Your Favourites in 2022

It’s that time of the year again where all the “best of 2022” lists are going to start rolling in so I thought it might be fun to do one ourselves as a community. I’ll lay out the format and go first!

Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Can only choose one!
Favourite Amp in 2022 - Can only choose one!
Favourite DAC in 2022 - Can only choose one!
Favourite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) - Choose one
Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 - Self-explanatory
Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - Can be an experience, somewhere you travelled, the world is your oyster
Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - Can be anything from a new toy, travel, your favourite team winning the Stanley cup, anything!

Alright, now that we have the ground rules out of the way, I’ll go first.

Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Rosson Audio Design RAD-0

I have the privilege to listen to a ton of great headphones. And there are a ton of great headphones, new and old out there. But for me personally, they don’t top the experience of the RAD-0. There’s more to the RAD-0 than just the listening experience, from working with Alex and his team at Rosson Audio Design, to opening the box on your brand new RAD-0s and seeing the beauties you’ve been working on and waiting for in person. Couple that with its excellent tonality and detail and it just becomes a headphone that I don’t think will ever leave the top of my list.

Favourite Amp in 2022 - Feliks Audio Envy

This was a tough one as I was real torn between the Zahl HM1 or the Envy. I had to go with my gut though and the fact that the Envy has been on my desk for a little while the HM1 I have only had the opportunity to listen to at our own booth on the show floors. The Envy is gorgeous to look at, is diverse in its options and has that tube sound without straying over the edge like I found in the Auris Audio Nirvana. I actually really liked the Nirvana when I heard it but it was also much more euphonic than the Envy and I could it being used for more niche and limited listening while the Envy is an all-day amp. Plenty of power for any headphone you throw at it. The only con against it is that it’s just so damn hard to get it right now in North America.

Favourite DAC in 2022 - dCS Lina DAC

The dCS Lina DAC is a DAC that I don’t want to leave my desk anytime soon. It’s an extremely pleasant sounding DAC that I’m sure measures horribly in the realm of inaudibility but when paired with either the Bakoon Amp-13R or the Envy on my desk, I always had a grin on my face. It’s noticeably different from the Mytek Brooklyn DAC that’s sat on my desk for quite some time and I’ve found it very difficult to go back to that DAC after having the Lina on my desk.

Favourite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) - Air Fryer

I use our air fryer pretty much every second day. It’s an extremely convenient way to cook a multitude of food and also leaves room in our oven to cook other things. I can’t believe I lived a life without an air fryer in the past.

Top 3 favourite songs in 2022

This song was my number one played song according to Spotify Wrapped so it has to be here.

This song I actually heard while watching Black Panther Wakanda Forever 2 weeks ago and when I heard it in the movie, I new I needed to find it and download it right away. I pretty much have started every morning with it and it just gets me into the perfect mood / vibe to get the day started.

Most of you that know me know that this entire list could be taken up by songs by The Midnight but I’m going to throw a curveball out there. What started out as listening for memes ended up turning into an appreciation for the music and I’ve actually taken quite a liking to a few Babymetal songs now. Definitely not for everyone but there’s just this strange mix that works for me. Take into account that the guitarists and drummer are all extremely talented and I don’t know, they just work. They’re also going to be performing in Munich while High-End Munich 2023 is happening and you can bet that I’ll be making pushes to make sure @andrew and @Resolve get to enjoy it as much I do.

Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - Summer EuroTrip

I was able to take my first official vacation since Andrew and I started Headphones.com where I was not actively answering emails and live chats this summer and travelled to Europe with my wife where we went to Ireland, UK, Italy and France and then Andrew joined me at the end of August for a work trip where we travelled to Spain and then back to France to visit with Focal, meet up with @Resolve to film the factory and get early access to the Focal Bathys. It’s easily up there with one of the coolest things we’ve been able to do as a company and the vacation beforehand was much needed. It was my wife’s first time travelling through Europe and we had an amazing time and are already planning our next trip back.

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - Seeing what’s in store for the future

A bit of a cop out I know, but I am genuinely excited about the future in 2023. The team at Headphones.com continues to grow with incredible people and I don’t think Andrew and I really take the time to sit back and reflect on where the business is now vs before. It used to be just be Andrew, Resolve and I working out of an apartment and before that it was just Andrew and I working from his couch in his apartment with his pregnant wife trying to navigate the maze of boxes strewn about his living room floor.

On top of that, our incredible community continues to grow on both the forum and our Discord, manufacturers are starting to pour some serious money into wireless headphones to try and bring the sound quality we know and love to the wireless experience, more boutique and one-man operations are starting up and flourishing. It’s a fanatastic time to be in the audio hobby and I only see that getting better as competition becomes even more fierce while the truly innovative continue to innovate.

Cheers to 2023 and beyond!

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Lol, list coming up this weekend!

Things that are not on my list…

Favourite purchase (doesn’t have to be audio related):

Zenbook Duo

Best thing that happened in 2022:

Lots of cool stuff on a personal level but related to this forum, Munich was a lot of fun!

Favourite 3 songs:

I’m still waiting for Spotify to tell me :smile:

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I love your taste in music! @taronlissimore

I just listened to that Baby Metal song and what the what? It’s so catchy!

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled program.

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Favorite Headphone in 2022 -
My mmcx-modded TH-X00 Mahogany got the most listening and love, as I added TH-900 pads and a ZMF Pilot pad, plus a Penon Obsidian cable to it

Favorite Amp in 2022 -
My Schiit Vali 2 got lots of new old stock tubes and adapters

Favorite DAC in 2022 -
I love the sound my Shanling M5s puts out with its dual AKM AK4493EQ chips

Favorite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) -
We got an indoor sauna

Top 3 favorite songs in 2022 -

  1. “Patient Number 9” (Ozzy Osbourne)
  2. “Bury Me” (Volturian)
  3. “Deceiver, Deceiver” (Arch Enemy)

Favorite thing that happened in 2022 -
Warriors won the NBA Championship

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 -
49ers win Super Bowl

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Caldera
Favourite Amp in 2022 - …
Favourite DAC in 2022 - …
Favourite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) - Abyss 1266
Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 -

Future islands - light house
Any two songs off the new heilung album

Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - went to my first canjam

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Hifiman Susvara (had some strong competition here but it’s still my favorite ever)

Favourite Amp in 2022 - Even though I don’t own it anymore the top spot would go to the Enleum Amp-23r

Favourite DAC in 2022 - haven’t heard many this year but my Rockna Wavedream is still the best I’ve heard

Favourite purchase in 2022 - Apple studio display, we can argue about value for money but it’s amazing

Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 - I’ll have to think more about this one

Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - Left my regular job to start my own company

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - there’s so many it’s hard to pick one

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Fav headphone, I recently purchased the Focal Utopia 2022, I have a lot of headphones and the Utopia blew me away.
Fav amp, AMPSANDSOUND Mogwai Se v2, paired with Audeze LCD5 is a match made in heaven.
Fav DAC, Chord Hugo2/Poly, love it with anything even harder to drive Planars like Hifiman HE6se v2 and IEM’s like Sony ierz1r.
Fav purchase of the year, has to be Utopia, and I love planars but Utopia beats out LCD5…….so far.
Fav songs Damsel in Distress by Rufus Wainwright
Senorita by Shawn Mendes
Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Focal Utopia OG. I didn’t expect to love it, I didn’t even WANT to love it. But it turns out Utopia is endgame for me.
Favourite Amp in 2022 - Schiit Valhalla 2. Because my DNA Stellaris is taking FOREVER. :expressionless:
Favourite DAC in 2022 - Bifrost 2. Because I’m not upgrading until 2023. (Holo? Denafrips?)
Favourite purchase in 2022 - Focal Utopia and/or EE Legend Evo. Both are MAGNIFICENT.
Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 -

Lady Blackbird’s “Black Acid Soul” has been a standby for all circumstances all year. Classically amazing vocals with a modern flair. Her debut album is never the wrong answer for any mood.
Lady Blackbird - Blackbird (Official Video) - YouTube

Gogo Penguin never disappoints, but this one really helped me make peace with the replacement of the drummer. “Badeep” truly encapsulates the “techno compositions with acoustic jazz instrumentation” thing that I love so much about their style.
GoGo Penguin - Badeep - YouTube

For very personal reasons (I know a lot of the people credited on this album), Beyonce’s “Rennaissance” was very meaningful for me this year. Don’t sleep on Queen Bey - she is the REAL DEAL. :honeybee: :lemon::crown:
Beyoncé - ALIEN SUPERSTAR (Music Video) - YouTube

Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - vacation in Greece. Athens, Santorini, & Mykonos. Let’s just say I will DEFINITELY be going back. :blue_heart::white_heart:

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - my DNA Stellaris finally showing up. Hopefully. :wink:

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Arya Stealth

Favourite Amp in 2022 - Kinki THR-1

Favourite DAC in 2022 - SMSL SU-10

Favourite purchase in 2022 - ZMF Eikon, I’m back with my old closed back love.

Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 - I’ll just list three tracks I Iike from the last three albums I bought:
Judge Bitch - Horse Blood
“Back Drop Driver”

Axion - Superior Firepower
“Fight to win”

Dav Dralleon - Kthullu
“Dungeon Xoth Octoterror”

Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - Ski trip

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - New ZMF closed backs.

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Favorite Headphone: ZMF Atrium

  • Easily the most impressive headphone I’ve heard this past year. In fact it is the most impressive headphone I’ve heard since the Verite back in 2018-19. Remains the only headphone that leave enough of an impression for me to purchase it upon first hour of listening and is still my main headphone since getting it back in March which is saying a lot. It isn’t the most technical of headphones but it is an excellent blend of euphony and dynamism all in one package. My Verite has been gathering dust on one corner since getting the Atrium which is saying something since that was my go to for the past 3 years. Since acquiring I’ve lost quite a bit of interest in hearing other gear.

Favorite amp: Eddie Current Studio B

  • This one’s special. Been using this amp for the past year and a half and it remains the best amp I’ve heard with dynamic driver thus far. Admittedly it isn’t quite as obtainable since Craig’s been hinting on retiring for a while now. Sheer dynamism and the most impressive staging I’ve heard on a headphone amp both in terms of size and depth. Midrange bloom is present and not as prominent as others I’ve heard which I can appreciate. The Starlett come close in terms of enjoyment albeit with a very different sound altogether but this is one I always reach for when I’m in a feel for listening. Does make one curious about the Stellaris though.

Favorite Dac: Wavedream Signature

  • Bought it last year and has since lost all interest in hearing dacs for the sake of it. I do question if I should keep this as I only use headphones and this seems a tad overkill and have contemplated selling this and downgrading to a wavelight or something cheaper but decided against that for now. Main reason for that is how uncompressed(for a lack of a better term) this dac makes my music sound. It is incredibly nuance to dynamic swings and every little bit of detail doesn’t go unnoticed. Neutral tonality means it’s pretty gear agnostic and can easily makes this work with most setup. One of cases where simply throwing money on it actually makes it better. Just a wonderful dac.

3 Favorite Songs (No particular order)

  • Chimera’s Wreck - Porcupine Tree
  • Rich Spirit - Kendrick Lamar
  • White Braids & Pillow Chair - RHCP

Best thing to happen:
Just stuff seemingly going back to normal. Really the best thing since the start of this decade. It’s rough for everyone so it’s always great to see things gradually returning to a semblance of normality.

Things to look forward to in 2023:
Hoping to plan a nice long trip to Japan. It’s been almost 5 years since I last visited and I’m hoping to go there sometime next year. Though I’m definitely not looking forward to the impending recession.

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - Letshouer S12. It is funny that I was almost selling it, but I ended up finding it to sound really incredible after I changed my gear, including cables. I only sometimes strongly prefer 64 audio tia fourte noir (usually for classical) and I am forcing myself to listen to the Utopia OG instead of it from time to time.
Favourite Amp in 2022 - Cayin C9. I just sold Headamp GSX mini and I am considering if AK ACRO CA1000 stay or go.
Favourite DAC in 2022 - xduuo xd-05 bal (I bought a second one this year, it is not identical to the previous one, I prefer the first one I bought)
Favourite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) - Burson Funk Max Current. I finally found a good small amplifier to go with Kef LS50 OG in my tv rack. It replaced musical fidelity M6si that is probably going to thr classified.
Top 3 favourite songs in 2022:

  • De Todas Las Flores / Natalia Lafoucarde
  • Revenant / The Warning
  • Barro Talvez / Cande y Paulo
    Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - I am happy how much time I dedicated to study as an amateur pianist, after 10 years+ I finally took some time to study harmony and I also took an online piano tuning class that I can really say there is one before and after how I see the piano world, even though I am really bad in tuning yet.
    Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - I suggested DDHifi to make their air nyx cable for full size headphones and they answered me they are currently working on headphone cables, so this is something I’m after. I’m still after a great dac that I can take portable with the cayin C9 and them finally forget about fine tuning my system, I would be glad if new things hit the market.
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Favorite Headphone in 2022 - My Rosson Audio Design RAD-0 Before this I’d never spent over $799 on a headphone, although adjusting for inflation, my 1980ish purchase of the STAX SR-5n is probably well over this decade’s $799. The RAD-0 is a delight to listen to, and although it can be tweaked with EQ, EQ is not necessary. Now if the category said IEM, I’d mention the Audeze LCDi4. With these two new additions I got pretty lucky headphone-wise in 2022.


Favorite Amp in 2022 - I don’t buy much new in amps, being satisfied with the Lyr3. I’d have to say the Lyr3 with LSSST tube replacement - it’s not better than with the Treasure Globe, but it’s a nice change up. I did get the FiiO K9 Pro (which I will also mention below) and that’s a very competent DAC/AMP, but the category does say AMP. I would say my restored Sansui AU-919 that I use at work just about every day to drive speakers, but I got that in late 2021. It does a nice job driving headphones, including the RAD-0 from its SE headphone jack. Not like modern equipment.

Favorite DAC in 2022 - Dang that category. Best bang for the buck was the Sabaj a20d 2022 edition DAC/AMP. Wins hands down. Clean and competent. The FiiO K9 Pro ESS is slightly better for more money. But the only DAC I got in 2022 was the Bifrost 2/64 board, and it’s the winner. Better than any of my other DACs, and clearly a step above the original BF2 in terms of soundstage.

Favorite purchase in 2022 - This was a gift for my wife. Five fancy yellow natural diamonds crafted into a custom designed anniversary ring, going in a gentle curve around her engagement ring. Includes some bits of gold from her wedding ring when it was re-sized, and a heart motif worked into the setting. 18K white gold.

Top 3 favorite songs in 2022 - This is probably the hardest of them all as I don’t really do songs. At least it doesn’t say songs OF 2022. My favorite piece of music seems to remain Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the Pastorale. For song - I think the cover of Abracadabra that you find on YouTube by Arnel Pineda. That’s two. But here comes the influence of the headphones forum. We listen to Chameleon for bass, and I went digging into Chameleon named songs for a test playlist and I found a wonderful version of Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon for my #3

Favorite thing that happened in 2022 - I hate to say recovering from a hernia operation, but yeah, being recovered is awesome

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - Achieving some personal work goals that will let me ease off.

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - MySphere 3.1, it’s usurped the Susvara for me
Favourite Amp in 2022 - Eddie Current Studio T - recent purchase, but very impressive
Favourite DAC in 2022 - Lampizator Pacific Balanced
Favourite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) - Eddie Current Studio T
Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 - Hmmmm… depends what mood I am

My favorite Album discovery of 2022 (not when it was released) was the Japanese limited SACD release of Machine Head, which is a very different master than any of the other digital releases (reminds me of the original Vinyl), and dramatically better IMO.

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I feel like this is a sneaky way to get around the rules :wink: .

Really dig that stand you have for the RAD-0s! I’ll need to invest a a fancy stand for my desk.

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Favorite Headphone in 2022: RAAL-requisite SR-1b as paired with their tube amp (below)

Favorite Amp in 2022: RAAL-requisite VM-1a tube amp, as paired with their headphones (above). If I was shopping for a headphone setup in the $10K+ class, this would be my first choice.

Favorite DAC in 2022: It has to be the Schiit Bifrost 2/64. I upgraded my OG Bifrost 2 in 2022 and realized that mainstream quality DACs have arrived. While the OG BF2 had roughness and flaws, the BF2/64 bends the price vs. performance curve. My interest in upgrading is fading. This is a landmark product, and the quality gap between middle and high end DACs will only shrink moving forward.

Favorite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related): It was not an audio purchase, but another hobby entirely. I really like it, but probably shouldn’t go there on this forum.

Top 3 favorite songs in 2022: I don’t really have favorite songs, and what I like comes and goes over time. So, I’ll answer with three random “upset woman” songs with odd lyrics and themes for your amusement.

Favorite thing that happened in 2022: The end of pandemic madness. Back to regular hobbies, regular product availability, and calmer people all around.

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023: Probably returning to routine travel. This year involved a lot of “make up” travel following a two year gap, so it wasn’t yet routine.

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:disguised_face: damn what a system

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Favorite Headphone in 2022 -
Meze Elite! After being an unapologetic ZMF fanboy for the last few years, I decided to branch out and try something different. I can’t get over how much I like these things. They’re so musical while also possessing technical abilities that handily exceed any of the ZMF dynamics I’ve owned/heard (VC, Aeolus, Atrium and Auteur). On top of that, they’re so dang comfortable! Don’t see myself replacing these anytime soon, but I’m still considering sending my Ash Auteur in to Zach for the Classic upgrade.

Favorite Amp in 2022 -
Still haven’t found a reason to upgrade from my beloved Quicksilver Headphone Amp. I’ve got really nice (and expensive) tubes rolled in at this point, and it sounds amazing with my Elite and Auteur.

Favorite DAC in 2022 -
My trusty Bifrost 2 (OG) remains good enough for me. I had the chance to demo the Yggy LIM for a week, and concede it was a bit better than the BF2, especially in the lower registers. Bass texture was excellent with it. The price difference was too large for me to make the upgrade though. I still might order her BF2/64 upgrade card eventually, but haven’t felt the need to change anything in my setup recently.

Favorite purchase in 2022 -
A new house! We have been in our current house for a little over ten years, so it will be nice to have a nicer place to call home. I’ll miss the old house, since both our kids have never known any other home in their lives. I’m not excited about the larger mortgage payment!

Top 3 favorite songs in 2022 -

  1. Bahamas - Way With Words
  2. Big Thief - Simulation Swarm
  3. Madison Cunningham - Life According to Raechel (Tiny Desk Concert version)

Favorite thing that happened in 2022 -
Negotiated a well-deserved raise at work. It was either that or find a new job. Luckily I have a great boss that realized how much more I had been doing over the past couple years and agreed to compensate me fairly moving forward.

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 -
Living in the new house! My kids are super-excited about the new neighborhood that has tons of kids their age, a few little lakes, walking trails, and a community pool a short walk from our new house. I’m super-excited to finally have a nice kitchen to cook in.

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Favourite Headphone in 2022 - ZMF Vérité. I’m so glad I get to have more than one headphone but if I had to pick just one it would be my VO.

Favourite Amp in 2022 - ampsandsound Nautilus. Had it for almost 6 months and still every time I attempt to describe the sound I end up sounding like a fawning, babbling fanboy.

Favourite DAC in 2022 - Holo Audio May KTE. “Value” is a relative term in our hobby but what you get for the price is amazing.

Favourite purchase in 2022 (does not have to be audio related) - Glucose meter. I resolved to get serious about my health before anything goes down-hill, and the data I get has already led to big improvements. I want to enjoy this hobby for as long as possible :grin:

Top 3 favourite songs in 2022 -

Favourite thing that happened in 2022 - Visiting some family that I haven’t seen since 2019.

Thing you’re looking forward to in 2023 - A CanJam within driving distance!

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We did a video… on this topic exactly!

Here are our picks of the year from the Headphone Show:

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I said I was going to make a list, didn’t plan on it being this long though…

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