It's like if you miss the train on impressions and postings right after the meet... it seems a little less revelant as time goes by. I sort of feel that way. Plus, I'm not that knowledgeable concerning K1000's and their amps. Now, having said, and qualified all that:
Firstly, thanks Al for the great meet! Even though the weather was foggy and cold outside, inside we were cooking with some awesome gear, good food, and a bunch of friends. I felt like this meet, more than many, allowed us to really listen to the headphones. Some meets, I don't listen to the 'headphones' much, but more to the music. Other meets I feel a lot less focused and while I do a lot of comparing, nothing is really here or there or truly tangible to me in the noisy, and uncontrolled meet environment. And most times, I don't really do much but talk and hang out =)
This meet was different, and we all felt pretty sync'd in, at least until the food coma hit
Even though I've owned the K1000's before, I feel as though I have never heard the headphone shine, until recently. I got a glimpse of this at the international meet with Foo_Me's Zanden, and then again at an undisclosed ultra-mini meet Voltron, Foo_Me and Myself carried out comparing the K1000's (with the Zanden and Moth and Woo) and the HE90/ES-1. I was truly surprised, especially out of the EMM Labs, how good, with *
certain music the K1000's could be.
Coming into this meet, I wanted to see just how much of a range the K1000 could have in terms of how much the sound could be altered with component changes downstream from the source. I have to say that even more so than almost any other headphone I have heard, the K1000 is susceptible to cables and amps choices. I also noticed that the K1000's very in their ability to carry texture greatly. In fact the primary reason I would choose this headphone over the HE90 (if for any reason I would want to do this), is solely for the texture and immediacy it gives to the sound. It does make it sound like it is right there, live, but sometimes, to a detriment.Moth w/Western Electric Tubes
The Hardwired Equinox sounded very very nice out of this combination. It was darker in tonality than most of the other setups, but it had a greater bass punch and general emphasis on the lower midrange. To me, this was great because I generally feel that while the K1000 can sound very nice with some recordings; But when things heat up musically, especially with loud guitars and drums and soaring vocals, it can be a little thin and strident. This thin and strident effect actually does sound quite similar to a lot of live rock performances. However, I don't consider these kind of rock performances to sound very good. At any rate, the Moth/WE combo lessened this tendency of the K1000 quite a bit.Woo Audio
One thing that occured throughout the day was this sense of a channel imbalance or something slightly off with the right channel. I first noticed this with the Woo and then Al thought eh heard it with the Sig 30 as well. Ican't say I heard it outside the Woo, but to me, this amp sounded a little off. When I heard it previously at the ultra-mini meet, it sounded very fine although I think I still preferred either the Zanden or the Moth. To me this amp allows more texture, extension and detail to come through on the K1000. While these are all good traits, I believe that it can be overdone with this particular headphone, and to me, with certain tubes, it was unlistenable. Agin, I think the WE tubes were probably the best i heard of the bunch. Another great aspect to that it seemed to have a sense of finesse to the way it handled the sound, espcially in the upper registers. Even though with some music it was harsh to me, it does what it does well.Aleph 30
We had this plugged in balanced directly from the EMM, bypassing Ori's switchbox. At least when I heard it. This amp sounds pretty great, especially since, unlike the above amps, it is solid state. To me it had the least texture of all the amps, and did not quite have the same level of finesse as the other amps w/their preferred tubes. However, what was great was the fact that it rocked and sat somewhere between the warm slightly darker nature of the Moth and the ultra textured and extended nature of the Woo. It didn't have as much texture as either of the tube amps, but it did have extension. It wasn't as as warm and easy in the upper mid range as the Moth, but it did have bass.
I noticed that between the Woo and the Aleph 30, they tended to emphasize different aspects of the bass. The Aleph to me actually didn't go as low, but emphasized the lower mids and upper bass. So I could hear versus feel the bass more in many cases. The Moth seemed to emphasize the upper mids all the way down to as low as I think the K1000 can go, probably around 40-45hz. This allowed me to feel more bass and feel more low bass like kick drum punch. But it obscured the subtle details of the low mid to a small degree (comparatively).
Ori has a real winner with these cables. They sound open, clean, and have a very balanced sound. I prefer them to my VD cables in many instances. They allow the micro-dynamics of a performance to come through better than I have heard from any cables in this price range, and compete with the best $$$$ I've heard.Tails/Cables/etc...
I don't know too much about this stuff. But having said that =), I'll still say a few words. I like the hardwired cables the most. They seem to gell with the K1k quite well. The stock cable seems to be a wildcard to me, sometiems sounding pretty good, like out of the Sig 30 (smooth), and pretty bad, like out of the tube amps (esp. the Woo). It doesn't deliver enough texture and has a pretty energetic upper mid character.
The hardwired equinox was cool and I think as far as I've heard so far, this wins out for me. Good texture, and while it is bright, it is controlled and modifications to downstream components will be audible and discernible.
The Moon Audio cabe sounded nice but really bright to and clean to me. It'd really have to be your cup of tea, and if you listen to certain types of music.
On certain types of music: I believe the k1000 sounds its best with certain types of music (esp. well recorded certain types). I feel that less complex mixes featuring solo instrumentation, or just a few instruments works the best. Rock in general, especially with a lot going on, doesn't sound quite right to me, it tends to get strident and 'confused'. The K1000 is very clear and detailed with the right music, and makes even my HE90's sound like there are cotton swabs stuffed inside of them. However, this is only when it gets the sound right. Jazz, Classical, Certain Audiophile Pop and Warmly Recorded non-complex (w/ a lot of instrumentation) Pop sounds good too.
That's it for me (I think). We had a fun day and I look forward to coming to another meet soon (sans my own gear! That was fun for a change!).