The biggest time suck I’ve encountered in the world of head-fi is HeadRoom Labs’ “Build A Graph” tool (http://www.headphone.com/pages/build-a-graph). This makes it sooo easy to “compare” headphones from the comfort of my armchair or desk. I’m really accomplished at virtual headphone listening. For example, I just concluded that I’ll really like the AKG K701 since its squiggly lines on the frequency response plot and almost all the other ones kinda tracks the Sennheiser HD 600. Yeah, high five!
But I don’t really know if that’s true. I don’t have an AKG K701. I’ve read some posts on Head-Fi.org that allude to a “plasticky” midrange. The Senns don’t sound plasticky to my ears. At all. This is a prime example of the great power of the internet – and the great mistaken conclusions that one can jump to based on the gobs of information available at your beck and call.
A perfect example:
At one time I plotted a known headphone that I liked – the Grado SR60 against the NAD Viso HP50. I used the Grado SR60 since it’s a close cousin of one of my old favorites – the Alessandro MS-1. I was interested in the HP50 because of all the talk about the Harman response curve here and here. Judging by their respective compensated frequency responses as illustrated by aforementioned graphing tool, I concluded that my time with the NAD would be short.
Boy, was I wrong by a country mile.
I listen to the HP50’s daily. Yes it’s probably because they’re the only full-size sealed headphone I own and it’s more convenient to don / doff than my Etymotic IEMs at work. Still, I don’t regret my purchase. My portable sonic oasis is rounded out with the Meridian Explorer 2 and AudioQuest JitterBug. It really is a wonderful little system – the kind that makes you wonder why you need to spend more for better sound. The most surprising thing is that it handles all the rock/pop, classical, and jazz that I’ve thrown at it with aplomb.
One day, a co-worker stopped by my office while I was working with music playing. HP50’s on my head, and he said that I seemed really content. Conjuring up my best Emperor Palpatine impression, I replied, “You want this, don’t you?” We had a good laugh. You know what though, he ended up trying out my HP50’s and bought a pair too.
Score one for the closet audiophile!