Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by iDesign, Mar 2, 2019.
You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave!
I thought there was something significant about his name. Couldn't quite place it
2006. Went a little crazy. Wadia SACD player, B.A.T. VK-3i pre-amp, B.A.T. VK-60 amp, Quad 2805 speakers, REL subwoofer. Could have stopped there. But the Wadia crapped out, my wife moved things while I was out, and both Quads and the REL fried. I replaced the Quads with Dunlavy SC-IV A’s but I still miss that Quad magic on certain tracks.
Headphone set-up I am still working on. EC Big Boy amp is out there somewhere.
2008. I bought a Phonak PFE and a Cowon S9 for portable and a Senn HD595 that I just plugged into my computer. I did quit for some time until 2015 when I got a promotion and decided to buy the headphone I was drooling over for almost a decade, the HD650. Bought a Magni/Modi stack to power it. Almost quit there again until I tried a Vali 2 and then it's just escalated from there. Happy to report that all my gear I have now I've had for at least a year or longer (home gear). Pretty happy where I'm at, though I've been considering a Studio Jr or Stratus lately.
2 channel is another thing entirely. This time next year I should have that all sorted out too though.
Several years ago, I had a close to unicorn LCD2.2, modded HD800, and HD650 at the same time with a Bottlehead S.E.X. being fed by a Resonessence Concero. It all sounded mountain top to me, covering every genre perfectly for me, and I had zero desire to upgrade from there. Problem was that I felt like it was too much stuff, and with money tight due to trying my hand at entrepreneurship, I started selling off things to downsize and fund other interests. Since then I have been putzing around in budget fi and am pretty satisfied - mainly because what is available at budget fi prices now blows away even midfi stuff of yesteryear. I think if I could get an HD800 again, I'd be done with headfi. 2 channel will be a challenge due to space and budget constraints, but I think I have learned enough here to avoid too many mistakes and find a happy place without too much issue.
My upgrades stopped when my cost of individual gear components started to exceed my mortgage payments.
Of course, that just meant I needed to find new hobbies to start climbing the price ladder again...
Or that you needed to upgrade your house?
At the time, a Modi 2 Uber -> Violectric V200 -> LCD-2F was the best I had ever heard, and I was happy.
Then I picked up a HE6, so I needed a new amp. Then started modding. Then kept modding. Now I usually don't listen for more than 20 minutes without making a tweak to the chain or the headphones. The ADHD is strong with this one.
At least thanks to this community (especially the IRL friends I have made from here) I always have fresh gear coming in and out without having to spend.
Working at a dealership means I get to try lots of stuff for free too. I'm not really hyped for the vast majority of what's out there. I could probably quit with what I have at home now, but after having this Af on loaner, the itch is back. Far beyond my current means though.
Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to un-hear anything. It's a curse.
Ding ding ding
Uuuuuuugh. Like, I can either continue pushing hard and pay off this house in a couple years, or I can stare down the barrel of redoing the driveway, open up the kitchen, remove the woodstove which requires redoing part of the roof and insulation, and if I'm doing that then I could probably upgrade the insulation in my walls, etc...
I hate that I can hear the difference between dacs, because it takes conscious effort to unwind enough to listen to the music in the first place. It's like I'm putting in work to relax enough to listen to music, which is backwards.
I seriously spend more time with my Sennheiser Momentums partly for the convenience, and partly because bluetooth takes out the nervosa and I'm content to just go with it (also comfort; this wins out over absolute sound quality sometimes).
Great thread, really appreciated learning more about y'alls history in the hobby.
This isn't being "done" per se, but I decided to pause any significant audio spending for the rest of the year. Only gimmee will be Schitt's USB upgrades.
Otherwise, planning to spend the year doing some ear-training and learning more about speakers and DIY. Good for mental health to just step off this treadmill every now and then to try to be content and grateful, knowing too that a very small percentage of humanity gets to enjoy recorded music at the level many of us here do.
That said, I've made being content fairly easy, because after a few years of incremental upgrades, I feel gratuitously spoiled with a Gungnir Multibit > Liquid Platinum feeding the HD650, Elex, and the Verum 1 (as of today). On the portable side JVC FD-01 + NW-ZX300A. One thing I am grateful for is that I feel like I got into this hobby at a really great time, where the value proposition is higher than ever before. Hope that trend continues, and that the resale value of my gear doesn't suffer too much as a result.
I thought it would be actually last year, and I would be done with: Yggdrasil A2 -> Saga -> Pioneer M22 -> HD800SDR / Harbeth SHL5+ speakers. I kept comparing the use of speaker vs headphone amps to power headphones and thought I really didn't need both. The sound from good power amps was really good for headphones as well as speakers.
But I think I had tunnel vision...the power and clarity and maybe dynamics from the speaker amps worked very well and in short listening sessions, I was happy. But over time, I realized the subtleties of the music were getting lost...resolution/depth of soundstage, microdetails, etc. And so I started dabbling back into headphone amps and really impressed how good low-fi/mid-fi amps have become (THX 789, Lyr3, and Liquid Platinum).
In thinking about wanting some kind of end-game though, I also realized that I couldn't not have an Eddie Current amp. He started it all for me with the OG ZD many many years ago so I took a shot at the Aficionado. AF has exceeded my expectations so I'm pretty sure I'm done at least for a good amount of time. I'm happy enough and been down this journey before enough that I feel completely satisfied with it and this stack: Yggdrasil A2 -> AF -> HD800/ZMF of some kind. HD800 is a keeper due to price/performance but seems like headphones will always have some kind of turnover especially given the ease by which you can buy and sell. Also have an Aeolus that I'm pretty happy with but am curious now about the Auteur so will see.
About two years ago I had my entire collection of headphones pared down to only CIEMs with no resale value, an AK320 DAP and a couple Ultrasone cans (mostly as collectibles, I didn't really use those much). That was literally the least audio gear I've ever owned since high school. I could have sold more stuff but I figured that I didn't need the money. That was the closest I came to leaving the hobby altogether.
Then I bought a used Focal Utopia from a friend. Putting those on strong portable amps made me realize that I missed good desktop audio. I also caught wind of Mysphere and Raal Requisite, two companies building K1000-style ear-mounted speakers. I've always been a fan of those designs, and I reached out to both companies for preproduction samples. By the early 2010's the writing was on the wall that you just couldn't keep a pair of K1000's alive under frequent use. But now there was the chance to do better, the same great soundstage with 21st century driver technology.
Between the two "cans" (and a pair of Abyss 1266 Phi's I picked up) I'm more invested in the hobby than I've ever been. I'm saving up for a current-production Spectral stack to drive the Raal SR1A's, those things are basically magic on a fast and clean class A power amp. The Mysphere's are less radical but nonetheless an interesting step forward for dynamic driver cans, which haven't been getting much love relative to planars.
I'm happy that I decided to get back into the game. It's an exciting time for head-fi. At the high end there's so much convergence in planar performance that I have a lot of trouble getting excited about them. But the other cool stuff that's going is basically sci-fi if anyone remembers the headphone design talk of the early 2000's.
If I'm being honest I've technically never been 100% fully into HiFI. There have been times in my life where, like now, my interest has been significantly kindled, but that interest fades as life takes over, and other interests come into play.
Truthfully I'd have probably ended it with a TEAC "reference system" coupled with a pair of Acoustic Energy Aegis 1 speakers and a Project turntable which I bought back in 2000, but as I said life takes over and the whole lot, including my entire vinyl collection got sold when I moved to Switzerland, and I didn't even have the slightest regret doing so then, or now - I was off to a new adventure and that superseded everything else.
Of course after a number of years I rediscovered HiFi, but I also feel that I'm now at my next stage of stopping. My current system is totally computer based, with an RME ADI-2 DAC feeding a pair of Focal Alpha 65 monitors, with an LCD-2C on hand for headphone duties. In all honesty I'm not left wanting with this setup (I also have a bunch of other stuff that's on the retirement shelf)
So why am I here? Well, I'm still interested in HiFi, even though my priorities may lie elsewhere at the moment.
Based on the contents of this thread, it could be re-named to "Admit when you could have quit mid-fi"
That's a pretty good observation, and telling of our average evaluation of when we should have quit: at mid-fi. Probably down to decreasing marginal returns, which I find true of multiple hobbies (coffee, computers, cameras).
For me, I should have packed up 8 years ago when I got my CIEMs. The plan was to clear out all my headphones, and build a system around IEMs since I never really listen to music at my desk...in truth, I still bought headphones "for gaming" and out of curiosity/stupidity.
Currently trying to pare things down further: IEMs and small DAP (Shanling M0, based on the thread here), heck maybe even just listen out of my phone. Fact is I'm just a plebian who listens to music on the go, to shut out city noise. I can't really tell the difference between bitrates and DACs.
Safely back at mid-fi. If you are going to move up from there, you need to have a clear idea of where you want to end up; an objective. Otherwise it’s all too easy to get stuck on the buy-sell-buy merry-go-round, sampling different flavours of awesome (along with a few disappointments).
Agree with above. When I think what I paid for that Wadia SACD player with a P.O.S. disc drive, I could kick my ass.
IEM: GO450 + Leckerton UHA-6S MKII + UERM .. Insane resolution for the price (and size). I still regret selling my UERMsss (yes, I've had three custom sets.. like the HD650, "you'll be back").
Headphones: Any non-sucky DAC + tricked out Bottlehead Crack (optimized for E80CC tubes) + HD650 .. just pure fucking fun. Truly the HD650 on crack. Close second is any non-sucky DAC + tricked out CTH + HD650. Such a dreamy pairing.
Haven't ventured into speakers cause I've still got little ones.. but I'm frightened by the sheer # of options.
Modi MB+Jotunheim+HD650KM for me.
Most gear after this was a sidegrade or a small upgrade at best.
Having said that I’ve been very happy with my Yggdrasil A1+Tu-8200+HD650/HD800 combo for the past 3 years.
Still I couldn’t resist and ordered a Stratus last year and when it arrives I’ll quit.
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