I'm fairly new to this fancy headphone world. I've been reading up and learning for a bit over the last year. I am an adult and have a somewhat limited budget.
Music listened to is fairly varied. Last few albums have been Peter Gabriel's Us, DJ Spooky's Riddim Warfare, Bill Evans/Jim Hall's Undercurrent, Kendrick Lamar's Section 80....so yeah...I'm all over the place. Music is all burned to my laptop at 320kbps mp3. I do have most ablums in CD hardcopy tucked away. At some point I'll get around to reburning FLAC. I'm NOT a computer wiz...so it's a labored process.
Currently, I have two sets of phones. Grado SR80i, and Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 250Ohm. For a dac and amp I have the Schiit Modi/Magni pair. Grados are modified by myself with 4 of the driver holes vented, grill cloth removed, and generic L-cush pads added. I have decades of experience with hand tools. The mods are as near perfect as matters. Both sets of phones have over 100 hours of play.
Here's the problem. I'm not *thrilled* with any of it. I listen approx 3 hours a day. (Usually at night, after the family goes to sleep.) I have no basis of comparison...so I'm not sure if it's an issue with my setup, or my expectations. I can remember one time in my youth when I walked into a high end audio store and was treated to an audition of a $20,000+ stereo system. I felt like I could walk around the stage, viewing each musician in his spot. Every bend on the guitar neck, the tiniest variance in keyboard strike. The rotation of the Leslie. Each rim shot. While my headphone setup is MUCH better than anything else I own...it offers NONE of this detail. I expected limitations based on my budget...but it's WAY off. I feel like there's a fairly limited dynamic range, that entire sections of the music are muddied, and separation is little improved. In short, it's mostly in the area of timber that my "new" headphones are improved over my other listening options. Which is great...but doesn't exactly encourage me to blow a ton more funds on this hobby.
So, in short...am I expecting too much? Or is there a "fatal flaw" in my setup that I could upgrade and expect significant changes? Am I already into the realm of gradual ones...that point of greatly diminishing returns?
Thanks so much for your time, audio nerds! I look forward to any assistance you may offer. :)