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


Shure SE535s. They still make me say HOLY CRAP once in a while.


LCD-2 with Burson Soloist amp…they seem made for each other.


A few years ago, I remember trying on a pair of Bose QuietSound (I think?) headphones in the Apple Store that blew my mind! It’s always so noisy in there. To be able to clearly listen to a spoken word album with almost zero background distraction was SO RAD!


JH Audio Layla paired with Astell & Kern AK100 player. I never thought IEMs could produce such sound; my jaw literally dropped.

For a while I thought they could be my only headphones. Then came the HE1000 with AK380…

Then finally Audeze LCD-4, with a comparable upgrade in equipment to Cavalli Liquid Gold amp and Chord HugoTT. True audio bliss.


I’m coming at this from a different perspective - as an Amateur Radio operator as well as a music lover.
The most uncomfortable headphones I have yet to use are those made by Heil Sound. They give me an entirely different ‘HOLY CRAP’ experience because after wearing them for a few hours they hurt so much that I want to throw them at a wall. Probably the most comfortable communications headsets I’ve encountered are those from Radiosport and Bose (aviation headset). Needless to say I no longer own any Heil headphones; and I could not bring myself to spend the money for Bose, so I “compromised” on the Radiosport and do not regret it.


Sennheiser HD414 sometime around 1970. They were a gift and instantly turned me into an audiophile. I have been into headphones for work and play ever since. Back then you could set these phones on almost anyone’s head and then wait for the look on their face. Lot’s of fun.


A pair of Stax Lambda phones driven by a Stax tube headphone amplifier. Belonged to a friend. Absolutely perfect, jaw-dropping sound.

My favorite years ago: Audio Technica ATH-7 Electret Condenser. Exceptional flat sound!

Today, I use an Audeze EL-8 and am very happy with these. Had to get Closed Back since I am in an open office environment for my primary listening now, unfortunately.


Grado SR60’s rewired my whole stereo listening brain!
I actually said out loud “holy shit”.
I’ve modded them with limba wood shells, leather headband, lots of bluetack putty…lol…still own them will never sell. They still sound every bit as good as my Grado PS500’s…when I first compared them to each other I was shocked how well the modding worked.

Then I found iems, ESS Sabre chips and orthostatics…that about sums up my past ten years…lol.

Currently use Audeze Sine, PS500’s and 64audio U4-SE’s.

I was a moderator for audiocircle.com’s headphone forum for years its been a blast as I’m a retired professional drummer on disability now so music is my life so to speak…


Stax Lambda Pro back in 1985


This was the first time I hear something where everything clicked and if I couldn’t feel them on my head, I’d say it was perfect.

I don’t remember the song, but it was a throaty, solo singer with accompaniment. Best experience of CanJam 2009.


Of what I auditioned, the Sony MDR-R10 Bass Heavy about 5 years ago.

Of what I’ve owned, the DT 480 with a little bit of modding, nothing I’ve owned has touched it’s clarity, detail, imaging, transparency, vocals, or speed.



It was the first time I heard a treble focused headphone. I had never heard anything that was that clear before.


Well my first was the HD-650 but that didn’t last long. A few months later I was introduced to the PMx2 and have never looked back. Too bad Oppo is closing down their audio division.


In order,

Sennheiser HD800S. I have never, ever heard soundstage and “space” like that in a headphone. Otherworldly.

And the Grado SR-60. Usually I’m disappointed by the hype. Not this time. They aren’t the best headphones I own or have heard anymore, but they just have a sound and a feel that no other headphone can match, and a huge part of that is how inexpensive and simple they are.


The Shennheiser HD 420s in the early 80s made me appreciate great sound, but my current Audeze LCD2 with the Mirantz HD-DAC1 truly changed everything. I’ve had them for a couple of years now and I still can tear up listening to songs i’ve listened to for years but never really heard before. Remarkable headphones.


Have to be Fostex 610. Really nice sounding headphone


Shure SE846. The sound is just delicious.

I was coming from Beyer Dynamics Custom One Pro.


Not sure if it was a first “holy crap” moment, but I did listen to a pair of Stax electrostatic headphones that cost close to $10,000 that were killer in the 90s.

In the realm of the real world, Grados RS-1s & RS-2s were really impressive!


My first “Holy Crap!” headphone experience was 48 years ago, trying on a brand new pair of Koss Pro 4A’s at Imperial Sound in Tulsa. You never forget your first time…


Around 1978 or so, my dad got a set of AKG-240’s. Coming from the Sennheiser HD-414’s, it was amazing. I mean, I could actually hear bass!