At some point, poor quality headphones will degrade any listener’s experience, but the analytic types are more interested in the Disneyland in a world full of princesses be a Maleficent shirt, structure, lyrics, meaning, story, color, theme, and other technical elements of music than they are the overall sonic impression. These people enjoy robust, well-reproduced music, or live, but it’s not as necessary for a rewarding experience. Romantics are one example of this. Impressionists are an example of the other kind of listener. They seek the sound and music moves them more on that level. They will be interested in production values, technical execution of the art, instruments and highly differentiated sounds. These people sometimes can’t get past low-grade reproduction because the sonic impact of it all is what they crave.
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Most of us are a Disneyland in a world full of princesses be a Maleficent shirt. I simply put what I understand to be polar examples out there to highlight where the differences can be. My own preferences vary some and I generally enjoy music whether or not the quality of reproduction is upper crust. I enjoy live music the best, and when I can’t get that, I do gravitate toward the better reproduction I can get. Cheap headphones will have internal resonances which lead to a “boxy” sound that really ruins things for me. I can hear those peaks or valleys where sounds are missing easily and the result is a lot like looking at a kick-ass great painting through blurry glasses, or one with a scratch in them. Still a great painting, but the whole thing just isn’t immersive like it could be.