Headphones to Speakers?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Ryu, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. Ryu

    Ryu Friend

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    Probably belongs in the general advice thread but I figured you guys would see it better here and others would be able to learn from the advice you folks give out. I am looking for some kind of guide or general guidance on how to make that transition from the high end headphones to the world of speakers. Do speakers have a certain sound like headphones do? I really love my HD650's to no end and would like some speakers to use with that same sound. I know that you need a receiver to power most of them. Do these receivers have a unique sound like some of the AMP and DACS that headphones use? Are there power requirements that I need to meet like headphones? Is there a system where I can make incremental step upgrades? I know that these things get really expensive and can probably not afford to go all out on a full system. I know there are different types of speakers like the little bookshelf ones and there are ones that are the size of a grown man. Again thanks for your responses.
     
  2. recarcar

    recarcar Friend

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    I think the first thing you should assess is how much space you have and how much of that space you are willing to dedicate to speakers. This will allow you to decide between bookshelf, standmounts, or floorstanders. Most bookshelfs will work fine on a desk for near field listening. Near field listening will often not work very well with larger standmounts or floorstanders. There is ton of info with regards to different kinds of speakers and what might work best with your room size/dimensions.

    Perhaps the other thing you should think about is whether you want to go with high efficiency or lower efficiency speakers. This will help you decide what kind of amp to go with. Higher efficiency will need less wattage and lower efficiency will need more to get going.

    Any DAC you have will work with speakers. DAC differences are more apparent on speakers than on headphones in IME.

    Like headphones, you can make incremental upgrades to your system along the way once you find some speakers that you enjoy.

    Finally, what are your listening priorities? Different kinds of speakers have different strengths and weaknesses in all price ranges. For example, mine are transparency, timbre, and coherence. For those reasons I have a single driver standmount that is very high efficiency and can be powered with a low wattage tube amp. However, like all speakers it has clear weaknesses like lack of ultimate treble extension and lower end impact.

    So what do you absolutely need and what can you live without? This will help you narrow down from 2 or 3 way designs, single driver, boxed speakers, open baffle, planar, etc.

    Also, you don't have to spend a lot of money especially if you're patient and go used. There are also some very good budget speakers if you want to go new. I would suggest to do a lot more research, and it is admittedly steep, ask more specific questions, and most importantly, if you can, go out and audition some.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  3. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Yes

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  4. sfoclt

    sfoclt Friend

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    I personally cannot imagine living with just headphones. The impact from a decent set of speakers is so much better, even at "low" volumes. There are strengths to both but speakers are definitely worth exploring for the experience they provide.
     
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  5. recarcar

    recarcar Friend

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    If your living space permits they are definitely worth exploring.
     
  6. eastboundofnowhere

    eastboundofnowhere Almost "Made"

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    A lot of good advice already. In the past, if I didn't live in apartments and have neighbors I never would have bothered with headphones. Now, if I didn't have a tin-eared wife who complains about loud noises, I would only own speakers. What I am getting at is that I much prefer two channel audio with speakers, but with speakers you have to give a lot of thought to your surroundings, not just space, but how it will affect those around you. Rock out in a bad neighborhood=get robbed. Rock out in an apartment=get evicted. Nice neighborhood=get harassed by a homeowners association. I prefer that my neighbors see me as both poor and crazy.

    Recarcar, makes a lot of good points too. Myself, from what I have heard I prefer either high efficiency single drivers…excellent cohesion and great midrange clarity/tone…or three way designs…harder to drive and the mids usually aren't as great but from top too bottom I really like them for when I want to rock out. Ultimately, I need to find something that does both but have not found it yet.

    As far as system synergy goes, in my experience it is even more obvious with speakers. At one point I had a little system consisting of an Outlaw Amp and some NHT speakers. Hated it. Not musical at all. Too bright. No real redeeming qualities. On a whim, and just before I intended to ebay the speakers, I hooked them up to much less powerful tube amp and was absolutely blown away…kept the speakers and this is still my reference for what I ultimately enjoy the most. I didn't have another set of speakers at the time, but I did later hear back from the person who bought the Outlaw Amp from me. The guy had owned the same pair of speakers for twenty years and said that the sound he was getting using the Outlaw was by far the best he had ever heard them.

    So, a lot about synergy and luck.

    As far as expense. With the direction the headphone market has taken….well my entire used system cost me less than a Utopia or LCD-4.
     
  7. Rex Aeterna

    Rex Aeterna Friend

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    decent speakers will have more in common with each other compared to headphones in general to be blunt about it. headphones naturally are very colored and do not exhibit a more flat response like most speakers will since pretty much all speaker manufactures(not all of course) follow a anechoic chamber type response flat curve. there is few exceptions with some speakers measured in a diffused-field to emulate natural room acoustic issues and so forth and there is some where the person like tuning overall speaker design by ear but, overall in general a speaker is supposed be flat or close enough from 30hz to 20khz to be true full-range speaker system...there is some speakers tuned on purpose to give a different sound but, some of them are usually not as common but, then again i never dabbled much into modern stuff except few pairs of 100k+ speakers so can't comment on more modern alternatives.....

    amps is same way. people claim that amps sound way different and drastically different and so forth but no matter if it's tube,solid-state,chip,class a/b/c/d/e/f/g/h/i,ect. it's supposed just be consent voltage source and just amplify the input signal. while again, is not perfect, they tend to sound more similar to one another than totally different in most cases. i been through thousands of amps,receivers and integrated amps for over several years more than anything else so i know this but, as always my hearing is not the best at all and not claim it to be....

    power requirements is usually blown out of proportion lot of times everyone believes every speaker requires 1000w or some b/s.... it all comes down, how sensitive the overall speaker is and how loud you like your avg listening level is ect. yea, there is dynamics in some sound sources but, that is usually rare in most music nowadays since most of it is compressed and only things that have it is mostly movies so, unless huge movie buff i wouldn't worry bout it so much and most amps if well design can handle a steady quick burst of about 5-10x of their rated rms for the short moment with decent distortion spec... it's usually the speaker to compress and break-up before an amp does.

    speakers actually can not be expensive and can get really good ones for not that much money if know what you want and what your looking for. i actually spent more money on amplification than speakers myself but, it's due to actual power needs for all my subs in the house haha. can even get more value if don't mind going used and don't mind learning how to recap crossovers(unless going active),refoaming and reconing speakers.

    there is a lot out there to play with and learn. lot more than headphones and become even more complex in some cases of understanding but, thing is, it can be fun, good learning experience and, all i can suggest is browse around on your own, find locals to audition stuff if can, and find something you like.
     
  8. NekoAudio

    NekoAudio Acquaintance

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    All of the same differences in sound that you find with headphones and headphone electronics apply to speakers and speaker electronics too. Speakers can often be even more "interesting" since there are so many different physical designs and crossovers, whereas the majority of headphones are a single driver in a fairly well-defined enclosure shape.
     

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