And in the vein of my prior post:
The combination of the SR1a, the Vérité and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the Stellia (though it could easily have been the Vérité Closed if the timing were switched around) … was the catalyst towards affecting a complete shift in my overall thoughts and desires as they relate to the personal-audio/headphone hobby.
The arrival of the Cayin N8 was another factor, bringing desktop-level performance to a properly portable device, and giving both “tube” and solid-sate amplification as it did so.
So, the resultant disruption, is that I have lost interest in spending time with stuff that isn’t at least a potential upgrade, or useful alternative, for one of my rigs.
And the SR1a, especially, prompted a major upgrade of my primary rig, to the point where I literally have no idea how I’d make that sound better at the moment (nothing I’ve heard, or am aware of, is an improvement).
I had a lot of fun with very inexpensive gear, the performance of which (objective and subjective) has come a huge way in a short time. Much of it is genuinely excellent with no need of “for the price” qualifiers. But it’s not what I want to use to get the most enjoyable listening time I can get and, the jump in capabilities these recent arrivals have spurred, means I just want to focus my time on the “best I can get”.
The resultant upheaval here is even larger than to my headphone collection, and this is still a view limited to this year:
Again, the struck-out, red, items are ones that have gone by the wayside as a result of the changes in overall approach. The items in black are pieces that either were already in place and are, so far, not directly affected (though not necessarily “safe” yet). And the items in green are additions since all this started.
The Crack is a special piece … and will likely stick around until I start my “world tour”. The Pro iCAN, while excellent, powerful, and very flexible, probably goes once I am back from vacation.
The RME ADI-2 DAC fs and Phonitor X combination will remain, at least for now, for the purposes of a neutral, resolving, capable and powerful platform for reviewing headphones.
The bulk of my at-home listening-for-pleasure is currently via the SR1a. The remainder is split between direct output from DAVE or via the Woo WA234 MKII Mono (depending on mood and which headphone). With most of my closed-back time coming via the Cayin N8 or Hugo 2 into the Stellia (or the Eikon depending on mood).
A Vérité Closed will join or replace those closed-back cans, and possibly as a “one can for the world-tour” when the time comes … though first I have to settle on what wood/finish to have them in!
My secondary rigs is for the office and comprises the Hugo M-Scaler -> Hugo TT 2, and drives the Vérité Ziricote, the Rosson RAD-0 or the HD820. HD820 may get displaced by either Vérité Closed or Stellia, so I have just one closed back for home and one for the office.
I am contemplating putting in a “fixed” bedside rig again … right now I am using the Cayin N8 (directly) or the Hugo 2 (via my laptop) … and that’ll probably come down to being either a Matrix Element:X (once it can be configured for WiFi via iOS and they commit to on-going Roon support) or a Focal Arche (with one of my custom streamer builds feeding it).
But, otherwise, it surprises me to be able to say “I’m done.”
Which is about as big a disruption as I can imagine … coming from a place where for ages there has been a constant influx of new gear …