After lurking and learning for a few months, I thought it was finally time to join the community that has already helped me with my first delve into higher quality head gear. I mostly wanted to improve my listening while working on editing images (photography is my main hobby) and with 2 young children, I only get to enjoy it late at night. I was using a set of Sennheiser HD205’s with the onboard sound of my PC. While they sounded ok, the clamp force was enough to be uncomfortable after 15 minutes… and that is after storing them on a basketball for 2 years! As they were built like a tank I thought I would look at Sennheiser for a replacement. This turned out to be a long, deep rabbit hole.
After reading, reading and reading some more, I purchased a set of Sony IEM’s… ok, so I also listen to music and podcasts for much of the day at work as well, so I thought I would upgrade my Shure SE210’s as they have always lacked a lot in terms of mid and low bass especially with faster music. On reading a few reviews of the Sony XBA-4i I found a good deal on them and pulled the trigger. Overall I am happy with them. I still cannot find a good ear piece from the kit that Sony provides (I LOVE the foam that comes with the Shure’s) so I may pick up an aftermarket set to replace the silicone units that Sony provides. The bass is significantly improved and the voices just roll nicely. Probably not the best set out there, but so far I am very happy with them.
So, on to my home PC. After more reading, I decided that the only way to know what I liked was to buy a few different headphones and compare them. So I purchased a set of HD-558’s and a set of HD-598’s along with a Xonar STX sound card. I really did like the 598’s better as they were just crisper in the mid to upper tones with tighter albeit less bass. This was fine as I am nowhere near a bass head (been there, done that). So I was happy with the 598’s… then I found a returned set of HD-650’s on amazon and couldn’t pass them up. They arrived and 2 days later the 598’s were returned. The 650’s are so nice to listen too… everything the community has said about this headphone has proven to be true. Well done head-fi! I am also using ALAC rips with JRiver, which is just a pleasure to use.
So for now I am very happy with my setup at home, but I am already looking at better amps to use with the 650’s. Not out of necessity, but because I can never leave well enough alone and the DIY units from Bottlehead and Garage1217 are really intriguing to me (engineer by day). I am also considering a Schiit Modi/Magni for use at work, but that can wait for a while.
Anyway, thanks for creating such a great resource for learning about and exploring the world of high(er) end headphones and all the associated gear that helps us keep the economy moving in the right direction.