Yeah, I'm starting on the whole trial and error bit right now. That is why I decided to get the source component -the Marantz- out of the way and spent a little extra on it (it has extra USB ports, so I can link my computer or a hard drive at some point, I'm just using the CD player for now. I didn't get it for the SACD capabilities. ). For headphones, I need something that works on both the home stereo and my portable set-up (I have a Leckerton portable amp for driving larger headphones). I've resigned myself to trial and error now, but thankfully, anything I don't like can be resold.
I did "sample" a pair of the Sennheiser Momentums at Best Buy, but I returned them. They initially impressed at the demo station, but didn't recreate it when I took them home, even after break-in and they were just kind of a wash. I've kind of learned I want more attack in my headphones for the mids/highs and excess bass just annoys me (I think a lot of issues with amplification stem from mid-bass bloat). I don't know too much about Stax, but Sennheisers are infamous for their lazy, laid back sound and I actually found them fatiguing. So far, I've gathered that AKG and Audio Technica are two of the better makers of more analytical/good soundstage headphones. The W5000 appears to be exceptionally bass-lite, which is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I'm hoping for similar results from the AD2000x.
And sounds to me like the Stax headphones are similar to the Sennheiser issue. This was the same article that got me interested in Audio Technica headphones:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle- … r_SR007MKI
"AMP PICKY: In order to sound its best, the SR-007 (both MkI and MkII versions) needs to be driven by an amp which offers a hefty amount of voltage swing. From my experience, the amplifiers which Stax currently offers do not offer enough voltage swing to power the SR-007 optimally. When I finally heard the SR-007 paired with HeadAmp's Blue Hawaii Special Edition, I was happily surprised by the results. Prior to acquiring the BHSE, I considered the SR-007 to be a clouded (and sometimes) inauthentic sounding headphone. The BHSE certainly controls the bass and brings out the transparency of the SR-007 better than any amp I've paired it with. I have not heard the SR-007 paired with the Woo Audio WES, but I have read good things regarding this pairing as well."
My amp is a vintage Kenwood receiver (KR-9400) with a ton of power to it. I'm trying to go vintage for the amplification. KR-9400 was a top of the line model in the mid-70's and is popular with audiophiles, just not as highly regarded as Pioneer or Yamaha or even Marantz or Sansui.
Edit: Damn, that guy is NOT a fan of the W5000.
"SOUND: Normally, I would evaluate several distinct attributes of the sound in order to determine which are successful and which are in need improvement. In this case, I find that the sound is simply poor all around. It is a nasal, congested, non-transparent, bass-less, unnatural tone."
"POWERING: Audio-Technica produced an amp specifically designed to power the W5000. It is known as the HA-5000. I am told by some owners of this pairing that the sonic results are stunning. I have never heard this pairing, so I do not know. In my experience, I have found that the W5000 never loses its nasal, unnatural character despite which amp I choose to pair it with. Of the amps I've used, I have found that it sounds best with the TTVJ Millett 307a, but it still does not sound particularly good."