Years ago (and I mean DECADES, sonny....) I had a pair of ESP-9's, an SAE preamp and a Citation XII, AR XA turntable, ADC XLM and a Shure V15-III, Akai open reel, Dynaco FM5. Infinity speakers. QUITE THE SYSTEM for a college kid in 1971. (I had worked in a factory full time while taking 12 hours of physics, chemistry and math at university- don't ask me how I did that. I get tired now just writing it. In fact, I get tired now just THINKING about writing about it.) The speakers were all I could afford- but the headphones were about the best you could get back then.
Time goes by....
I had a pair of Sennheiser HD-580's. Decent enough... didn't listen to them much. Wasn't really into the hifi addiction all that much, had some gear but mostly just listened to what I had, NAD and Boston Acoustics.
Then in 2002 I had a relapse of audiophilia gearitis, and I started building, buying, listening, trying... Sat down one day and plugged the HD-580's into a Sugden integrated amp's headphone jack, and thought, "Hey these sound pretty good... wonder if a dedicated headphone amp would really sound better..."
I became a bit of a headphone nut, kind of, collected a whole bunch of dynamic 'phones & amps, built a bunch of amps, etc and so forth.
Added a Stax Lambda Signature and an SRM-T1. Whoa. What detail! Great LF extension, overall clarity.... and all without the "bleeding ear treble peak" of the otherwise excellent Sennheiser HD-800's. Got a pair of Koss ESP-950's. Yeah, these are great, too. A pair of 007 Mk I's.... tried an SRM-1 mk II but sold it, no real advantage for me over the SRM-T1, in fact I liked the T1 a little better... sold off almost all my dynamic and planar 'phones, building a T2 for like two years now....
Electrostatics are really where it's at. When new dynamics come on the market, I hardly pay attention. New planars, yeah, I'll read about them but am not really tempted to buy. All I feel I need are my electrostatics. (And the 67,000 FLAC tracks on my server....I have LPs too but don't use headphones on that system)
Electrostatics have a "HEAR-THROUGH" quality that I just don't get from dynamic or planar phones.
By the way, none of my electrostatic 'phones have a channel imbalance. I bought them all used, they have all worked just fine. I've heard of people having imbalances, but aamong the Koss ESP-950's and five pair of Stax 'phones I've bought used, NONE had channel imbalances.
Edited by milosz - 5/22/14 at 2:04am