Will decent speakers always out do headphones?

I was just curious for some feedback. I have decent bookshelf speakers (Sonus Faber) and a quality power supply (MAC6700) but also have two teenagers who play drums and guitar. Since I don't have a sound proof/dedicated listening room I decided to invest in a  pair of headphones which I hoped would allow to listen to my music in the evenings while they practice. The headphones accomplish the goal of giving me a break from the endless Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin riffs (not that its a bad thing... but its a small house...) however its a night and day difference when I sit down in my sweet spot and listen to the same music through the speakers. So much more open and "full". Is this to be expected?
Really depends. You should tell us about both setups.

There is a lot to be said for cross-mixing of headphones to give a fuller sound, but you should be aware too, are you listening with your body? Maybe your speaker experience is through your skin, not your ears and that will never compete. 
But, in terms of what comes through the ears, headphones can excel at giving every little bit of nuance, because you loose nothing from room acoustics.  Getting that same level of detail can be a lot harder with speakers and rooms.

I get what you are saying regards to detail. I could definitely hear tiny nuances such hand claps etc (in live recordings) that might not have been as pronounced through the speakers but as far as the general sound size (does this make sense?) its not the same. Speakers make the music fill the room. Headphones filled my ears but not in the same way. Maybe just need to get used to the difference. Headphones are the Sonus Faber Pryma. I have tons more hours on the speakers and only a handful on the headphones which may be a big difference also.
I was just thinking about the subject yesterday. I have good headphones and have had some pretty serious headphone amps, DACs, etc. However the experience is just different. Yes, with headphones you may hear some detail that was less noticeable through the speakers. However, it's just different. I also agree with Erik that you also hear with your body. When you don't feel the music though your body, the experience is not the same.

A headphone amp with cross feed may improve your headphone experience if you have a preference for the sound of your speakers. However, you'll never get the same "feeling" from headphone.

Plenty of people have a preference for the headphone sound. I'm not one of them.....
Tele, again, please give us more details. Heaphones, headphone amp, and what speakers?

I also want you to think again, are you feeling the sound through your body, or is it a sound stage issue?

This will help you I think:


No objective answer for that. I don't like listening through headphones, no matter how good they are.
I'm really going to take the whole music through the skin thing to heart. Makes me think of Bull Durham (breathe through the eyelids) but seriously. I never really thought of that but its real. I play concert and jazz trumpet and now that you guys talk about it. Its not skin pre se. Its top to bottom. You feel string bass and drum a little lower in your body than sax and cymbals. Middle tones are right in your chest.... Very interesting concept. Now are there headphones that can do it?
Sorry if that post came across wrong regarding the skin thing. I totally agree. Listening to the Beatles white album for the first time in ages. I see it and still think there must be a way to make good headphones replicate the full sound.
To me there is just something missing in the headphone experience. Granted, I've never listened to really good headphones and I've never listened to open headphones. Even so, I'm usually impressed with the SQ of headphones, but to be honest, I don't like having something on my head and ears. I don't like the way it feels. When I'm doing serious listening via my speakers I like to be totally comfortable and unencumbered.
Well, here’s the thing. You don’t want to listen to headphones that are too good or too comfortable, otherwise you might risk being sucked over to the dark side.
So, just in reply to all. Why are headphones not the answer? I spent thousands on my speakers that I cant listen too when I want? Unless you have a family don't judge..... When I have that space when I can open up my system its like magic. I can only imagine what some of the systems that I see profiled here are like. I would think there would be a headphone following in that arena? when I travel for business? I don't see it?
Headphones and loudspeakers are such totally different things on the technology side that I can't imagine how they could replicate each other. The demands on the amplifier are different. The drivers are radically different. The amps are generally very different. 
We know one thing, is that they (better ones) are very likely going to be sealed back headphones, to keep the noise interference down so you won’t go deaf - cranking things up to keep the riffs and drums out.

This brings it down to a small selection of candidates. That is if you were looking to get ones that actually work rather well at their appointed job, re the nature of your query....
As a fellow trumpet player I can relate to your post and I can tell you I have never enjoyed headphones as much as sitting in front of a 2 channel system. We hear things from a perspective that few people ever have the joy of experiencing. For me, it stems from hearing myself from behind the bell, resonating in my head from the mouthpiece and the 360 degree sound surrounding me. That combination of stimuli, for me, can never be duplicated by any headphones. Yes, the physical sound pressure is also a big part of it. Surely I can hear the details deep in a recording with my headphones on but the "completeness of performance" pales in comparison to the aural rightness that happens in my room experiencing the waves all around me.

My 2 cents as a musician

ps: I too had to get headphones to keep my sanity and the peace in this house.  It's a compromise but better than no music at all.   Yes, not being able to enjoy the 2 channel system is aggravating as hell some times but family dynamics and respect is paramount.
@telemarer - Headphones are the answer to your question. It's a compromise you have decided to make for your family and that's a fine thing. It just won't be the same as listening to a high end speaker system. They can be very good and enjoyable. They are just different.

A phono pre-amp with cross-feed can help with the hard left/right panning by bleeding a bit of the other channel into each ear, kinda like speakers in your room. But, you'll never feel the music in your gut. Or, if you do, you have it turned up WAY too loud...... :~)

There is a whole world of headphone users at head-fi.org. I'm guessing it is a much larger community than AudiogoN, but I haven't spent any time there in years. Check it our for WAY more information than you can likely digest regarding headphone listening.

Have fun and enjoy the new experience.
The sound from my speakers is like a (heavy blanket on a cold winter night :-) Joking but its the best I can put together at my time.
I wonder how many of us that spend big dillars would not want that same feeling on a flight to ... 

I would appreciate feedback specifically on my system. I don't want this thread to go off track. Macintosh MAC6700 using the integrated pre headphone amp with the Prima headphones. To me the headphones sounded thin. Is this a symptom or a general expectation?

  Will decent speakers always out do headphones?

Good headphones are great, but they can never give the reach out and touch them, pinpoint placement and depth, that can be heard and more importantly seen by the eyes that good imaging speakers can give.
Headphones are all a bit of a jumbled mess in your head between your ears.

Cheers George
I agree with George's jumbled mess comment. That's exactly how it feels. Speakers turned up feel great. Even at a loud volume its calming. Headphones turned up are detailed and take away the background noise but don't have the same feel. If there are other brands of headphones I should look at I would appreciate a recommendation. At the same time I also wonder if this is an area in general that the speaker/audio industry is missing from a consumer perspective. I bet most people who can afford decent systems are unable to listen to them as much as they would like. 
They are totally different experiences and I always prefer speakers but nothing wrong with a really good set of phones.

I've been separated about six months,  right before I left I bought  pair of Grado RS2e and a Rupert Neve headphone amp and it was one of the best purchases ever.   My equipment was in storage since July and I've spent many hours listening to those phones,  and they really sound great...

Some people hate headphones but I don't,  they are quite different than speakers but at night they can't be beat.   I finally have my system set back up but still enjoy the Grados often.  And as far as one being better than the other, I've heard many average systems that don't come close to the Grado / Neve combo.   Headphones as a whole are better than they've ever been.   
I recently upgraded my Grados from the SR80e to a pair of SR325e (aluminum) masterpieces. Man, these cans kill it, so to speak...I don't generally use these in my main rig, although these are so good I bought a second Schiit Magni 3 for that, but generally use the Grados for bedtime reading music with my other Magni. I agree that this question an apples/oranges thing, and my main hifi rig sounds alive in a way that gets most of my "active listening" attention, but great phones...well, they're great!
The Grado SR60 and 80 I have are actually killers, too. But you have to take those stupid foam pads. As they are they’re kind of bland sounding.
It’s an apples/oranges question and is simply answered as speakers use the room, and headphones don’t. No way to compare and answer this question.