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Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? #2869198
07/14/19 10:48 AM
07/14/19 10:48 AM
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Udachny, North-East Siberia
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PianoStartsAt33 Offline OP
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I played some old NES games today and this question appeared in my head.
Are the any details encoded in the core digital sound, in the signal created with processors, that cannot be heard in 100$ headphones and need Sennheiser Orpheus? With computer games, we do not need SUHD monitor for 8 bit stuff - we will not see anything new with higher resolution. But what about digital sound? Can we talk about something like "sound resolution"? I suppose that good VST sample must contain much more details within than samples of cheap slabs. And with modelled sound it's also very interesting...


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Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869202
07/14/19 11:06 AM
07/14/19 11:06 AM
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North of Los Angeles
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Most important to me is comfort. If it is not comfortable I won't wear it.

If you just use it to play the piano I don't think there is a need to spend a lot of money on headphones. You are much busier playing then listening.

If you record yourself it is a bit different.

Have not bought headphones in a while but I would not be surprised if you can get a good set for $40 or less.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869244
07/14/19 01:05 PM
07/14/19 01:05 PM
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Posts: 7,704
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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Many here will advocate high end headphones. Nothing wrong with that so long as you get what you like. But make sure you can return them if you don't!


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869251
07/14/19 01:26 PM
07/14/19 01:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2017
Posts: 550
Celestis
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As an owner of a Focal Clear professional: Yes, VSTi are good enough to take advantage of them.
Differences are subtle though, be aware of ROI and diminishing returns, only buy 1K+ headphones if you would use them anyway.


The backbone of modern industrial society is, and for the foreseeable future will be, the use of electrical Power.
VPC 1 -> Pianoteq 6 Std | Garritan CFX / Pearl Alto Flute 201
Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869264
07/14/19 02:01 PM
07/14/19 02:01 PM
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magicpiano Offline
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To me good headphones are of great importance to be able to enjoy a pleasant piano sound experience (when you can't / don't want to use the internal speakers of the piano, or you use a VST). I bought my DP as a piano bundle + bench + headphones. The bench is very good and is also nice looking, with the same color as the piano. The headphones, if bought alone, cost about $20. They had good reviews from some customers, but after hearing them once, I closed them in the box and probably will never use them again. I am used to headphones that cost between $80-100 and the difference with those of $20 is like day and night, not only when I connect them to the piano, but also to the computer or other devices.

I think good piano headphones should sound as flat as possible. If they exalt some frequencies too much, you could perceive unpleasant artifacts in the notes. And unfortunately all the cheap headphones tend to alter the frequencies of the original sampled sounds too much. Some of them will sound like an old radio. Others will sound too thin, some other too bassy. Many of them will sound dirty on the high frequencies...

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869266
07/14/19 02:07 PM
07/14/19 02:07 PM
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Melving Offline
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$100 headphones may well contain a number of significant sonic inaccuracies which can be pretty obvious (sony 7506 for me). My own solution was Sonarworks, which I recommend highly, if you're a cheapskate... It was that or upgrade the amp, monitors, speakers, and headphones...

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869269
07/14/19 02:29 PM
07/14/19 02:29 PM
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Like commenter magicpiano above, I also got some "economy" headphones (Audio Technicas in my case) as part of a DP bundle. However, I've been using them for nearly a year and I find them to be quite sufficient. Certainly not studio grade high-end types, but a pretty good sound. De gustibus non est disputandum, I guess.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869271
07/14/19 02:36 PM
07/14/19 02:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 1,391
Hong Kong
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If you can, go to a store and try a bunch of headphones with piano music. Decide which ones sound best, fit best, and are light in weight.

If they are too heavy, clamp too hard, or press on a few parts of your head/ear, they won't be very good for long-term practice.

I like big, open-backed, lightweight headphones best. There are plenty of good headphones at popular prices.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869280
07/14/19 03:15 PM
07/14/19 03:15 PM
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anotherscott Offline
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Originally Posted by PianoStartsAt33

Are the any details encoded in the core digital sound, in the signal created with processors, that cannot be heard in 100$ headphones...Can we talk about something like "sound resolution"?

No. Better headphones don't provide greater "resolution" (which is a digital concept, whereas headphones/speakers are ultimately analog)... but they can provide better sound quality. Flatter frequency response is the main thing, freedom from distortion can also be a factor.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869290
07/14/19 04:13 PM
07/14/19 04:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,867
Sofia, Bulgaria
CyberGene Offline
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Some combinations sound better than others. For instance, I prefer my HD-650-s with Garritan CFX and for listening to music, however it turned out my HD-595-s are better on my Yamaha N1X than the HD-650.


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Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: anotherscott] #2869315
07/14/19 05:38 PM
07/14/19 05:38 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,912
Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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What? You don't believe in digital headphones? Or HD/high-definition headphones?
What about 4K HD headphones? Those must REALLY be good. smile
Originally Posted by anotherscott
Better headphones don't provide greater "resolution" (which is a digital concept, whereas headphones/speakers are ultimately analog)... but they can provide better sound quality. Flatter frequency response is the main thing, freedom from distortion can also be a factor.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869333
07/14/19 07:01 PM
07/14/19 07:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 235
Philadelphia
Bruce In Philly Offline
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Another variable is the amp in your keyboard that drives the headphones. The headphone amp in my RD2000 is really pretty poor presenting a classic, cheap transistor sound.. hard. I take line out to an old Grado headphone amp I had laying around and then use that to power my Focal Clear headphones. A very very nice setup. You don't need an expensive headphone amp, but, IMO, you do need an outboard amp. Please avoid those cheap op amps in your keyboard.

Peace
Bruce in Philly


Peace
Bruce in Philly
Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869335
07/14/19 07:09 PM
07/14/19 07:09 PM
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U3piano Offline
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My headphones (superlux) were about €35 and i think they are amazing, I don't need more expensive ones.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869339
07/14/19 07:14 PM
07/14/19 07:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,912
Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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It's the usual principle of diminishing returns.
Buy cheap, get crap.
Buy a little more dear, get a lot better.
Buy a lot more expensive, get only a little bit better.
Buy crazy more expensive, get eesiey-weensie bit better (and get a free tin-foil hat with your purchase).

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: CyberGene] #2869407
07/15/19 05:33 AM
07/15/19 05:33 AM
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 127
Portugal
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MarioPf Offline
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
It's the usual principle of diminishing returns.
Buy cheap, get crap.
Buy a little more dear, get a lot better.
Buy a lot more expensive, get only a little bit better.
Buy crazy more expensive, get eesiey-weensie bit better (and get a free tin-foil hat with your purchase).


This is almost a a technology market law, but it becomes intricate by what GyberGene states below. So you don't have any assurance that spending a lot more in a headphone will give to the sound that you use even a little bit better (subjective) quality.

Originally Posted by CyberGene
Some combinations sound better than others. For instance, I prefer my HD-650-s with Garritan CFX and for listening to music, however it turned out my HD-595-s are better on my Yamaha N1X than the HD-650.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869412
07/15/19 06:18 AM
07/15/19 06:18 AM
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magicpiano Offline
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Being that all the different models of medium/high-quality headphones are built differently, of course they will have different frequency responses. The flatter the response, the more realistic will be the result.

But more realistic doesn't mean that you will like it more. Maybe you prefer a sound with more emphasis on the bass or maybe on the high freqs, so it's always subjective, and this is the reason for the existence of all those models on the market. Of course a true audiophile will always prefer the original flat version being that he wants to hear the most faithful reproduction of the original recorded sound (assuming that it was recorded with high-fedelity equipment, of course).

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869413
07/15/19 06:43 AM
07/15/19 06:43 AM
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Raleigh, North Carolina
MacMacMac Offline
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Flat response may be desirable ... but headphone response doesn't come close.
The curves are like a roller coaster ... but MUCH more bumpy.

If you've seen smooth curves ... those have been smoothed. That's a cheat done to fool you.
Phones are not even close to being flat.

That leaves personal taste as the only available "metric".

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: MacMacMac] #2869424
07/15/19 07:47 AM
07/15/19 07:47 AM
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anotherscott Offline
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
Flat response may be desirable ... but headphone response doesn't come close.
The curves are like a roller coaster ... but MUCH more bumpy.

If you've seen smooth curves ... those have been smoothed. That's a cheat done to fool you.
Phones are not even close to being flat.

That leaves personal taste as the only available "metric".

Just like loudspeakers, none are perfectly flat, but some come a lot closer than others, and you can see that in their published curves or in independent testing at sites like www.head-fi.org or innerfidelity.com - personal taste is not the only available metric.

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869427
07/15/19 08:00 AM
07/15/19 08:00 AM
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U3piano Offline
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I think people tend to get a little caught up in a search for perfection. I once was kinda like that too, but not anymore. Now i prefer getting something that's just good enough, and get used to it.

Everything could always be better anyway..

Re: Are digital pianos or VST worth buying hi-end headphones? [Re: PianoStartsAt33] #2869447
07/15/19 09:13 AM
07/15/19 09:13 AM
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magicpiano Offline
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I'm used to test headphones with a pure sinusoidal wave that I make slowly go from low to high freqs. All the headphones I tested have (sometimes big) holes in the response curve, that's true. But I noticed that the headphones with less holes and/or smaller holes give to my ears a much cleaner and balanced sound and I can listen to music for hours.

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