The Idea of Home Theater Headphones Doesn’t Make Sense
So the idea of home theater headphones is gaining momentum as the personal audio experience is becoming more and more sophisticated.
Not sounding like a curmudgeon, but that’s a bad idea on several levels.
First, home theater headphones would eliminate the shared experience of watching movies with family and friends. Movies, sports, and even great TV shows are more than a viewing experience – they’re a social event, and using headphones would make social interaction difficult in these situations.
Another important point that supports the community experience is the visceral element of a beautiful home theater or cinematic setting.
Yes, it’s true that technologies like binaural audio are designed to reproduce a more natural listening experience for headphones. There are also other solutions such as Dolby’s Dimension Headphones and DTS ‘Headphone X platform designed for a cinematic headphone experience. However, these solutions do not offer the volume, picture quality and immersive experience of a multi-channel home theater or commercial theater.
Traditional home theaters and commercial theaters, regardless of whether they contain immersive technology, produce space, imagery and electricity that headphones cannot reproduce.
It may be that headphones, like traditional speaker systems, are capable of delivering high sound pressure levels (SPLs), but due to the physics of driver sizes in headphones, headphones cannot deliver the same power and weight as traditional systems can.
I will acknowledge that since the iPod launched and shortly after the streaming video services launched, the way people listen to music and watch videos has changed. Gen Z and Millennials are very comfortable with headphones as the primary source for their listening content, but even the hardcore headphone user would have to admit that music, movies, and even their games are more closely related to traditional speaker systems.
Movies are not mixed with headphones
Another thing to keep in mind about home theater headphones for movie content is that it will mix movies with speakers / monitors. Engineers may use headphones as a forensic tool to break down their mixes, but mix on consoles using traditional surveillance methods.
If you want the same experience as the professionals who produce the content, listen to a traditional speaker system.
Headphones are a great, convenient solution and work well with music for background applications like exercise, housework, work, and other activities. However, when it comes to a first-class theater experience, take off your headphones and sit in front of a large screen in the middle of a multi-channel speaker system.
Nothing else will reproduce the collaborative and visceral experience that only a large screen with a multi-channel audio system can provide.