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Honest Audiophile Reference Gear and Music

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

A question I get asked often is, what gear and music do I use to review and compare? In most reviews, I mention what gear I used but I don't always mention what is my benchmark gear.

Below is a list of gear and music that I use for each and every review. Most of the gear has been reviewed on YouTube and some on the website. The gear listed is broken out into benchmark and alternate; benchmark is ALWAYS used and alternate is used if applicable for price, specs or configurations or another reason.

Benchmark Gear (All purchased with personal funds):

DAC: Mytek Liberty DAC II Amplifier: Mytek Liberty THX AAA HPA

DROP THX AAA One USB Dongles: Periodic Audio Rhodium Hiby FC3

DAP: Sony NW-WM1a

Hiby R5 Gen2

Headphones: Audeze LCD-5

MrSpeakers Ether C Sennheiser HD600 Rode NTH-100

Audeze LCD-2 Closed

Austrian Audio Hi-X60 In-Ear Monitors: CTM (Clear Tune Monitors) Da Vinci X SoftEars Studio4

Tin Hifi T2 Alternate Gear (Some purchased, most gifted): DAC: Audeze Deckard

Aune X1s GT


JDS Labs Atom DAC+

Amplifier: Tor Audio Roger

JDS Labs Atom AMP+ Dongles: Moondrop Dawn

Hiby FC4

Hidizs XO

DAP: Sony NW-A105

Headphones: Hifiman Arya Stealth Hifiman Ananda Sennheiser HD660s Hifiman Sundara Meze 99 Classics AKG K275 DROP Sennheiser HD8xx

Audio-Technica R70x

In-Ear Monitors: Fearless Audio Roland ADV-Sound M5-12D Empire Ears ESR Moondrop Blessing 2

JQ 4U Pro

Moondrop Kato

Etymotic ER2SE Kotori Dauntless DUNU Titan S Drop Plus Universal

Reference Music:

Tingvall Trio “Beat” - Beat by Tingvall Trio (

Sinne Eeg “We’ve Just Begun” - We've Just Begun by Sinne Eeg, The Danish Radio Big Band (

Molly Johnson “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” - What a Little Moonlight Can Do by Molly Johnson (

Leslie Odom Jr. “Under Pressure” - Under Pressure by Leslie Odom Jr. (

Eric Clapton “Change the World” - Change the World by Eric Clapton (

Yo Yo Ma “Ecstasy of Gold” - Sergio Leone Suite: Ecstasy of Gold from "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" by Yo-Yo Ma, Ennio Morricone, Roma Sinfonietta (

Adam Baldych “Spem in Alium” - Spem in Alium by Adam Baldych (

Pain of Salvation “Stress” - Stress by Pain of Salvation (

Michael Buble “When I Fall in Love” - When I Fall in Love by Michael Bublé (

Patricia Barber “Code Cool” - Code Cool by Patricia Barber (

Christian Scott “New New Orleans” - New New Orleans (King Adjuah Stomp) by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah (

Tool “Chocolate Chip Trip” - Chocolate Chip Trip by TOOL (

Hans Zimmer “Why So Serious” - Why so Serious? by Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard (

Marcus Miller “No Limit” - No Limit by Marcus Miller (

Dave Holland Quartet “Conference Of The Birds”- Conference Of The Birds by Dave Holland Quartet (

Ilhan Eshkeri “47 Ronin”- 47 Ronin by Ilan Eshkeri (

Hans Zimmer “2049” - 2049 by Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch (

Cher “Believe” - Believe by Cher (

Stanley Clarke “Passenger 57 main title” - Passenger 57 Main Title by Stanley Clarke (

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra “The Pine of the Appian Way” -

Houston Person “You are my Sunshine” - You Are My Sunshine by Houston Person, Ron Carter (

Playlist link for Tidal:

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