Current Setups & Brief Bio

Current Setups (let’s get this out of the way first):

It’s easier to diagram things out, so I might as well show that instead (hopefully up to date, 9/20/23):

If you prefer it in text (likely more up to date, I’m too lazy to update the diagram all the time):

Main Listening Room: My most realistic and enjoyable setup, but can’t use it all the time

Home Switch -> UpTone EtherREGEN (w/ Mojo Illuminati V3) -> Totaldac d1-switch -> Antipodes K50 (running Squeeze server & player) -> Totaldac d1-sublime

Commscope Teraspeed Fiber + Finistar SFP
Esprit Aura RJ45
Echole Limited Edition AES/EBU
Purist Audio Design Dominus Luminist RCA & Dominus Diamond Power (for the DAC and K50)
Triode Wire Labs The Obsession Power (for the network gear)
Separate 20a circuit, Purist AC Power Extension, all Totaldac have live-powers.

Totaldac d1-drivers-mk2 -> LAMM LL1.1 Signature -> LAMM ML3 Signature

Purist Audio Design Dominus Luminist RCA, Dominus Diamond Speaker, Dominus Diamond Power
Amps direct into wall, separate circuits, multiple Synergistic Research Orange Duplex & Purist AC Power Extension.

Tubes & Tweaks: Stock tubes
LAMM: SRA Ohio Class XL+2 bases for ML3, CMS QXK Black Platinum for LL1.1
Totaldac: CMS QXK Black Platinum
Antipodes: CMS QXK Black Platinum

Transducers: Verity Lohengrin IIS & LB-acoustics Mysphere 3.1 (custom cable) on both amps

Main Desk: Top tier performance, but in headphone form

PC -> Totaldac d1-digital-mk2 -> Berkeley Alpha Reference Series 3 OR Sonore opticalModule Deluxe (w/ Mojo Illuminati V3) -> Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical Tier II -> Ideon Absolute Time -> Lampizator Horizon

Commscope Teraspeed Fiber + Finistar SFP
Esprit Aura RJ45
Final Touch Audio Sinope USB (for the Horizon setup)
Audience FrontRow USB (for the RS3 setup)
Tara Labs RSC Air Evolution AES
Audience FrontRow HP Power (for the Horizon and RS3)
Triode Wire Labs The Obsession Power (for everything else)
Separate 20a circuit

Tubes & Tweaks:
Lampizator – Takatsuki 274B, Brimar CV1988 Black Glass, Tung-Sol KT170, Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium

Robert Koda Takumi K15EX -> Riviera AFM-50 & Aries Cerat Concero 25 845 -> Direct Headphone Tap / Speaker Switch (w/ WBT Nextgen Sig posts, Cardas Rh XLR, Goldpoint Sw, & Kimber wire) -> Borresen 01 & headphones OR Mass Kobo 394 II.

Audience FrontRow XLR & RCA (for the Koda, Riviera, & Aries Cerat)
Snake River Cottonmouth Gold RCA (for the RS3/EVO to 394 II)
Audience FrontRow Speaker (for to tap boxes and speaker)
Audience FrontRow HP power (for Koda, Riviera, & Aries Cerat)
Triode Wire Labs The Obsession (for everything else).
Headphone Tap Cables: Danacable Lazuli Nirvana Tap, DHC Prion4 Tap
Separate 20a circuit.

Tubes & Tweaks:
Robert Koda – Graphite Audio IC-35 Premium
Riviera – Siemens 5814 Triple Mica, Ansuz Darkz T2
Aries Cerat – Elrog ER845, Ansuz Darkz T2
Borresen – Ansuz Darkz T2 Supreme

LB-acoustics Mysphere 3.2 (on the Mass Kobo or Riviera), 3.1 (on Aries Cerat)
Hifiman Susvara (on the Riviera or Aries Cerat)
Focal Utopia (on the Mass Kobo or Riviera or Aries Cerat)
Final D8000 Pro (on the Mass Kobo or Riviera or Aries Cerat)
Audio-Technica ADX-5000 (on the Mass Kobo or Riviera)
97′ Sennheiser HD600 (on 394 II, or out of a Sound Devices USBPre2 when I’m lazy)
Borresen 01 (on the Riviera or Aries Cerat)

Headphone Cables:
LB-acoustics – Kimber Axios Hybrid, Custom
Hifiman – DHC Prion4
Focal – Danacable Lazuli Nirvana
Final – Brise Mikumari Ref. 2
Audio-Technica – Brise Mikumari Ref. 2
Sennheiser – ALO Hybrid

Portable Setups/IEMS: For either on-the-go, or work trips/travel

Sources: Luxury & Precision P6 Pro OR Lotoo PAW Gold Touch Ti -> sometimes Mass Kobo 424 (either off batteries or Fidelizer Nikola2) OR Brise Tsuranagi OR Woo WA8

Brise Yatono-Mini Ultimate 4.4mm to 4.4mm
Plussound X8 Gold Plated Hybrid 4.4mm to 4.4mm
Moon Black Dragon Mini v2 3.5mm to 3.5mm (and 4 pin 3.5mm to SPDIF Coax)
Audioquest Carbon A to C and C to C USB

Oriolus Traillii JP (on P6 Pro and/or 424)
Rhapsodio Infinity MK2 (on P6 Pro and/or 424)
MMR Thummim (on LPGT TI and/or P6 Pro)
Hyla Sarda (on LPGT TI and/or P6 Pro)
Focal Utopia (P6P -> 424 or WA8)
LB-acoustics Mysphere 3.2 (P6P -> 424) or 3.1 (LPGT TI -> WA8)
Final D8KP (either to either)
Also Koss KSC75, the true GOAT.

IEM Cables:
Oriolus – Stock PWA
Rhapsodio – Dita Celeste Kondo
MMR – Eletech Aeneid
Hyla – PWA Blackicon Silver Gold

– Mess Around Setup: just dicking around, undefined setup that changes from time to time

PC -> Berkeley Alpha USB -> Mojo Mystique EVO Pro 21

Network Acoustics muon USB
Allnic ZL MU-7R AES
Allnic ZL-5000 power

Allnic L-7000 SE -> Yamamoto A-08S 45 -> Voxativ Hagen AF-2.6

Allnic ZL MU-7R RCA
Voxativ Ampeggio speaker
Allnic ZL-5000 power

Tubes & Tweaks:
Allnic – WE300b reissue, Mullard E810F
Yamamoto – EML 45 mesh, EML 80 mesh

Not My Setup: self explanatory

Fidelice Precision DAC (RNDAC) -> whatever cans and cables

– Leftovers: things without a dedicated setup

Sources: CEntrance DACport HD

Transducers: Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohm (Jena 1222), Koss ESP950 (Vesper Hybrid), Sony MDR-V6, Koss KSC75, Guideray GR-i18

Non Hifi Desk Gear: other stuff at my desks

Nothing special about the PCs used (just Dell precision fleet laptops)
Mishmash of Acer, Dell, & Samsung monitors

70’s AKG C414 EB CK12 -> BAE API 312 -> Mohog MoFET76 -> Sound Devices USBPre 2
Modded Beyerdynamic M201TG -> ART Voice Channel -> Sound Devices USBPre 2

New IBM Model F104 w/ Industrial SSK caps, short spacebar
HHKB Pro 2 w/ BKE Redux Ultra Light domes, silencing rings, silencing mat
ZealPC Zephyr 65% R2 w/ brass plate, Cannonkey Neapolitan Ice Cream 63g, Zeal stabs, GMK Deep Space
NCR G80-3000 case w/ cf half plate, ZealPC Clickiez 40g, Zeal stabs, tape mod, case weights, Varmilo RGBK caps
Vortex PC66 QMK w/ fr4 plate, Gazzew Boba U4T 65g, ZealPC Zeal stabs, silicone dampening switch, case, and pcb pads, SA Calm Depths
Chicony KB-5161A w/ Complicated Alps SKCM Blue, dampened case, random Aliexpress pbt alps caps
KBDFans KBD67 MK2 w/ brass plate, ZealPC Zealios v2 67g, Zeal stabs, MKUltra case & plate foam, GMK Red Samurai
Qwertykeys Neo65 w/ aluminum plate, Gateron G Pro 2.0 Yellow, PBTFans Purpolch R2
Varmilo VA87M w/ Cherry Clears, tape and weight modded, GMK Carbon
Microsoft 4000 & Logitech G19s
2x MAX Falcon 20 macropads w/ Cherry Browns

Brief Bio:

I have no issues rambling on about audio for as long as you let me, but don’t really have anything to say about myself lol. I guess I’ve been a part of this hobby as long as I can remember, as was most of my family, I guess I started getting really deep into it around 20 years ago and haven’t really stopped since. It’s quite hard to leave in fact, and I don’t think I could even if I wanted to.

I started out surrounded by 2 channel setups, but found myself favoring headphones early on and have continued to focus on headphones ever since (although I’ve been bitten by the 2ch bug, and it’s starting to win over now). The first “serious” cans I was gifted were a pair of hand me down a 90s Sony MDR V6, and then an original 97′ Sennheiser HD600 (and IEM wise Etymotic ER4S), and once I started making some disposable income to fuel this addiction, branched out from there. Technically had a 580 precision before the 600 but those were more of a loan than a gift lol. Many many different headphones later, those two still stick with me (although both pretty warn from their age), although I can’t say I use them all that much given what other options I have now, but I do still think they hold up for their respective price points. For what I currently use/have, check out my forum profile. I can’t really remember all the cans and associated sources I’ve cycled through, but it’s a significant amount lol.

Early on, I also grew an infatuation with source gear and how prominent of a role it could play in some systems, and the concept of scaling and how I could further elevate what transducers I already loved with better and better sources. That still very much holds true to this day, and admittedly largely dominates what I talk about and what I’m interested in for my own personal setups. The higher I went up, the more and more important I found it to be, I can’t stress enough how much it can potentially make or break a higher end setup. Currently (if you can’t tell) I can’t get enough of what various DACs and digital sources contribute to my setup, but I make sure to not neglect other aspects of the chain as well, after all it’s only going to perform as well as it’s weakest link.

From a preference perspective, since I grew up around a variety of different gear, I don’t really have a strong established preference toward the gear I listen to, I just appreciate high quality sound regardless of voicing and tuning as long as it’s well done. I could be content with either side of the spectrum or right in the middle, all depends on the system and the synergy between that system. If I did have to figure out some defined preferences I have, I do place heavy importance on a lot of things in the time domain: overall spatial recreation, realistic timbre, unrestrained dynamics, and generally a sense of overall directness and incisiveness that I think really contributes to the realism of a specific unit. Tonally I do tend to prefer a slight warmer and richer lean if I had to pick given my current systems, but I really don’t care too much about this anymore, as I feel that the more intangible aspects contribute a lot more to the overall sound and coloration than simple tonal balance/frequency response.

The more I learn about this hobby and the more I experience, the more I realize the less I know lol. Every question seems like the only answer is “it depends,” there’s merit to most all ideas/designs/concepts and the answer typically lies in the middle, most things aren’t absolute, trusting your own ears is the most important thing you can do in this hobby, focusing too much on the “truth” of this hobby typically leads to even less understanding, the easiest answer is typically not the best one, an open mind is the best way to approach this hobby, etc etc etc. There’s a lot of general advice that could be said here, but it really depends on the person and their own experiences for what’s actually valuable. Just making sure to do what leads to the most enjoyment for you is a good way I’d summarize, this hobby is inherently selfish, make sure to prioritize your own enjoyment first since what works for someone else might not work for you, and vice versa.

I’ve been watching and lurking in the online community for a long time, but only recently did I really sort of dive in and start becoming an active member both here and on another forum, and it’s been pretty fun actually getting in on the discussion for once. Met some great people in person and online, really enjoy just talking and hearing about most things in this hobby, though I like to keep things more casual than not lol.

I should have addressed music a bit sooner considering it’s 50% about the music and 50% of the gear for me (or at least I try to keep it that way). I tend to find myself listing to a large amount of orchestral music (typically classical and up), ambient, most electronic of most all types, classic and modern hip/hop & rap, experimental jazz, and more. I really tend to listen to any genre as long as it sounds good to me. The only genres I might say I specifically avoid or tend to not enjoy as much is more modern country and things that focus too heavily on vocalists and the human voice (although I do love opera lol). Not sure why, but I am not the type of person overly concerned about lyricism and vocal performance, perhaps it’s from a previous mastering side gig that mainly had me dealing with vocals and speech, doing something for a living does tend to reduce my enjoyment of it as a hobby lol. I’ve got quite a large music library that’s constantly expanding, still very much interested in hearing new sounds out there, there’s so many these days.

I guess for some non audio info, I generally find myself interested in most all tech, although after working with tech as a career, I find I’ve become someone younger me would hate, someone that just wants something that works and is willing to pay for convenience lol. I can’t say I experience that trait leaking over into audio, I just hope it stays that way lol. I also enjoy swimming, and uh, that’s about it I guess. I feel like all I really do and care about is audio and listening to music, don’t really consume any visual media, just listen to music almost all the time.

I apologize about the more amateurish and simplistic writing, not really my strongest skill, hopefully it’s readable enough lol. Just prefer to be more direct and concise if possible, but that’s not always possible given the subject, so I tend to favor a more no nonsense and informative approach to try and get as much information across as I can. It’s all just my opinion and experiences anyways, that’s all I can really provide, so make sure to take that as such. At this point most of the stuff I want to write about is very difficult to put into words, the higher you go, the harder it is to articulate what you hear after all lol, so hopefully it still comes across well enough to have some sort of substance.

Thanks for stopping by the site, I hope you enjoy your time here (and potentially join in on the discussion on the forums as well)!

Past Equipment:

Have had quite a lot of stuff lol, so much so that I actually can’t document it all on here because I genuinely have lost track of some of it, but I’ll try to see if I can list it out. For my own sanity, it’s only going to be things that I: 1. owned for at least many months, 2. things that I somewhat liked and isn’t going to include stuff I wasn’t impressed by and wanted to sell, 3. isn’t going to include loaners, demos, tours, etc, as it all has to be stuff I bought that I kept in my house and in use for a decent while. So while that’s omitting a lot of stuff I’ve heard still, it’s good enough for now lol. Going to try and be in order of what I owned from past to now, but I can’t guarantee it will be 100% accurate since I never bothered to keep track of when I got stuff, only mostly what I got lol. Really more showing personal journey progression (meaningful or not) rather than everything I’ve ever owned, although hard to document progression without also including some of the things I said I wouldn’t include, but I digress lol.

DACs & Digital Sources:
(first 3 shared with my father and I but felt like including)
Theta DS Pro Gen V (w/ Meridian 500 MKII)
Sonic Frontiers SFD-2 MKII (w/ Audio Alchemy DTI Pro + Sonic Frontiers SFT-1)
Krell KPS-20i

Some NAD CDP (C541i?)
Lavry DA11
Weiss DAC2
Berkeley Alpha Series 2
Berkeley Alpha USB
Bryston BDA3 (love/hate)
Holo Spring 2 KTE
Sonore UltraRendu
Holo May KTE
Crane Song HEDD Quantum
Lavry Quintessence
Aries Cerat Kassandra II Ref
DCS Network Bridge
Berkeley Alpha Reference 2
Lampizator Big 7 MK2 BAL
Totaldac d1-direct w/ D1-Driver
Nagra Classic DAC
Audio Note DAC 5 Special v2
Mola Mola Tambaqui
Nagra HD DAC + MPS
Rockna Wavedream Signature Balanced
Lampizator Golden Gate II
Auralic G2.1 + Leo GX.1
Bricasti M21 Platinum
Mojo Mystique EVO Pro 21
Totaldac d1-digital-mk2
Ideon 3R Master Time
Lampizator Pacific
Berkeley Alpha Reference 3
Antipodes K50
UpTone EtherREGEN w/ Mojo Illuminati v3
Ediscreation Silent Switch OCXO Extreme
Sonore Signature Rendu SE optical Tier II
Totaldac d1-twelve-mk2 w/ D1-Driver
Berkeley Alpha Reference 3 (yes again)
Lampizator Horizon
Totaldac d1-switch
Totaldac d1-sublime
Ideon Absolute Time

Random stuff I had owned for awhile as well but not notable:
MHDT Orchid/Pagoda, Schiit Bifrost 2, Topping D10/E30, iFi Zen/Pro iDSD, EarMen Donald, Monolith Liquid Spark DAC, Soekris 2541/1541, Resonessence Invicta Mirus Pro SE, Allo Revolution DAC, Denafrips Ares II, BAT REX 3 DAC, and others

Headphone Amps:

Literally too many to recall all of them

Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen NX
iPod classic 5th gen
Zune 120
Hifiman HM-801
Altmann Tera Player
Lotoo Paw Gold
Cowon Plenue M2
Questyle QP2R
Lotoo Paw Gold Touch
iBasso DX220MAX
Questyle QPM
Luxury & Precision P6 & P6 Pro
iBasso DX300MAX
Hiby RS6
Lotoo Paw Gold Touch Ti
Cayin N7

Random stuff I had owned for awhile as well but not notable:
Fiio X5 II, Q1 II, M11, and others, some iBasso I can’t recall, and others

Portable DAC/AMPs:
Ray Samuels Emmeline SR-71
Cypher Labs AlgoRhythm Solo DAC
Vorzuge VorzAMP PURE II
Bakoon HPA-21
ALO Continental Dual Mono
Chord Mojo
iFi micro iDSD BL
Chord Hugo 2
Woo WA8 Eclipse
iFi xDSD
Stax SRM-D10
Analog Squared Paper TUR-06es
CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2
LessFox BX-2 Plus
Phatlab PHAntasy II
Mass Kobo 424
Brise Tsuranagi

Random stuff I had owned for awhile as well but not notable:
Fiio Q1 II, A3, Little Bear B4-X, Luxury & Precision W2, Cayin RU7, CEntrance DACport HD, and others

Etymotic ER4S
Victor HP-FX500
Shure SE315
Sennheiser IE80
Sony MDR EX1000
InEar ProPhile 8
Hyla CE-5
Stax 003mk2
QDC Anole VX
Final A8000
StereoPravada Spearphone SB7
Final LAB II
Hyla Sarda
Earsonics Grace
oBravo EAMT-1 c
MMR Thummim
Rhapsodio Infinity MK2
JVC FW10000
Oriolus Traillii JP
Final A4000
Penon Turbo

Random stuff I had owned for awhile as well but not notable:
Fiio FH3, Meze Rai Penta, iBasso IT03, Guideray GR-i18, FLC8s, Tin T2, Ikko OH10, and others

Purely Speaker Amps & Preamps:
Some older Rotel receiver I can’t recall the name of
Bryston 4B ST
Parasound Halo A21+
Parasound Halo P6
Luxman L-590AXII
Accuphase E800
Aries Cerat Impera II Ref
Aries Cerat Diana Forte
First Watt J2
First Watt F8
LTA ZOTL Ultralinear
Bricasti M28
Grandinote Demone
Pass Labs XP-32
Parasound JC1+
Lamm LL1.1 Signature
Lamm ML3 Signature
FM Acoustics FM155 MKIIR
FM Acoustics FM108 MKII
Riviera AFM-50
Wavac EC-300B
Robert Koda Takumi K15EX
Aries Cerat Concero 25 845

Random stuff I had owned for awhile as well but not notable:
Rogue Apollo Dark Monoblock, some random lower budget stuff for HT or others but really nothing notable, only recently have I been able to get into and put attention toward speakers (but always got demos in when I could throughout lol).

Zenith Allegro MC4000
JBL L100
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Harbeth P3ESR
BMR Philharmonitor
Dynaudio Special 40
Harbeth Monitor 40.2 40th AE
Raidho D1.1
Voxativ Hagen AF-1n
Spatial Audio X5
Joseph Pulsar2 Graphene
Verity Lohengrin IIS
Borresen 01
Voxativ Pi 2 AC4X
Omega Compact Alnico

Random stuff I had owned for awhile as well but not notable:
Tekton Perfect SET, Elac Navis ARB-51, Pioneer HPM 60

Yes, regretfully, I do (not) have a tier list: