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New to headphones - I'm converted! (or at least it's a polygamy)

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by ronkupper, Apr 7, 2018.
  1. ronkupper
    Hi Guys,

    I'm so glad I went with cans this round... I can't imagine any incremental improvement in this price range for my main system to come even remotely close in value to the sonic joy I experience with my new phones (Fostex TH-900Mk2)!

    My journey :o2smile::
    Before now, I was never a headphone guy. I own a few nice IEMs (like the IE80i) but they never got to be used at home since my main system always seemed far more enjoyable to my likening and I never found or heard any "reasonably priced" (didn't try those >$1Ks on principle, boy was I wrong) headphones that could present music the same way.

    Through the years, like many others, I've upgraded my main system step by step. My "upgrade philosophy" is Speakers > Room Treatments / Digital Correction > Electronics, based on ABX / blind studies which determined where the most unmistakable sonic benefit is likely (=The woofers and the room/dsp).

    I got to such an enjoyable level out of the main system that when the last upgrade round came I went with adding music to another room I spend a lot of time in, instead of upgrading the main one. That cautious decision resulted in a seriously impressive sounding and fun bedroom :p

    With THIS upgrade round, I planned to go back to roots and upgrade my DAC/prepro/Amp section of my main system.
    As the budget started to creep up (it usually does following OCD-driven research, online reading and auditioning :p) I recalled my last good experience with my bedroom (scaling out vs. up) and thought to myself that if I'm already accepting spending ~$4K on a subtle/debatable improvement to my main system (guess I won't find out this round lol) I might as well give try to some headphone gear costing half that much.

    Using the same upgrade philosophy that worked well for me with loudspeaker systems - the budget was set for ~$1.5K in headphones and ~$500 in electronics. So, I trained on some familiar songs and went hearing stuff at local stores.

    I'm so glad that I did, they sounded marvelous. But my biggest fear quickly realized - they were not a great fit to one of my favorite styles of music - bass heavy electronic (Techno, Deep House, Trance, Dubstep, Ambient, Glitch, etc).

    I've listened to the HD800, LCD-2, LCD-3 and Focal Clear - They were all truly amazing (especially the HD800 left a lasting sonic impression, but I couldn't level match and the DAC/AMPs were different at times so it isn't really a valid comparison between them) but none of them were quite right for electronic music and the club experience in my taste. I tried with the store's DAC/AMPs way above my budget (like the Musical Fidelity M6s and others). Didn't try EQ.

    But beside the last sentence - the joy potential was certainly there. All on its own and also - finally being able to "blast away" (responsibly to the ears of course) even at wee hours while still being considerate to my dear neighbors and with no sonic compromise :)

    Researching online I've narrowed down to two candidates at my price range that had the most references and assurances of being "bass" oriented audiophile phones and friendly for electronic music the Fostex TH900 and
    Ultrasone Signature Pro.

    I've then found a certified refurbished Fostex TH900mk2 listing on Amazon for ~$1K so I clicked order and crossed my fingers anxiously :D

    Meanwhile, I've also chosen and ordered a mobile DAC/AMP, the FiiO Q5, thinking that once the phones were here I'll take them to the stores looking for a home DAC + AMP setup with them.

    So - Everything has arrived (plus a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter) and for the last couple of days, I found myself many times in those audio nirvana moments of blissful nerve tingling audio experiences, without once being concern about disturbing anything other but own ears :p

    Heck, they sound so good with the Q5 (even Bluetooth) that I think I might have lost my immediate motivation to look for and add a "home" DAC+AMPs setup for them. Let's see.

    Probably my next upgrade will be geared to benefit both my main system and headphone with some DACs that have known excellent quality headphone amp (like the pleasantly priced RME ADI-2 DAC or iFi Micro iDSD BL).

    Last - I want to say a big thank you to the community! :kissing_smiling_eyes:
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
    Bern2 and Malfunkt like this.
  2. Malfunkt
    Half a million is a lot to spend in electronics. :smile: TH900 is a fav, and very nice headphone to own. Definitely bliss with those styles.
  3. ronkupper
    Lol fixed that... 10x
    Did made me dream for a minute...
    Malfunkt likes this.

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