Originally Posted by bahamaman
My decision to purchase the BHSE is based on reading hundreds, maybe thousands of posts, in addition to what was said here. I have been struck by the universal praise it has garnered. Most gear, even the highest of the high end stuff, seems to have its fanboys and nay-sayers. On the other hand, the BHSE has very few detractors.
I am sorry that you feel this thread has been a waste of your time. As for me, it hasn't. This thread, with its multitude of suggestions, helped to remind me of my own quest for headphone nirvana eight years ago. During that quest, I bought and sold a dizzying array of 'phones, amps, and sources, always convinced that the holy grail was just around the corner. After four years, it landed me in 'stat land. Climbing back on head-fi, hearing the various recommendations made on this and other threads, I merely decided that I didn't need to embark upon that same journey.
I was in a similar boat to you last year except rather than 8 years it was more like 18 years and the high end Stax back then was Lambda Signatures the SRM-T1S and my ML are the smaller Aerius. Based on your past experience, I think you will be delighted with the O2s + BHSE. You certainly won't go wrong with them given your preferences. I know it's heresy here, but it's completely reasonable not to chase the ultimate headphone experience but rather go with something you know would work invest time and mental energy into something that is more important to you.
Like you I couldn't image anything touching electrostatics and fully expected to settle on a pair of Stax. If money was no object I would have ended up with 009, or with your budget, I would most likely would have ended up with 007s, though for me it would have been a KGSSHV rather than BHSE.
But that's not how it played out for me. I was prepared to spend a bit more time than you, so I decided to give a few other options a try. Thanks to some local head-fi-ers and the store Audio High I was able to give a quick listen to a number of flagship headphones in just a couple of weeks. As expected I loved Stax. The big surprise for me was the Sennheiser HD800. I never expected dynamic headphone that challenged Stax, yet I found I liked the HD800 more than my old beloved LNS, actually all Stax except the 007 and 009. I found my ranking between the HD800 and the 007 would switch depending on what track I listened to. As others have noted, the 007 and HD800 compliment each other. If sound quality was the only factor, I would have very slightly favored the 007 + KGSSHV. But there were two other factors. I found the HD800 more comfortable than any other headphones I have used. I never grew tired of them, even after a full day of use. The second issue was the deciding issue for me: convenience / versatility. I could use the HD800 away from my main rig. Yes, they sound best driven with great DAC + Headamp GS-Xmk2, but I could also enjoy them a great deal being driven with a much more modest DragonFly+PicoPower or HiFi-M8.
Edited by verber - 3/19/14 at 1:05pm