System Check 2: Cruise Control

Warning: Good enough Tech Stuff Ahead.

After the in depth look into Scott’s set up, I would be remiss if I didn’t also give you at least a cursory glance into my setup. The picture above is not my setup. I can’t take a picture of my setup because my setup is my phone. Those aren’t my headphones either. The picture is a lie, but it is a convenient one.


  1. Stream – Amazon Music via my Galaxy S8+ – I do not know what kind of codec I’m using

It’s part of my Amazon Prime package. Why wouldn’t I use it? Say what you want about Amazon and how they are threatening to put traditional brick and mortar stores like Walmart and Best Buy out of business.

No, really, go ahead. Say what you want. It’s probably accurate.

My phone is great, I love my Samsung. Some people are iPhone, some are Android. But the one thing they can both agree on is that Sony people are weird.

Amplification / DAC:

  1. Headphone Amplifier – xDuoo XP-2Pro

This is the thing that makes it all possible for me. I could write about all the technical specs, but it’s easier if you just read this excellent review. This thing makes listening to music tolerable for me. I connect it to my phone via Bluetooth (cause I dropped it and messed up the screen and totally broke the headphone jack). Then I can plug in my headphones into it or the amp. Without it, I’m basically listening to everything out of the laptop speakers or my phone speaker.

Speakers / Headphones

  1. Speakers – Paradigm 3seMk3

I have the same ones as Scott. I bought them at a record store that was going out of business about 15 or 20 years ago. Scott bought some too. I think Trav bought the rest. I am extremely susceptible to peer pressure sometimes. They were a great deal and I love them.

  1. Headphones – HiFiMan HE-400

Until I got the Headphone Amplifier, I couldn’t really use these. I mean, I could, but it felt like I was listening to music that was far away. They are okay comfort wise, but I find them really heavy and the cable is about 12 feet long, which would be awesome if you have a high end set up and are relaxing in your fancy recliner from across the room. I’m listening to my phone that’s right in front of me. I use the headphones when I don’t want to make my family sad when I have to listen to Vanilla Ice or want to leave if I have to listen to The Verve.

I started this post as a joke, a parody of Scott’s post last week. But when I realized that the lengths that I have actually gone in order to listen to these albums every week, I’ve got a ritual, just like Scott does (though I don’t get to push as many buttons and turn dials and see things spin around). I’m just doing it with less stuff.

I guess my point is that you’ve probably got a setup that works for you. Maybe it’s cobbled together out of things that have been given to you from people who know better (thanks guys!), maybe you’ve got a high end sound system and you make a point to discuss the finer aspects of cable lifts*, or maybe you’re just jamming to the tunes with a pair of knock of ear buds. Whatever it is, I hope our weekly reviews are giving you something to listen to.

Tell us what you’re using! Comment here or put it up on Facebook. We love to hear from you.

*Cable lifts are a real thing that people spend a lot of money on. Seriously, they are things to keep your speaker cables off the floor and they cost HUNDREDS of dollars. It’s incredible.

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