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
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.
I’ve always been intrigued by the LCD-i4.
These could possibly be my portable ‘end game’ as well.
I know a few people who are not a fan of its sound. It has the worst isolation ever. And it can be a little laid-back and smooth for someone who prefers an aggressive/bright sound like the stock HD800 or Utopia. But to me, its the more natural sounding in tone and timbre compared to the other big-boy IEMs like the Tia Fourte and U18t.
I love Audeze’s ‘house’ sound. My current ‘best’ headphones are the LCD-X.
I think that going into the LCD-i4’s one should be aware that they don’t offer isolation, as it’s inherent to their design.
As far as tonality, I’m on board with the warmer Harman curve.
I’ve reached my end game
Sony DMP-Z1 -> (Sony MDR-Z1R, IER-Z1R)
Sony HAP-ZH1ES -> Woo Audio WA33 Elite JPS-edition -> Abyss Diana Phi
Really nice setup. I enjoyed your post regarding the Woo “Elite Edition”.
The IER-Z1R are the other (LCD-i4) iem’s that I’m really interested in.
Good place to be.
After a year of demoing/owning a variety of gear including CFA Atlas, Solaris, QDC Anole VX, Sony IER Z1R, 64 Audio u12t etc. along with various DAPs I’ve attained my goal of having one IEM with a balanced sound that meets my needs as an “all rounder” in the CFA Solaris SE along with another more “fun” sounding IEM for when I want a more robust low end in the EE Legend X. Both are currently run through my Cayin n6ii | A01 with the E01 module on the way. I’m currently not interested in anything and hoping this setup will meet my needs for a while.
I technically am at my “Endgame” for now… Similar to @Torq
Bifrost2 ->Jotunheim R-> SR1a
RME ADI-2DAC ->SPL Phonitor XE-> ZMF Verite open/closed and the Aeolus (replace the Phonitor with my BHC or Cayin Ha-1aMKii for tubey gooeyness)
Cayin N6ii (A01module)-> Campfire Audio Andromeda Golds or Focal Elegia
Iphone11/iPad 11"Pro->DAC dongle->Koss Porta Pros w/Yaxi Pads!
PC gaming: Schiit Hel -> LCD-GX/ZMF Verites/Aeolus
Xbox gaming: Vokyl Erupts/Koss Porta Pros w/Yaxi Pads
Switch gaming: Campfire Audio Cascades/Koss Porta Pros w/Yaxi Pads
It’s been real…I’m out
*j/k there is no endgame just current game but I don’t foresee my current setup changing drastically anytime soon, but my excess gear will be listed over the next couple days…HD800(SDR mod) Fostex x Massdrop Purple hearts with modded 2.5mm removable cable, A&K SR15 Norma and probably the Airist R2R DAC…and my OG green beater Andromedas lol…
Having had many perceived end games, each one one a valuable lesson on when to and when not to compromise. That said my end game came with my portable rig, once I got what I wanted on the go as well as at home I knew it was finally done.
Sony WM1A -> crazy modified HD650 for increased sensitivity and detail
PS Audio P12->Metrum Pavane->Uber BH Crack/modded DNA Stellaris
-> Same crazy modified HD650
-> MySphere 3.1(I must be the only one to prefer 3.1 to 3.2)
I also have a custom tube amp incoming where I can roll 2A3/300B/45/6A3/AD1/PX4/PX25/KT66 etc. and dual 6SN7 input but one tube does the first stage and the second does the second stage so I can mix and match inputs.
I’m a tube guy at heart, the daily end game is the bottlehead crack which in fairness is better than some of my previous TOTL amplifiers, custom built by me and tuned for my liking. I do have a soft spot for OTL ever since owing the Apex Teton.
DNA Stellaris and MySphere is for the the ultimate listening experience, I could have gotten RAAL yet I prefer the voicing on 3.1 with the DNA amp above anything else.
I did own most of the popular flagships, multiple times in some case and heard almost everything that there is, my setup is what I think is the best for my listening pleasure.
I have both the Crack, modded and BH’s Mainline …in my experience with the Senn’s (mine are the 600’s), one of the best, if not the next pairing has been the 600’s with the Crack and not the Mainline. Its a amazingly good pairing, the only other pairing with the 600’s for me was with the Schiit Vahalla 2…another amazing pairing.
Understand your love for tubes!! Its a “glowing” response!
NOTE: …and the BH Crack is only $315 base now…such a deal for such great presentation!