What the hell happened to headphone prices!!

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Zor Prime

Senior member
Nov 7, 1999
888
475
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... I can wear the QC’s for hours and almost forget they’re there ...

Granted, the Bose’s sound isn’t anywhere the quality/range/depth/however you want to say it compared to those, but they’re darned comfortable. And if they (headphones) are a pain to wear, their sound is irrelevant. The Bose’s sound is good enuf.
This. This all day. The QCs have incredible comfort. I CAN forget they're there. They don't sound as good as my old favorite, Sony MDR-7506s but the comfort makes up for it. The 7506's with aftermarket padding are no slouch in the comfort department, too.
 
Jul 27, 2020
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I have the SR850. The freaky thing is when I hear background sounds in movies, like a door closing, it sounds like it closed behind me, making me look over my shoulder in the middle of the night. Creepy!

Looking to get the SR950. Supposed to be more "fun" sounding.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
48,017
4,953
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The STAX SR-X9000 electrostatic headphones are on sale for $6,200 with a $500 deposit & 2 to 3 month lead time:


Great to pair with a Blue Hawaii amplifier in multiple color choices for only $7,000:


Personally, I needed wireless, so I went with the $35 Amazon Echo Buds 2023 Edition instead, still pretty good!


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Mar 11, 2004
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Meh, that setup has nothing on the Sennheiser Orpheus.

So I was thinking of replacing my venerable HD595s, I've replaced the band and ear pads LOTS of times and the new pads are not that comfortable. and theres a couple of cracks on the sides. And the 6.35 jack is, frankly, a pain in the arse in all situations. And they look like they were made in the early 2000's.

They still sound great though.

Anyway I dont remember them costing that much. Headphones that I'm assuming are equal to them (but wireless) seem to be the momentum 4s at over £300!

Am I just an old man shouting at clouds here or has there been a weird headphone price inflation thing that I was unaware of?

There are modern versions of the 595s (HD 599). I think you can probably even find 595s pretty easily too.

Just be happy you didn't end up on far too many audiophile boutique sites where there's an abundance of $1000+ headphones.

There's more variety and better quality at old prices. You're comparing not equal headphones. Wireless inherently costs more, and the Momentum are targeting the Apple/Beats crowd so they'll carry a bit of a premium as well.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
36,936
7,818
136
So I was thinking of replacing my venerable HD595s, I've replaced the band and ear pads LOTS of times and the new pads are not that comfortable. and theres a couple of cracks on the sides. And the 6.35 jack is, frankly, a pain in the arse in all situations. And they look like they were made in the early 2000's.

They still sound great though.

Anyway I dont remember them costing that much. Headphones that I'm assuming are equal to them (but wireless) seem to be the momentum 4s at over £300!

Am I just an old man shouting at clouds here or has there been a weird headphone price inflation thing that I was unaware of?
Reacting to your thread title I was wondering which way the prices were going until reading your OP here.

My thoughts are this. I don't find over the ear headphones comfortable. I will very often wear headphones for hours at a time. I usually use a set when I watch a movie or when listening to the radio. I listen to my (and other DJ's) 2-3 hour radio shows using them, either live or pre-recorded.

I had a job as the sole programmer/developer for the mission critical data application of the company I worked for in the business district of San Francisco. Only a select few of the upper management had their own offices. I was out in the open floor. A lot of the time I was coding, testing, etc. One error could get me in very hot water. I eventually succeeded in getting them to put me into a tiny office with a door that I shared with just one other person. I liked him fine, plus he was usually out in other places doing this and that, meaning I had total peace and quiet to do my work and could keep the door closed if I wanted to. Before that I was often driven nuts by a variety of chatter "on the floor." The solution I came to was finding isolating earbuds, and they were Etymotic Research ER4S. I read info online by people who swore by their extraordinary fidelity and relatively flat response across the audio spectrum (my preference). A whole lot of the customers said they needed to boost the output with a headphone amplifier, so I bought one of those, an Airhead. But I found that unnecessary and use that now to boost the headphone output of one of my CD systems. I have been a devotee of ER ever since and have bought many of their various offerings. They have several cheaper earbud systems that I find just fine for my purposes. They have the advantage that you can swap out the cords with new ones.

I find earbuds more comfortable than over the ear. Those always press on the outer ear. I also have a set of wireless Sony WF-1000XM3 noise cancelling earbuds, but haven't taken to them. The Etymotic Research issues concern dealing with the cord, but I'll take that over dealing with wireless connectivity issues, so far.

I also have a set of Bose Quietcomfort 20 noise cancelling ear bud headphones that cost me $240 off Ebay in 2014. I use them exclusively to cut out noise from the neighborhood sometimes if I take a nap. I tested them a week or two ago for sound and they were absolute crap compared to any of my ER earbuds. Useless for music! The ER's are not noise cancelling, they are isolating. If you shove the earbuds deep enough into your ear canals (I moisten them with a bit of spit to facilitate this), outside sounds are largely blocked out. I love them for listening to music in the gym for this reason.
This. This all day. The QCs have incredible comfort. I CAN forget they're there. They don't sound as good as my old favorite, Sony MDR-7506s but the comfort makes up for it. The 7506's with aftermarket padding are no slouch in the comfort department, too.
I have a set of those Sony's and never use them because of that comfort thing. I have them stashed in my locker at the radio station in case the headset in the air studio is unusable for some reason.
 
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Zor Prime

Senior member
Nov 7, 1999
888
475
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I have a set of those Sony's and never use them because of that comfort thing. I have them stashed in my locker at the radio station in case the headset in the air studio is unusable for some reason.
Who would have thunk it, 7506s at a radio station. What ever is the world coming to? lol. Sometimes once in a rare blue moon I pretend to make music and use the 7506s as a reference monitor headset, which it actually excels at. But yeah the original padding isn't comfortable, not sure it's actually supposed to be comfortable however. But there are lots of aftermarket padding options for it.
 
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Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
11,578
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These youngins are rasing prices!!

The sony walkman I bought in 1983 was $18 Now its selling for $200 plus. :(
 
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IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
67,972
25,005
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The STAX SR-X9000 electrostatic headphones are on sale for $6,200 with a $500 deposit & 2 to 3 month lead time:


Great to pair with a Blue Hawaii amplifier in multiple color choices for only $7,000:


Personally, I needed wireless, so I went with the $35 Amazon Echo Buds 2023 Edition instead, still pretty good!


View attachment 82772
I don't know. If you look at the spike feet on the two components, you can see that the spikes on the amp have a sharper angle than on the other unit. This can create all sorts of undesirable resonances and anti-sympathetic harmonics. All your music would have an subtle yet unmistakable undercurrent of CSN&Y on a bad day.
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
19,850
18,312
136
Just got the Ultimate Ears U4s as my high end all-rounder IEM.

But ultimately saving up for the ZMF Caldera Planars as my end game over ear. Done so much research on my end-game planars - Meze Elite, Final Audio D1000 Pro, LCD-4, LCD-5. It's the Caldera.

November they will release the next batch of limited edition stabilized wood editions, and I will be ready with my 4K to get them.
 
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[DHT]Osiris

Lifer
Dec 15, 2015
13,034
10,883
146
The STAX SR-X9000 electrostatic headphones are on sale for $6,200 with a $500 deposit & 2 to 3 month lead time:


Great to pair with a Blue Hawaii amplifier in multiple color choices for only $7,000:


Personally, I needed wireless, so I went with the $35 Amazon Echo Buds 2023 Edition instead, still pretty good!


View attachment 82772
Haha, ridiculous. My MDR-V900HD's are still going strong. Mama's, don't let your babies grow up to be audiophiles.
 
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Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
36,936
7,818
136
These youngins are rasing prices!!

The sony walkman I bought in 1983 was $18 Now its selling for $200 plus. :(
I still have my Sony Walkman that I bought probably about 1981?. It was FM, that's it... but boy, it sounded awesome. I repaired that thing so many times! It's like the Frankenstein monster. Epoxy glue inside, outside..., things glued to it, I can't remember the things I did to keep it working. It sits in a drawer. Still have the case it came with too. IIRC, it used 2 AA batteries. I paid a lot more than $18 for it... I don't remember but think I paid ~$100 for it...

Yup:

How much did a Walkman cost in 1981?

In 1981, models of Walkman's ranged in price from $100 to $200. The mobility of the Walkman was its top selling point. Nov 2, 2020


I also repaired myriad headphones I used with the Walkmen type devices I used for years and years.
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
19,850
18,312
136
Better to be a music lover than an audiophile. ;)

Very true. It's best to be both. I thought higher end audio was all silly when I was younger. I was wrong. Of course it can also turn into a consumer obsession too, and there are definitely many points of diminishing returns in the hobby. But some good gear with some good music from a good source, it can be mind-blowing.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
36,936
7,818
136
Very true. It's best to be both. I thought higher end audio was all silly when I was younger. I was wrong. Of course it can also turn into a consumer obsession too, and there are definitely many points of diminishing returns in the hobby. But some good gear with some good music from a good source, it can be mind-blowing.
I built a lot of my audio from the beginning.

My first unit was a crystal set! Didn't even have a battery, you used headphones to hear. IIRC, it had one driver, i.e. left ear!

Then I built a radio that used a battery and IIRC had one tube. Also had a little speaker, maybe 4-5 inch POS, the whole thing was contained in a cardboard box. It was a kit.

I think I built another primitive radio, more powerful, but that may be a fantasy.

During my first year at the University I went for real "high fidelity." All from kits, a tuner, a preamp, 2 separate amplifiers, all Eico manufactured. Soldering iron, instructions, it was all parts, nothing pre-assembled. Even my speakers were basically put together. JBL 8" full range speakers in cabinets that I painted glossy jet black.

This was before FM stereo existed. That was born about a year later and I built an Eico multiplex adapter to render my Eico tuner stereo.

My turntable was a kit too, I had to mount everything in a housing I bought separately.

I bought HiFi headphones. I was in high fidelity stereo heaven. I was ALSO a music lover. I liked nothing better to do with my money than buy new LPs, most of which I still have.

But I'm way older now and my ears aren't as good. I still love music, I still have moving new musical discoveries, constantly, but I don't worry about the fidelity of my equipment unless I notice problems... distortion, discontinuity issues, things of that sort. I don't worry about arguments for vinyl versus digital music. I sold my Eico amplifiers to a musician who lived in my house. I was not sad to see them go, I was no longer using them. I hated having to test and replace the Eico components' tubes. I think I must have had to do that dozens of times.
 
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sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
93,663
14,282
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Hey, if you don't have anything cool or interesting to say, STFU.
I grew up in an electronics retailer/mid tier distributor. So I am familiar with the shady side of the business.

<--- seen b&w CRT packed in straws and wood slats.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
36,936
7,818
136
I grew up in an electronics retailer/mid tier distributor. So I am familiar with the shady side of the business.

<--- seen b&w CRT packed in straws and wood slats.
The first TV I personally owned was a maybe 12" B&W CRT back in the day. Remotes AFAIK did not exist. Then I went 20 years with no television whatsoever. I'm still not much into TV. Some sports and news, that's mostly it.

One of the books I'm reading is Jerry Mander's Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. It's really really excellent. It was 1978 and he had tremendous insight into how television was fucking things up bigtime. I only became aware of the book after Mander's death, which was just this April. When the book was published I had no TV and wouldn't for more than a decade.
 
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