This hobby is a blessing and a disaster at the same time!

Hello friends. I’m a headphone audiophile noob and just wanted to vent about my feelings regarding this new hobby I picked up recently. Off-topic felt like a good place to do so, apologies if this isn’t the right sub.

Before that though, let me quickly say that I’m also new to this forum, and I’m really impressed by the level of quality across the board. Awesome people, interesting posts, great functionality. I feel welcome. Nice. Thanks!

The world of audio is insane. There is so much subjectivity, it’s driving me nuts! I consider myself a tech nutjob, but I’m used to a certain amount of objectivity in my purchases. I can usually tell if I’m gonna like a mobile device before I ever use it. I can pick CPUs/GPUs based on reviews. I can decide whether to mess with my car’s engine without trying it out first.

But headphones. Oh man. It’s driving me crazy. It’s not the options, I love options. It’s how two people might have completely different opinions about the same thing. Person A will be like “I can’t stand the treble on this”, then Person B will say “treble? what treble? these are great”. Madness.

Granted, I’m a noob. I’m still learning to read response graphs and understand what exactly that means in sound terms, and I can’t really appreciate the difference between my USB-C dongle and a powerful amp (yet), besides having the ability to push more volume. Still, sometimes I wish I could just enter a room with 1000 headphones, dacs and amps and just spend the whole day comparing everything. Living in pandemic world doesn’t help.

In the end, I must admit I love it all. From the endless research, to the stress of making a choice, to the hours of listening and comparing - and enjoying music, let’s not forget that.

My first “real” headphones were the HD 6XX, and while initially I did not really understand the hype, over time I learned to appreciate them. I just needed to unlearn what crappy headphones sound like. I then tried a couple of other headphones, which helped me better understand what I’m looking for.

It’s all worth it, just for the smile I had on my face when I listened to the Meze 99 Noir for the first time. Sadly. it was followed by a frown when I realized my ears are not going to like these pads, but it is what it is.

Thank you for reading. I hope to make some friends around here as I continue my audio quest :slight_smile:


Personally, I think you’re leagues ahead as soon as you realize and embrace that this hobby is subjective.
Ignore the noise, don’t listen to the hype, listen for yourself, figure out what you love and enjoy the process.


Yeah, this is so true. The last stage of g̶r̶i̶e̶f̶ becoming an audiophile, “Acceptance” of subjectivity. Heh.

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Hey, welcome to the forum.

Subjectivity is a massive issue, but to get you going I would recommend finding the sound you like first, such as warm or neutral or bright etc, then look for gear that many people would regard to be that way. Whilst one should not commit the bandwagon fallacy, many people on this forum have years of advice to give and tested hundreds of items, so if many agree that a product is, say, dark, it most likely it.

As for graphs, graphs can be useful if you want to create a list of items to try and you want all to have roughly the similar sound, but of course graphs are nothing until you can actually listen to the gear. That is true the only way in which one can find what they are looking for.

If I were you, I’d visit your local CanJam yearly or a local dealer. CanJam is a lot of fun, testing out some very high-end gear; and your local dealer would most likely let you play with gear when you’re there if you are thinking of making a purchase.

But good luck anyway, and have fun in this forums. It is a good one.



Oh, CanJam sounds cool! Thanks for the pointer, I’ll keep an eye out for them. It’d be interesting to try out some expensive stuff that I would probably never buy blind (deaf?).

It’s been a very interesting journey so far. The internet seems to have a tendency to push people towards reference monitors. Perhaps that’s the safest approach? In any case, I remember the moment last week where I realized “why am I stuck on reference stuff”, then did what you said, and tried to understand sound types, which led me to warm headphones.

In addition to all that - and partially because there’s more than one sound type, it’s clear to me now that there is no single pair that can do everything. I have this tendency of trying to find one thing that does everything. It’s a process I just have to go through: I wanted one mobile device to rule them all, but now I have multiple. I wanted one car to rule them all, but now I have two. I wanted one pair of headphones, but right now I have… four. Five if you count the Tin T4 IEMs I just bought, and I have a feeling I’m not done yet :stuck_out_tongue:

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Yes Welcome. So are you saying audio is like a disaster and peace? (disasterpeace pun intended).

At the end of the day, its your money, your equipment, your time, music, enjoyment, so your own opinion matters most. There is not a “one right answer”, but there are 10 million of them.

Lots of friendly advice here, just take your time, some audio experiences can be very nuanced and subtle, so enjoy the ride.


Hehe, I know it can be crazy. I was lost in it for a while. But I’m happy where I’m at. Sound is and has always been subjective to each and any individual. But the neat thing is that you can learn to find which reviewer you trust and has the same preference as you. That’s all I’m gonna say! Hope you love your 6XX! I’ve been meaning to get one myself, but I’m enjoying my Koss Ksc75 way too much to get any new headphone lol.


No worries, it is also based on music preference. I like warm for my jazz, blues, soul, funk etc but warmth gets me nowhere in my metal and I want bright for my classical. I need dark for my EDM and rap as well.

What genres do you listen to most often? If it it plenty such as me then reference is usually the way to go, and turn on EQ when you listen to specifically albums.

The 6xx is nice, I own the HD650 but I spent a while using the 6xx on Rupert Neve’s new DAC, the Fidelice at CanJam. I go there because I know I will probably never buy a $5000 DAC, or the HiFiman stuff upwards of $15,000, so I go for fun mostly. It is a good way to check out what systems and sound you like though.



This is actually the whole reason why I fucking love this hobby. For the music first of cause but the hardware and equipment. With computers there is a stand point of you don’t buy X if Y is cheaper and better but in the audiophile world, wat could sound amazing to once person might not to another, We all have unique ears after all. Thats wat I love you can still buy based on opionions and reviews as if you read alot ur sure to find something that is defo good but the sound will be different for YOU. Unlike with computers or other stuff where the benchmarks or stats tell the whole story with audio it simply doesnt. Hence wat I love about it. You don’t have to spend alot for amazing equipment but the sky is also the limit, especially with some of the stuff people have hear puts my stuff to shame and mine aint wat u would call shit. But anyway welcome to this amazing community.

Also for cominng into ur topic ive just heard about CanJam so i must go haha sounds awesome.

Ps, Love ur profile pic of Hyper Light Drifter, amazing game.


One of the things I like about Z Reviews is he goes over the feature set, all the way down to how comfortable something is, how easy or hard is it to drive, things that are less subjective than, hey this has so much low end. It’s a more rounded review because sound quality is seriously subjective.

As I’ve aged I prefer things that sound a little brighter to most folks. I think I’ve lost a little hearing at the top end so something that has a little more energy up there appeals to me where ten years ago I hated horn speakers and really sharp sounding cans, now I love them. It’s just a weird thing to experience how your own tastes kind of change over time.

Another thing, is there is so much snobbery in the “audiophile” landscape, I think this community is looking to tame that down a bit. Audio reviewers are mostly a special kind of snobbery, and that in part is them working for the industry my friend. If you ever feel like your gear is good enough, well you stop chasing, you stop spending, and that’s bad for business. Ultimately you just have to trust your own ears.

First of all, welcome!

I feel that subjectivity lol. It’s all about your personal enjoyment. No one is the ‘guru’ or final say. Measurements kinda matter and kinda don’t. Be wary of FR graphs. They give a good idea of any major flaws or general FR, but do not give an accurate review or summary of the sound of the headphone. Useful to know how to read, but not a requirement. What matters is if it sounds good to you.

Dude. Exactly. I just wanna get in a shop or meet and try shit out.

Then it’s the hobby for you :stuck_out_tongue:

Sennheiser veil cause issues? Haven’t gotten my hands on one yet. They’re definitely on the list of things I need to try though.

There’s an infinite amount of shit to explore and learn about. Will be quite fun. Looking forward to seeing what you try next!

P.S. Don’t forget to share music in the “Listening to Tonight” thread!

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Welcome to our little corner.

Yeah, opinions, subjectivity, and just plain outright lunacy sometimes. But as long as you remember 100 opinions on what sounds good don’t mean squat if you don’t think it sounds good. Not many hobbies I can think of off the top of my head that you can make that kind of statement and not be laughed off the forum.

The most important thing you can do is identify what your tastes prefer and then, when you’re really secure about those tastes. Challenge yourself to listen to something different.


It is a fun, painful journey. I lost a Lot of money buying and selling gear to find out what kind of sound I like.

I also got sidetracked several times by “This item is universally acknowledged as the best in class. An audiophile standard.” There is also a lot of group behaviour that can suck you in. IE: We are part of the “fill in the blank” gang and this item is pretty much perfect.

Once you find a sound you like though…Wow!

My only regret is that I wish I had gone higher end (mid-fi?) earlier. I wasted so much money on cheap stuff that really wasn’t very good.


I’m all over the place. I enjoy almost everything, but I guess I do gravitate more towards Rock and Electronic. My playlist game is weak, I’ve been assimilated by YTM, I need to improve that a bit.

I’ve been trying to avoid EQ. But I have to admit boosting the lows a bit does make the HD 6XX sound a little better :stuck_out_tongue:

$5k DAC oof. haha. I doubt I’d be able to tell the difference :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, this. Initially it annoyed me, but I kinda like it now.

Hopefully we’ll be able to attend one soon! Pandemic-permitting.

:heart: I’ve finished this game 4 times, it’s one of my all-time favorites :slight_smile:

For sure but next one closest to me is in London and its in 2021 xD.

Still not finished it and quite near start lol its hard on keyboard but loving it so far :smiley:

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The veil is the most interesting thing. I know it’s there, but I only really notice it when I’m comparing headphones. Otherwise I just get used to it and kinda like it. The sound of these headphones is phenomenal. If I were to nitpick, I’d say I want a little more punchy low ends. Also, open headphones are great, but sadly sometimes my environment is just too noisy for them.

It is worth noting that it took me a while to appreciate their sound.

Me 2! :stuck_out_tongue:

ooh, thanks for the pointer. Will do -also interested in finding out what others are listening to :slight_smile:

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I just want to listen to everything :stuck_out_tongue:

I understand how you feel. Still, I think the journey does help us appreciate the better gear. Establishing base lines and being able to compare things can make a huge difference. It is possible that if you’d jumped to higher end gear sooner, you wouldn’t have found it as good :slight_smile:

It also works the other way around, allowing you to figure out what upgrades you don’t really care about. I personally can’t seem to tell the difference between a powerful dac/amp and my USB-C DAC dongle :stuck_out_tongue: It’s possible that I just haven’t tried the right equipment though, I only have a Schiit Hel.

I agree that the journey taught me what I like. But, it also wasted a lot of time and money. I think I have sold 4 or 5 amps and still have 2 for sale. If I had dove in 18 months ago and bought a Liquid Platinum, that would have been the end of amp insanity.
And if I had bought the Elex’s back when I got my Grado’s that would have slowed my headphone buying big time. I still might have gotten the Sundara’s as I was curious about planar. And of course you need a set of closed backs.

What I would have saved from all the buying and selling (at a loss) would have easily allowed me to buy higher end stuff earlier.

Of course hindsight is always 20/20. :laughing:
If I was to start over again, I would concentrate on quality over quantity.



This is one of the most important tidbits. And no, it doesn’t mean to jump straight to end game. I think the journey is important to figure out what your tastes are. As soon as you figure that one, then you can invest in what you love.

Next important advice (I don’t know how this thread turned into this, lol), but as soon as you find a setup that you are satisfied, stick with it. Ignore the advice/reviews/noise, enjoy what you have for as long as you can. When you start to get bored of that setup, then come looking again. Otherwise, upgrade-itis is a nasty thing.