Why the pursuit of hyper detail?

It seems the current trend is toward “detail retrieval” and “ultra revealing” heaphones / hardware.


I’ve been at plenty of live venues (not shitty loud bars but actually acoustically amazing venues such as red rocks in Denver) and you don’t get micro details shoved down your throat. You’ll never hear the piano keys being depressed and released…

So why chase something so blatantly unrealistic and call it “worth 1 2 3 4k or more”.

I’ve done studio work as a musician too and the same goes for those sessions as well. You just don’t have the level of detail many are looking for shoved in your face. It’s taken more of a whole package for the musicians. The recording engineer is of course breaking down each track then mixing and mastering but he’s shooting for a total package too.

Personally I’d MUCH rather listen to equipment that disappears and sounds warm, natural and organic. To me that’s 100x more life like than ultra hyper micro detail retrieval ever will be.



I guess I’d rank my preferences as follows:

Natural presentation
Sound stage
Flat frequency response
Build quality / ease of use
Detail retrieval

Not that a speaker’s ability to retrieve detail should be absolutely overlooked, but I feel it should be at the bottom of the list in favor of the other areas that provide realism and usability.

idk just a rant.

because why not? it allows someone to immerse themselves into the music they’re listening too.

I can’t say I have noticed that or seek it…but I doubt it would bug me if my gear let me hear that. :slight_smile:

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I think that’s just a difference of opinion and preference.

The ultra detail being shoved in my face is super distracting, and I always feel like I’m listening to speakers, not listening to music.

What allows me to immerse my self into what I’m listening to, is when the equipment gets out of the way and lets the music happen, which is usually NOT when its skull f*cking you with micro detail.


Its funny you say that. After trying out the Elex/1990, even though they aren’t hyper-detailed as others more higher end, they may not be what I’m looking for. It makes me evaluate what I really want. I was planning to keep only 1 of them, but I don’t think I’ll keep any of them. I’ll probably spring for another 97*76 driver based headphone, that’s my jam.


If I can introduce a strange simile, then preferences in hyper detail vs laid back is like preferring being told in a story by a narrator versus being shown in diegetic world building.

Depending on the goal, preferences, and topic, neither is wrong per say, but we have preferences.


gb answered his own question after my post…opinion and preference.

sound is subjective, so it’s what the listener wants and seeks to hear. :smiley:

Well I mean aiming to make a realistic representation of a live performance is kind of a waste of time and blatantly unrealistic imo (cus it ain’t gunna happen). I would just say aim for what you enjoy the most


Damn it depends thoooooo, i listen to alot of instrumentals or classical and so the more the detail the more ot adds to the song. As long as its not hollow or screechy because of the focus on detail. Which is what i assume you are talking about, but of course if its just an acoustic song, rap or pop i prefer a nice dynamic sound over toot much detail

I should also say that when I master, I master to what the client wants (or what I feel they want if they can’t convey it well), and it could come out very different depending on what people want or prefer. But there are standards, I’m not going to give someone something that sounds like crap. The whole extreme detail in studio work comes down to preference on how you like to mix and master, and what you do, so it depends

its a thrill to hear that detail for the first time. which i did with the sendy aivas. ive been listening to music for a long time and i never heard that before in a headphone. Its especially good when you have music you’ve been listening to for the umpteenth time, it makes it all brand new as you hear details that you never heard before.

I love to analyze music. so i love detail in music. But i can understand it is a little distracting. Maybe not so good with new music idk, i would think it would be great even with new music.


I like your statement “I love to analyze music”. If that’s really your goal to pick out what the guitarist is going in detail, then the piano, then the bass, then the vocalist, then the backup singers, then hyper detail will certainly be beneficial.

I tend to prefer a detailed headphine.
My top 2 right now are the Focal Elex and the LCD-X. However every aspect contributes to a headphone’s overall presentation. I’ve returned hyper detailed headphones because another part of it’s presentation was off or unpleasant

how would you compare the LCD-X to the Elex?

Elex’s soundstage is wider and more airy, has a more neutral tonal response, and (it has to be said) is much lighter on the head.

The LCD-X’s bass extends much lower, the soundstage is narrow and in-your-face, it’ss a warmer headphone out of the box (I eq mine), and is more detailed.

Warm, natural and organic is definitely my preference too.

This thread reminds me of HDTV, and how I kinda hated it when I got my first 1080p monitor because everything had “more detail than reality”. All that contrast and sharpness you will never ever even see in real life. But that’s definitely not a resolution (detail) problem, the problem is when people mess with it… like, yes, in music, putting a microphone 6 inches above the piano keys, or when they EQ voices too much to make everything sound clearer… “Thanks, I don’t hear her voice now, I hear a microphone and an EQ.” :confused:

For me it really depends on what I’m listening to. Something like Pink Floyd is jam packed with details - I want to hear all of them. There’s other music that I don’t care for detail and just listen to the music.

Also depends on what I’m listening through. On headphones I want to hear all the detail. On the 2ch rig, staging, imaging and, dynamics are much more important to me.

You can have both. No gear, adjustable sound (warm or cold) that is natural and organic + dynamic AND have the hyper detail. And i like it, i like it alot. Expect with speakers and not headphones cause speakers superior to headphones.
But think it’s also a preference thing. What you like as listener.

Had a friend over and he did not like the hyper detailing in sound. He could not relax to the music and made him to actually listening to it. To me its just pure music and can relax and listen to it like intended.

I don’t know that I want detail shoved down my throat, but I like enough that it sounds “Natural and organic”. If things get too “Dark” “warm” then it sounds muffled and not “natural”. But if it’s too bright, then it sounds “artificial” and metallic. It’s about balance. Obviously like others have said, it’s about preference.

Definitely don’t see a current trend toward “detail retrieval” and “ultra revealing” headphones, though… I don’t see a bunch of people recommending LCD4s and Senn HD800, etc. Blon 02 is one of the more popular threads on here and those are very colored and not very detailed at all, and very tuned towards bass. A big chunk of the audiophile market is geared towards “pure analog” which is inherently less detailed than digital (vinyl, etc).

Also, personally, just my personal opinion, I think choosing a “preference” when it comes to frequency response, be it warm, neutral, or bright, is just limiting yourself.
Personally, I don’t set preferences for myself when it comes to FR graphs. I’ll look at them sometimes if I’m shopping around, but I think that can end up being extremely limiting. It’s like going to different restaurants to try pizza, but ONLY ever trying cheese pizza.
I guarantee if someone who thinks they ONLY like “warm” or “dark” headphones, If they took the time to try and spend time listening to enough different “brightly” tuned headphones with the right kind of music, they could find a bright headphone they love… and vice versa.