minimus67 t1_jc7ws05 wrote

My interest was piqued until I looked at the specs - at 1.9 pounds, are these the world’s heaviest headphones? Should probably factor in the cost of a good neck brace or future visits to an orthopedist before buying.


minimus67 t1_ja9etzh wrote

The Cable Company “loans out” audio equipment - primarily interconnects, digital cables, and power cords, but also some headphones and headphone amps - charging you a lending fee of something like 10% of the retail price of whatever you borrow from them to try out at home. Those 10% lending fees are treated like store credits and get deducted from the price of anything you later buy from the Cable Company.

So if you borrow $20K worth of cables, you accumulate $2K in lending fees. If you buy something from the Cable Co, they will deduct $2K from the retail price of whatever you buy. But if you don’t buy anything because a lot of what they sell is absurdly overpriced snake oily cables, the Cable Company keeps all lending fees. It’s a savvy business model, because they incentivize you to buy from them and if you don’t buy anything, they still make a profit.


minimus67 t1_j9mrkq9 wrote

I’ve owned very good tube amps, including an Apex Teton, and very good solid state amps, like the Luxman P1-u.

I’ve been in this hobby for 18 years. My favorite setup out of maybe a dozen I’ve owned is the Apex Teton, an OTL tube amp built by Pete Millett, feeding the HD800. With the “right tubes”, that combo is both highly detailed and really emotionally involving - better than even the best Stax setups I’ve heard. In comparison, solid state is capable of providing jaw-dropping detail but a less involving listening experience.

But not all tube amps sound that good. They also are more prone to breaking down because they run hot. You also can go down an expensive rabbit hole of tube rolling (buying expensive tubes and seeing how they affect the sound signature of your setup.) And I personally feel that OTL amps as a general rule sound better than transformer-coupled tube amps, and OTL amps limit your headphone options. Solid state amps in comparison are trouble-free.

Unless you have a sizable budget, I’d stick with solid state and remember that the biggest determinant of sound quality is the pair of headphones you own, not your amp.


minimus67 t1_j8ovo98 wrote

I reached an end game setup in 2014 with the HD800S, Apex Teton headphone amp, and the PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC and Transport. I had owned about 8 other headphone amps and numerous TOTL headphones in the prior decade, none of which measured up to this setup.

As an aside, I also bought an Eddie Current 4-45 tube amp in 2014 after a bunch of shills on the forum Changstar, predecessor of SuperBestAudioFriends, said that the heavens parted when they heard the 4-45. One of the Changstar mods - who soon thereafter went to work full-time for Eddie Current - even referred to the 4-45 as “the God amp”. The 4-45 ended up sounding OK, but was both dry and lean and not as good as the Teton. It has extremely expensive tubes, repeatedly blows fuses, and is not supported by the builder, Craig Uthus, who has since retired. Bottom line: avoid expensive amps that are hyped on forums by friends of the amp’s builder (e.g. DNA).

Last summer, I had a change in living arrangements that meant I could not use an open-back headphone anymore. I first went down the portable amp and IEM route, which is very convenient but offers inferior sound quality to a desktop setup and full-size headphones. I recently bought a used set of ZMF Verite Closed at a good price, which competes pretty well with the HD800s in terms of sound quality but is a step down in comfort - the HD800S are the world’s most comfortable headphones, whereas the VC are very heavy.

Even including my recent purchases, I’m much less active in buying/selling headphone gear than I was prior to 2014 and still consider the HD800s and Apex Teton to be my end game if I can go back to using open-back headphones.