This is it
Six years later, this is goodbye and, admittedly, also a bit of a friendly finger to the hobby 🖕🏼
May what follows help some see the light.
— 16-bit CD-quality is the gold standard
Source files matter and 16-bit CD-quality is the gold standard. Do try “Hi-Res” audio however.
‘Hear a difference and can afford it? Good.
‘Can’t hear a difference or want to save money? Good.
— If you can afford it, consider a mature music player from a recognised brand such as Astell & Kern or Sony
An iPhone with Apple’s then-bundled dongle is perfectly fine.
With that said, a good music player is a nice thing to have and can sound better as well as offer options.
If you can afford it, consider a mature music player from a recognised brand such as Astell & Kern or Sony and stick to it.
— If you’re mainly going to use a portable music player … balanced can be an interesting option
Whether copper, silver-plated copper, etc., they can make subtle differences.
Single-ended versus balanced is more a question of power but single-ended is perfectly fine.
If you’re mainly going to use a portable music player and your earbuds, in-ear monitors or headphones benefit from a little more power, balanced can be an interesting option.
Earbuds, “in-ear monitors” and headphones
— Cost, comfort and tuning are key
Cost, comfort and tuning are key.
If one is a problem at one point, it’ll always be a problem.
Boutique audiophiles brands can be enticing but you better stick to a well-established brand who knows what they’re doing and have been doing it for a while.
Other useful tips
— Don’t compare too much, believe what you hear, not what you read
It’s all mainly about money.
Don’t compare too much, believe what you hear, not what you read.
You can have a quality product without the “in-ear monitor” and over-ear cable shenanigans.
So, what am I walking out with?
— Astell & Kern × Sony
Music player: Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 MKII
Headphones: Sony MDR-Z1R with Sony × Kimber cable
Earbuds: Sony XBA-3AP with Sony × Kimber cable
A heartfelt thank you to all whom helped me along the way. Enjoy your continued trip down the rabbit hole!