Ever since I bought Blon BL-03 from HeadphoneZone, I had been looking at the Headphone Connect section on the website https://www.headphonezone.in/. As soon as the Mumbai event was available for booking I did right away for the cost of Rs. 999.

The event took place at The Leela, Andheri. The event was in a big hall enough for 100 people with tables all around. The entry was smooth with the registration desk asking for my name and giving me a wristband and sticker with my name on it. There were some audiophile stickers also available on the desk for free. T-shirts were available to buy as well. There was at least one staff available at each desk. Lady standing near the registration desk was kind enough to show me around. Left side tables had all the IEMs, and right ones had headphones.

As I was there mainly for the headphones, I went to the right side. I wanted to try out the Meze and Beyerdynamic, but they recommended trying out the expensive stuff first as later when the crowd gathers, it will be difficult to get a chance. I went to the STAX table and was talking to the staff girl about it. From behind came Raghav Somani, Founder, and CEO of the HeadphoneZone. He was a nice and humble person and explained to me certain things. As I was early, he asked me to try out the flagships from STAX, Audeze, and Focal first as they are the best, and trying them later might be difficult due to more people entering. I asked him if there is a difference between the Apple Music Lossless and Lossless High-res. He said he could not hear much difference between the two and that 192Khz is the information that is packed into the audio files and not the frequency response. I wanted to ask him a few more questions at the end of the event but I was in a hurry to leave and he was busy talking to others. My main question was whats the most value for money setup below 30k and what is the most value for money setup overall above which spending money does not give much returns in terms of sound quality.

I tried out the followings:

STAX SR009S
Audeze LCD5, LCD3
Focal Stellia
Meze Empyrean, Elite, Liric, 99 classic and Neo
Hifiman HE-R9, Arya, Sundara, Ananda

Final Audio E8000
Moondrop Aria, Blessing 2
1custom Junior
Fiio FH5s pro, FS7S
Campfire audio Ara
Vision ears VE5, VE8
Lypertek Z3, Z7
Hidizs portable DAC

I liked the Focal Stellia the most. I wanted to try out the other STAX models on the table but there were always people sitting out there as many times I tried. Audeze as well I wanted to try again but was not able to. I wanted to try V Moda and Austrian Audio as well but they were not available. The staff said that I can come over to their office and try those out.

The variety of the headphones and IEMs to try out was amazing. Never in life, did we get to try so many premium audio gears with DACs and Amps costing lakhs. The experience was amazing.

I had brought along with AKG K361BT along to try out portable DACs if it makes any difference but did not get a chance. The first reason is the DACs were occupied most of the time.

The second reason applicable while trying all other headphones was the noise around. With staff explaining to the beginner audiophiles (like me), random chatter, and sound of sounds from open-back headphones, it was difficult to hear the minute sounds that I wanted to hear. I am not complaining about this as it is not possible for the organizers to provide separate quiet places and dedicated gears for trial. But given a quiet place, the experience would have been miles better.

Only wireless earphones they had it Lypertek. I would have liked it if more models like Sony WF-1000XM4 for the earphones, and Sony WH-1000XM4 or Bose QC series. I know audiophiles might not count these as Audiophile grade, but it would be worth keeping and trying for places where not everyone wants the wired planar magnetic headphones with DAC and Amp. This would have been especially helpful because the noise and the noise cancellation from these ANC headphones would have made the music sound better. Also, not everyone has the privilege in places like Mumbai to have a quiet room and listen to open-back headphones with DAC and Amp. I wish to buy open-backs but not possible for me due to the surroundings.

Also, there should be options to try out the cheaper options like HiFiMan Deva, Sennheiser HD560S, Audio Technica M50X, AUDIO-TECHNICA – ATH-R70X, etc. I would have really liked to hear how cheap headphones sound on a good DAC plus Amp.

There were mocktails being given to everyone many times, and food options were sandwiches, paneer roll, veg roll, and veg puff. Tea and coffee were also available with cookies.

Overall, amazing idea, work, organizing, and options by the HeadphoneZone team. Total value for money if you love music.

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