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[Audioholics] Headphone Fashion Guide: Does Style Trump Sound Quality?

post #1 of 16
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Quote:
Portable personal stereo sound has been around since Sony introduced the Walkman in 1979. But few considered the Walkman a fashion statement during its heyday in the early 80s. Then, everything changed with the introduction of the iPod in October 2001, and with Steve Jobs’ immortal marketing pitch:

“1000 songs… in your pocket.”

With those words, Apple pulled the MP3 player from uber-geek exclusivity to the mainstream. Back in 2001, the term MP3 was considered steep tech-talk to the average person. But by breaking an MP3 player down to its essential value for the consumer, Jobs launched more than tech device – he launched a new style.....

....Today, headphone fashion is infinitely more complex.

www.audioholics.com/editorials/headphone-fashion-guide

Read the article. This OCN Audio editor fully agrees with a lot of the points raised in it, which may not sit fully well with your anti iPod or anti Beats crowd. Audioholics is a fantastic trustworthy site among a sea of FUD in AV websites, reviews and articles.
post #2 of 16
Hmm was decent read.

I personally always choose by Price>Sound quality, Looks has never factored in for me... Though I don't care about what I wear/my hair style/other stuff?...either so I probably don't fit with the average person my age.

All that being said I still can't help but giggle a little every time I see someone walking around in beats headphones.
I see people walking around with other much larger over ears and don't blink an eye... the beats just look so funny?
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post #3 of 16
Not a bad read at all. I agree with quite a bit of it but I think he is off the mark when he says
Quote:
Portable personal stereo sound has been around since Sony introduced the Walkman in 1979. But few considered the Walkman a fashion statement during its heyday in the early 80s

Having a walkman clipped to your belt line was most definitely a fashion statement, so much so that we walked around with them clipped to our belt whether we were listening to it or not. No matter how uncomfortable it was, if you were young and had a walkman you never went out without it clipped on you belt and your headphones around your neck.
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post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cainy1991 View Post

Hmm was decent read.

I personally always choose by Price>Sound quality, Looks has never factored in for me... Though I don't care about what I wear/my hair style/other stuff?...either so I probably don't fit with the average person my age.

All that being said I still can't help but giggle a little every time I see someone walking around in beats headphones.
I see people walking around with other much larger over ears and don't blink an eye... the beats just look so funny?

It's b/c Beats are seen as a fashion accessory, other headphones generally aren't.
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post #5 of 16
There are certainly good points in this article. I've always been one to choose function over form, but if I could have both without a huge compromise in either direction, then it would be an easy decision for me. My latest experience of this was in my decision to get the all-black Sennheiser HD 598 SE vs the regular ivory 598s. Of course my main priorities were price and sound quality, but looks were also a factor.

I too roll my eyes when I see people wearing Beats outside, especially in less than ideal situations, but everyone has a preference and it's really not our place to judge them. It's kind of like the slammed/stanced fart-can Honda Civics that have worse handling and contact patch than their stock counterparts, but it's become a huge culture/hobby that has spread throughout the world. I can appreciate that those people love working on their cars, but I could never understand why they would give up performance/convenience just for looks.
    
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post #6 of 16
Does Fashion Trump Sound Quality?

Well it depend on a few things. Are you listening to music on an phone? Then Style wins.

I mean are you really going to carry a Amp/Dac extra cord bulking your pockets up just for better sound on a daily basis? I tried and stopped, It was very inconvenient. Plus a few pointed out my DT990s looked like Earmuffs. They loved the Audio Quality though when I showed them.


Sometimes convenience trumps sound quality. Like My Corsair Wireless Gaming Headset. Its nice to be able to get up and grab a beer, go bio, or talk to my friends while cooking in the middle of a prolonged gaming session. What is not so convenient? Have to take on/off your Headphones every time you get up/sitdown.


Convenience Trumps all!
Edited by BeerPowered - 2/5/16 at 7:50pm
post #7 of 16
Nice article, I kinda went through this myself when my sister told me she wanted a pair of Beats when they first exploded in popularity, and I spent ages trying to convince her to get some more sensibly priced headphones that better balanced looks and audio quality. She eventually got fed up with my relentless logic and told me she didn't care about how they sounded or how much they cost, it was purely for the 'prestige' of owning Beats biggrin.gif
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserFrederick View Post

Nice article, I kinda went through this myself when my sister told me she wanted a pair of Beats when they first exploded in popularity, and I spent ages trying to convince her to get some more sensibly priced headphones that better balanced looks and audio quality. She eventually got fed up with my relentless logic and told me she didn't care about how they sounded or how much they cost, it was purely for the 'prestige' of owning Beats biggrin.gif

My daughter was the same way...kept bugging me over and over again for a pair of beats for Christmas....If it wasnt they had a black friday deal on solo2's i would have gotten her something else...
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post #9 of 16

For me I normally go by

 

Quality > Durability > Price > Style > Portability

 

As long as it sounds great i could care less what it looks like as most of time i don't use them outside the house.

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post #10 of 16
When I buy something, I first ask myself what the main usage scenarios will be, and then make sure to buy something that fits that.

When I bought my ATH-A900X, I bought it because I wanted something that would block out the noise of my 13 server grade computer fans, would be very comfortable to wear for hours on end while sitting at my computer, have a large soundstage for positional audio in games, sound great when watching movies or listening to music, didn't cost more than $250. The ATH-A900X does all those things well, and the shortcomings of these headphones are irrelevant to my usage (sure they're bulky and ugly, but I'm just using them at my computer behind a locked door, etc), thus they were the cans I picked for the job.

When I wanted something to use on the go with my unamped portable device(s), things like positional audio for gaming became irrelevant. The beefy extra long cable of the A900X would have just been a burden, as would its huge size, etc. What I did need was some really efficient IEMs with interchangeable tips so I could switch between blocking out the noise when on the DC Metro, and having some situational awareness while riding a bike, etc. I didn't want to spend more than $125 because these were likely to be damaged and need to be replaced in the long run, but I also didn't want garbage that would make my music sound more agonizing than exciting. Etymotic ER-6i was on sale and fit all those needs. I don't care much about their looks, no one is going to see them embedded within my ears with the cable run under my cloths, etc.

My GF is looking to replace her uncomfortable and damaged cans, and we happen to be in the process of building her a themed gaming and photoshop rig, all sleek white and red, fully custom keycap set, custom painted keyboard and mouse, etc. She has poor hearing, so we don't need anything amazing for her, but it would be fantastic if it fit well with her new system's theme without extensive modification, sounded decent, and was durable enough to survive her clumsiness and pets. She also could use a new mic, as her current Zalman clip on has a damaged cable that doesn't work at certain angles any more. Oh, V-Moda produces gorgeous white and red headphones that sound pretty good, are more comfortable than her current cans, can have a high end mic attached directly to them, are fairly robust, and even offers custom 3D printed metal plates that she can have her new system's custom logo printed on? Perfect.

If I were to bum around a college campus trying to pick up drunk hipsters, some oversized and outdated looking cans would be ideal. No other aspect would be important. I wouldn't even have to wear them on my head, just having them around my neck would probably do. Similarly, Beats would be my cans of choice if I was trying to impress a bunch of Facebook zombies.

So what's the point of this huge wall of text? Simple. There is no single universal answer to what the most important quality to look for should be. It is entirely dependant on the user and their intended usage. As such, articles like this are entirely pointless.
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