Comments To Follow. *Impressions being added*
New PS Audio PerfectWave transport and DAC, connected via proprietary I2S connection. Too bad the optional network bridge is not available yet (what I think sets this combo apart), but the system sounded rich, detailed, smooth, with a hint of liquidity thrown in, thanks at least partly to Senn HD800, Grado PS1000, and Cary 300 SEI 300B goodness with EAT 300B tubes.
Grado HF-2's. Beautiful cans and thankfully much lighter than PS1000
Unmistakable Grado goodness and character and very enjoyable and musical. In direct comparison to HD800, it does not have the ultimate extension of very top or deep bottom or ultimate low-level resolution, but it sounds more fun with more mid-bass quantity and punch as well as more involving (coloreful?) character. To each his own.
Blue Hawaii SE driven by Sony 5400ES. Yup, the amp is as good as people say. I would say this is the first time I've heard O2 Mk I and Mk II not sound "dark." I was rather surprised in the mid-bass quantity difference between Mk I and Mk II, as Mk II subjectively had at least 4-5 dB more mid-bass to me, sometimes preferable but not always.
Three Heed Canamps with Ultrasones. I thought Ultrasone 900 was especially very nice, with smooth yet detailed presentation out of these small amps yet with commanding bass density and richness.
Lector 7T CDP sounding very analogue driving Heed Canamps + Ultrasones.
Stax OII Mk II. It has much more midbass quantity than Mk I, which Spritzer calls bass "hump," but it can be so much fun, something the lovers of Grado PS1/PS1000 can appreciate, I'm sure.
Headphile woodied Senn HE60 "baby orpheus" sounded very nice out of BHSE.
Edwood relaxing after a hard weekend.
Senn HD800. I listened to it out of various setups, and the word that comes to mind is chameleon. I've heard it sound ripe and colorful, dry and fast, powerful and driving, polite and linear, you name it. It does seem to reveal what's upstream, and if I wasn't a 'stat guy, I would probably get one.
Directly compared to Grado PS1000, the usual Grado vs. Senn dichotomy still emerges. PS1000 has more bass impact and drive, more forward/involving midrange, yet HD800 has more overall refinement and control as well as top-end extension. I did appreciate how HD800 handles pop recordings and sibilants with more grace than Grado.
HD800 battles PS1000.
Eddie Current Zana Deux and Balancing Act. Superb tube amplification at its finest IMO. I have never, ever heard Senn HD600 sound this good, driven by Balancing Act. Harmonic overtones beautifully layering the rich fundamentals without slowing down speed or impact; no Senn veil here, folks. And I loved HD800 out of Zana Deux, probably more than HD600 out of ZD. If HD800 shows you what's upstream, the upstream was strong, resolved, clean, and just beautiful.
Manley Stingray with integrated iPod dock.
Ultimate Ears Table.
Woo Audio WES Electrostat amp prototype. Headphone community is now enjoying an embarrassment of riches in 'stat amps! Just a couple years ago, the Orpheus amp or Singlepower ES1 would pretty much be it, but now we also have the Woo WES and GES, Blue Hawaii SE, Ray Samuels A-10, Frank Cooter's 'stat amp, not to mention the Singlepower ES-1 and ES-2's.
Having spent most of the day listening to as many 'stats as possible on each and every 'stat amp, I'm happy to report that every single combo is at least good and some combo's just out of this world!
The Woo WES here is reportedly using the AmpOhm oil capacitors inside (which is a good thing IMO) and sounded closer to the ES-1 signature than Blue Hawaii SE. I wish it had a better source feeding it than the big Denon CDP, but even then, it had a very detailed and clear sound if not as smooth and powerful as BHSE. There is a lot of potential here with upgraded parts Jack Woo plans to offer, including VCaps, and of course, tube rolling.