A (belated) intro thread: What I'm looking for in headphones - does it even exist? The journey to silent-circuit...
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silent-circuit

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A little background (okay -- a significant amount of background):

The Early Years:

I've always been in to music. I played the hell out of my dad's old Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, and Billy Joel LPs on the beige and blue Fisher Price record player. The Star Wars soundtrack was among my most prized possessions. I didn't quite understand why Cheech and Chong's "Basketball Jones" single record was something I wasn't supposed to have when my dad gave it to me... But I kept it the secret I knew it was.

When my mom banished the Cizek Model 2 speakers and silver face Yamaha NS receiver from the living room when I was around 7 I convinced dad to let me take the speakers to my room (I assume, in hindsight, he agreed so they wouldn't die in the garage) and buy a cheap early 90s BPC Kenwood receiver to run them. When the woofer surrounds gave out 2-3 years later I (sadly) replaced the drivers rather than the surrounds; this was early days / pre-internet and I had no idea what I was destroying. Regret it to this day, 30ish years on.

A year or two later (disappointed by how the once amazing Cizeks sounded with $12 "Thump!" car subs in place of their carefully tuned dual voice coil woofers) I picked up a pair of Acoustic Research AR3a /and/ a pair of Boston Acoustics A400 at my grandparents' church sale.

Formative Experience:

The A400s were in much better shape and became my "dailies" but I researched the hell out of the AR3as. They were great, even half-broken. They were nothing, however, in comparison to my dad's friend's system. Martin Logan electrostats, SUMO amp. Don't remember what he was using for a source - probably an early-ish CD player from Sony or something. It was the most amazing stereo is ever seen, and worlds better than anything else I'd ever heard. I once thought our neighbor down the street's double-stacked Bose 901 setup was cool... The ML / SUMO gear destroyed it.

Side note: it was all huge to me, then. I would have told you he had a pair of Monoliths and SUMO Andromeda amps in that little lake house. It was probably a 12x12 room; totally focused around the speakers, but tiny. In hindsight? Probably a pair of Sequel 2s and a SUMO Polaris. Still an amazing system, but mine (almost accidentally) puts it to shame. The eyes of a child and all that.

I wanted it so bad... But after some research realized it was somewhere between $6-10k in gear, totally outside the realm of possibility for me. So I gave up, stuck with the A400s (which to be fair were kicking ass) and kept saving up to properly rehab the AR3as.

My mother sold both pairs in a garage sale while I was at college and presented the resulting $200 to me as if she'd done me a favor; needless to say I was furious.

I later went to law school, it all went to hell, I'm in sales now...

Fancy Is In Your Heart:

I'll running a pair of Martin Logan reQuest - 16"x48" electrostatic transducer with crossover at 150/200Hz depending on revision (pretty sure I have the earlier 150, but I'm not looking for a fight) and a 12" dynamic driver in a sealed tuned enclosure for lower notes. I've been running them for more than two years, and they amaze me to this day. I have about $4000 in it and am confident you'd need to spend 2-3x to match it with modern components. My end game speaker setup is a pair of CLX ARTs and supporting gear to the tune of ~25-30k, roughly 5x the cost of the current setup. The bigger issue is I may never have a listening room large enough to support that gear.

(Transition?) To Headphones:

So if you want to go higher end with a speaker setup than your space will allow... What now? Hopefully, for me, headphones.

I've been dropping cash I don't really have for a good little while now. Tried a few things. About to try a few more. Some are good, in specific circumstances. Quite good. If the landlords are out of town / at the store and I can turn the stereo up... Yeah, **** 'em. Nothing can touch the reQuests when it comes to detail or bass. Nothing.

To be fair, I don't expect headphones to shake my bones when things are turned up, but I have also yet to experience that level of resolution.

Do I need to sell everything and get a mid-tier Stax setup? Is there another direction to go? Looking forward to input of all sorts.
 
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buke9

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The thing I would ask is what is your budget and what are you looking for ?
 
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silent-circuit

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The thing I would ask is what is your budget and what are you looking for ?
I mean... I have probably $2k (used value) in headphone gear, currently, and would be willing to sell it all to get "what I'm looking for". That and maybe invest another $1k if absolutely necessary.

As for what I'm looking for? The same or better experience that I have in front of my stereo setup. So far, it gets close and even gets there on some songs in the moment... But if I move it from headphones to speakers it's pretty much always better.

Granted... My speakers were $6500 / pair before amps and source, once upon a time, and my current setup would have cost $~15k+ new total, so I'm not really being fair.
 
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