My favourite headphones

Headphones is a dear hobby of mine. I have tried quite many, mostly high-end ones for studio musicians and audiophiles. Let me present the headphones I use regularly.

AKG K1000

These spectacular headphones, or earspeakers, are sadly no longer in production and are nowadays a sought-after collector's item. In contrast to other headphones, the speaker membranes hang outside the ears, bringing a hybrid version of headphones and loudspeakers. Extremely comfortable - no sweat or fatigue, just the temple cushions that press gently above the earlobes. I would not recommend these for heavy bass dependent music due to how they are designed although an equalizer can partly compensate. But if you listen to live recordings, nothing comes close. You will enjoy a threedimensional experience, sensing that it may be possible to reach out and touch those instruments. When listening to jazz or classical music, the K1000 is king. I combine them with a tactile transducer which increases realism to insane levels. They do require lots of power though. An adapter lets you connect them to a regular headphones output but a speaker amplifier is essential.

Stax Sigma

This is another example of how a genius headphone developer prioritized function over form. Since long out of production and a collector's item. One of the most comfortable headphones ever made. They were designed back in the seventies to simulate room acoustics. The speaker membranes are placed in front of the casings. The sound is superior to most other headphones, bringing clarity, deep bass and crisp treble with that legendary Stax quality to it, based on electrostatic rather than dynamic drivers. You get an airy, cosy listening experience. Great allrounders. They require either a Stax voltage converter or an electrostatic class A Stax amplifier. I use these myself with the Stax voltage converter SDR-7 and the class T speaker amplifier TA-10.2.

                AKG K240

I have been using these since 1992 and they have never failed on me. Ever since they appeared in the seventies, they have been the primary choice for recording studios worldwide. The bass is thick and warm and the treble is airy and seducing. What you hear from these, is probably what the studio engineer and musicians heard themselves during the recording session. They bring out a lot of detail. After long listening sessions, sweat can become an annoyance. You can replace the ear cushions with a velour type if you want. I have the classic semi-open model. Musicians in the studios use the closed model (K271) to prevent sound from leaking.

   Bose Quiet Comfort 15

The king of noise cancellation headphones. Whenever I want some peace and quiet, or when I'm outdoors, I put these on. They are nice looking and surprisingly comfortable. The sound is excellent for music with heavy dance beats and deep synth bass. I always use these when I'm on travel and whenever I would like to suppress whatever noise that surrounds me. In fact, they are also excellent in kindergartens where children sometimes need to let their ears rest for a while. My youngest son is using my pair in the kindergarten for this very reason. The teachers are deeply impressed by their efficiency. There is now a successor out, Quiet Comfort 25.

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