best price range of headphones for an Ipod

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by Christopher, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Casual Listener

    Aug 21, 2011
    Hey guys, i have owned £30 headphones for a while and have recently been looking for nice upgrades, such as the Phonak PFE 112 or the Ultimate ears 700. However my music is mostly straight off from itunes and i play it on my ipod touch. would expensive headphones bring my music to life? or will they highlight the bad quality of the music?
  2. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Apr 28, 2010
    This is a really good question!

    Hi Christopher

    iTunes downloadable MP3's are in 256kbps format which is not too bad. Far from audiophile quality but equally far from the ultra lossy badly converted files of old.

    Here is how I see it -

    At 128kbps files are compressed so far that only cheap headphones will disguise the poor sound quality. Important detail is missing and stereo imaging is compromised. Medium to high quality headphones and ear phones (£30-£1000) will show the files up and you are more likely to spend time marvelling over the lack of quality than you are to enjoy your music.

    At 256kbps things are much improved - this is the point at which it begins to matter more which headphones you have. Cheap headphones and poorly designed units will always sound bad but at this quality you begin to make use of the abilities of better headphones.

    Whatever headphones you have, better quality recordings are the way forward as headphones get better and better at the cheaper end of the market. Headphones like Phonak PFE 012 and the Westone UM1 are probably capable of a bit more subtlety and detail than 256kbps files contain, but that will not make them sound bad.

    I would go for something in this kind of price bracket - unless you intend to update all your music to lossless going much further would be a bit pointless. No point trying to exploit extra sound which is not there but something like a Phonak will make the most of 256kbps and sound better with this quality than a cheap badly thought out pair.

    Hope that makes sense:D

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