Originally Posted by complin
Headphones like Stax 009 and Senn HD800 are very sensitive to the source, both the recording and the DAC, so if you skimp on this it will undermine the overall quality and enjoyment of the headphone. This is often why these headphones are can be accused of being very bright, fatiguing, poor bass etc etc..
This is why it's important to know what you like, even if it's not what everyone else considers "best".
I actually like brightness in a headphone. I really enjoyed the bright Beyer T90 for months and thought the HD 650 sounded muffled. People say the HD 800 is too bright, but I think it's just right and might even be better with a bit more brightness. I love sound that many describe as "analytical", and I believe brightness and detail are good things — they don't need to equal harshness. Based on these preferences, in David Mahler's epic review, I was convinced that the SR-009 is likely to be the better choice for me than the more laid-back, less-bright 007s, despite many people preferring the 007s.
Many regard the high-end all-tube amps as the best because they roll off the high end, and that's pleasing to many, but I learned that I actually don't want that — to me, a rolled-off high end is a flaw to be avoided. I see "warmth" as reducing detail, and that seems like a waste of an electrostatic. That's one reason why I'm only considering solid-state amps.
Anyway, my 252S is here and my 009 arrives on Monday, so I'll let you know how it goes. But if the 252S ends up not being sufficient for me, I'm only really looking at a 323S, 727II, or KGSSHV, not an all-out tube bonanza like the BHSE or WES.
Or maybe it'll get here, my ears will be overwhelmed with levels of detail that I never thought possible, all of my lossy recordings will sound awful, my cheap cables will corrode to dust, you'll be proven right, and I'll immediately order a $5,000 tube amp. I suppose we'll see.