Indranil Mitra: My Journey Through the World of Audiophile Gears

Hello, my name is Indranil Mitra and I am a PhD student in Mathematics based in Kolkata, India. I have been a technology geek for as long as I can remember, and I love exploring new gadgets and devices. My journey into the world of audiophile gears started in 2017, after watching a video of Austin Evans promoting the AKG M220 Pro on Massdrop. I decided to buy a pair of these affordable headphones and the rest, as they say, is history.

My first experience with high-quality audio gear was with the Harman Kardon Soundsticks III, which my brother bought to replace our cheap Logitech speakers. At first, I was skeptical about spending so much on a pair of speakers, but I was blown away by the sound quality of the Soundsticks III. This experience solidified my love for audiophile gears and motivated me to explore the world of high-end audio equipment further.

Over time, my journey has evolved rapidly, with me trying out almost all kinds of earphones, headphones, headphone amplifiers, and DACs. However, I quickly realized that the real deal was in 2 channel speaker setups, which I have been using for more than a year now. I have a lot of favorite pieces of audiophile equipment, but I will highlight a few of them below.

One of my cheapest favorite pieces of audio gear is the KZ EDX. This earphone costs less than 1,000/-, but it sounds amazing for its price range. It does not require any separate amplification, as it is so sensitive that it can be powered optimally even from the weakest phone outputs. It even has an inline mic, which I think is a basic necessity for earphones. In my opinion, it is the perfect EDC earphone.

My all-time favorite headphone is the early iteration of Sennheiser HD600. It has the best tone of any headphone I have ever heard. The early iteration of HD650 comes a close second. I have heard many headphones, many of which are extremely pricey, but they all lose to the tone of the 6x0. In my opinion, tone is the most basic and important factor of a headphone. All this audiophile talk about soundstage, imaging, scale, dynamics is hokum. Headphones cannot produce even an ounce of real soundstage, scale, and imaging. Very few headphones in today's market have a realistic tone. All but a few have timbre that is very off. If I can't differentiate between Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel's voice in Genesis, what is the point? My choice of HD600 is contingent on it being driven by a high-end tube amplifier with good quality power and output transformers and P2P wiring.

Another great headphone is the Beyerdynamic DT880 600 ohms. The driver quality inside is stupendous, and it has planar-like qualities as in it is totally grain-free and has a laser-sharp presentation. It is seriously underpriced and underrated.

My favorite headphone amplifier is Anode Acoustics #1 PCL82 Headphone Amplifier. It gives a true taste of what the high-end tube sound is all about: space, resolution, texture, very airy with a top end that sparkles, and utmost sonic purity, with a subtle but all-pervading coloration. These are the hallmarks of a great tube amp. If you use tube power amps for speakers that are constructed in the modern day and age, costing several lacs, you will get the same characteristics in #1. Just in miniature form for headphones. The same amp has been adapted by the company for speaker use, dishing out 2.6Wpc in SET mode. And it has already been received very favorably with users of high efficient speakers. You don't need me to tell you about the magic of low powered SET amps. It brings out the best in almost any speaker, and it is the purest form of amplification. The #1 PCL82 Headphone Amplifier is seriously underpriced for what it offers. And it can drive even the most demanding planars with ease. The warmth, clarity, and soundstage that it provides are truly unmatched, and it is an absolute joy to listen to music through it.

What are some common misconceptions about audiophile gear that you would like to clear up?

One of the biggest misconceptions about audiophile gear is that it's all about spending a lot of money. Sure, there are some ridiculously expensive audio gear out there, but it doesn't mean that you have to spend a fortune to enjoy good quality music. There are plenty of affordable options available that can provide you with an amazing audio experience.

Another misconception is that audiophile gear is all about technical specifications. While specifications can be important, they are not the be-all and end-all of audio gear. Ultimately, it's all about how the gear sounds to you. It's all about personal preference and how the gear makes you feel.

Finally, there's a misconception that audiophile gear is only for audiophiles. This couldn't be further from the truth. Anyone who loves music can appreciate good quality audio gear. It's about making your listening experience more enjoyable, regardless of your level of expertise.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their audiophile journey?

My advice for someone just starting out on their audiophile journey would be to take it slow and experiment with different gear. Don't feel like you have to spend a lot of money to get good quality sound. Start with affordable options and see what works for you.

Also, trust your own ears. Don't rely solely on technical specifications or other people's opinions. Ultimately, it's your personal listening experience that matters.

Finally, have fun with it. Don't take it too seriously and enjoy the process of discovering new gear and finding the perfect setup for you.

In conclusion, my audiophile journey has been a rapid and exciting one. It all started with a curiosity about affordable headphones, and it has evolved into a love for 2 channel speaker setups. I have learned that good quality audio gear doesn't have to be expensive and that personal preference and how the gear makes you feel is what matters most. I hope that my experience and advice can help others on their own audiophile journey.

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