Beyerdynamic Headzone review queries and comment.

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admin_exported

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Thanks for the review on the Headzone in the current mag, I've been waiting a while for feedback on this unit. Could the reviewer please say how the Headzone surround experience compares to Dolby Headphone (which you can get for about £200, or even included on some receivers). Are we talking night and day difference or just a bit better. In particular how is the centre channel; with dolby headphone the centre speaker is never more than an inch or so away from your head and it takes a while to psycologically adjust to this when listening to dialogue and "pushing" it back to the images on the screen. How would you compare the overall surround effect/quality to a mid range 5.1 system, and what was it like for listing to 2 channel cd's on?

The price of £2,000 is ludicrous and is more or less the same as the professional unit they were selling for a year before they released the Headzone Home. There will probably be an updated version in a year or so with decoding for the new HD sound formats, so I can't see too many people buying this. It should also be wireless with the option to add wired cans.

With two very young children, my tower speakers are in storage, so I use and really enjoy wireless Dolby Headphone for the way it immerses you in a movie by cutting off the outside world. It's not as good as full on 5.1, but it's a damned sight better than low volume 5.1. I also find I remember a lot more about movies several weeks later than I would have with my 5.1 system, purely because it is so immersive.

There must be a market out there for high quality headphone surround for apartment dwellers and late night listeners. I'd love to get a better system than Dolby Headphone, but the Headzone is crazy money. There is another product from Smyth Virtual Surround (SVS) that is supposed to be fantastic but it hasn't come to market yet; there was supposed to be a US$500 Yamaha licensed product (YSV-1) but it never appeared, apart from some CES appearances. Here's hoping it's still somewhere on the horizon.

Having said that, there has been very little interest/publicity in Dolby Headphone in Ireland/UK and most people have had to source their processing units from Europe for the Philips, and Japan for the Pioneer.
 

Simon Lucas

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Hi Socrates, loved you in Bill and Ted's...

The Headzone system is far more convincing than Dolby Headphone, no question, and it integrates the centre channel very successfully into the presentation as a whole.

I'd take a mid-range 5.1 system every time, though - you wouldn't need to spend the full £2000 to outperform the Bayerdynamic. Of its type, it's convincing - but it doesn't create the sense of space an in-room system can. Hardly surprising, really.

It's reasonable in stereo, but nothing like as impressive as the price-tag indicates it should be - but that's the main thrust of the entire review. We were surprised by how effective the Headzone is, but were shocked/appalled by the price.
 
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Anonymous

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Simon,

Thanks very much for the quick and detailed reply. As I said, I really like Dolby Headphones, and this seems to be a lot better, but as you say £2k makes it a complete non starter. I'm holding out for the SVS product which they demo'ed in Japan last autumn. There's also the new DTS Surround sensation processing announced at CES which should come on the market sometime.

Bill and Ted's wasn't my greatest moment (needed the cash), and the fact you liked it could be seen to call your credentials as a reviewer into question, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.!!
 
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Anonymous

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The Smyth Reasearch Realiser is now on sale from their website. I wonder if Simon or anybody else in What Hi-Fi will be trying to get a hold of one to test it out. (they have an office in Belfast). It's about the same price as the Headzone tested two years back if you back out the price of the Stax 'phones/amplifier supplied with it.
 
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