Headphone based systems?

So just thinking about the future and I suppose at some point we will be downgrading hose to probably a flat.
I don’t think the sbls will work in a flat at the volumes I like to listen at. So I’m thinking headphone only based system.
So has anybody just have a headphones based system and if so what are you using?

I have a headphone based system that I am loving. It is a slippery slope much like 2 channel and may take a while to find what works for you. There are a lot of opinions out there but ultimately its your ears and wallet that matters.

Headphones like speakers come I. Different flavours. Whether that means one is better than the other is up for debate.

I have been fortunate to have found some great deals in TOTL headphones . I have 3 that I am sticking with : Abyss 1266 phi TC, Hifiman Susvara and Audeze LCD-5. Each offers something unique. I have yet to find a headphone that does everything well.

I have a very resolving Weiss DAC502 with Chord Mscaler and Chord Etude. IMHO speaker amps do the best job of powering headphones. Especially ones that require some “grunt” like the 1266’s and Susvara’s. Raven easier to drive headphone benefit from the control a good speaker amp offers.

Hope this helps on your journey

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I’ve had a few different headphones systems. Like speakers headphones come in many flavours, I think the most important thing is to find a pairs that are comfortable then decided on the ones you like the sound of.

I had my heart set on a pair of Stax009’s but ended up with Focal Utopias as I felt they better suited the music I mainly listen to.

I now have an Ear hp4 and Focal set up and upstairs use an Auralic dac and Meze classic 99’s.

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We’ve bought the Atom HE which is used for private listening in our busy family. It has a nap 200 connected into SBLs for the more public listening. We setup SBLs still sound fab on lower volumes if backed by a solid wall.

The headphones - Meze classics - are better though and I’m sure the reason for this is the room. The SBLs sound great, but cannot match the sound quality of the headphones. All these odd living space reflections.

I like the Atom HE since it had it all onboard bar the power amp and we could loose the hifi rack which are ugly things in my opinion.

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Not sure I like the idea of only having headphones, but my Chord Dave happens to have a very good headphone amp built in so I feel I have that one covered. At some point I’ll buy a pair of headphones that do it justice.

…awhile back I picked up a pair of Grado Statement Series GS1000e Headphones with a used Naim HeadLine w/NAPSC from my dealer. Primary purpose is when wife or house guests are sleeping and I’m up and want to relax in the easy chair and listen to music. I could see going to a headphone system if eventually moving into a condo or apartment as I age gracefully…

No plans for the forseeable future…


I had a Headline2/HCdr on a larger system and felt it was end game at the time for headphone performance. I was wrong though.

I currently have a setup comprised of a Luxman D-N150 DAC, SQ-N150 tube amp, Sennheiser HD-800 with a dinky ifi Zen Stream providing the streaming functionality and a TEAC turntable. But the core item you’d be interested in is the SQ-N150 tube amp. At just 10w, it is a dual purpose amp that drives either really efficient speakers or headphones from the same tube output stage. Most sales of it have been for use purely as a headphone amp and I have to say, it blows my Headline2/HCdr out of the water and leaves a crater on the sea floor. It extracts far more nuance, yet sounds less clinical than the Naim headphone amp and a tad smoother. Three analogue inputs and a MM/MC phono stage (a decent one at that), and an A4 footprint. Cute as a button.


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