The thing is, my ~$1K tower speaker system (or $3,500+ if you count the computer, software, hard drive, etc.) blows away any headphone system I've heard (including ones approaching $10K) in just about every way. (Disclaimer: Although STAX are my favorite headphones, I have not heard high-end STAX...but speakers can do things headphones never could.) Granted, it's not going to be comparable to the performance of the best speaker systems (which can cost up to millions of dollars), but it would be what I'd generally recommend to someone wanting the best sound for the money. (Given a speaker-friendly environment.) I used to prefer headphones and was astonished when even the best headphones I'd heard sounded, comparatively, like cheap toys after I delved into the world of speakers.