Experiences Of A Headphone Newbie

I have spent a lot of time with two channel audio, but never really got into headphones. I decided I wanted a decent headphone rig to listen to in the bedroom when needed. I wasn't sure this was going to be my thing, but I thought I would at least give it a chance. Now my two channel rig is pretty decent, composed of vinyl and digital, PS Audio and Halcro components, SOTA turntable, Esoteric phono stage, JBL 4365 speakers and multiple Velodyne servo subwoofers.

So I decided to go to the used market for my headphone pieces, since if I didn't like them I could move them on with little or no loss. I found a pair of Denon DH 5000 headphones on Ebay, and being the only bidder walked away paying $300 including shipping. Source was going to be my LF V30+ using Qobuz. That led to headphone amplification, and given what good amps cost in two channel audio i struggled deciding what I wanted. I ended up picking up three pieces off the used market. A Woo Audio W6 2nd Gen with upgraded tubes (Sylvania 6SN7 and Sophia 278, a Chord Mojo, and a Beyerdynamics A20.

The Woo arrived first and I used some basic cabling I had to hook it up, and while it sounded good I wasnt overwhelmed. Nice mids, a bit overblown in the bass, a bit closed in sounding in the top end. I pretty much have lost my love of tubes, and only want them in very small doses. This was too much tube-yness for me.

Then the Beyerdynamics arrived, this one was new at a discounted price. I hooked it up, and my ears perked up. This I liked with the Denon. I decided to order a cable from Analysis Plus for personal music devices, and I dug up a power cord from ZU from my audio box and added them to the mix. Oh man this did the job! I got clarity, detail, tight imaging, deep bass response, and just about everything I was looking for. I could sit and listen to this combo for hours and be content.

The Analysis Plus cable and ZU power cord did nice things to the Woo also. I got better definition, and more liveliness in the top end. Bass improved some, but never to the point where it rivaled the Beyerdynamics. I liked the sound, but I never fell in love with it.

Finally the Chord showed and I got it charged and hooked up. This was an interesting piece, as its sound split the differences between the Woo and the Beyer. It has more body in the lower mids than the Beyer, but not the ethereal top end. It has richness to vocals and sounds quite nice, more tube like. Better bass than the Woo. I like it for the most part, and its portable feature gives me a reason to have it around.

So in the end I found I can like headphones. I really love the sound of the Beyerdyamics and Denon when combined with a couple of good accessories. This is really all I need, I really enjoy the sound. I suppose I should find a pair of phones that match better with the Woo so I can have a use for it. It just sits there and looks pretty at the moment. I wonder if I will really use the Mojo, as big headphones do not feel useful in a portable setting for me. I have a set of Mifo O7 ear buds on order, and if they sound good I might not have a need for a portable headphone amp.

This has been fun, and I love listening to music through the Denon Beyer combo. I don't know if I will ever get as involved in this as I have my two channel system. But this does meet a real need for me, and I do agree that headphones can sound very very nice.