Sep 22, 2010
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3D artist

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    3D artist
    Headphone Inventory:
    AudioQuest NightHawk
    - My mostly current favorite. People seem to fall on one side or the other with this headphone. I fall on the side that really enjoys it. The most comfortable pair of headphones I have, even though I prefer velour over (p)leather ear pads. Great fit on my head and finally a suspension band that works for me. These headphones reproduce sound with a weight that I really enjoy. I do not find the bass overpowering, I do not find the mids too recessed, and I do not find the treble too accentuated. As a number of NightHawk fans have noted, while its presentation of sound is unique and takes some time to acclimate to initially -- once you buy in, you're sold. I'm sold.

    Sennheiser HD650
    - My former (and sometimes current) favorite, and I don't foresee ever selling these. As soon as I listened to them the first time, I knew that this was the sound signature I liked: darker, full bass, beautiful vocals, and clear but not pushy treble. I was surprised how much bass these had coming out of the Modi/Magni. Now to find the perfect amp combo...

    Vsonic GR07 Bass Edition
    - I'm not a big sticking-things-in-my-ears guy, but sometimes I want some isolation. That's why I picked up a couple IEMs to compare and kept one. This is the one I'm keeping. I am truly impressed by the sound. The bass is, to my ears, very powerful and extends deep, but is not bloated and does not mess up the mids. The treble is well defined and the only time it's felt grainy or sibilant is when the recording probably wasn't the best (usually pop-type album). I really wish I didn't need to hear what's going on in the office, otherwise I have these in my ears most of the time (sorry HD650).

    Fostex TH600
    - I'd wanted to experience the "Denon bass" for years, but never got a chance. After the TH600 became available and eventually dropped in price, I jumped in. While the HE-400 was the first time I was wowed by bass impact, the bass extension and impact of the TH600 is on a level up. I find that on many songs where the bass normally takes a back seat, the Fostex brings it out n a way that gives the song a weight that I enjoy. I remember listening to Pink Floyd's - The Division Bell album, and songs just had a solid foundation I hadn't experienced before. Who knows, maybe I'm a basshead and never knew it. The nice part about the Fostex is that bass doesn't come at the expense of hollow mids and blaring treble. Compared to my HD650, the vocals aren't as forward, sure, but I still enjoy them. I'm a bit sensitive to treble, so the HD650 is the perfect treble representation for me. The TH600 is brighter, which isn't normally a problem, but on some lower quality vocal recordings, the sibilance is exposed, whereas the HD650 smooths right over it. So I did a little mod and added some perforated shelf liner material behind the ear cup pads. Takes the edge off those recordings and just generally put the upper treble at a place I enjoy more. I should add that listening has been done through the Sabre-based Geek Out 1000, so I don't know what effect that's had on the treble response compared to the Modi/Magni, as I don't have them anymore.

    Philips Fidelio X1
    - Had great potential in the sound department. But the pads were scratchy on my ears and the suspension band felt tight on my head (and I don' thave a big head). Comfort is a high priority, so they've been relegated to the mod table.

    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO 600Ω
    - These are a discontinued pair from about 20 years ago. A friend of of mine who's a sound engineer at a recording studio let me borrow them on a long term basis :) They really are the most comfy headphones I've ever worn. Not the strongest bass, and some recessed mids, but still not a bad phone and I won't get rid of them. Unless you have the juice to power them, though, it can accentuate their weaknesses and plays down their strengths.

    Koss PortaPro
    - If there's one headphone I would buy two of, just in case they stopped making them, it would be the Koss PortaPro. Such great bass from this unassuming headphone. I have the yellow Sennheiser foams pads from the HD414 on them, which eases some of the on-ear pressure. Love the look, love the sound, will always have a pair around.

    HiFiMAN RE-300h
    - One of the other IEMs I got to care with. Very small, lightweight, and comfortable. Also, impressive amount of bass from such a small package. However, it's downfall is the claustrophobic feel of the upper mids, treble, and especially soundstage. Maybe I expect too much from an IEM, but compared to the GR07BE, these don't come close. For only $50, not bad though.

    HiFiMAN HE-400 (FocusPad-A)
    - The bass is really the signature of the HE-400. With the velour pads, the impact and extension really wowed me. However, the ear pad and headband comfort got the best of me, considering how heavy these cans are. Also, the treble start to get to me as well. So I sold them. That lasted a couple years until I got the HD650 and found a great deal on the HE-400 again with Focus-A Pads and I had to hear that bass again to compare. I have to say, the HD650 meets them better than expected. Not quite as much impact, but close enough that the much better mids and highs make it a keeper, while the HE-400 was always on the edge of being cut to fund some other experiment.

    Fostex T50RP - modded
    - Wanted to try my hand at modding, but it became clear that to get the best from these headphones, I'd need to invest a lot more time for trial-and-error experimenting. Was hoping to just plop in the Mayflower Electronics mod kit and have an awesome headphone in 45min. Yea, life doesn't work like that still. (Note: don't use adhesive backed felt to damp the back of the driver, kills the sound)

    Bose IE1
    - A gift from my mother. Actually sounded pretty good. Fatal flaws were that have an open back, which defeats the point of IEMs for me, and they have these little ear hooks that are supposed to fit inside your ear crevices. Not a big fan of that. Returned to Costco (sorry mom).

    Sennheiser HD558
    - Bought because that was the best pair of Sennheiser's that my local Best Buy had. Wanted to try out the Senn Sound without needing an amp, which I was in-between at the time. Helped me decide that my next headphone was going to be the HD650. Returned to Best Buy.

    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO Limited Edition 32Ω
    - After reading the Headfonia review of these, I was convinced to try them, as I was a big Beyer fan at the time. Little disappointed in the bass department, was hoping for more. However, these were the most balanced Beyers I had heard before. I really wanted to keep them, but I sold them in search for more bass. Would be interested in hearing them again.

    Beyerdynamic DT990 PRO
    - The first headphone that put a smile on my face. Yes, pronounced treble, but also pronounced and very fun bass. Also love the way they look. My workmates didn't enjoy their non-voluntary participation in my music listening, but I didn't worry so much about that. I was having fun. I've gotten more sensitive to treble, so I couldn't go back to these even though I've thought about it for kicks and giggles.

    Beyerdynamic DT770 Premium 600Ω
    - Surprising and disappointing. I can't remember exactly what amp I had at the time, but it might have been the Valhalla. The Premium did not have as comfortable a headband and ear pads as the Pro line. In addition, the sound was..."hollow". That's the best I can describe. Weak bass. It's possible I didn't have enough amp to power them (might have been the Fiio) but I couldn't image that any amount of amping would make them sound good enough for to want to keep.

    Audio Technica ATH-M50
    - I must have weird ears and a weird head. I didn't like the M50 right from the beginning. It felt like a Shure 440 clone which, as you'll see below, I was also not a fan of. Sounded claustrophobic and was uncomfortable to wear for any period of time. I drove down to B&H in Manhattan to return them.

    Shure SRH-440
    - The first time I consciously spent money to buy a quality pair of headphones. Except I couldn't come to like them. I really don't remember the sound specifically, except that the M50 sounded about the same and that the DT770 sounded much better. But the comfort is what really killed me. Talk about a sore crown of the head after an hour. Ouch. Bye bye.
    Headphone Amp Inventory:
    Audio-gd NFB-3AMP
    ( Schiit Magni )
    ( Meridian Explorer )
    ( JDS Labs O2 )
    ( Schiit Valhalla )
    ( Fiio E9 )
    ( Phenix G3-T7 )
    Source Inventory:
    Meridian Director
    LH LabsGeek Out 1000
    ( Schiit Modi )
    ( Meridian Explorer )
    ( Fiio E7 )
    Cable Inventory:
    AudioQuest Forest/Evergreen cables
    Power-Related Components:
    ( Schiit Wyrd )
    Other Audio Equipment:
    Emotiva Airmotiv 5s
    Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable
    Emotiva XPS-1 phono preamp
    Music Preferences:
    Ambient / chill electronic
    Indie pop / rock
    Cool jazz
    Classical (romantic)
    Instrumental guitar
    Occasional new age


    HPs: NightHawk | HD650 | TH600 | DT770 | GR07BE​
    DAC: Meridian Director | Geek Out 1000​
    Vinyl: ​
    Pioneer PLX-1000​
     → Shure SC35C​
     → Emotiva XPS-1​

    Amp: Audio-gd NFB3-AMP​

     Emotiva Airmotiv 5s​
    I know just enough to make people who don't know what they're talking about think I do.
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