How often do you listen to your music through headphones?

How often do you listen to your music through headphones?
All the time
1% (3 votes)
Most of the time
10% (22 votes)
Once in a while
32% (69 votes)
22% (49 votes)
21% (47 votes)
Plan to get a set and start soon
2% (5 votes)
Special projects only (like live recording)
4% (9 votes)
While traveling
7% (15 votes)
Total votes: 219

Some folks like headphones for the privacy, others for the sound. How often do you go for "cans" instead of speakers?

Andrew Romeo's picture

My wife hates all the music I love!

Peter MacHare's picture

Headphones are for my five-year old so that she can watch "The Little Mermaid" while I listen to Ellington.

Rob Malcolm's picture

Once I went away to school I had to listen to headphones because bringing my stereo would have been impractical

Shatbert's picture

I listen through my Sennheiser HD-600's most of the time, so as not to disturb other members of the house and for added privacy. I would always prefer to listen through my B&W Matrix 803's, but for those times when I can't the Sennheisers fill in nicely.

Marc Phillips's picture

I'd love to get back into the headphone scene . . . I spent the majority of my teen years with a pair of Sennheisers clamped to my noggin! My current system, however, contains not one headphone jack. I may be calling those Headroom people very soon.

Graham Mitchell's picture

I prefer to experience a room filled with music. Although if I had headphones as good as the Stax gamma pro's I've heard, I'd listen to them more often.

Carl Eberhart, TN's picture

I rarely listen on headphones, partly because I don't own any high quality ones. But the reasons I don't own quality 'phones are simple: ONE: The mostly nature effects recordings I make with my DAT don't require high quality monitoring in real time. TWO: The basic principal that most "stereophonic" recordings (even highest quality naturally miked ones) still take place inside your head. "Binaural" recordings sound cool with headphones, but there are too few of them to justify listening often to headphones, at least for me. My "one point" stereo mic recordings seem to approach "binaural", but ultimately are more satisfying on speakers in my system. I attribute this to their reasonably good portrayal of "out of phase" (outside the speakers' boundaries for 360 degrees) information. Yes, I'm sure these aren't room related anomalies. THREE: Of the 'phones I've heard, I always get fatigued, not necessarily because of less than perfect accuracy. Rather it feels like my ears and brain will always sense that a "transducer" or "reproducer" is right there on my ear, instead of occupying the air space in the room that my body shares (the way a real acoustical or "musical event" would). FOUR: Obviously I have the time and the opportunity to listen to the system without the worry of disturbing others, though I admit I always want more. You can bet that if 'phones were all I had, I wouldn't spend much less time listening, 'CAUSE IT'S THE MUSIC THAT MATTERS!

E.J.  Vlaadcummin's picture

How often do you listen to a live symphony through headphones?

Miles Bainbridge's picture

I use the Grado SR-60

James's picture

Headphones are great late at night when everyone else is asleep, and their great for listening to VCRs through an A/V reciever.

Craig A.  Ellsworth's picture

My Legacy Whispers provide Stax quality sound for a roomfull of listeners. So when is Sterophile going to demo my WATT Puppy killers anyhow? After all they are good enough for Steve Hoffman and you do say his Gold C.D.s are primo...

Anonymous's picture

For those odd but frequent hours when the full brunt of my two-channel system would interrupt or annoy, I keep a Sony Discman connected to the transmitter end of the actually-quite-good Sennheiser 900 MHZ wireless headphones. My relationship with headsets goes back to the musical heaven that coincided with my childhood, when I drank in the magical stream that was '60's Top 20, or 40, or whatever they called it, in bed feigning sleep mostly, through one of those repellant waxy earplugs connected to a first-generation transistor radio. Midway through high school I noticed that some of the same guys excited about pot and psychedelics also fancied themselves hi fi buffs, and they all extolled the amazing "inside your head" effect headphones provided. I was generously afforded demo opportunities, and was indeed dazzled by the surround effects Jimi gave us on "Electric Ladyland", and heard via a college roommate's KLH cans more detail on albums like Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions" than I had ever realized vinyl grooves were able to store and reproduce. Despite all these fond memories, I never use headphones by choice. The bizarre illusion that musicians are performing inside one's head lost its dazzle rather quickly in my case. I don't insist on the hallucinogenic soundstaging specificity certain recordings project amazingly well through two speakers. Many great recordings consist of mulitudinous overdubs,are essentially monophonic, and succeed totally as music. Anyone who has used headphones as a primary music source is probably saying "What? Excuse me?" to someone right now. Headphones to me always deliver sloppy seconds.

Jim's picture

I listen most of the time with headphones because there is usually already TV or other noises, some where in the house. I also listen when traveling.

Dana's picture

I own a pair of Stax headphones, but only use them when I have to - like when everyone is sleeping. While they are extremely accurate, the sound just isn't nearly as natural sounding as through my speakers.

Jeff Haddon's picture

There should be a "Frequently" category in the above list. That would be my vote. Though headphones have some inherent weaknesses (e.g., goofy imaging, the "leash"), they have some tremendous benefits. The level of resolution, midrange purity and bass detail attainable from even moderately priced headphones can be astounding. This is especially true when one considers the amount of hard-earned money that would have to be shelled out to achieve similar sound quality from a loudspeaker system. In addition, headphones don't bother the neighbors and they aren't affected by poor room placement or reflections. I must add that a HeadRoom amp is a must for dynamic headphones. Besides providing better control for the large diaphragms in high-quality headphones, HeadRoom amps provide an analog crossfeed "processor" that does wonders for the imaging weaknesses of headphones.

Aurelijus's picture

And while traveling (by public transport)

Kurt Christie's picture

Now that I have converted the attic of our house to a dedicated music room (The Loft), there is no need for earphones - for two reasons. First, the privacy is adequate such that the music does not interfere with others in the house. Second, having evolved into a killer system since 1957, I treasure its sound - old faithful Dual turntable, Linn Numerik/Karik CD player, Topaz single-end amp (211 output), Opal tube preamp (for vinyl) or passive preamp for CD, Tannoy Churchill speakers, Kimber cable, etc. Hey, who needs earphones?

JIM WILTSEE's picture

This question reminds me that I do indeed own a highly regarded set of dynamic headphones and a fine preamp with a better than average headphone input. The Sonic Frontier's Line 2 and then the Sennheiser 600s were purchased in part, to provide me with a quality source for private late night listening and to maintain domestic harmony. BOTTOM LINE: AS NICE AS THIS COMBINATION IS, IT JUST AIN'T THE SAME AS FIRING UP MY COMPLETE SYSTEM AND SITTING IN THAT SPECIAL SEAT.

Todd R's picture

Since I have to share the living room with the whole family, there are times when they want to watch TV and I want to play music. At those times I use my headphones and everyone is happy.

Bill Anderson's picture

At night when the family is in bed or in the morning so i dont wake my family.