At A Glance: Mysphere 3.1 & 3.2

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed these headphones at first demo, but they failed to make a lasting impression. At least the first time I heard them. After being able to listen for more time (a few years now), with better sources, and finally got fitment right, they became a game changer that caused me to become obsessed with trying to squeeze out everything I could get from them. That did end up requiring twice the effort than most headphones though, but that’s what happens when you have 2 separate driver options (the 3.1 & 3.2) that offer distinctly different experiences and synergize with different gear from each other. But the effort is worth it in the end for the experience you get with these headphones, just requires a bit more care and attention to get them sounding right than other options. Just a warning, this is really mostly about pairings, moreso than anything else, but I added other aspects (although brief) to make it more comprehensive. Keep in mind these are just random thoughts compiled in a way attempting to be coherent, not a review or anything, just my experiences after owning it for awhile. Enough music has passed through these headphones and enough time has passed to make me feel like it might me worthwhile documenting my thoughts and experiences in more detail than normal.

Brief impressions:

Comfort & Build:

Typically I wouldn’t bother talking about this since I don’t really care unless it’s egregiously bad or flawed, although I’m talking about it here not because of that reason, but because it’s both very well built and designed, but also somewhat a hassle to get sounding correct. It will take time and trial and error to really nail down the angle of the drivers from the ear, and more importantly the height/vertical movement of the driver. From my experience the wrong height will lead to lacking low end and poor spatial recreation, also a more dull and dry sound. I’d start by positioning the driver center to where your ear is, but further fiddling is suggested to really dial in that sweet spot. When it comes to folding the drivers out, that’s a bit less difficult to get dialed in, and honestly I typically have them almost all the way out most of the time, but there are cases where bringing them in can be worthwhile. It’s also normal if the headband touches the front of your ear. You also want to wear the headphone tilted forward more toward the front of your head rather than normally in the middle of your head from my experience (sorta like how the Fostex headband is supposed to sit). Really just requires trial and error, but make sure to put in the effort to make sure it’s well positioned to get the experiences discussed here. At first they may feel uncomfortable in how they sit and end up also feeling like a vice grip on your head, but over time it really no longer bothers me and they feel just fine.

Sound For Both (in general):

The Mysphere is hard to directly compare to other headphones because it’s a much different experience than all the others, the way it presents lives up to it’s name, providing a bubble of sound that is reminiscent of the presentation of a very well placed and capable nearfield speaker setup, with an insanely black background, phenomenal placement accuracy/realism, and a sense of grandness and space that’s really unmatched by most other headphones I’ve tried, this really is one of it’s biggest appeals.

The tonality of both, while they differ, both are very well tuned and are pretty organic. Timbre on both does not let down and really solidifies the experience. Both do lack subbass and have some bass roll off, that’s to be expected, but honestly most of the time I’ve not really seen it as a dealbreaker considering what else it provides instead (but if that’s really a priority you’d be better served elsewhere). Neither are really all that forgiving as well of poor sources or source material, while they still sound great, you do want quality recordings and a quality source chain backing these up to make them worthwhile. Speed and separation are shockingly good for a dynamic. The texture on these things really just is awesome in the midrange, really makes them sound more tangible than other offerings I have, they do a fantastic job of revealing lower level nuance that really enhances the experience. Coherency is also one of the best I’ve heard.

Differences Between the 3.1 & 3.2:

The 3.1 can be technically superior in some aspects with a more neutral signature, but lacks some of the warmth and body, sweetness, and midrange focus of the 3.2. I will say while these do both sound like they are somewhat from the same family, they are different enough to note and be different enough to sway which one someone may go for. That being said, they do drive very differently so it’s hard to nail down the true differences between them

Tonality wise the 3.1 is more overall neutral with a bit of an upper or center midrange focus whereas the 3.2 is a bit more lower midrange and upper bass focused with more warmth in the low end, warmer neutral. Spatially they present similar but the 3.1 has more accuracy in it’s placement (overall better stage with sharper placement accuracy and more depth specifically) with a bit more forward push presentation wise as well. In terms of smoothness the 3.2 is a bit more smooth and less hard edged, but I do think the 3.1 has better liquidity without being as smooth. Resolution wise the 3.1 does pull more low level information pretty easily. Dynamically the 3.1 is more capable in microdynamics, but for macrodynamics they don’t feel too far off from each other. Tonal density wise the 3.2 does have a bit more meat on the bone and offers more richness and weight without disturbing things. Timbre wise the 3.1 is more accurate to me. Speed and separation wise the 3.1 is quicker and more separated without feeling the sense of being overdone, this honestly might be one of the bigger pulls to the 3.1, because it’s really damn fast, not estat fast, but really really fast while also representing transients accurately. It’s able to handle all that speed without falling apart and becoming unnatural. Extension wise the 3.1 feels a bit better extended in the treble, where the 3.2 feels a bit better extended in the lower octaves. Impact wise I think the 3.2 does have more overall slam to it, but for overall control and grip the 3.1 can really show off here and has tighter and more defined punch.

But again that’s all really dependent on the source, the 3.1 can actually sound like ass and a lot of it’s positives become negatives with the wrong source gear, so the above comparison is assuming you are using amps that can handle them well. The 3.1 is noticeably less forgiving and more picky on the pairing than the 3.2 is, the 3.2 is generally a safer bet with a larger range of amps. It’s one of those things that this may not even matter to you depending on the amp you run, because your amp may really not handle one of them well to justify it over the other. If you are dropping everything and going to build a chain for one of these from scratch, then I think these differences are worthwhile putting more stake in, but if you are looking to slot a Mysphere into your existing chain, I’d just go with what one pairs better with your amp regardless of the differences between them, because the synergy is going to matter here more

Clear as mud? You know what, this may be a bit confusing lol. Let me try something else. Assuming you have no chain already and are willing to drop everything and start fresh for these headphones, consider these questions and decide which sound you may prefer:

1. Do you prefer something more neutral or more midrange focused?
2. Do you prefer something generally more potentially technically capable but more picky or something more forgiving but generally less technically capable?
3. Do you prefer something more accuracy focused/transparent or something that adds sweetness and body?
4. Does amp flexibility matter to you?

If you answered more neutral, more technically capable, and more accuracy focused/transparent, then the 3.1 are for you. If you answered midrange, forgiving, and sweetness then the 3.2 are for you. If you answered yes to the last question then the 3.2 is going to be a safer pick regardless of what you answered beforehand

And again if you are trying to integrate the Mysphere into your existing chain without changing anything, then I’d more look at which pairs better with your amp as that’s going to matter more, for example even if the 3.1 sounded more appealing, if you have for example let’s say a Pass HPA-1, the 3.2 really is going to give you better performance and the 3.1 is going to be very lackluster on that specific amp. As a general rule of thumb, I’d say that the 3.1 mainly sounds good with transformer coupled tube amps and sometimes very high end high power solid state, where the 3.2 sounds better with most other solid state and potentially OTL. But really though it all depends and that’s not a hard set rule, on some transformer coupled amps I’ve honesty liked the 3.2 more than the 3.1, but that being said I don’t really often like the 3.1 on most lower OI solid state, so take that how you will. There’s a reason a large chunk of this is pairing notes, I think both these headphones can be potentially equally good and worthwhile, all depends on the chain. Both can be as good as each other, it’s all down to the sources

Cushion Differences:

Bass – Somewhat like the standard but with more low end, not really that much changed besides. Although the amount of bass it adds over standard will decrease as you move the wings out further, and once they are mostly out they do sound more like standard than anything

Standard – The most balanced frames and somewhat represent the experiences mentioned above

Transparent – Improves overall clarity, adds a larger sense of dimensional, better treble air and extension, slightly less body and bass prominence, feels slightly more energetic and snappy, but potentially jarring or not worthwhile depending on the chain

Interesting note on music choice:

I wouldn’t consider these headphones that awesome of a true all-rounder, but I am surprised at the wider range of genre they impress me with. Honestly, as long as the music is well recorded, they do a solid job. It does favor more organic music (with real instruments and real spaces), but can satisfy with more modern music if it’s well recorded/produced enough. The 3.1 is more picky on the music than the 3.2 is, but honestly either will show you the potential flaws (or bring out the greatness) of what you are listening to.

Frame Width:

I personally end up using the drivers pretty far out, the wings well extended more toward fully extended or 2/3. If I desire a bit more low end I do sometimes put them pretty angled in but personally I do think that diminishes the experience overall so I tend to keep them more angled out than not.


Pairing & Synergy: A worthwhile time sink (WIP)

After getting a taste, the Mysphere(s) have grown on me ever since I first heard them, and it’s become one of my most used headphones, and of course when that happens you have to focus your chain on them right? Over time I’ve been trying Mysphere 3.2 & 3.1 on whatever I can, from brief demos to years in a personal setup, just a wide swath of potential pairings. From that, I honestly feel like I’ve gained more insight into what these are truly capable of, why they are commonly slept on (hint: poor source pairings), and the wide range of differing experiences that can be offered just by the choice of amplifier alone… which really makes these a real pain in the ass to pair at times. So, I figured I might as well take my findings and perhaps document them here (since these headphones deserve it).

I will be restricting to actual headphone amps here though, so even though there are some solid pairings with speaker amps, this will only cover headphone amps. Also, while I did take notes on some of the pairings at the time of listening, it’s still going to be comparisons from memory in some cases, so don’t expect too much detail in the thoughts, just some take home points and generalized thoughts, they will be brief. I’m sure if I went and revisited some of these I may have liked them more or less with more time and more potential source gear pairings. The things I will mention I do feel confident enough to have formed some opinion on them, but some will be much more mature opinions/experiences than others.

Disclaimers:

Something to note: this ain’t perfect, and isn’t always the most fair situation for the amp. Anything I’m commenting on here I feel like I’ve heard enough to feel like I got a fair experience, but some amps I’ve been using for quite awhile, and some I’ve only gotten to listen to for a day or so. I will note the experience level I have had from the amps with (from greatest to least): In House, Limited In House, Extended Demo, Limited Demo. I obviously don’t have a lot of these amps in house or able to try anymore, I will denote what I currently own and also what were my favorites in the performance bracket.

I also haven’t heard both Mysphere versions on all the amps here, so I will denote that I have only heard that specific version with an (O). There could be a case where the other Mysphere may have paired better, but I wouldn’t know since I haven’t tried both, so sorry about that if I haven’t.

When I rank amps into categories, I will be judging that placement based off the higher performing Mysphere pairing, so if an amp is phenomenal with a 3.1 but mediocre with a 3.2, that amp will be judged based off it’s performance with the 3.1, not the 3.2. If that makes sense, I hope.

Since I’m lazy, this will mainly cover mostly amps and nothing more, not going to really get all that much into DAC pairing (even though it’s pretty important and you should put just as much care into pairing an amp with a DAC for the proper experience. I’ve generalized my experiences with the amps by using various DACs if possible, but results will vary depending on DAC pairing of course. Just assume the amps are paired with an equally good DAC with good synergy. Yes I know there’s flaws in thinking like that, but I can’t think of a way to write anything like this otherwise.

There’s a section added called “value” and that’s basically just me considering the price you can get them for used at the time of writing vs the level of performance it offers, and basically is a judge of how much bang for your dollar you get, these are considered in terms of value in that performance bracket and not value overall. Basically just noting what I thought were the better buys price wise for what you get in return, this of course depends on the person.

Also, this is only stuff I have enjoyed and find actually worthwhile to consider a Mysphere with, so if it wasn’t something I would consider it worthwhile, it won’t be on here. These are only things I personally enjoy. I’ve also not heard everything of course, so apologies if I haven’t heard a specific pairing on these that might end up being killer that I’m missing out on (and let me know in the forums if there is one like that lol).

With that being said, hopefully this makes sense (and if it doesn’t, hopefully it’s at least interesting)

Below are my favorite pairings at various performance levels
(in no specific order)


Starting At The Top

I think there are 8 amps that really stand out as being the most impressive I’ve heard for the Mysphere. These amps operate on a level that really maximizes the potential these headphones have. If you want to experience what these headphones truly have to offer you, these are absolutely worth a look:

Angstrom Stella MK2 – Midrange, Midrange, & Midrange

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good, but 3.1 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent or Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lampizator Pacific (sweetness, refinement, energy, and technicality)
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, used pricing unknown

  • Excellent timbre, tonality, and tonal density, overall balance is awesome
  • Amazing midrange overall
  • Spatially very convincing
  • Very dynamically alive
  • Very nice presentation and resolution, tons of texture
  • Bass not as impressive as midrange or treble

Take Home: Really brings out everything you could ever love about the Mysphere, all of it is on point potentially sans bass which is only really good and not phenomenal. Awesome presentation of technical mastery in an organic manner. A more neutral/natural signature that focuses on overall organicness and coherency without lacking in technical ability that leads to a pretty convincing experience. Personally this is what I use if I want to really focus on the organicness and realism the Mysphere can provide if I don’t mind upsetting balance a slight bit. Overall it just feels like it meshes well with the Mysphere and offers a balance of overall engagingness with technical ability that leads to just something I don’t want to stop listening to. Currently Own, Personal Favorite

DAC Pairings:
* Lampizator Pacific: The Pacific just really captured what makes the Stella special and capitalized on it to the max, really just did everything that amp wanted to allow it to shine, hence why it was my favorite pairing out of the bunch.

* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers: This actually may be more technical than the Pacific in some regards, but it just didn’t create that more enveloping and extremely engaging sound that the Pacific did, it did offer more weight and balance, with greater authority and overall control that was addicting, and in general elevated the bass performance to something more stand out, but I just felt that the Pacific captured what makes this pairing special a little bit more. Similar enough tier to the Pacific, suggested for a warmer and less forward option with a greater focus on control, texture, and lower level info.

* Audio Note DAC5 Special v2: A more rich, sweet, and laid back take then the Pacific, that while a bit less technical offered a greater sense of balance and maturity within the sound that focused a ton on making things sound extremely organic and correct and not calling too much attention to itself, more natural presentation of stage and extremely good balance. A bit lower tier to the Pacific, suggested for a more balanced and less energetic option with a greater focus in organicness and subtly.

* Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref: A pairing for more explosive energy, macrodynamics, and overall command throughout the range, conveying directness that the Pacific couldn’t even manage despite feeling like it wasn’t on the same technical level as the Pacific, it managed to capture raw energy yet not disregard or throw out nuance or lower level detail in the process, still remaining balanced enough to not shift the overall focus. Somewhat lower tier to the Pacific, suggested for the most energetic presentation and directness with a focus in grip and control, dynamics, and somewhat bass.

* Berkeley Alpha Reference 2: I wasn’t expecting to like this pairing as much as I did, very much more of a neutral reference pairing that was both very technical and no nonsense yet offered a level of macrodynamics that felt both extremely alive yet very natural and non exaggerated, a focus on clarity and airiness to the presentation that was extremely pleasing and non distracting, and offering excellent attack sharpness and bite without being painful on the ears. Somewhat lower tier to the Pacific, suggested for overall clarity, balance, and precise definition.

Riviera AIC-10 – Grip, Weight, & Richness

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Good, but 3.2 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent or Standard
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers (command/control, texture, tangibility, and space)
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, do hold their value used

  • Control, impact and slam, and overall grip are very impressive
  • A more rich and meaty tonal density
  • Stronger macro focus here
  • Smoother slightly recessed top end
  • Good resolution, speed and separation are also good
  • Spatially immersive but a bit hazy

Take Home: A more rich, controlled and impactful, and fun macro type of experience without letting down on what the Mysphere does well, slightly softer approach. A more warmer smoother a bit more relaxed signature that focuses more on some fun factor and sweetness without disappointing in the techincal department. Personally this is my go to for slam and impact with the Mysphere, and want to add more richness and have a more fun listening session, but it’s relaxedness doesn’t take away any overall energy or incisiveness or lead to it sounding dull or non technical. Currently Own, Personal Favorite

DAC Pairings:
* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers: The Direct + Drivers just really captured what makes the AIC-10 special and capitalized on it to the max, really just did everything that amp wanted to allow it to shine, hence why it was my favorite pairing out of the bunch.

* Lampizator Pacific: More overall energetic and rich, but not overly so, but created a more holographic (but interestingly not as grand sounding) stage, more emphasized microdynamics, and was awesome for low level nuance, but it did lose some of that heavy handed grip and command and was a more restrained feeling in comparison, I think it just shifted balance too much for me, but this was a close second pairing. Similar enough tier to the D1-Direct, suggested for a more energetic and nuanced option with a greater focus on resolving power, clarity, and holographicness.

* Berkeley Alpha Reference 2: Adds a lot of clarity leaning overall balance toward the more neutral side of things, adds some needed bite and sharpness to both stage and transients, and really emphasizes the macro capabilities of the amp without sacrificing micro, a stronger stage focus on depth over width, and really great speed and separation. It’s not as organic as the D1-Direct and generally feels like a bit of a step down in technical ability but does offer greater versatility and no nonsense performance. Somewhat lower tier to the D1-Direct, suggested for overall clarity, balance, and macrodynamic capability.

* Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref: A pairing for more explosive energy, macrodynamics, and overall command throughout the range, that honestly almost tilted too far forward and exaggerated for my personal tastes with this amp, but never crossed that line. Almost a mix of what makes the Berkeley and Lampizator good pairings that lends itself to being a very balanced and worthwhile option, although leans more toward the side of the Berkeley from a technical/tier level than Pacific, potential main concern is that it might sound somewhat almost dry with this pairing, I don’t know why. Somewhat lower tier to D1-Direct, suggested for overall energy, balance, and fun factor without taking away from technical ability.

Aries Cerat Genus 845 – Transparency, Technicality, & Refinement

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Good, but 3.2 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent or Bass
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref (made for each other)
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, used pricing unknown

  • Very speedy and well separated
  • Lots of control and command, very tight
  • Very refined overall, lots of resolution presented well
  • Dynamically pretty accurate and balanced
  • Timbre and tonality are pretty organic, lots of texture
  • Really not much to complain about

Take Home: Think in between of what the Angstrom and Riviera do, although more refined than both. A more neutral no nonsense signature that focuses on letting everything though with refinement in an organic package, without shoving it down your throat. It really just does nothing I can remotely gripe about, it provides a more speaker like experience from the Mysphere that I really haven’t gotten from another amp yet. Personal Favorite

DAC Pairings:
* Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref: The synergy here is obvious, it feels like these were made for each other (which they likely were), not much more to say, this is really the option for overall completeness.

* Nagra HD DAC + MPS: A stronger focus into microdynamics, nuance, and overall liquidity that I thought wouldn’t work out well, but it was able to keep some of it’s energy and directness while offering a greater level of low level information that the Kassandra wasn’t able to pull, and was a very organic albeit more restrained pairing. Similar enough tier to the Kassandra, suggested for overall organicness and liquidity.

* Wasn’t able to hear other DACs with the Mysphere specifically, although I absolutely would want to given the chance.

Viva Egoista 845 – Stage, Energy, & Explosiveness

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Good, but 3.2 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent or Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Mojo Mystique EVO Pro (in this case, fun over technicality)
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid* – worth my money used, new is a bit more of a stretch

  • Impactful and slammy with still lots of control and command
  • Grand and spacious stage
  • Very dynamic with macro focus
  • Great resolution and great clarity
  • Non-overwhelming presentation
  • Slightly on the dryer side of things and not the most coherent

Take Home: A clean, no nonsense, strong and expansive sound overall, but not overly so. A slightly harder edged, grand and massively staging amp that makes things very energetic without going overboard, explosive macrodynamics and lots of speed and separation. It’s great if you want to force energy and very large and grand space into whatever you listen to, it ensures you are getting the most explosive experience with these headphones but does push them more dry and forward than some may prefer at times. Currently Own

DAC Pairings:
* Mojo Mystique EVO Pro: Strangely, while it’s not the most technical, refined, or capable pairing I tried, it ended up being the one I just enjoyed listening to the most, the most fun pairing ended up being what I used it for the most. I think it could be the more very rich, exaggerated, and slightly more forgiving nature of the Mojo that just made it more engaging with a wider range of music, but you can do better overall, but it’s what I used the most with it so I’ll consider it my favorite lol.

* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers: The Totaldac felt strongly ahead of the Mojo in almost all aspects, but didn’t really feel like it captured the fun factor I got with the Mojo strangely enough. The Totaldac is an excellent fit giving better weight and density to the dryer amp, excellent directness, nuance, stage is more convincing, maintained and improved upon the excellent slam and energy. Higher tier to the Mystique, suggested for overall balance, completeness, and technicality.

* Lampizator Pacific: This really helped adding needed density and sweetness, taking the focus more balanced in general to a neutral dynamic lean while keeping all the energy, very very holographic and enveloping stage is stand out, really more emotional which did help a lot, although may have shifted character more than I like. Higher tier to the Mystique, suggested for overall sweetness and nuance and stage immersion without losing energy or organicness.

* Bricasti M21 Platinum: A good option for taking the intensity down a notch and adding some pleasant smoothness and chill without sacrificing technical ability or what makes the amp special, actually keeps similar tonality and balance of the amp, ropes in stage a bit to be more organic, better presentation and coherency. Similar enough tier to the Mystique, suggested for neutrality and refinement, and speed and control too.

Woo WA33 Elite – Cleanliness, Sweetness, & Forwardness

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good, but 3.1 is better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent or Bass
Listening Experience: Limited In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Audio Note DAC 5 Special v2 (understated over performer)
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, do hold their value used

  • Great clarity and extension
  • Pretty fast speed and separation
  • Resolving while being presented non offensively, texture forward
  • More tonal density and sweetness than the signature would suggest
  • Great command and control overall
  • Sometimes sounds slightly overdone, could use a bit more stage width and depth

Take Home: Fairly neutral cleaner leaning but with some slight added sweetness and density, and really great control, pretty immersive and shows off what the Mysphere has to offer. A more cleanly no nonsense neutral that demonstrates strong technical proficiency without being inorganic. It’s a solid pairing for someone looking for a more overall neutral and balanced experience that while leaning more toward the cleanly side a bit, it’s still got organic characteristics, and also a surprising amount of control as well.

DAC Pairings:
* Audio Note DAC 5 Special v2: I think this really both emphasized what the WA33 Elite did well, and also shifted it’s signature to something more natural and immersive without leaning too far, think it balanced out it’s strengths well, and it’s not directly apparent why this is so good, but with more listening it’s just a really awesome match.

* Berkeley Alpha Reference 2: This really was a close second, and it really emphasized the reference nature of the amp without leading to it sounding overly cleanly or sterile, really solid option to emphasize what it does well without shifting the signature balance and keeping it very no nonsense. I just wish the stage was more involved here, I think that really would have sold it for me, it’s too cut and dry with this amp. Somewhat lower tier to the DAC 5, suggested for neutrality, control, dynamics, and clarity focus.

* Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced: Somewhat inbetween a sweeter and more fun focus and a more clarity reference focus, generally somewhat more exaggerated in sound in a positive way that added more energy without going too far, very immersive stage that added nice space to everything, and generally gave you great technical ability without being offensive or inorganic. Somewhat lower tier to the DAC 5, suggested for a bit more fun and space and sweetness without upsetting balance or losing control.

* Lampizator Golden Gate II: While not as technical and refined as the DAC 5, the Golden Gate did offer a bit more energy and fun into the mix than the DAC 5 did, and was more forgiving of most music, and helped offer a more organic and involving stage that I really think makes this pairing sweet, very dynamic, very organic, and still reasonably techincal despite it’s sweetness, although slightly less control and tightness than the rest of the pairings which is a stand out on the Woo. Somewhat lower tier to the DAC 5, suggested for more fun, forgiveness, and stage expansion and sweetness.

Trafomatic Primavera – Tonality, Vividness, & Organicness

Preferred Version: Either
What about the other?: Depends if you prefer cleanliness or warmth
Preferred Cushions: Standard or Bass
Listening Experience: Limited In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Nagra HD DAC + MPS (leaning into midrange and organicness over all other)
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – would hesitate new or used, but potentially worth

  • Pretty sweet in the midrange and up, great smoothness as well
  • Bass on the cleaner, punchy, and tighter side of things
  • More intimate but deep stage
  • Good control and grip despite slight softness
  • Very good timbre
  • Pretty coherent and organically presented

Take Home: Tends to focus on the middle more than the outer edges and is a pretty sweet and nuanced amp that is somewhat forgiving. A slightly mid centric leaning signature that is forward and very sweet weighty slightly soft but doesn’t trade too much technical ability. This pairing I didn’t initially actually favor as much, but with more listening, it’s got something going on in the midrange and treble that really pulled me in, and it’s presentation is quite engaging overall.

DAC Pairings:
* Nagra HD DAC + MPS: While I generally actually preferred the sound of the unit with the Totaldac, I think this just better emphasized what the unit was good at overall rather than shifting away from it’s delicate balance in voicing and signature. Really amazingly liquid, textured, and organic with this one.

* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers: This slightly softened the treble and increased bass weight and prominence in a great way, overall giving a much more grand and large stage and giving better macrodynamics for sure, but it didn’t have the specialness of the HD DAC strangely. Similar enough tier to the HD DAC, suggested for more space, dynamics, and overall grip and control over balance and sweetness.

* Lampizator Golden Gate II: The Lampizator was both a good pairing, but also too much for my tastes throwing balance to a bit overly sweetened and midrange focused, but I can see some really enjoying that, and it also really helped expand stage and didn’t affect liveliness or energy either, solid option if you like that. Somewhat lower tier to the HD DAC, suggested for a stronger focus on sweetness and micro and a more forgiving listen.

* I really wish I tried more DACs on this thing when I had it for a brief time, it was really good.

Octave V16 + Super Black Box – Neutrality, Control, & Energy

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Transparent or Bass
Listening Experience: Limited In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lampizator Golden Gate II (adding more flavor without changing what makes it good)
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – would hesitate new or used, but potentially worth

  • Overall no nonsense more neutral signature
  • Great resolution, very nice speed and separation
  • Great dynamics
  • Control and grip are pretty apparent and well executed
  • Pretty holographic in stage
  • Feels slightly mechanical at times/lacks some emotion

Take Home: A bit more clean and technical experience but didn’t feel like it was trading that much and also offered surprising smoothness, but could use a bit more sweetness. I did enjoy it’s surprising control over the headphone. This one was also an initially “good but not stand out” pairing to me, but again with further listening I came to appreciate how this amp provides a pretty no nonsense performance it offers while adding a sense of liquidity and lack of any harshness or offensiveness without sacrificing energy or bite.

DAC Pairings:
* Lampizator Golden Gate II: Generally thought this pairing maintained the overall control and capabilities of the amp while adding a bit more needed emotion and liveliness to the sound, good overall balance (and opened up stage more).

* Berkeley Alpha Reference 2: Kinda doubling down on what the amp does well without going far enough to tilt balance, very linear, very controlled, very nuanced, very nice, although spatially it could have been more involved. Similar enough tier to the Golden Gate II, suggested for a stonger lean into what it does well such as overall dynamics, control, and lower level nuance while keeping a more clean and clear focus, no nonsense.

* I really wish I tried more DACs on this thing when I had it for a brief time, it was really good.

Crayon CHA-1 – Speed, Smoothness, & Liquidity

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Good, but 3.2 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced (energy yet liquidity)
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new (if they still could be bought new), do hold their value used

  • Impressive speed and separation given the signature
  • Good body and weight when needed
  • More slightly micro approach but macro is still great
  • Pretty black background
  • Great liquidity
  • Could use a bit more bite

Take Home: A very controlled, speedy, and nuanced approach to things, but presented in a smoother and more liquid package, somewhat contrasting of it’s initial signature, had awesome overall command of the headphone. I’m not really sure why I like this amp so much, but it just has a level of technical performance that really doesn’t match the signature it goes for, how it’s able to offer the speed, low level resolution, and dynamics while also having a more relaxed signature with great weight and awesome liquidity really just gets me. Personal Favorite

DAC Pairings:
* Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced: This pairing worked well in adding more forwardness and sharper edges without getting overly harsh or clinical, really improved stage spaciousness and generally was a very fun yet refined combo.

* Berkeley Alpha Reference 2: Actually more technical and better overall match with the amp, but didn’t have as much fun factor and engagement that I prefered, but really though this was so close top to me it was a toss up. Similar enough tier to the Wavedream Signature, suggested for a more reference and overall technical ability focus, better macro, coherency, control, and speed although slightly less engaging.

* Nagra HD DAC + MPS: A stronger lean into the micro side of things and adding a bit more warmth and sweetness, more a midrange liquid focus that was really addicting but became a bit too relaxed and smooth for me at times. Similar enough tier to the Wavedream Signature, suggested for strong micro focus and emphasizing liquidity and nuance.

* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers: Another option that at times was easily something over the Wavedream but it was more hit or miss depending on the track where the Wavedreams more forgiving nature was benificial. Similar enough tier to the Wavedream Signature, suggested for warmth, weight, space, and control.

Mass Kobo 394 II – Clarity, Tightness, & Control

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Just go 3.2
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers (organicness + technical ability)
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, used pricing hit or miss

  • Resolving power is strong but presented organically
  • Stage placement and background blackness are very impressive
  • Very tight with great speed and separation
  • Slightly on the less forgiving side of things
  • Could use a bit more body
  • Very well extended

Take Home: No nonsense cleaner signature that’s very controlled and very technical, doesn’t really trade organicness either, pretty impressive although could use a bit more body at times. This is likely the 3rd best solid state I’ve tried for the 3.2 after the AIC and CHA-1, but it offers a more forward and no nonsense signature without any of the drawbacks you typically associate with that signature. I do think this is a bit of a stretch putting this in the top category, but I think it really just is excellent even if it’s not exactly as high performing as some of the aforementioned. Currently Own, Personal Favorite

DAC Pairings:
* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers: This surprisingly keeps what it does well but enhances organicness and adds better weight, stage width, and warmer tonality while enhancing what it does well too.

* Bricasti M21 Platinum: A smoother neutral reference, great tonal balance, a pairing that feels like it gets out of the way and slightly relaxes without losing energy, really great reference. Slightly lower tier to the D1-Direct + D1-Drivers, suggested for overall neutrality and no nonsense, slightly relaxed, very balanced dynamics and stage, organic presentation, nice smoothness.

* Mojo Mystique EVO Pro: Something to take the more clean and clear focus more on the warm, fun, and still energetic and defined side, adds better grandness and state width, more impact and slam, larger macro dynamic focus, really enjoyable. Lower tier to the D1-Direct + D1-Drivers, suggested for warm macro focus without skimping on micro.

* Mola Mola Tambaqui: This pairing takes the neutral and clean focus even more forward but without crossing that line to where it’s too much. Lower tier to the D1-Direct + D1-Drivers, suggested for a stronger lean into stage depth, cleanliness, and micro focus.


Following Close Behind

These were awesome pairings, but didn’t quite give me the level of experience of the above, but honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if some ended up preferring some of the options in here, some aren’t that far off. And of course all were a pretty amazing experience:

DNA Stratus – Sweetness, Smoothness, & Softness

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Just go 3.1
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lampizator Golden Gate II
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, do hold their value used

  • Smoothness and richness that’s very prominent but not overdone
  • Slightly on the softer side of things but reasonable
  • Really excellent timbre and tonality
  • Dynamically a more micro focus
  • Spatially pretty immersive
  • Can use better command

Take Home: A more sweet smooth and soft overall signature that’s pretty organic but slightly lacking control, but very enjoyable nonetheless and the tradeoff on technical proficiency is worth it if you like this sort of signature. Now this isn’t exactly my jam, but I can appreciate what it does. It really does lean more toward that organic, sweet, softer, and more relaxed presentation with great space, timbre, and tonality with well balanced density, personally to me it’s slightly too much on the loose side of things, but honestly for some I can see this being the tier above if you are into that (as long as you don’t mind the hit in technical performance compared to other options mentioned in this tier and above).

DAC Pairings:
* Lampizator Golden Gate II

* Rockna Wavedream

* Bricasti M1

* I really wish I could try more DACs on this thing when I demoed, it was really good.

Allnic HPA5000 XL – Stage, Punch, & Dynamics

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Audio Note DAC 5 Special v2
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – potentially worth my money used, new is a bit more hesititation

  • Very speedy and separated
  • Immersive stage overall
  • Great punch and impact
  • Solid resolution and texture
  • A bit more macro focus in things
  • Could be a bit more coherent sounding

Take Home: Something more ballsy and is also unique in staging, hard to describe but it really impacts the Mysphere’s spaciousness in a positive way adding more separation and space, fairly technical and reasonably organic. This one is hard to describe, it has a sense of immediacy to the sound and it’s stage is almost overseperated and very holographic which makes it a really engaging listen, albeit not as organic.

DAC Pairings:
* Audio Note DAC 5 Special v2:

* Mojo Mystique EVO Pro

* Lampizator Golden Gate II:

* Aqua Formula xHD v2: While this DAC didn’t last long when I had it on demo since it ended up being a mismatch in most of my systems at the time, it worked suprisingly well here, creating a more organic and nuanced focus without taking away the energy or control the amp offered, pretty suprising to me.

Eddie Current Studio T – Neutrality, Nuance, & Texture

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good, but 3.1 was better
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lampizator Pacific
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new (if they still could be bought new), do hold their value used

  • Very nuanced overall, maintains very organic balance while cleaner
  • More lower level resolution focus with lots of texture, more micro
  • Impressive liquidity
  • Timbre is pretty damn solid
  • Stage is very deep and accurately placed
  • Could use a bit more control and command at times

Take Home: A more micro forward cleanly focus on things that’s pretty pleasing as it maintains being both pretty technical and pretty organic, although could use a bit more macro ability and control. A more reference sig with ever so slightly bit more body and sweetness, but pretty reference nonetheless, it does most things well (dynamics, stage, timbre, speed and separation) but I think it’s lack of real command over the headphone holds it back from the top. Currently Own

DAC Pairings:
* Lampizator Pacific:

* Totaldac D1-Direct + D1-Drivers:

* Audio Note DAC 5 Special v2:

* Mola Mola Tambaqui:

Concert Fidelity Charisma XHP-7 – Understated, Relaxed, & Organic

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Good, but 3.2 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Limited In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Nagra HD DAC + MPS
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – potentially worth my money, not fully sure, no used pricing known

  • A more smoother and softer side of things
  • Still great control and command
  • Very nice timbre
  • Impressively dense without overwhelming
  • Great resolution and texture
  • Still reasonable speed and separation, but can be too chill at times

Take Home: A bit more of a refined neutral/natural signature that is an understated over performer, very capable and organic at the same time, perhaps a slight bit too relaxed for my preferences though. This one is a bit weird, it’s got pretty phenomenal technical performance overall, but then somewhat ends up leaning too smooth and relaxed for the Mysphere to have good energy in the treble which holds it back a bit, still really enjoyable pairing though.

DAC Pairings:
* Nagra HD DAC + MPS:

* Audio Note DAC:

* Concert Fidelity DAC-040:

* I really wish I tried more DACs on this thing when I had it for a brief time, it was really good.

Modwright HA300 – Speed, Smoothness, & Liquidity

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good, but 3.1 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: MSB Signature DAC V + Signature Power Base
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, no used pricing known

  • More micro focus overall
  • Overall pretty balanced with a slight sweet lean
  • Fairly dynamic overall
  • Pretty detailed
  • Actually solid control
  • Great timbre
  • Can sometimes want a bit more sharpness in placement

Take Home: A more neutral and organic signature with still great technicalities and is pretty engaging, although a bit soft. This is a great overall balance for the headphone, it’s strengths complement the Mysphere and it doesn’t really sound all that lacking given the price either, it’s a fairly safe bet yet isn’t sacrificing anything with that safe bet, just really good synergy here.

DAC Pairings:
* MSB Signature DAC V + Signature Power Base

* Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced

* I really wish I could try more DACs on this thing when I demoed, it was really good.


Middle Of The Road

Amps that offer above good performance but not really at the level of the aforementioned, enough to impress but not enough to have any jaws hitting the floor. Good value here, wide range of amps lie here

Paltauf HPA-100 – Punch, Power, & Warmth

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No Data
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Limited Demo
Only Tested DAC Pairing: Holo May KTE
Confidence in Evaluation?: Medium
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, no used pricing known

  • Great impact, great control, surprising speed and separation
  • Very dynamic
  • Overall fairly balanced
  • Good timbre
  • Spatially grand
  • Can sometimes lack some nuance and low level resolution

Take Home: A surprisingly punchy and controlled amp for the price, a more neutral warmer signature with great command, spatial recreation, and dynamics. This is a pretty enjoyable amp that does really give the Mysphere a more grand stage, solid macrodynamics, real solid grip and control, adds more weight and also more punch, and is tonally fairly pleasing overall. I just feel it’s lacking a bit of the lower level detail that feels a bit oversmoothed and also while it’s stage is larger it does lack some depth and some placement accuracy. I do wish I got more time with this one, if I did my impressions may be a bit more favorable, this amp seems like an awesome value pick and does tend to really make these headphones come alive overall. It’s something that might really lead this tier for value per dollar, but I would need more time to confirm. Personal Favorite*

LTA MZ3 – Resolution, Background, & Dynamics

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Just go 3.2
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lampizator Golden Gate II
Confidence in Evaluation?: Medium
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, do hold their value used

  • Excellent overall coherency and midrange performance, fairly clean sig
  • Great microdynamics and still solid macro
  • Timbre is great
  • Strong resolving power, with lots of speed and separation
  • Very black background and immersive stage
  • Might want more low end control and more impressive bass

Take Home: Pretty nuanced and refined with a more micro focus, ends up being a bit midrange priority but without lacking too much in other areas. I have good experience with this amp, but honestly I just don’t know if this pairing would be appealing to many people, it somewhat hyperfocuses on midrange leaving low end performance and control to be desired. I do enjoy this pairing, but am slightly iffy if it showcases what the Mysphere does best. Personal Favorite

OG Cavalli Liquid Gold – Richness, Weight, & Control

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Berkeley Alpha Reference 2
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new (if they still could be bought new), do hold their value used

  • Great grip and command, as with impact and slam
  • Tonally very nice, good tonal density, timbre pretty solid as well
  • Stage is pretty wide although somewhat more vague
  • Solid smoothness
  • More macrodynamic focus overall
  • Could use a bit more low level info

Take Home: A more macro take on things with great command and grip, large stage, and nice density and smoothness, although not the most technical, it gives a great sense of fun and enjoyment. This to me is somewhat like the AIC in that it really enriches and focuses on the bass, weight, grip and control, impact, and stage grandness while also having solid smoothness and tonality overall, bigger macro focus.

XI Formula S + Powerman – Refinement, Balance, & Background

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Standard
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: MSB Signature DAC V + Signature Power Base
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – potentially worth my money used, would hesitate for new

  • Pretty black background
  • Solid grip and control with good impact and slam
  • Balanced tonal density with a bit of extra weight, good timbre
  • Reasonably well balanced dynamically
  • Solid presentation with good resolving power, nice texture
  • Could use a bit more stage depth

Take Home: Overall balance and refinement with a bit of warmth and fun, pretty capable and a bit of extra richness with good accuracy, might want a bit more spatial performance though. This is a good all rounder combo, doesn’t really do anything wrong but nothing that stand out either, adds a bit more warmth and body while doing it which helps.

Pathos InPol Ear – Control, Linearity, & Holographicness

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good, but 3.1 was better
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: Limited Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Chord Hugo TT2 + M Scaler
Confidence in Evaluation?: Medium
Overall Value?: In The Middle – mixed on if it was worth my money or not new or used

  • Fairly neutral without being inorganic, pretty balanced
  • Good depth to stage, accurate placement
  • Equal balance between macro and micro
  • Good impact and slam, can hit reasonably hard
  • Somewhat lacking some lower level information or texture
  • Could be a bit more organic imo

Take Home: Overall something more both refined and technical, although lacks some organicness but the technical ability does make up for that I think. Speed and separation are really good here, as is grip and control, and treble has a bit of extra sparkle which helps. Overall I do like the pairing but find it a bit lacking on something I can’t quite put my finger on.

Luxman P-750u – Softness, Smoothness, & Sweetness

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Rockna Wavelight
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – too expensive in the US, potentially worth my money if I lived elsewhere

  • A fair bit of smoothness without overwhelming
  • Nice warmth and weight
  • Fairly dynamic overall
  • Resolution well presented
  • Great grip and control
  • Great timbre
  • Can sometimes find it a bit too relaxed

Take Home: Adds more weight, great for space, reasonably organic, really helps with impact and bass overall, can sometimes need more sparkle in the treble though. This is a good option for something more lying in the soft, sweet, and smooth camp, although despite that softness the control is actually quite good, stage is pretty well defined as well, and lower level resolution doesn’t really seem compromised either. It doesn’t quite have the speed and separation of other options, and can be tilted too far with the wrong dac pairing but I think it’s a pretty enjoyable combo.

Allnic HPA 3000 GT – Cleanliness, Dynamics, & Sweetness

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Just go 3.1
Preferred Cushions: Standard or Bass
Listening Experience: Limited Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: SW1X DAC III
Confidence in Evaluation?: Medium
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, drop reasonably used

  • Overall pretty well balanced tonally
  • Good control and grip, nice impact
  • Very solid dynamics
  • Nice resolving power and texture
  • Spatially fairly impressive
  • Presentation could be a bit more refined and organic

Take Home: A more neutral clean but slightly sweeter signature, overall pretty refined and pretty technical, though would have liked to spend more time with the pairing. This was overall pretty enjoyable, it offered a cleaner and technical yet well weighted signature, dynamics were strong, control was pretty good, and spatially it was fairly involved. I do think it could get a bit hotter in the treble and lacked some smoothness.

Pass HPA-1 – Balance, Dynamics, & Presentation

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Just go 3.2
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lampizator Golden Gate II
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, close to half off used makes it even better

  • Very well balanced overall in tonality, smoothness, and weight
  • Organic presentation
  • Fairly dynamic overall
  • Resolution well presented
  • Great grip and control
  • Great timbre
  • Good all rounder sometimes slightly duller

Take Home: Overall really well rounded and balanced and is able to add a bit of extra warmth and body without breaking balance. One of those where it isn’t the most technical, but it is really refined and has enough technical performance to not be an issue, something that is just so well balanced I keep coming back to it. Personal Favorite

Cayin HA300 – Sweetness, Smoothness, & Holographicness

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No Data
Preferred Cushions: Bass or Transparent
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Lavry Quintessence
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, close to half off used makes it even better

  • Sweeter leaning overall
  • Nice presentation and tonality
  • Fairly dynamic overall
  • Nice smoothness
  • Holographic stage
  • Great timbre
  • Could use a bit more grip and control

Take Home: Pretty enjoyable and fun without being technically lacking, adds nice warmth and richness to things and spatially big. It offers what you might expect but doesn’t really excel in one specific aspect, just a good overall all rounder for something on the sweeter and warmer forward side of things, I do like it’s timbre and tonality, and spatial performance is good too, but I think it might hamper the speed and separation of the Mysphere along with lacking some real tightness.

Modwright Tryst – Speed, Smoothness, & Liquidity

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good but 3.1 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Only Tested DAC Pairing: MSB Signature DAC V + Signature Power Base
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, no used pricing known

  • Reasonably balanced presentation
  • Slight sweet lean
  • Fairly dynamic overall
  • Pretty detailed
  • Good control
  • Great timbre and tonality

Take Home: Overall really well rounded and balanced, adds a slight bit of sweetness and fun. This just was another do it all well but more refined than something like the Cayin (although slightly less technical), pretty enjoyable and well rounded for the price.


Reasonable Starting Point

I think with these amps, they are the point where the Myspheres really start to show how capable they are and start to become worth their upfront cost. You can go lower than these and get a decent experience, but imo I’d at least start here if you can

Violectric V550 – Linearity, Resolution, & Control

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: Extended Demo
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Rockna Wavelight
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, no used pricing known

  • Fairly neutral with good body
  • Very nice grip and control
  • Equal dynamic focus
  • Fairly good low level resolution
  • Good depth and placement accuracy
  • Tonality could be a bit better

Take Home: Overall fairly studio neutral but still reasonably organic, well balanced and techincal without being harsh. This one is surprising for how well rounded it is for this cost, it’s able to provide good low level information that’s well presented, have pretty great grip and control, offer solid dynamics, and while spatially it’s not the largest it does have good depth. Not really much I can complain here, nice pairing. Personal Favorite

Ferrum OOR + Hypsos – Speed, Smoothness, & Slam

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Just go 3.2
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Mojo Mystique EVO Pro
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: In The Middle – potentially worth my money used but no used prices yet at time of writing

  • Neutral smooth
  • Larger more grand and large stage
  • Stronger macro focus
  • Great grip and control with strong impact
  • Strong speed and separation
  • Texture is lacking and stage is somewhat lacking depth

Take Home: Takes a more macro overall focus without being harsh or overly forward, slightly lacking when it comes to micro. This I think leans too far into one specific focus, but if you find a large macro focus as a goal, this really is the one to have at this price point, although it’s lack in low level and micro can leave you wanting. Currently Own

Woo WA22 – Sweetness, Body, & Spaciousness

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Good but 3.1 was better
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Limited Demo
Only Tested DAC Pairing: Schiit Yggdrasil A2
Confidence in Evaluation?: Medium
Overall Value?: Solid – worth my money new, drops reasonably used

  • Pretty enjoyable spatial recreation
  • Pretty dynamically balanced
  • Great timbre
  • Pretty detailed
  • Good control
  • Might be a bit to smooth for some

Take Home: Great for something a bit sweeter and more rich while also having a reasonably neutral signature with great stage and dynamics. This was great at adding more life and character into the Mysphere without losing out on technical ability, kept things relatively neutral, and offered a great stage, but might be better with more control over the driver

Bryston BHA-1 – Warmth, Command, & Refined

Preferred Version: 3.2 (O)
What about the other?: No data
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: Limited Demo
Only Tested DAC Pairing: Dangerous Music Convert 2
Confidence in Evaluation?: High
Overall Value?: Solid* – worth my money new, commonly half off used makes it even better

  • Nice impact and slam
  • Slight sweeter lean, great warmth, fairly refined
  • Dynamically pretty balanced
  • Organic presentation
  • Great resolving power
  • Can lack treble sparkle at times

Take Home: Both a more fun pairing but still composed, adds nice meat on the bone and solidity to the Mysphere and offers great fun. This somewhat reminded me of both a brute force approach and something too tamed at the same time, while it has great impact, dynamics, and weight, it somewhat lacked a true grip on the drivers and felt somewhat softer there. I do think it has good lower level resolution, timbre, and tonality to it for the price though. Spatially large but depth not as stand out Personal Favorite


The Bare, Bare Minimum

I personally wouldn’t suggest getting a Mysphere if you are only going to pair it with amps at or under this level of performance, you might find it not able to justify the cost of the headphones, but if I have to pick some amps to drive these headphones in this range, it would likely be these:

  • Burson Soloist 3XP (3.2) – Great for overall command and control, macro focus
  • Quicksilver Headphone Amp (3.1) – Great for overall spatiality and dynamics
  • Violectric V280 (3.2) – Great for overall refinement and nuance, micro focus

I won’t really elaborate too much on them because I do really think you’d want to be at the “Reasonable Starting Point” tier. I do think I’m being a bit harsh here, but it really is a case of the headphones deserving better imo (but some may disagree of course)


Portable Amp Options:

Yes you can take these headphones portable, to actually good results with a few specific options. I would roughly place both of the portable amps potentially in-between the Middle Of The Road and Reasonable Starting Point category performance wise (but more leaning Starting Point, still actually better value though)

Woo WA8 Eclipse – Sweet, Relaxed, & Nuanced

Preferred Version: 3.1
What about the other?: Just go 3.1
Preferred Cushions: Transparent
Listening Experience: In House?
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Luxury & Precision P6 Pro
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid

  • Neutral but smoother and relaxed
  • Well balanced weighting and smoothness
  • Deep stage
  • Organic timbre and tonality
  • Surprisingly good control
  • Solid dynamics
  • Might want more energy from time to time

Take Home: A smoother more relaxed pairing overall with a larger micro focus that does a lot right for being something I can take with me. Helps calm down the Mysphere a bit while adding more solidity, yes it is on the looser side of things and also not the most resolving, it really is just a pleasant experience mainly due to the dynamics and the presentation of things that’s much better than you’d expect for being a portable. Currently Own, Personal Favorite

Mass Kobo 424/428 – Clean, Fast, & Tight

Preferred Version: 3.2
What about the other?: Just go 3.2
Preferred Cushions: Bass
Listening Experience: In House?
Favorite Tested DAC Pairing: Luxury & Precision P6 Pro
Confidence in Evaluation?: Very High
Overall Value?: Solid

  • Very clean and neutral without being overdone
  • Very tight with great control
  • Dynamically pretty balanced
  • Speed and separation are very good
  • Pretty resolving, more depth than width
  • Can be a slight bit too forward at times

Take Home: Something both fairly no nonsense and reasonably organic in a portable package. Basically a baby 394II that while not as technically proficient it really does hold up well for the price. Currently Own, Personal Favorite


A Few Comparisons:

Going to hammer home again that you won’t get a satisfactory experience if you have lacking source gear. It will be blunted, uninvoling, spatially unimpressive, limp, and typically somewhat midrange centric in a really bad way, or really all over the place, it depends on the pairing. It just will suck if it’s not being fed by good enough gear, and the right good gear at that. This is both amp and DAC here, I only really covered amps, but make sure you grab equally good DAC to pair with those amps that have proper synergy. The whole chain matters, I just didn’t have the time nor energy to go over potential DAC pairings (and in cases where I demoed the amp, I didn’t have the ability to do that regardless)

A lot of the headphones in the comparisons like the SR1A, Susvara, 1266, D8KP will provide a better experience on the cheaper gear, for reference on the comparisons, I was assuming both were on a chain that I’d consider in the “Following Close Behind” or above range. If the comparisons were done mainly referencing using lower tier gear, they would be less favorable to the Mysphere’s in some aspects

Also you may notice how I sort of lumped together the 3.1 and 3.2 in comparisons, this was because I think it really just depends on the amp you go with. While I do think the 3.1 can take the performance edge over the 3.2 most of the time, it really, really just depends on the amp you are running, and what amp you have will dictate the version you go for moreso than the differences between them. Makes it easier to compare, and I still think it’s reasonably accurate in the end, because they are more similar than different (when compared to these other headphones) and can both be on the same tier as each other given they have optimal synergy, there are still differences, but I think grouping them together for comparisons sake does fairly represent the differences well enough in this case. Basically take the comparisons as being applicable to both the 3.2 and 3.1 assuming you have the right chains for either for the most part

I will also be quickly noting how far the headphones scale and what tier they feel in with each amp category bracket for a bit more clarification but not sure how helpful that might be. I will say, with the amp categories, they are just rough performance tiers I’ve arbitrarily assigned for simplicity, and also just because the aforementioned amps work well with the Mysphere doesn’t mean they will always work well with the headphones in the comparison (but there is some overlap in some cases), so just assume that when I mention those amp performance tiers that it’s a good synergy and on a similar level to the amps for the Mysphere for the comparison, if that makes sense, hopefully

A glossary for the terms I use will be at the bottom of the article, since the way I like to compare favors that

The Obvious One: Mysphere vs RAAL SR1a

It’s pretty much the only modern competition this headphone has, and honestly I don’t even know if I’d really call it competition because they both fill very different goals, but both are more that open floating driver style so it feels fit to compare them. Assume both headphones are powered by and equally good high end source with good synergy. I’ve personally mostly heard the SR1a the most on the HSA-1b so that’s what I’ll base the performance level off here when accounting for things to be even. I would like to have more time with the SR1a, I feel like I’ve heard it enough to be able to make the comparison, but absolutely not as much experience as I have with some of the later mentioned cans where I can do more direct comparisons. I’ve also averaged the experiences between the 1 and the 2 here for simplicity as well.

I personally like the Myspheres more than the RAAL for a few reasons:

  • More realistic presentation/more immersive stage + blacker background
  • Better midrange texture
  • More organic timbre in the midrange
  • More refined tonality
  • More realistic transient response
  • Better macrodynamics and more convincing presentation of dynamics
  • Better tonal density
  • More impact in the midrange and low end

These are really what push it over the bar for me over the RAAL, but the RAAL does have some distinct advantages over the Myspheres. Strengths of the RAAL over the Mysphere:

  • More resolution in the bass and treble (but I personally feel that the Mysphere equals midrange resolution
  • Better speed and separation
  • Better texture in bass (but Mysphere has better midrange texture)
  • Much more control and tightness (except in the midrange)
  • More grandiose presentation
  • Better extension

To touch on stage and presentation, Mysphere more accurately recreates the way a pair of nearfield monitors would present to me and also lays out different aspects in a way that feels more how it would be done in life, where with the RAAL, I think that it presents more like a big panel speaker which does give you a more grand and wall of sound presentation, but it lacks natural space and that’s also not how an actual stage in front of you would be laid out

When it comes to texture, I do think the SR1A takes the cake in the bass and the treble, but the midrange feels more nuanced and tangible on the Myspheres, but again that’s only in the midrange and that advantage disappears when you deviate from the middle of the spectrum

The timbre thing is interesting, while the RAAL better recreates timbre to the recording, the Mysphere imo has more convincing timbre to life in the midrange but the RAAL is doing it better in the low end and treble, but it might be in presentation of timbre or something, but the Mysphere to me sounds more convincing and liquid when it comes to lower, center, and upper midrange

The tonality thing is more preference, but to me the Mysphere’s neutral-natural but slightly mid centric signature better suits more organic music and offers more convincing balance than the RAAL, which does have a damn flat studio neutral bright signature, but it’s not one I’d say is as convincing, but I do think the RAAL’s tonality better suits both inorganic music and studio work (and also potentially classical)

Transient response is an arguable one. I do think the RAAL offers more precision to the recording and the chain in this regard, but to me it goes a bit too far with it’s attack and decay to the point it where it doesn’t sound as organic as an actual instrument, so it feels exaggerated, basically too precise to a flaw (although this is more observable in the midrange and bass, I think it’s transient response is most organic in the treble and better than the Mysphere in that area)

When it comes to macrodynamics, I do think the RAAL just lacks there, it can’t make those bigger swings sound natural and feels limited, where the Mysphere to me can handle those with more ease and realism (but again the RAAL can pull off those more minute changes with ease)

The tonal density thing is fairly apparent to me with the RAAL, it’s pretty thin and it’s weighting is hard to get to a level where it feels appropriate, the Mysphere more accurately weights instruments and can adjust it’s weight more to the recording

On that note, to me the Mysphere does a better job at disappearing and adapting to the recording, moreso than the RAAL does. But this one will strongly depend on the person

Impact wise, neither really hit all that hard, but the Mysphere can deliver a more actual punch than the RAAL can from my experiences

Mysphere works well at lower volumes, where I think the RAAL need to be pushed

But to sum it up, anything that happens in the midrange, I honestly feel that the Mysphere either equals or outperforms the RAAL in assuming equal level source gear chains and synergy, and also I personally feel the Mysphere offers a more true to life experience where the RAAL delivers a more true to recording one (but the RAAL is more impressive when you go for treble or lower bass). Both are equally valid approaches and which one people gravitate to is preference, both are solid and will impress if they are given adequate source gear imo. Scaling wise both can really go high if you let them, although to me the Mysphere is more picky on synergy imo (especially the 3.1) where the RAAL can impress more on less impressive source gear than the Mysphere can

Against Another Organicness Champ: Mysphere vs Hifiman Susvara

Now that it’s back in the traditional headphone land. The Susvara has always done a great job when it comes to low level information, texture, timbre, and real control and grip, and in some cases it can provide a more satisfactory experience than the Myspheres, but not in every case. Again assuming equally tiered source gear with good synergy and averaged experiences.

Main chains used for direct comparison where they had good synergy with both headphones at similar enough levels:

  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Riviera AIC-10 w/ Brimar CV4003 -> Susvara w/ DHC Prion4 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Lampizator Pacific w/ RK 5U4G & PX25 -> Angstrom Stella HP MK2 -> Susvara w/ DHC Prion4 & 3.1 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Either DAC -> Grandinote Demone -> Susvara w/ DHC Prion4 & 3.1 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Auralic Aries G2.1 -> Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref -> Viva Egoista 845 MK2 w/ Sylvania VT-231 & EML 5U4G Mesh -> Susvara w/ DHC Prion4 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB

Other less direct comparisons made off of different chains where synergy favored one over the other as well, all averaged in this comparison

At a glance, I personally think the Mysphere do better in:

  • More realistic presentation/more immersive stage + blacker background, more grand and large without sounding overdone or unconvincing
  • Better macrodynamics and can handle the larger swings of music better with more convincing dynamics overall
  • More organic timbre especially in the midrange
  • More realistic transient response, as in feels very correct to life
  • Better tonal density (similar quantity but I feel quality is better on the Mysphere)
  • More impact in the midrange and more physical punch

What the Susvara does better in:

  • More resolution in general
  • More speed and separation (but might be less organic and refined than the Mysphere)
  • Better texture overall
  • Much more control and tightness outside the midrange
  • More accurate to recording stage
  • Better extension
  • More forgiving
  • Smoother overall

Breaking it down in more detail:
Glossary at bottom of article; what the symbols mean:
= means about similar, perhaps slight edge to the first over the 2nd
‎>= means a bit better, noticeable but not enough to push it over the next tier edge
‎> means fairly better but not massively so, possibly next tier better but not decidedly so
‎>> means stand out better, pretty easily noticeable, easily next tier better or a bit above
‎>>> means skipping multiple tiers, leagues better

Macrodetail/Surface Level Detail: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara just is able to generally pull more information from the recording, and it’s easier to notice without being offensive as well
Microdetail/Low Level Detail: Susvara >= Mysphere
* Mysphere comes back with lower level, it’s almost as good as Susvara, but presents it more convincingly and engagingly vs the Susvara
Speed: Susvara = Mysphere
* Hard comparison, as the Susvara is quicker and more composed, but Mysphere feels more realistic in it’s speed
Separation: Susvara > Mysphere
* The Susvara is able to handle more complexity and better separate lower level info than the Mysphere
Control & Grip: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara does just have more control and command on what’s going on, but Mysphere very close in the midrange
Impact & Slam: Mysphere >= Susvara
* Mysphere offers more impact and physical feeling slam in the bass, but not subbass like Susvara
Midrange Texture: Susvara >= Mysphere
* Close, but Susvara does it a bit better, but Mysphere is right behind
Bass Texture: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara a fair bit better here, especially in the subbass
Treble Extension: Susvara > Mysphere
* The Susvara does reach farther but the Mysphere feels more refined in it’s treble
Bass Extension: Susvara >> Mysphere
* Susvara can just go much lower while being more linear and accurate
Microdynamics: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara can just make those minute changes more accurately while being presented very convincingly, Mysphere can equal presentation but doesn’t have that level of small changes
Macrodynamics: Mysphere > Susvara
* Do think the Mysphere offers larger swings with greater composure than the Susvara
Background Blackness: Mysphere >> Susvara
* The vacant background of the Mysphere is more immediately impressive
Stage Width: Mysphere >> Susvara
* Mysphere can reach a lot farther than the Susvara can depending on how angled out it is
Stage Depth: Susvara >= Mysphere
* Susvara does more precisely portray depth and range within it’s stage, but Mysphere isn’t that far off
Stage Verticality: Mysphere >= Susvara
* It’s close, although I think the Mysphere can be more vertical and surrounding
Stage Boundary: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara sounds more clearly defined at stage edges and changes more on recording, Mysphere slightly more diffuse in stage
Placement Accuracy: Susvara >= Mysphere
* Susvara has more accurate placement to the recording, Mysphere more accurate placement to life
Presentation Organicness: Mysphere > Susvara
* See above
Presentation Openness: Mysphere >> Susvara
* Mysphere feels more overall open and expansive in it’s presentation, not to say the Susvara feels closed in though
Timbre: Mysphere >= Susvara
* Mysphere does have more organic midrange timbre especially, but in the low bass the Susvara might be able to do it a bit better
Tonality Organicness: Mysphere > Susvara
* Personally find the Mysphere more tonally correct but for more synthetic music the Susvara might sound more organic, so it really depends
Tonal Density Quantity: Mysphere >= Susvara
* The Mysphere sounds consistently a bit more weighted, but not overdone and the Susvara isn’t lacking in weighting either
Tonal Density Quality: Mysphere > Susvara
* Mysphere feels more organic in it’s weighting and can more greatly adapt it’s weighting
Smoothness: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara does feel smoother generally, not as balanced as Mysphere though
Softness/Roundness: Mysphere >= Susvara
* Mysphere does feel a bit softer and rounder especially in the low end and upper treble
Liquidity: Mysphere > Susvara
* Mysphere does feel more liquid overall with better flow
Coherency: Mysphere >= Susvara
* Mysphere also feels more coherent and seamless as a whole, but Susvara does not lack here either
Forwardness: Mysphere > Susvara
* Mysphere feels more consistantly forward in presentation, Susvara slightly more relaxed
Energy & Incisiveness: Mysphere > Susvara
* Mysphere is more energetic and direct in it’s sound, Susvara feels less direct
Forgivingness: Susvara > Mysphere
* Susvara takes more kindly to both lesser recordings and source gear in comparison and doesn’t drastically change as much
Overall Treble: Susvara >= Mysphere
* Susvara can just overall pull more info at higher ranges, but Mysphere feels more convincing in tonality and presentation of treble
Overall Midrange: Mysphere > Susvara
* The Mysphere just typically lives in the midrange and that’s really where things shine for it
Overall Bass: Susvara = Mysphere
* This might seem weird, Susvara is more technically capable in the bass, but Mysphere feels more realistic to life, but from at technical perspective the Susvara does it better, but different goals
Overall Subbass: Susvara >> Mysphere
* The Susvara just has more to offer here, weaker aspect of the Mysphere but not lacking enough to ruin experience for them

I think the Mysphere spatial recreation/stage and presentation, timbre and tonality, and it’s portrayal of dynamics do allow it to stack up favorably against the Susvara even though in a lot of technical aspects the Susvara does outperform the Mysphere. The Susvara is easily a better all rounder and is more faithful to the recording, and also more forgiving music wise, but with specific tracks the Mysphere can really come alive and match or exceed the overall enjoyment I get from the Susvara. So both amazing cans, all depends on what you prioritize and what you enjoy. Both work well at lower volumes, although I do think the Mysphere does better with real low btw. I basically rotate between these 2 very often depending on what I’m listening to, so these both are staples of my listening

Quick note on scaling: I think the Susvara can scale just as well as the Mysphere can, but at the same time the Susvara is able to provide a more pleasant experience than the Mysphere on less than ideal source gear. For reference, I think with amps from Starting At The Top to Following Close Behind have the Susvara and Mysphere on the same performance tiers trading blows. For a lot of the amps within Middle Of The Road I think you might see the Susvara slightly feeling higher tier overall but still trading some blows, but with Reasonable Starting Point and below, I think the Susvara will just pull ahead for most people as it can seemingly do more with less vs the Mysphere which won’t be so charitable to those amps. I haven’t really found an enjoyable portable setup for the Susvara though where there are options for the Mysphere there as well, so that’s a bonus

A Reference Focused Can: Mysphere vs Focal Utopia

Yada yada assume the aforementioned you get the idea. The Utopia is like a very neutral reference can, it tries to give you as much as possible without trying to add to much, more trying to show you the recording. While it is forward, it isn’t forceful or anything, very nuanced and technical without being offensively so, actually somewhat smooth. It has a very unique stage that is spherical and wrap around that lets you pick out things easily. Feels like a more analytical reference take on things without having a lot of the analytical drawbacks. I can’t say it sounds the most realistic, but I can say it sounds very faithful to the recording and really shows you what’s there, and at times that is pretty desirable and can make things really pop. Can really show dynamics organically though, it’s dynamic capability is very high. The Mysphere does go for a different sort of sound but I think it’s still reasonable to compare the two

Main chains used for direct comparison where they had good synergy with both headphones at similar enough levels:

  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Riviera AIC-10 w/ Brimar CV4003 -> Utopia w/ Danacable Lazuli Nirvana & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Angstrom Stella HP MK2 -> Utopia w/ Danacable Lazuli Nirvana & 3.1 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Lampizator Pacific w/ RK 5U4G & PX25 -> Eddie Current Studio T w/ RCA 2A3-> Utopia w/ Danacable Lazuli Nirvana & 3.1 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Lampizator Pacific w/ RK 5U4G & PX25 -> Mass Kobo 394 II -> Utopia w/ Danacable Lazuli Nirvana & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB

Other less direct comparisons made off of different chains where synergy favored one over the other as well, all averaged in this comparison

At a glance, I personally think the Mysphere do better in:

  • More realistic presentation/more immersive stage + blacker background, more grand and large, better accuracy overall
  • Better midrange texture, timbre, organicness
  • More microdynamic and more convincing presentation of dynamics
  • More realistic transient response
  • Better tonal density
  • Better control and impact in the midrange
  • Better speed and separation

What the Utopia does better in:

  • Smoother overall without being disruptive or inorganic
  • Potentially more macrodynamic although less natrual
  • Stage is more holographic and spherical but not natrual
  • More control and tightness in the bass
  • Better extension overall
  • Better treble refinement and great treble energy

Breaking it down in more detail:
Glossary at bottom of article; what the symbols mean:
= means about similar, perhaps slight edge to the first over the 2nd
‎>= means a bit better, noticeable but not enough to push it over the next tier edge
‎> means fairly better but not massively so, possibly next tier better but not decidedly so
‎>> means stand out better, pretty easily noticeable, easily next tier better or a bit above
‎>>> means skipping multiple tiers, leagues better

Macrodetail/Surface Level Detail: Mysphere >= Utopia
* They offer somewhat similar immediate forward resolution, slight edge to the Mysphere
Microdetail/Low Level Detail: Mysphere > Utopia
* Mysphere does pull more lower level detail in a more convincing and better presented manner that’s easier to differentiate
Speed: Mysphere > Utopia
* The Mysphere generally is very quick while being very natural, moreso than the Utopia
Separation: Mysphere >= Utopia
* The Utopia is very solid when it comes to separation, and does get close to the Mysphere here, but one big thing to note is that the Utopia is more artificial in it’s separation whereas the Mysphere is more natural
Control & Grip: Mysphere >= Utopia
* Mysphere has generally better control, but the Utopia does have better control in the lower bass, but not the rest of the range
Impact & Slam: Mysphere > Utopia
* Mysphere offers more impact and physical feeling slam in the bass overall, the Utopia is more polite here
Midrange Texture: Mysphere > Utopia
* The Mysphere does this better, but the Utopia is also pretty good here, just not Mysphere level
Bass Texture: Utopia >= Mysphere
* Utopia is able to offer a bit more lower bass tangibility and texture than the Mysphere, but getting closer to the midrange the Mysphere does better
Treble Extension: Utopia >> Mysphere
* The Utopia shines here in it’s overall extension and balance, Mysphere more polite
Bass Extension: Utopia >= Mysphere
* Utopia can go lower more linearly, but not by as much as one would expect
Microdynamics: Mysphere > Utopia
* Mysphere can just make those minute changes more accurately while being presented very convincingly, Utopia is good at presentation but doesn’t reach the same level
Macrodynamics: Utopia >= Mysphere
* Overall the Utopia might edge out the Mysphere here, but they are more organically presented on the Mysphere and feel a bit artificial/exaggerated on the Utopia
Background Blackness: Mysphere >> Utopia
* The vacant background of the Mysphere is more immediately impressive
Stage Width: Mysphere >> Utopia
* Mysphere can reach a lot farther than the Utopia can, the Utopia is very intimate in comparison
Stage Depth: Mysphere >= Utopia
* While the Utopia sounds more immediately deep, it’s depth isn’t as organic and it doesn’t have the range of the Mysphere, but can get more intimate and close
Stage Verticality: Utopia >= Mysphere
* While the Utopia is less organic in it’s verticality, it is more consistently able to put things above, even if they shouldn’t exactly be there
Stage Boundary: Utopia >> Mysphere
* Utopia sounds more clearly defined at stage edges but isn’t as organic or convincing on that stage shape, Mysphere more diffuse in stage but more convincing
Placement Accuracy: Mysphere > Utopia
* Mysphere feels overall more organic and accurate at the same time, Utopia is good but feels artificial or bent to meet a specific goal
Presentation Organicness: Mysphere >> Utopia
* See above
Presentation Openness: Mysphere >= Utopia
* Mysphere feels more overall open and expansive in it’s presentation, Utopia is close
Timbre: Mysphere >= Utopia
* Mysphere does have more organic timbre, but Utopia is also very good here
Tonality Organicness: Mysphere > Utopia
* Personally find the Mysphere more tonally correct while the Utopia is more a cleanly reference
Tonal Density Quantity: Mysphere >= Utopia
* Both are well weighted although I think the Mysphere is a bit more overall balanced
Tonal Density Quality: Mysphere > Utopia
* Mysphere feels more organic in it’s weighting and can more greatly adapt it’s weighting
Smoothness: Utopia > Mysphere
* Utopia does feel smoother generally without sounding unbalanced or dull, it’s interesting
Softness/Roundness: Utopia >= Mysphere
* Utopia does feel a bit softer and rounder in general
Liquidity: Mysphere > Utopia
* Mysphere does feel more liquid overall with better flow
Coherency: Mysphere = Utopia
* Very strong on either can, slight edge to the Mysphere but close
Forwardness: Utopia > Mysphere
* Utopia feels more consistently forward in presentation
Energy & Incisiveness: Mysphere >= Utopia
* Mysphere is more energetic and direct in it’s sound, but Utopia is close
Forgivingness: Utopia >= Mysphere
* In terms of music I feel the Utopia is more forgiving by a slight bit, but both are very source picky
Overall Treble: Utopia > Mysphere
* Utopia just generally excels at this and is more extended and engaging here
Overall Midrange: Mysphere > Utopia
* The Mysphere just typically lives in the midrange and that’s really where things shine for it
Overall Bass: Mysphere >= Utopia
* The Mysphere bass just feels more technical, satisfying, and convincing, but Utopia can pull a bit more texture
Overall Subbass: Utopia > Mysphere
* Neither are champs here, but Utopia does have better extension and a bit more control which will let it pull ahead

It really looks like the Mysphere pulls ahead in most regards, but the Utopia is still a potentially compelling option. Generally I do think the Utopia is a more well rounded can overall that does offer some unique aspects like it’s spherical holographic stage, but anything that happens in the midrange I do personally prefer the Myspheres, same for staging where I do think the Mysphere are more impressive and accurate (but the Utopia is more holographic) and there’s also things they about equal in like resolution and texture (sans midrange). Both real solid headphones that serve different purposes well, both pretty unique in how they go about things as well. It is handy though that they end up having somewhat similar amp synergy, so it makes getting both on the same amp more feasible lol. I do end up reaching more for the Mysphere, but the Utopia still has it’s place for me and can still hang with it at times, but in the end I’d personally take a Mysphere over one most of the time

Quick note on scaling: I think both headphones are reasonably picky when it comes to amp pairing, but I do feel the Mysphere can scale ever so slightly higher. For reference, I think with amps from Starting At The Top have the Mysphere feeling like a higher tier headphone overall, where in Following Close Behind have them feeling a bit more equally tiered but still favoring the Mysphere more. For a lot of the amps in Middle Of The Road they feel pretty equally matched. With Reasonable Starting Point and below, I think the Utopia will pull ahead for most people, although I also think in that tier it’s not really showcasing what the Utopia can truly offer, but still plenty good enough to be worthwhile. I actually think both are fairly capable off portable amps (and actually the 2 I mentioned for the Mysphere do fantastic with the Utopia as well)

Something Totally Different?: Mysphere vs Abyss AB1266 PHI TC

This is a bit weird one, given that these headphones are almost going for something totally different, the Mysphere is focused on giving you a more organic experience with a focus on the midrange, while the 1266 is focused on giving you a more holographic experience with a focus in bass and treble, the Mysphere is clearly designed for more organic music, while the 1266 feels more at home with more modern music. The 1266 stand out are mostly it’s entire low end, it’s presentation, it’s impact and slam, and it’s control over the low end, and explosive macrodynamics. You can likely see there may be some similarities, or not lol

Main chains used for direct comparison where they had good synergy with both headphones at similar enough levels:

  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Riviera AIC-10 w/ Brimar CV4003 -> 1266 w/ Superconductor & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Mass Kobo 394 II -> 1266 w/ Superconductor & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Bricasti M21 Platinum -> Bricasti M28 -> 1266 w/ Superconductor & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Auralic Aries G2.1 -> Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref -> Viva Egoista 845 MK2 w/ Sylvania VT-231 & EML 5U4G Mesh -> 1266 w/ Superconductor & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB

Other less direct comparisons made off of different chains where synergy favored one over the other as well, all averaged in this comparison

At a glance, I personally think the Mysphere do better in:

  • More realistic presentation/more immersive stage + blacker background, more grand and large, better accuracy overall
  • Much better tonality and much better timbre
  • Easily more microdynamic and sometimes equaling in macro, more convincing presentation of dynamics
  • More realistic transient response, honestly might be more fast
  • Better tonal density
  • More impact in the midrange and better midrange overall hands down
  • A bit more resolving

What the 1266 does better in:

  • Better bass texture and extension
  • Great slam and impact with solid control
  • Very extended and even treble extension and capability
  • More artificially holographic stage in the bass
  • More forgiving and better all rounder

Breaking it down in more detail:
Glossary at bottom of article; what the symbols mean:
= means about similar, perhaps slight edge to the first over the 2nd
‎>= means a bit better, noticeable but not enough to push it over the next tier edge
‎> means fairly better but not massively so, possibly next tier better but not decidedly so
‎>> means stand out better, pretty easily noticeable, easily next tier better or a bit above
‎>>> means skipping multiple tiers, leagues better

Macrodetail/Surface Level Detail: 1266 = Mysphere
* 1266 feels like it has a lot of immediate resolution that’s clearly conveyed
Microdetail/Low Level Detail: Mysphere >> 1266
* This is where I find the Mysphere to greatly pull ahead, it ends up pulling more nuance and lower level information from recordings that the 1266 doesn’t capitalize on
Speed: 1266 >= Mysphere
* The 1266 is faster overall, but the Mysphere is more organic and realistic in it’s speed
Separation: Mysphere > 1266
* The Mysphere actually feels like it separates things out more in a more convincing manner
Control & Grip: 1266 > Mysphere
* 1266 has generally better control in most areas, although I might say the Mysphere has the edge in midrange control but not enough to outweigh it’s control in the lower end and treble
Impact & Slam: 1266 > Mysphere
* The 1266 hits hard in the bass and gives great physical slam, but the Mysphere does offer more of that in the Midrange
Midrange Texture: Mysphere >> 1266
* The 1266 is weak here, Mysphere is not
Bass Texture: 1266 >= Mysphere
* Despite the control and impact the 1266 can exercise, it doesn’t quite offer as much texture and nuance in it’s bass, but it’s subbass texture pulls it ahead overall which the Mysphere can’t match
Treble Extension: 1266 >> Mysphere
* The 1266 is very extended and even into the treble, moreso than the Mysphere but less natural
Bass Extension: 1266 >> Mysphere
* 1266 can dig a whole lot deeper with more linearity
Microdynamics: Mysphere >> 1266
* Mysphere can just make those minute changes more accurately while being presented very convincingly, the 1266 just doesn’t really do it that well
Macrodynamics: 1266 >= Mysphere
* Overall the 1266 might edge out the Mysphere here, but they are more organically presented on the Mysphere, but also more focused in the midrange
Background Blackness: Mysphere > 1266
* Mysphere is still better, but 1266 is also very strong in this aspect
Stage Width: Mysphere > 1266
* 1266 is wide but slightly unnatural, but Mysphere can reach wider without losing capability or organicness
Stage Depth: Mysphere >> 1266
* The depth in the stage on the Mysphere feels stronger and more convincing than on the 1266
Stage Verticality: Mysphere > 1266
* The Mysphere also handles verticality better than the 1266
Stage Boundary: Mysphere > 1266
* I do feel the Mysphere is able to represent the edges of it’s stage better than the 1266 can
Placement Accuracy: Mysphere > 1266
* Mysphere feels overall more accurate in how it places, 1266 is sharper but feels more flat in it’s accuracy
Presentation Organicness: Mysphere >> 1266
* The Mysphere is just more organic and convincing, makes the 1266 feel artificial
Presentation Openness: Mysphere >= Utopia
* Both are fairly open sounding, slight edge to the Mysphere
Timbre: Mysphere >> 1266
* 1266 is weak here, Mysphere is not
Tonality Organicness: Mysphere >>> 1266
* While the 1266 is not analytical, I’d say it’s somewhat on the leaner and dryer side of things, not very organic, recessed midrange, no contest
Tonal Density Quantity: Mysphere > 1266
* While the 1266 does not feel thin, it’s not as thickly weighted as the Mysphere, especially in the midrange
Tonal Density Quality: Mysphere >> 1266
* A fair bit more realistic in weighting
Smoothness: Mysphere >= 1266
* Don’t know how I feel here, the 1266 is smooth without seeming smooth, but not as much as Mysphere
Softness/Roundness: Mysphere >> 1266
* Mysphere is fairly softer and rounded in comparison
Liquidity: Mysphere >> 1266
* Mysphere does feel more liquid overall with better flow
Coherency: Mysphere >> 1266
* Very strong on Mysphere
Forwardness: 1266 >> Mysphere
* 1266 feels more consistently unnaturally forward in presentation
Energy & Incisiveness: 1266 >= Mysphere
* The 1266 is more energetic, but the Mysphere feels more direct
Forgivingness: 1266 >> Mysphere
* Somehow the 1266 is much more forgiving of both music and source
Overall Treble: 1266 = Mysphere
* 1266 is better extended and more technical, but Mysphere treble is more natural, somewhat draw
Overall Midrange: Mysphere >> 1266
* Easy win for the Mysphere here
Overall Bass: Mysphere > 1266
* So, I actually do like the Mysphere more for traditional bass, it’s more textured and convincing with better weighting, makes the 1266 feel more bland
Overall Subbass: 1266 >> Mysphere
* Clear focus on the 1266, hard for Mysphere to compete here

Due to pure extension and being more forgiving, I might call the 1266 a better all rounder, but in reality I feel for me they take up a similar specialist role, but I find myself using the Mysphere a lot more than I do 1266 even for some things where I might want a 1266. I think the 1266’s lack of lower level resolution, proper timbre, texture, and microdynamics in comparison to the Mysphere might have something to do with that. While I do think the 1266’s stage is fun and enjoyable, it’s not as impressive and immersive as the Mysphere’s, but with some music I do think it’s stage comes in handy. But bass is really the main reason I pick up the 1266 and that’s still the reason now. The Mysphere is better at lower volumes where you want to push the 1266 harder btw. So I do think while they are both pretty impressive in stage and wow factor, the Mysphere does have somewhat more to offer in the long term, as long as you’re main priority isn’t bass. I’ll be honest, after living with some of the headphones above, the 1266 has kinda shown it’s weaknesses more prominently after that, still has as place, but I don’t think as highly of it as I once did

Quick note on scaling: I actually think the Mysphere can just scale higher somehow, but the 1266 is more forgiving and still scales almost as well. I think with amps from Starting At The Top have the Mysphere feeling like a higher tier headphone overall, where in Following Close Behind and Middle Of The Road have them feeling equally tiered and trading blows more (although slight edge to the Mysphere in Following). With Reasonable Starting Point and below, I think the 1266 will pull ahead for most people although neither are ideal in that range. The 1266 with portable amps doesn’t quite work out well

Surprisingly Natural: Mysphere vs Final D8000 Pro

The D8KP really excels at bass definition and texture (which you wouldn’t think for the signature), can be pretty dang organic in the bass, very clean and clear signature without sacrificing much organicness overall, lots of depth with a very holographic and sharp stage, forward but not to the point where it’s troublesome, speed and separation are highlights for sure, lots of resolution overall, pretty dynamic, timbre surprisingly good. Signature wise it’s a bit of a mild U shape imo, but not to where the mids feel fully sucked out or anything. Great all rounder and also somewhat forgiving

Main chains used for direct comparison where they had good synergy with both headphones at similar enough levels:

  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Riviera AIC-10 w/ Brimar CV4003 -> D8KP w/ Brise Mikumari Ref.2 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Lampizator Pacific w/ RK 5U4G & PX25 -> Mass Kobo 394 II -> D8KP w/ Brise Mikumari Ref.2 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Lampizator Pacific w/ RK 5U4G & PX25 -> Eddie Current Studio T w/ RCA 2A3 -> D8KP w/ Brise Mikumari Ref.2 & 3.1 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Auralic Aries G2.1 -> Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref -> Viva Egoista 845 MK2 w/ Sylvania VT-231 & EML 5U4G Mesh -> D8KP w/ Brise Mikumari Ref.2 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB

Other less direct comparisons made off of different chains where synergy favored one over the other as well, all averaged in this comparison

At a glance, I personally think the Mysphere do better in:

  • More realistic presentation/more immersive stage + blacker background, more grand and large, better accuracy overall
  • Better midrange texture
  • More organic timbre
  • More dynamic overall
  • More realistic transient response
  • More convincing presentation of dynamics
  • Better tonal density
  • More impact in the midrange
  • Better speed and separation

What the D8KP does better in:

  • Better bass texture
  • More control and tightness in the bass
  • Better extension

Breaking it down in more detail:
Glossary at bottom of article; what the symbols mean:
= means about similar, perhaps slight edge to the first over the 2nd
‎>= means a bit better, noticeable but not enough to push it over the next tier edge
‎> means fairly better but not massively so, possibly next tier better but not decidedly so
‎>> means stand out better, pretty easily noticeable, easily next tier better or a bit above
‎>>> means skipping multiple tiers, leagues better

Macrodetail/Surface Level Detail: Mysphere > D8KP
* Mysphere immediately presents with more information
Microdetail/Low Level Detail: Mysphere >> D8KP
* Mysphere can pull more lower level info and nuance pretty well
Speed: Mysphere > D8KP
* The Mysphere is faster overall and is more organic and realistic in it’s speed
Separation: Mysphere >> D8KP
* The Mysphere feels like it separates things out more in a more convincing manner with greater space
Control & Grip: Mysphere > D8KP
* While the D8KP has generally better control over the bass, it lacks some in the midrange vs the Mysphere and that ends up with the Mysphere feeling like it has more control over things
Impact & Slam: Mysphere > D8KP
* The Mysphere offer better impact and slam in the midrange, and also the bass, but not subbass like the D8KP
Midrange Texture: Mysphere > D8KP
* Mysphere clearly is able to offer a more tangible midrange
Bass Texture: D8KP > Mysphere
* The D8KP is very good at bass texture, and is very organic at representing it, stand out
Treble Extension: D8KP > Mysphere
* The D8KP is very well extended and even into the treble, moreso than the Mysphere but less natural
Bass Extension: D8KP > Mysphere
* D8KP can dig deeper with more linearity
Microdynamics: Mysphere >> D8KP
* Mysphere can just make those minute changes more accurately while being presented very convincingly
Macrodynamics: 1266 >> Mysphere
* Mysphere can just make those larger swings more accurately and convincingly
Background Blackness: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* No contest
Stage Width: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* See above
Stage Depth: Mysphere >> D8KP
* The Mysphere is able to offer more range and depth within it’s stage
Stage Verticality: Mysphere >> D8KP
* The Mysphere handles verticality better overall
Stage Boundary: Mysphere > D8KP
* I do feel the Mysphere is able to represent the edges of it’s stage better than the D8KP can
Placement Accuracy: Mysphere >> D8KP
* Mysphere feels overall more accurate in how it places, D8KP is sharper but feels more flat in it’s accuracy
Presentation Organicness: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* The Mysphere is just more organic and convincing
Presentation Openness: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* Mysphere is fairly more open sounding
Timbre: Mysphere >> D8KP
* Mysphere feels like a step ahead
Tonality Organicness: Mysphere >> D8KP
* While the D8KP is not analytical, it’s more U shaped tonality marrs it’s organicness
Tonal Density Quantity: Mysphere > 1266
* While the 1266 does not feel thin, it’s not as thickly weighted as the Mysphere, especially in the midrange
Tonal Density Quality: Mysphere >> 1266
* A fair bit more realistic in weighting
Smoothness: Mysphere > D8KP
* D8KP while it is reasonably smooth, the Mysphere is smoother
Softness/Roundness: Mysphere >= D8KP
* The D8KP actually has a slight roundness to it that’s pleasing, but Mysphere still more rounded
Liquidity: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* No real contest
Coherency: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* See above
Forwardness: D8KP > Mysphere
* D8KP is more forward but not overly so
Energy & Incisiveness: Mysphere >> D8KP
* While the D8KP is fairly energetic, the Mysphere feels more direct
Forgivingness: D8KP >>> Mysphere
* The D8KP is surprisingly forgiving for the level of can it is
Overall Treble: Mysphere > D8KP
* D8KP is more extended but Mysphere is more technical and refined here
Overall Midrange: Mysphere >>> D8KP
* Easy win for the Mysphere here
Overall Bass: D8KP = Mysphere
* Tough, the D8KP does have better texture and tighter bass, although the Mysphere is more organic and better weighted
Overall Subbass: D8KP > Mysphere
* D8KP does have better extension and impact, and better texture

I do personally feel that the D8KP is lower tier in performance compared to the Mysphere overall, but it’s bass texture justifies this comparison well as it really does do well there. One big benefit to the D8KP is being reasonably forgiving on the source, so it can outshine the Mysphere if it’s handicapped on sources, so it’s easier to get a high quality experience out of it. I do personally feel though the Mysphere is in a different league, although I def still enjoy my D8KP, since they really do serve different roles. I do think the Mysphere works better at lower volumes and you want to push the D8KP harder.

Quick note on scaling: The Mysphere simply scales higher in most cases, but the D8000 Pro is much more forgiving and shines more on lower pairings. I think with amps from Starting At The Top and Following Close Behind have the Mysphere is clearly ahead overall, where in Middle Of The Road have them feeling more equally tiered and trading blows more but slight edge to the Mysphere in some cases. With Reasonable Starting Point and below, I think the D8000 Pro will pull far ahead in most cases. The D8000 Pro actually is more feasibly portable due to it’s greater forgivingness (also works very well with the aforementioned portable options too)

Intimate Enjoyment: Mysphere vs Audio Techinca ADX5000

The ADX5K is of the more underrated and underappreciated flagships imo, but at the same time I can see why given it’s more hefty source gear demands can leave a very underwhelming experience (as goes for most top tier cans). A pretty neutral and pretty honest can on the right chain, very technical while also being able to be pretty organic too. Very intimate and more up close and personal, but lots of depth and openness in the more close stage with pretty precise placement, tons of nuance and resolution especially low level information but presented in a fairly organic way, speed and separation are very strong, timbre is excellent, microdynamics are a main focus but macro isn’t bad either. Slightly on the brighter and lighter/leaner side of things but not to a fault. Really enjoyable for more organic music to add a bit of sweetness and closeness

Main chains used for direct comparison where they had good synergy with both headphones at similar enough levels:

  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Riviera AIC-10 w/ Brimar CV4003 -> ADX5K w/ AAW Aoraki Platinum 8 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac D1-Direct w/ D1-Drivers -> Mass Kobo 394 II -> ADX5K w/ AAW Aoraki Platinum 8 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Antipodes K50 -> Lampizator Pacific w/ RK 5U4G & PX25 -> Eddie Current Studio T w/ RCA 2A3 -> ADX5K w/ AAW Aoraki Platinum 8 & 3.1 w/ Kimber Axios HB
  • Auralic Aries G2.1 -> Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref -> Crayon CHA-1 -> ADX5K w/ AAW Aoraki Platinum 8 & 3.2 w/ Kimber Axios HB

Other less direct comparisons made off of different chains where synergy favored one over the other as well, all averaged in this comparison

I personally think the Mysphere do better in:

  • More realistic presentation/more immersive stage + blacker background, more grand and large, better accuracy overall
  • Better texture
  • More organic timbre
  • More dynamic overall
  • More realistic transient response
  • More resolving
  • Better speed and separation
  • More convincing presentation of dynamics
  • Better tonal density
  • More impact
  • More control and tightness
  • Smoother

What the ADX5K does better in:

  • Better treble refinement
  • Better treble extension
  • Smoother overall
  • A bit sweeter
  • A bit sharper imaging potentially

I’ll just do this in text this time:

Staging isn’t even a fair comparison, it’s pretty easily Mysphere in all regards. Sure the ADX5K might have a bit sharper imaging, but it doesn’t really aid in placement accuracy. To be fair though the 5K can get much more intimate and personal than the Mysphere can which is something to be said, but still overall it’s still pretty easily the Mysphere. When it comes to speed and separation, Mysphere is better. For overall control and grip, Mysphere is better. When it comes to texture, Mysphere is better. Dynamically, Mysphere is better. Timbre, Mysphere is better. For smoothness, Mysphere is actually slightly smoother actually with also better liquidity. Impact and slam, Mysphere is better.

Treble is the one area where the 5K might compete with me. It’s not as technically capable, but it does seem more balanced and refined in it’s tuning and presentation of treble, which is impressive. Still think Mysphere does this better but it’s something to be said

Midrange clearly is a Mysphere win here. Bass, somehow for once the Mysphere also pulls out a win here, it just does bass a fair bit better, and the AT doesn’t really even have that much extension or control. For forgivingness I’d say both are pretty picky but the Mysphere is more picky. I think both work equally well at lower volumes.

This really isn’t that fair of a comparison, the Mysphere is just a better (and also much more expensive) headphone, but the 5K is still a great headphone regardless. I do think it’s special sauce is in it’s treble refinement and very intimate presentation that the Mysphere can’t really do and doesn’t try to do. Interesting comparison, but the Mysphere kinda does most of the things it focuses on better imo.

Quick note on scaling: The Mysphere simply scales higher, honestly the ADX5000 isn’t that much less picky than the Mysphere and does scale well, but not to the level of the Mysphere. I think with amps from Starting At The Top and Middle Of The Road have the Mysphere is clearly ahead overall. With Reasonable Starting Point and below, they either equal out or the ADX5000 takes a slight lead. The ADX5000 can be used portable with reasonable success


Random Extras:

Use With A Sub

This was something that I saw some other community members trying, and honestly I can see why this is worthwhile doing. Of course it does require having the ability to have a sub going, and a setup that will allow you to accommodate one properly. Using just one is very nice to make up for some the roll off and also give a strong sense of actual impact and physicality, but using 2 also now allows you to hear more spatial information and add an even greater sense of speaker-like performance (although this requires more careful placement to make sure things sound right than the single sub). But if you can use it with a sub, I’d give it a try and see what you think, it really can be enjoyable. Not necessary or even always worthwhile to do, but it is an option for sure. I should say that I do personally think these have plenty of bass to really not need a sub or anything like that, of course it’s not going to hit anything near where a sub will in subbass, but with proper positioning and good pairings, for a lot of the music I listen to, I don’t really feel like bass is noticeably lacking

Quick Note On Cables

The stock cable really isn’t that great, moving to a different cable on the 3.2 was a vast improvement over stock, I personally went with a Kimber Axios Hybrid cable, but that’s really the only one I’ve tried since there really aren’t that many options when it comes to aftermarket cables for the Mysphere (special wiring). Some key differences are improved resolution, better speed and separation, more stage accuracy, better texture, and more tightness and control, better timbre, better dynamics as well. Tonality wise it does take a bit of midrange emphasis off it and make it more neutral and filling things out more. The stock cable is a bit more lean and dry and generally not as technically able in most aspects, it really is worthwhile to get a better cable here. Trying that cable on the 3.1 did improve some things, but also disrupted balance a bit so it wasn’t as favorable as on the 3.2 and it ended up sounding tonally not as great, but the technical upgrades were appreciated and I’d still suggest it regardless (perhaps going for the pure copper or pure silver might be more balanced than the hybrid). I’m having a friend make a custom cable for that as I write this, so I’ll be very excited to see how that turns out

EQ

Doesn’t need it in the slightest, but if you want to you can try adding more bass prominence, I’ve done this with a few hardware (2x Pultec EQP-1a, GML 8200) and software (FabFilter, Toneboosters), and while it has worked, I personally wouldn’t, I think it disrupts overall balance, and also if you go too far it can cause it to sound bloated or also lose control on some amps. So would not recommend doing it, you just aren’t going to be able to EQ away it’s lack of extension on either end, and honestly there really isn’t anything in the rest of the range that needs much work. If you do EQ, if using nicer hardware EQ expect some added coloration, and if using software expect some sonic deterioration in the time domain (although it’s not like good hardware fully avoids this either). Make sure to not drive them to their excursion limit in the low end or you might get issues

The Lunch Box

Comes with a quite nice case, actually something you can use to take the cans around without feeling like they could break, a proper carrying case. Also something that isn’t a pain in the ass to put in and take out either, unlike some other cases. Pretty nice

How Does It Hold Up To Actual Speakers?

I will tell you right away that while they are the most speaker like headphones I’ve heard, they are still not speakers and will not really replace speakers for most people. I do think they can offer a more immersive experience than most other headphones that is reminiscent of a well set up nearfield desktop speaker setup, it’s not really going to compare to some nice nearfield speakers in most aspects that make speakers so appealing, the presentation. I do think they can be a great alternative to a pair of nearfields and offer better value and sq doing so, but it’s still not speakers. They sit in a weird middle ground more between speakers and headphones, that other headphones outside things like the RAAL don’t occupy, not really leaning more toward the other, just sitting somewhat in the middle (although if I had to say, they do lean more toward headphone than speaker). These give you a taste of speakers and headphones at the same time, and it’s a pretty awesome place to be imo. I know speakers are always seen as the true king for at home listening, but I do personally think headphones can offer an equally worthwhile experience, and the Mysphere mixes aspects of both together in a really enjoyable way. I would do a comparison to some of the more nearfield speakers I commonly use, but I honestly don’t know if there’s as much value in doing that


Worthwhile?

While I wasn’t sold on them at first, now I might honestly say it’s something I’d consider my most worthwhile headphone purchase (along with the Susvara). There’s something about how it goes about how it offers the most accurate experience of listening to music in a room I’ve gotten from a headphone, and it’s presentation of almost nearfield speakers really changes things to overcome some of it’s weaker aspect. It’s got a midrange to die for, texture that’s rendered so well, presentation that is extremely convincing, spatial recreation that’s crazy accurate, and tonality and timbre that is awesome for almost all well recorded organic music. Sure it’s not the most resolving or well extended out of the bunch, but I think it’s realistic portrayal of dynamics, and it’s extremely technical midrange (the rest of the headphone isn’t as technical, so much realism there), and it’s phenomenal stage and presentation make it a winner for me. Might not be for everyone, and there are other awesome options out there as well, but this one has just captivated me the most over time.

Stand Out:
– Spatial recreation + background: Huge, accurate, extremely black background, just very natural and immersive. It’s biggest trait for sure
– Texture: It really does retrieve texture really well in the midrange, and despite not being the most textured out there for the money, the way it presents and renders it is awesome and makes up for that
– Timbre: Spot on imo
– Presentation: Very organic and convincing
– Dynamics: pretty well capable in both macro and micro and is presented very naturally
– Speed & Separation: It’s really quick and well separated, but not as much as some planar or estats in the same price range, but it’s one of the fastest headphones I’ve heard that remains organic at the same time, honestly also big selling point
– Overall balance: tuning and technical ability is great and never feel like they are competing with each other
– Tonal Density: Excellently weighted and balanced
– Coherency: Damn solid here
– Everything in the midrange: nothing more to really say

Good, But Not Stand Out:
– Resolution: more than enough, but it’s not the most resolving for the money, but presented very organically
– Impact/Slam: Punchy, but doesn’t really kick that hard
– Grip & Control: It’s really good for a dynamic, but not quite matching some of the planar at this price point, but honestly this could be in stand out possibly
– Smoothness: It’s solid here but not drawing much attention to itself, which I guess is a good thing, it is well balanced, honestly could also be in stand out possibly

Could Be Improved:
– Extension: It really lacks on both ends where it’s pretty noticeable. This can become a problem depending on pairing and also what you listen to, well below the average for this price point here (but that’s really to be expected for this style of design)

Suggested Pairings:
I’m not rewriting all of the above down here lol, see pairing section

Overall: Damn Solid


Further Discussion

To see more discussion and experiences around these headphones and get into the conversation yourself, check out the Mysphere forum post: https://forum.sonusapparatus.com/t/lb-acoustics-mysphere-3-1-3-2/294

Random Notes/More Information On Currently Most Used Setups/Extras/Afterthoughts/Glossary:

Sorry for the more brief impressions on the amp pairings, I honestly got overwhelmed trying to write about them and copy over past listening notes, I will add more info to them when I get the time to, for now I will just put it up as is. Also add a few more comparisons later on hopefully. Thanks for reading, I typically don’t write impressions about things unless I feel like it’s something more people should know about, and this is easily one of those things that I think people should give a shot if it seems appealing to them. To be honest, I did hesitate publishing something like this because it really does feel overly positive toward the Mysphere, but it really has been that way on my current setups, and I feel like my comparisons are accurate to my experiences on my setups. I do think that if I didn’t have the level of gear I have now, they would be somewhat less favorable in comparisons as mentioned beforehand, but hey that’s how it is for me at the current moment so that’s how I’ll do the comparisons

Might as well add what I normally listen to these days to give some closure on what I have settled on I guess. Not going to put everything down here, but will just put a few headphone (and one speaker) chains I currently own and find myself using the most these days, basically what I find the most satisfactory out of what I own. Not sure how helpful this would be, but figured it would be worth noting for potentially more context. Keep in mind this is what I use most commonly, doesn’t mean it’s the “best” pairing for them, just what I like to listen to most on a regular basis

Most used for Mysphere 3.1:
Antipodes K50 -> Ideon 3R Master Time Blackstar -> Lampizator Pacific (KR RK 5U4G + PX25) -> Angstrom Stella HP MK2 -> Mysphere 3.1 (cabling includes FTA Callisto USB, Audience AU24 SX RCA & power, custom Mysphere cable, components connected to a PS Audio P20)

Most used for Mysphere 3.2:
Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac d1-digital-mk2 -> Totaldac d1-direct -> Totaldac d1-drivers -> Riviera AIC-10 -> Mysphere 3.2 (cabling includes Transparent Reference AES, Audience AU24 SX XLR & RCA, TWL Obession power, Kimber Axios HB for Mysphere, components connected to a PS Audio P20)

Most used for Susvara:
Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac d1-digital-mk2 -> Totaldac d1-direct -> Totaldac d1-drivers -> Grandinote Demone -> Susvara (cabling includes Transparent Reference AES, Audience AU24 SX XLR & RCA, TWL Obession power, DHC Prion4 for Susvara (with speaker tap adapter), components connected to a PS Audio P20)

Most used for Utopia:
Antipodes K50 -> Ideon 3R Master Time Blackstar -> Lampizator Pacific (KR RK 5U4G + PX25) -> Eddie Current Studio T -> Utopia (cabling includes FTA Callisto USB, Audience AU24 SX RCA & power, Danacable Lazuli Nirvana for Utopia, components connected to a PS Audio P20)

Most used for 1266:
Auralic Aries G2.1 -> Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref -> Pass XP-32 -> Viva Egoista 845 MK2 -> 1266 (cabling includes JCAT Signature USB, Synergistic Atmosphere X Alive XLR & Power, Superconductor for 1266, components connected to a PS Audio P20)

Most used speaker setup:
Auralic Aries G2.1 (yes I need to upgrade this) -> Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref -> Aries Cerat Impera II Ref -> Aries Cerat Diana Forte -> Harbeth Monitor 40.2 40th AE + 2x JL Fathom f113v2 (cabling includes Transparent Reference AES, Nordost Frey 2 XLR & speaker, Shunyata Alpha v2 NR power, components connected to 2x PS Audio P20, and other things like room treatment and whatnot)

There’s other headphones and stuff I could talk about, but these are really my most used at this point. I guess here’s an IEM chain since I do have to use them a fair bit during work travel

Most used IEM chain:
Luxury & Precision P6 Pro -> (sometimes) Mass Kobo 424 -> Oriolus Traillii JP OR Rhapsodio Infinity MK2 OR MMR Thummim OR Hyla Sarda (cabling includes stock PW for Traillii, Evo Copper for Infinity MK2, Eletech Aeneid for Thummim, PW Blackicon Silver Gold for Sarda, PS X8 GPH 4.4mm interconnect between P6P and 424)

Lots of stuff, things that I have been slowly selling off and slimming down over time, I literally can’t afford to keep all this much money tied up in audio at this point so been downsizing (full chain information is on my forum profile). Simplifying and consolidating my chains have been rewarding, but it’s gotten pretty hard to sell stuff off, because when I typically listen to what I’m about to sell, it makes me question why I’m doing it and make me want to keep it again lol. Glad I’ve been able to find a solid group of friends (who have allowed me to hear the wide range of amps mentioned in the pairing section) and visit shows in this hobby to hear most of these things otherwise there’s no way I’d be able to otherwise. Too much awesome stuff out there, but also too much cost to go after a lot of it too lol.

Hard to not hear something awesome and wonder what else is out there, what’s above, and how far you can take things. I know just regret acting on that urge, since it’s eaten up way too much of my time, money, and energy. But hey the sound is worth it, lets me get the most enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of music, and that’s what counts I guess. Still could have gone about it more smartly though lol. Figured these years worth of information could be of use to someone out there so I might as well transfer my documentation from random notes to something more readable and potentially helpful.

If it wasn’t, and you’ve reached this far, I apologize for the inconvenience lol, I just hope it wasn’t a complete waste of time (yes the title was decided on before the actual article was written, thought it would be funny to leave it anyways). I wasn’t planning to write so much, wanted to keep things on the more brief and straight to the point side of things, but it’s hard to do that while still maintaining a level of detail/information that actually might be useful enough to do anything with imo. Also apologize for the heavier usage of the words people like to complain about, but I can’t really think of other easy ways to express what I’m hearing otherwise (which is why the words exist and are used in the first place). In order to try and give more information, I tried to further elaborate what I mean by them in a somewhat glossary below


Glossary

These aren’t too thought out definitions, just on the fly descriptions. This really should have been at the start and not the end shouldn’t it lol

Macrodetail/Surface Level Detail: How much upfront clearly apparent information can something pull out of the source?

Microdetail/Low Level Detail:
How much lower level and more nuanced information can something pull out of the source?

Speed: How fast can something respond overall to quick changes in music?

Separation: How well can something differentiate sounds happening at the same time, and accurately portray that space between things in three dimensions?

Control & Grip: How tightly can something follow the music and how much force can it also exert while doing it?

Impact & Slam: How well can something give visceral power and punch to things while keeping moderately composed overall?

Midrange Texture: How well can something represent perceived tangibility and feeling in the midrange?

Bass Texture: How well can something represent perceived tangibility and feeling in the bass?

Treble Extension: How far can something extend into the treble while remaining refined and composed?

Bass Extension: How far can something extend into the bass while remaining refined and composed?

Microdynamics: How well can something convey quick low level changes in volume while remaining audible and apparent, not being overwhelmed by more prominent information?

Macrodynamics: How well can something convey large changes of volume and scale while remaining audible and apparent, not feel limited or out of control?

Background Blackness: How well does something create a sense of nothingness between instruments, it’s ability to recreate empty space without the feeling of something being present when nothing should be? (Note, this is not noise floor aka background hiss)

Stage Width: How far can something extend in creating it’s space while still remaining coherent enough?

Stage Depth: How deep can something extend into the stage, how much range something has inside the stage inbetween the farthest and closest aspects?

Stage Verticality: How high or low can something go in it’s three dimensional space?

Stage Boundary: How sharply/clearly can something define the boundaries and limits of the stage, and how well do they shift depending on the source?

Placement Accuracy: How accurate is something at creating a convincing overall stage, accurately representing the location of sounds in space and time with precise definition?

Presentation Organicness: How realistic is the overall balance of something (all combined aspects), in a way that leans closer to live?

Presentation Openness: How open and expansive does something present within it’s boundaries?

Timbre: How accurate is something at creating the characteristics of an instrument or sound, other aspects that don’t directly focus on tonality, the general nature of the sound, how true does the instrument sound to life?

Tonality Organicness: How balanced is something in frequency response and how well does it prevent things from being masked or overwhelming each other throughout the entire range?

Tonal Density Quantity: How much weight and meatiness/thickness does something place on notes?

Tonal Density Quality: How well does something vary it’s weight to be accurate to the recording, and it’s ability to control the weight and prevent it from affecting other aspects?

Smoothness: How smooth and non fatiguing does something portray it’s sound, potentially blending together sometimes?

Softness/Roundness: How rounded and softened does something represent sharp attacks, potentially blunting or dulling them?

Liquidity: How well does something handle the natural flow of music without adding or subtracting things, flowing through without imparting any extra texture or sound of it’s own?

Coherency: How well does something portray a sense of unity and seamlessness overall?

Forwardness: How close does something bring the sound from where it should be, how much things are pushed toward you more than they normally would be?

Energy & Incisiveness: How directly, clearly, and energetically does something represent sound?

Forgivingness: How forgiving is something of both bad synergy with other components and bad source material, the ability to make even lesser recorded or poor matches sound more enjoyable?

Overall Treble: How capable, polished, and complete does the overall treble range sound on something?

Overall Midrange: How capable, polished, and complete does the overall midrange sound on something?

Overall Bass: How capable, polished, and complete does the bass range sound on something?

Overall Subbass: How capable, polished, and complete does the subbass range sound on something?

These aren’t absolute definitions or anything, in the end all of these things can play into each other, but this is mainly how I would describe them, but I’m sure they could be improved. I’m not the best at writing so it’s harder to convey what I’m hearing so I somewhat resort to using stuff like this. It’s also really hard to convey sound regardless of course, only real way to know what someone might be talking about is by having heard the thing in question, as you get more and more capable gear, it’s harder to articulate what you hear. It’s easier to describe something like a budget headphone because it’s simple in sound and there’s really not that much going on, but when you really work your way up, you are so heavy into the intangibles it’s hard to really elaborate on what’s going on.


Not sure if I’ll really write stuff like this again, it’s a lot of work for something that might really only be helpful to myself, but who knows, I won’t say I didn’t enjoy writing this. Although I do fear this is becoming too close to being called a review and becoming a reviewer, gotta make sure I don’t get to that point, would rather keep enjoying this hobby than start doing reviews lol. Have to wonder if it’s really a hobby for me at this point though, feel like I’m too deep in/too far gone to call it that. Eh, whatever, I’m having fun lol

Source Gear Update: In order to downsize and also solidify my current chains, I’ve ended up selling off some of the amps mentioned above, now I only have my Angstrom (which is still my most used for the 3.1), the Eddie Current (which isn’t used often for the 3.1 but is kept around for the Utopia), Mass Kobo (which I use as a more a 2ndary amp for the 3.2), and a few others I don’t really think I mentioned in this article being an Oji Special BDI-DC44B GT (which I had previously, think it’s an upgrade to the AIC-10 so that’s why I sold it, awesome with the 3.2) and also some Grandinote Demone (which I mainly keep for Susvara but also great with the 3.2 and one of the top I’ve heard). Still have both my portables mentioned in the article, still both great. I ended up moving to one single DAC being a Totaldac d1-twelve-mk2 system keeping my extra d1-driver monoblocks and d1-digital-mk2 which I think was a worthwhile upgrade over the d1-direct and also the Lampizator Pacific (although I still miss the Pacific from time to time lol). Still stand by what I said with all the aforementioned amps, although I don’t really plan on adding anything else, this is just what I’ve personally decided to live with. Fairly content with what I got now and don’t really plan on continuing my quest to try the Mysphere on every possible amp I can lol

Unnecessary Source Gear Update 2: I ended up upgrading my 2ch setup, and with new speakers comes new source gear for those speakers as well. The current chain is (bare with me):

Chain: Uptone EtherRegen /w Mojo Illuminati v3 -> Ediscreation Silent Switch OCXO Extreme -> Antipodes K50 -> Totaldac d1-digital-mk2 w/ live power -> Totaldac d1-twelve-mk2 system w/ live powers -> Totaldac d1-driver-mk2 w/ live powers -> Lamm LL1.1 Signature -> Lamm ML3 Signature -> Verity Lohengrin IIS
Cabling: JCAT Signature Ethernet, Transparent Ref XL AES, Acrolink DA6100 & DA3100 Clock & Control, Audience FrontRow XLR & RCA, Inakustik LS-4004 AIR Speaker, Audience AU24 SX HP & Inakustic LS-4004 Power, custom maple rack and isolation, digital gear connected to PS Audio Powerplant P20 and Lamm gear direct into wall

Why am I mentioning this? Because I happened to try the Mysphere 3.1 directly off the 16 ohm taps on the speaker amp, and this is leagues above anything I have ever tested them on, at all. No other headphone I have comes close, even on the same amp. This has to be by far the best scaling headphone I’ve ever tried. That being said, I’m sure there’s some synergy mismatches here for the other headphones, I use a headphone resistor box to drive others like the Susvara and the Utopia, and I bet that really hampers their potential performance and I also bet the nature of the ML3 doesn’t really mesh well with things like the Susvara, but I sure can’t buy another amp of this class to test lol, but really though even though I got this chain for speakers I can’t help but use it for the Mysphere more often than I’d like to admit. I can’t really articulate how much better it gets, it’s hard to really now compare it to any other headphones I have, so I really don’t know lol. Is it worthwhile to get a chain like this for just a Mysphere? Hell no, but is it worthwhile to use it if you have it? Absolutely, now easily the best headphones I have ever heard (including HE90 and Shangri La). Strong statement I know, but that’s really what I think. Again though, with this setup it makes the HE90 and Shangri La look like bang for buck champs in terms of source gear requirements lol, this is so unfair of a source chain for the Mysphere so that statement doesn’t hold true with more sane chains lol. I could redo all the comparisons but that would be entirely unrealistic, so I won’t change anything because of this. But really though, Mysphere are sweet, check them out sometime.