IC: Balanced Sony Qualia 010 Headphones in Excellent Condition
Will Ship To: CONUS
Never thought I'd do this (I've held onto them for probably about 7 or 8 years, much longer than any other audiophile equipment), but my wife is pushing me to downsize my collection and I could use the money too. Not sure that I want to sell so this is an interest check, but I am pretty much leaning in that direction if i get the right offer. These headphones are legendary for a reason, and to some extent I feel sorry for newer headphilers who've never heard them or even mistakenly think that they're overrated. They're not. As far as dynamic headphones go, I've pretty much owned everything I've ever wanted to (with the exception of the R10, whose looks I never liked and couldn't get over), and these are my favorite cans by far. They've got the speed and precision reminiscent of electrostatics but the body and oomph of dynamics. Other, more recent dynamic cans have gotten closer in sound quality (e.g., the HD-800s), but for me and many others the Qualia is king (with the possibly exception of the R10). When you take into account how "cutting edge" gorgeous the 010 still is (carbon fiber and leather), and factior in its ultra-rarity (probably less than 270 ever made) and collectability factor, you realize that this may be the most desirable dynamic headphone on the planet (sort of the dynamic equivalent of the fabulous Stax SR-Omega). Anyway, I better stop before I talk myself into keeping them, but I wish people would realize what a home run Sony hit when it decided to use all it resources to produce a "no holds barred," top of the line flagship headphone for one last time. My Qualia headphones are in excellent (but not quite mint) condition, and come with the red pads and all paperwork and packaging (and the cool stand). I've taken very good care of them and used them very sparingly (maybe 2 or 3 times a year), but don't expect them to be "new in box" as I don't think such a pair exists anymore (unless they're sitting in a museum in Tokyo somewhere). For instance, the red pads have darkened a tiny bit in a few places, which is a common occurrence among Qualia owners. Generally speaking though the Qualias are almost perfect, the one major issue with this line is getting the right fit, which is absolutely key to whether you think it's one of the 2 or 3 best dynamics or that it simply sucks (early reviews were incredibly schizophrenic for this reason). Most don't realize that Sony expected all buyers of the Qualia 010 to come in for a personalized fitting session, so that they were never designed to be easily adjusted by the user. Of course some adjustments are possible (and I'll include the right screwdriver to do this), but ultimately most owners settle on using the small headband size set to near-maximum or the medium headband size set to near-minimum (nobody uses the large size, which is gargantuan). My Qualia has a medium headband, and I never really had fit problems by using it micro-adjusted to near-minimum, except in the summer for a few days after I got my hair cut really short (yes, the Qualia is that fit-sensitive). A few years ago I decided to try a low-tech solution that many other owners have used successfully, which was to "sew" a foam cushion to the top of the headband. I found that this gave me the benefit of making the placement on my head softer (and these already are light, very comfortable headphones) and not having to worry at all about fit anymore. Anyway, it's not the best-looking modification, but it could be a lot worse (others have used sponges, which is really low-tech), and it's entirely easily removeable in like ten seconds. This mod was completely non-invasive, and I've only left it on the Qualia so that the buyer could decide for themselves whether to take advantage of it or not (of course I can remove it prior to shipping as well if desired). The other reversible mod I've made is to replace the stock cable (which I still have) with Apuresound Version 3 balanced cables (the old school 3-pronged type). Some headphones benefit greatly from being balanced (and some don't benefit much at all), and the Qualias are notorious for getting even better going balanced, significantly so. This five-foot balanced cable alone was probably over $300.
I've been long-winded, so let me cut to the chase. These red, medium-sized balanced Qualia headphones are in excellent condition aesthetically and functionally. They've never needed servicing, never been dropped, non-smoker, always packed away in a padded box, etc. The headphones will come will all original materials. As near as I can figure a fair price would be $5,200, based on other sales in the past couple of years. If I've underpriced them then it's my loss, and if I've overvalued them then please tell me what you believe is a fair price. I reserve the right to sell to someone with whom I'm comfortable and who can appreciate the Qualia, even if it means for less money. I really want these headphones to go to a good home -- I don't want them immediately flipped, or go to someone who doesn't appreciate them (i.e., gives them a crappy source and amp), or to someone who only wants to listen to them for a day and then return them. I'll only accept returns if there's something defective or you've suddenly lost your job, not because the pad color clashes with the LEDs on your SACD player. Payment will be via Paypal (please add 3%, and at this price we shouldn't use the gift option), and at my asking price of $5,200 I'll pay for USPS Priority Mail shippng within CONUS. I'd really rather not sell overseas unless you're a friend or otherwise established (sorry, been burned too many times that way). My feedback here and in the buyer-seller archives is immaculate, and it's also pristine at eBay, Nikonians, Fred Miranda, and Audiogon. Thanks for your time!
Edited by electrathecat - 1/10/13 at 7:21pm