and ability to focus and percieve aspects of "intrument seperation", IME's inherent ability to remove the ambient noise with a good seal instantly make that a valid notion.
 
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#98
IEM's without a vent have issues with eardrum pressure. While the recent AirPods Pro likely won't win any audiophile shootouts, it is a good example of how a vent improves the comfort and performance of IEMs. They sound better than you might expect.

The Focal Utopia is what my ears think is an accurate headphone. It is excellent from low volume to ear-splitting levels. Driven by a Topping DX7 Pro, it sings.

If you don't require sound isolation, the Audeze iSine20 used with the Topping NX4 base enhancement is one of the better audiophile portable options.
 

Tks

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#99
IEM's without a vent have issues with eardrum pressure. While the recent AirPods Pro likely won't win any audiophile shootouts, it is a good example of how a vent improves the comfort and performance of IEMs. They sound better than you might expect.

The Focal Utopia is what my ears think is an accurate headphone. It is excellent from low volume to ear-splitting levels. Driven by a Topping DX7 Pro, it sings.

If you don't require sound isolation, the Audeze iSine20 used with the Topping NX4 base enhancement is one of the better audiophile portable options.
Airpods Pro like the normal Apple Earbuds, like the Apple adapter.. are all great devices. People that rail on Apple quality are deluded, they're part of some neo-woke type clowns where it's popular today to rail on established entities. The problem with the older Earbuds is as earbuds, there is no seal, but when you try to get them deep and hold them with your hand, they turn into bass cannons with really nice sound coming out of them.

Even BEATS themselves can be great sometimes. Take a look at these are you seeing some of those measurements? The THD measurement is so good it almost doesn't make sense. nearly all other listening devices heavily distort once you start breaching into the subbass frequencies, these on the other hand get better. And this is on top of being decent quality, nice build, etc... And that all with a decent battery life.

Now the problem with Apple Airpods Pro, is their ergonimics (subjectively for my personal ear shape), and also the economic, and environmental fallout from creating such devices with intrinsic and planned obsolesence. Also the pitiful warranty type that basically tells you "oh your battery kinda sucks now? No problem, here you can purchase another pair for a smidgen of a discount". That's the sort of ordeal that will pragmatically make me forever rail on Apple worse than the typical hater. I can't stand the idea of having throwaway devices in this day and age.

But in terms of quality, devices from established companies usually beat out even boutique companies most of the time. As companies like Apple have done the proper R&D for things like performance. But subjective things always are up in the air regardless (like shape and such).

Btw, if you don't mind me asking, how're you liking your DX7 Pro. It was a device I waited very long for, but was disappointed to see Topping take the route they did with the whole output impedence issue for the sake of "longevity" or whatnot.
 

echopraxia

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The Focal Utopia is what my ears think is an accurate headphone. It is excellent from low volume to ear-splitting levels. Driven by a Topping DX7 Pro, it sings.
While we're on this topic, I don't think it's possible for there to be a single accurate headphone, because everyone's outer ear is shaped so differently. Unless the target curve used to make headphones sound neutral (as if they were speakers outside our head) is specifically tailored to your personal ear shape, it will still be sensitive to human variation in a way that speakers are not: Speakers actually reproduce a sound field around you that enters your ears from many directions, whereas headphones have to simulate this because they emit sound extremely close to your ear (and I assume in a way that's necessarily quite directional).

For example, there are almost no headphones that don't sound at least somewhat sibilant and bright to me. The Focal Utopia and Focal Clear are in fact among the worst headphones for me in that regard. I know I'm not normal in this sense, but what's interesting is that this only applies to headphones: Almost all speakers are far better, in comparison. I am still more sensitive to excessive brightness/sibilance than most people, yet even the worst speakers for me (in terms of brightness) are far better than most headphones!

In other words, I don't think there is such a thing as a neutral headphone. At the very least, speakers are far easier to sound 'neutral' to me than headphones, and it's likely that the headphones that sound the most neutral to me (Sennheiser HD650) may sound laid back to you.
 
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