What are your biggest desires for audio in 2021!?

Hey friends!

With a new year coming, wooooo hoooo!

What are your desires for audio in 2021? Is there a piece of kit you really want to hear or buy? Are there some headphones or amps you are going to move along to favor a new audio acquisition? Is there a new product release or wish from a favorite manufacturer in 2021? Let’s share our dreams for 2021 and look forward to a new year!

MR

Photo just for visual fun.

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Well to order a LTD Aeolus in African Blackwood , Just waiting if and when its available !

And a Quicksilver Headphone AMP

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I hope it’s ok to expand on the scope of the title just a little bit.

2020 - Year in review

It has been quite a drastic year for me. 2020 saw me change direction completely, and it was not an easy decision.

I went from an all out e-stat setup to camp dynamic. I sold off the 009, 007, L700, KGSSHV and Octave III. There were two main reasons for this change.

First, I had a taste of ZMF. All Stax were open back and I needed a good closed back alternative. I got a used set of Eikon in late 2018, then upgraded to the VC at launch. This set me down a road of evaluating my preferences. I valued the effortlessness and extremely detailed sound of Stax, but ZMF had shown me that there was something missing. Body, impact, weight. I just couldn’t ignore how these aspects of the sound made me enjoy my ZMF cans so much.

Second, I always felt that I was handling very sensitive equipment that had no reliable warranty and could potentially develop a channel imbalance that would not be cheap to fix. I was always a bit nervous when handling and listening to the SR-009.

So, a decision was made. It was time for me to get out of e-stats altogether. Since I already enjoyed my closed back ZMF cans so much, the obvious choice was to get more ZMF cans. I heard on Tyler’s ZMF live stream that Wenge was the next LTD edition for Auteur. I had already seen some pictures of an earlier pair of Wenge Auteurs on a HF thread and really liked how they looked. I also thought that a more neutral headphone would be a great fit in my setup. I contacted Zach in early July about pre-ordering a set. No problem, Zach was great (as always) to deal with and soon I was listed on the Auteur sheet. With things going on at ZMF with new production equipment and a move to a new shop it would take a while for my Auteurs to be ready. But that turned out to be a good thing, because a lightly used pair of Verites in great condition turned up for sale somewhat near me. Long term I already had the VO’s in my sights, so I just couldn’t refuse such an opportunity.

Other bits and bobs I picked up in 2020: HD650, R70x, Loxije P20, a bunch of headphone cables.

2021 - looking ahead

I feel that the headphone side of my setup is pretty much set. I don’t want to have too many headphones around because I would not really have time to listen to them to justify the expenditure. The ones I now have are enough.

However, there is also electronics. I will now turn my attention to dacs and amps. In order
to not make things unnecessarily complicated I will probably just get a Bifrost 2 and be happy. Sure, I could go dac hunting and compare X and Y and end up spending way too much time in the rabbit hole. But I believe a BF2 will see me happy enough and save a lot of time and money.

Now, amp wise. This is where the rabbit hole widens. I look forward to exploring the world of tube amps. My experience so far is limited to the LD MK II, Torpedo 1 and Loxije P20. Since I have pretty much reached my end game on the headphone side, I want an amp that can do them justice. I have spotted a few interesting candidates so far:

  • Cayin HA-6A
  • Ultrasonic Studios Oblivion or Citadel
  • Feliks Elise or Euforia
  • ECP T4 (if it gets back in production)

I would like to get two amps, one smaller for desktop duty and a bigger one for the living room. But I will have to see what funds permit, I will probably just get one amp in 2021.

/Deepy

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Depends on how much I enjoy my incoming ZMF Pendant… 2021 could very well could be the year I head down the tube rabbit hole. Also been considering a new DAP to get back to being more portable this year, I’ve spent most of 2020 listening from my home or work desk, and I’m pining to get back to listening more on the go.

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I’m an audio ‘satisficer’ - it is a real word and means I stop when happy:

I’m pretty happy with my headphone setup right now (most recently Focal Clear & Lyr 3; lots of older stuff too). Receiving a Focal Utopia loaner from Headphones.com in 2020 taught me a lot more than a short in-store demo of the Utopia a few years ago.

I now desire the opportunity to demo more expensive and odd stuff, and for longer periods than possible in a store. While I appreciated the Utopia, I’d probably never buy it because of its energetic treble.

Thank you again @andrew, @taronlissimore, and @DarthPool!

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I would love to build a 2nd, production quality sample of my HH1 design and get it into the hands of people whose opinion I respect. I just need to find the time between finishing the kids’ tree house, remodeling my office, my day job and you know, life.

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Great idea for a thread!

Meeting up with people
When it’s safe to do so, this would be wonderful. We were lucky to have CanJam here in NY this past winter - given that all the others were cancelled - and while there won’t be one here in 2021, I’m glad there’ll be opportunities for others to attend trade shows elsewhere.

It would also be great to participate in a local meet. I’ve not done this before, in part because I didn’t have the kind of gear that would appeal much to others, and in part I’ve found the idea of going to a meet a bit intimidating as I’m not the most experienced hobbyist and I don’t have the best ears. It would be a pleasure to meet up with folks and make new friends.

IEM audition extravaganza
I’d love to try out a bunch of decent IEMs now that, for the first time, I’ve found a suite of tips that work reliably well for me. These are the various Azla Sedna tips; I’m most grateful to those on the forum who spread the word about these tips, they’e been a game-changer for me. At CanJam in 2020, I was keen to try out a variety of high-end IEMs. I had my eyes on the CA Andromeda but wanted to hear the competition before making a decision. I tried fourteen IEMs and was disappointed to get a proper seal with just four of them. It was highly frustrating.

More specifically, I’m keen to try out the UM MEST. In July I snagged a great deal on a used pair of Andromeda 2020, which I love and am perfectly satisfied with; it’s an excellent IEM for what it does, and I love the darker tonality and the fact that it’s the least fatiguing transducer I’ve ever heard. It sounds as though the MEST, with its v-shaped signature, might make for a fun complement to the Andro 2020.

DAC upgrade
I’d like to pick up a Bifrost 2 in 2021. I should be able to get one by selling off a bunch of stuff. On the chopping board, potentially, are an AK Jr, LCD2-Classic and parts of my current chain, a Massdrop x R2R DAC and the Massdrop Cavalli Tube Hybrid (the sale of the MCTH depends on how I get along with another amp I’ve ordered). I can imagine the BF2 being the last DAC I’d need what with the law of diminishing returns and my ears being the weakest link in my chain.

Enjoying what I’ve got
By the spring or summer, I’m hoping to have my new amp and DAC and am looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the system I’ve been putting together for a few years now. This setup should last me a good, long time. My hope is that I’d need to upgrade to a much higher tier amp to get a meaningful improvement (for me), and such an upgrade won’t happen any time soon, not least because…

Saving up
…I’d like to start squirreling away my nuts for a Vérité. But that’s another story, one for 2022 or more likely 2023… (unless I get waylaid by the MEST).

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Finally decide between Tidal and Qobuz. :thinking:

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  1. Covid can GTFO so we can start having proper meetups again.
  2. If Covid gets worse out may my IEMs, again, salvage me from the depths of lockdown related rancour and insanity.
  3. Right now my desired upgrade path has on it a Vision Ears Elysium and possibly a Kann Alpha.
  4. Someone makes an IEM with VE tuning and Campfire build quality (a collab between the two would be amazing).
  5. Above all I hope to love an enjoy the gear I have and perhaps tune out of the forums for a bit to accomplish this.
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To upgrade my LCD-XC to a VC… Haven’t had a chance to listen to any ZMF headphones yet unfortunately so, that at least calms my anxiety to own one asap… sighhhh

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Qobuz + Roon for the win!

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That’s the way I have been leaning. Have a lifetime subscription to Roon. But every once in a while, there is a track on Tidal Masters that knocks me out. Getting close to pulling the trigger, though.

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2021 resolution: Simplify the gear collection. 1 dac, 2 (maybe 3) amps, 3 headphones. I’m in excess of all of the above by quite a bit.

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I support this endeavor and looking forward to gleaning info from your selections.

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Maybe a Feliks Euphoria in 2021 and maybe an ZMF Atticus. I think it’ll be a year when more things leave than enter. 2020 was about even. (I still have a couple more things arriving next week… they don’t count toward 2021 numbers :stuck_out_tongue:)

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… Qobuz for the win! What and where is Tidal winning your attention?

Also like so many of you YES desire for 2021 the end of Covid and MEETS to start back UP!

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Quitting audio, of course.

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I have a very focused eye on a Holo May Level 2 R2R dac. Something I have had my eye on since late summer.

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Well, I hate wading through all of the hip-hop music in the first screens to get to my favorite genres (jazz and classical), but there are some tracks where the MQA master outshines the FLAC version on Qobuz, in clarity and precision. I would guess that it is related to MQA’s supposed correction of “time-smearing” in the mastering process - or maybe it is just the placebo effect - LOL In any event, I will probably shift to Qobuz in the new year.

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Interesting. Havent done it recently but comparing MQA to flac had flac coming out on top consistently. Mind you this was mostly MQA streaming compared to local flac files but even another HD site I stream from had better quality high res streams then what I would get from MQA for the same album.

It wasnt holy moly different but it was apparent with any kind of critical listening. Just a date point, not really interested in doing another listening experiment but maybe I’ll give it another go and see if I hear things different now. Both can provide excellent SQ with the proper mastering.

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