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Fixed: Trendy headphones and phone

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  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    I picked up an HTC Sensation XL yesterday, mainly because it was targeted at audiophiles, something Apple are the poorest at, and Microsoft are yet to pick the importance of. If you walk down the high street, pretty much everyone is wearing ear/headphones. On itunes you cannot get music that is higher than 256kbs, illustrating the deafness of the typical iWorshiper.

    Anyway, the phone comes with beats audio, and a pair of cool headphones branded as Beats by Dr Dre. What remains to be said, is that I will be going to sell them today. They retail for £170 (not bad for a phone freebie) but sound no better than a pair of £15 senhinser's. One cannot criticise their looks, as they are on every trendy teenagers Christmas wish list, but they are absolutely dreadful at playing music. I have two other DJ grade headphones that I have used to compare one that cost £120 and the other £40, both have a far wider frequency range.

     

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    The HTC Sensation XL targeted at audiophiles? Last time I checked it still doesn't have a dedicated sound decoder chip, something the iPhone has had since it invention and as a result the sound reproduction isn't smooth if a high CPU usage process is running (e.g. Game, Video, etc).

    The phone also has an equaliser profile designed for the Dr. Dre-Monster headphones, so that when they get plugged in it makes the sound "pop." But beyond that they haven't really done much over the base HTC Sensation for audiophiles. It is all branding/marketing.

    256 Kb/s is fine. Very little [digital] music is even produced at higher than that. You could encode it higher but the additional spectrum space would almost certainly go unused. I'd call shenanigans on anyone who claimed they could tell the difference between 256 Kb/s and 320 Kb/s.

    Plus Beats headphones are overpriced *. They are sold for £100, but get destroyed by anything else in the same price range.

     

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @ManipUni: Sound wise there is a little improvement from the previous phone (and my iPad). I tend to listen to 24bit audio at 96Khz, so I would certainly call shenanigans on your 256 recordings, and if you play in pubs and clubs with sound systems that cost many thousands, it seems illogical that people reduce the sonic quality of their recording from to MP3, only to purchase headphones that try to recreate the sound that has been lost. When I record mixes, there is a huge difference in a .wav and a 320kps .mp3 at high volume. If you have people on a dance floor, they stop dancing because they think you have turned the volume down. that is 320kps mp3's for you.

    Human hearing (average) is between 20 and 20000hz, and your typical iPod listening, Lady gaga fan is in heaven. If you look at studio headphones for around £500 they go to 80 000 Hz. Obviously they are making these headphones for a reason

    If you examine the music collection of the 256K iPod/iPhone listening person, the music is either guitar based (nowt wrong with that), or not very well produced, like classical music or jazz is where even 320kbs is unnacceptable or you XFactor/Justin Beiber type pap that isn't really music. It is a case of the deaf telling you what is acceptable audio, or someone that dines at MacDonald's telling you foie-gras and caviar tastes like sh**!

    SLR cameras exist for a reason, mp3s and 256kbs audio is the equivalent of your 5Megapixel camera on your phone, to people that know their sound.

    The HTC sensations are dual core, the one I got is single running at 1.5 Ghz which is more than adequate for playing music. The xbox is for games.

    The headphones I got are these.

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    Meh. I think most Audiophiles are just more susceptible to marketing than your average person. I bet most of them in a blind test couldn't pick up the highest quality sound. 

    SLRs do exist for a reason, and that reason is simply physics. Smaller sensors take longer to record the same amount of light and subject isolation is more difficult. These things cannot be overcome by imagining a better outcome. 

    http://mp3ornot.com/   

    The Audiophiles gave your Dr. Dre Solo's a 6.5 for sound and a 6 for price. 

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    fat fingers

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @ManipUni: Exactly, most audiophiles think they are but aren't. Especially if buying a set of branded headphones that are worn by footballers.

    I have not sold my headphones yet, but I was speaking with a work colleague about this last week, so am going to take all three pairs that I have, blindfold him, and ask him to choose the most expensive.

    The fact of the matter is these headphones are more about conspicuous usage rather than good taste.

    BTW, that .mp3ornot.com article specifically uses acoustic guitar which is nowhere near a diverse as Miles or the Pavel Haas Quartet. It is the people that listen to this type of music that will tell you that 320 mp3's are crap. When you have the original issue of Kind of Blue on Vinyl, the original and remastered versions on CD that 128/320 test shows its sonic limitations.

    I am specifically talking about music recorded in 24bit studios (the bulk of my record collection) as opposed to your ten records a day produced music that comes out nowadays, people seem to prefer more pap, rather than taking time to create something brilliant. You have people that remix a record that was recorded over weeks being butchered in an afternoon, and released as a remix.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    So you are an audiophile and listen (and try to judge) music from a goddamn phone?!

    Seriously? Expressionless

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @PaoloM: I judge it from my Technics 1210 turntables or Traktor S4

    I went for this as someone was saying that they are listening to people that prefer good sound over anything else on their phone. I listen to music more on my phone than anything else, so it made sense, and there is a real improvement in the phones sound with my personal headphones but the expensive, tariff raising ones are crap.

  • User profile image
    spivonious

    I consider myself a "budget audiophile".

    I did a test once between a 128kbps WMA, 128kbps MP3, and WMA Lossless.

    I encoded a rock track and a classical track. On my computer speakers (X-Fi -> Logitech Z-2300), I could hear no difference, and routinely picked wrong in a blind test. On my home theater system (Denon AVR-1610 -> Jamo S413 5.1 set), I couldn't distinguish between the WMA and MP3, but the Lossless tracks sounded clearer and more open. If I wasn't listening for differences, I probably wouldn't have noticed.

    Bottom line? If I'm listening to any lossy compression music on a cell phone, I'm sticking with the bundled earbuds. I'd even go so far as to say that anyone who expects high quality audio from a mobile device is fooling themselves.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    I'll be honest and say I failed that test, I incorrectly identified the 320kbps piece as 128kbps.

    In my defence, it really depends on the music and the quality of the encoder. I've come across some awful, awful 128kbps MP3s and others that were just as good as the 256kbps versions.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @spivonious: For me it is the headphones that are the issue. I went back into the shop today, after speaking after with my sys admin at work, and they are going to get me a new phone and set of headphones as a replacement as there is clearly a defect with the headphones. I took three sets of headphones for them to compare in the shop.

    If the audio is still poor on Friday after the new headphones are delivered, I will leave both the phone and the headphones in the shop, and cancel the contract, and tell them to kick HTC and the Beats By Dre peoples backsides for treating their customers like deaf fools.

    The audio however is pretty good on the same phone with my cheaper and moderately expensive headphones though (acceptable for a mobile device)

     

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    Got a replacement phone and headphones. Much much better, though probably not worth the price (I am tight fisted) as you an get comparable sound for much less

  • User profile image
    brich

    On the go, I really enjoy the balanced sound I hear when using a pair of Sennheiser PX100 portable headphones. No over-done bass frequencies, never fatiguing and they work well with my iPhone 4s. If you have never checked out these inexpensive 'cans,' I'd recommend an audition.

  • User profile image
    vesuvius

    @brich: Yes, they are quite good. The all important frequency is wider than a pair that cost £140 ($200) more

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    I've been thinking of getting these lately. http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/headphones/0edf909675b1be4d/index.html

    Lots of musicians like them and I kind of like the idea of not needing to rely on speakers in this room that isn't acoustically treated in any way.I spend lots of time messing with softsynths and making sounds so it's probably worth it.

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