Who knew?

Pulsar

Well-known Member
Hello fellow head-fi enthusiasts.

I just wanted to share my recent experiences with headphone listening and how happy I am with what I have discovered.

The mainstay of my personal headphone listening for the last 7 or so years has been a pair a Sennheiser HD600 headphones with a variety of amplifiers including a Schiit Jotunehim 1 that served me for around the last 3 years (with the USB DAC board fitted). I always found this to be a perfectly satisfactory listening experience, using it mainly to keep me company whilst working (I have worked from home for the last 5 years or so now).

Last September I decided to splurge on a pair of Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones. I found them to be a nice step-up from the HD600 (as you would hope for the relative price of each) but I didn't find it to be a truly revelatory experience when using them with the Jotunheim 1. Having heard all of the positive views of the RME ADI-2 DAC, I purchased one for myself a few weeks ago and, when paired with the HD800S, it was a transformative experience.

Very soon after getting the RME, I was lucky enough to acquire a pair of Dan Clark Ether 2 headphones. These were purchased on the back of the positive reviews I had read / observed and a desire to try some planar magnetic 'phones. They certainly have a different character entirely to the HD800S and are also so damn comfortable to wear!

The final step (for now) in this journey is the recent acquisition of a Topping D90 / A90 DAC amplifier pair from the classifieds section on this very forum. I bought this primarily as I desire to have a 2nd headphone setup in the house in the lounge (with the 1st at my desk). I've been listening to both sets of 'phones on the Topping combo today and I am so very happy! I'm not able to draw conclusions to the RME (yet, if ever) but the Topping D90/A90 certainly sounds mightily impressive in its own right.

Ah, I said that the Topping was the final step, but actually I have the real final step on its way to me - a Monoprice Monolith Liquid Platinum headphone amplifier. This is intended to be used with the RME - I will share views on that in due course.

I have a decent pair of stereo speakers (Kii Three) and enjoy them very much so. It is difficult to compare the qualities of headphones vs. speakers but I can say without doubt that the experiences I have had with the HD800S and Ether 2 these last few weeks have been some of the best ever in terms of enjoying music.

So my conclusion is that headphone listening can be awesome, who knew?
 

Pulsar

Well-known Member
A pic of some of the gear mentioned above. It’s not pretty.

The background is a picture from my youngest son of ‘Alien shark and baby with a random fish’ which is my new favourite piece of art.

I forgot to say but please do ask if you have any questions on the above. I’d also love to hear your positive experiences of getting into head-fi listening.
 

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AVBeginner

Active Member
Thanks for your post. Loving the kii Three, very jealous.
I've been dabbling in stereo hifi for the last year or so and recently starting on a journey exploring HeadFi too. I think I'm going to dive in the deep end with some HiFiman Sundara headphones, and either a topping dac/amp combo or ADI-2... not sure how to choose?! Certainly sounds like there's lots to look forward to anyway.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I almost bought Senn 800s. I auditioned them at my local Richer Sounds but they were plugged into a Project headphone amp and I really thought it didn't do them justice at all. Then I bought a pair of Oppo PM1s blind just as Oppo announced they were packing their bags and leaving the audio circus.

A good headphone amp can make all the difference and they will almost certainly outperform any headphone circuit on a stereo amp or AV amp. I finally settled on a Lehmann Linear.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
Thanks for your post. Loving the kii Three, very jealous.
I've been dabbling in stereo hifi for the last year or so and recently starting on a journey exploring HeadFi too. I think I'm going to dive in the deep end with some HiFiman Sundara headphones, and either a topping dac/amp combo or ADI-2... not sure how to choose?! Certainly sounds like there's lots to look forward to anyway.

You buy the RME if you're going to use it's feature set. Takes a bit of getting use to how the controls work, but it's a decent system once you do. If you cock up by twisting too many knobs and clicking too many buttons (like I did last night) you can factory reset with ease.

I haven't got into presets yet because truthfully the science behind music still alludes me. I just add and remove bass/treble via the remote when I see fit. I'll have to learn the rest as time goes by.
 

Call me Candy

Well-known Member
I'm fairly new to the delights of listening to music via headphones & agree it is difficult to compare headphones/speakers... they both have their merits.
Of course it is not always possible to listen to Iron Maiden on the speakers you love at concert like volume... especially late. Well not without facing the wrath of loved ones & neighbours.......enter headphones.
Gibbsy is 100% right about doing the necessary legwork in getting the right headphone amp & the benefits you will enjoy from this. I'm really happy with my set up & have just ordered a matching Pro ject power box for my headphone amp, which I'm hoping will boost the amp. I will also be able to connect my Pro ject DAC & turntable to it so win, win.
 

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