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Maybe I'm chasing a Unicorn? - Page 2

post #16 of 18
Originally Posted by BluesDaddy View Post

Audio as a hobby is the ultimate example of the law of diminishing returns. There is so much good equipment out there at a reasonable price, that when you spend substantially more, you're really getting only minimal improvements. Don't buy all the "night and day" annecdotal reviews, they're simply examples of confirmation bias at work.  Yeah, a $2000 pair of headphones may sound better than that $300 pair, but undoubtedly NOT 700% better.  The question becomes what can you afford and what are you willing to spend to eke out the last vestige of sound quality.

Aye. I also think, as Mal pointed out - you're probably remembering things better than they were (the mind is great at building things up like that). Also, I'll add that usually the first time you hear good material or a good source, there is a degree of "wow" that you probably won't re-capture (it doesn't mean the quality in the future is gone, you just sort of habituate to it).

Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post


Quite true.

On another note, my favorite pitfall is when someone wants to spend $1000 on a setup, seeking great quality, but they're playing the same music they were playing from their cell phone, from iTunes, or YouTube rips, or some variable rate MP3's they downloaded off some torrent site and then go and say that the equipment "isn't that good."

Very best,


Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

I'll echo most of the sentiments here, and add my piece: set a modest budget, and spend the rest on music, wine, and other mood "enhancements" to really bring you to that "wow" factor wink.gif

Originally Posted by redrich2000 View Post

You have stumbled a phenomenon that many of us have. Amping in general is over-rated. That is not to say it does nothing but it is WILDLY exaggerated here. It means people spend hundreds of dollars on amps and run them out of cheap DACs and expect miracles. It's to be expected that a $100 DAC doesn't sound as good as a $10,000 CD player.

+1. There's a lot of wildly variable reports on what can and cannot be accomplished with amping - I agree with armaegis; keep things reasonable, and enjoy the music. Once you find whatever headphone you happen to jive with, then find whatever amplifier suits it, and the rest is history.
post #17 of 18

-deleted- Sorry about thread necro. I was researching LCD-2 when I found this thread and didn't notice the last post date.

Edited by amoeba1126 - 2/16/13 at 7:54am
post #18 of 18

**EDIT**  OOps sorry about the necro bump, I was just following the other guy not realizing the date stamp. LOL


my responses in-line...


6 Years ago I bought a HD555.

It was good all around and I used it mostly for games.

Then one day I went to my really rich uncle's house in China and I plugged my HD555's into his $10,000 cd player.

I remember being completely WOW'd.  It sounded so real.  (keep in mind up until that point, I had not listened to any flac files)
This is what first peaked my interest in audio.


Keep in mind this was a FIRST impression.  First listening impressions are always (ALWAYS) only partial truths.  No headphone audio rig is perfect, they always have flaws and limitations of some kind.  Whether or not the listener realizes them within their time-span of exposure is the question.  I have found it takes several weeks using a piece of gear to fully comprehend its strengths and weaknesses.  So take first listening impressions with a grain of salt. 


A few years ago, I started getting more into headphones.

I bought a HE-400(first batch) and ran it straight out of my computer.  It sounded better than my HD555's.  But there were balance issues so I returned them.

Recently, I bought an asgard, modi/magni, and HD600's.

Yes, they sounded better than my HD555's, but $500 better?  not really.

The improvements were too big.  Better bass, better extension, more musical, pretty much same amount of detail and clarity.


I just expected to be wow'd.  With the HE-400's, HD600's, Asgard... I kept expecting to hear night and day, as if trying to recapture that first wow moment I had at my uncle's house.

I keep trying to rationalize that I will get that wow feeling once I get something like LCD2's or HE-500's.

But the more I read, it seems like these headphones are just yet slight improvements upon the HE-400's and HD600's.

Does the unicorn I'm chasing after not exist?


Even my HD600's from unamped to amped sounded quite similar.  I was expecting mud vs crystal clear sound, but it was just slight improvements again.

I don't even hear a difference between my magni and asgard... and any that I might have heard was probably placebo.


I think you are just observing the laws of diminishing return.  Yes and No... I think the unicorn does exist.  However its a unicorn with a limp wing, dull/busted horn, or maybe a black spot on its hind quarter when you keep in mind what I said above that no headphone audio system is without limitations.  Yes psycho-acoustics, and the affects of it are real and they exist anytime your eyes can see what your ears are listening to.  The only way around this is blind testing and comparisons, which are almost always physically impossible.


I'm not the type of person to obsess over tiny details.  And I do have at least decent ears to be able to tell the difference... being a violinist all my life and having every teacher I've ever had tell me I had one of the best ears they've ever seen.


I want a sound that is JUICY.  Not too spacious, but engaging.  CLEAR and punctual bass.  Colorful mids.  DETAIL and CLARITY.  I just want a sound that is... well, sexy.  Like melted chocolate.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree with Senn's, because I did like the transparency and clarity of the HE-400's better.


But it just seems like no matter what I get, I'll always be disappointed.

So, does the Unicorn exist?

I have always found head-fi musicians can have a different ear and different expectation of what their headphone rig should sound like.  It sounds like you could be in this boat... I know because I am in it too.  I want my music to sound like I am on the stage with the musicians, both tonally and ambiently.  IMHO this is the HD600/580 limitation.  I have a 580 thats been modded with 600 grills and 650 cable, and its my situational headphone.  I enjoy it a lot for certain things, but it can't really do on stage with the musicians very well with my "wrong" amps/sources.  I have always found it takes an aggressive almost "shouty" source and amp to get this kind of sound out of the 580/600.  So I use it as my distant/relaxation cans... situational.


I think you just have to get out and demo, listen to more cans to find one that does what you want.  But even then its only a first impression.  Your best bet might be on the "BDST" boards and buy/demo/sell/trade.

Edited by kramer5150 - 2/16/13 at 8:50am
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