I figured it was time to do an introduction post since I seem to be firmly headed towards headphone addiction. I am a Mac user, gamer, and fan of many musical genres (from rock to disco to punk to post-punk to hip-hop to trip-hop and pretty much everything in between). And it has no bearing on anything headphone-related but I work in publishing, I live in Cambridge MA, and I'm 49 trying my damnedest to get to 50 (curse this body!). I am in the process of converting my library (a mere 5,500 tracks at the moment) to Apple Lossless—though most tracks are 256kbps AAC so they're not too bad.
A few years back I got some Sennheiser PC360s (since I am was an MMO player). I added an Astro MixAmp, so my connection was the S/PDIF from my iMac to the MixAmp for audio out, and iMac USB to the MixAmp for the microphone in. This combo is pretty good for music from iTunes and awesome for gaming and voice chat. I really like the Sennheiser "sound" and I think the PC360s are the audio equivalent of the Sennheiser HD558s. This was my only headphone setup for a while.
I then got tired of using my Apple EarPods at work and got a good deal on a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50s. I was attracted to the closed phones and the reports of a balanced, neutral sound. And both aspects proved worthwhile, even with the phones directly connected to my work iMac. But I figured there was something more, so I got an Audioengine D1 DAC/amp (I went combined for convenience and for a future optical connection). It's now hooked up to my work machine via USB and used for iTunes listening. I am bad with buzzwords, but the sound seems crisper and more open. A definite improvement.
And this leads me to my third pair of headphones. I was fortunate to win an eBay auction on a pair of Sennheiser HD650s at a great price. I am currently listening to them through the MixAmp, with music coming though Audirvana Plus (TuneBoosters Isone plugin on defaults) controlled by iTunes. They definitely seem to have that Sennheiser "sound" and they are real step-up from the headset. I am really enjoying them with my limited listening time so far. My goal now is a separate DAC/amp combo for the HD650s. I am leaning towards the Schiit Modi/Magni combo as I don't want to invest too much into my obsession hobby at first.
So there you go...I welcome any hints or tips to help improve my sound. I especially would like a good guide to how to setup the Isone plugin for best listening. And if you have alternate DAC/amp recommendations or portable iPhone headphone options I'd like to hear them. Or I am willing to have discussions on how the Green Bay Packers are the greatest team in all of sports and how Brett Favre is only my third favorite Green Bay quarterback (and no, neither Aaron Rodgers nor Bart Starr are number one).