I was very pleased at how well my Woo GES stood up to the KGBH, with just a very slight decrease in bass output and very slightly softer attack, but otherwise just as enjoyable everywhere else. Listening to all the stats has spoiled me for my dynamics, and I now know I am a stat person through and through. I just can't seem to get the enjoyment out of my Edition 9 as much anymore. However, there is an exception - my favorite dynamic coming out of the meet today is the K1000 which sounds great balanced from my upgraded Single Power Square Wave XL as well as naamanf's Beta 22. I've got to get me a pair if the HD800 I have ordered don't "do it" for me. I might sell my Edition 9 too.
I might end up selling my orthodynamics - all my stats are just better to me, even with listening to several modded/dampened orthos. Smeggy, don't kill me, but none of the stock or modded orthos out of the Woo WA6 (or SOHA II) could keep up with the electrostatics out of the Woo GES (or Travagans Red with SRD-7 Mk2, or KGBH). dBel's modded Fostex were the most transparent, and I liked the modded YH-100 and modded HP-3 more than the stock YH-100 or HP-1. It was easier for the orthos to sound congested and muddled in complex musical passages, especially the stock ones, when comparing them to the electrostatics. I'm trying to decide if I am going to mod them, or sell them and stick with my stats (except for the Smeggy SFI that I am keeping forever).
The Smegma Pro acquitted themselves well, and sounded very good even in the company of higher end stats. I was difficult to rank them since most of the stats sounded better than the dynamics, except for the K1000. Everyone liked the Smegma Pro, and I like them more than the SR-Lambda and SR-5NB gold. I'm just not sure they are up to the level APS recabled ESP950 and above, but they are close.
We also did a comparison of several desktop DAC, and we threw in the iBasso D10 since the Buffalo DAC was having a problem after moving it from the betta 22 and KGBH rig to Sherwood's rig for the shootout. Having been slightly disappointed with the Cambridge DACMagic at the 11/1/09 meet we listened to the burned-in DACMagic again, and it sounds much better now (filter on Min). We used Sherwood's NAD542 CDP as source and ran the Coax-out into an SPDIF distribution station, and then fed its FIVE outputs into 5 of the DACs, and fed the optical from the NAD into the 6th DAC (not sure which). We then connected the analog outputs of 6 different DACs to a Presonus Central Station preamp, and then ran the preamp's outputs into the Woo GES and naamanf built KGBH (and RCA loop out into an amp and SRD-7 Mk2). We could then use the preamp to switch instantly between the 6 DACs. Those included iBasso D10 line out, AMB Gamma 1, DACMagic, Stello DA100, Apogee mini-DAC, and Electrocompaniet ECD-1.
Sherwood did switching with four of us listening blind to a variety of electrostatics, and writing notes about what we thought. We did not find out what # was which DAC till we were done. Listening fatigure set in and we spent the least amount of time with DAC #5 and #6, which happened to be the DACMagic and Apogee. Nevertherless, The DACMagic RCA out vs Apogee mini-DAC 1/8" line out sounded the same when switching back and forth between the two. This was interesting because at the November meet the DACMagic was the softest sounding DAC and the Apogee was the most aggressive sounding one, but now we did not hear any change when switching between them.
The AMB Gamma 1 DAC wiatrob built also matched the performance of these two, but we did not get to test the XLR out of the Apogee or DACMagic. All three sounded very good single ended. The Stello DA100 and Electroaccompaniet EC1 also sounded just like each other and were slightly ahead of the AMB, Apogee and Cambridge, but I wondered how much of that was the slight volume difference between these two and the other three. The portable iBasso D10 DAC via line out had the lowest output volume and require increasing the amp's volume knobs by 2 hours to match the volume of the other DACs. The D10 was a little flatter and less dynamic sounding, with slightly less space and ambience as well. It just didn't have the life and sparkle of the full size DAC's. Interestingly, the iBasso D10 optical DAC line out was compared earlier to the Pico USB DAC feeding the Woo GES, and the D10 via optical was an EVEN MATCH for the Pico via USB. I wonder if we did something wrong in our procedure or if we really were just burned out, because as I recall the Pico and D10 optical sounded a lot better earlier in the day. Sherwood did listen to the D10 optical with line-out vs Pico USB as a preamp feeding the GES in my rig earlier, and agreed with me that he could not hear any differences between the two.