or are you enjoying the trip down the rabbit hole and the spending to gain knowledge and experience?
do you wish you could have an endgame headphone so you could just sit back, relax and enjoy the music…or are you pursuing the experience and want he hear / feel the differences in performance as you try something new and different?
honestly…for myself, I would like to have the endgame headphone and lie back and enjoy. it’s not that I’m not enjoying the journey and all…but I don’t analyze my music really and am someone who just wants to enjoy what they hear.
and by endgame I’m not meaning having a $4000 headphone…I’m meaning you tried something, love it so much that you don’t really feel or see the need to continue the pursuit. you know, the real definition of what endgame means.
I’m the sort that is content knowing that the money spent got me better than usual quality and performance and is a fair representation of what better headphones would provide. you know…the 90% of performance for 50% (or less) the price.
I’m relatively new to headphones, or at least exploring the space.
But in every other hobby I’ve had endgame is a myth.
I own 13 guitars, many of which a lot of people would consider endgame, and none of them are perfect, I love the sound of my Gibson Les Paul 58 reissue, but I don’t enjoy playing it, I love to play my Parker, but it sounds thin …
I suspect that headphones end up the same way, nothing is exactly what you want all the time.
you’re right and wrong Poly. there are others like yourself, who seek to experience / find / enjoy / upgrade. then there’s people like me, who would be content knowing they had well regarded equipment that’s very good.
as an example, if I had the $$$ right now, I would love to buy the Quad ERA-1 headphone and the PA-One+ DAC/Amp because I know both are well regarded and that these would provide the warm sound I like that Quad is known for and stop, leaving it at that.
at the same time, I’ve listened to the Focal Stellia and, as I’m currently buying, trying and experiencing, sit here lusting for it. same for the HE-1000 v2 and the Stax L700 MkII.
so until I have the $2K (CAD) in which to afford the said Quad gear…I’ll dream of the summit fi gear I’ve demo’d.
I think I’m somewhere in between. I love my TR-X00 PH with Ori lambskin pads and have HD58X for a contrasting sound signature and gaming. I don’t really feel like anything more expensive will really wow me unless it’s like Aoelus or Stax level. I might want a good desk top dac amp setup but overall I’m happy with the xDuoo xd-05. I would be fine if I was never able to get another piece of audio equipment until something broke.
On the other hand I want the xd-05 plus. I’m enjoying trying new chi-fi IEMs. I want to try planars (sendys), e-stats (Stax), ZMFs, etc. I would like an amp like the THX AAA 789 with a balanced dac for a fully balanced setup. I want a good tube, a good tube hybrid. I want. I want. I WANT!!!
But I thankfully have a modicum of self control. So I’ll try a few higher end things in the future as long as it is fiscally responsible. If I don’t feel like more expensive amps/dacs/headphones make a difference I’ll just keep what I like and stop (I hope).
Yes, and there is nothing wrong with that, I guess I’m stuck searching for perfection.
My favorite guitar is a Tom Anderson Cobra S and honestly I’d be happy if it were my only guitar.
But I’m not sure I could have said that if I hadn’t lived with many of the others and come to the conclusion exactly what I wanted didn’t exist.
Yes and No part of me wants some 10k budget just go get all the things.
At the same time that would take all the fun away. I wouldn’t learn anything I wouldn’t understand how to make my endgame sound even better. Thats why I am on the forum for learning and to have a good time talking to friendly people about cool headphones and magnets and stuff. Up till now I just needed some headphones that where good enough. There is a real joy in putting on Ikko OH10’s or DT770 250ohms and understanding what is going on further then just go make music thanks. But now that I am learning I do have a thirst for more who knows I may end up with one or two really great sets of headphones and be happy.
and in contrast, Aspen…it wouldn’t take the fun away for me, because now I get to sit back in my chair and listen to music and enjoy it. not analyzing and trying to compare and figure out how it’s better then this, that or other headphone(s) I’ve listened to in the past.
having that Quad would be endgame for me and when I sat down to listen, I would be content.
as with most hobbies, there is almost always something better you could get…but there is a level you reach that your return on investment is sparse. so unless you don’t suffer budget constraints, getting / having the best isn’t to hard. optics is actually quite a nice one now as the Chinese have made glass that used to be un-affordable to the masses within reach. having 90% of the performance is wunderbar and is very easy to live with. coffee is a bit different game…as once you hit about $2K, you’re not going to get appreciably better espresso / coffee than from a $3K or $10K machine. I suspect that’s because a $2K machine is just as hand-built as the $3K or $10K machines. you’ll get better style, some better parts, perhaps better reliability, but the espresso isn’t going to taste better. same thing for coffee grinders. I think they’re a lot like IEM’s in some ways. big difference in grinder quality as you jump the scale but once you hit the $500 - $700 mark, it’s not going to be getting much better. at that price point you’re going to get the same level of grind size uniformity etc. what is different however is that there is a higher entry price to get a good grinder. if you’re into coffee, then you may agree that the Baratza Encore is the starting point for good coffee and that’s a $200 (CAD) grinder. nothing below it compares in any way. if you’re spending less, you’re getting garbage and actually just buying into brand name. all those sub $200 burr grinders are abominations. and blade grinders? they’re an abomination!
anyhow, I digress.
the only thing that I see as happening if I did get my Quad endgame headphone setup is the pursuit of similar level dynamic, biodynamic and electrostatic headphones, so I could benefit from the sound profiles those technologies are known for.
Yeah I can see that side of it. I can’t wait to learn what you think about your endgame when you get it and everything along the way.
On a side note I like the old glass or nice fancy fuji glass to chinese glass but thats just me.
old glass will never stop performing…but Chinese glass will easily outclass it’s performance in many ways. better coating and low ED glass. if you’ve got old fluorite though…it’ll be a challenge to tell the difference.
Not endgame, but a bunch of different midrange ones.
There are a bunch of different ones in the 100 to 300€ range I want to call my own.
I think the most high-end one I have on my wishlist is the AKG K-812.
Endgame is whenever you decide to stop. The law of diminishing returns kicks in exponentially in audio I’ve found. You can spend 400 bucks and get 95% of what 4,000 will get you.
To me when I get something that conveys the music well enough I get all of the emotion, and the equipment gets out of the way to let that happen, then that’s my endgame.
After that it’s a whole bunch of expensive nuance. Invest that money instead, then buy whatever TF you want 20 years later without a second though. That way you’re operating from a place of extreme financial stability and you can literally take price out of the equation. Just blind test and buy whatever “does it” for you.
Right now my LCD1’s are doing the trick, in a very solid way. If the Obravo cupids are as emotional as some say, I’ll have that covered on the IEM front.
Then a desktop dac that decodes MQA, and possibly a THX power amp. Although I’m enjoying my Aune stack a whole lot right now.
They have a different tuning, but are kinda close, but the quad is a bit more detailed sounding (but that could come down to the tuning, I haven’t heard them for long)
This question to me is kinda iffy do I wish I had gear considered endgame? sure but as a guy of multiple hobbies I probably wont ever get there but I am also the type of guy who gets to a certain level of gear and is pretty satisfied which I am now until something blows my mind and just gets me thinking about it for nights until I pull out my wallet
Spoiler: owning an “endgame” headphone doesn’t end anything. I agree with Polygonhell that endgame is a myth. I bought Meze Empyreans after a lot of internal debate. I had spent $1300 on LCD-XCs prior to that and immediately regretted the decision. I hadn’t done the research, and hadn’t tried them prior to buying. They are not bad by any means, but they also weren’t what I wanted them to be. I swore that I’d never make an impulse purchase like that again, so I went to CanJam with the goal of finding the last headphone I would ever need. The Empyreans felt better on my head than any headphone I have ever worn and the sound was exactly what I was looking for. I waited two weeks, then drove an hour and a half to a store to demo them again and felt the same way. I waited another two weeks before committing to order them. Two weeks after they arrived, I ordered an Aeolus. And I will probably be buying a Stax L700 before the Aeolus even gets here. I don’t think I will go back to the point where I am buying $200-$500 headphones that do one thing really well but lack in other areas, but I almost wish I had stayed in that range in some ways. I thought moving up the price scale would cure that compulsive purchasing behavior, but it hasn’t - its just become more expensive for me. I still am waiting on the THX789 I bought in June, and I already have upgrades in mind.
On the other hand, I am at my endgame with iEMs. I had bought the BGVP DM6 and P1s after getting caught up in the hype surrounding both, and then a friend of mine decided he wanted to sell his Andromedas because he was buying the black/gold variant. He sold them to me for $500, which is more than fair, and I don’t see myself quite as tempted to buy more iEMs as I am with headphones.
Every day. Then I remember that I have DT1990s, Vokyls on the way and I will be pulling the trigger on Argons (Massdrop TX0 flavor) some time soon.
I really do need (NEED) a pair of Andromedas, though.
You have to enjoy imperfect stuff. Otherwise, you’ll just be poor forever in a sea of audio equipment.
If I define endgame as being satisfied with what I had and not feeling the need to upgrade or try anything else, then yes, I’d like to get to that point. As for as IEMs are concerned I think I’ve hit upon something with stumbling upon the BLON BL-03. If a hybrid comes out with a similar tuning to that then that’s probably my endgame for IEMs. As far as headphones go, I got lucky with winning a bid yesterday on a practically new ZMF Aeolus. The aeolus tends to be described as a jack of all trades, great at everything type headphone that I hope when I receive it I come away thinking, “good enough”, and stop chasing after headphones.
Funny thing is, some people here are searching for X000$ endgame stuff… to listen to music recorded/mastered with, probably, 200$ Yamaha NS5s, or 100$ headphones (or even less).
Like, calm down, even Miles Davis himself didn’t hear as much detail in his own recordings!
You saying that makes me think I may not need Utopias, LCD4s, 009s, Rossons, Verites, AB-1266s, or Stellias. Liar!