Don Lindich’s Sound Advice: When making the jump, avoid ‘upgrade-itis’


Share with others:


Print Email Read Later

Ques­tion: I read your rec­om­men­da­tion of the Grado head­phones and no­ticed that the SR80e head­phones are only $20 more than the $79 SR60e model. That’s not much more if the head­phones are no­tice­ably bet­ter. How do they dif­fer? Are they worth the ex­tra $20?

TIM THOMPSON

Minneapolis

Answer: I have not heard the SR80e, so I called Jon­a­than Grado at Grado Labs for his in­put. He said that com­pared to the SR60e, the SR80e “is a lit­tle more trans­par­ent, and it has a bit more bass … the dif­fer­ence is sub­tle but no­tice­able, and worth the ex­tra $20 if you have it in your bud­get. If the cus­tomer wants to stay un­der $80 then the SR60e should serve them very well.”

Given how long some­one is likely to own a set of head­phones, spend­ing the ex­tra $20 seems to be an easy de­ci­sion. As some­one who has spent a lot of time pur­chas­ing and ad­vis­ing oth­ers about elec­tron­ics, I cau­tion you not to get “up­grade-itis” and bump your­self into an­other price range en­tirely.

For ex­am­ple, you start by go­ing from the $79 model to the $99 model, a very small jump in price. Then you look and see there is an­other pair of head­phones some­where for $129. You think to your­self, “That’s only an­other $30 on top of the $99? why not?”

Then you look at where you started at $79, and at $129 you are al­most dou­ble from where you be­gan!

When shop­ping for my­self, I’ve done this to the point where I was spend­ing sev­eral times what I orig­i­nally in­tended. At that point I stepped back and did a re­al­ity check, then usu­ally went back and pur­chased one of the lower priced items. More of­ten than not I was fully sat­is­fied with them.

You can see the Grado head­phones at www.gra­dolabs.com.

***

Ques­tion: Do you have a rec­om­men­da­tion for a good pair of noise-can­cel­ling head­phones that are not ex­pen­sive?

LOU SANTORO,

St. Petersburg, FL

Answer: The Au­dio-Tech­nica Qui­etPoint ATH-ANC7B head­phones are a good choice. These closed-back head­phones have ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion sim­i­lar to that found in much more ex­pen­sive mod­els. They list for $179 but can be found on­line for un­der $130.

Read about them at www.au­dio-tech­nica.com.

***

Ques­tion: I read your ar­ti­cle about the ZVOX SoundBase and am torn about what to do for my TV sound sys­tem. I have an older home the­ater in-a-box (HTiB) sys­tem that does not have HDMI. I am de­bat­ing re­plac­ing the re­ceiver with an HDMI re­ceiver and us­ing the HTiB speak­ers, or get­ting the ZVOX for less money and hav­ing a nice sim­ple setup. I don’t want to spend a lot. What are your thoughts?

ADAM NELSON,

San Francisco

Answer: Given that the speak­ers are the weak link in HTiB sys­tems, and also that speak­ers are the most im­por­tant part of a sound sys­tem, chang­ing the re­ceiver and keep­ing the speak­ers is prob­a­bly the ab­so­lute worst thing you can do from a per­for­mance and value stand­point.

I’d give the ZVOX SoundBase a try, es­pe­cially since ZVOX is hav­ing a back-to-school sale right now and the prices have never been bet­ter. The sound is won­der­ful and bet­ter than most any HTiB sys­tem I have heard, all in a much less in­tru­sive com­po­nent that is prob­a­bly less ex­pen­sive, too.

You can see the ZVOX sale at www.zvox­au­dio.com.


Read product reviews by Don Lindich at soundadviceblog.com.

Join the conversation:

Commenting policy | How to report abuse
To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Commenting policy | How to report abuse

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

You have 2 remaining free articles this month

Try unlimited digital access

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here

You’ve reached the limit of free articles this month.

To continue unlimited reading

If you are an existing subscriber,
link your account for free access. Start here