Favorite Gear Purchase of 2018

To be fair, I tend to go in cycles … often acquiring a lot of gear in short periods of time. Very little of that actually sticks around and gets used for long-term music listening - a lot of it is just picked up for review and comparison purposes. And the vast majority of that I have historically not gotten around to actually writing/posting reviews for (it’s hard to justify spending the necessary listening time for a proper review on gear that I don’t really like the sound of).

I do intend to review all of the gear in my list, above, this time. But once that’s done most of it will get sold or given away. At LEAST half the stuff in the “candidate list” above will get sold in the near future. And then there are two turntables not in the list that I want to sell as well (a heavily upgraded latest-version Rega Planar 3 and a Pro-Ject RPM 9.2 EVO) but never seem to get round to listing.


I have the “ugh what a pain to sell this” factor…if it is below$150 I tend to give gear to my family and friends. The rest sits in a box/drawer/shelf and stares at me with “judgemental eyes”. I really need to start cleaning house though…too many collectibles eating up storage.

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Paypal makes it pretty easy to sell. Just list it somewhere. Paypal will help you create the invoice and shipping label. I typically just use the USPS Priority mail boxes that fit most things well and shipping is super simple. Otherwise, I always have an Amazon delivery coming so re-use those boxes as much as possible.

And my local USPS near home and near work are both open 24 hours for drop off. They also have a kiosk if you dont want to do Priority Mail or online shipping. Paypal will also let you do media mail and 1st class shipping where USPS.com wont, which is an added benefit.

If I had to stand in-line at the post office, I would be less likely to try to sell. It probably would help my purchases too as I try to buy with used purchase money as much as possible and she also hates clutter.


I’ve had good luck selling on Craig’s List, particularly for heavy items that usually reduce selling prices when shipping is involved. I could have sold my old flat panel TV 10 times in a week.

Not such an educated group of buyers for the most part.

Standard creep warnings apply. Most are normal though.

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Yea, I listed my tower speakers, integrated amp and CD players on craigslist. Those things are super heavy so shipping is a pain so CL it is. We do have a local shop that will do consignment for a fee, but I think I am willing to do it if no one knocks in the next couple days before some new furniture arrives. I also like OFFERUP for selling stuff.

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I’ve been waiting to chime in with my modest purchases in audio this year. I’m not going to count the VPI Prime Scout turntable - that was a gift from my wife, and would rank as my favorite.

I’m also not going to count wires. Even though the new speaker wires look better than the old ones. And patch cords. Need to connect things, and I’m sure not going to list a “Yukon” interconnect as a favorite.

That brings me to 3 audio purchases this year.

Bedphones for $59

iFi xDSD DAC (yes there will be a review coming) $399

STAX SRM-T1S tube headphone amplifier, This is an old model, but it was brought up to snuff and modified by @spritzer who is Mjölnir Audio. About $1400

and the winner is . . .
Hands down, the STAX amp. It’s brought joy again to my old Stax headphones, and has been wonderful to listen to in an audio chain from my Mac Mini. I have yet to move it downstairs into the main audio system, because I have too frickin’ much stuff in the cabinet and going through the rats-nest of patch cords so I can listen to it streaming AND in analog path is going to be a nightmare. That cabinet has the TV, a Sonos Connect, a power conditioner, the VPI Scout, a pre-amp, a Rotel CD player, a TEAC DAC, and the Wyred4Sound integrated amp. And the soundbar, the Blu-Ray player, the Comcast doohickey, and probably something else. I think I unplugged the Cassette deck.

Hey, I found my vintage 2005 Canon Power-Shot 7.1 megapixel camera the other day, so I might even take some pictures.


I’m replying to myself to list new November acquisitions, and contenders for Favorites of 2018. These are not favorites yet:

  • Loxjie P20 balanced hybrid tube amp: A great way to warm up cold headphones or harsh recordings. The P20 has a bigger impact on tone than the MCTH.
  • Massdrop THX AAA 789 amp: (The first and only time I purchased two amps on one day.) My nickname for the 789 is “The Sand Blaster.” If you’ve seen one of the dozens of car restoration shows on TV, someone brings in a nice car for “a few upgrades.” Then, the shop finds it’s a rusted out hulk and they have to spend $$$$ or buy a donor car to repair it at a more reasonable price. The 789 is brutally clean and honest about flawed sources and headphones. It’ll quickly and fully strip off bad paint and body filler…
  • HiFiMan HE560: This was an impulse buy due to the $250 Thanksgiving sale price, but I absolutely love the sound so far. It really sucks down power, with the 789 amp running on Gain II in the middle (50% of total power). As everyone reports, the build quality is just fair and the $900 initial price was nonsense.
    -Audeze LCD2C: I’d wanted to try these for a while, but thought they were overpriced. Again, they were going for $550 as visually and functionally perfect “B-Stock” for Thanksgiving. They are warm, they rumble, and they are fun. This is another way to soften up harsh recordings (and do best with a clean/thin/analytical amp).

That’s quite a haul for a week!

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It was TWO weeks! :frowning:

[My motto is: It’s not how much you pay, it’s how much you can recover when you sell.]

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Oh two weeks = half as painful to the wallet… right? :slight_smile:

If you’re into pad rolling - the HE560 and Dekoni Elite Hybrid pads are great for comfort and sound.

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Great deals there. As you say you should easily be able to recover your initial outlay the headphones. And yes, it is a nice haul for a couple of weeks. :grinning:

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The total cost wasn’t so bad…it shifted my purchase dates and I got “2 for 1” with the headphones. The P20 was the only true impulse buy, and just $99.

I don’t pad roll if the basic sound/feel are good. The HE560s pads are thin and hard, but the sound is totally okay with the factory pads. All of my other headphones have superior pads except for the Grado SR-80e. [Kept as a reference and my wife really likes them.]


Nice, I’ll have to give them a go.

Ok here’s a couple more gear purchases. Sigh.

A cable for my focal and a Pioneer network audio/CD player combo with Chromecast built-in

Also got Focal Speakers/Sub combo. Really gonna stop now. :slightly_smiling_face:


So I got a set of Focal Bird speakers and the Pioneer network amp to replace my tower of stuff (Cambridge Azur Integrated Amp/Turntable/Integra CD Player/Athena Tower speakers). The Focal Birds are these (if even) 5 inch speakers that are about 10 inches tall with the stand, and they replace my 4.5 ft tall Athena AS-F2 speakers, which Sterephile raved about back when they came out.

While they don’t have nearly the low end performance, the soundstage and imaging and detail/clarity on these tiny little things is incredible. Focal really know what they’re doing, even on these tiny speakers. It’s awesome. The Focal Air Sub is coming in relatively soon to help the low end, so we’ll see how this will sound when that’s added to the system.

I have already ordered some DTS-PlayFi speakers to go wireless in the living room, but I’m having second thoughts now. I was intending to use these speakers downstairs in my den as part of a downscaling of the HTS, but now I want to get another pair to keep one upstairs too!

I think this is the year of Focal for Anthony. :slight_smile:


Where do you keep all this stuff?

Things go on sale used, to friends/family, or to Goodwill.


Hi friend…:grin:


Which Goodwill location might that be? :wink:


Would you consider the tin pro 2 considered an upgrade from EarPods? Also, I saw this on eBay for $20 it ships from China. Should I assume it to be legit? eBay link