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How do you listen to music? Speakers, headphones, which types, etc., [More options have been added; please see posts #60–62]
How do you listen to music?
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Total Votes: 189
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skamp
post Jan 14 2013, 15:42
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What kind of speakers do you use for listening to music? Speakers, headphones, IEMs, earbuds… Multiple choices are allowed to reflect different use cases.

Notes:
  • a distinction is made between stationary use (e.g. at home or at work) and on the go (when walking / riding / driving, commuting…)
  • circumaural headphones surround the ears
  • supra-aural headphones (on-ear) are usually smaller (but not necessarily always) and sit on top of the ears
  • custom mold IEMs require a visit to an orthophonist who makes silicon molds out of one's ears, which are to be shipped to the custom IEM manufacturer
  • earbuds sit on the outer ears and are not inserted into the ear canals like IEMs


This post has been edited by db1989: Jan 17 2013, 22:42


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dhromed
post Jan 14 2013, 16:12
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I'm not sure I agree with your specific distinction between supra-aural and circumaural.

The Philips SHP2700 squashes against my ears, as does the harsh Hercules M1001.

The Senheiser HD555, by contrast, truly envelops my ears, and as such is the only one out of these three that I would rightfully call circumaural, even though it's the same size class.

As a side effect, the Philips and especially the Hercules become uncomfortable to me after an hour, while the Sennheiser is almost unnoticable. This is also related to my glasses, obviously.
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skamp
post Jan 14 2013, 16:17
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Jan 14 2013, 16:12) *
The Senheiser HD555, by contrast, truly envelops my ears, and as such is the only one out of these three that I would rightfully call circumaural, even though it's the same size class.


I stand by my distinction, which makes a real difference in terms of comfort (IMO), and I agree with your own classification. I'm going to amend the OP about the size, though.
Personally, I can't stand any on-ear headphones, no matter how good they sound: my ears inevitably get sore after a short while.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jan 14 2013, 16:19


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skamp
post Jan 14 2013, 17:00
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About IEMs: I was never able to get a decent fit with any of the (cheapish) IEMs I bought, that came with the usual spherical silicon tips. I've recently bought Shure SE425 IEMs though, which came with two kinds of foam tips (black and yellow) in various sizes (small / medium / large), as well as a pair of triple-flange tips, of which I trimmed the third flange for comfort. It is the first time that I manage to get a good fit and a good seal, and it restored my faith in IEMs.

I can recommend the Shure SE425s, they're comfortable, well fit and sound very good; they're expensive though, and I feel like cheaper IEMs could still sound very decent, and be much more comfortable / usable, if only they came with better fitting (albeit inexpensive) tips.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jan 14 2013, 17:02


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DonP
post Jan 14 2013, 17:08
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One common type of portable head phone I'm not sure how to categorize. The transducer unit is essentially an ear bud, but they have a head band (so don't fall out as easily) http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Lightweight-MDR.../dp/B00005N6KG/
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DonP
post Jan 14 2013, 17:12
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So far looks like a pretty low percentage use car speakers. I wonder if that reflects urbanites and others who don't drive much, or more not using car stereos when they do drive.
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db1989
post Jan 14 2013, 17:26
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I mostly use headphones IEMs, as much of my relatively small amount of listening (sadface) nowadays is done whilst on the move or at the gym.

When inside, I use studio monitor speakers, which I assume would be filed under “Desktop speakers”: I use 2× M-Audio BX5a, to which I connect either my iPod (another sadface), computer, or POD X3 Live (guitar/studio multi-effects pedal and USB audio interface) depending on context.

This post has been edited by db1989: Jan 14 2013, 17:38
Reason for edit: herp
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Hotsoup
post Jan 14 2013, 17:27
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jan 14 2013, 09:12) *
So far looks like a pretty low percentage use car speakers. I wonder if that reflects urbanites and others who don't drive much, or more not using car stereos when they do drive.
Maybe most other commuters listen to talk radio or NPR. I spend at least 50 minutes every weekday commuting in my car. Realistically, it's where I do the bulk of my (active) music listening while my work station speakers are mainly for background noise.
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skamp
post Jan 14 2013, 17:34
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jan 14 2013, 17:08) *
One common type of portable head phone I'm not sure how to categorize. The transducer unit is essentially an ear bud, but they have a head band (so don't fall out as easily)


QUOTE (db1989 @ Jan 14 2013, 17:26) *
When inside, I use studio monitor speakers, which I assume would be filed under “Desktop speakers”


Yes to both, I would classify them as earbuds and desktop speakers, respectively.


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Nessuno
post Jan 14 2013, 18:34
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I voted for IEMs and Hi-Fi speakers even if actually the longest span of time I spend listening I use earbuds: I use them at work, about six hours a day, but that's not real listening for the sake of music, is kind of background, at very low volume and frequently interrupted by phone calls, colleagues coming in to talk etc... so little care to SQ and more to comfort, lightness, fast positioning.
IEMs and speakers are what I use once back home. Nowadays more IEMs than speakers, but in a few months I'll be moving and I'll finally have a room to devote mainly to music smile.gif, so I forecast speakers will be (again) my main source.


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almostmitch
post Jan 14 2013, 18:50
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jan 14 2013, 11:12) *
So far looks like a pretty low percentage use car speakers. I wonder if that reflects urbanites and others who don't drive much, or more not using car stereos when they do drive.


I do a fair amount of listening while in my car, roughly an hour a day. I have a full aftermarket setup I'd classify as mid-grade. Definitely all respectable gear, but not what I would call true hi-fi.
I have two, 3-way Kenwood door speakers with 6.5 inch woofers. Two 4-way Kenwood rear speakers (6x9). Also, two Kenwood 12 inch woofers in the trunk powered by a mono block 1200 watt amp.
A fairly cheap Sony head unit ties it all together.
It's a loud, clean sounding system. I have sound deadening material covering the whole inside of the trunk and in other important areas. It's good but I'm working on setting up a home system for flac files and vinyl.
I have a Yamaha Reciever but I don't have the cash for a set of good speakers yet.

I had my eye on these though. Anyone have thoughts on these speakers? yay, nay?

This post has been edited by greynol: Jan 18 2013, 18:54
Reason for edit: Per TOS #5, the off-topic portion of this post was stricken. Start a new discussion rather than provide an avenue for this one to be hijacked, please.
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skamp
post Jan 14 2013, 18:55
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Portable headphones (both circumaural and supra-aural, of limited size and bulk) are all the rage in Paris (and have been for a while now). They're mostly a fashion statement (and nope, they're not all Beats!). I reckon that most of the headphones I've seen in the streets are sub-100 euros, however.

Apple iBuds are quite popular as well.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jan 14 2013, 18:58


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yourlord
post Jan 14 2013, 19:52
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I use virtually every type of speaker on the list at various times, so I stuck the the most often used items..

My living room stereo is driven by a Pioneer VSX-1122-K receiver which drives 2 KLH 3 way floor speakers, each with a 12" woofer, 5" mid, and tweeter.
Media is fed to that unit over the network since the Pioneer is network ready and can play FLAC and Ogg Vorbis natively. I also feed audio to it via HDMI from XBMC running on a Raspberry Pi.

My other standard speakers are on my main computer. I connect from the computer via S/PDIF to a Yamaha receiver (model escapes me atm) which drives 2 Sony 3 way "bookshelf" speakers, each with a 8" woofer, 4" mid, and tweeter. (those little Sony speakers THUMP)

I listen to a mix of talk radio and mp3's in my truck so the car speakers come into play there.

When I don't want to annoy my family I listen on Sennheiser HD-202 and HD-280 headphones. The HD-202 are supposedly supra-aural but they enclose my ears so I counted them as circumaural. The HD-280's are truely circumaural. The choice of which usually comes down to which pair is in reach at the time.
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thesoundista
post Jan 14 2013, 20:15
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I use the following:

Sennheiser CX 300-II for everyday listening.

KRK Rokit 5's for monitoring in the studio.
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dhromed
post Jan 14 2013, 20:27
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QUOTE (skamp @ Jan 14 2013, 16:17) *
I stand by my distinction, which makes a real difference in terms of comfort (IMO), and I agree with your own classification. I'm going to amend the OP about the size, though.


Thanks, that's what I was talking about. I initially thought that by on-ear you exclusively meant light-weight class phones like these and these, hence my objection.

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Rescator
post Jan 14 2013, 20:56
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Just an addendum to my circumaural headphone vote, I also use Dolby Headphone (via my Xonar DG's drivers) so it kinda/not really sounds like speakers nor headphones. (hard to describe really)


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mzil
post Jan 14 2013, 22:12
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I don't see a category "Galactic Princess" laugh.gif
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Engelsstaub
post Jan 14 2013, 23:50
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QUOTE (almostmitch @ Jan 14 2013, 11:50) *
...I had my eye on these though. Anyone have thoughts on these speakers? yay, nay?


Good entry-level speakers that perform beyond the price, IMO. I have them in my bedroom, which is smallish, and they sound great as long as the source doesn't suck. Positioning/and your environment, as always, is a consideration.

...as for headphones I have a set of Sennheiser HD 595s that I mainly use for critical listening and audio-editing. I have a set of Bowers & Wilkins P5s that I use when I'm listening to my iPod Touch...doing laundry or whatever.

Car speakers are nothing to brag about but get the job done well enough.


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Mach-X
post Jan 15 2013, 03:37
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Sennheiser cx300 series II iems. Huge improvement over series i. Durable, capable of prodigious bottom end if eqd. Dont break the bank.
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Engelsstaub
post Jan 15 2013, 05:22
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QUOTE (mzil @ Jan 14 2013, 19:05) *
...Nay. That MTM arrangement cures problems that are hardly problems at all, and creates new ones, especially if you don't place the tweeter's at exact ear height [so no standing up while listening allowed] http://www.birotechnology.com/articles/VSTWLA.html [read the conclusion]
...


Ideally one should listen to speakers in order to base their conclusions on how they sound. As this is not always possible, I guess I would think the next best thing is to get the advice of someone who owns the speakers and can hear them.

...but that's just me. I guess reading some broadly general technical stuff could have its value too. Whatever.


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probedb
post Jan 15 2013, 08:54
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I've used Westone IEMs for maybe 10 years now. Usually with foam tips, lately Comply. You can tell when the seal goes or the foam starts to loosen as well. I did once get some custom tips but they make them from solid vinyl which while usually comfortable, means that any change to your ear shape, i.e. caused by regular use of earplugs makes it really difficult to get them to seal. So I went back to Comply tips smile.gif

At home I use some 20 year old KEF speakers, never for critical listening (what is that anyway?) as the road I live on is too noisy for that usually.
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JJZolx
post Jan 15 2013, 10:52
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QUOTE (probedb @ Jan 15 2013, 01:54) *
never for critical listening (what is that anyway?)


I would say it's when you're doing nothing but listening to music. Not playing music while you're having a party, or listening while you're eating dinner or listening while you're cleaning the bathroom. All of which I'd call background music. I'd also venture that few people today do anything other than listen to background music.
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probedb
post Jan 15 2013, 12:59
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QUOTE (JJZolx @ Jan 15 2013, 09:52) *
I would say it's when you're doing nothing but listening to music. Not playing music while you're having a party, or listening while you're eating dinner or listening while you're cleaning the bathroom. All of which I'd call background music. I'd also venture that few people today do anything other than listen to background music.


That's what I'd figured. I used to do it when I lived somewhere quieter so it's really just background music these days. I listen more critically on my way to work than at home now!
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DonP
post Jan 15 2013, 13:36
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QUOTE (mzil @ Jan 14 2013, 20:05) *
Nay. That MTM arrangement cures problems that are hardly problems at all, and creates new ones, especially if you don't place the tweeter's at exact ear height [so no standing up while listening allowed] http://www.birotechnology.com/articles/VSTWLA.html [read the conclusion]


The author starts with the assumption that the only motivation for an MTM configuration is to eliminate tilt in the vertical pattern, then puts up graphs showing dips caused by destructive interference as the unwanted side effects. If done right, those dips are the desired effect in that they reduce short delay echos from ceiling and floor.

Plenty of high end speakers take measures to have a wide horizontal pattern while constraining the vertical pattern.

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mzil
post Jan 15 2013, 18:27
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jan 15 2013, 08:36) *
Plenty of high end speakers take measures to have a wide horizontal pattern while constraining the vertical pattern.


So? Plenty of "high end" speakers recommend using bi-wiring, even though it is completely without merit or evidence that it has any audible consequence beyond the fact that the effective, overall thicker gauge of wire used across the room [double the number of strands of a traditional, single run] alters the L, C, and R of the wire [which in some circumstances may have consequences if the single run is, for example, too thin], but that can be easily duplicated simply by using a thicker single wire pair to a single set of speaker binging posts, from the get go. [Not to say that controlled directivity is "inaudible", and I agree in some instances is quite desirable.]

If one prioritizes a specific directivity pattern over a smooth, flat frequency response free of peaks and dips [not me], I'm sure there are any number of manipulations which can be applied. I agree with the author's AES paper which points out that MTM designs have response errors which are "not predicted by a simple lobing error analysis" that most speaker designers utilize.

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