Currently Perceived “End Game”

Our opinions and perceptions are constantly evolving and changing, as is the market place.

Technologies will continue to improve and inevitably something new will arrive on the scene, creating the desire to upgrade. This is inevitable.

This is also in conflict with the often referenced concept of “End Game”, where in one finds themselves in the situation where there wants, needs, and audio desires are completely fulfilled. Audio Nirvana!
(Spoiler- it’s a fools errand)

But, if we could magically cease advancements in the headphone world, and all there is now is all that will ever be, what’s your “End Game”?


Mobile endgame:
OnePlus 7Pro > BRT3 > Koss Porta Pros w/ Yaxi pads.

I’m not lying. That setup is getting more use than any of the IEM/DAP combos I had years ago. I’m also perfectly happy with the sound. Further, I have no desire to upgrade.

So, it checks all of the “end game” requirements for me. Gets used a lot. Sounds good. No desire to upgrade.

My desktop headphone station is nearly there. Maybe.

Edit: I hate to throw a kink into your scenario, but if a person hasn’t found their end game, how will they know what their end game is?


So my currently perceived “End Game” consist of a combination of both a Matrix X-Sabre Pro, and a Chord Hugo TT with the Chord M-Scaler connected to an SPL Phonitor X(in Red because it’s sexy), a Jotunheim R, and an outstanding tube amplifier.

Not sure on the tube amplifier, maybe a Dragon Inspire (because it matches the Phonitor?), or something made by Woo, or Auris. I don’t know, but something tube.

As far as headphones, we’ll I have NO IDEA. :grimacing:

There exist so many great headphones that I’d have to say a collection of TOTL headphones from the main players (kind of like one of our more well known forum members :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).

Any hoot, this was fun and I hope you guys enjoy this little land of make.


I kind of answered this in my post that appears below yours:

“I have NO IDEA”.

The crazy, but fun thing is that I haven’t even heard my favorite headphone yet (because I don’t know what it is)! Pretty exciting.


a lightweight(does fit in a shirt without dragging it down) DAP with a briliant sound plus tube mode
a lightweight closed back sounding open, top isolation, without making my ears glow after half an hour

So currently there is nothing, I would call endgame on the horizon.

“I know that I know almost knothing”

all so called “endgame” has it´s limitations
you need specialised amps for some and so it is nothing you would take with you on the go, holidays, the office or in the gym

even if there would be something… the fear kicks in… one could brake it. So you get back to a plan B on some occasions


I am going to give my thoughts on end game. Being new to the technology side of this passion, (I have always enjoyed and been passionate about music) I can safely say I don’t think there is such a thing as end game. Technology will always change, something new will come out. Our habits may change, our lifestyle may change, our needs may change etc. So honestly not sure one could quantify what their end game truly is. Maybe they could for a temporary amount of time, but will their kit stay the same when something new comes out that everyone is raving about?

Now to your point lets say all products and technology froze at this exact moment, what would my endgame be? I honestly have no idea! I haven’t heard enough headphones, amps, dacs, etc to decide. I know that I ultimately am grateful everyday for what I do have and enjoy the heck out of it everyday. I also think I went into this passion thinking 1-2 sets of headphones would be all I ever wanted or needed. Then I realized that is just not the case. Headphones, amps, dacs, are like delicious food, seasoning/spice and fine wine, you choose the components that pair the best based on the type of music you are listening to, the source of the music and the mood you are in. This allows for a delicious consumption for your audible senses. So ultimately for me not sure there is an endgame just what is obtainable for my given budget and audible desires.


Wow! This could be hard depending on where you are in “your” search for that TOTL end-game setup.

For me being a senior and have chased the tail of the audio donkey for years both in two channel and headphone stuff, new stuff always comes out and we always want to see how much if any, the new toys can improve what you have got!

But if the end game is knowing this and deciding what you have is indeed something you can be honestly be satisfied with…well its simple for me:

  1. Focal Clears
  2. Monoprice THX AAA 887
  3. Schiit Bifrost 2

I am and could be happy with this setup for years…and I hope I have many left!

But this doent mean that I wont look at other stuff…just this stuff I have is really pretty end game to my simple ears!



I totally agree. In my list I only used products I assumed would give me the most enjoyment.

I couldn’t even list headphones because I haven’t heard many!

Just a fun little exercise to see what people really want, and to help reveal that “End Game” is more of a myth than an attainable goal.


Great mindset, and a nice little audio chain listed as well.


This is a great thread! I’ll try and weigh in after dropping the daughter off and I’m done at the gym! I’m not a technical listener or one who knows a lot about the engineering side or even the best way to describe sound person lol, but, I’m passionate about this space and find it very fun and intriguing, I’ve been a tech fan and nerd my whole life (well nerd bro hybrid lol). My perspective is more from a lifestyle or consumer view point :slight_smile:


I think in my #2 line of what amp, I could easily insert several others and be very, very happy for a long time.


This is brilliant and should be a descriptor in your profile.

Clearly I don’t have a technical background, nor much in the way of formal education, but I do have a passion for music and this hobby as well.

I love your initial impressions that you post because they’re extremely honest and it comes through in your writing.

Really looking forward to your opinion.


One really very important attribute that makes things part of my end game, is it is so good that I listen to music that I in the past really did not want to. This is usually stuff that is outside on my personal choice or like’ing in music, or something that was on the edge of being recorded well and the end game gear now allows me to get something positive out of this “other” world…


My “end game” DAC and Amp setup was the iFi “Pro” stack, happy to say I’ve achieved that.

Headphones… ugh… I’m happiest with my LCD-3s and if I never got another headphone, I’d be fine… I guess that could qualify as end game but I feel like I’m tempted by everything there so not sure I truly have an “end game”.


If I’m going with this definition of “end game”, from the OP:

Then I am at my end game, which is detailed here as of this week (pending delivery of my currently-being-built ZMF Vérite Closed, and running my NOS WE300B/274B in the WA234 MKII instead of the Takatsukis).

There is nothing currently either shipping or in development (that I’m aware of) that stands to change this. And any future changes would simply be seeing how far I can simplify and reduce this setup to get it to as minimal a state as possible.

The Jotunheim R and the HEDDphone were the last pieces I needed to close out the “potentially game-changing stuff I know of and that’s coming-soon”. With their arrival, there’s nothing on the horizon I’m looking forward to.


I’d love to hear the ifi stack.The buttery warmth of the Burr Brown chip (I have one in an old NAD) is so sweet!

That’s awesome that you love your stack.

Headphones, man I haven’t heard enough to know, but I know I love my planers.


That’s a great place to be.

I remember your post (I forget which thread) where you discussed how you were “thinning the heard”. That was a fun and informative read.

It should be obvious that I was referring to you regarding ‘TOTL’ collection.

I’m glad you’re at that point, and that you still participate in all of the threads with such vigor.
Many would just say f**k it, I’m done and walk away enjoying there gear.

Thanks for all of the sage advice.



I’m definitely still in the “thinning the herd” mode of thinking (I expect you’re referring to this thread). And per my comments in this thread, there are some candidates that are more likely than not to be going away fairly shortly.

Now if an “end game” scenario had to comprise just one component of each necessary type (one amp, one DAC, one DAP, one open-back, one closed-back, and one IEM), that’d be interesting and somewhat challenging …

There are days …


Thanks for sticking around.


I already have my portable end-game:
iPhone > Cipher Cable > LCD-i4

My envisioned desktop end-game:
Pavane > EC Studio Jr. > HD650, HD800, Utopia

I personally haven’t tried the Pavane and the Studio Jr. But going by the impressions from folks I trust, I feel these would be my end game gear in their respective categories.