my end game. The trouble at this level, is you need 5K US at least to get to the next level as regards amplification. So the jump needs to be worth it.
My front end has got lots of my attention as regards finer tuning the parts in my DAC (tantalum resistors, BG capacitors, V-Caps) and NOS tube selection etc.
I also use an M2 Tech full stack and the Mac Mini with Audirvana+ which all took the sound to a higher level than my previous CD Drive.
So, maybe I now need to just enjoy the music for a while see how it goes? The 009 is much easier to drive which I think has changed the landscape for high end
stat amps IMHO. OK there are the ultimate solutions (BHSE and WES) but the gap below that seems to have got a lot closer with my 717 and possibly other Stax amps. Back in the days of the 007 being the flagship it was a different story. If I really wanted to keep my 007s the only way to go would be BHSE, and that would be just to get closer to the 009s. Even then, I think (with my ears) it is still not as good in almost all areas.
However, if I had a colder / brighter DAC, possibly it would be better to stay with the 007s for their warming effect and less energy up top. But then I wouldn't get the 009s detail or space....
It's so complicated! I am convinced that folk sticking to the 007s with a BHSE must have a brighter and colder DAC, and possibly don't want to visit that for various reasons. It comes down to a sum of the parts and system synergy. Audio Note UK for example, voice their amps and speakers as a set at a level or price point in the range. It is because not all components bolt together 100%. Yes they will make music but maybe not to the right flavour? It is not always the case a top DAC made by manufacturer A gels 100% with headphone manufacturer B. It gets real subtle.
Do this test, find a CD track on your computer that you are famiier with and that has some female vocals or strings. Go into some EQ software and up the frequency at 5-10K area by 3 DB. Now A/B the 2 versions and see how it has changed. This I think is the crux of the matter. Tiny changes in the signal path before it gets to the phones has a big effect, and the 009s are like a doctors stethoscope, you hear it ALL. And it also shows how certain recordings are either a bit bright or a bit dark. Some guy in a studio sat in front of big monitors, and also mini monitors as well, has to make a judgement on the sound balance to suit a radio and a home hi-fi. It reminds me of the time I was a DJ in clubs, and I used to get free DJ promo vinyl that was not available to the public. They were mixed out to suit a clubs sound system (great bas extension) and those records sounded superb! BTW my hearing is just fine, before folk make a joke about me being half deaf!
And of course we have personal taste as to how we think music should sound, the condition of the persons hearing, how loud they listen at etc etc. And then we have types of music. Some just don't get the stat sound either. I might be lucky, or cursed? But I fell in love with the Stax sound right off the bat 25 years back, even with a poor source gear (tape deck) into a none pro Lambda with SRD7 energiser. It still walked all over my speakers!