Mainstream headphones.

Audiophile headphones* are a niche market, a profitable one but still small when compared with the professional and the mainstream markets.
In this hobby most of us, if not all, tend to have a “limited” view based on our experience with gear, audio/music related knowledge and the communities we interact with.

Let’s imagine that our view on the hobby is a soap bubble, the more we interact with each other, the bigger the bubble becomes, sometimes even encompassing other types of hobby like electronics, computers, cars, etc.
When community members new and old interact with each other, their views are broaden, thus their interaction is necessary if this hobby is to grow.

A good example are mainstream headphones which most audiophiles will keep clear from. New members of the community sometimes praise a certain headphone only to be bashed by the all mighty audiophiles.
That’s wrong and we as a community should avoid bashing members of the community who only want to share their finds, we should also try out the headphones before we bash them.
Some forum audiophiles have the bad habit of bashing gear they never tried based on opinions of other reputable members.
If you are going to bash gear, you should at least try it once before you do it.

The Sony MH750/755 series are nice examples of amazing mainstream headphones, which are now praised by many important members of the community as sound references way above their puny price point.
Other models include headphones by LG, Sony/Ericsson, etc. Just because it’s mainstream doesn’t mean it’s shit like the AKG Y20.

Sure, sometimes the community will hype products, and it’s up to all members to test out gear and share their views in a fair way.
There are also interests behind some hyped products, if a certain product always had bad reviews and someone reviews it with 5 stars, I would be very suspicious of said product and reviewer.

Mainstream gear isn’t inherently bad, and the sooner we as a community admit it without preconceived audiophile ideas, the faster companies will create better mainstream products.

A little side note, the title of this blog post was almost “Greyman headphones”, a greyman in urban survival, is someone with survival skills/gear that doesn’t stand out in the crowd. Often these survivalists dress in muted color tones and use normal urban gear instead of using tactical gear.
Well, some mainstream headphones also share some points with an greyman, they sometimes look plain and muted, will not stand out visually but will sound amazing.

*Headphones in this article will refer to all types of headgear.

8 thoughts on “Mainstream headphones.

  1. I really need to get myself a pair of “mainstream” headphones, something really mediocre, because I’ve forgotten what bad audio sounds like, which makes it hard to appreciate good audio. The problem is that I don’t even know what is mainstream right now.

    Liked by 1 person

      • AKG and Sony are respected audio brands among audio enthusiasts. I’m talking about the headphones normal people buy and wear. It seems like it’s all earbuds, ANC, Bluetooth, or some combination of those. Maybe I just need to start listening to the speakers built into my monitor for awhile to cleanse my palate or maybe I should buy a Corsair or Razer “gaming” headset. That’s like burning money though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sennheiser <100$ headphones are well-known as gateway audiophile gadgets. InnerFidelity even put one on their Hall of Fame list.

    For a taste of mainstream, one should probably look to brands like Beats ("high-end"). There are a lot of cheap brands like Mpow or Anker on Amazon. I really doubt these are a big step-up from the $10 makes-sound quality earbuds.

    Although Sony and Bose are respected audio manufacturers, I would regard these as mainstream just because those names don't get me the blank stare into the horizon that names like Sennheiser or NAD gets me. I am torn about whether Philips falls in that same category.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sennheiser has good on-ear and around the ear headphones but their cheap in-ears are so so.
      Some cheap Sony’s are awful, a good example is the Sony MDR-V150, I love Sony but when they fail, they fail big time. The also have some bass enhanced models which sound awful as hell.
      In my opinion, Philips these days falls in the mainstream, long gone are the times they actually cared about audiophile sound quality, they do have some cheap gems.
      For us who enjoy audiophile grade headphones, there are some gems in the cheap mainstream gear.

      Liked by 1 person

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