Wandering in the headphone forest

Ratzass -- Thu, 04/01/2010 - 19:25

About two years ago, not knowing squat about headphones, amps and such, I began voraciously reading forums and product reviews on every headphone site I could Google. Not having the advantage of actually auditioning the stuff (Best Buy is considered hoity-toity in my neck of the woods), I was at the mercy of any silver tongued reviewer who enthused persuasively enough to convince me to buy anything and everything within my price range ($1,200. more or less). I finally settled on the following set-up: Senn HD650 cans, Cardass cables, and a Musical Fidelity X-Can v3 headphone amp. Everything I read assured me that this particular arrangement was a synergy configured in headphone heaven. I would dissolve into audio nirvana as soon as my cables finished their break-in thing. So here's my question. Did I do good? Because I'm not able to compare my configuration with any others, I'm asking the more experienced forum members on here for feedback. What would you do differently within the same budget? I like what I hear. I'm happy. But I have that nagging feeling that if I only bought this instead of that I'd be soooo much happier. KnowhatImean?

gradofan -- Tue, 09/28/2010 - 07:20

The answer is here - http://www.avguide.com/forums/best-headphone-amp - see the last post.

Tom Martin -- Tue, 09/28/2010 - 07:52

Having listened to and reviewed a large number of headphones for Playback, I have a few suggestions. The first one is to spend some time listening carefully to the current setup you have. The question you can ask yourself is "do I hear anything that sounds wrong, annoying or distracting from the music (wrong generally being defined as sounding different from live music)?"  This takes practice and patience, but without some sense of direction you are likely to get on the treadmill of chasing other people's dreams.
The second thing I'll put forth as a general truth: the differences between headphones are far greater than the differences between amps. If you are really concerned that you are missing something, and you have some spare cash, you might order a top-rated pair of headphones that are a) in your price range and b) are likely to sound quite different (Grados for example or  Audio-Technicas). Step 1 above can help define which alternative 'phones to try. You can then return the alternative 'phones if you don't prefer them or sell your current 'phones if you do like them. I believe most headphones will give a reasonable accounting with your MF amp (though of course there will be easily heard differences between amps).
Good luck.

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