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DFW Meet (31 Jan 2009) Impressions  

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
WTF I drove 3 hours and I'm the first poster.

Anyways, the meet was great. We had a decent showing of around 12 people, some with too much gear (me) and some just beginning their addiction. I'll get to the gear in one sec, but first I want to thank pabbi1 and [AK]Zip for organizing the meet, and of course jude for making this all possible to begin with.

This being my first meet I had no idea what to expect from the other gear on display. I thought my stuff was good, but doubts lingered from inexperience.

AKG701: I was surprised by these phones. Played them through my analog setup and they sounded more lively than I expected. People call them dull and flat, but I don't agree. They are nicely detailed and reasonably balanced. A bit bass light, but that's fine with me.

Denon D2000: Bloat, bloat, bloat. I guess I'm not a fan of closed headphones. These had almost no soundstage and the highs seemed like they were coming from someone else's headphones nearby. There was plenty of bass, but it was overboard. If markl has made these listenable it's a miracle.

Senn HD650 Woodies: Tighter bass than the usual 650s, but losing the soundstage really hurt. Overall not bad, at least I've heard them with woodies so I don't experiment and waste money later. Not my cup of tea.

Stax SR202 + Stax 313: Wow! I must have spent nearly an hour on these throughout the day. The detail from electrostats is not underrated by any means. These were everything I expected an electrostat to be. The nice surprise was they were well balanced across the spectrum. The bass was just a touch light and felt a bit otherworldly, but they are very interesting to me. I might have to pick them up to go with my dynamic setup.

Stax SR404 + SRM-1: Having tried the SR202 first, I expected a bit more, but I came away feeling like I got less. Overall they were fine, they just didn't pull me in like the 202s even after going back and forth a few times. Seemed like the mids were slightly recessed and the bass didn't have much punch, but easily listenable phones. Not bad.

HD650 + Bijou + CA 840c: Likely the best combo I heard today. As a HD600 owner I really like the Senn sound and this amp combo gave the 650s a massive soundstage. I was very impressed by this balanced tube DIY. Even turned to very loud volumes everything stayed nice and clear. A great setup.

HD580 + [AK]Zip's amp (not sure what DIY it was) + Rega Apollo: Very smooth clear Sennheiser signature. I was surprised to see Alex show up with HD580s, but they sounded great in his setup. Soundstage could be bigger, imo, but they were fine.

AudioTechnica 70 (?) Electrolets: Very impressive for a small phone. I liked it nearly as much as the SR202. One of few supra-aural phones I've ever worn that was quite comfortable.

Grado SR225: Sounded pretty close to the SR80s I've heard before. Not a fan of the Grado fit so I didn't listen long.

AudioTechnica W100: Sounded OK, nothing special. I don't like closed headphones so this didn't surprise me. The fit was odd, not uncomfortable, but strange. Good decently controlled bass, detail was weak, but better than D2000 in both aspects.

As to my digital setup, today was the first time I've been able to listen to it because of needing a cable from Alex. Got it all hooked up and was pleased with my purchases. To my ears overall I preferred it to the Stax systems. The Stax have the great speed and detail, but was missing a bit of the thump and soul of the HD600 dynamics. After pabbi1's Bijou setup I think it sounded next best, imo of course. I didn't get to listen to Pete's K1000 setup, which likely would have been better though.

I don't have any pics, but I saw at least 2 people snapping away so there should be some soon.

Great meet guys, I'll make the next one any time, just give me at least a month to clear the date.

Chris

edit #1: added W100 I forgot I listened to.
post #2 of 57
Lo sciento, my wife wanted to go out to dinner, so here is what I got:








Thought I had more pics - I know others have shots as well.

So, I am a beaten man - BH suffered a high bias dropout - fork.

But, that was not my only ass whipping today. Sometimes you go to meets just to compare goods - in my case, the latest build, which I thought would fare pretty well.

Two items caught my attention today - the Little Dot VI is a sweet piece of kit. VERY nice, and no hint of audible noise from the fans. Fed by the Cambridge Audio Magic, it would be a combo I could be real happy with, well, if I weren't a spoiled plick. Nice Cris...

The 300b just didn't do much for me - nice, and will drive the k1000 pretty well, but I still don't get / like / care for the k1000.

The 307a is a different freaking story - I get it. Like, totally. Depressingly good, actually - enough to make me feel that building amps is a waste of time, when this one can simply be bought - oh, and hand made in Dallas by Pete himself. When he builds an amp, the rest of us are just sitting around. Now, we know what the best possible amp is for the hd800.

So, I abandon hope the balanced Bijou is that amp. Meets give us a sense of perspective, and sobering reality. So, I am building another dynamic amp, looks like.

On to the human aspect, that is never really my thing, and I am going to hire a roadie for future meets... But, many friends were missed, and those who were there I did not spend nearly enough time with. It also seems we listened to stuff even less this time than most... maybe it was just the 75 degree sunny day outside... but, it is encouraging that we always see new faces, and everyone turns over gear.

Gotta crash, I'm beat. And, I didn't even have to drive...
post #3 of 57
Wow, a lot of tubes.
I'm really interested to hear the impressions about the MKVI and balanced Bijou.
And, what amp next to the 307A? It looks gorgeous
post #4 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
So, I am a beaten man - BH suffered a high bias dropout - fork.
I was looking forward to the BH and HE60, maybe next meet, but I guess by then you'll have your new electrostatic amp ready. The Stax whetted my appetite for stats so I'll be waiting to hear some real top end cans in the future.

Quote:
Two items caught my attention today - the Little Dot VI is a sweet piece of kit. VERY nice, and no hint of audible noise from the fans. Fed by the Cambridge Audio Magic, it would be a combo I could be real happy with, well, if I weren't a spoiled plick. Nice Cris...
Yes, I'll be happy with this setup for quite a while, but as you know it won't be forever

Quote:
Gotta crash, I'm beat. And, I didn't even have to drive...
You think you're tired. I left last night at 7:35pm and got back at 7:38pm tonight. 6 1/2 hours of driving in 24 hours. Yay! All very worth it though.
post #5 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Knight View Post
Wow, a lot of tubes.
I'm really interested to hear the impressions about the MKVI and balanced Bijou.
And, what amp next to the 307A? It looks gorgeous
300b I think..

..and yes, very few SS amps there. Couple hybrids.
post #6 of 57
the 307A is such a non-looker, but i am dying to hear it.
post #7 of 57
As the new guy , I had a great time listening to all the different amps, dacs and cd's.

Thanks all! Great time!
post #8 of 57
Holy cow! Those Millet amps look amazing! (Sobbing.... so sad I missed it). Too bad I don't have an extra $5,995.00 lying around the house to pick up a 307a.

I am also interested to hear how the balanced Little Dot sounds.

Sorry to hear about the BH Al.

More pictures and impressions, pretty please!
post #9 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
the 307A is such a non-looker, but i am dying to hear it.
Form over substance - truly best of breed, in any show. A 'must hear' for anyone going to CanJam - make a point to find this one. Period.

It is the end of the road for dynamic headphones.

Edit: New dynamic build starts next week (parts acquisition)... BH will be resucitated on about 3 weeks when more build activity is under way... then, sold with all the Mullards.
post #10 of 57
Well I'm late because I stopped for dinner in Hillsboro. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

My impressions:

Here are some things that stood out for me.

1. I listened to Senns for the first time today. The only one I was really impressed with was the 580. The 6XX's were just too mellow in the highs and the bass, while plentiful, was just too loose for me. I like a nice tight bottom.

2. I did a little A/B with the Grado SR225 and my SR60's (thanks kidsyd). The 225's were more delicate and perhaps more articulate in the highs and the upper midrange was not as pronounced as the SR60's. They seemed more balanced overall, but I was expecting more deep bass definition and presence. They sound good, but I think the SR60's sound good too, and at almost triple the price, I won't be looking to upgrade to a 225. Oh, and now I get why Grado has such a bad rep in the comfort department. Those bowls are a disaster. They create two small pressure points where they contact the ear, high and low. For supra-aural, flats are the only way to go imo.

3. I was simply astounded that the little homemade Starving Student sounded like it did. I listened to several setups and that thing held it's own in that room.

4. I really enjoyed the Denon AH-D2000's. They seemed a bit bright, but overall I enjoyed the sound. I agree that the illusion of space does not come through like a good open backed phone, though. I'm still extremely curious about the markl mod on these. Maybe not enough to rush out an buy a pair to experiment on though. I've spent quite enough in the last three weeks already.

5. Lastly, I'm delighted to find that of all the cans I heard today*, I liked my AKG K701's the most. I really did a ton of research before pulling the trigger and almost everything I read was confirmed. The K701 is a very balanced and enjoyable set of headphones and I'm convinced that at it's price point, it is the one to beat.

I had great time guys. Looking forward to the next one.

* I didn't listen to the Stax rigs for a reason. From what I understand you can become addicted after trying them just once. Just say no!

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http://picasaweb.google.com/craigswa...62781633056194
http://picasaweb.google.com/craigswa...62790040186786
http://picasaweb.google.com/craigswa...62800219094402
post #11 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
4. I really enjoyed the Denon AH-D2000's. They seemed a bit bright, but overall I enjoyed the sound. I agree that the illusion of space does not come through like a good open backed phone, though. I'm still extremely curious about the markl mod on these. Maybe not enough to rush out an buy a pair to experiment on though. I've spent quite enough in the last three weeks already.

5. Lastly, I'm delighted to find that of all the cans I heard today*, I liked my AKG K701's the most. I really did a ton of research before pulling the trigger and almost everything I read was confirmed. The K701 is a very balanced and enjoyable set of headphones and I'm convinced that at it's price point, it is the one to beat.
4. I'm surprised someone has such a polar opposite opinion of the D2000 as I do. I felt like someone forgot to turn on the treble on their way out of the factory. Interesting, different strokes for different folks as they say though.

5. I agree, the AKGs were very nice. If I didn't have HD600's I'd probably grab a pair (of the 701/702) and get them balanced.
post #12 of 57
I'm pretty sure our different impressions are due to listening to them on different set-ups. I listened to them on Zips custom amp/Apollo rig. It made even the Senn's sound brighter to me and the bass sounded very controlled.

You had them plugged into your r2r and LD MKIII right?
post #13 of 57
AKG K701: This was the headphone that I really wanted to listen to; I had been eyeing it for a few months and was seriously considering picking up a pair of my own. I was glad I was able to listen to it before pulling the trigger. I first listened to it through the Mapletree amp, and I was really disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it fell short of my expectations and it was a resounding “meh”. I knew that the K701s were “transparent”, in that they take on the sound of the amp instead of having its own distinct sound, so I tried them with Pete’s Starving Student (which I must say is A LOT smaller than I expected). Through that amp, I liked the headphones a lot more, but they still sounded very dull and impassionate.

HD600/580/650/whatever I listened to, I dunno: These were quite a surprise for me; I had thought the “veil” would be unbearable for me, but, boy, was I wrong. I first listened to them through the balanced Bijou, and I was quite shocked from what I heard. I don’t know whether it was that the Bijou had a problem, or something else, but I was immediately intrigued. After a somewhat short listen, I tried a few other rigs, but I returned to the Senns and listened to a stock pair from Pete through his TTVJ amp and my iPod Touch as the source. I listened to that rig for probably 1 to 1.5 hours, and I loved it. It was a bit bass heavy for my tastes, but my tiny bit of techno sounded really good through them.

AKG K1000: I listened to these mythical headphones between the adventures with the Senns, and it was good. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by them, but rather decently pleased. They didn’t seem too special by I was impressed with the bass at one point. Just as a side note, it was really different listening to them when they weren’t touching my ears. Made the music sound like it was floating around me, instead of forced down my ears.

Stax SR202 (the ones on the right): Very enjoyable to listen to. Listened to some Tool with these, and I really enjoyed the thump of the drums throughout along with the rest of the sound. Very nice.

Thanks to everyone who made this happen today; it was a very enjoyable time as my first meet. I enjoyed chatting about everything from Family Guy to wireless networking. I hope next time I can bring some gear so people actually listen to it, but you can’t blame me now; I am a poor high school student. :P
post #14 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cswann1 View Post
I'm pretty sure our different impressions are due to listening to them on different set-ups. I listened to them on Zips custom amp/Apollo rig. It made even the Senn's sound brighter to me and the bass sounded very controlled.

You had them plugged into your r2r and LD MKIII right?
Correct, and you may be right. The reel tends to be mellow, but I listened to my stock HD580s right after the D2000 and the difference was huge.

I agree also that [AK]Zip's setup was bright, but not in a bad way. I liked it.
post #15 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzy OneThree View Post
Pete’s Starving Student (which I must say is A LOT smaller than I expected).
I was also shocked at the size. The pics on the forums make it look like it's a hefty beast (perhaps it is just the enclosures people are using though). When I first looked at it I thought 'oh that's kinda cool, oh wait that, no, that's a starving student... so small!'

Quote:
HD600/580/650/whatever I listened to, I dunno: I first listened to them through the balanced Bijou, and I was quite shocked from what I heard. I don’t know whether it was that the Bijou had a problem, or something else, but I was immediately intrigued.
If you are referring to one side being on and one off, it's probably because someone turned one of the knobs when they were done and didn't realize you have to turn both knobs on that amp as the volume is separate per channel.

Quote:
I am a poor high school student. :P
Keep away from other addictions (drinking/smoking, etc) and money magically appears! Then it promptly disappears when you keep reading this forum.
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