Being pretty much addicted to music for as long as I can remember, I now have the funds to actually make it sound as it is supposed to be.
I recently started trying out several headphones and building a nice & small collection:
It all started with Grado SR125i, which I bought after listening to the SR60s, SR80s, SR325is and GS1000is. They just gave me the best price/performance ratio back then.
Since then I picked up a pair of iGrados for their portability, AD-ATH700s for their immense airy soundstage, Beyerdynamic Custom One Pros for some bass injection and, most recently, the HiFiMAN HE-400 (with pleather & velour pads, standard cable & HE-500 braided cable).
I did my research and am thinking about upgrading the HE-400 cable to a nice Toxic Cable. Contemplating Moon Audio if I can find a distributor in the EU as well.
I am also running them off a Fiio E11 at the moment, but I would love to have a setup at home that will give me a couple of things:
- should be able to drive the HE-400 (quite easy) & a possible future upgrade to LCD2/3 or HE-5LE/HE-6
- preferably tubes for their warmer sound (I like bass, I hate bass leaking into the mids like you get, to the extreme, with the headphones we do not mention by name)
- distributor in the EU for cost control (customs/taxes are killing the possibility to import directly from the US)
So far, I came up with the following candidates, which should present some of the standard choices for most people at this stage:
Schiit Bifrost + Lyr:
My preferred choice at the moment. I read a bunch of reviews of each of them plus several reviews of the together and I feel confident this will provide quite an impressive sound while not being too hard on my wallet.
Plus I found a bunch of distributors in the EU. While I will have to pay the USD price in Euros I will still be able to save a lot of cash this way.
Schiit Bifrost + Asgard:
Initially I found this very appealing. I am now under the impression this would possibly limit my upgrade paths in the future. And it's fully solid state, not preferred.
Woo Audio WA-7:
Very interesting looking & (apparently) sounding amp. Price could prove to be an issue... importing stuff from the US is insanely expensive as mentioned above.
ALO Audio PanAm:
Pretty much the same applies as for the WA-7. On top of that I am not sure if it provides upgradability and the same level of sound quality.
Any opinions or other suggestions?
Some more information that might/will be requested anyway:
Source: MacBook Pro (early 2011)
Budget: max 1,000 Euros Why? I just cannot justify spending 2k or more on a setup at the moment and I do have some pretty expensive trips with my girlfriend lined up later this year.
Cables: stock for now, unless mentioned otherwise
Edited by perplekks45 - 4/23/13 at 1:51am