Originally Posted by Nik
After a lot of headpohnes and most of the best onthe world, I have now this concept: I judge the best headphone (and even amps and sorces ...) that one that has the biggest "variablity" in sound. If you can listen some of your CD so bad, but so bad that you never whant to hear them another time and when you can listen another CD so good, so good that you cannot stop your player, surely you have the best setup you can desire... this is only my personal opinion. I do not whant more that kind of systems that gives to the owner hours and hours of pleasure ... NO! If I whant this I go the concert. I do not need to have the Linn Sondek just for this... I remember one of the most pleasure setup I had was the little Rega Planet with the MF Xcan and the Grado RS-1, good, very good and all the CD was so good and the music was very relaxed ... I do not whant more a thing like that! Or even the RP5 cav + HD 650, the same very, very good music I listened from that setup...
The Qualia 010 (I think is the most advanced headphone ever made) has this "variability" so hi, that I never see before. This is the first point I consider when I judge one headphone !!!
I understand what you are saying. You equate a "forgiving" phone with one that is masking the inadequacies of the source. A "variable" phone would stink with stinky sources, and shine with shiny sources. The HD650 would hit a limit where it could no longer improve in sound with sources that are too, hmm, "shiny." But the 010 can shine as far as the source can. So my koss clips sound "just fine" with any source, but your 010 will sound like crap with bad recordings/rigs, and run circles around lesser phones if given the potential.
It's a philosophy I can understand. And the pursuit of which I cannot afford. So I look forward to the continued reading of your quest for the ultimate can with the ultimate rig with the ultimate recording - resulting in hopefully more than a few minutes of pure unadulterated sonic nirvana! I will have to be satisfied with "ignorant bliss" and listen to hours of unfatiguing cans that are a bit forgiving of crappy recordings on my forgiving rig. (but i'm already starting to find, hmm, 20% of my CDs to be useless now, and everything on my ipod under 128ripped to be unlistenable. curse you, head-fi!)
Edit - I just realized that, if given my rig and recordings, Nik would probably find 100% of it unlistenable. I'm already at 20% - i fear for my wallet if i have to start hunting down "purer" recordings - and that route might deter me from some great sonic gems that just have crappy fidelity. I wonder if I'll start listening to more organ music and chorales if i continue down this road? Farewell, New Order and Depeche Mode!