What was the first pair of headphones that made you say HOLY CRAP?

As the title says, what pair of headphones got you hooked on this hobby and is the cause of your wallet crying to this day?

I got to try out a pair of Andrew’s Sennheiser HD 650s when I was 19 (about 8 years ago) and they were jaw dropping. At that point I had one of the first pair of in-ear Beats and the HD 650s blew these out of the water and starting me down this path.

Not only did it lead to me to spend a bunch of money I didn’t have on headphones and related accessories, but it also set me on the path that would lead to Andrew and I opening a headphone store!

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Focal Clear Professional. And I don’t own them—despite being an audio professional and studio engineer, paying 1700 bones for a pair of headphones strikes me as more than a little absurd. But the clarity, frequency-range, robust bass, transparent highs, lack of any “granularity” (that’s the best word for it) in the mids… Frickin’ amazing. And I should add that I’ve owned or used sooooo many headphones over the years.

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Hifiman HE-500’s, if only they were more comfortable I’d probably still own them and saved myself $1000’s on the endless hunt…

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PSB M4Us - too bad they murdered my giant head. Had to return them.

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Have you had the chance to try the Clears?

I haven’t heard the Professionals myself and was hoping to hear the difference. I quite liked the Clears, especially over the Elears so I was wondering if the Professionals were tuned differently.

20 years ago I purchased a pair of Grado SR-60s and plugged them in to my CD Walkman. It was, no exaggeration, a revelation. My wallet hasn’t been the same since.

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I had a pair of Beyerdynamic DT1350s. Was just floored at the details and separation. Clamp was something to get through, limited my time to maybe a half hour before I had to take them off…

The SR-60s are still legendary to this day! Grado doesn’t seem as popular today but it certainly would be nice to see a Grado resurgence in the next couple years.

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If I could only have one pair of headphones, then it would have to be a pair of Grados. Probably the SR-60 as they are so easy to drive. They are not the most comfortable headphones nor the coolest but for me they are hard to beat for enjoyment/$.

An Audeze LCD-2.

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I’ve own several inexpensive headphones throughout my life, from sony, jvc, Phillips, etc in both over the ear and in ear types. It was not until I purchased a pair of audio Technica m50s that I realized what I was missing. That purchase lead me to hires audio, and will probably end with me getting into vinyl records.

I don’t know if spending thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on audiophile level equipment is ever necessary, but a few hundred is definitely worthwhile.

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Audeze LCD 2 did that for me.

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Shure SE535s were the first decent pair of headphones I ever owned and I’ve not had better since.

I get the feeling, however, that I will now be hard pressed not to pursue a successor. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Sennheiser 800 S. First impression blew me away. Never had heard that kind of “holographic” sound in a pair of headphones before. Sadly, I returned them the next day because they were horrible uncomfortable for my head.

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Focal Elear. Went through quite the odyssey. Started with the Shure 1540’s, then upgraded to the Fostex 610’s and then ended with the Elear’s. No regrets; a fabulous pair of headphones.

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Many years back it was the Sennheiser HD600s. The very first headphone to make me close my eyes, bob my head and tap my foot! I was all-in after that.

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For me…It’d have to be the Audioquest Nighthawks…Have had so many different headphones but for the $ in my opinion the Audioquest headphones can’t be beat :blush::+1:

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Audeze LCD 2

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My first “holy crap!!!” was for an Audio-Technica AD2000 driven by an Earmax Pro amplifier.

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Focal clears I have grado 60s