I've been reading this forum for a long time, but now the time for joining has come!
I'm an Italian music lover with a 200€ budget and a rig-upgrade problem :)
Given the thread title, first of all let me introduce my gear and listening habits.
Well, most my music listenings happen through the ipad during the night while reading a book or surfing the web in my bedroom. When I'm on my living room I prefer using the iMac as my musical source.
I mainly listen to mainstream rock/pop, some club music, and a little bit of chillout/lounge music during my relaxed late night sessions. I rarely go for classical.
Technically speaking, my main source is spotify premium -> imac/ipad2 -> hrt microstreamer -> sennheiser hd 25-1 II/yamaha eph-100. I also happen to listen to (mostly ripped cds) flac files through the imac with Audirvana+.
I also use sansa clip+ -> hd25/ EPH 100 for flac listening on the go.
Let's move to some brief sound impressions of my rig. With the microstreamer I prefer the HD25 to the EPH-100 sonically and phisically, although both have their strenghts and somehow suit my musical tastes. In particular, I think the HD25 are a bit more balanced, or, better, their treble are more recognizable and enjoyable than those of the IEMs. Furthermore, after more than a year, I still find the EPH-100 uncomfortable with all the provided ear-tips, resulting in the impossibility to fully enjoy them for long listening sessions. On the other hand, HD25's clamping force is quite high, although I find velour earpads far more comfortable (whithout glasses) than the pleatherette ones. Moving to the clip+, I still prefer the HD25, although I find them a little harsh every now and then, probably depending on the recording quality.
Now that my current set-up is a bit clearer, here's my doubt: let's say for the moment I have a budget of 200€, and I want an upgrade for my relaxed and quite long nightly listening sessions, I'd like to share my current options with you guys:
1. upgrade HD25's cable: I could be OK with the stock steel cable, but I've read few interesting words about the custom cans "uber audiophile" mod for these cans, that should enhance their clarity and smooth their treble a bit. I admit I'm quite curious about this, considering that the full mod ("audiophile" copper cable + mass damping material) should be around 80€ shipped.
2. get a portable amp: I started looking at fiio f12, then I've read everything about portable amps from the O2 to the portaphile 627, ending with a headache :D and a bit of confusion regarding the portable amps. I'm aware that both my HD25 and EPH-100 work at least decently straight out both my microstreamer (which obvoiusly IS also an headphone amp) and sansa clip+.
3. sennheiser momentum over ear: I love them aesthetically, period. I happened to try them twice in an apple store straight from an ipod touch, and they are OK fit-wise, even with glasses. They are more comfortable than my HD25, which I use with the velour pads. I find their sound signature a bit darker than the HD25s one, and I'm considering them as a possible companion of the HD25 for my relaxed listenings. Moreover, I can find the black ones for around 200€. To be honest, I also thought to skip the momentums and get some non-portable (maybe open) cans, if this could make sense in terms of sound quality.
Given these options, they are sort of mutually exclusive only on a short time-span (let's say that if I make my first choice now, I could think about a subsequent upgrade in 3-6 months), I just want to grow my headphone-related rig in a relaxed way, while trying to maximize the cost-efficiency of every upgrade.
Ok, here we are, in my less than average English I've explained almost everyting. Now question time :) :
a. what shoud you guys advice me to do?
b. Does anyone have any experience with the HD25 custom cans "audiophile" cable? Is it worth it?
c. Does an(other) portable amp make sense in my current rig?
d. Are momentums really that good? Will they benefit from further rig upgrades?
That's (almost) it. I'm open to your thoughts and suggestions! Thank you :)