Advanced headphones sounded really good for the money but aren’t for those who crave bass and warmth.

Never too late to be an audiophile…

Thomas and audiologist in yellow shirt. 🙂

Still the best dam DAP in audio. The Astell & Kern SP1000. Does the copper version sound better than the rest? I did a quick A/B with all three versions and there were slight differences between the metals used.

The PSB M4U 8 ANC headphones were a huge surprise. The voicing on this pair was very musical and resolving. Quite possibly the best Bluetooth headphone at the show.

The Meze Empyrean – Now this headphone is very special and has a sound I haven’t heard from any other headphone out there. It’s able to multi-task the entire frequency range and provide dynamic punch and detail in ways I haven’t heard. Bass sections are precisely defined, contoured, and punchy while treble and midrange were sweet yet fun. Headphones are usually warm or bright but the Empyrean is something else.

Benchmark DAC3 L and HPA4 headphone/line amplifier paired with the Audeze LCD-XC was one of the better sounds at the show. Incredibly dynamic and impactful while being very resolving and smooth. The ES9020PRO is typically more clinical but I didn’t expeience any harshness or grain and enjoyed my time with this setup.

Godfather of Headphones

The Crosszone CZ-1 – Instead of a lossy crossfeed circuitry, this headphone aims to produce true stereo listening via their External Sound Localization technology, along with ART and ADC tech. Learn more here

Crosszone is developing an amplifier that uses LEDs as opposed to tubes or transistors. They are supposedly the first company with this approach to amplification and the prototype sounded pretty good.