Splitting hairs among all extremely good headphones is difficult, breaking it down into distinct categories and sub-categories seems like the most logical way to do it. Your categorization and breakdown gives a good sense of those qualities of the headphone and allow better comparison, and let's me prioritize which aspects I am biased for enjoying the most.
That said, my experience is that sometimes when I hear something new and exciting, I lose grip on minutia after a few songs, and I end up just letting a headphone playback my library on shuffle for an hour or more. Sometimes this happens when there's something really GOOD about a certain characteristic which I never knew I valued, or a trait I prioritize hits a new level that I want to hear a couple more favourite songs through the filter of this headphone... Or best of all, and a sure sign of a winner, it all just comes together in such a jucy coherent package that I just have to play everything through to the end, and I'm so awestruck that I relinquish control on the song cue (shuffle all songs in my library) and float with my full attention and emotions riding on the music.
I think it's important to analyze the character of a headphone, and that's especially important when describing the sound to others, but I don't really "grok" a headphone until I break out of my preset "quality test songs" playlist and let random chance teach me about what a headphone does really well (or really poorly). I think there's a certain amount of "brain burn-in" that happens when you overplay a song, even with different headphones. An example of this was with HiFiMan's original HE-400 with velour pads: I thought it did pretty well with my test tracks and I could see living with it, but I didn't realize it wouldn't be an all-rounder for me until "A Woman Left Lonely" by Janis Joplin came on with poor mastering doubling the HE-400's flaw in recessed mids. It sounded like the lead singer was a background vocalist! With my more recent Oppo PM-3 testing, I've grown in affection for it as I enjoyed the forward presentation during intimate songs like "I Don't Get It" by Cowboy Junkies and "Got To Go Back" by Van Morrison, and while not "holographic" the PM-3's rendition of depth on my copy of "Hungarian Dances: No. 5 in G Minor" is very good.
Jelt, do you ever feel like you have a hard time "understanding" a headphone with overplayed test tracks?
Subbed! Looking forward to the rest of the reviews!