flinkenick's 17 Flagship IEM Shootout Thread (and general high-end portable audio discussion)
Dec 1, 2017 at 4:53 AM Post #6,451 of 39,410
Do you also feel the OCD when listening with certain types of headphone padding? Or annoyed with other things?
I don't have headphones, but from a few demos at the Indulgence show, I think headphones might well cause some issues.

With my current gear there is always something that sets off my OCD. I am forever trying to get the IEMs and cable to sit exactly symmetrical left and right. I even had to stop using the double flange tips because I would spend ages trying to get them exactly the same left and right, to the point that it started to hurt my ears a bit from the constant fiddling. I also need to set my volume levels at multiples of 5. So I can listen at 40 or 45, but not 43. Yeah, me and my brain have lots of fun together! :D
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 5:46 AM Post #6,452 of 39,410
Ah, okay. I thought it also included speakers.

Looked at a few tube amps, but was scared off by the idea to "tube rolling". I did quite like the idea of the ALO Continental v5 as a sort of halfway solution to keep things portable (I move around a lot, even when I am working behind my desk).

Having 'been there, done that' with respect to tube rolling (I have three tall drawers full of tubes), these days I don't bother. It's not that it doesn't matter, but you'll see that most of the 'best tubes' are old production, and somehow though everyone claims to be selling 'NEW Old Stock', when the tubes turn up they are mostly a mixed bag- 3 out of 4 are just crap, and the rest don't typically last that long. Much better to have a brand new production tube working fully up to spec, than a 'great' one that is half-dead.

The most important part of a tube amp is in the amp itself- mainly, output transformers and/or caps, and power supply- and I'd focus your efforts here. Forget about tube rolling. A good amp with good parts beats a good tube a million times over.
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 6:23 AM Post #6,453 of 39,410
With my current gear there is always something that sets off my OCD. I am forever trying to get the IEMs and cable to sit exactly symmetrical left and right. I even had to stop using the double flange tips because I would spend ages trying to get them exactly the same left and right, to the point that it started to hurt my ears a bit from the constant fiddling. I also need to set my volume levels at multiples of 5. So I can listen at 40 or 45, but not 43. Yeah, me and my brain have lots of fun together! :D

another baby rainman , awesome :darthsmile:

when i was little i used to play a word game , i tried to cut the syllables (in Greek a word can have syllables of 1-2-3-4-5-6 maybe more letters) so that i can make them finish on 5

let me give an example , for instance imagine would be i-ma-gine

so i would put i and gine (1+4=5) together then add the remaining syllables to make another ending at 5

for instance if i had say imagine imagine , this would be i-ma gine i-ma-gine

so i would divide them say

i gine (ends at 5 letters) , ma i ma (ends another 5 on 10 now) gine

and so on

good times , thankfully i grew up normal no serial killing fair amount of sex-drugs-rnr , so all is good :gs1000smile:
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 6:35 AM Post #6,454 of 39,410
Having 'been there, done that' with respect to tube rolling (I have three tall drawers full of tubes), these days I don't bother. It's not that it doesn't matter, but you'll see that most of the 'best tubes' are old production, and somehow though everyone claims to be selling 'NEW Old Stock', when the tubes turn up they are mostly a mixed bag- 3 out of 4 are just crap, and the rest don't typically last that long. Much better to have a brand new production tube working fully up to spec, than a 'great' one that is half-dead.

The most important part of a tube amp is in the amp itself- mainly, output transformers and/or caps, and power supply- and I'd focus your efforts here. Forget about tube rolling. A good amp with good parts beats a good tube a million times over.
This all sounds lone too much effort if you're going to listen to a compilation of audiophile voices :D

200w.gif
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 8:37 AM Post #6,455 of 39,410
Interesting, @jet2359, I agree with most of what you said. I came into this from "the other side"; was big on high end, speaker based audio for many years before getting into headphones. Went to the shows, stereo shops, belonged to clubs, started with entry level high end and got a pretty high end set up (Linn Turntable, Krell Electronics, Thiel speakers). Speakers have an intrinsic advantage over headphones, that is space. There are only a few basic technologies, cone, electrostatic, magnetic planar), but you have much more room to design the enclosure, materials to play with, ways to connect things up. IEM's are starting to explore things like electrostatic and magnetic planar, maybe that will take things further (waiting on an iSine20, liked them at last year's CanJam NY, but really hard to listen to open headphones at a show), but there is really limited space to play with when something has to fit into your ear, and the 2 basic technologies, BA and DD, can be tweaked, but still have their characteristics that are limiting to some degree. Over ear headphones are somewhere in the middle-there is a bit more real estate to play with, that can help with the design and variety to some extent. My experience (and I don't have as much experience with TOTL iems as the rest of you) is that over ears vary more than iems do sonically. But, in the end, there is no perfect sound-it's impossible to reach "The Absolute Sound" (what a great name for a magazine; have to start that one...)-it's not even possible to agree what that is. Is it Studio Sound? Is it the sound near the musicians, in the booth, that the spectators hear? Is it the manipulated/eq''d sound the engineer finishes with? As heard through his monitors? Can you know if you didn't make the recording? And, live, is it the sound on the stage? The sound center 5th row, or from the back? Can it be miked? And on and on.

I have a friend who recently got $20k Soundlab speakers (driven by a Krell Amp and a Yggy). He has a dedicated listening room, extensively treated for reflections, everything properly placed. It sounds great; doesn't touch a live show. And a friend of his has a system that cost more than $100K, great room for it (boy, would be nice to have this disposable income...); again, really enjoyed listening to it, but it isn't live by any shot, it's a different experience. So, it comes down not to real sound, but sound that matches your preferences in the end. My problem with speaker based stereo is the rigidity of it. You are prisoner of the room and the sweet spot. I just love laying in bed and listening, walking the dog and listening, don't love being a prisoner of the sweet spot.

TOTL inflation really hit hard in the speaker-based high end world. When I started out, the Stereophile Recommended Components list had gear that cost $3-6k; not cheap, but it was possible to get Class A for people that were obsessive but not really wealthy. Now, amps costing $50k, speakers costing $100k populate "Class A". Headphones are starting some of the same inflation that other gear went through, but the stuff we consider very expensive ($3-5k), is considered "entry level" by the high end speaker-based world (Hifiman and Senn have broken through to those rarified prices, though). So, it's still easier to try different headphone gear that it is speaker/room gear. (and to think, I got into this strictly to be able to listen to music while I mowed the lawn-Etymotic was my solution, still the best universal for noise isolation I have).
My $0.02.
 
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Dec 1, 2017 at 11:49 AM Post #6,457 of 39,410
You guys are evil. @Wyville already has to exchange puppies for IEMs... If he moves to desktop gear he's gonna need to get horses for his puppies.

Yeah man, and then the stuff will just get all confusing!

Dog...
Horse...
Take the horse for a walk...
Ride the dog...
Cart before horse...
Dog before cart...
Romans riding chariots...
...and dogs everywhere! (I see my brain is awake again! :D)
2pUrhG2.gif
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 11:52 AM Post #6,458 of 39,410
@Wyville , HD650 is a special can in the sense that, there are a few people who have stuck with their 650 for close to a decade, and would upgrade the DAC and Amp every now and then and are happier than many people who have multiple TOTL cans and sources. I am also considering getting a 650 to complement my 800S and an amp that would work for both cans and calling it a day.

Btw, you should ask @ranfan what he's been upto. His response might comfort you.
 
Dec 1, 2017 at 11:59 AM Post #6,459 of 39,410
@Wyville , HD650 is a special can in the sense that, there are a few people who have stuck with their 650 for close to a decade, and would upgrade the DAC and Amp every now and then and are happier than many people who have multiple TOTL cans and sources. I am also considering getting a 650 to complement my 800S and an amp that would work for both cans and calling it a day.
Yes, that is exactly the reason why I keep looking at them. The HD650 seem to just work really well for some people and knowing a little bit about their signature, I think I will be among those. But it will need to be after London. No sense in getting open-back headphones when there is a construction site across the river.

ps. A true master of your craft indeed! :D
Btw, you should ask @ranfan what he's been upto. His response might comfort you.
@ranfan! What have you been doing?! What have I missed? :D
 
Dec 2, 2017 at 9:42 PM Post #6,463 of 39,410
@Deezel177 Are you also planning to do headphone reviews? Just curious. :)

I don’t think I’ll be adding headphones to my current payload until early next year, but they’re certainly not out of the question. :wink:
 
Dec 2, 2017 at 10:00 PM Post #6,464 of 39,410
The HD650 is indeed a special set. I have the Massdrop verison, the HD6XX, and it delivers such a "comfy" sound. Rich and smooth, and tonally seductive. Right now I'm relaxing to my Audeze LCD-2.2 Fazor, with the plusSound X6 T-Metal cable. They share a lot with the HD6XX, but are no small upgrade in performance. These really are my favorites. There's just nothing quite like them. When I want something completely different, the HD800 is always there to blow my hair back with soundstage and resolution.

Between these three cans, you have everything you could ever need.
 
Dec 2, 2017 at 11:04 PM Post #6,465 of 39,410
The HD650 have obviously been able to stand the test of time, unlike many others that come and go. It really is difficult to argue with their track record. They really just always sound great, doesn't even depend on my mood. Give them a little power and they effortlessly perform.
 

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