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'End-game' headphone rigs, unicorns and other myths - Page 7

post #91 of 286
Look, a unicorn! Hold on while I check my bank accounts...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/604740/fs-sennheiser-orpheus-he90-singlepower-es-1
post #92 of 286
Thread Starter 

It does happen - here is a shining example of a classic snob:

 

http://ravenda.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/headphones_journey/

 

I particularly enjoy this para:

 

Head-Fi users’ impressions and reviews…
I think it will be wise for those of you who are reading reviews to make sure that the reviewer has considerable knowledge about various amps in the market. A review like this is pointless IMHO… The reviewer did not compare his gear with top-tier amps and DACs or even worse, the reviewer has little to no experience with top-tier amps and DACs. I imagine the reviewer will be completely floored with an AMB M^3 or a HeadAmp Gilmore Lite .

 

I'm not trying to stir anything up here - priivately, many of the longterm board members here may agree with some of what he says - but to me he is basicallly saying that newbies cant give impressions until they buy gear that meets his 'tick of approval'.  The irony, for me, is that people at the seriously high-end of the audio world wouldn't even bother with a 5K pre-amp, and thats probably the closest thing to a headphone amp in their stratosphere. Its all relative - I dont like the FOTM threads any more than he does, but I have no business telling people their impressions are completely invalid. 

 

post #93 of 286
If those were the only cans I had owned, I'd be bitter too. I'm not counting the "tried" ones, because you can't really know a set of headphones until you've really put time into them.
post #94 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

Look, a unicorn! Hold on while I check my bank accounts...
http://www.head-fi.org/t/604740/fs-sennheiser-orpheus-he90-singlepower-es-1

If the he90 is an unicorn, then I'm a monkey with ****. Oh wait...
post #95 of 286

As far as the concept of the audio "merry go round" goes, I consider myself definitely off of it now. smile.gif My current headphone system, a combo of dynamic and electrostatic gear, is fully capable of providing supreme musical bliss for pretty much any CD I might want to listen to. And I have no compelling desire to buy anything else at this point either - not to get a better CDP, or an SR-009, or ultra-high-dollar cables, etc.

 

I think the concept of the "end-game" headphone rig tends to be misrepresented on Head-Fi, and most people seem to think that spending a lot of money will get them there. I think that an end-game rig should provide the owner with 100% musical satisfaction. Note the word "musical", not "sonic". From the way that tons of reviews are written on Head-Fi (and I do count mine among them, so I'm including myself), the idea seems to get perpetuated that people actively listen to specifically bass, mid-range, treble, or soundstage, or whatever else. IMO, dissecting your listening experience like that isn't helpful and probably detracts from enjoyment. My recommendation for others is simply to listen to the music. If you're not satisfied with what you have, then sure, buy new headphones (or other gear). But if you are satisfied, then trying to chase after new stuff will lead nowhere.

 

I've said it before and I'll say it again here. I could part with my electrostatic gear if I had to. It's not my end-game. Not to take anything away from it - because it's unbelievably awesome, and every time I listen, it still amazes me, after having it for more than 2 years now. But I'd never part with my Audio-Technica AD2K and Dynamid (HeadAmp GS-X). I told someone before that they'd have to kill me to have at the amp, and I definitely mean it, especially as far as the headphone is concerned along with it. tongue.gif For me the AD2K/Dynamid bring complete musical satisfaction, for the music that I use them for, and for that reason I consider them my end-game. And while I'd never part with the GS-X now that I have it, I actually don't really need it for the AD2K alone - I'd be just as satisfied with the substantially cheaper Gilmore Lite. So my end-game rig could almost have been the AD2K & Gilmore Lite - a combo that comes out to less than $1K.

 

Reading Head-Fi also definitely feeds the upgraditis bug. I know it feeds my curiosity bug. For example, just reading about stuff like the SR-009, HD700, SRH1840, or Anedio D2, for example, half tempt me into spending more money on stuff that I don't really need right now. If I bought any of those, I know I probably wouldn't keep them and would just sell them. But for me it's just a curiosity now. I know for others that it's upgraditis, wanting something better than what you have. No, there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and you will not discover something that turns your world upside-down (well unless it's the OII/BHSE). wink.gif

 

But for all of the upgrading, if there's one good thing that I can say about it, it's that the journey can have other rewards beyond just the gear, and my advice to people who do have money to spend on gear: spend money going to meets instead. That's what I did for just about 6 years now, and I'm glad I did. It's actually what I'm most grateful for in this hobby. It wouldn't have been half as fun without them.

 

And of course, buy music too. That always helps. I've been buying boatloads of CDs lately in place of audio gear and have found it more rewarding than the latest headphone or amp. I've found that changing the CD affects my emotional state more than a piece of gear.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post
If Anaxilus would just nominate a single sub-2K SS amp that could drive the AD2K to 90% of its theoretical best, I'd leave you lot to it. Promise.  biggrin.gif


A Dynalo, M3, or B22 would be a great amp for the AD2K. Granted, the B22 is definitely overkill, but at least with the B22 you'd have versatility with driving other headphone loads.

post #96 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post

As far as the concept of the audio "merry go round" goes, I consider myself definitely off of it now. smile.gif My current headphone system, a combo of dynamic and electrostatic gear, is fully capable of providing supreme musical bliss for pretty much any CD I might want to listen to. And I have no compelling desire to buy anything else at this point either - not to get a better CDP, or an SR-009, or ultra-high-dollar cables, etc.

I think the concept of the "end-game" headphone rig tends to be misrepresented on Head-Fi, and most people seem to think that spending a lot of money will get them there. I think that an end-game rig should provide the owner with 100% musical satisfaction. Note the word "musical", not "sonic". From the way that tons of reviews are written on Head-Fi (and I do count mine among them, so I'm including myself), the idea seems to get perpetuated that people actively listen to specifically bass, mid-range, treble, or soundstage, or whatever else. IMO, dissecting your listening experience like that isn't helpful and probably detracts from enjoyment. My recommendation for others is simply to listen to the music. If you're not satisfied with what you have, then sure, buy new headphones (or other gear). But if you are satisfied, then trying to chase after new stuff will lead nowhere.

I've said it before and I'll say it again here. I could part with my electrostatic gear if I had to. It's not my end-game. Not to take anything away from it - because it's unbelievably awesome, and every time I listen, it still amazes me, after having it for more than 2 years now. But I'd never part with my Audio-Technica AD2K and Dynamid (HeadAmp GS-X). I told someone before that they'd have to kill me to have at the amp, and I definitely mean it, especially as far as the headphone is concerned along with it. tongue.gif For me the AD2K/Dynamid bring complete musical satisfaction, for the music that I use them for, and for that reason I consider them my end-game. And while I'd never part with the GS-X now that I have it, I actually don't really need it for the AD2K alone - I'd be just as satisfied with the substantially cheaper Gilmore Lite. So my end-game rig could almost have been the AD2K & Gilmore Lite - a combo that comes out to less than $1K.

Reading Head-Fi also definitely feeds the upgraditis bug. I know it feeds my curiosity bug. For example, just reading about stuff like the SR-009, HD700, SRH1840, or Anedio D2, for example, half tempt me into spending more money on stuff that I don't really need right now. If I bought any of those, I know I probably wouldn't keep them and would just sell them. But for me it's just a curiosity now. I know for others that it's upgraditis, wanting something better than what you have. No, there's no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and you will not discover something that turns your world upside-down (well unless it's the OII/BHSE). wink.gif

But for all of the upgrading, if there's one good thing that I can say about it, it's that the journey can have other rewards beyond just the gear, and my advice to people who do have money to spend on gear: spend money going to meets instead. That's what I did for just about 6 years now, and I'm glad I did. It's actually what I'm most grateful for in this hobby. It wouldn't have been half as fun without them.

And of course, buy music too. That always helps. I've been buying boatloads of CDs lately in place of audio gear and have found it more rewarding than the latest headphone or amp. I've found that changing the CD affects my emotional state more than a piece of gear.

 


A Dynalo, M3, or B22 would be a great amp for the AD2K. Granted, the B22 is definitely overkill, but at least with the B22 you'd have versatility with driving other headphone loads.

Beautiful. I have the utmost respect for you asr.
You've always been contributing and giving back to this community.
And it couldn't have been said any better than this, with a deft touch of finesse to boot.
Thanks!
post #97 of 286
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post

A Dynalo, M3, or B22 would be a great amp for the AD2K. Granted, the B22 is definitely overkill, but at least with the B22 you'd have versatility with driving other headphone loads.



Thanks so much for that very specific recommendation Asr - I've had the GS-1 on my shortlist for quite some time, but then I go and re-read old reviews and, well, you know the rest. I don't anticipate needing B22 power levels - other than a decent IEM, the only cans I can see myself buying over the next 4 years are the AD2K and, possibly, the RS-1. That's it. No orthos or HD800, No PS1K or Edition 9. No Stax. Just a couple of mid-fi cans with reasonable amp requirements, albeit an amp with plenty of current. The whole thing should look something like this: 

 

Hard drive -> network streamer -> DAC -> GS-1 -> AD900/AD2K

      "         ->    "                     -> Focal Bird system

 

Not exactly high-end, but that's where I'm planning to be within 2 years, at least on the desktop. I'll be sure to post my breathless impressions when I get there.  wink.gif

post #98 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post



Thanks so much for that very specific recommendation Asr - I've had the GS-1 on my shortlist for quite some time, but then I go and re-read old reviews and, well, you know the rest. I don't anticipate needing B22 power levels - other than a decent IEM, the only cans I can see myself buying over the next 4 years are the AD2K and, possibly, the RS-1. That's it. No orthos or HD800, No PS1K or Edition 9. No Stax. Just a couple of mid-fi cans with reasonable amp requirements, albeit an amp with plenty of current. The whole thing should look something like this: 

Hard drive -> network streamer -> DAC -> GS-1 -> AD900/AD2K
      "         ->    "                     -> Focal Bird system

Not exactly high-end, but that's where I'm planning to be within 2 years, at least on the desktop. I'll be sure to post my breathless impressions when I get there.  wink.gif

Best wishes to you my friend as well.
You might be surprised at the end result!
post #99 of 286

Interesting stuff to ponder. I'm listening with the LCD-3s out of a DX100 and L3 and, though it's not the most resolving rig I own, I'm enjoying listening with it immensely. I enjoyed it too while I was in Australia and the HP-P1/L3/Magnums rig was all I had. I know that getting as much detail as possible is my aim, but as I try different types of amps, for example, and their different sound-signatures, I've found different types of enjoyment. I think it's as Asr said, in effect: When you find a combination that totally nails it with a particular type of music, that is the end game. It's us lot that listen to a huge variety all the time that end up running around in circles, very often. My challenge now is to see how little gear I can keep to nail it with as many genres as possible. 

 

Then someone comes along and PMs me to say that they want to pass their BHSE slot along to someone else and am I interested...gah! wink.gif

post #100 of 286

I'm avoiding listening to a 009 as I don't want to know what I'm missing.  Enjoying the music on the Invicta->BA->LCD-3 immensely right now.

 

And to think, a few years ago an ED9 with a portable amp was an end game rig. 

post #101 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post

As far as the concept of the audio "merry go round" goes


Really good read... thanks for that!  Everything well put.  However, ironically it has me wondering what the AD2K is like now.  redface.gif  And it's so true about the CDs:  A good used one at ~$6 can rival or even surpass the amount of enjoyment $600 or $6000 of hardware can get you.

post #102 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sil3nce View Post

If the he90 is an unicorn, then I'm a monkey with ****. Oh wait...

Meh. There's no way I'd spend 15 large on the HE-90, too rich for my blood. $10k? Mmm...
post #103 of 286

For me it's hd800 and Zana Deux, I love my o2 + KGSS rig but I get the most satisfaction from the hd800.  Everything else is just experimentation or utility for a specific purpose!  Eventually I'll have the GS-X but I've found the Zana to compete well with more expensive offerings thus far - I don't suspect it will get replaced by the GS-X either!

post #104 of 286
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mkubota1 View Post


Really good read... thanks for that!  Everything well put.  However, ironically it has me wondering what the AD2K is like now.  redface.gif  And it's so true about the CDs:  A good used one at ~$6 can rival or even surpass the amount of enjoyment $600 or $6000 of hardware can get you.


With the exception of the collectible woodies, I suspect that A-T is often overlooked in the mad dash to orthos/HD800/T1/whatever. I belong to an Aussie board where almost every regular owns the AD900 and its routinely recommended over the AD700 despite the price difference - I kick myself for having resisted the pressure to get a pair of these cans for the first 2 years on the board. Soundstage and detail retrieval are sensational - I know the AD2K is a different headphone but I cant wait to get my hands on a pair. 

 

post #105 of 286
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post


With the exception of the collectible woodies, I suspect that A-T is often overlooked in the mad dash to orthos/HD800/T1/whatever. I belong to an Aussie board where almost every regular owns the AD900 and its routinely recommended over the AD700 despite the price difference - I kick myself for having resisted the pressure to get a pair of these cans for the first 2 years on the board. Soundstage and detail retrieval are sensational - I know the AD2K is a different headphone but I cant wait to get my hands on a pair. 


I don't know, I think the AD2K is very much an acquired taste.  I've had plenty of access to them and from the five times I've tried to like them they never last more than 15secs.  I'm sure it's just the shape of my ear or something, I dunno.  It's nothing technical like some other phones seem to suffer from, just the signature.

 


Edited by Anaxilus - 4/9/12 at 1:13pm
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