Jesse. Your posts are indeed coming through. Thanks for posting!!
I started with a Schiit stack and the DT-990 Pros. I thought that $200 for headphones must have meant that they were the top of the line! That was about 2 years and $2,000 ago. Now my current setup goes Computer > ifi iOne DAC > Aune X7s/Darkvoice 336se > LCD-2c/HE-400i/X2/DT770.
I currently have some overlapping headphones that I need to get rid of. It’s just hard to say goodbye sometimes…
The story always start that way. 6 months ago I was thinking people were NUTS for buying a headphone amp and headphones for 200-300-1000 dollars…that was $4400. ago…ah naiveté…
I picked up a pair of HD598 for $99 on a Black Friday sale a few years ago. Coming from standard consumer headphones these were eye opening, sound stage, resolution, etc. Last year, for whatever reason, I decided that their bass was too muddy and the overall sound too grainy, so I dove off the deep end trying different headphones. Eventually I ended up with a collection including HD 600, LCD2C and DT 1990, with the DT 1990 my current favorite.
I tried the LCD 2’s and sent them back. I currently use my DT1990’s the most and AKG 701’s when they get a little harsh. I love the soundstage of the 600’s but don’t love the dynamics. Next on my list is the Focal Elear. How do you like the LCD2C?
My first proper headphones that didn’t come with a phone were Sennheiser px 100 ii, picked them up for a flight and thought they were good. Used some wireless Sennheiser for a while as I’d bought them for my Dad but he doesn’t like gifts, eventually passed them onto him by buying a gaming headset for myself and telling him I wasn’t going to use them anymore. Gifting by deception, they only way he’ll accept stuff . Rinse and repeat a couple of times I ended up getting some DT 990s after some research and finding a store that actually has a range to try out,and loved them. Seem to have fallen into the rabbit hole now though with a few on the shelf and more coming…
I think the next step is learning to make my own cables, but I haven’t done any soldering in about 20 years…
I think the hobby element is fun. Cables, tube rolling. I do like to explore music now more than ever. Which I believe I forget to do in the middle of SEARCHING for the next better thing.
This is my Grampy. My inspiration for all things audio. Here he is at work for Bell labs. ($24/week) He was also director of the Naval Underater Sound Laboratory in Massachusetts. Made his own hydrophones and cans.
In High school 1982 I bought an AIWA cassette Walkman. A high end unit Compared to the Sony Walkman at the time. Of course it came with crap headphones so I upgraded to a $30 pair of Sony’s ($80 in today’s dollars) I tried to find the model on this site
But I don’t see anything I recognize.
20 years ago I found Headroom and got the Grado SR60s because they said they were the best bang for the buck under $100. Are used them with the Sony CD Walkman four years because I hated the sound of the original iPod.
I’ve been with Grado ever since. I love the Grado sound, very upfront, forward. I think everything sounds right. A cello sounds like a cello, a Fender Stratocaster sounds like a Fender Stratocaster, a Marshall stack sounds like a Marshall stack.
And Grado as being the most modified headphone in the world, and being a hobbyist with a soldering iron. I started modifying them, vent mods, cable mods, ear cup mods. SR60, SR225, and SR325is are my three sets of cans The 325’s with 3 vent holes are amazingly detailed in the mids and highs. And they are completely brought into balance with the increased base. (And venting holes is all bottom end bass that no amount of eq can do) The brightness is completely in line now and they are amazing. I used only the Headroom Bithead until it finally gave in. Now I just have. Fiio Q1… the SR60’s with one hole vent and the
L-Cush pads I think the best bang for the buck under hundred dollars even today.
And my source is CD rips to ALAC(apple lossless) on the iPad. I love no AC line noise, so quiet.
I hardly use the LCD2C anymore. Every now and the I’ll put them on for the wow factor of their bass, but I lose interest pretty quickly. I think part of it is that the DT1990’s pulled my tastes I’m a brighter direction.
Good example - last night I listened to part of Beethoven’s 5th on the LCD2C. Part of what I love about that piece is the weight of the bass strings and drums, and the LCD2C really makes it thunder and rumble. But, there’s violins and flutes too, and there it just kind of phones in the performance.
If I listened to more EDM and rap, I’d probably use them more. Nevertheless, they are special and I’m loathe to part with them.
I love this post. Thanks for sharing,
I’ve definitely been listening to music a lot more since getting into it, also a greater variety of music.
Well… Damnit I knew I should have posted in here sooner… Now my stupid HD6xx story sounds dumb thank you for sharing that history with us! Super cool. I literally got into this with gaming headset addiction and searching for the best sound I could, no where near as good a story as yours:)
That being said, I grew up going to symphony’s, jazz, and band gigs (step mom was a talented bass player) music was always in my life from a young age (Dad loved music and always had it going, he listened to anything, and everything and appreciated it all).
I recommend Cardas cable.
Cardas Headphone Cable is available for Sennheiser HD800, HD700, HD600/650, HD580, Audeze and HiFi Man headphones.
It’s not one of those models then it’s gonna be a custom job.
My custom Cardas cable I was able to get 5 feet with bare ends I soldered myself and that includes the jacket for only $115
Okay, that was way back in the day.
When I really got started was in the late 90s and early 2000s. I was seeking gaming bliss with sound cards and headphones, trying to gain advantages in FPSes (mostly competitive Counter-Strike) via 3D localization.
As I climbed that ladder, I realized music was sounding better as well. I’d stumbled upon Sennheiser gaming headphones.
Later on, I bought Sennheiser HD555s and loved the heck out of them.
I used them with a Creative Sound Blaster sound card for years, then ultimately found the Electric Avenues PA2V2 amp.
That prompted me to buy the Sennheiser HD650 nearly a decade ago and I’ve spiraled up and down the audiophilia spectrum ever since.
You know it’s been a long time when you can barely remember. I started as a teenager in the 1970s, listening to a variety of cans from Realistic (Radio Shack) and Koss when I couldn’t crank up my stereo. In the '80s and '90s, I continued to use cans late at night, but I was all about the rack system. In 2000, I moved to California and for the first time had an apartment in which I could only rarely unleash my full system, so I started getting serious about headphones with a pair of Sennheiser HD580s. First dedicated amp was a Musical Fidelity paired with Senn HD600s. I kept going back to HD600s and 650s for ages, driving them with various dacs and an OTL tube amp. I still have a pair of 650s, but I do almost all my listening on Fostex TH-610s (great cans that were absolutely sunk by a couple of bad reviews) and Beyerdynamic T5p Gen 2s (first Beyer I’ve ever liked).
Fun memory I just had: Lying out in the sun in the early 1980s wearing headphones with 20 feet of extension cable. To achieve this bliss, all I had to do was move my 20kg integrated and fairly heavy turntable, along with a couple of armfuls of albums, and set them up just inside the house where the sun wouldn’t hit them.
shit’s gettin’ real up in here. Great post!
For me it started back in college (late 70’s) but its was only speakers back then but upon graduation in 1983 I happened to stop at a audio store closing up and bought a Stax SRD-34 and have been hooked ever since and the SRD-34 (modded so I can use larger ear pads) is still going strong and still one of my favorites to this day.
I got into college around 2014 when I actually had the money to start buying stuff for myself. Started off with an m50x as it was hyped up so much and I did not know any better. My love for music was cultivated through my uncle who is a huge audiophile and a collector of vinyl. Fast forward to 2017 I had more money to go deeper into the hobby and bought myself a used HD650. Loved it a lot and saw the hype surrounding orthodynamics. The most mentioned brand was hifiman and audeze but I can’t afford an audeze at the time so I bought an he-400i. People calling it an upgrade over the 650 had to be exaggerating a lot as the only thing it did better was bass extension, otherwise it was just hot garbage. Sold it off for a slight profit and an LCD-X came up for a good price. Decided to jump on it and again was sorely disappointed with the quality. Sound wise it still was not great especially with the upper mid range of my pair which was more subdued than normal. Sold it off and decided, no bullshit and demoed the Eikon vs Utopia. Ultimately went with the Utopia and was loving it until Focal decided to pull some bullshit with their pricing and packaging, as a Utopia owner which paid the price for the flagship I was a quite salty about the approach. Sold it off and now I am sticking to the HD800.
I got myself a Grado SR80i a couple years back and it was the greatest disappointment. I figured it was the sound signature mostly rather then this particular model. At some point I want to give Grado another chance. What would you recommend as the best value model in the mid hi-fi tier? I prefer not having to do any mods unless they are easy to do and low risk.