How did you start?



Yes. Definitely recommend going through the incremental upgrades whether through headphones or IEMs. I think it helps train your ear and brain to appreciate the differences. I think that might be a good topic for another thread.


Yes doing due diligence with Mid-Fi will help you establish your likes and dislikes as well as trading your ears to listen better. Sorry for wandering off subject a little it’s a bad habit I have.:grinning:


Actually, what I meant was that it might be good to create a thread where we describe the headphones we’ve owned, the differences between them, and how they may have changed us. I thought about adding more details about my upgrade path, but realized that I would be going way off topic. Ha! Sorry about that.


I’m a definite believer in the value of demonstrable quality changes, but much less so within a technology family and at the edges of what’s possible with current technology.

The law of diminishing returns (doing more provides no value):

The best practical value (when cost is a factor) is usually at the Knee of the Curve:

These principles were abundantly clear when I spent thousands of dollars every year in the 1990s on computer upgrades. And, when they lost 50% of their value within 12-24 months. These principles also seem to capture the upper end of the artistic audiophile market:

I’m not sure if any mainstream, high-end headphones ($5,000 or less) have hit the point where they are worse than cheaper products. However, I’m not convinced of the utility of some high-end amps and DACs.


Diminishing returns hits especially hard since headphones tend to double in price for each tier of performance that you go up. And the performance increase that you get tends to be incremental and rises at a shallow slope. The combination of exponential price growth and incremental performance increase would seem to make audio, especially headphones which you can’t even share, a terrible investment. However, I personally feel that there are other variables to consider that can make it all a worthwhile pursuit.

With headphones, there seems to be a ceiling to how much you’re going to spend. Besides the exotics like the HE1 Orpheus, you can get a world class system that nobody in the community would scoff at, and most would envy, for a few thousand dollars. A few thousand might seem like a lot, but depending on how much you listen to music, that cost might be really low when looked at on a hourly usage basis. I often spend 8 hours a day listening to music and not turn on my TV. I get way more utility out of my headgear (can we please call it headgear since we’re all nerds anyway?) than any other expensive purchase.

You also have to factor in the amount of enjoyment you get out of it. This factor is elastic and changes from person to person, and in the same person over time. Even if there was a way to objectively score headgear performance there’s no way to score subjective enjoyment of that performance. My wife has demon ears and can hear my thoughts at times. But, she doesn’t care how music sounds at all as long as there isn’t too much bass. On the other hand, I can’t hear anything past 15 kHz but love the hell out of everything that I can. I have to be a hardass at work, subdue my emotions, and make perfectly rational and logical decisions. Music lets me feel. It’s kind of hard to put a price tag on that.


What a great answer. Diminishing returns is plays a huge part now IMHO. Especially with headphones at the higher end requiring silly amounts of money to buy them. As well as the headphones of course when your paying top dollar for TOTL headphones you can’t just plug them into an Amp/Dac that’s not Upto it. More often than not an upgrade in these areas is required too. Not mandatory though.


I mow about 2 acres with a push mower so I am out there a lot in the summer. My Bose QC 35’s make the job a lot more enjoyable. My old pickup is really loud out on the highway and I have been thinking about using them there too. I am not sure if that is legal though.