Small print. If you don't yet do headfi at any respectable level, here are a few reasons why you should.

1/ if you really want to know what's on your recordings—CD, vinyl, tape, files—eliminate your room and its unavoidable EQ on the sound. This EQ disturbs not only the amplitude domain so frequency response and tonal balance. It also confuses the time domain. Crossovers induce phase shift, late reflections far more time delay. Those reflective delays inject acoustic reverb that's nonlinear across the bandwidth. Headphone listening causes far less signal distortion. It's a more purist high-performance mode of playback.

2/ by having transducers within centimeters not meters from our ears, there's less ambient noise; plus there's the shielding action of a headphone's ear cups. Less noise equals more detail retrieval and less need to play loud to hear everything.

3/ the usual absence of a crossover creates another advantage. It's quasi active drive. Our headphone amplifier sees the voice coil directly, not caps, coils and resistors. The difference to classic active drive where amplification builds into a speaker is that the headphone cable and its connectors remain in the signal path. It's not just a circuit trace. Still, it's a less lossy signal transfer than first seeing a complex filter network inside a multi-way speaker.

4/ even where open-backed headphones leak sound, their second-hand acoustic smoke remains far less obnoxious to non-listeners than speakers. Opportunities to listen to what we want when we want thus open up dramatically in households shared with others. Where headphones are sensitive enough to be driven by portable sources, opportunities multiply even more.

5/ relative to top quality, even the most expensive headphones cost a fraction of equivalent speakers. The same is true for headphone amps which rarely need to make more than 5wpc. The money that would buy an upper entry-level speaker system can buy a true high-end headfi system. It's a smart-money move.