Let me start by saying that I don't consider myself an audiophile and maybe this story will explain why. I feel like I've hit a wall with audio "quality" and I just wanted to share my audio story with everyone to see if anyone feels the same way or has had a similar experience.
I started my quest, shamefully so, with a pair of Studio Beats by Dre headphones. That was a snap decision, and against my nature, I didn't do any research beforehand. Obviously, I thought they were amazing compared to my Apple earbuds. My new headphones opened a new world of audio to me, and I wanted a similar experience when watching movies, so I bought a 5.1 surround sound Sony set and similarly these blew my TV speakers out of the water.
However, after some time, there was a yearning for more. I knew this was just the begging, and thus the thirst had set in.
My first set of serious headphones was the Ultrasone PRO 900s, and I loved them. Coming from the Beats, these headphones seriously changed my life. At the time I was convinced to buy an iBasso D-Zero DAC/Amp by my friends over at Head-Fi. I used that DAC/Amp for some time, but after I unplugged it, I honestly couldn't tell the difference. I assumed that this was due to my lossy files, so I went ahead and ripped a few FLACs from my CD collection and used the D-Zero with my computer. Still, I couldn't hear any difference through the DAC/Amp, so I ditched it. I eventually traded the PRO 900s in for UE Triple Fi 10s, mainly due to portability. These IEM's have a particular sound to them that I can't describe, its unique and perfect for fast rock or electronic music. Funny thing, I bought them online, and they didn't work when they arrived. I contacted the store, and they gave me a full refund and didn't ask me to ship them back, they must've known they were defective. I had a hunch so ordered a replacement cable for $35 on Amazon, and they worked! I ended up getting a $350 pair of IEMs for $35.
Next on the agenda was my surround sound system. I ended up with a Yamaha RX-A830, Klipsch RF-42 II floorstanding fronts and a matching center, a Polk PSW10 sub, and two Pyramid surrounds that came with the receiver. This setup was excellent as well, and movies came to life in a way they never have before. The only thing that was lacking was the bass. My sub was entry level. I recently replaced the Polk with a SVS SB2000 and the two can't even be compared, to say that they did the same thing would be an insult to SVS. It is multiple levels beyond.
So now I feel content. I have demoed a lot of equipment, and nothing sounds "better" to me, it's a little sad. I listen to mostly streaming music, especially because I can't hear the difference between 256kbps AAC and a lossless rip. I feel like between my stereo and my headphones I have gear that can take advantage of lossless files, but I can't hear the difference. I don't consider myself an audiophile because I know many of them would rather die than listen to lossy music, but it works for me and honestly sounds great through both of my setups. Even though I feel like I've hit a wall I recently ordered the Purpleheart TH-X00 and I can't wait for them to arrive 😄