Published On: July 28, 2020

Chris Marten's Recommended Equipment

Published On: July 28, 2020
Last Updated on: March 9, 2022
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Chris Marten's Recommended Equipment

Chris Martens' Author Bio & Associated Equipment Chris Martens has been an avid audio enthusiast for more than 50 years (yep, he started out pretty young) and has been an audio journalist for the past 18 years. His roles have...

Chris Marten's Recommended Equipment

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Chris Martens' Author Bio & Associated Equipment

Chris Martens has been an avid audio enthusiast for more than 50 years (yep, he started out pretty young) and has been an audio journalist for the past 18 years. His roles have included serving as: Senior writer for The Absolute Sound, Audio Editor and later Editor for The Perfect Vision, founding Editor/Publisher of, founding Editor of Playback, Publisher and Senior Writer for Hi-Fi+, and Editor of Hi-Fi+/The Absolute Sound Ultimate Headphone Guide.

Chris also contributed as a chapter-level author for The Absolute Sound Illustrated History of High-End Audio, Volumes I & II (respectively focused on Loudspeakers and Electronics).

Over the years, an old Texas Instruments recruiting tagline has often proven inspiring for Chris. The tagline proclaimed, "Technology is the Romance of Our Age."

Chris Martens doesn't presently have a true reference-grade Home Theater system, but the system he does have includes:

  • 58" Samsung 650-series 1080p Plasma HDTV (hand-calibrated by Samsung technicians)
  • NAD D 3045 hybrid digital DAC/Amplifier
  • Wharfedale Linton Heritage monitor speakers with matching Linton stands
  • Spectrum Cable TV box (Chris' latest guilty pleasure: the Spectrum Original series "Paradise Lost")
  • Sony PlayStation 4 gaming system/Blu-ray player (Chris is a big fan of F1 2020 -- Go Lewis Hamilton!)
  • Siltech speaker cables
  • Monster Cable optical and HDMI cable
  • Chang Lightspeed power conditioner
  • Salamander Systems equipment/TV stand


Listening Room Speaker-based Audio Reference System

  • Rega Osiris Reference integrated amplifier
  • Rega Isis Reference CD Player/DAC
  • AURALiC Vega G2 DAC/preamp
  • AURALiC ARIES wireless streaming bridge
  • Furutech Daytona 303 power filter/power distribution box
  • Analog signal and loudspeaker cables: Furutech LineFlux series interconnects and Speakerflux and Evolution Speaker II cables
  • Power cables: Furutech Powerflux AC and Evolution Power II cables
  • Loudspeakers: Magnepan 3.7i and Magnepan LRS
  • Room treatments: two Auralex Studiofoam panels, four RPG B.A.D. panels, twelve Vicoustic Multifuser DC2 diffusion panels
  • Racks: Sanus stand for Furutech power conditioner, (2) Solid Tech Rack-of-Silence stands with various Solid Tech vibration isolation components.
  • Analog Reference: I'm between analog sources right now. Readers: Any suggestions for something very good but also very affordable?

Listening Room Headphone/Earphone-based Reference System

  • Electronics:
    • Main electronics suite:
      • iFi Audio: Pro iDSD DAC/streamer/headphone amplifier, Pro iCAN balanced hybrid tube/solid state headphone amplifier, and Pro iESL electrostatic headphone voltage step-up device and bias voltage power supply
    • Secondary headphone amplifiers and amp/DACs:
      • AURALiC: Taurus Mk II headphone amp with (2) Merak monoblock power amplifiers
      • Burson Audio Soloist headphone amp, HA-160 headphone amp with "valve" output stage buffer.
      • Cayin: iHA-6 headphone amp, iDAC-6 DAC, and iDAP-6 digital audio player
      • CEntrance: DAC Mini
      • HiFiMAN: EF6 and EF100 headphone amplifiers
      • Lehmannaudio Linear USB II headphone amp/DAC
      • Musical Fidelity:
      • Oppo HA-1 headphone amplifier/DAC
      • Oppo Sonica DAC
      • Questyle Audio Engineering CMA 600i
      • Schiit Audio Jotunheim with Delta Sigma DAC module
      • Schiit Audio Jotunheim with true Multibit DAC module
    • Electrostatic headphone amplifier:
      • HiFiMAN Jade II electrostatic headphone amplifier
    • Digital Audio Players:
      • Astell&Kern: KANN and A&ultima SP1000M DAPs
      • Cayin: N5iiS and N8 DAPs
      • Echobox Explorer DAP
      • FiiO X7 MkII DAP
      • HiFiMAN: HM-901 DAP with interchangeable amp modules
      • Lotoo: PAW Gold DAP
      • Questyle Audio Engineering: QP1 and QP2 DAPs
    • Portable Amps and Amp/DACs
      • ALO Audio: Mk II portable headphone amp
      • Apex Audio: Glacier portable amp/DAC
      • Bluewave: GET portable Bluetooth headphone amplifier.
      • Celsus Sound: Wi-Fi headphone amp/DAC
      • CEntrance: DAC Port, HIFI-M8 fully balanced reference portable DAC/amp.
      • Chord Electronics: Mojo, Hugo (first generation), and Hugo 2 portable headphone amp/DACs
      • iFi Audio: Micro iDAC2 DAC, xCAN headphone amp, and xDSD and Micro iDSD Black Label headphone amp/DACs
      • RHA Audio DACamp 1
  • Full Size Headphones
    • Abyss: AB-1266 Phi Edition headphones
    • Audeze: LCD-2 (second generation), LCD-3 with Fazor updates, and LCD-MX4 headphones
    • Audio-Technica: ATH-MSR7 and ATH-W1000X "Grandioso" headphones
    • Campfire Audio: Cascade headphones (w/revised ear pads)
    • Cleer Next headphones
    • Dan Clark Audio: ETHER C (first generation), ETHER Flow, ETHER 2, ÆON (first generation), ÆON Flow open-back, and ÆON 2 planar magnetic headphones; VOCE electrostatic headphones
    • Dekoni: Blue headphones
    • Final: Sonorous III, Pandora/Hope VI, and D1000 headphones
    • Fisher Audio: FA-011W headphones
    • HiFiMAN: Edition S, HE-5LE, HE-6, HE-400 (first generation), HE-400S (second generation), HE-500, HE-560, Edition X, HE-1000, HE-1000S (v2), Sundara, and Susvara planar magnetic headphones; Jade II electrostatic headphones
    • Quad: ERA-1 headphones
    • Shure: SRH840 headphones
    • 1MORE: Triple Driver Over-Ear headphones
  • Bluetooth and/or Noise Cancelling Full Size Headphones
    • Audio-Technica: ATH-ANC7b ANC headphones
    • Beyerdynamic: Lagoon ANC Explorer BT/ANC headphones
    • Bose: QuietComfort 35 MkII BT/ANC headphones
    • Cleer: FLOW (first generation) BT/ANC headphones
    • Pendulumic: Stance S1 BT/ANC headphones
    • PSB Speakers: M4U 2 ANC and M4U 8 BT/ANC headphones
  • Universal-Fit Earphones
    • AKG: N5005 earphones with Bluetooth adapter.
    • Audeze: iSine 20 and LCD-i4 planar magnetic earphones with Apple Lightning amp/DAC/EQ adapter.
    • Bowers & Wilkins: C5 earphones
    • Campfire Audio: Comet, Polaris, Andromeda, Atlas, and Solaris earphones
    • Cardas Audio EM5813 "ear speakers"
    • Echobox: Finder X1 earphones
    • Etymotic Research: ER2 SE Studio Edition, ER2 XR Extended Response, ER HF 2, and (2 sets) ER4P earphones
    • FiiO: F9 Pro earphones
    • Final Audio: Adagio III, FI-BA-SS, B1, B2, B3, F3100, F4100, and F7200 earphones
    • HiFiMAN: RE-262, RE-400, Re-600, and RE-2000 earphones
    • Klipsch: Image One earphones
    • Noble Audio: EDC Velvet, Massdrop x Noble X, Sage, and Kaiser Encore earphones
    • NuForce: NE-770X, NE-700M, and Primo 8 earphones
    • oBravo: Cupid hybrid dynamic/planar magnetic earphones
    • Phonak: Audeo earphones
    • RHA: S500i, MA600i, MA750i, T10i, T20, CL750, and CL1 Ceramic earphones
    • Sennheiser: IE7 and IE8 earphones
    • Ultimate Ears: UE900 (first generation) and UE900S (second generation) earphones
    • Westone; TrueFit 4, W10, W60, and W80 (first generation) earphones
    • 1MORE: Triple Driver and Quad Driver earphones
  • Custom-Fit In-Ear Monitors
    • ACS Custom: T2 Classic CIEM
    • HiFiMAN/Unique Melody: RE1000 CIEM
    • JH Audio: JH16 Pro (first generation), Roxanne, Layla, and Lola CIEMs
    • Noble Audio: Kaiser 10 (K10), 4S, Savant, and Katana CIEMs
    • Ultimate Ears: Pro Reference IERM (In-Ear Reference Monitor - first generation), Pro Reference Remastered, UE 18 Pro (1sr generation), Personal Reference Monitors (PRM) CIEMs
    • Westone: ES5, ES60, and ES80 CIEMs
  • Bluetooth and/or ANC Earphones
    • Ausounds: Flex hybrid dynamic/planar magnetic BT/ANC earphones
    • HiFiMAN: TWS600 BT earphones
    • Phiaton: PS 20 BT earphones
    • RHA: True Connect BT earphones
  • Salamander Systems equipment rack
  • Power Conditioners/Noise Control
    • AudioQuest: (2) Jitterbug devices
    • iFi Audio PowerStation with (2) AC iPurifier devices
    • Richard Gray's Power Company RGPC 1200
  • Specialty Headphone/Earphone Cables
    • Effect Audio: Various
    • Moon Audio: Various
    • Nordost: Blue Heaven and Heimdall 2 cables

Office Headphone Reference System

  • Warwick Acoustics Sonoma M1 electrostatic headphone system
    • Sonoma M1 electrostatic headphones
    • Sonoma M1 electrostatic headphone amp/DAC
  • Nordost/IsoTek power conditioner
  • Sanus equipment rack

Guest Bedroom System

  • Oppo BDP-105 Universal/Blu-ray player
  • Encore mDSD DAC
  • Nuprime IDA-6 compact integrated amp/DAC
  • Celsus Sound Music + Magic mini-monitor speakers
  • Sanus Steel Foundations speaker stands
  • QED Airlock speaker cables

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