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  1. #1
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    Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Iím possibly thinking about getting a new pair headphones. These are so foreign to me. The choices seem bewildering.

    My wants are sweet and musical. Have not decided about tube vs solid state amp with the headphones.

    What do you use?
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  2. #2
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Hands down Abyss AB-1266 Phi CC. With the right amp you may spend less time with your speaker system.

  3. #3
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I’ll check them out. Thank you.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  4. #4
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Focal Stellia with Chord Hugo 2.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  5. #5

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Head-Fi.org is the place to be for anything headphones.

  6. #6
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Great, thank you.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  7. #7
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    "Best" is in the ears of the beholder, as with all things audio.

    The following are considered among the contenders for state of the art, with more arriving all the time, like the Stellia mentioned by Mike:

    Headphones:
    RAAL Requisite SR-1a
    Stax 009; 009s; 007 MkII
    Warwick Sonoma; Aperio
    HiFi Man Shangri La, Shangri La Jr, Susvara
    Abyss 1266 Phi TC
    Meze Empyrean
    Focal Utopia, Clear
    Sennheiser HD800; 800S; 820
    ZMF Verite

    Amps:
    Apex Pinnacle
    Blue Hawaii SE
    EAR HP-4
    Benchmark AHB (depending on the headphones)
    LTA Z10E
    Headamp GS-X Mk II
    Simaudio 430 HA
    Stax SRM-T8000
    Woo Audio WES; WA5; WA33; WA234 (mono)
    Jon

  8. #8

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by VT Skier View Post
    "Best" is in the ears of the beholder, as with all things audio.

    The following are considered among the contenders for state of the art, with more arriving all the time, like the Stellia mentioned by Mike:

    Headphones:
    RAAL Requisite SR-1a
    Stax 009; 009s; 007 MkII
    Warwick Sonoma; Aperio
    HiFi Man Shangri La, Shangri La Jr, Susvara
    Abyss 1266 Phi TC
    Meze Empyrean
    Focal Utopia, Clear
    Sennheiser HD800; 800S; 820
    ZMF Verite

    Amps:
    Apex Pinnacle
    Blue Hawaii SE
    EAR HP-4
    Benchmark AHB (depending on the headphones)
    LTA Z10E
    Headamp GS-X Mk II
    Simaudio 430 HA
    Stax SRM-T8000
    Woo Audio WES; WA5; WA33; WA234 (mono)
    Excellent List,
    I highlighted what I've owned if you need any feedback on those.....

    Wilson Benesch Eminence /Torus, CH Precision (Full Stack), Grand Prix Monaco V2.0/Thales Statement/Ortofon Century & MC A Mono, Innuos/Roon, Gobel Cables, Artesania/Herzan


    Martin Logan Masterpiece Renaissance ESL15A, Technical Brain TB-Zero/Int, Channel D Lino C, VPI HW-40/Fatboy(Gimball)/Audio Technica ART-1000, Neodio Origine S2, Iconoclast Cables, Artesania


    Focal Utopia Headphones, Benchmark DAC3/HPA4, Kef LS50, Danacable

  9. #9

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?


  10. #10
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by annapolis Raider View Post
    Excellent List,
    I highlighted what I've owned if you need any feedback on those.....
    That’s awesome. I’m still in research mode. I’ve traditionally hated to wear headphones but it’s becoming more relevant as time goes on. Also having a somewhat portable system might be a wonderful luxury.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  11. #11
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Wow, there seems to be a ton of options. Thank you


    Quote Originally Posted by Anatta View Post
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  12. #12
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Mr Speakers ar fairly unique in the ability to present a large sound/and stage. I think they sound great as well. They really do sound like you are wearing a set of actual speakers. The hands down winner in that department.

    I also like Audeze and Hifiman.

    My pick for overall value, performance per dollar is the Janzen electrostatic. I'd have to do a side by side with the more expensive Audeze and Hifiman but the Janzen are only targeted to be about $1500.00. He was showing a set but I don't think they are ready for mass production yet. What I heard was excellent.
    Aurender ACS10 w/AQ Diamond,
    Mark Levinson #526 & 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

  13. #13

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
    Thatís awesome. Iím still in research mode. Iíve traditionally hated to wear headphones but itís becoming more relevant as time goes on. Also having a somewhat portable system might be a wonderful luxury.
    I can't stand headphones and I own 5 pair (a necessary evil on occasion)and have heard a ton from $100 to $3000 and I still can't do it. At best I am good for one album side, but normally I'm ripping them off my head after 10 minutes.

  14. #14
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    That’s what I’m afraid of too. I’ll have to start listening to my old pair of Sennheiser HD650 (?) and see how it goes.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  15. #15
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Joe

    I have tried many pair over the years and could never stick with them for more than a half hour. A better alternative if you need to use them for some reason might be in-ear phones. Much more comfortable and less expensive.
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Nuprime CDT-8, Auralic Aries G1, Aqua La Voce S3, Supratek Chardonnay, Van Alstine Vision SET-400, Fritz Carrera Be, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC's & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, USB & SC's, PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Teac NT-505, Audia Flight FL Three S, Reynaud Abscisse Jubilee, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Audio Sensibility SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

  16. #16
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I can wear comfortable headphones for a long time,, however, for some reason when I wear headphones my body thinks it's time to go to sleep

    I used to wear headphones and listen to the tracks while I made cassettes for friends and family.
    Aurender ACS10 w/AQ Diamond,
    Mark Levinson #526 & 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

  17. #17
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I’ve seen molded in ear speakers. That might be an option.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Joe

    I have tried many pair over the years and could never stick with them for more than a half hour. A better alternative if you need to use them for some reason might be in-ear phones. Much more comfortable and less expensive.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  18. #18
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    If you like the sound of Sennheiser they have several in-ear starting at about $100.
    Main - JVC QL-Y7/Denon DL-301 Mk II, Gold Note PH-10, Nuprime CDT-8, Auralic Aries G1, Aqua La Voce S3, Supratek Chardonnay, Van Alstine Vision SET-400, Fritz Carrera Be, (2) Rythmik F12SE, Audio Envy IC's & PC's, Triode Wire Lab PC's, USB & SC's, PS Audio Stellar P3, PI Audio Uberbuss, Timbernation rack

    Family Room - Oppo UDP-203, Teac NT-505, Audia Flight FL Three S, Reynaud Abscisse Jubilee, (2) Rythmik F-12G, Audio Sensibility SC & IC's, Neotech PC's, SurgeX SA-1810

  19. #19
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I really enjoy my Audeze LCD-XC headphones with the Deckard. I highly recommend Audeze. That Luxman amp looks awesome. If you're still looking at a new dac maybe the one you get will have a nice headphone amp (Chord Dave, DCS, etc...).

  20. #20
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Mr Speakers ar fairly unique in the ability to present a large sound/and stage. I think they sound great as well. They really do sound like you are wearing a set of actual speakers. The hands down winner in that department.

    I also like Audeze and Hifiman.

    My pick for overall value, performance per dollar is the Janzen electrostatic. I'd have to do a side by side with the more expensive Audeze and Hifiman but the Janzen are only targeted to be about $1500.00. He was showing a set but I don't think they are ready for mass production yet. What I heard was excellent.
    I like Mr Speaker because of the weight factor and comfort. And they do perform nicely.
    Chris

    (2 Chl): Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE Lumin D1, VPI Classic 1, Manley Chinook, Dynavector DV20x2L.exaSound e32 mk11, Marantz SA11S2. ( computer) Win7, Synology DS413 NAS ,Vincent SP-331MKII , Quicksilver LS,Vapor Audio Breeze, Rythmik F12se. Cables: Acoustic Zen, DL Labs, Blue Jean.. ,Bryston BCD-1,Timbernation Rack,

  21. #21

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by joeinid View Post
    That’s what I’m afraid of too. I’ll have to start listening to my old pair of Sennheiser HD650 (?) and see how it goes.
    Good idea, they might sound good to you now. I have a pair of HD650s, brand new. I have about 2 hours on them. At first, I thought, "christ, these are the worst cans I ever heard, where did the bass go"?!! However, I understand they get better with more time and should sound better than my HD518s, which have too much bottom-end and near zero top-end. (They drop off a cliff at 9kHz).
    My most balanced headphones are a pair of Status Audio CB-1s, believe it or not. They are closed back and well under $100 and yet have the right amount of everything through the frequency range. Staging is a bit on the narrow side, but not real bad, they are closed back after all.
    I have never heard a headphone with great dynamics, that is why I like speakers.

    As for IEMs, no thanks, those scare the crap out of me, but that's just me, you may like them.

  22. #22

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Too bad the NYC CanJam already happened otherwise I would have suggested you make a travel to that. (We have one coming here in Cal in June, it will be the last or second to last one for California). No loss for me since headphones and related aren't my thing though it is the last audio type show in California left and soon there was none.

  23. #23
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Joe,
    The best headphones are the ones you use the most and can live with the easiest.

    For me, this means
    Eliminate ones that are heavy, like the Abyss 1266. Too bad, they sound great.
    Eliminate IEM's which I think are great for travel but difficult to deal with at home.
    Eliminate pretty much every closed back headphone - they make my ears sweat.

    For you, it may mean a different set of characteristics - zeroing in on them is actually a lot of fun. Once you know generally what you are looking for you can find the sound quality you are after.

    There are a lot of great sounding headphones sitting on the shelf, unloved for other reasons.

    As far as amps, find the 'phones you love first and then get a complementary amp.
    Tom

    Audio:
    Amati Futura Mains
    Amati Homage VOX Center,
    Proac Response 1sc Rears,
    Three MC2301's for L,C,R
    MC 602 for the rears
    C 1100, MX 151, MCD 1100, MR 77
    Nottingham Dais with Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation
    SurfacePro 3, JRiver, WW Starlight Platinum USB, Schiit Yggdrasil, Benchmark DAC3 HGC

    Video:
    MX 151, OppO BDP-95, JVC RS-500 DILA projector, 106" diagonal Stewart Luxus Screenwall Deluxe with Studiotek 130 G3 material.

    Lake House:
    Ohm F, MC 275V, C2300, MR 80, Rega P3

    OnDeck:
    McIntosh MAC 4300v

  24. #24
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Thank you Tom. I’m still debating the style and if I want a matching amp, etc.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  25. #25
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I may be Mr Obvious, the Senn's require a good break in time. I usually will let mine play over night with a constant source. I find they begin to reach their sound around 24 hours of play.

    Quote Originally Posted by Audiophobiac View Post
    Good idea, they might sound good to you now. I have a pair of HD650s, brand new. I have about 2 hours on them. At first, I thought, "christ, these are the worst cans I ever heard, where did the bass go"?!! However, I understand they get better with more time and should sound better than my HD518s, which have too much bottom-end and near zero top-end. (They drop off a cliff at 9kHz).
    My most balanced headphones are a pair of Status Audio CB-1s, believe it or not. They are closed back and well under $100 and yet have the right amount of everything through the frequency range. Staging is a bit on the narrow side, but not real bad, they are closed back after all.
    I have never heard a headphone with great dynamics, that is why I like speakers.

    As for IEMs, no thanks, those scare the crap out of me, but that's just me, you may like them.
    Aurender ACS10 w/AQ Diamond,
    Mark Levinson #526 & 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

  26. #26
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I have a strong preference for Audeze, but they do provide a specific sound character which needs to match your personal taste. There are many good options for headphones these days. I would say don't underestimate the importance of a good headphone amplifier to match, especially with some headphones where the impact can be greater.

    For tube headphone amplifiers, there's a small outfit Donald North Audio that I really like.
    Neko Audio
    Authorized Dealer: AC Infinity, Acoustic Zen, APC, Audeze, Bryston, Devialet, Dirac, Elite HTS, Fortress Seating, JVC, LG, LUMIN, Magico, Ortofon, Prism Sound, RME, Samsung, STAX, Trinnov, & more.

  27. #27

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I may be Mr Obvious, the Senn's require a good break in time. I usually will let mine play over night with a constant source. I find they begin to reach their sound around 24 hours of play.
    Yes, totally agree. I know that, that's why I mentioned that I only have a couple of hours on them. I prefer to let gear that requires "break-in" (anything mechanical = speakers, headphones, phono carts, tubes) to do so naturally rather than forced. Nothing wrong with forced break-in, it is just personal preference.
    For me headphones take the longest because I rarely use them. For me and headphones 24 hours takes at least a month or two.

  28. #28
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I don't know if I'd call constant play "forced break in. I do understand what you are saying though. I just don't want to listen to the less than target sound quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Audiophobiac View Post
    Yes, totally agree. I know that, that's why I mentioned that I only have a couple of hours on them. I prefer to let gear that requires "break-in" (anything mechanical = speakers, headphones, phono carts, tubes) to do so naturally rather than forced. Nothing wrong with forced break-in, it is just personal preference.
    For me headphones take the longest because I rarely use them. For me and headphones 24 hours takes at least a month or two.
    Aurender ACS10 w/AQ Diamond,
    Mark Levinson #526 & 532h, JBL 4367's
    Clearaudio Performance DC w/Maestro cart
    All Clarus Crimson cabling, AC to binding post. Surgex
    HT: Marantz AV8003, Linn 5125, JBL SAM3ha, Revel s30,
    SVS PC13 Ultra
    Transparent, Analysis Plus & Tributaries. PS Audio filtering
    Sony XBR-75X940D & BDP

  29. #29
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Joe, you should consider custom molded high end ear buds if you have problems wearing headphones for more than 30 minutes.

    I have a friend that has high end headphones and switched to custom molded (to his ear shape) ear buds and prefers the sound from them.

    The Hugo chord is a great headphone amp/dac and its portable. It is worth looking at if you want portability. It is also built like a tank.

    I have a friend that just bought a pair of Focal Utopia cans, they are over ear and open back. He loves them.
    My Gear- Mains System-Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Magnepan 1.6's, Thorens TD-145 TT, Dual Martin Logan Subs, Vintage Luxman T-110 Tuner, Other systems- Parasound A21 amp,Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid tube DAC and Preamp, Magnepan MMG's, Monitor Audio S1's, PSB B6's, Def Tech Pro Monitor 1000's, Velodyne sub, Adcom GFR-700 AVR, Music Hall 25.2 modified CDP, Cables by Cardas Parsec, AQ Columbia DBS 72v, Wire World.

  30. #30
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I don’t think over the ear headphones is not out of the question but I am curious about the molded ones.

    I think Mike recommended the Focal/Chord combo as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mechnutt View Post
    Joe, you should consider custom molded high end ear buds if you have problems wearing headphones for more than 30 minutes.

    I have a friend that has high end headphones and switched to custom molded (to his ear shape) ear buds and prefers the sound from them.

    The Hugo chord is a great headphone amp/dac and its portable. It is worth looking at if you want portability. It is also built like a tank.

    I have a friend that just bought a pair of Focal Utopia cans, they are over ear and open back. He loves them.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  31. #31
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I had around 7 pairs of headphones. They are like speakers all with their own flavor.
    My remaining pair was a Fostex Th-900 which was my best all rounder.
    That said headphones were ruining my hearing because you can crank it up so much without bothering anyone. It’s just too tempting to do. I find my spouse and neighbors are good deterrents to damaging dbs when running speakers.
    So......getting a motorcycle next Joe?
    Larry


    Lumin U1
    Chord Dave Dac
    Vac Master Preamp
    Vac 200IQ Amp
    Magico S3 Mk2 in Mcast Pewter
    Denali 6000S
    Ansuz and MIT cabling
    Timbernation walnut racks

  32. #32
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Ohhh forgot to say that Eddie Current 445 tube amp was my destination amp which I absolutely loved. My Chord Dave is an awesome headamp also.
    Larry


    Lumin U1
    Chord Dave Dac
    Vac Master Preamp
    Vac 200IQ Amp
    Magico S3 Mk2 in Mcast Pewter
    Denali 6000S
    Ansuz and MIT cabling
    Timbernation walnut racks

  33. #33
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dguitarnut View Post
    I had around 7 pairs of headphones. They are like speakers all with their own flavor.
    My remaining pair was a Fostex Th-900 which was my best all rounder.
    That said headphones were ruining my hearing because you can crank it up so much without bothering anyone. It’s just too tempting to do. I find my spouse and neighbors are good deterrents to damaging dbs when running speakers.
    So......getting a motorcycle next Joe?
    Ha!

    I’ve had more than my share of motorcycles. While I dearly miss riding, I’m no where near as flexible as I used to be and have seen too many fatalities in my line of work. Maybe a convertible but no more motorcycles.
    Wharfedale Linton w/ stands, Avantgarde Duo XD, Klipsch RB-75, Klipsch RP-160M.

    Luxman 590AXII (incoming), Job INTegrated

    Conrad Johnson GAT2, Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE Stage 2, Misho Myronov Wooden pre.

    Misho Myronov Wooden amp, First Watt SIT-3 (x 2 - one as backup), First Watt F7 (incoming), Job 250 Monos, Valvet E2se, NuForce STA200, AkitikA GT-102 amp, ASL Wave monos, Dennis Had 45 monos.

    RME Audio ADI-2 DAC FS, Lumin U1 mini, ModWright Ultimate Sony XA-5400ES, Audio Mirror Tubadour III NOS R2R Tube Dac w/ SE upgrades.

    Burmester 948, McIntosh MCLK12, Kimber Kable, Siltech, Cardas, Avanti Audio cables.

  34. #34
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I have tried several headphones. Comfort along with good sound is essential for me. I do not like ear buds, they tend to irritate me pretty quickly. We also had our own CanJam at our audio club .

    We had a few Audeze, a very nice HiFi Man model, Mr Speakers Ether, etc. The Focal Clear ran away as the overwhelming favorite.

    I have owned McIntosh, Audeze EL8, Mr. Speakers Ether, KEF M500, Bose (who cares which model), Sennheiser HD800S, and Focal Clear. The Focal are my favorite....

    Most comfortable, Mr. Speakers, Sennheiser, Focal... most uncomfortable, Audeze, McIntosh, and anything in ear.

    Amps I have had a mid level Woo, a Bryston, and a Dennis Had... I also have had several DAC Headphone amps... NuPrime, Benchmark, T+A. Dedicated amp, my favorite was probably the Bryston and the Dennis Had was very good also, but the T+A seems to do really good, and I have not used headphones as much lately. Mostly use the cans with my portable Pono player. It drives the Focal perfectly. I also love the Focal package. Nice case and very good cabling, all types from 1/4", 4-pin balanced, and 1/8" for the portable. None of the others except the McIntosh came close in package.
    Core: Hattor "The Big"; T+A AMP 8; AudioQuest Niagara 1000
    Analog: Rega RP8; Rega Ania Pro; Rega Fono MC; Record Doctor VI
    Digital: T+A DAC 8 DSD; Falcon NW PC; Roon & HQPlayer; W4S Recovery
    Speakers
    : KEF R700; Elac Debut Sub 3010; Audeze LCD-i4
    Other: Astell&Kern AK240; McIntosh MR7083; Oppo BDP105


    "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  35. #35

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Check out the recommended list from the site below. Find a few in your price range and then head over to a few shops to try them out with your collection of favorite tracks.

    https ://diyaudioheaven.wordpress.com/headphones/recommended-ones/ (gah, not enough posts to post a link)

    The site also has measurements.

  36. #36

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Oh, and bring your listening chair too... you'll likely be spending hours

  37. #37

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Sean

    Oppo 203, Lumin D2
    Magico A3
    Shunyata PS8/Defender/Delta NR
    Venom IC/SC/PC

  38. #38

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Went through a whole phase of various headphones and headphone amps including the Focal Utopia, Audeze LCD3, and about a dozen others... In the end I am extremely pleased and have trimmed my collection down to the my trusty Sennheiser HD600 and Woo Audio WA6 amp as my computer/desktop combo and ZMF Auteur Blackwood with PrimaLuna HP for more serious listening chair sessions. Tubes and high impedance headphones are the most pleasing combo to my ears.
    Serge

  39. #39
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Best combo i would recommend is Hifiman HE-1000SE with Dana Lazuli Reference cabling paired with Chord Hugo TT2 and Chord Mscaler.

  40. #40
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?



    We love love love this combo in the store.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

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  41. #41
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I value speed and transparency for my headphone listening, and detest a lot of the "extra bass" headphones that seem to be popular now. I love IEMs, although the customs don't fit as well after a few years. My current favorite is the Campfire Audio Andromeda Gold SE.

    Senn hd650 is where a lot of us started liking headphones. (TBH, I listened to a pair of those Sennheiser, or Koss?, headphones {the ones with the orange foam against your ear} as a kid from my Dad's McIntosh Pre-amp)

    There are much more revealing headphones, especially when paired with good amplifiers. However, great sound can be had with one of the DragonFly dac/amps, and whatever headphone you like (well perhaps now with the HD650)

    My current sets (different locations, and different requirements)

    Blue Hawaii Special Edition + Stax SR007/Mr Speakers Voce -> extremely revealing, and full range, very comfortable - obviously my favorite
    Focal Utopia + Violectric V281 -> no tubes at my work office, I run these with balanced wiring - very nice, a bit heavier than the stats, no complaints
    Focal Elegia + CEntrance HiFi M8 XLR -> workstation, need closed headphones here - great for youtube, and some music when I get a chance to sit there.

    But, go get lost at Head-Fi, and be sure to check out their for sale threads. There are many great headphones are sold after a short while, when a new "favorite of the month" comes out.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Zu Audio Druid V
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  42. #42

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    My pix are HIFiMan he1000 v2 and se which I prefer to Audeze lcd-4 and focal utopia. I actually like clear better. Have tested these in my review pursuits.

  43. #43
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    If you enjoy IEM, if you get a chance take a spin with the Audeze LCD-i4. I found that standard headphones drove me crazy after a while; weight, bulk, etc. Normal IEM bother me because they normally don't feel comfortable. The LCD-i4 are one of Audeze's flagship models and perform as such. They sound wonderful with my Astell&Kern portable and I can wear them for hours in comfort.
    Core: Hattor "The Big"; T+A AMP 8; AudioQuest Niagara 1000
    Analog: Rega RP8; Rega Ania Pro; Rega Fono MC; Record Doctor VI
    Digital: T+A DAC 8 DSD; Falcon NW PC; Roon & HQPlayer; W4S Recovery
    Speakers
    : KEF R700; Elac Debut Sub 3010; Audeze LCD-i4
    Other: Astell&Kern AK240; McIntosh MR7083; Oppo BDP105


    "A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  44. #44
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I'm ordering the Hifiman HE-1000se and a Chord Hugo TT2.
    Best headphone rig ever owned yet coming from Hugo 2 paired with Kennerton Odin.

  45. #45
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Mike just sent me a set of Focal Utopias - my wife's Christmas present to me. I plan on using them with the Pass Labs HPA-1 once I get everything else set up.
    Sincerely,


    Joe
    Happiness is not a destination, so Enjoy the Journey.

    Amps: Pass X260.8s *** Pre-Amp: Pass XP22 *** Headphone Amp: Pass HPA-1 *** Speakers: Magico A3ís *** Magico A3 Grills *** Headphones: Focal Utopia *** Digital: Luxman D-08u SACD *** Aurender ACS10 CD Ripper & N100 Streamer *** Power: Shunyata Hydra Alpha A12 Power Conditioner *** AQ NRG Edison 20 *** Cables: Shunyata *** Rack: Bamboo SVT Quadrasphire *** Accessories: Herbie's Audio Lab Giant Titanium Cone Decoupling Gliders *** Russ Andrews Cable Elevators

  46. #46

    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    The Stax SR-009 with a "DIY" T2 amp has been one of the top standards in high-end headphones for a while. The DIY T2's performance greatly exceeds that of even the excellent Headamp Blue Hawaii SE, and a KGSShv Carbon. But, sourcing a good T2 builder/build, and keeping it running is quite the journey. Requires a lot of patience, and money - the T2 cost usually breaches 5 figures. Short of that, I've been most impressed by the HiFiMan Susvara. Even out of a relatively modest amp - a Headamp GS-X Mini ($6K + 2K = 8K total, roughly half the cost of the all-out Stax setup) - I felt it got within 97-99% of the performance of the 009 + DIY T2. It beats the 009 + BHSE, and I'm sure even better Susvara amp pairings could be found given more amp budget than 2K. In my mind, the Susvara easily dispatches the Focal Utopia, Stellia, and Meze Empyrean in overall sound quality. I'm not a fan of all aspects of HiFiMan's build quality, but I can't fault the sound.

  47. #47
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    Hi, try jabra or Plantronics for the headphones...

  48. #48
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    Re: Best headphones/amps? Recommendations?

    I received my Ora GQ Headphones recently, the world's first graphene driver headphone. They are certainly well built and comfortable, I wore them for three hours last night with minimal discomfort.

    https://www.ora-sound.com/gq-headphones

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Speakers: Magico M3, Q3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma
    On order: YG Acoustics Rack 1.4

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