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Musings on headphones and earphones

srs005II_1You know that my other hobby is music and hi-fi. I have quite a good system, but I spend too much time tweaking it to get the best possible sound.

Most of my customers are engineers - or at least engineer driven.

Living in a family, listening to music is hampered by the fact that you can’t play music as frequently as you want, as loud as you want it. As I work most of the week in Norway, far from my family, I have that part covered. I typically listen to music, in the sweet spot in front of the loudspeakers, for 5 hours every day.

But when I am back in Barcelona or in our mountain den, then it has to be headphones.

In Barcelona I use a Benchmark DAC1 Pre - a 6 year old machine, that was a Stereophile class A product at its time, together with a Sennheiser 800 headphone - a machine that appears in all 10-best lists, anywhere. I even upgraded the cable to a Cardas model, to tame a little bit the treble.

Lately I have put together in the mountain den a system based on a Linn Classic Movie Di, a Woo Wee electrostatic energizer and a Stax 404 electrostatic ear speaker (as Stax calls them). It is fed from its own CD player, but also through Toslink from an apple TV, being fed from my computer through airplay. Despite being old equipment (everything at least 8 years old, except the Woo Wee energizer). I was surprised by the sheer quality of the sound - much better than that of the Sennheiser! And for a fraction of the price.

So much so that I have taken out from stock an old Stax Lambda Pro ear speaker, together with a humble SRS–252s electrostatic amplifier (the lowest in level from Stax). This is fed from a Meridian Explorer DAC, first version, from my mac too. It is amazing! The lowest level, 20 years old technology from Stax, beats handily the mighty Sennheiser HD800 - admittedly one of the best headphones in the world - see http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelitys-wall-fame-full-size-open.

Does anyone want a second hand Sennheiser HD800? If so, please drop me a line at jose@thecalculatorstore.com.

You can see the current audio offers in the audio page.

I guess that I will include more Sta products in the audio zone.

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My other passion

 

IMG_1399If you browse this web with some frequence, you may have seen that there is an area about audio. This is my other passion. As such, I have bought during a number of years a lot of gear, but I have not bothered too much getting rid of it. I was keeping everything I had bought, saying to myself "I might need it here or there". But it is clear that you can only listen to only a sound system at a time. On the other hand, everything had been bought new, and it is hard seeing it sold for a fraction of what it initially was worth, even if it has not suffered any wear and tear like, say, a car.

These days I am putting in the website some of my past gear, used but in superb condition (not smoker, no fireplace, no cats or dogs, always used at reasonable sound levels). In particular, I have added the following gear:

  • A pair of Anthony Gallo Nucleus Solos loudspeakers
  • A pair of Anthony Gallo Strada loudspeakers
  • Musical Fidelity KW500 amplifier
  • Stax SRD-X electrostatic earphone energizer
  • An Audioquest Dragonfly v. 1.0 USB DAC

In the near future, I will add some more gear:

  • A SACD/DVD Philips 963 player.
  • A SACD/DVD Sony DVP 9000 player, extensively modified by Vacuumstate (Level 6)
  • A pair of AKG 701 headphones with its original box

In some future blogs I will talk about some of them.

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