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Nov 1, 2010
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Trader History (109)

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amcananey Send PM

Forever a 500+ Head-Fier, Male

  • About

    Headphone Inventory:

    Sennheiser HD800 recabled with DHC Nucleotide by JE Audio Designs (balanced)

    Sennheiser HD600 (2 pairs) recabled with DHC Nucleotide by JE Audio Designs (balanced)

    HiFiMAN HE-6 recabled with 8-strand DHC Nucleotide by JE Audio Designs (balanced)

    AKG K1000 (balanced, of course)

    Ultrasone Signature Pro recabled with DHC Nucleotide by JE Audio Designs

    Ultrasone Signature DJ

    Denon AH-D7000 with J$ v1 pads, recabled with DHC Nucleotide by JE Audio Designs (balanced)

    Darth Beyer v3 with BlackSilver cable and J$ pads

    Beyerdynamic DT990 600 Ohm

    Kenwood KH-K1000

    Sennheiser Amperior (blue!) with HD-25 i II cable

    AKG K240M (vintage)

    V-Moda M-100

    German Maestro GMP 8.300 D

    Westone 3
    Dunu Trident



    Sennheiser HD800 - recabled with SilverRay silver cable

    Sennheiser HD700 - Very different sound signature from HD800 and, in my view, not even close on technicalities. But the most comfortable headphones I've ever worn. I think these are severely overpriced compared to HD600/HD650/HE-500.

    Sennheiser HD650 - Bought them three times, sold them three times. I much prefer the HD600s. The HD650s (even newer versions) really do seem veiled and murky in comparison.

    Sennheiser HD25-1 II - I liked just about everything about these. Yes, they clamp hard, but it's bearable and they stay put. Good sound in a small, light, robust, noise-isolating package. I sold these when I got the Amperiors, but frankly I'm not convinced the Amperiors are better.

    Koss ESP-950 - The electrostat headphones you've never heard of. Surprisingly good performance - I didn't find these lacking in bass at all. They won't compete with Denon D7000s or Ultrasones, but the bass is definitely not lacking and feels well-balanced. Price wise, these are actually a good deal, considering you are getting headphones, an extra cable, a carrying case, an amp and a lifetime warranty. In terms of value I would compare these to Sennheiser HD600s and a good amp. Build quality is plastic, but sufficient. Comfortable and light. If there is ever a successor, I'll buy them.

    Audez'e LCD-2 Rev. 1 - The LCD-2s are beautiful. No question about it. And Audez'e deserves credit for making high-quality planars mainstream and for creating some that are incredibly easy to drive. But when it comes to performance, I think the HiFiMAN HE-500s stomp all over the LCD-2s, and for less money, to boot.

    Beyerdynamic T1 - recabled with DHC Nucleotide cable - Meh. Overpriced. Couldn't compete with the HD800s or HE-6s on performance, or my HE-500s on value. Scratch that. Couldn't compete with the HE-500s on value OR performance!

    Beyerdynamic DT990 (600 Ohm) - Strong bass plus sparkly treble makes for an unusual (and pleasing) combination. Sold these, regretted it, and bought another pair.

    Beyerdynamic DT880 (600 Ohm) - Too bright for my taste.

    Beyerdynamic DT770 (80 Ohm) - Inferior to the D5000s in every way except build quality. Not enough detail.

    Beyerdynamic DT1350 - I definitely like the Sennheiser HD 25-1 ii better, let alone the Amperiors...

    Denon AH-D5000 - Loved them. Only sold them to finance purchase of D7000s.

    Denon AH-D2000 with J$ v3 pads (sniff! I miss them!)

    HiFiMAN HE-500 - It pained me to sell these. They are probably 99% of the performance of HE-6s, and easier to drive, to boot. But I love my HE-6s so much that I found never used the HE-500s. Still, stunning performance at a steal of a price. The HE-500s and Sennheiser HD600s are my price/performance benchmarks for Summit-Fi audio.

    HiFiMAN HE-400 - Never warmed to them.

    Thunderpants (African Blackwood) - The cups were so beautiful, it hurt me to sell them. The headband was so ugly, it eased the pain. The sound, by itself, was very good. But compared to open-backed planars, they came up short. Still, very impressive considering the source material!

    Grado PS500 - Good, but overpriced. Lots of other cans as good for less, or better for the same price.

    Grado RS-1i - The most painful cans I've ever heard. Good riddance.

    Grado SR-225i (woodied) - These were sweet. I kind of miss them. Exceptionally fast, well balanced, unbelievably light and airy.

    Alessandro MS2is (woodied, recabled, with Grado salad bowl pads) - I liked these, no real reason for selling, other than I had two pairs and traded one pair to try something new. I think the MS2is are the sweet spot in the Grado/Alessandro lineup. More bass than the SR-225is, less expensive than the overpriced PS500s / HF-2s, etc. and not as shrill/piercing as the 325s, RS-1s and RS-2s.

    Alessandro MS2 (stock, with Grado salad bowl pads and Sennheiser HD414 pads) - See above. I didn't hear a difference between the stock and woodied versions that I had in my possession at the same time. FWIW, I much prefer the sound with the HD414 pads over any of the Grado pads (including the salad bowl pads). While I still think the MS2s are the sweet spot in the Grado lineup, these ultimately couldn't compete with my other cans and weren't getting enough head time.

    Ultrasone Pro 2900 - Super-saturated hyper-realism. Experience your music turned up to "11". Sold them, realized I had let something unique slip away, traded for another pair.

    Ultrasone Pro 900 - Wonky. Gave me headaches.

    Ultrasone HFi 2400 - More natural than the Pro 2900s, though still with plenty of bass. But slightly lacking in detail compared to my other bass-heavy cans, so I sold them.

    AKG K550 - I suppose these are airy for closed-back headphones. But they don't seal well (not nearly as well as Shure SRH840s, Sennheiser HD25s and Amperiors, or Philips Cityscape Uptowns) and sound feels thin to me.

    Shure SRH840 - These leak less sound than just about any headphones I've ever tried. Very comfortable, though slightly heavy. Impeccable build quality and generous accessories included. A true steal. One of the best deals out there and perfect for long-term listening at work or in bed next to your significant other. I sold these, then missed them and bought the pair described below.

    Shure SRH840 (modded) - See above for my views on SRH840s generally. They have three flaws, however: (1) The headband is quite heavy. This causes the headphones to slide forward if you look down (while reading a book or papers, for example). (2) The cable is removeable, but it uses a proprietary jack, which generally makes it impossible to use after-market cables. (3) The stock cable is very heavy, it is thick, it is long and it is coiled, which makes it extremely annoying in practice. I bought a 2nd pair of SRH840s modded by JE Audio Designs that addressed all of these flaws: (1a) the heavy, slippery stock headband was removed and replaced with a new, lighter, more comfortable one, (2a) the proprietary jack cable jack was replaced with a standard mini-XLR jack, and finally, (3a) a custom cable made out of DHC Nucleotide sheathed in soft black monofilament (light and short enough for portable or desktop use -- without constantly running over the cable with your deskchair --) was added. Eventually sold it because...I just had too many cans. I didn't have ANY complaints, however.

    Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs with Comfort Strap and Dog Pads - Good sound and comfort with no obvious flaws. Frequency response seemed very flat. But this is the 3rd pair of T50rp derivatives I've owned, and they all sounded OK but boring. The frequency response was flat AND the sound was flat.

    Shure SRH750DJ - Wow. Worst build quality EVER. A creaky, squeaky pile of horse manure. I was SHOCKED that these were from Shure, since I have otherwise been impressed by their products.

    Philips Cityscape Uptown - For the most part, the looks, fit, comfort and construction quality of these headphones FAR exceeds their price-point. Philips basically hit a home run in term of construction quality EXCEPT FOR ONE MAJOR BLUNDER: the cable, which should have been the easiest and cheapest part to get right, is absolutely abominable. Thin, flimsy, and cheap, with a volume slider that induces noise. In terms of sound...well, they are in line with their price. The sound always seemed hollow and distant to me.

    Sony MDR-XB700 - The ones that started it all! Listened to them again before selling them. Ooof...these were terrible!


    Westone 4 (W4) - Seemed kind of...boring. Certainly not an improvement over the W3s, so I saw no reason to keep them.

    Triple-Fi 10s - Excellent IEMs if you want to obey the old adage about never sticking anything smaller than your elbow in your ear. You would have to be Dumbo to get a good fit with these.

    Grado GR10 - The anti-Triple-Fi's. Tiny.

    Sennheiser IE8 - BOOM! Even at the lowest setting, the bass was rocking. A very nice IEM, but the Westone 3 fit me better, resulting in better isolation and resolution. Bass is definitely slightly (over)emphasized on the IE8s, but I have to say that I really liked them.

    Shure SE215 (clear) - I hate memory cables. I really do. These were pretty decent for the price, but no competition compared to the Westone 3s.

    Fisher Audio Eterna V1 - Loved these. Great IEMs at a great price. The slightly stiff, rubbery cable is a bit frustrating, but for the price it is hard to complain. Only sold these after getting the Westone 3s.
    Headphone Amp Inventory:

    Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball upgrade, upgraded TKD volume pot and upgraded ClarityCap ESA output film caps
    Bottlehead Smack with upgraded Mundorf film caps
    Little Dot Mk VI+ w/ Tungsol 5998 tubes
    Brocksieper Earmax (original version)
    Eddie Current Laconic EC-01

    Solid State:
    Violectric V181
    Audio-Gd Roc SA
    AMB M³ (a/k/a M^3 or MMM) - Built by Mister X
    Neco Soundlab Mosfet

    Leckerton Audio UHA-6S Mk II
    Neco Soundlab v3 Portable (18V w/ battery upgrade)
    AMB Mini^3 (premium edition)
    JDSLabs c421 with AD8610 opamps

    Emotiva mini-X a-100


    Solid State:

    HiFiMAN EF-6 – The EF-6 is a wonder to behold. It is giant, heavy and imposing. One of the best solid state amps I’ve heard, and one of the few to give the HD800s nice, textured bass. Oddly enough, it isn’t as powerful as I expected, with unexpected results. First, I had other amps (Violectric V181, Little Dot Mk VI+, Audio-Gd Roc SA) that did just as well or better with my HE-6s. Second, the EF-6 was way more versatile than expected, and really made my D7000s sing. Other than power (don’t believe the 5W into 50 Ohms, which is pure marketing bull-dookie), my chief criticism of the EF-6 is that for its price, it isn’t as flexible as my V181, and the Roc SA delivers more power and the same quality in a smaller, more versatile package. One odd note: the EF-6 does not have balanced inputs, even though it has a 4-pin XLR headphone jack. I did love the giant stepped attenuator on the EF-6, however…

    Balanced ß22 (Beta 22) by Fallen Angel with dual Sigma 22 power supplies - Stunningly beautiful. Tremendous clarity and detail. But too neutral and slightly boring for my taste. Also huge and heavy. I preferred the sound of my Violectric V181 by a good margin, so I saw no reason to hold onto the ß22. Sold to fund a WA22 (which was in turn sold as well). Thus the cycle of life continues...

    AMB M³ (a/k/a M^3 or MMM) - Built by Rockhopper. – I like the M^3 better than the Beta 22 by a good margin. The M^3 has a wonderfully relaxed, natural, liquid sound, and works well with just about any headphones you throw at it (although the HD800s and HD600s do markedly better with the Bottlehead Crack than any solid state amp). The only reason I sold this one, was that I had two M^3s and was also in the process of building my own fully-balanced version.

    Burson HA-160D - Amazing build quality, great looks, good functionality and options, but....boring. Also: no optical input.

    Audio-Gd NFB-10SE - Gobs and gobs of power, tons of flexibility, all wrapped up in a nice, neat, fairly-priced package. So why sell? You have to hold down the volume up button each time you turn on the unit before you get any sound, and there is no volume knob, just painfully slow buttons as the unit ticks through the relays controlling volume. What can I say? I'm impatient.

    Firestone Audio Cute Beyond with upgraded Supplier PSU - I received this as part of a trade. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much out of it. To say I was pleasantly surprised is a severe understatement. Very clean sound, detailed without being harsh, neutral but not flat, musical but not warm. The location of the power switch on the Supplier is a complete PITA, however. Could they have made the switch any smaller or harder to reach, let alone see? I think not.

    K.I.C.A.S. Caliente – “The best amps are dead neutral.” “Don’t buy an amp with colored sound, you will regret it later.” “The ideal amp is a wire with gain.” “What you really want in an amp is transparency – you shouldn’t even notice it…you want the music to shine through.” – Well, guess what. After owning dozens of neutral amps, they get boring as heck after a while. The Caliente was a welcome relief, mixing things up a bit and tossing a bit of color into an otherwise drab and boring landscape. Would I buy it as my only amp? Probably not (although this unit was convertible into the non-Caliente version, which I didn’t try). But as a 2nd or 3rd amp for when you want to have fun? Definitely. This is the amp equivalent of the V-Moda M-100.

    Neco Soundlab BOSFET v2.1 (PCB v7) – I’ve pretty much given up on trying to convince people outside of the U.K. that Neco amps are brilliant, understated performers with great build quality at a steal of a price. They are, but I’m just tired of shouting into the void. I do wish Neco would sell these with PSUs compatible with 115V power…

    Beresford Caiman w/ Gator Board and Burson discrete opamp - Even without the Burson opamp, this is an amazing deal and a great performer.

    Graham Slee Novo - Good PRAT.

    Meier Corda Headamp-1


    SinglePower MPX3 Slam - There was nothing about this amp I didn't like, except maybe the size and the cloud of suspicion hanging over it. But in terms of performance, it was magical. Liquid, effortless, the quietest tube amp I've ever heard. I will miss it sorely. In fact, I missed it so much, I tried to buy it back, but the buyer never responded. Grrrrrrr……….

    Woo Audio WA22 w/ Princess Sophia, Sylvania brown base driver tubes and Sylvania power tubes - Sold because this amp got thoroughly spanked by the Bottlehead Crack + Speedball combo. After hearing an OTL tube amp, it is hard to go back to a WOT design. The WA22 has that trademark heavy, lush Woo sound, but it lacked detail and PRAT.

    Woo Audio WA6 w/ Princess Sophia and various driver/power tubes and adapters - Sold because this amp got thoroughly spanked by the Bottlehead Crack + Speedball combo. After hearing an OTL tube amp, it is hard to go back to a WOT design. Still, the WA6 is a versatile amp that is fairly priced. It is very hard to fault it. Skip the overpriced Sophia Princess 274B (it looks pretty, but doesn't sound better than the alternatives). The stock rectifier is fine, or you can go for a nice Brimar 5Z4G or a Mullard 5Z4GT (both are tiny). I do recommend getting the 6GL7/6EM7 --> 6DE7 adapters and a pair of 6EM7/6EA7s for the driver/power tubes, however.

    HiFiMAN EF-5 – A perfectly capable and rather uninteresting amp. Sound is slightly warm and not super-detailed. Changing the tube is a royal PITA thanks to the stupid tube guard.


    Neco Soundlab 18V "portable" dual-mono amp (older, large case version with customized inputs) - Possibly my favorite amp, ever. Sold to finance purchase of two other Neco amps (including the Neco V3 portable). This is the amp that convinced me to sell the Burson HA-160D. Also handily beats the Objective 2 (O2).

    Objective O2 - An excellent amp and a great story. It is impossible not to recommend the O2. The front panel layout is crowded and slightly frustrating, however. I only sold my O2 to upgrade to the Neco V3 portable.

    Meier Corda Move

    Fiio E7 - Amazing value. Multifunctional. Great build quality. Sound was slightly warm and thick.

    JDSLabs cMoy with Bass Boost – Don’t. Just don’t. I don’t care how cute it is, or how cheap it is, you’re better off just listening straight from your ipod/phone/whatever. The bass boost is probably the worst thing I’ve ever heard. It’s like playing music out of a broken 1980s boom box, throwing a wet blanket over it, closing the door, and then listening through the wall from a closet down the hall.


    Trends TA-10.2SE (for HE-6) - An amazing amp in a great form factor. Tiny, yet very powerful. Practically a dream made in heaven for anyone that blew their budget on HE-6s, and doesn't have enough left over for some overpriced wunderamp. The TA-10.2SE is an UNDERpriced wunderamp! ;-) Great bass, dynamics, resolution and control.
    Source Inventory:

    Audio-Gd Reference 5.32
    Audio-Gd DAC 19Mk4
    Audio-Gd DAC 19Mk3
    Cambridge Audio DacMagic
    Matrix mini-i
    NwAvGuy / JDS Labs ODAC
    HRT iStreamer

    ipod Touch 64GB
    ipod Nano


    Audio-Gd NFB-10SE - Lovely sound with balanced and unbalanced (RCA) outputs and nice, strong signal strength. Tons of flexibility, all wrapped up in a nice, neat, fairly-priced package. So why sell? You have to hold down the volume up button each time you turn on the unit before you get any sound. A complete PITA. What can I say? I'm impatient. Only sold it to finance the Audio-Gd Ref. 5.32.

    Burson HA-160D - Amazing build quality, great looks, good functionality and options, but....boring. Also: no optical input.

    Beresford Caiman w/ Gator Board and Burson discrete opamp - Even without the Burson opamp, this is an amazing deal and a great performer.

    HiFiMAN HM-601 - Amazing performance and value for money. What carry around a DAP and an amp and deal with annoying cables? The HM-601 had great sound enough power for anything but the most difficult to drive planars. If I weren't addicted to Spotify, I would still be using it. BTW, the HiFiMAN user interface is fine as-is, nomatter what you've heard, but the HM-601 can also be Rockboxed.

    ipod Classic 160GB - Addicted to Spotify on my ipod Touch, so this went the way of the Dodo...

    NuForce uDAC-2 - If this little jack of all trades was more expensive, it would get more respect. DAC, headphone amp, RCA outs, USB-to-coaxial converter, all for less than $100?

    HRT Music Streamer II - I could never get this to work properly with my system. Frankly, I preferred the humble NuForce uDAC-2 by a fair margin.

    Fiio E7 - Amazing value. Multifunctional. Great build quality. Sound was slightly warm and thick.
    Cable Inventory:
    Blue. Jeans. Cable. - What else is there to say?
    Other Audio Equipment:
    Harrison Labs in-line RCA signal attenuators (-12 dB) - A godsend with the Bottlehead Crack, and highly recommended.

    Mapletree Audio Design - LR1 Pro (custom model, 2 inputs, 5 outputs)
    Mapletree Audio Design - LR1 (2 inputs, 4 outputs)
    TCC TC-716 6-Way Stereo Source Selector

    Decware RSB6 - 6 Position Rotary Input Selector
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