Figured I might as well make a comprehensive combined tier list, best of, and pairing guide for (mainly) headphones, IEMs, amps, DACs, digital sources, portables, and more. Seemed fun, ended up being fun (albeit a bit tedious lol)
Moving over to a dedicated thread to not clog this one, so I’ll be updating it here from now on.
Constantly going to be adding, refining, potentially removing what’s on there, although I’ll try and keep it a bit more on the concise side of things lol. Will add updates on what’s been changed and what my current plans are. Still working on it of course, going to take awhile
So, I have absolutely 0 experience with vinyl, so I can’t really do that lol (I do have a 1200MK3 lying around (that I got from a friend) with some upgrades to go on it that I never ended up doing). I’ve spent way, way, way more time on the digital side of things than analog lol
Speakers, hmmmmmm. I’ve really only had most of my speaker experience at shows, friends/family systems, and the limited amount that I’ve owned over time. Also speaker electronics are hit or miss for me as well. I’d want to, but I don’t really know if I have enough experience with them to feel comfortable adding anything (but I could try). I’d just have to think on it lol, I’ve got way more experience in the headphone realm than I do speakers. Also, there’s a lot lot lot more to cover and take into consideration in the 2ch world than headphones or iems which def further complicates things
I feel like I’d really have to revisit all the speakers I’d want to put on there now, and given how content I am with my current 2ch system, I don’t really know if I want to do that lol. But it does sound fun, but I also did sell of a lot of stuff recently to consolidate so I might have to buy multiple chains again if I’m going to get a wide variety of speakers in
I’m not exactly trying to start reviewing or anything, just somewhat document stuff depending on how I feel about it and if I want to document it. Like as an example, the only thing I’d actually begin to consider a “review” is my mysphere article, or perhaps my most recent dac comparison, but even then I don’t really know if I’d consider that a review rather than just a journey with something at the time. Don’t think I’m professional enough to do any sort of reviews lol
I guess I can already figure what my top speakers would be, but everything else I’m not sure lol
What is a review, anyhow? Saying how we feel about something going over specs or testing results all counts towards a review in my book. It’s no secret that the denizens of HiFi Guides Forums have high respect for your thoughts and opinions.
Regarding believing you’re not professional enough to do any reviews, I point you to Z Reviews. Have you heard of him? Hahaha! I love Z and his style of reviewing. That’s to emphasize that in this context of audio reviews, there is no right or wrong, just different.
Seriously though, I get it when it comes to looking at speakers and 2-channel gear. It can be expensive if you have to buy the stuff you review, and the logistics of getting units in and out the door make it more challenging than headphone/IEM gear.
If you’re interested, even a tiny amount, in looking at the 2-channel realm, you already have what your top speakers are, and everything else you’re unsure of should mean there is an exciting journey before you.
Super hard as room acoustics play a massive part…An acoustically dampened listening room + 2 seater settee is not what most folks have but a $10K+ HP set up is possible? just comes down preferences and not lifestyle
That’s the rub, isn’t it though? Trying to control the uncontrollable, meaning room acoustics. How does anyone perfectly select the speakers they buy anyhow? Can we go to a trade show and listen to some speakers and know with confidence that these are ‘the ones’? Certainly not. Could we visit a friend’s house and see if what they have will work for us? Not likely.
I bought the Klipsch’s and JBLs that I have entirely blind, or deaf as it were. I had never heard them before except in YouTube reviews. It was up to me to make them work in my space.
We all know that this hobby is subjective, and we hear things differently and with unique tastes. There are far too many variables to have an exact control environment that works for one and all. It’s important that we remember these facts when evaluating someone’s online review or during a listening session at a show or someone’s house. The experience we get there will undoubtedly not translate at home with the same gear.
Yet we still buy speakers, and we enjoy them. Should all the variables and less-than-ideal room acoustics prevent us from making reviews and sharing them with others? I say no, but with the caveat that your mileage may vary.
I think that’s a key thing though, entertainment and engagement. I don’t feel like I can really do that while having actually meaningful content lol , but idk then. Yes it’s not about being right or wrong or anything, it’s more about effectively conveying your experiences and trying the hardest to give the most content and information to where someone could compare to their own experiences
Yeah, it’s more the room and logistics is the big factor. And yes they are more expensive too lol
I guess so, but like, I kinda already blew most of my audio budget on a 2ch setup, sooooooooooo. We’ll see, that would take some time lol
I think it’s very a lifestyle thing. You have to have the space, time, money, and energy for speakers in a way that you just don’t for headphones and iems. Depending on the person, a 2ch setup might be very unfeasible for the way they live. Also, speakers are something that’s less personal than headphones and iems, so you now also have to factor in the people who also might have to deal with that setup, where that’s less an issue with hp and iem.
I am in a perfectly fine position lifestyle wise to support a stereo setup (outside of more limited time), so that’s not a problem for me, but I do know many who would love to have one, but it just doesn’t make sense
It’s likely going to be a lot lol, the most expensive items are going to be the dacs if you wanted to start there lol
Good idea, it is somewhat sloppy right now, I just need to figure out a good way to do that lol. I don’t want to page it out too much because a lot of things are somewhat interconnected in audio, but grouping the different sections makes sense
Those do work to an extent, but yes ideally you find a dealer willing to give you home demo risk free, but that’s getting a bit less and less common now. I guess buying with the ability of full refund as well, but that’s more a hassle typically. That’s still not technically ideal either, but it’s likely good enough.
I would agree, to a certain extent. I’m hesitant to really discuss my main setup for example, it’s to the level where it will achieve “different speaker” levels of differences in different rooms, treatments, sources, and so on. I guess it really does depend on the level of gear you want to cover. Things get a lot more demanding as you go up
Sure, although I don’t really know if something’s going to be removed anytime soon (it’s most likely to happen if a new version comes out of something that I find mostly a direct upgrade as long as it still makes sense)