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

Sennheiser HD800S. I had already owned an Elex for a few months before I heard the HD800S, but the Elex, while it was certainly at the time the best headphone I had ever heard, never really wowed me. The HD800S certainly did from the very first moment I put it on my head. The big sweeping presentation was like nothing I had ever heard from a headphone before (why didn’t somebody tell me sooner?? lol). And the love affair continues to this day. :headphones::smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


TL;DR: HIFIMAN HE560, holy cow!

The HIFIMAN HE560 was my entry into headphone Hi-Fi, the only other headphone I had owned was the ANC Sennheiser PXC 450 purchased back in 2011 at an airport during a work trip. At the time, it was between the HE560 and the Edition X. A few things led me to choosing the HE560 over the Edition X, weirded out by the fit of the egg / teardrop shaped cups being one, the other was the cost, because who would pay a thousand or two just for headphones (little did I know).

I started out driving these via the built-in amp in my AVR. Read online the HE560s requiring more power because more power means more better sounding. So then that led to purchasing and trying a bunch of headphone amps, then balanced cable to go with it, then DACs.

When they were heavily discounted, I ended up purchasing a second pair to start another setup at another location. Then repeat with headphone amp and DAC. Fortunately (?), I haven’t started on tube rolling.

The HE560s were also what lead me to finding this forum, following @antdroid’s various posts over at the Head-Fi forum, and following him here. I was lurking for probably 6-8 months before actually deciding to join. Here I am now, exactly one year on, probably should have posted this in my intro post.

I have the HE560s to thank for introducing me into headphone Hi-Fi and this forum, a wealth of information.



Happy Cake Day @deafenears.

Thanks, deserts are my thing!


The very first headphone to do that for me was probably Klipsch Image One’s. I bought them for like $40 open box in high school and was blown away by them. Before then, my headphones were Skullcandy and the like. They managed to do bass with impact, extension, and some sense of accuracy without completely obliterating the midrange, which was a first.

The next time that I was similarly blown away was after getting DT770 Pro 80ohms and a Fiio E17. Bass impact on a new level, much better resolution that I was used to, and a generally more tame fr overall, despite the v shaped tonality.

Another moment like this was at a meet, where I got to try the original Mr. Speakers Ether. At this point I was solidly an audiophile, had been through tons of gear, both headphones and speakers. The Ethers were on another level of resolution and imaging/sound stage than any headphones I’d heard, they really gave me the feeling of listening to excellent speakers in a way that is hard to describe. I’ve heard better headphones since, but it definitely was the first time I heard headphones that could capture the sort of scale, space and reality (idk) of speakers.


This is a great question!

My first “oh my” moment was listening to the Sennheiser HD598’s. I still have a special nostalgia for those headphones.

I still remember turning on “Dry the Rain” by The Beta Band.


For me the first headphone for me to really go “wow” was the Abyss 1266 TC. The only other headphone that has come close for me is the Focal Utopia. But I haven’t heard everything out there.

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I was just scrolling through this discussion and ran across this. The Stax were my first true headphone hi-fi purchase. They lasted 20+ years for me. I loved them.


The second, and stronger, moment was hearing the HiFiMan Ananda out of the FiiO K9 Pro (AKM version). Heilige Scheiße! (I really did say that… out loud)

I’ve had that reaction 4 times actually
1st was with Bloon BL03 (Coming from Apple Airpods)
2nd was with HD650
3rd was with HE6
4th was with Sonoma

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Vintage Sennheiser (early 80s) - likely the HD420, though I’m not really sure which model it was. First pair of headphones I bought with my own money :slight_smile: and got me going in this hobby.

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