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a year ago, stepped into a head-fi shop, looking for a bluetooth headphone for gym use. bought a plantronics backbeat fit. strictly mid-fi, but comfy + good enough to pump blood with some EDM. that was the beginning. made the ‘mistake’ of listening to music via usb audio player (UAP) > android smart phone > burson conductor > sennheiser hd800. now own 3 iems (in-ear monitors a.k.a. earphones) + 2 headphones + 2 DACs to listen to music via iphone, ipad, macbook pro, imac + digital audio player (DAP). over 12 months, head-fi spend is roughly equal to hi-fi spend. same story in terms of listening time. primarily use head-fi gear on-the-move or when privacy (see 9) is paramount. still not sure how one slipped/slid into head-fi… so smoothly and sinfully. perhaps: sounds fantastic. yes, great hi-fi still body-slams head-fi in terms of sub-bass physicality + 3D sound-staging. but have listened to some headgear systems that are simply amazing (no, not even the abyss/stax/orpheus class, quite sure don’t want to go there just yet). gear is (relatively) cheaper, more accessible. if one already has a suitable source, investing $2000 (or less) easily gets you a whiff of the good stuff. less buying hassles 1 = bring own stuff to shop / plug in / audition / pay like a duke / walk-out listening + smiling. less buying hassles 2 = shipping head gear is faster/cheaper than shipping, let’s say, a mcintosh amp and/or atc active speakers. less chance of damage on arrival (DOA) as well. ability to listen to music in hi-fi at any time = ak240 DAP in pocket playing Mozart at a Parisian cafe at dusk > jh audio rox = wow. portability + listening anywhere = cafe, airplane, poolside, foreign lands = take it with you. easy sharing = thoughtfully, some DACs come with 2 outputs. auto-ideal listening ‘environment’ = plug in and shut out the world, unless it is really, really noisy. one can also opt for 'noise-cancellation' gear. auto-privacy. not only for listener. also in interests of not (overly) agitating/deafening co-habitatators, off-spring, furry kids, in-laws, etc. compatibility with the smart devices people already own/lug around daily = phones, tablets, PCs. kind of explains why there is a lot of more talk + action + hype + people in head-fi as compared to hi-fi these days. btw, head-fi = CA. front-ends are interchangeable, software equally applicable, audiophile aspirations very much the same. ...except for room acoustics and subwoofery, one can continue to argue/wrestle (until cows come home), wrt: DBX/DBT, DSD vs PCM, cables, OSX vs Windows vs Linux vs renderers/servers, bit perfection, over-sampling vs NOS, LPSUs and Regens, what can be and what can/cannot be measured/heard/perceived by ears, brains, machines, brain-scans, more than 5 senses, et al. statement: head-fi will play a humongous role in defining future of CA. agree / disagree / fulla schiit.