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South Florida Meet Impressions - 12/2/06 - Page 6

post #76 of 213
Just to clear up a couple things about the Singlepower Extreme amp. The driver tubes are 5998s not 300Bs (although mikhail did hint that it would be possible have the amp modified for use with 300Bs). Also it is just the Singlepower Extreme not the PPXE or whatever. Mikhail made it very clear that this amp is a new design with very little in common with the PPX3's circuit.
post #77 of 213
Made it home, safe and sound...normally that would be a reference to the flight, but that wa the least one had to survive at this meet.

I'll post my impressions tomorrow, but for tomight I'll say: Wow! What a great time. Gotta go to another one of those one of these days. Not too soon; but one of these days.

post #78 of 213
Hey Everybody,

It was great meeting you all, even though I still can't remember half your names, but with faces like that,...

Anyway there was a lot of great gear, some pretty damn wild, and it was an ear opening experience, in particular a couple balanced vs. SE rigs/comparo's that gave me food for thought.

Also, next time I'll come better repared i.e.: bring a damn source!

Thanks in particular to Agile_One for letting me glom off of his source, Tyrion for the kind words and the rest of you for making me feel welcome,...
post #79 of 213
A highlight of the meet was the beautiful little jewel named Melinda. Many of us had the pleasure of holding and hugging her for a short while. It was wonderful of Xenia and Gary to bring Melinda to our meet, and Melinda looked precious in her little Head-Fi bib. It was also a pleasure to see our usual Head-Fi pals, and to meet several new participants. Special thanks to tyrion for his fantastic job in organizing the meet, and to others who assisted him. This was the largest Florida meet that I attended, and it was a complete success.

I discovered, at this meet, the substantial benefit of balanced systems, over single ended systems, especially with regard to less than optimal dynamic headphones. I was surprised to find that headphones such as the HD650, K701, DT880, and PS1, when used in a balanced system, sound about as good as an R10 that's connected to a single ended system. Thus, I question the value of spending thousands of dollars for a used R10, which is then plugged into an expensive single ended amp., versus the option of plugging a far less expensive balanced headphone into a quality balanced amp. On the basis of my brief listening evaluations at this meet, I'd seriously consider the second (i.e., balance) option as the best way to go. This advantage of balanced versus single ended systems was dramatically apparent when comparing Tyll's balanced versus single ended amps., that are described in more detail by others. Tyll's balanced amplifier was clearly superior to his single ended one, when using an HD650 (or HD600) headphone, as well as other such balanced headphones. Tyll's balanced system sounded absolutely wonderful when using the HD650 (or HD600), and it is perhaps as good as a single ended SDS/R10 system. This is not a definitive conclusion, however, since I have not critically compared the two systems.

A real highlight was my chance to hear Ray’s B52 amplifier. I sampled it’s single ended mode, using the R10, and it’s balance mode, using a DT880. To say that this amplifier is outstanding is an understatement. As a single ended amp. it appeared to fully match the terrific performance of the SDS/R10 combo. And, in its balanced mode it made the DT880 sing. In addition to its spectacular performance, this amp. has exceptional cosmetic beauty. Ray’s attention to every detail of appearance and design, has yielded a product that can be proudly displayed in the finest of audio setups.

As for Mihail's SP Extreme amp., it performed wonderfully with an R10. But, this excellent performance became most apparent when using a Ken Rad VT231 tube in the gain position. It is a truly impressive amp., and I leave it to others to comment on how well it performed when compared to a Supra SDS, when driving an R10. These two amps were connected to the same CDP, and compared by several participants, who I hope will describe their findings. Needless to say, the SDS costs >$5K, while the Extreme costs <$1K, and both of these amps. were configured as single ended amps. at the meet.

I briefly listened to the darkvoice amp., using the R10, and found the sound to be wonderful. Broad sound stage, deep bass, and good clarity, resolution, and openness. I think that the stock tubes of this amp., which were not satisfactory, were replaced with superior tubes by the time that I heard it.

Among the most impressive, beautiful, and wonderfully sounding gear at the meet was the gear that was brought by Agile_one. His amps and headphones are pictured and described by others, but suffice it for me to say that the cosmetic beauty and terrific sound of his equipment are truly impressive.

I especially complement flecom (Frank) for his wonderfully constructed dynamight amplifier. It is a terrific performer, especially when driving balance headphones. Once again, headphones such as HD650s, when driven by Frank's home brewed amp. in the balance mode, performed far better than they do when connected to fairly expensive single ended amps.
post #80 of 213
the very best part of the meet was meeting our newest member, the beautiful melinda.

thanks to tyrion for all the preparation & work required to put together the most spectacular south florida meet to date & running a taxi service. also, a big thanks to boomana for renting a shuttle van.

thanks to the manufactures, tyll, ray & mikhail for showing up with some wonderful new products which i will post impressions of later. thanks again to os at “let there be sound” for hosting another after meet party/listening session at his retail store.

it was great meeting all the new people who showed up & to everyone who brought such great stuff to listen to which i will post impressions of later as well.

the worst part of the meet is having to apologize to everyone present for my deplorable behavior for which i take complete responsibility for. i sincerely apologize to everyone who tolerated my excessively offensive nature which was uncalled for & i am thankful no one punched my lights out which would have been perfectly appropriate under the circumstances. thanks for your tolerance.

i will post equipment impressions in the next day or so.
post #81 of 213
Well, despite JP#'s best efforts, the Defender of the Universe is safely back at HQ ready to protect the cosmos another day.

Given that various people have stepped up to protect my good name from my supposed friend and room/soulmate, I will not need to clear up the many inaccuracies from Agile_One's post (although my slurred words and near-hyperventilation after the 18-inch-bicepted arm gave JP the Vulcan nerve pinch for getting a little *too* with his camera phone may have affected Gene's ability to get it straight... ) That was a great send-off John, thanks.

I definitely add my thanks for Meet Master Mike--or Triple-M for short--for setting up an incredible meet. It was extraordinary in both of its stated purposes: (1) gathering together amazing audio gear, and (2) gathering together some crazy people who are outrageously fun to hang with! Thanks also to the whole Florida crew for having me along for the ride on this one. "Old" friends and new were a pleasure. It was especially great for Tyll, Ray and Mikhail to fight their way from cold and blizzardy places to make the meet so much more substantial with a debut amp from each of them! well as their sparkling personalities. And I don't care what everybody else says, I like the Step-child Stevie! I'm sorry that Aaron couldn't make it, but maybe it might be even more likely he can make the Int'l Meet in San Jose given that he didn't make this trip!

More pics, impressions, thank-yous, and what-nots will have to wait for another time. It is 3am where I was and midnite where I am, so good-night SoFlo!
post #82 of 213
Tyll ,nice to meet you and great photos with the flash diffuser. When is your balanced Desktop going to be ready? Arrowmark
post #83 of 213
Originally Posted by arrowmark View Post
Tyll ,nice to meet you and great photos with the flash diffuser. When is your balanced Desktop going to be ready? Arrowmark
hehe its on my desk at work right now...

its a pretty nice little amp... im going to try and give my impressions/revew on this magical little box
post #84 of 213
You live so close to me, I probably can here your AKG 1000's, if you turn the volume up a little.
post #85 of 213
Impressions post (what's that you all say, it's about time?)

tyrion throws a great party, and the Head-Fi crew is a blast to hang out with. I can only reinforce what others have said about our newest member, Melinda, being the cutest and coolest little baby around. She warmed all our hearts, particularly those of us lucky enough to hold and cuddle her. I think it fitting that Guss2 won the Tomahawk that Ray Samuels so generously donated so the Melinda has an amp of her own.

Speaking of Ray, I sincerely want to personally thank him and our other vendor friends, Mikhail and Tyll, for making the effort to attend. Each brought new and wonderful things for us to see and hear, but more importantly, they joined us as Head-Fi brothers to enjoy each others company. When we at Head-Fi say we "have a friend in the business", we truly mean it, and that is very, very cool. Both Ray and Mikhail had extremely difficult travel to get here, particularly Ray, who spent 24 hours in airport hell jockeying flights to make it. Add to that the stress of having his precious gear (all of it) lost in baggage purgatory, and his stress level had to be through the roof. The pelican case did arrive just in time, though, so the day was saved. Tyll deserves great thanks for digging right in to help us get going in the morning, and all the terrific pictures he took, then posted in real time.

The pleasure of hanging out with some of the coolest people around for a whole weekend of fun, frivolity, and wonderful headphone listening was just great. So, so nice to meet and greet old friends, and make new ones. We have a wonderful community, and it just keeps growing. Particular thanks to Wmcmanus for pushing through much foul weather all the way from Chicago to make it just in time, although without sleep or rest of any kind for 20 + hours.

Ok, ok, even though I could fill multi posts with how much I enjoy and like all my peeps, I will move on to impressions, for whatever they are worth.

Ray, Tyll, and Mikhail each brought wonderful new toys for us to grovel.

Ray's Tomahawk and B-52 were like bookends to his terrific lineup of amps. The Tomahawk amazed with its ability to drive headphones beyond Ray's stated intentions for it. As an IEM amp, it is a bullseye. The B-52 is a major accomplishment that is very well thought out and implemented with love, care, and great skill. The controls are silky and smooth, and the relay control of source/output switching is a marvel. Ah, but the sound - effortless, powerful, and lush - all in the correct proportions. Even though this is a balanced amp, the R10s sounded as good as I've ever heard them using the single ended outs. Qualias became listenable when used balanced. Balanced PS1s and HD650s were terrific, particularly the PS1s, which became so much more than just a bass monster out of the B-52. The B-52 was the star of the show for me. All of the above were sourced from Ray's trusty Meridian 508.

Mikhail just brought one amp, but what an amp it is. Whomever says you can't teach an old dog new tricks is wrong. Using the old PPX3 cases, Mikhail has fashioned a tube roller's playground in the SP Extreme. Just as significant, however, are the items that make such tube juxtapositions possible, the fiendishly clever and ingeniously engineered and constructed tube adapters from Mikhail's laboratory of tubeness. Some of those adapters go way beyond simple pin remapping - they have little circuits with caps, resistors and such to make the electrons go where they should, and behave with proper voltage manners. Oh, it sounded terrific, too. I only heard with HD600s and my HP2s, but that was enough to convince that here is another winner from SP. I think two got bought by meet attendees, if that's any indication of what people thought of it.

Tyll brought great things in small packages. There was a Micro amp with HeadRoom's clever Micro Strap holding an iPod. Then, an iHP120 Micro strapped to the Micro Amp/Micro Dac stack. Both of those rigs made for some seriously good mobile listening. The star of the HeadRoom table, though, was the Balanced Desktop prototype getting powered from a Desktop Power Supply. Sitting right next to the balanced Desktop (with Home Module - the most that they can stuff in the box, and still keep the temperatures reasonable) was a Desktop with Max Module and Desktop Power Supply. Both were sourced from Tyll's Meridian 508, so switching and comparing was easy. Most preferred the balanced with home module vs the single ended with Max module, but I was inconclusive. The balanced definitely had the "wow" factor, but the Max'd desktop had something going for it that I find hard to verbalize, but definitely makes me reserve judgement on which I prefer. Both were excellent, though, so no loser here at all. The Balanced Home at $899 (assuming Tyll can bring it for that) should be a market winner, and ushers in a new, more affordable way to go balanced.

Other random impressions ...

It is always a pleasure to hear mikeg's R10 rig of Supra SDS (recently revamped) and modded Denon player, and this time was no exception. Mike always broadens my musical horizons, too. This time it was a 16th century acapella mass ("Hercules"?) that was spectacular to hear through that system. Thanks, Mike.

I'd never heard the AD2000s, so gave a good listen on jp11801's Ayre/Moth 2A3 rig. Stunning - I was really grooving to these with some Miles, and now see what the buzz is about. I also listened to the EC SS from the same Ayre player, and agree that it is a serious contender in the entry-mid SS amp arena, right along with the Heed, Original Master, Meier HeadFive, and others.

The Zana Deux - HD30 prototype comparo at tyrion's table was fun, and the HD30 is a serious contender. If you like the Moth designs and the Eddie Current line, but can't go for the Zana, the HD30 will likely do it for you. I recall the Moth 2A3 prototype at an earlier meet, and contrast it with the production 2A3 that jp11801 has, and if the same progression from proto to production holds true for the HD30, it should be sweet, indeed.

Boomana's econo-rig of EastSound MiniMax cdp to the Heed Canamp and Darkvoice tube amp provided much enjoyment and entertainment throughout the day. I couldn't wait to get over there to listen to her beautiful modded K340s, and was lucky enough to make it just after one of the early tube swaps. A $300 tube amp has no business sounding that good. I think the modded K340s had a lot to do with it, but it sure was fun and satisfying to hear some Coltrane with Johnny Hartman vocals from that combo.

The mad scientests, flecom and hifihaxor had their works in progress amps, Frank's DynaMight and Merritt's Akido, on display. Both are accomplished and talented builders, and their amps reflected that. Tending quite to the function before form school that any engineer would love, their creations sound great, and it has been fun watching Frank's progress from a bundle of wires and metal that somehow produced sound to a finished item worthy of any audiophile's ears.

Speaking of DIY, new member, Gontran, had a beautiful little amp he both designed and built. A remarkable little solid state transportable in a very well finished and badged enclosure with a unique combination of features - battery powered with lead-acid batteries (rechargeable), discrete amplifier stage, 1/4" and 1/8" headphone outs, 1/8" and RCA ins, loop out, and very long battery life (a week or more of 8 hours days). Oh, it sounded good, too - in the same class as Hornet, Micro Amp, PRII. I look forward to future news from Gontran ...

Wmcmanus' and stevieo's headphones were well received. Thanks for bringing the Qualias, W5000s, etc, boys, and as mentioned before, thanks to Wayne for the great effort in just making the meet, and for bringing our friend, K'mani (sp?), who I always enjoy talking with.

Oh, yeah, almost forgot (not really, just saving it for last), it has been a while since I heard the Orpheus, and I was purposely leaving it to the end of the day so I wouldn't be spoiled. Near closing time, I meandered over to Guss2's setup of Wayne's Rudistor Egmont electrostatic to Gary's HE90 sourced from Gary's always exquisite SCD1. I was not disappointed - the HE90s worked their magic on me again, and it was a perfect way to end my rounds.

Apologies in advance for any omissions or errors - I will make up for them in later posts.

Thanks to all for making this another fabulous meet.
post #86 of 213
Originally Posted by stevieo View Post
...<snip> ... the worst part of the meet is having to apologize to everyone present for my deplorable behavior for which i take complete responsibility for. i sincerely apologize to everyone who tolerated my excessively offensive nature which was uncalled for & i am thankful no one punched my lights out which would have been perfectly appropriate under the circumstances. thanks for your tolerance.
What you talkin' about, Stevie? Nothing but good, clean fun as far as I could see, and we should be thanking you for the entertainment. This is family, dude, don't get all uptight over it.
post #87 of 213
Originally Posted by agile_one View Post
What you talkin' about, Stevie? Nothing but good, clean fun as far as I could see, and we should be thanking you for the entertainment. This is family, dude, don't get all uptight over it.
x2, but knowing Stevieo just a little I imagine that his *apology* is somewhat tongue (+toothpick) in cheek.

Great impressions Gene, thanks for getting the thread around to business.
post #88 of 213
Why do some of those SP adaptors appear to have green sockets?
post #89 of 213
Originally Posted by Rob N View Post
Why do some of those SP adaptors appear to have green sockets?
Like three of the adapters in this pic, Rob?

If so, those are branded with the SP logo on a green circle. Nice looking little product, and oh so useful for so many things!
post #90 of 213
Originally Posted by Rob N View Post
Why do some of those SP adaptors appear to have green sockets?
Rob ... Mikhail would be the authoritative source, but I believe the green looking ones are just the latest production versions with the SinglePower logo and name done up on the tiny FRP board in pretty color. Quite impressive, actually, especially when compared to the early metal rimmed, hand screwed ones.

Perhaps someone has a high rez photo that can be blown up, or Mikhail will chime in with the actual facts.
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