Great thread! Thanks a lot for taking so much time to give us such an entertaining read.
Interesting the Conductor made the HD800 sound good to you. I've got some on loan at the moment and if I'm honest was hoping not to like them, I was hoping they'd sound clinical, not musically engaging, lacking in bass, and too bright in the treble. Unfortunately out of my Audio-GD Reference 10 they didn't sound at all like any of those criticisms that are often levelled at them... Still, I don't think I can justify them to myself given the ridiculousness of my collection as it stands right now.
My story is rather shorter, probably on account of having a fairly generous income. I started beginning of last year by pre-ordering the HE-400. Naturally compared to anything else I'd heard the sound was magical. That was all it took. I was in. Unfortunately I had one of the ones with a faulty channel, so I returned them and started looking elsewhere. I decided I wasn't going to muck around spending a few K on lesser headphones before getting to the good stuff, but just leap right in. I got the LCD-2 right off the bat, and then the ASUS Xonar Essence one for my desktop. I was fairly happy with that, but not completely.
The LCD-2 sound just doesn't turn me on as much as it seems to do for everyone else, I adore it for vocal jazz, pop and electronic music, but I don't particularly enjoy it for rock or metal, which I spend the most time listening to (partly this is probably due to some high frequency hearing loss from playing guitar and attending gigs, I think the shelved treble doesn't play that well with my hearing). Anyways, I saw a cheap price on the GS1000i second hand and decided to go for it, having auditioned the 325i and RS2i and liking their sound (see how that hot treble doesn't bother me with my hearing?). I love them to bits, they get a lot more time than my LCD-2, mainly because I can listen to anything with them, since I'm often in the mood for genre skipping listening sessions.
Anyways, then I started looking to portable set ups, especially when I got the Galaxy S3 and was one of the first to confirm USB audio was working with it. Unfortunately the E17 I already had for my laptop was one of the few that didn't work with it, so I got the Pico HeadAmp. Then I started looking at closed cans, since I dislike IEMs. Got the T5p first and absolutely loved them. Decided to try some others though, getting the Ed8, Sig Pro, and W3000ANV too. In the end sold the Ultrasones, keeping the other two. Although I don't listen to them that much (read: don't listen to them enough), there is no way I could part with the uniquely coloured euphony of the W3000ANV having heard it once. While I loved the T5p I was really interested to get them with a removable cable for portable use, and started looking at the Jaben-modded ones, eventually picking up a pair of those too (so I can go fully balanced on my portable, when the mood/need takes me).
During this time I also got a Note 2, and unfortunately the Pico didn't work with that (Justin at HeadAmp has found a fix though, mine is on its way to him to get the compatibility fix). So I got in quick succession the Leckerton UHA-MKII, RSA Intruder, and just a week or so ago the Apex Glacier.
I'd also been trying on some other open headphones for size during this period, getting the RS1 and enjoying that, but finding it didn't match up to the GS1000i for my listening preferences, and selling it again fairly swiftly. Then I decided, woe is me, to get the HE-6. So, I got them, and promptly discovered the Xonar could not power them. AT ALL. On full volume it couldn't even raise them to a listenable volume, much less properly control them. So, the hunt for an amp upgrade came. I didn't want to go down the speaker amp track, despite how well suited for the HE-6 that appears to be. I wanted to sell my Xonar, and upgrade to an all-in-one solution. I ended up getting the aforementioned Audio-GD Reference 10, which is simply superb. Probably understating the case to say the HE-6 sound amazing from it; everything does.
Anyways, that's how I ended up with my collection in less than year. What a ride.
Jaben-modded T5p (still deciding whether this sounds better than the regular T5p for me, I suspect for most it would, but its not so clear cut for my listening preferences)
Audio-GD Reference 10
HeadAmp Pico USB DAC/amp
Xonar Essence One
Where to from here? Not sure, but the SR009 and BHSE are calling to me...
Edited by NZtechfreak - 1/19/13 at 5:35pm