What I’ve Learned, Two Years Writing for Headfonia

A friend who’s taken a short break from headphones recently called me on the phone, explaining his intentions to go back to headphones. He was interested in hearing my opinion on the Senheiser HD800 and the Beyerdynamic T1. I’ve lived with both headphones long enough, and so I gave him my clear cut one liner answer: Take the T1, it’s less fussy with system components and plays better with the majority of modern music.

Now understand that in my opinion, the HD800 still represents the ultimate in headphone driver technology. I told my friends that if you own a high end tube amp, the HD800 is the headphone you need to get. They all had negative impressions of the HD800 when they were early into this hobby, as they plug the HD800 into low end amps expecting to be blown away by it. But as they keep on improving the quality of their amplifiers and sources, they pretty much agree that the HD800 is the only headphone that has the scalability factor to hear every little detail a high end tube amplifier gives from its headphone out socket. So, this is a really good headphone and the one that I use mostly to evaluate systems, but when it comes to making a recommendation for it, I tend to hesitate.

One of the headphones that I enjoyed in the early Headfonia days: the HD424.

 

A CRITIQUE ON TECHNICALITIES

Headphones should be a tool to get into the music, nothing more. And it doesn’t matter how much technicalities a headphone may have if it can’t make the music sound good. Headphone meets and audition sessions often falls victim to this phenomenon that you’re there to dissect every single inch of the system’s performance. “The bass is tighter on this amp”, or “the soundstage is wider on that amp” and the system with the extra bit of clarity and articulation would win people’s praise regardless of how it works with the music that you are listening to.

The moment you sit down at home, the technicalities matter very little because then it’s all about the music. “Does it sound good?”, is the ultimate final question we all should be asking. And surprisingly, I’ve found a lot of amplifiers that was built with strong technicalities to be out of touch with the musical aspects. There are a few amplifiers that have a ruler flat frequency response curve, but on real world listening the sound is stiff, dry, and lacking coherence. Now I don’t know what elements in an amplifier design guarantees a musical sound, but I know that graphs and measurements are not the whole story.

Now, back to the HD800. This is where the HD800 fails to impress. Clearly the frequency response of the headphone is not suited to a most modern treble happy mainstream recordings that also demands a full bass impact down low, where headphones like the HD650, the JH16, and the LCD-2 rock at. The HD800 excels with well recorded Classical and audiophile Jazz, but try playing Linkin Park and the headphone can’t be more wrong.

I tried to understand the logic behind Sennheiser’s tuning of the HD800, and looking at the high end speaker crowd, I think I know why. No conventional high end speaker manufacturer would bother addressing the Linkin Park crowd, and this also explains why most people I know who has a background in high end speakers tend to like the HD800 most. But on the internet, most of us don’t listen to perfectly recorded Rebecca Pidgeon with her Spanish Harlem or the Eagles with Hotel California. We listen to Radiohead, Nirvana, Incubus, Prodigy, the Beatles (with their crappy mono recording too), and whatever band/singer won the Grammy Awards that year. And with these music, the HD800 is just an utter failure. Hence, I told my friend early in the beginning of our conversation to just go with the T1, as in my experience it simply works with the music of the internet generation.

THE PRAGMATIST SOLUTION

I took the argument of musicality a step further and told him that it would actually be better to have several lower end headphones than one shiny flagship headphone. Say you have a 100 CDs. The shiny flagship is not going to sound right on all those different CDs as the recording and mastering process are very different from one to the next.

Let me give an example. I happen to be a big fan of Horowitz. This guy is THE classical pianist of the 20th century, and he has concerts all around the world, recorded by the best recording engineers with the best recording equipment the world has at that time. Mostly he plays solo piano recitals, meaning there is only one instrument in the recording, and that is the same Steinway & Sons brand piano. On all these different concerts, Horowitz seems to love playing the same pieces from Liszt, Chopin, and Schumann, over and over again. I wonder why I even bother buying all of these CDs since so many of the songs overlap. But guess what? The recordings are different from one to the next CD, even when the song is the same (and I’m not talking mono vs stereo or AAD to ADD versions either). The way the microphone is set up, the shape of the concert hall, all have different effects on the acoustics and ultimately the way the piano is rendered on the recording. On some Horowitz recordings I would enjoy the Beyerdynamic T1 more, while on some other I would enjoy the Sennheiser HD800 more. The same artist, the same song, the same genre, the same instrument, and yet two different headphones. Do you see how complicated things are now?

The headphone that got me into this mess, and one that I still enjoy very much today, the MS-Pro.


 

So you have a 100 CDs. Say the shiny flagship plays very well with 20 of those CDs. What about the other 80 CDs? Some are okay, some are plain unlistenable. Now, instead of spending $1,000+ on a shiny flagship headphone, you can get four $300 headphones (say a Senn HD650, Beyer DT880, AKG K701, and a Grado SR325) and would probably cover 99 of those 100 CDs better than one flagship headphone would. And for most people, I think this is the better way to go, because no matter how brilliant a headphone is, one it won’t cover all the different recordings you own, and two, you will get bored with it after a year of listening to just one headphone.

Of course the $1K price tag is not there for no reason. Yes, you’ll be able to hear things better, clearer and more distinct. But I have another analogy for that. You’re shopping for a car and the salesman takes you to a local race track with the mid-engine Ferrari V8 and shows you how fast the car can lap the track. At the end of the test drive session you said “wow” and wrote a check for the Ferrari. Then the next day you decided to take the family for a dinner. The traffic is jammed, the road is full of potholes from the winter, and worse yet you need to fit your wife and three kids on the two-seater Ferrari. Yes it can go real fast around the track, and yes it’s a big ego booster, but then you realize that what you really need is a Toyota SUV and not an Italian prancing horse. That, my friends, is real life. And likewise in headphone land, sometimes you don’t need to hear “what you’ve been missing” because what you’ve been missing are often ugly recording noise and artifacts.

END WORDS

If I wasn’t doing reviews for a headphone website, I probably wouldn’t have the exposure I have today with high end headphone systems. And just like you guys, I would probably still be looking into the next upgrade, thinking that I can enjoy my music better if I have a pair of more revealing headphones. But instead, let me tell you now that if you’re enjoying music with that $30 IEM, I would not worry about the higher up model and spend the upgrade money to buy more CDs instead.

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Learned, Two Years Writing for Headfonia
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137 Comments

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Austin Morrow

    Loved the article, and I agree with everything you said. Unlike many people, I’m satisfied with what I have on deck, and while it may not be high end, it gets the job done for what I want. I do agree very much with 3-4 $300 HP’s then just one really good one. To me, it’s just not what I would call “Fun”, more or less boring. Variety is the spice of life.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Austin. Variety is the spice of life indeed. 

      So I suppose you’re getting a second amp next month? 😉 

      • Reply October 12, 2011

        Lieven V

        My gf doesn’t agree with “Variety is the spice of life” 😉

      • Reply October 12, 2011

        Lieven V

        My gf doesn’t agree with “Variety is the spice of life” 😉

        • Reply October 12, 2011

          Anonymous

          There is no need to take these headphone discussions to your girlfriend, Lieven.

        • Reply October 12, 2011

          Anonymous

          There is no need to take these headphone discussions to your girlfriend, Lieven.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Azrizainurin

    point well made! awesome write up and keep it up

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks!

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    paconavarro

    Very interesting my friend. 
    It’s hard not to be tempted by the flagships, there is a certain amount of guilty pleasure to pull out a wooden box with a nice velour inside and a pair of numbered headphones. But at the end if it doesn’t makes your head bang and your feet move, listening music becomes a listening essay instead of a joyful ride.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      I know what you’re saying. The big luxurious boxes are mostly what’s responsible for those $1K purchases. 😉 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Guest

    good article. yeah headphones do get fatiguing over a while. But reading your experience with dacs and amps makes us want that experience too 🙂

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well it’s good as long as you don’t have to spend the money. 🙂 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Evan

    If someone simply listened to Radiohead, Nirvana, Incubus, Prodigy, the Beatles and whatever band/singer won the
    Grammy Awards that year.. I would say that they really need to expand their musical taste. The world is too large of a place with too much beautiful music to listen to Linkin Park. That being said, I think the debate when it comes to flagship phones rather than genre, should be about the music industry in general.

    98% of music that gets released is confined to CD format 16/44.1  with sub-par mastering. To me this is what really limits the enjoyment one can get with the HD800. When investing in an top of the line HDTV on the other hand, one doesn’t have to worry as much. Look at the advancements in video in the last few years in comparison to the ever static music industry: dvd to bluray/hd resolutions/10-bit h264 encoding/etc. Who cares if my DAC is capable of 24/96 and my headphones are capable of capturing the finest of micro-details if the music I want to listen to isn’t released in hi-rez?

    I do understand what you are saying however, and always appreciate the excellent writing and dedication you put into this website. Keep up the good work!

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Lol I listen to those bands actually, but yes that’s just an illustration and I think you got the point. 

    • Reply November 5, 2011

      guest123

      I hate Linken Park as much as the next guy, but:

      “If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring,
      then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it
      is not boring at all.” –John Cage.

      This is so true… I kept on hearing their music on the radio, and strangely i can tolerate it now because it’s familiar and I’ve pretty much memorized all the nuances of the songs. The same applies to most shitty music that gets a lot of airplay.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Mike

    Congratulations on Two years of writing for this beautiful site!  Thank you for your effort in sharing your experience and knowledge with the rest of the headphone community.

    This is my #1 favorite website for learning more about this hobby.  Thank you!

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hey, thanks for the compliments! Are you my alter ego? 😉

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Dhani Nugraha

    I couldn’t agree more, Mike. With all due respect, people should learn to settle with whatever system they’ve got, cheap or expensive — as long as such system gives them the eargasm — then spend more time and money on albums instead of trolling the forums and local stores looking for the latest hi-fi hardware. Not to burst their bubbles, but such efforts very often end up in vain…

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, this week I’m listening to primarily two set ups: the Ref 7.1 + WA5 + HD800/T1 and the Superlux HD661 + Fiio E10. Guess what, I enjoy them both just as equally. 

      Not saying that the E10 matches the Ref7.1 + WA5.. 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more. In the end, its all about what’s playing, not what’s making it play.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Tsundere

    I saw this homeless guy  listening to some music and he seems very happy and carefree about it.

    Later that day,  I was on my desktop listening to a flagship and I just saw a reflection of a man that is utterly miserable and lost…  

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Tsundere

    I saw this homeless guy  listening to some music and he seems very happy and carefree about it.

    Later that day,  I was on my desktop listening to a flagship and I just saw a reflection of a man that is utterly miserable and lost…  

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Wow.

      Was that a real story?

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Wow.

      Was that a real story?

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      200poundsofamp

      Clearly you need to do more speedballs.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      200poundsofamp

      Clearly you need to do more speedballs.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Donunus

    Great Writeup Mike!

    I would like to comment that I believe since no headphone is perfect, that different music can sound better when using specific headphones for the job. 

    The audiophile dream though is for that one headphone that can rule them all on regardless of the music being played. Lucky for me, I find hd600s/amp/dac with good synergy to be better than anything at giving me a good mixture of detail, accuracy, and musicality for most of my few thousand albums. 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Donunus

    Great Writeup Mike!

    I would like to comment that I believe since no headphone is perfect, that different music can sound better when using specific headphones for the job. 

    The audiophile dream though is for that one headphone that can rule them all on regardless of the music being played. Lucky for me, I find hd600s/amp/dac with good synergy to be better than anything at giving me a good mixture of detail, accuracy, and musicality for most of my few thousand albums. 

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ugh I want to have an HD600 now. 

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ugh I want to have an HD600 now. 

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Dookie182

      donunus may I ask what dac /amp are you using right now?
      kindest regards.

      • Reply October 13, 2011

        Donunus

        Believe it or not, I am only using a D3 DAC connected to an E9 with a diy PRO CO RCA to mini cable. I am getting awesome synergy with this inexpensive combo its nuts!

      • Reply October 13, 2011

        Donunus

        Believe it or not, I am only using a D3 DAC connected to an E9 with a diy PRO CO RCA to mini cable. I am getting awesome synergy with this inexpensive combo its nuts!

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Great text, Mike!

    As a Grado listener my choice of music has also been more and more affected by what my headphones play the best. Therefore I’m looking for something more laid back to diversify my listening. And yeah- record quality has gone down in the last years. I blame the decline of deliberate listening. Recordings with low dynamic range are easier to have in the background as murmur. They don’t draw our attention so we can happily be busy with something else. Headphones for me are sort of a refuge from all the noise I get in the modern information firestorm. So I sit, comfortably numb.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Great text, Mike!

    As a Grado listener my choice of music has also been more and more affected by what my headphones play the best. Therefore I’m looking for something more laid back to diversify my listening. And yeah- record quality has gone down in the last years. I blame the decline of deliberate listening. Recordings with low dynamic range are easier to have in the background as murmur. They don’t draw our attention so we can happily be busy with something else. Headphones for me are sort of a refuge from all the noise I get in the modern information firestorm. So I sit, comfortably numb.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      I totally understand what you’re talking about, Rudolfs. 

      There was a time, I think when I only had the MS-Pro, there were a lot of CDs that I couldn’t listen to because the MS-Pro didn’t handle them very well. So on one hand I wanted to listen to those CDs, but on the other hand I wanted to listen to them with the MS-Pro because it was the shiny new headphone I just bought. Well guess what the CDs lost the battle, and so I limited my music choice so that I can enjoy it with the MS-Pro. 

      But things like that happen all the time. I’m glad that now I’m less attached with the headphones (probably because I have to listen to so many different ones at once) and so I can just choose whatever music I want to listen to and pull out the right headphone for that music. 

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      I totally understand what you’re talking about, Rudolfs. 

      There was a time, I think when I only had the MS-Pro, there were a lot of CDs that I couldn’t listen to because the MS-Pro didn’t handle them very well. So on one hand I wanted to listen to those CDs, but on the other hand I wanted to listen to them with the MS-Pro because it was the shiny new headphone I just bought. Well guess what the CDs lost the battle, and so I limited my music choice so that I can enjoy it with the MS-Pro. 

      But things like that happen all the time. I’m glad that now I’m less attached with the headphones (probably because I have to listen to so many different ones at once) and so I can just choose whatever music I want to listen to and pull out the right headphone for that music. 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Mr E

    Bring back tone controls. Tone controls fell out of favour in the 80s because it was felt that adding more components to the signal path was detrimental to the sound. However, well implemented tone controls needn’t be a bad thing especially if they can be completely bypassed.

    On your best recorded albums that sound great just as they are, no problem, bypass the tone controls, but there’s plenty of rock and pop recordings that are pretty awful and it would be nice to tame an overly hot treble or boost the bass on a recording that sounds a bit thin.

    With a good “audiophile” recording, you wouldn’t want to mess with it, but with less well recorded or produced music, tone controls may allow you to enjoy what might otherwise be almost unlistenable on a very revealing set-up.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Mr E

    Bring back tone controls. Tone controls fell out of favour in the 80s because it was felt that adding more components to the signal path was detrimental to the sound. However, well implemented tone controls needn’t be a bad thing especially if they can be completely bypassed.

    On your best recorded albums that sound great just as they are, no problem, bypass the tone controls, but there’s plenty of rock and pop recordings that are pretty awful and it would be nice to tame an overly hot treble or boost the bass on a recording that sounds a bit thin.

    With a good “audiophile” recording, you wouldn’t want to mess with it, but with less well recorded or produced music, tone controls may allow you to enjoy what might otherwise be almost unlistenable on a very revealing set-up.

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Good post there, Mr. E. 

      On one hand equalization does alter the signal, thus the purity would drop a little. But I agree that in this case it’s a far lesser evil than having to listen to a wrong tonal balance. 

      The good thing these days is that as more and more people play music out of their computers, we can perform the equalization on the digital domain and that is far less destructive than doing it the analog way. 

      I wrote an article on this topic a while ago: 
      http://headfonia.com/eq-to-the-rescue/

    • Reply October 12, 2011

      Anonymous

      Good post there, Mr. E. 

      On one hand equalization does alter the signal, thus the purity would drop a little. But I agree that in this case it’s a far lesser evil than having to listen to a wrong tonal balance. 

      The good thing these days is that as more and more people play music out of their computers, we can perform the equalization on the digital domain and that is far less destructive than doing it the analog way. 

      I wrote an article on this topic a while ago: 
      http://headfonia.com/eq-to-the-rescue/

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Manuel Chablais

    Magnifique, superbe texte… et vive la musique first !

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    Manuel Chablais

    Magnifique, superbe texte… et vive la musique first !

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the compliments, Manuel. 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    d3885u

    Very good article indeed.. 😀

    Good reflection for people who get (or got) “lost” LOL

    Thank you very much Mike for saving my wallet 😛

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    d3885u

    Very good article indeed.. 😀

    Good reflection for people who get (or got) “lost” LOL

    Thank you very much Mike for saving my wallet 😛

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      You’re welcome. 🙂 

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    D.S.

    great article. maybe your best and most insightful.  i totally agree with you.  I have the hd650 and the T1. although i use the t1 a majority of the time, i would be as happy with the hd650 + 1 more mid tier headphone.  from the beginning of joining this hobby, i was too obsessed with whats next, new, and more expensive.  i never took the time to actually enjoy my current setup; i was always looking for an upgrade whether it be cable, tube, headphone, amp or dac. 
    right now i have a 60$ dac and stock tubes in my amp.  the itch is there t o upgrade. i fight it literally everyday.  i have my next DAC in my cart i get to the last page and stop myself.   sorry for rambling.  summary: take time to enjoy what you have because unless u can afford 5+ headphones, 5+ amps, and a few DACs, youll be missing out on something potentially perfect for your needs.

  • Reply October 12, 2011

    D.S.

    great article. maybe your best and most insightful.  i totally agree with you.  I have the hd650 and the T1. although i use the t1 a majority of the time, i would be as happy with the hd650 + 1 more mid tier headphone.  from the beginning of joining this hobby, i was too obsessed with whats next, new, and more expensive.  i never took the time to actually enjoy my current setup; i was always looking for an upgrade whether it be cable, tube, headphone, amp or dac. 
    right now i have a 60$ dac and stock tubes in my amp.  the itch is there t o upgrade. i fight it literally everyday.  i have my next DAC in my cart i get to the last page and stop myself.   sorry for rambling.  summary: take time to enjoy what you have because unless u can afford 5+ headphones, 5+ amps, and a few DACs, youll be missing out on something potentially perfect for your needs.

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, D.S. 

      Yes, the itch to upgrade, or sometimes the itch to just buy new stuff. I know that totally. 

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Simon Guilmain

    Very good reflection Mike. It’s exactly the direction I have been taken in my setup. Thank you again for all the good work you do. Just on a side note I recently toke possesion of a use pair of MS-Pro and been enjoying them a lot.

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Simon Guilmain

    Very good reflection Mike. It’s exactly the direction I have been taken in my setup. Thank you again for all the good work you do. Just on a side note I recently toke possesion of a use pair of MS-Pro and been enjoying them a lot.

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Simon Guilmain

    Very good reflection Mike. It’s exactly the direction I have been taken in my setup. Thank you again for all the good work you do. Just on a side note I recently toke possesion of a use pair of MS-Pro and been enjoying them a lot.

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Simon. 

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Rodrigo Pita

    Awesome Mike! I share the same opinion as you.  =)
    For example, I’ve been using my JH5 PRO much more lately than the JH13 because the last one is too revealing for todays Hip-Hop, Trance, Rock and etc, and the sibilance bothers me a lot. So with my JH5 I can enjoy music without being bothered by micro details. Of course I love the 13s, but you got my poit!
    Headfonia = 5 stars
     Thank You

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Rodrigo. 
      I also think that the JH5 is a superb IEM, often more than the JH16.

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Ahok

    awesome write Mike, 

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      What’s coming after the coma? 

      • Reply October 15, 2011

        Ahok

        after the comma,
        this article makes me wondering, for my desktop setup, should i get something that is very good at a single aspect, or something good at all aspect, 

        now, im still using my trusty ER4P, its only been half a year, but im still impressed by it sounds, 
        changing the cable only makes it better, better separation, bass, and soundstage. i’ve been listening to almost all kinds of music from my ER4P plugged into my 80GB ipod, from female vocals (Suara), J-Pop (ClariS, HTT), male band, Jazz, Rock. all sounds great from the ER4P, and i think, its my end of the IEM journey.

        😀

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Elie Imelda Rik

    Very nice stated. I only have a Grado rs60 and Sennheiser HD202 atm because my bank is pretty tight. I’ve heard the Grado 325 and the Sennheiser HD650, and yes, of course they’re a lot better but are they worth the money if it means spending everything you have left at the end of 6 months? (including an amp that is.) For me the question is no.. Until I get a better paying job of course ^^

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      True. I think the gaps between different Grado models are quite narrow. The HD202 to HD650 jump would give a far bigger difference. But I suppose the price gap is also bigger depending on where you are. 

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    lootbag

    Well written Mike!
    I have been trying to sell off some of my higher end gear before this was posted.
    Too much was invested in gear and not enough in “quality” music.
    I am going back to the source, well recorded music is better than any piece of gear.

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      That is so true. Well recorded music is better than any piece of gear. 

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    GhostRider

    Good stuff, Mike. It’s like you’re a gearhead, but the music is still top priority. So far my headphone quest has been all about new experiences, rather than constantly trying to find something better. Nothing comes before the music.

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    GhostRider

    Good stuff, Mike. It’s like you’re a gearhead, but the music is still top priority. So far my headphone quest has been all about new experiences, rather than constantly trying to find something better. Nothing comes before the music.

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, it should be about new experiences rather than the gear. 

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    DodgersKings323

    Thanks for this site Mike! I was hoping you could review the Fiio E6 and D3 sometime in the future.
    You hit the nail on the head in terms of styles suited for the Senn, which is definitely why i found the high-end Senn boring when i audition them at meets.
    Check out the Panasonic HTF600S, another supposed Giant killer that’s coming up! I now have 5 headphones, 1 IEM with one more of each planned 🙂 I need to make room for their stands!
    Also guys i find myself going back to the trusty $10 KSC75 and sometimes i think they are better than my Grado’s 😛
    Car analogy is perfect, that’s what i will use when i have to explain this collection one day, don’t forget a Ferrari will still have to go the speed limit. My first pair were indeed my $20 M9s and they brought the biggest smile to my face 🙂 Also i don’t want to put down bands or engineers, but do they really try to tune their music so somebody with a $1000 headphone can get the best experience?

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    simon pressman

    Good article Mike, and so true.  
    Having been into headphone sound for 20 yrs, I remember hearing my first good Sony Fontopia MDRE888 earbuds just as fondly as I enjoy listening to my Sennheiser HD650’s now.  Will I get more headphones in the future?  . . . . . of course!   Will I enjoy what I have for now? . . . .  you Betcha!  The beauty of headphones is comparatively to cars and high end speakers, it is not too difficult to build up a small collection over a number of years. It is still enjoyable that fact you can mix and match and choose for your mood and type of music.  I have a NuForce uDac2 and a Burson HA160D – I use the uDac2 around 20% of the time because I enjoy both using the product and the sound it makes . . . is it technically as good as the Burson?  . . . . No . . . Is it enjoyable listening to music through it?    Yep!
    If you trust your ears and heart, not specifications, then you will enjoy music everyday.

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      You know I still have that MDR-E888 that I bought in high school but I’ve never really used it now. Reading your post makes me want to listen to them again. 

      • Reply October 14, 2011

        simon pressman

        Ha Ha, I no longer have mine . . .all I remember is how punchy they were . . . you should dig them out and do a two sentence review.

        • Reply October 14, 2011

          Anonymous

          I found them.. and will definitely do a two sentence review. LOL

  • Reply October 13, 2011

    Mast3r_5ega

    Simply speechless…

    Still enjoying my DT880/600 after almost two years, regardless what kind of music i’m listen to 😀

    Keyword: Enjoy 😀

    • Reply October 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Master Sega 🙂

  • Reply October 14, 2011

    Arjay Bautista

    When I first saw a pair of TF10s at Jaben Singapore more than three years ago, I knew right then and there that I have seen the IEM that will end all my IEM dreams. A year and a half after that chance rendezvous, I finally had the resources to get myself a brand new pair. More than a year and a half has again passed since that purchase, I still am enjoying every moment with my TF10s even if I had been exposed to “better” IEMs (hello UM3x! hello Westone 4! Hello SM3v2!) during that time.

    Yes, at the end of the day, simply enjoying what we have counts more than getting the best gears out there. Yes, better gears will squeeze that extra amount of detail, that extra soundstage space, from the music we listen to. But they are just a means to the ultimate end, which is enjoying music. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to splurge for our gears; if that makes one, who has the ample resources to bankroll a spending spree, happy, then good for him or her.

    But we shouldn’t lose the seed that put us where we are stand (or sit) now: that is, our love and appreciation for music.

    Thanks for the writeup!

    • Reply October 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      Arjay,
      It was uncle Wilson who showed me the ER4S and tricked me into this whole “audio salvation” BS. 😉

  • Reply October 14, 2011

    Zeruel

    This great article somehow seems more relevant now with word that some new LCD-3s are on the way at something like 2k USD. (They certainly do not look like they’re worth 2k. Oh look, different wood)

    Yet people at Head-fi have the gall to call 2k a ‘bargain’ which i think is a grossly overused word in audio circles. Anyway, out of all the noise, some folks noted that the price range for ‘flagship’ headphones has been steadily creeping upward over the past 2 years.

    Are headphones no longer the value for money purchases they once were?

    Anyway, back on topic. I still own a pair of Beyerdynamic DT880 from ‘o5 (Beyer kudos for construction quality). Being in Australia, I’ve chosen to disregard the HD800 from my short list for consideration on principal. The distributor here long since decided to add another $500 for seemingly no reason. (AUD and USD are at or near parity, no amount of tax, dues or inflation can account for the jacked up price).

    If there is indeed a trend for headphones price to be going up, the being value conscious will become more important than ever! (being able to afford something and being able to justify it are two different things)

    Anyway, keep up the good work. A lot of audio publications, online and off read like either paid advertisements, or justified purchase commentary these days. As sad as it is blatant.

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Oh yea the $2K LCD-3. What a big price tag to put on a headphone. While I’m sure it would be an improvement over the LCD-2, the price is a big barrier for the majority of us to get into the LCD-3 “club”. 

      Sorry to hear about the $500 premium for the HD800, but the good thing is that for most people the HD600/HD650 is still the better headphone in my opinion. 

  • Reply October 15, 2011

    andrew_berge

    Great article. It’s a reminder of why you get nice headphones in the first place: the  music.
    At some point, audiophiles start listening to their headphones instead of their music.

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, I know a few people who listen to the headphones and not the music. 🙂 

  • Reply October 15, 2011

    Dennis

    With proper amplification, HD800 is the best Dynamic headphone ever~

    the impressive HUGE soundstage, well-define Bass, smooth treble extention…….

    IMAO, only Stax SR009  and Grado PS1000 are in the same league.

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks Dennis. Still the big soundstage have a problem focusing the energy of the music and so it is not the most ideal headphone for Rock. 

  • Reply October 15, 2011

    Shahrose

    I own the HD800, T1, K1000, HE-6, LCD-2 Rev.2, HD650 and have tried a lot more. I still feel the HD800s are the best headphones on the market (excluding the SR-009 and maybe 007mk1).

    I do think the stock cord holds them back (high quality silver works best IME). However, it’s mainly their requirement for high-end synergistic ancillary equipment that pushes people away from these great cans.

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, I do think that the HD800 still have the best technicalities even compared to the 007, but the voicing is just not ideal for a lot of mainstream music. 

  • Reply October 16, 2011

    Dave

    Thanks Mike it was a great read.
    Here among the chinese audiophil crowd we have a popular word  “退烧” which I can’t help thinking while reading your artical, which means pretty much the same:  this hobby starts and ends at the same place —our love for music.

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      How do you read that chinese word, Dave?

      • Reply October 19, 2011

        Dave

        something like “Twi-Shaw” I suppose..

        • Reply October 19, 2011

          Anonymous

          Twi Shaw. Nice, Dave.

  • Reply October 17, 2011

    Haemin Yoo

    A great read. Thanks. 

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      You’re welcome.

  • Reply October 17, 2011

    DRC

    Thank you!

    This is what I have been preaching to my snooty, audiophile head-case colleagues and friends alike. We all started with 2 channel CD+ component stereos from the early 1990s college days, then shifted to headphones after the constraints of married life and child rearing set in.

    Like the good old days, they keep doubling down on the amps and phones, trying to find the “one-size-fit-all” system, much like our stereo old hifi days.

    But I realized very quickly that unlike speakers, some headphones sounded REALLY good with certain CDs despite their (ridiculously) economical price tag.

    That is why I have 3 headphones (one for general purpose vocal and jazz, one for rock and one for classical) and plug them in for different CDs.

    The combined cost? Less than the price of my friends’ usual ONE esoteric headphone. And I swear, it sounds better for it.  It takes less than a minute to partner the right CDs with the right headphone!

    Unlike large hifi systems, headphones are so close to the ear, they really do have very clear-cut characteristics not easily corrected or changed. Unlike speakers which can be easily changed with placement and room characteristics.

    Anyhow, great article. people do loose their heads easily in this pursuit – even more so than with stereo hifis, since everything is relatively cheaper and smaller.

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Yes that’s what I’m talking about. As we’re living in smaller and smaller spaces, speakers are very difficult to live with, especially if your music needs to be loud to sound good. I suppose that’s one of the reason smooth jazz are popular these days since they make a good background music.

      And with headphones, changing the sound is just a matter of plugging in a different set of cans and that’s really easy to do. You can even have up to 5-6 different pairs all for less than a $1000.

  • Reply October 18, 2011

    Erik Wijnands

    Great and entertaining write-up. Especially from someone like you, who normally focuses on the tiniest differences between, for example, DACs. 🙂 It’s time people forgot about the gear and actually remembered the music. 

    Oh and kudos for answering everyone’s question. Even the really obvious and “OMG WHICH HP FOR DUBSTEPBASS!?” ones. 😀 Great website, I check it daily. Would love to read more updates! 

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Lol, thanks, Erik.

      Sorry about the updates, this is the best we can do at the moment. 🙂

      In reality I am not really that picky about the small sound differences, as long as it is not something glaring or something that gets in the way of the music a big way. But as a reviewer, I suppose people want me to tell them what the differences in the sound are.

  • Reply October 18, 2011

    Cartel535

    Great read Mike, my first “high-end” headphone was the Shure SRH440, I enjoyed it for 3 months, but then the P2 conector broke up, and I went back to the Phillips SHP2700. In June my cousin went to the USA, and I ordered a DT880 600Ohm + FiiO E7+E9 comboto his hotel.

    I thought that it would blow me away when I try them, but that didn’t happen, I disapointed me, but when I passed 3 hours listening to my musics I started to notice the HP is really nice. Now its been 4 months since I have it, and now the only thing I want is a Tube amp for it. I dont expect that the amp will blow me away, no, I just want a smoother sound, because the FiiO combo really drives mine beyers to full bright.

    Mike, when you say “We listen to Radiohead, Nirvana, Incubus, Prodigy, the Beatles (with their crappy mono recording too)”

    You mean the first albuns or all of them? I think the final ones are really well recorded(exept for Let It be, because of the effects),

    • Reply October 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, yes I meant the mono beatles stuff. I can’t stand Mono stuff with headphones. And also some of their stereo stuff are actually pretty awful as well.

      Sent from my mobile device, apologize for any spelling mistakes.

      • Reply October 19, 2011

        Lieven V

        I actually love listening to the mono Beatles recordings with my headphones 🙂

        • Reply October 19, 2011

          Anonymous

          I guess if you cut off the cord on one side then the sound becomes right.

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    jeffreyfranz

    Oh, Michael, god bless your pointy head! This is the most refreshing essay on music and “audio” that I have read in a very long time. I have feared that the headphone hobby would end up going down the “Absolute Sound” route (Stereophile is equally guilty): More is always better, endlessly escalating prices, a “New Reference” every year, and so on. Head-Fi.org is already going that way, or at least a strong segment of their posters are. (No criticism of the site itself; it’s great and I am a member) In my opinion, the Excess-Is-Best mentality has ruined high-end audio. What once was a charming hobby has become. to a large degree, a hobby of doctors, lawyers and stockbrokers ($120,000 turntables, one-half million dollar speakers, etc.). Thank you for a voice of reason. Maybe our hobby can remain accessible to all.  

    • Reply October 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the comments, Jeffrey. 

      I totally agree to the last sentence you said.

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    HPDJ

    I have to agree with folks who have called this article very useful….it really IS one of the best I’ve read in a while, about headphones…and like most of you, I’m usually reading something about headphones everyday…here is my very brief story to add to this important article:

    I recently attended my very first headphone meet and it was a great experience for me to finally sit down and listen to some of the gear I’d been reading about for literally years…well, I went there to listen to GEAR and not MUSIC…and after NOT hearing any piece of gear that changed my life (well, the Pinnacle was there and that seemed to be special), I realized that it’s supossed to be all about the music…it was also amazing that my girlfriend came with me and gave very honest and unbiased responses to what she listened to (not into hifi audio in the least haha)…we both noted that more expensive did not mean better, and that musical enjoyment was able to be had at much lower prices than I was expecting…

    So many of us HAVE lost track of making this about the music and I, for one, am looking forward to finally getting a set-up that makes me happy and then disappearing from the forums (not that I’ve actually actively particpated much in them at all haha) and websites that encourage constant upgrades, for a long time…I made my first steps in this direction just earlier this week by ordering an amp/desktop speakers (both from Decware in case your wondering….and I know you are if your reading ha)…maybe ill post impressions when I get them and whatever headphones I end up getting, but this article has me seriously reconcidering the 1K headphones (LCD 2’s) I’ve been eyeing for a while now…they would be my first and only quality phones…is that silly? Maybe the 3 or 4 headphone theory is better…maybe this article has made me even MORE confused! Ahhh haha….ill leave you with this:

    When ordering my amp/speakers I had an almost hour-long convo with the owner about both products…I inquired about his power cable upgrade option and he said, why don’t you enjoy the chord that comes with it first, then upgade later on so you notice/appreciate the improvements?…he said he hates it when a person tried to “get it all right” the first time around and that if you upgrade KEY components over time (not just because its new or cost $2000….yes! I’m talking to you LCD 3’s, jeeeeeeez!) you’d appreciate them more…all that advice from someone who could have easily tried to up-sell me…but he didn’t…fantastic service and amazing advice. I hope this rant will be useful to someone….and thanks to Mike for your wonderful and insightful website!

    -HPDJ

    • Reply October 22, 2011

      Anonymous

      Another well written comment. Thanks for the write up, especially on the part where you and your girlfriend went to a meet and noticed that more expensive didn’t always necessarily mean better.

  • Reply October 22, 2011

    HPDJ

    **EDIT**

    Had a convo with owner of the company, not products

    And I meant, of course, “power cord” not “chord”

    I like “power chords” IN my music though…when I’m in the mood 🙂

    -HPDJ

  • Reply November 4, 2011

    Markus Xenig

    nirvana,incubus,radiohead etc……are simpy poor musicians and poor bands not for the “internet generation” but for the lost generation.,in fact such bands are already passè.
    but there are also GREAT rock bands such as van halen,journey,boston,foreigner,survivor and the new AOR sensation WORK OF ART .
    I really enjoy listening to them with my headphone.
    Greetings from Italy 🙂

    • Reply November 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Well that was just an illustration.

      Thanks, Markus. 😉

    • Reply November 23, 2011

      Honest Abe

      And to think I thought Radiohead was doing pretty good. Considering they STILL manage to sell out arenas in a matter of minutes. Your stellar insight into the world of rock music is a God send. I’m glad you’re here to give your opinion.

      Van Halen and Survivor are COMPLETELY relevant in today’s music climate. I mean…wow…Survivor is still touring!! Time to comb my mullet and break out my acid was jeans!!

      If you had any about music history…then you wouldn’t even begin to classify Nirvana, Radiohead and Incubus as a part of the same genre; and for the record…Nirvana helped end the reign of Hair Metal/AOR/Corporate Rock that was stagnating the musical climate of the day.

      Stop talking about what you don’t understand. Oh…I almost forgot…greetings from America.

      • Reply November 23, 2011

        Anonymous

        Guys chill out. Let’s not turn this into a “I know music better than you” debate.

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    guest123

    I felt you disillusionment with the SJ-55 review… but this is the magnum opus.. Well written Mike, being a headphone audiophile isn’t just about how big your wallet is! If you’re listening only to the system and not the music, you’re doing it wrong.

    I feel there’s too much of a business angle to the definition of “audiophile”, and really most people will NEVER need anything more than something like a px-200-II or sj-55. The rest of us just haven’t figured out a better thing to spend our money on… to be an audiophile, is to be by definition kind of stupid, and throw hundreds or even thousands of dollars on an ideal that is just kind of pointless, chasing after that miniscule improvement.

    But the speaker guys would call the headphone audiophiles “kids” or “noobs”. I’d call them even bigger retards for wasting so much money on details that their 40+ year old ears can’t even hear.

    • Reply November 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, but it’s not that simple, really. It’s amazing how much capacity the human senses have. It would be like me telling the wine connoisseurs “$12 red wine is all you need, why bother spending $5,000 on a bottle?”.

  • Mike, this has to be prologue in some  Headphone Bible  or something!! 

    I’m really grateful of your writing mike!God Bless 🙂

    • Reply November 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Dave! 🙂

  • Reply December 24, 2011

    Naim Choudhury

    Just want to extend a warm commendation for this beautiful article. It really is a back to basics effort that manages to wade through hype and cut straight to the soul of the hobby.

    It is all too easy to to get lost in translation in the race to the top, spending more and more just to extract that little bit more detail, texture and realism. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, not just financially speaking, but by then affecting the very foundations of musical listening comforts, when favourite tracks of ours on new, top end equipment, start sounding completely different and as you mentioned, the cracks and failings in recordings start to show.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is also a sense of marvel and token appreciation from being able to deduce or breakdown favourite songs in such a detailed and analytical manner. Even if it doesn’t quite sound as nostalgic, enveloping and engrossing, sometimes it’s nice to be able to hear those finer details, just so you feel you’ve at least got the bigger, truer and sometimes more painfully honest picture.

    I’m currently in the middle of this high end audiophiles search, and have settled on the T1 for many of the reasons you’ve listed. It’s the best all rounder imo, but still highly accomplished and very well balanced. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss some of the LCD-2’s bass (it’s smaller soundstage is my biggest complaint) or the HD800’s astonishingly open sound stage (perhaps with some tracks, too open).

    In any case, thanks again for the article. Having contently read a countless number of your pieces now, I’ve noticed a few have some grammatical errors here and there, which is perfectly fine, but if you ever need anyone to help proof read any work, don’t hesitate to contact me. My user tag at Head.Fi is Naim.F.C. I’d be more than happy to help. That said, I honestly find your articles to have some of the best content within the industry. So huge kudos to you.

    Thanks for another top read! Posted from my iPhone, so hopefully I don’t have any grammatical or sp errors myself! Lol.

    • Reply December 24, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Naim, 
      Appreciate your thoughtful comment. It’s all about the music indeed. Even though I may sound really analytical when writing my reviews, at the end of the day all I look for is just good music. 

      It’s also unfortunate that even on the flagship level, you still can’t get a headphone that covers all music equally well. This is why I recommend people to go with three $400 headphones rather than one $1K headphone. 

      I’m very happy to hear that a lot of people find the website to be useful. Comments such as yours are what keep the motivation to maintain this site going. We’ve been online for two years now, and I’ve had a lot of people who support me these two years either by loaning personal gear or by writing some articles, or by giving their opinions on how things should be done here. I’m also very greatful for having a partner like Lieven whose contributions have been invaluable to me. 

      Running a website is a like a marathon, and two years is just the beginning. I don’t know how things will go five or ten years from now. Will Headfonia still exist then? Will I lose my drive somewhere along the way? Hopefully we can remain consistent even after many many years from now. 

      I think every article I publish have at least one grammar or spelling mistake. It’s one of my weaknesses as a writer I guess. Anyway I have no formal training in writing and often I have to go look up stuff in the dictionary just to make sure I’m using a certain word the right way. I was never a big fan of books as well, so my vocabulary sucks. Really not sure if I can improve on that aspect. Oh well. 

      Again, thanks for writing. Hopefully we can bring more quality content to you in 2012. 

  • Reply February 29, 2012

    Jason

    I think more “so-called” audiophiles need to read this and take it to heart more. Sure, people of an audiophile trait tend to be more discerning than the average listener but then I also see it turn into some stupid macho contest of “how much” an amp was because it somehow automatically made it “better”.

    My colleagues at work poke fun at me because my desk is littered with headphones, usually $200-$400 variety Senn/AKG/Beyer variety. But as Mike alluded to you can’t get it all in 1 headphone. To me, the headphones are the spice or flavour to add to the music and depending on my mood I’ll reach for a certain can.

    For example, if I’m in a clear focused mood while working, I’ll want a clean focused sound and I’ll reach for the AKG K550 for it’s big soundstage and clear as a bell revealing sound. But when I want to get into a groove I’ll grab the Beyer DT770/990s for the exceptional bass and clean and energetic yet not shrilling highs.

    I think it is foolish throwing money on something just because Stereophile or 6moons says it’s good for $6000. People tend to forget that these reviews have the luxury of being paid, donated or loaned these excelling pieces and they better well sound good. 

    To be honest, I’ve enjoyed just playing with mixing pieces that aren’t expensive but make listening fun, like the DACmagic, Schiit Valhalla, FiiO E11, Digizoid Zo, and soon maybe  a Woo WA2. Would I give all that up for 1 piece of gear that cost $6000? Not a chance.

    • Reply February 29, 2012

      Mike

      Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

      I think being a reviewer, just because I have a $3000 tube amp laying around at one moment, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be my main amp all year long. The next review may be on a $100 portable amp, and I sort of have to adjust my “critical listening” ears to the $100 amp. What I find is that when the set up is right and you know what headphones to pair with what music, I can still enjoy the music even with low end gear.
      I tell my friends with the high end set ups that the moment you can’t listen to music with low end gear, probably means that you’re not feeling the music anymore.

  • Reply March 20, 2012

    Chi-Hwa Michael Ting

    So Mike, do you recommend the HD800 for spoken books and podcasts?

    I kid, I kid!

    Mike, its your promotion of sensible approach to this hobby that makes me spend more time here than headfi.  You are not always out there promoting the latest and the most expensive and make those who don’t have it feel bad.

    Headphone are supposed to help us enjoy music!  We shouldn’t be here spending $$$ on things just for the sake of shopping!  If that was the case, I’d go back to buying watches and Canon lenses!

    • Reply March 20, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks Chi-Hwa. How do people call you? Michael or Chi-Hwa? I feel weird calling someone by my own name. 😉

      • Reply March 20, 2012

        Chi-Hwa Michael Ting

        I go by both names, what ever people want to call me!

        btw, I highly recommend you start sharing not only the genera of music each headphone suits, go ahead and list the artist and song you used to review certain headphones.  Sharing music is fun too!

        I’m a huge L’arc~en~ciel fan!  So I’m looking into the ES10 as my next headphone!

        • Reply March 21, 2012

          L.

           I really disilke reading reviews where each song/album used is discussed. I usually make some reference of certain bands but that’s as far as I’ll go. I’m thinking Mike has the same feeling about this 🙂

    • Reply April 17, 2012

      Chris Allen

       Wow, I totally agree! 🙂

  • Reply February 19, 2014

    STARSTERN

    it has complete adjust-ability of both the input and the output levels with the addition of a master volume. This gives you complete control over dynamics and weight – a luxury that virtually no system has

    http://www.decware.com/newsite/CSP3.html

    http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/decware/taboo.html

    Warranty Lifetime to original owner / 90 days on tubes

    We offer this amp with a 30 day money back trial
    so you can hear one in your own room!

    headfonia ever reviewed that ‘,or planning one ?

    • Reply February 19, 2014

      L.

      We have been talking to them in the past but it didn’t go through

      • Reply February 20, 2014

        STARSTERN

        THE BEST WAY TO REVIEW:

        Is of course to hear our products in your own home. Let’s be honest, it takes a couple weeks to really evaluate a new audio component and it has to be in your listening room, not a showroom. To this end, we offer a 30 day in home money back trial on our amplifiers, speakers and cables.

        Purchasing Decware gear for a 30 day evaluation is low risk. We get back less than 3% of all amps and speakers and cables that we ship, and this has been consistent for the past 15 years.

        this above is what they say” ;
        so “; that doesn’t work for headfonia to get one within 30 days ;then after’ if worthwhile you keep it or resell it ,otherwise you return them “???

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          dalethorn

          Wow – that’s a great endorsement for Headfonia’s influence.

          • Reply February 20, 2014

            L.

            How’s that Dale?

            • Reply February 20, 2014

              dalethorn

              I see that they aren’t offering the amp for review the usual way that vendors do, but still, the urgency they’re showing here says that they really would like to have a Headfonia endorsement.

              • Reply February 20, 2014

                L.

                Maybe, but I just cant spend over 1K on a review sample to loose money on it.

                • Reply February 20, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  I guess they won’t be sending me one either.

        • Reply February 20, 2014

          L.

          Why don’t you start a review site yourself Starstern?
          Do you seriously think we have money to buy every amp we want to review? Shipping and custom costs you don’t care about I suppose? Come on man, think it through before posting nonsense.

          • Reply February 21, 2014

            STARSTERN

            shipping and customs totals to ?

            • Reply February 21, 2014

              L.

              Are you serious?

  • Reply March 31, 2014

    KS

    Dear Mike,

    A big thank you for this post that has helped me not to forget the big picture that HPs
    are a means to an end. What really matters is the musicality, enjoyment and fun factor.

    As the world of HPs has progressed well since you wrote this
    post in 2011, newer models from Philips (especially X1 and L2) and many other good
    HPs have appeared on the scene.

    This has prompted me to think that instead of spending
    $1,000+ on a shiny flagship headphone or getting four $300 headphones, you may better
    enjoy your music with $230 Philips Fidelio X1.

    Am I on the right track?

    • Reply March 31, 2014

      dalethorn

      It is about having fun, totally. But it’s also about learning and discovering new things, so don’t limit yourself. And even if you are open to new things, some of them expensive, give them the research time their price calls for – don’t hurry into anything too fast.

    • Reply March 31, 2014

      L.

      I think it is different for everyone. I use lcd2, hd650 and he500 as my daily normal headphones

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