Top 3 Components for an Audiophile Headphone Setup
Your Sound Isn’t Good Enough
A fair amount of people are usually content with the standard white earbuds that come with their iPods. However, there are those who have a higher calling for their ears. There are those who will not be oppressed by the tyranny of sub-par sound. Ladies and gentleman, I am talking about the audiophile, of course. I speak from experience when I say it is both a gift and a curse being an audiophile. My friends will tell me to listen to a sweet song only to be disappointed when my ears start to bleed from utterly disappointing sound. So, if you’re looking to break the audiophile sound barrier and become one of the audio elite, then you better take the advice that i’m about to give you!
There are a few things you’re going to need to complete your audiophile transformation:
- Good Headphones
- Headphone Amplifier
- High Quality Source
Obviously, you’re going to need some good headphones to start. Based on your preference you might choose to go with ether in-ear headphones or over/on ear headphones. If you’re looking to go the in-ear route, then I would suggest something like the Westone UM series which is top-notch when it comes to in-ear monitors. If you want some over-ear headphones, then I would suggest something like the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro. There are many factors to consider with headphones and many aspects of them are heavily opinion based. Audiophiles will generally steer toward an open-back design as it offers more detailed analytic sound, and a wider soundstage. Furthermore, they usually prefer a headphone with an even, flat response to give the best representation of the sound without adding unwanted color. There is a headphone for everyone and my main advice is to listen to as many as possible in order to see what you’re into.
Headphone amplifiers are a commonly overlooked aspect of an audiophile set up. If you have some good headphones, then you’re going to need some good power to compliment that. Not only does a headphones amplifier drastically increase the sound quality of your headphones, but some of them have equalization settings so you can fine tune your sound. FiiO makes some awesome amplifiers that won’t break the bank.
Having a good audio source is the final piece to the puzzle. For example, even if you have awesome headphones and an amplifier, you will not get the full potential if you have crappy audio files. Most people are going to be listening to MP3 or internet radio from their iPhone or iPod. However, the key is to find files with low compression such as a FLAC or other lossless-type files. Even high quality MP3 files will suffice in most cases.
Remember that there is no perfect formula these are just some basic guidelines. To give you guys an example, I’ve been using the Beyerdaynamic Custom One Pros with a FiiO E17 amplifier and it has been by far my favorite set-up. Some of you not might agree but that’s the beauty of headphones! There is something for everyone! Remember: Life is too short to listen to crappy sound!