Some more impressions:
I tend to think of audio in reverse to normal. People describe better gear as having more, but I look at it as imposing less on the music. I'm sure many people can recall the first time one goes from cheap headphones to hearing one's favourite music through a high-end system, the music suddenly not being all mashed together, but the players and instruments appearing separately. Likewise, the first listen with electrostatic headphones after using even good dynamic ones goes a step further, as many of the limitations dynamic headphones have simply don't exist with electrostats.
With the Reference 1, it was the same again, but this time, the limitations of the digital to analogue conversion and the interference from the imperfections of the incoming power supplying the circuits have been removed. Suddenly then, the DAC disappears, and there is only the music. It is as if I have reached the point of truly being able to listen to the music, and not feel I'm listening to the equipment.
If one can recall a time listening to live music in a smallish venue, it's easy to remember how the sound of the venue contributes to the music, with the sound bouncing all around. I remember visiting my local hi-fi store years ago, when bi-polar speakers were all the rage. They fire the music backwards as well as forwards to create the kind of effect you hear with live music, as instruments send the sound in all directions, not just foward. The effect of this was magical, the sound filling the room, convincingly giving the illusion of being there.
Listening through my rig now what I'm hearing, on so little as a single note from a piano, saxaphone, trumpet, guitar or anything else is not just of that note, but how it resonates then reflects off the surrounding walls and harmonises or distorts as other notes and instruments are played. With a Lavry DA-10 or Benchmark DAC1, I could hear, on a piano, how the vibrations of the strings affected each other as the notes decayed. With the Reference 1, I'm also hearing how they reflect off the piano itself.
With low-end gear, we're used to the sound being all mushed together in a blob. With live music, such as at concerts, we expect to be overwhelmed with a wall of sound -- it's part of the experience. Some headphones, such as the closed Denons, create a similar effect with their cups, overwhelming us, though less so, with bass, giving us (IMO) a similar feeling of enjoyment, if somewhat at the expense of tonal accuracy when the music has a lot of bass.
When listening to certain tracks, I noticed a similar wall of sound, which I couldn't understand the source of until I listened again with the Ref 1. It was the sound of the notes reflecting off the walls of the studio. As the reflections now had definition, I could identify them. This now allows me to appreciate the genuine intimiacy, or space of the music, caused not by flaws in my rig, but due to the very nature of the surroundings when the music was recorded.