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Summer 2013 Head-Fi Buying Guide - Head-Fi TV

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by jude, Jul 30, 2013.

    NOTE:  If you can't see the embedded video above, please CLICK HERE to see the video.
    In this episode of Head-Fi TV, we cover some highlights from the Summer 2013 update of the Head-Fi Buying Guide, including the Sennheiser HDVD 800 DAC/amplifier, the Abyss Headphones AB-1266, JH Audio JH13 Pro, the Astell&Kern AK120 digital music player, and more.
    Click on the following link to check out the entire guide: The Summer 2013 Head-Fi Buying Guide

    Products mentioned in the video:

    1. Sennheiser HDVA 600 desktop headphone amplifier
    2. Sennheiser HDVD 800 desktop headphone amplifier and 24-bit/192kHz DAC
    3. Moon Audio Black Dragon headphone cable
    4. Sennheiser IE 800 in-ear monitors
    5. Koss ESP950 over-ear, electrostatic headphones
    6. Skullcandy PLYR 1 wireless headphone / headset
    7. Shure SE846 in-ear monitors
    8. Abyss Headphones AB-1266 around-the-ear, planar magnetic headphones
    9. JHAudio JH 13 Pro custom in-ear monitors
    10. JHAudio JH 16 Pro custom in-ear monitors
    11. Astell&Kern AK120 24-bit/192kHz (and DSD) portable digital music player and USB DAC
    12. Astell&Kern AK100 24-bit/192kHz portable digital music player
    13. FiiO E12 Mont Blanc portable headphone amplifier


    Summer 2013 Head-Fi Buying Guide - Head-Fi TV produced by Joseph Cwik and Jude Mansilla


    We will occasionally post Q&A episodes of Head-Fi TV.  If you want to submit any questions (or comments), you can do so via email to tv@head-fi.org.

  2. K_19
    Great to see the good old Koss ESP-950 in the guide and not just the newest stuff around. [​IMG]
  3. Deviltooth
    A Skullcandy is good?
    I've heard a few and they were never good before.  They were never even average.
  4. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Great write up on the Buyer's Guide Jude! Really enjoyed the read.
  5. jude Administrator
    Yes. The SLYR, Mix Master Mike and Aviator are other Skullcandy headphones I like (and that are also in the guide). But the PLYR 1 is the most impressive of them, in my opinion.

    Thanks, Peter!
  6. Nimzerz
    Does the Koss compare to a properly powered He-500? And if so, how?
  7. jude Administrator
    I love the HiFiMAN HE-500, but, in a direct comparison, the Koss ESP950 is my clear preference. That said, the HE-500 is one of the Summit-Fi headphones I take with me to use in a battery-powered hotel rig, and that's not something I'd do with the ESP950. The ESP950 and its E90 amp come with a nice carrying case, but it's just not as convenient or compact as carrying my HE-500 (which, like most of my headphones, I carry in a Ziploc bag).
    My ESP950 rig is a McIntosh D100 --> Koss E90 --> ESP950, and that has to be one of my favorite rigs here right now.
  8. Nimzerz
    Damn, the koss is that good, and at that price?...
  9. M-13
    Nice. Love the fact that the MDR-7520 is continuing to get the love it deserves from Jude. [​IMG]
  10. Audio Jester
    Great stuff Jude! I am pleased that the Abyss is getting a decent review.
    Btw, your HD800 looks awesome. You may have put my wallet in peril.
  11. frix
    Sponsors should be satisfied now [​IMG]
  12. jude Administrator
    This is a conversation that comes up every time we update the guide.
    I did a count of the over-ear headphones section, and 25 of 50 of the listed products are made by Head-Fi sponsors. Of the last several editions of the guide, that's the highest percentage of sponsor products in the over-ear section so far. In the in-ear headphones section, 19 of 31 are made by sponsors. As I've said in the introduction since the first guide, the products I choose for the guide are ones I've listened to and like--and that's independent of whether or not they're made by sponsors. The headphone I say I think is the best sounding in the world is made by a company (Stax) that will probably never be a Head-Fi sponsor or advertiser.
    Though interest in high-end personal audio continues to increase, it's still a niche space; and it's possible Head-Fi has a stronger reach with that audience than any other single website. I think, then, that the percentage (of sponsor products in the guide) is likely to increase, as more companies who specialize in making products in this space decide to advertise here.
    So, yes, perhaps there are many sponsors who might be satisfied by what they read in the guide--accompanied by many non-sponsors similarly pleased. Because, again, whether made by a sponsor or not, if I use something and like it, chances are it'll end up in the guide.
  13. onehungano1
    In ur E12 section, when you said +10db, it is actully +16db. Fiio made a typo I believe. 
  14. myap2328
    Your guide is very helpful and comprehensive, thanks alot Jude!
  15. ambchang
    One of the things I have always struggle with with the ESP-950 is what amp to pair it up with.  From what I understand, the E-90 is not the best designed amp around, and Stax amps provide a fantastic alternative to power the very underrated ESP-950.
    The problem I have is that the Stax amps are expensive.
    Jude, based on your experiences, and I am not sure if you have modded the ESP-950 extension cable to make it adaptable to Stax amps or other electrostatic amps, what are some of the amps (DIY or commercially available) you would recommend that will pair up with the ESP-950 well?

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