Evening at Aaron's
i spent the evening at aaron's (immtbiker). it was a an enjoyable time filled with lots of good music and quality listening. and i again want to thank him and his wife for inviting me into their home and having me as their dinner guest. as a guy who lives solo and doesn't cook (i'm sure many can relate), a well cooked meal is a nice treat and something easily taken for granted. plus good company and conversation is always welcome.
aaron has a lot of nice audio gear and it all sounded pretty good. in one room there was the emm labs stack (this is a serious piece of audio equipment), an esoteric DV50 (not everything is on cd), an aires 2 turn table (who knew recordings from the 1950s could sound so good), a macintosh preamp, a cary power amp, some other stuff and amazing speakers which could be used for 2 or 5.1 channel. both configurations sounded great. it was a real treat to hear sacd in 5.1, watch diana krall live (she is so good), and view parts of the matrix in surround sound. in 5.1, that movie goes to a new level. (there is no spoon.)
but the main purpose of the visit was to listen to our new electrostatic headphones. we did our headphone listening in another room. the source was a meridian G08. the headphones being used (mostly) were aaron's EH-1.2, EH-1.3 and my EH-1.3 switching between the woo ges (a tube electrostatic amp) and the he audio, which is solid state. and to mix things up, we threw in the sennheiser HE60 (baby orpheus) and even took his HP-2 and R10 for a quick spin. i mean, why not.
in general, my view of the EH-1.3 (my or aaron's pair) has not changed. on both amps the bass was very good, the instrument separation and detail excellent, and the sound fast yet musical. the 1.3 is a very good headphone. on the woo ges, the sound as probably expected was a bit richer and warmer with an overall more fluid flow and progression to the music. for example, acoustic guitar which doesn't quite sound right on the he amp sounded more correct on the woo. on the he audio, the presentation was more forward (which isn't entirely a bad thing), the sound was a tad brighter (generally a negative), but there was also better articulation (just a certain sharpness and crispness to words and between some notes which was somewhat lacking on the woo) and better bass response (more slam). the latter to me was the biggest difference between the two amps with the better articulation being more subtle. i think the woo is probably a more pleasing listening experience overall, if one considers a wide variety of recordings and genres and session time, but the he audio is quite good in its own right and there are surely certain recordings/artists where it may be preferred.
as for the EH-1.3 compared against the EH-1.2, the latter definitely has a smoother and more organic sound. the soundstage is more centered and the music just sounds more natural and less bright (harsh) when compared against the 1.3. for example on the he amp, the 1.2 could not only do acoustic but even piano, which i thought was a weak point with the 1.3. it is worth noting that the 1.2 had a lot more burn in (200 hours or so) than the 1.3s (about 60), so my hope is that the 1.3 after a sufficient period of break in will come into its own. i think it may. but i'm not sure. if it doesn't i will exchange it for the newer model - the 1.2B. i also did a quick comparison to the HE60 and i agree with aaron that the sound on the HE60 is thinner, the sound stage is smaller, and the bass is not as good. i think the EH-1.2/1.3 is easily better than the HE60. although i will admit that my comparison among them was brief.
that's it. just wanted to get a few thoughts down. some pics are below. left to right is aaron's 1.3 (notice the different colored wood to mine), his 1.2 (which with black tarnished wood is what the 1.2B will look like), and then my 1.3.