just to play pp312 advocate
Recently, I have got new Sennhesier HD580 and started to think that my portable CDP is not up to them, so I went out and started intensive research about what should be best upgrade. I have tried few Sony's (XB-930, 940, 730), DENON (735, 1550), some Technics (SL-P7?), Harman-Kardon (I do not remember), Kenwood (dtto), and Pioneer (PS6?). Well, I did not tried any Yamaha, NAD and so. But from what I heard I was not impressed at all. Even that those CDP were not exactly Hi-Fi (price range from USD 200 to 550) some sounded even worse then my good old portable CDP.
I decided then, instead of focusing on good CDP, I should get good head amp (on par with HD580) first, since I believe it was mostly poor implementation of intergrated amp that spoiled the impression on some tested CDP. It is quite hard to find any in local stores here, nevertheless I got the opportunity to listen to X-Can(v2) and again, the difference between this connected to my portable and my portable only was very ephemeral. The same I observerd when trying X-Can(v2) with X-CDP.
I have heard that the difference could only be appreciated after an extensive listening to both setups (and I believe in that in sort of way). However, I am pretty confident that I can hear difference, since I was able to clearly tell HD600 from HD580 when used with the same setup. I have also quite clear idea, about how good headphones should sound, since I bought HD565 first only to return them after few days, since there was something in the sound I found annoying, even I was not able to describe exactly what was that, and changed them for HD580 and was happy since then. Maybe if I tried HD600 first I would get those, but I am happy with HD580 since they sound the way I want headphones to sound).
To make some point here, it is easy to claim that if I *can* hear the difference, then there is a difference, as well as that if I *cannot* hear the difference then anyone else cannot either.
I must admit that even the first post from pp312 might sound overgeneralizing (I did not found any of his post insulting though), he won my sympathy after few responses at least by keeping his messages very unemotive and in some way very informational, contrary to some others, who claimed anything (from beeing local regular to be exceptional in some other biometrics).
I am going to build head amp so it definitely has some value for me, however I can clearly accept different opinion about that. Just to mention, when speaking about values, there are two types of them, personal (how much I can spent on it - in terms of time, effort or money) and market value (how much I can make on it when marketing such thing): If pp312 was talking about market value, he was right, but the things of market are usually inferior in my personal value list