It’s official, I am going crazy now. I have been reading night and day Head-Fi threads for the past two weeks and I am now on the verge of the asylum.
First, please, don’t make this thread another brand or model recommendation. There is too much of this and it is part of the problem. I am looking for advice in how to make my own choice, not what should be my choice. I know, the simple and only true answer is to listen to them and make my own opinion. Well, I am kinda isolate and if I am willing to buy two or three of them only to finally keep only one, I need at least to pin point these finalists.
Music taste: Everything, and I really mean everything. Of course, probably 80% of my listening converges to 20% of my collection (Jazz, pop and classical). But I also appreciate good rock, ethnical, gospel, heavy metal, electro, lounge, drum&bass, even Christmas music.
Source: Mostly CD, FLAC and MP3 320, on an excellent belt driven CEC TL51XR, excellent Vector amplifier and… a Galaxy S Phone on the road (ok, this is minimal, at least is has a [EDIT] Wolfson DAC). No dedicated headphone amp yet.
Background: Lots of live listenings (from crappy jazz bar to concert hall and everything in between), and also a certain amount of live playing in small gig (jazz band, orchestra, pop band and musical comedy, at the bass, the guitar, the piano or the drum). In a nutshell I know how a violin, a Les Paul or a hi-hat should sound… on stage and in the public.
Experience with earphone: None
Here is my problem. When I am at a live concert or show or gig, I either listen to the whole music, sinking its harmony, its melody, its rhythm OR I am focusing on only one musician, listening to what she or he does and how she or he does it. Our listening processing allows us to do this. I can choose to listen to the whole scene, or put one section in my face. A marvelous brain we have.
In conventional HiFi speaker room system, I know that some good settings allow this focus/un-focus process easily. You can choose between an analytical mood and a fun/musical mood. And the really good ones (I had the chance to listen to 50k to 100K systems) , tend to draw us back to the magic of the music naturally. Focussing to a musician or the technicality of the HiFi system is certainly easy and clear, but demand an effort of concentration since the appeal of the music is very strong. When it is very hard to analyse a system since we forget about the analysis along the way. But again, you can focus on one musician since it is so easy to discriminate and the air, the tone and the micro signals are all there.
As much as I like an analytical listening, I dislike a system that only offers this and can’t immerse you in the pleasure of the music. Also, I don’t like a spectacular system (well, maybe for the first 15 minutes), I like a true system where the tone of the instruments is true. Stadium soundstage, no. Air between instrument, yes… but not if it looks artificial.
I know my way in speaker room system. I am lost in earphone. All the review seems one way or the other. V shaped response curve, inverted V shape (where you both have something too much in your face) or flat (dull). Is my quest an utopia? Does a fun fast flat earphone exist? Is it possible to recreate this with earphone? Then is my quest an utopia for say a maximum of 250$ (amp less, just to taste the water and see if earphone is for me.. before I invest more in this)? Also, should I go for the convenience of an IEM or for the $, a full headphone will give me more?
I have read lots of recommendation up until now but it seems like I won’t find my way until I have listen to 5 or 10 of them. I now hope you will cut this to two or three. Not by naming them remember?! By educating me with the proper vocabulary and the way it applies to my quest.
Mission impossible? Thanks everyone!
Edited by girlystephanie - 2/15/12 at 1:02pm