In this post, I’m going to share some of the equipment I use when listening to music particularly my headphone collection.

I grew up listening to some of the best jazz guitarists in the world. Artists like Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, Earl Klugh, and George Benson (to name a few) were some of the people I love listening to. I remember back in the day, my Dad used to play one of their albums using a DIY tube amp and a pair of old Bose speakers. Fast forward in time, and here I am in my early 30’s listening to the same old music I was listening to when I was a kid. The only difference is I get to appreciate them even more thanks to some of the advancements in audio and listening equipment.

Headphone Collection

My first introduction to headphones was way back in college when my aunt gifted gave me an $80 Sennheiser PX-100 collapsible headphones. I was bragging about it at that time because you know, it’s Sennheiser ^^; I used it with my $60 Sony CD Walkman with burned tracks I downloaded via Limewire. Most of the headphones in this post are used solely for listening to music (and occasionally gaming). I do have a dedicated headphone when playing games though.

Headphone Collection 1
Grado PS1000
Headphone Collection 3
Bang & Olufsen H6
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Fostex T50RP Mk. III
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Audeze LCD-3
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Sennheiser HD800
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Beyerdynamic T1
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Fostex TH900
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Grado SR325
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Grado SR125.
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Hifiman HE-560
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Audeze EL-8
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Sennheiser HD650
Audiophile Headphone Collection
AKG Q701 (Austria Ver.)
Audiophile Headphone Collection
AKG Q701 (China Ver.)
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Sony’s noise-canceling WH-1000XM3

Gaming Headphones

I have tested a lot of gaming headphones in the past and ultimately settled with these two. Worth noting here is Massdrop’s (now called Drop) Sennheiser PC37X which is an amazing pair of headphones for the price. It’s still available for just $100 on Drop and I highly recommend it. Please do note that the PC37X is wired and not wireless like the Arctis Pro by Steelseries. Both of them sound great and have great reviews online. They also work on PS4, Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Headphone Collection 19
Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless
Headphone Collection 21
Sennheiser PC37X (Massdrop Exclusive)

IEMs (In-Ear Monitors)

I only use IEM’s if I need something portable or if I’m traveling. These are a bit different than your standard earphones because it can give you sound quality that can sometimes compete with mid-range (and sometimes high-end) headphones.

Audiophile Headphone Collection
Fidue A73
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Oriveti New Primacy

DACs & Amplifiers

This is what powers the headphones above. Some of you might be asking – “headphones need power? Isn’t it that you just need to plug it into your smartphone’s headphone jack and start listening?”. Well technically you’re right, but sometimes it gets a little bit complicated ^^;

Headphones have an impedance rating measured in ohms (Ξ©). In simple terms, each headphone I posted above has a power requirement for it to work optimally. Usually, a 32 ohms (Ξ©) and below headphones will work normally in your typical portable player or smartphone.

Audiophile Headphone Collection
Violectric V281 headphone amplifier.
Audiophile Headphone Collection
Chord Hugo DAC/Amp.

The problem is, some of my headphones above have an impedance of 300-600 ohms (Ξ©). You can still plug it directly to your smartphone or any portable player, but you won’t hear a thing even at max volume. The reason for this is simply because your smartphone/portable player can’t provide it with enough power – thus the need for an amplifier.

As for the DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter), you might not have realized, but every device that can output sound has some type of onboard DAC inside. These include your phone, computer, tablet, etc. Nowadays, music files are stored as digital signals (1s and 0s). That’s the main reason why we can carry our entire music library outside as digital files (MP3s, CDs). The problem is, a digital file is something we cannot hear by itself. It’s the DAC’s job to convert it back to an analog signal that we can hear – in our case, through our headphones. Investing in a standalone high-quality outboard DAC will drastically improve the sound quality of the music you’re listening to. Just make sure the audio file you’re going to use is hi-res too!

Audiophile Headphone Collection
Astell & Kern AK70 & Chord Mojo

Music Library

All of my hi-res audio is stored in an external hard drive and I use Audirvana (Mac) and Foobar (Windows) as my music player. When on the go, I use my Astell & Kern AK70 + Chord Mojo combo (pictured above). I also have Spotify, but lately, I’ve been using Tidal‘s Hi-Fi plan. I directly compared it to Spotify Premium’s highest quality setting and Tidal’s quality is a lot better. Tidal also has selected tracks labeled as Master in their app. These are master-quality recordings directly from the master source.

Spotify has a Hi-Fi plan in the works but there’s still no news about it.

Audiophile Headphone Collection

Thanks for taking the time to read my post! I will update this post regularly with new stuff!