Yeah, when you think about what you get home with after leaving AIX, it is quite a value. Given that i probably won't ever be able to have a quarter of a million dollar surround sound mastering studio in my home, this is as close as I'll get.
For those of you who think the realiser is only for multi channel, think again! I may never be able to listen to normal headphones again. Yes, it is that good. Also for those who wonder if the 009's make a difference, they most certainly do. I have tried several other phones including the hd800 and the jh3a with the realiser and they all pale in comparison. However, that doesn't mean the realiser doesn't do an excellent job with other phones. But if you want to get every last ounce of fidelity and the most accurate representation of the room and equipment you have captured, the 009's seem to be the way to go.
On another note, has anyone here thought about running the toslink out of the realiser to a reclocker to reduce jitter? From what I understand, HDMI isn't the most jitter free digital interface. I'm thinking that if you ran the toslink out to an apogee big Ben or empirical audio off ramp the sound might be even better. Plus the signal would go in toslink and be available as coax or aes out to your dac. Of course my perfect wave dac is suppose to take care of the jitter so may be a waste of money. Just a thought.
I'm not sure you really need a reclocker, but a great DAC would be very helpful. I owned a really nice one in the past in a 2 channel speaker setup (Antelope's Trinity + 10m rubidium) and recently demo'd MSB's femtoclock (which installs inside the DAC), and they both definitely helped bring a more analog sound, but the biggest bang for the buck is a good DAC with a Toslink input (and a good DAC in theory should be able to handle jitter effectively; external clocks raise all sorts of issues given cabling, connections, distance from DAC chip etc). So would strongly recommend good HDMI cable to the A8, a good Toslink cable out and a good DAC and you'll definitely see a big improvement in SQ. (plus what others mentioned above in terms of the actual amp+headphone combo... it's a slippery slope :) )