General headphone discussion

You are correct! I have done some experimenting with crossfeed. I have even purchased a NX Head Tracker and plan to write a post about my experience at some point. I’m also intrigued by the Monolith by Monoprice Desktop Balanced Headphone Amplifier and DAC with THX AAA Technology (whew) which has a Dirac Sensaround II.

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I will definitely check it out! Having at least one setup optimized for Tool is definitely a priority and something from the Focal line is probably my next purchase already due to what I’ve read about their sound.

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Since these are no longer made anymore, no sense in starting a new thread for them.


That was a very enjoyable read. There are many options out there for great open backs, amps, and dacs. Please continue to share as the journey goes on. It is so nice to hear about what other people find when new products come in.

My journey began before even getting a pair of headphones. I was visiting Verizon to replace my Windows phone since it broke. Yes, I was one of the odd people who liked those a lot. Being several years after the latest model had gone off the market, there was no other choice but to get a new phone. I went with an LGV20 offered for free since my plan had an extra $10 per month in case of an emergency like I was in. Searching up reviews for the phone led to finding out LG V series had some of the best audio among all smart phones even having a high impedance mode for any dynamic drivers above 50 ohms, and this continues even today with the V60.

Wanting to take advantage of what the new phone could do, I sprang for the Sennheiser HD 599. Then the 6XX. Can’t believe where everything has ended up today.


I’m just gonna leave this here…


And the more headphones I try, the more confident I am that I’ve found the best for me

What headphones did you find was the best headphone for you?

Enjoyed your comments.

A post was merged into an existing topic: General purchase advice: Ask your questions/for advice here!

I’m still trying new headphones. I guess I should have phrased that as “And the more headphones I try, the more confident I will be that I’ve found the best for me.” Part of the point being finding audio perfection is a path, not a destination.

I originally wrote that as an email to friends and family a few months ago, so I’ve tried a few headphones and software since then. I plan to try at least a few more. At the time I had an Oppo PM-3 and a Sennheiser 58X. Of the two I preferred the 58X but its clamp pressure was a bit much. You can find my impressions here:

Then I tried the Philips Fidelio X2HR. I will post about that here soon. After that I went upscale a bit and bought the AKG K712 PRO. I have my thoughts on that almost ready to post too. Right now that is the best I’ve found for me and I’m comparing it to the Hifiman Sundara.

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Your avatar displays Focal Clears. I can certainly recommend those. Excellent all around performer.

It is a journey no doubt. With lots of stops.



Yes. That is not a coincidence. :wink:


I trying to figure out which one is next. November should bring a new ZMF…

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Please do yourself a favor by not purchasing gear based on how it measures. Take the Asgard 3 and Modius for example as some of Schiit’s best measuring products. They are awesome, but the Lyr 3 and Bifrost 2 is an upgrade in every fathomable way despite not coming out as impressive through the same tests. This was my path over the course of several months and it was totally worth it. There is a good thread going over this stuff here if you wish to discuss the importance of measured data from gear.

I would even propose the idea you’re more true to the original recording than ever going tubes. After getting the CTH + SDAC on a huge sale, I sold my JDS Atom + OL dac within a week because it simply couldn’t do layering and staging like the hybrid. The new experience was shocking enough to the point of telling myself the headphones collected over time suddenly sounded like they were worth the price paid for them. And that tube hybrid is quite neutral. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me if most popular OTL tube amps measure poorly as well. I encourage you to watch Andrew’s review for the ZMF Pendant on The HEADPHONE Show. That guy is an absolute champ among objectivists reviewing headphones off of incredible gear like the SPL Phonitor X and ifi Audio Pro iDSD dac.

These forums are a place where people can freely talk about whatever they want being open to any kind of source gear. And no one should feel pressured to have a reference combo to review a headphone.

On the topic of headphones not being able to reproduce music like speakers, this is true in many cases. I’ve noticed with my only OTL tube amp the benefits of songs optimized for speakers come alive in the expanded stage both in width and depth. Not saying it’s on par being in the middle of a full system in a room, but you get way closer to it for sure.

TLDR; don’t become part of the mob mentality it’s absolutely the best option to always go for clean measuring set ups. Those people are bad for the hobby of exploring music in different ways.


I appreciate the kind words and I’m glad you like the content. But I gotta say I don’t know nearly as much as many of the people I look up to like Mad_Economist and Oratory1990. Most of my information has come from them and they deserve all of the credit for helping me with the measurement stuff as well. At the moment I’d still put myself squarely in the subjectivist camp though - maybe one day I’ll be able to correlate or explain everything I want to with measurements and data but that’s still a ways away (if it’s even possible), with lots of learning and testing that needs to happen in between.


You could just take measurements, doesn’t matter how or with what, and set the graphs up to show the data how you want it. Someone else does that a lot with amps and DACs, can’t quite remember who.


Good advice. I don’t do this, but I do use measurements as part of the decision making process. I don’t rely solely on other people’s subjective impressions.

I decided to label myself an objective subjectivist. That is, in the end the subjective experience of listening to music is all that really matters. However I accept that many things influence this that are outside of the performance of the equipment I am using. There is a gap between perception and reality that I think is larger than most people realize. On one hand it is perfectly acceptable to me to ignore this gap and buy whatever makes you happy. In the other hand my mind doesn’t work that way, so I’m attempting to minimize that gap by comparing different products directly under controlled conditions to eliminate as much bias as possible.

Through this method I might decide that all DACs sound the same to me. Or that tube amps sound better. I don’t know yet, but I can assure you that I will attempt to figure it out with as open mind as I can consciously have and that whatever conclusions I come to will be with the caveat that they really apply only to me: my budget, my music taste, my ears, and my mind’s perception.

Right now I’m exclusively exploring headphones since I’m convinced they make the biggest difference. I will get to amps and maybe DACs eventually but for now I have a modest investment in a Schiit Modi and Magni 3+:

You nailed it there. My hobby is music exploration, not finding the equipment that most faithfully reproduces the recorded sound. The two are related but not the same. I hope that my Medium post captured this to some extent. I will expand on it further later. Thanks, this type of discussion is the reason I am here. :sunglasses:


Things that make me go “Hmm”: I’ve been playing with my EARS (aren’t we all? :wink: ) and the one thing that I noticed straight away is what a huge difference the vertical/DB scale of the frequency response graph makes in my perception of the results. I was surprised to find that it doesn’t take much change in this scale to go from ______ to ^_~~^^.


Exactly. If we do less testing there will be fewer cases…

… oh wait, I think I’ve heard that line of reasoning before.

If we only test at 1000hz, there will be a flat response. I only listen to music played at 1000 hz


I like you Medium articles so far. They are short and fun reads! Just wanted to share that. :grin:


With your reviews the graphs/measurements are a complementary feature that are just an extension of what you are hearing. You focus on it if there are areas that need attention, either good or bad, and you move on. I think the vast majority of us like that.

You can go crazy with CSD, distortion plots for harmonics, stuff like that. They all do have merits, and I do admit I find it interesting, but I just want to get an impression of the sound and while the technical details given you an idea, how many people tell you that a headphone doesnt sound like it measures?

Having said that I still think its great you got a standardized rig for FR measurements and that you put the effort in that you do. Thanks.


Would anyone happen to know if the 2020 edition of the Hifiman HE400i is any different from previous versions or is it just the box that is updated?

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