Jun 14, 201874 views

What's Your Favorite Piece of Kit

Maybe it's your go-to headphones, a set of speakers, your daily driver amp, DAP, or your favorite listening chair. What's the one thing that completes your perfect listening experience and why? Show and tell.

I'll start:
These are the Technics EAH-T700. The journey to these becoming my favorite pair of cans was an interesting one. With most audio critics in the internet bashing its sound profile, I wasn't sure if I had spent my money wisely as I tended to agree with the criticism I read when I gave it a listen. Having now spent a few months with the headphones, I started to understand exactly what Technics was trying to do.
It has a really bizarre sound profile. It's not a perfectly flat response for reference use. The emphasis on embellished frequencies don't line up with the ideal harman response curve which is used for modern headphones as a standard metric for competence and as a major part of the marketing. Technics decided to do away with all of that, and it resulted in an unfamiliar, somewhat jarring sound profile since we've all gotten used to the harman response curve. It goes without saying that the harman response curve isn't the absolute truth when it comes to the 'perfect' sound profile, and I'm glad that someone was bold enough to part from it to try something different.
This unique difference in sound profile is what makes listening to the EAH-T700 an experience. Suddenly, I got it. I understood what they've created. it gave familiar songs surprises for me to discover. Undertones in the sub frequencies caused by natural harmonics start to appear where they weren't before; where some would argue they don't belong, but it's musical and it feels good when it happens. This occurs in the other direction as well towards the high frequencies. To say that it sparkles doesn't seem to capture exactly what it does. I feel like "shimmer" is the more appropriate descriptor for the high frequencies. It shimmers. It's in the foreground but it's gentle. Once you get over how unfamiliar everything sounds, you start to discover that it is a very musical headphone. It's got the fidelity to be analytic with a frequency response of 3Hz -100kHz, but it's not purposed for that. In the end, I really fell in love with its sound and hidden gems of feel-good that it is able to bring out in music that I've heard countless of times before.
This headphone tops my high-end DACs, my AMPs, and all other pieces of kit in my rabbit hole of audiophile equipment. Best pair of headphones I own so far. We'll see how they compare to the Final Audio D8000 once I get my hands on those :D
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Right now, the ZMF Ori. I take it with me and listen to it at home. It is 85% closed, but has all the properties of a fully closed headphone except for its sound... it sounds more like 50% open, big difference versus the Blackwood. It kicked the Audeze LCD-4 out of my house because it sounds better (so does the Blackwood though).
My favorite piece of kit has to be my HD800S'. Where all of my other headphones sound like they're pushing the sound into my ear (some more, some less... I have a lot of headphones), the HD800S' seem to create a space where the music is happening. It was an odd sensation when I first got them, and it took me a bit to realize how I was hearing my music. I hope that makes sense because it's kind of hard to explain. Live recordings have never sounded better, and the sensation of being there is impressive. Alice in Chains "Unplugged" is an excellent example. I'd listened to that album regularly since it was released in the 90's and it's like I never really "heard" it before I got the HD800S'. My favorite way to drive them is the balanced side of my Schiit Jotunheim (MB DAC module).
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