Nov 16, 20181017 views

I (Accidentally) Converted My Friend Into An Audiophile

Last weekend, I was catching up with an old friend of mine. I happened to have my Sennheiser HD 599 lying around in front of the TV because I was lazy and didn't put them away after walking around the house with them on my head. Him: "I've never seen headphones like that!" Pretty soon he found himself in the man cave with those and the other headphones I have (includes the HD 6XX) listening to all his songs. Long story short, I'm now getting inundated with messages asking me about my opinion on "x" DAC and "y" amp and "z" headphones, as well as what 'frequency response chart' means and CSD and THD.... My brain, hurts. Anyone else have an experience where you introduced someone into this world?
petecamacho, Daniel Hanslík, and 28 others

Now wait until you introduce him to quality speaker systems.
Considering that I have yet to build one of those myself....probably not going to happen soon. I'll admit that my current living situation is a little prohibitive to having a full speaker system. Definitely something I want in the future, but for now my headphones will have to do (and to be fair, I love my headphones and do think that both headphones and speakers are good for their respective strengths and weaknesses)
Many. Those experiences used to require having people over to listen to my home setup, but my Massdrop-fueled “Adventures in Headphones” this year have helped me to become a traveling HiFi evangelist. Thanks to the perfect storm of my insatiable curiosity and a never-ending parade of compelling drops, I’ve now got a small army of headphones and a decent desktop setup. About 6 months ago I joined a drop for the Astell & Kern AK380, and everything changed. Despite the stomach churning price, and the downright caustic discussion for that drop, the AK380 is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Paired with Focal Utopias, the sound quality is as perfect as anything I've heard, anywhere. And now I can take audio perfection with me. So that’s what I’ve done, treating countless friends and family members, coworkers and even the occasional polite stranger to impromptu listening demos. The most common reaction is immediate shock and surprise. People have no idea what they’ve been missing.
You had me green with envy when you said "Utopia." Although I laughed at my friend's reaction when I told him how much the LCD-3 was ;)
Planned “Accidents” I wanted to introduce nephews and a niece to higher quality audio as grad gifts going off to college. A way to graduate beyond the MP3 pap they had been fed up to this point. Needed a small package, limited space in a dorm, separates out. Wanted cans that were fairly neutral, vocals were a focus, and not something that looked “fancy” and then would get stolen. Also to be unique and pique interest, living vocals,, so wanted a tube somehow... their grandfather was an EE involved with tubes at Sylvania so NOS USN there... voila the Aune T1. The budget determined used; the stock Aune T1 needed caps upgraded (my solder equity input); the “sleeper” - what steal those?- cans became HD580’s; stock cables did not do justice to sq - needed robust build to survive dorm life so Amplifier Surgery. The results were so satisfying,, I can enjoy it anytime just rembering,, the eyes and facial expressions. First was-what the heck is all this stuff my uncle got me;((... then the music played... one mouth spoke “this is different — Oh Wow! “ and went for the volume. Another just sat there beaming & grinning, the eyes really said it all for both when they went wide... The anti-MP3/Beats war continues,, putting two more rigs together for this coming spring grad season. Looking forward to it. The HD580’s are still wonderful cans, game changers in the market when introduced,, and now again, I will be keeping a pair...
Often, the simple but well thought out setup's, are the most enjoyable ones to own! Good job @rastus! You sound like the very person I aspire to be for my kid's and their cousins/nephews. When they visit and see all this crazy audio gear at my home, they are always in awe and wonder. It's definitely a positive trait this hobby holds when you introduce another to it.
I have a wide array of interests, and I usually go through phases of being DEEPLY obsessed with a small group of them for months at a time before moving onto another group. It makes it a bit difficult when I get back into something after a year and a half of cycling through other stuff, and I have to read up on a bunch of things again to refresh my memory on the more technical details. But I have a handful of friends who tend to get caught up in the same cycles as I do as we nerd over them together, and I've definitely gone through what you're going through many times in all sorts of topics. Speedcubing is one of those interests I phase through every once in a while and my last run at it, one of my friends ended up buying around $200 worth of twisty puzzles. xD
I had a similar experience with a friend of mine, only I was drunk and passionately explaining to him how much better his favorite band (Pink Floyd) would sound through a nice pair of headphones and a decent amplifier. It worked.
Hahah...feels a bit like this!

The ironic thing is that my friend actually bought a pair of Beats a few days before this. Needless to say, he returned them.
Poor bugger...although I don't hate Beats, just different strokes! :D
I have two friends that are upgrading both their headphones and their home theaters... I get 2 to 20 texts a day. Neither willing to pay for the performance level they want so it gets frustrating quickly. I'm about to the point of telling them to hit me up when they want to spend the necessary funds.
It must be especially frustrating since you probably understand that they're trying to side-grade instead of upgrade.
The side grade thing is definitely annoying, diminishing returns are most certainly applicable in audio. It's also that they want things that just don't exist, or exist at a price level greater than they are willing to pay. Everything is a trade off unless you have unlimited funds. One buddy wants to add an amp but balks at just about any of the options because he will have to buy a different receiver or processor to add an amp. Another buddy thinks he can buy a 5.0 speaker set for less than $400 bucks but wants similar performance to my HT that I've been building up over the last 13 years that includes 3 separate amps and an AV receiver/processor.
I just don't have friends. Makes it easy to avoid situations like this.
The look on their faces when they have that light bulb moment is so satisfying though!
I was joking. It is definitely satisfying when someone finally understands why you spend so much on gear.
That's almost why I don't want to get a pair of headphones; it makes everything else sound crap.
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Are speaker's usually a better idea to get rather than headphones for room use?
Most of us use speakers in rooms yes, not outdoors! Just kidding. Smaller room just means smaller speakers. Still can easily destroy headphones as long as the tweeter is about at eye level, placement makes sense, and reflections aren't extreme. But speakers are generally the more costly investment too.
My friend always listens to music through KZ Ate in-ear monitors. So I decided to let him listen to the audio equipment I have in my apartment: Massdrop CTH + SDAC/Amp, Micca OriGen G2, Fostex TH-X00, Hifiman HE4XX, Sennheiser HD58X. He was blown away by the quality and clarity. He then sent me a message a few days later saying, "That feel when all music is shit now"
I hope you didn't apologize