The Soundstage in live recordings is usually flat and distant in high-end headphones. Well produced studio recordings, on the other hand, surround your head like a gigant musical gloria. I tend to forget to find out how a cd is recorded. Recently, I bought Arvo Pärt’s “Symphony 4″ and was, as usually, underwhelmed when I listened to an orchesteral work in in my headphones. Believe it or not, but this problem is not as conspicuous with a room-based audio equipment – even if is high end.
Music is traditionally something coming towards you, not something surrounding you, bu we are moving towards a surrounding music mindset, with 5.1 audio and relativly cheap high quality headphones.
Orchestral work could be a wonderful experience in headphones if the producers worked activly to create a carefully prepared, and well thought-out, soundstage. Listening to music performed on a live stage and in headphone with a technically constructed soundstage is two completly different experiences. They should not be mixed up. Just an opinion of course.