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


Ha, ha… I remember those. I had a pair myself. Bought maybe around '83. I wish I would still have them for sentimental reasons.


I heard the famed Sony MDR-R10 at a meet and all I can say is that they deserve their legendary status.

Unbelievable SQ that may be equalled by a few flagships these days but I’ve not heard the best since Senn 800s and LCD 2s.

Back in my poor ol’ world :wink: the HD650s were good enough on first listen to get me hooked on headphones again.
I’m still sometimes surprised at their cost to SQ ratio when driven properly.


Well, it’s me not you, lol. I have not ever found any on the ear or over the ears headphones that were comfortable to me. Yes, I have a big head and sensitive, to the touch, ears… Being mostly in Hawaii, heating up when wearing them is an issue. So, I’m focusing on iem’s and have not found that elusive SENN HD600 sound…


I went through alot of cheap headphones (all under $100) before i finally splurged on a set of Grado SR325i, they definitely gave me my first HOLY CRAP moment. Then a few years later it happened again with the Aurisonics ASG 1Plus.


STAX Lambda electrostatic earspeakers, circa 1980. Couldn’t afford those, but I STILL listen to and like the STAX SR-5Ns that I could just barely afford at $495 1980 dollars.

With the open backs they satisfied one person, me. Others could hear me listen.

Those headphones taught me how to listen.


Yes! I grew up with the MDR-V6 and it’s always been a favorite of mine as a result. My four favorite headphone moments involved the MDR-V6 (first decent headphones), Grado SR-80 (first open back), Shure E4C (first IEM), and the AKG K701 (not really a first in any way, but man, I just loved that airy soundstage).

I’ve since used/owned more expensive headphones, but nothing has given me an “aha!” moment like those four. And getting back to the MDR-V6 - I still listen to them. Yep, the same pair I grew up with, bought new in 1985 and still in great shape after all these years(!).


Probably the Koss ESP9s I got when I was a teenager. I was introduced to headphone listening via KLH 80s and have fond memories of those, but the ESP9s felt really special at the time…


A lot of love for Sennheiser, Electrostatics and Grado on this thread!


The first pair of phones that got my heart pounding were beyardynamic DT 990 pros. After that, I fell madly, in a subtle way, with a friendly seductive pair of HD 650s That relationship has lasted for four years and looks like it will continue. I plug them into a AKG 999 Hero processer while watching TV or into an audio engine model 03 24-bit Dac while on the computer.


The Nighthawks were my first pair of headphones,still have and love them,beautiful made,comfortable,and so easy to drive.


They’re incredible aren’t they? :blush::+1:


Yes, the KOSS ESP9s. Great sound. I went with STAX because they were lighter and had open backs. But the KOSS’s closed back made an excellent and predictable barrier to room noise - especially nice in quiet passages.

If I hadn’t already heard the STAX, I think I would have wanted those KOSS’s


For me, the first time I tried Sennheiser HD 595 after I’ve been used only iPod earphone. After I’ve playing around the headphones community for years, the headphones that made me nearly cry is Focal Utopia and Nuraphones.


I find Grados to been horribly uncomfortable and their sound mediocre at best and
l’ve auditioned hundreds of headphones.


I wish Sennheiser would up there game when it comes to construction,the Nighthawks are made so well,I had the HD700 and although I liked them they were so cheaply made,the silver mesh were bent in a few places right out of the box,and they were just so plasticly feeling.Thats why I’m afraid of buying the 800s.


Sennheiser HD580


I’m evaluating the 535 for purchase since my wife would kill me, again, if I spent 1k on the 835. Would you say, knowing what you know now about yours, you would plunk down the $450 or so to buy them again?



Man, this is awesome to read…

Honestly for me, it’s kind of happening right now… I’m reviewing a bunch of headphones for my youtube channel and I’m getting to listen CRITICALLY to music for the first time in, kinda, forever. Been a musician for almost 2 decades, and now I’m finally hearing shit for the first time…

… Of course all the weed over the past 2 years (after being a good boy for 33 years) definitely helps me realize what listening really means. Such stereotypical stoner stuff, but my life is for sure changed.

Focal Utopia — the context in which I got to try these, the SPL Phonitor X that I plugged them into, the peter gabriel and paul simon and jeff buckley and BRIAN BLADE that I have on flac… well, I realized there was something incredibly lovely here.

And honestly, the headphons and audio quality would be complete bullshit to me if it weren’t for the magic that I feel in albums like Perceptual by Brian Blade… uncomfortably numb… rhythm of the saints. I guess that’s the mystic in me dying hard.

And now I’m fully in the realization that finding a sound that’s good enough to be a portal to the music, a form factor that’s solid (to throw in a bag, take to a cafe, etc., or just leave at the desk??) and a price that doesn’t make me a fucking lunatic when I still gotta put solid, dope ass organic food on the table for my growing niños.

But I got the taste for it now… like one of those tigers who gets the taste for human flesh… and they have to put it down.


I can see how you might find them uncomfortable. Mediocre sound? Not sure you will find many that agree with that. What headphones do you own?


I own 2. My main one is an HiFiMAN HE-400 planar, heavily modified. My other is a pair of AKG 702’s. Look is not a put down to you personally. Allow me to tell you a brief story. I bought a Grado AC powered HP amp. I have a background in electronics. So, and it wasn’t easy, I took this amp, which by the largest wall wart I’ve ever seen. This amp contained one op-amp covered with hot glue, a variable pot, an on/off switch, and an LED. The mahogany case was the most costly component. No fuse, no caps, no resistors, just one op-amp. And it was over $400! And their phono cartridges are considered by many, including Michael Fremer. to be a joke. Their headphones are so uncomfortable I really didn’t give them a proper audition. I know Grado has many dedicated fans and I am not a mean spirited person so if you enjoy their gear, more power to you. Some people like Bang and Olson and Bose and Linn Sondek. I must admit Linn makes awesome turntables, but that’s pretty much it.
Best Chris