Hello from Boston, with a headphones vs diy speaker question

I fell in love with HiFi a few years ago, but struggled to do anything with it because of the associated costs. After circling the internet a few times, I found sites like this one where it has been suggested that DIY can a money saving measure (on top of the joy of learning about and building the gear).

Recently, I've also read a lot of great reviews for hi-end headphones like the Sennheiser HD-800, where they're compared to loudspeakers costing 10 times as much (which is a lot like what diy speakers are sometimes compared too). I'm looking to audition them somewhere, but I'm a little skeptical because of how important soundstaging, imaging, and bass impact are to me. Still, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on a hi-end diy speaker vs hi-end headphones. Thanks.
 
Welcome to the forum. As you are young, your environment will not be ideal and the accuracy of headphones is way better than "bookshelf" speakers my college friends had. One friend lived in a 5 sided bedroom his dad built, which made his Bose 901 speakers sound terrible. Now I'm retired I've achieved my dream room, 12' high x 16' wide x 35' long (L.r.+ d.r.). With the speakers on stands at on end, the room acoustics are really a fun part of the reproduced sound. Modern technology has an answer to real estate prices, the digital effects box. My digitech Quad has various room sizes built in. Have fun.
 
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jcx

Member
2003-02-17 7:38 pm
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you should check out the SVS Realizer for the most convincing loudspeaker/room simulation available for headphones - uses head angle tracking and personal hrtf and real room calibrations - some people have calibrations taken in mastering studios

at ~US$3K it lets you listen to hardware and real estate/room that can't be had for any price in a dorm or small apt
 
Thanks for the replies.

I got the idea when I found myself listening to my Sennheiser HD-555 a lot, and thought they competed well in some aspects with my Boston Acoustics VR3. I stopped by the local audio store quickly the other day and tried out some headphones with bigger price tags (specifically, a Grado around $500). I wasn't wholly impressed, and thought they were just doing things my Sennheiser was already doing. Mostly, I felt my disappointment was just an affirmation that sound-staging and imaging were really priorities for me. I left agreeing with Cal.

I've played around with acoustics, and my floor-standing speakers are currently situated in a (approximately) 13' Wx 16' D x 8' H living room. I've lugged them around my past apartments, which has convinced me how important the room is; a very valuable lesson.

The SVS Realizer sounds like an interesting device, and I might try and track one down to demo. With a better pair of headphones and matching amp, the price tag would more than compete with a DIY speaker system, which seems to be where I am leaning. I'm sure I couldn't get any speaker I build soon to 'sing' the way it might be capable of, given my room limitations, but one day (far, far away) I hope to throw a projector into the mix for a full home theater, so floor-standing speakers seem like a better long term plan.
 
Rooms

You can do a lot with a 13'x16'x8' room. Digitech rack effects with the fixed digital room ambience are going about $75-$100 on craigslist, possibly because they are old enough for cheap electrolytic caps to affect reliability. This diyaudio: taking a sow's ear and making a silk purse is my specialty. Enjoy yourself.
 
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