Monitors and headphones

I was wondering what specifications I should be looking for when purchasing a monitor or headphone.

 

What certain values are good, good brands, etc.  A description of each specificaton, and the importance to the quality of the item it is.

 

Overall just what I should look for in either item, good brands, etc.  I literally know nothing about what I should look for.

well, for monitors resolution is important, that means how many rows and collumns of pixels there are in a display. honestly, to me resolutions below 1366x768 is bad, i guess in some cases 1280x720 is ok, but not amazing 1920x 1080 (1080p) is pretty much standard. look for a size that fits the space you have, remember the size listed is always from the bottom left corner to the top right. contrast ratio is important, the higher the better. it basically means that it can reproduce more "true to life" whites. the ammount of colours that it can produce is also important. standard for a monitor is around 16.7 million colours. aspect ratio is important, 16:9 is what most people should have/ get.thats about the size of things for monitors.

 

in terms of headphones:

driver size is important, if there is only 1 30mm driver in a pair of over/ on ears, then it might be a bit crap, but around 40 or 50mm is good for a nice all round speaker. driver size is not important for in ears. impeadence is not very important, so long as it is around 16 or 32 ohms its fine for headphones (propper speakers are different). you should lnow what db are. its decibels which is the volume. frequency range is important, standard is 20hz-20khz humans cant hear much lower or higher than that. thats about all i know about headphones.

hope this helps,

tom

Important with regards to headphones is the difference in open or closed- and over or on-ear, their sound signature and the general market chosen: studio, hifi, or consumer.

The general market chosen by the company is reflected in the sound signature. Very generally speaking studio headphones are to be neutral or towards flat in their response to make sure that recordings are clean and the end presentation is how the artists or producer wants to have it, nevertheless they can still be very enjoyable to listen to. Hifi headphones are more aimed at listening pleasure and will provide you with many different kinds of sound signatures: warm or cold, analytical or smooth and which is reflected partly in how the headphone represents the low, mid and high frequencies and capability of the drives to represent instrument placement and soundstage (like the size of a plaine upon which they are placed). Enjoyment of these headphones will be very much subjective and headphone brands in this category tend to have their own flavour, Sennheiser -> smooth (focus on mids and lows, except for the Sennheiser HD-25-1-IIs), Grado -> bright (focus more on highs) -> AKG -> analytical. And therefore, these headphones also have genres or types of music with which they work best or will result in a more enjoyable experience. For example: Listening to Jazz with an AKG 701 will be less enjoyable than with a Sennheiser HD650. The consumer category is more about the looks and mostly includes products which are overpriced due to the marketing behind it, clear examples are Beats by Dre. While they may sound enveloping due to the large amount of bass generally produced with these products, they lack in clarity, frequency response and in general in the presentation of the mid-high and high frequencies (frequencies which some listeners appreciate as opposed to the large masses). The more you pay in general (not taking into account consumer products) you end up with more capable headphones that are more clear, better sound stage, instrument placement, etc etc. But there is a decreasing return involved and more capable headphones need more capable equipment and (good audiofiles - WAV, FLAC, ALAC as well) to get the most out of them.

The specifications are important to the extent of what other equipment you should use in order to properly drive them. Frequency ranges and such do not tell so much about the output. It can be regarded that specifications in general except for impendance or Ohms are largely out of proportion to attract consumers who think higher numbers or longer ranges make for a better product. All I can say is listen for yourself and hear what is right for you and your budget.

Almost forgot but open closed and over or on-ear type of headphones will also have an influence on the sound and comfort. Open headphones (mostly also over the ear, except for the budget Grado's) provide, in general, for a wider soundstage, but will have a lower punch to the bass, not that it will not be present at all, except when the focus is on the high frequencies (still generally speaking). Closed headphones are rather the opposite, but there are still nuances and exceptions. Difference between on and over the ear is mostly comfort related, but over the ear generally sound larger or full bodied.

Personally own the Sennheiser HD-25 1 II's use them for everything. While I do feel that they sound to small for classical music that contain orchestra's. I love them for everything else, from acoustic to electronic to rock (sorry I hardly listen to metal) and from any equipment I use, phones, tablets, mp3 players and sound card. The latter which is a benefit of a low impendance (they will sound decent even if your equipment cannot provide that much juice to the drivers).

Btw do you mean with monitors like bookshelf speakers or lcd panels?