I received an A8 on loan and have recorded our home system and listened to the playback using the Stax SR202 headphones and amp.
Candidly, while the spatial effect is remarkable, the sound is a little coarse in comparison to what I hear from our speakers.
Having listened to the SR202 and amp direct from the DAC, without the A8, it appears that the issue is (possibly) more with the headphones and amp then with the A8.
Now, here's the challenge. My hope was/is to record the output of the A8 so I can travel with a pair of excellent headphones (and amp, if necessary) and not have to carry the A8. For travel purposes, lugging the device around would be too much.
I love the Stax SR009 phones, but the amps to drive these are, for travel purposes, huge. And the expense of both those headphones plus the A8, to say nothing of an amp, is pretty steep.
Is there a potential solution out there for me that will give me or am I trying too hard to create a travel-system?
I have never heard the 202's, but I have the 407's with 323A amp and they work very well. To be honest, I have been VERY impressed with a pair of modified Koss PortaPro's for portable listening. I was skeptical, but thoroughly impressed now. Sure they're not as good as my Stax, but for the $40, they are great for portable use.
You might also look at the new Stax 002 portable. It's not available yet, but they should be for sale in the US this month. Headamp is taking pre-orders (scroll to the bottom of the order page) and he says he should have them in stock in early November:
I have also been somewhat successful using FooBar and some VST plug-ins to be able to replicate Realiser playback without a Realiser on my laptop. Then you don't even have to pre-record the Realiser output. It can apply the Realiser PRIR in real-time.
You can see my earlier post about it here.
I record the Realiser digital output and then put those files on my Sansa Clip+ to listen with my Koss PortaPro headphones. I think it sounds pretty good for $80 worth of gear.