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CanJam 2009 Impressions - Page 24  

post #346 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by SiBurning View Post
I took about 60 pictures of that first day's raffle. Forget who it was taking pictures in the front row, but we met later, and he said he was wondering what idiot was standing on the side with a cheap camera and a kit lens who thought he'd get even one picture to come out.
Hehe, well that was me, and I didn't put it quite like that. More like I was wondering who was using an f/3.5-5.6 lens and no flash, and whether they expected to get anything usable. Looks like you did ok.

Wait until you see the picture of you from dinner!
post #347 of 636
Thanks to everyone who made the meet possible. I had a lot of fun listening to gear and talking to people who share an interest in this crazy hobby. There's so much gear that I wanted to listen to, but I didn't get the chance to listen to them all. Out of the things I did get to listen to, there are a few that really stood out for me. Of course, these are all meet impressions so they're likely not accurate and I don't have the experience of some of the other members so take these for what they're worth, not very much.

The Omega II and Blue Hawaii SE were out of this world, just simply the best headphone/amp combo I've ever heard period. The clarity, detail, and imaging of this pair were unmatched and the tonality was pretty damn good as well.

The Omega II/ES-1 was also great; it wasn't as technically as good as the BHSE paring, but it sounded a bit more involving. When I listened to this rig, I've only had experience with the gear I've own and the Singlepower Extreme/K340 set up in the same room and it was the first rig I listened to at CanJam that made me think "wow, this is something special."

Ray's B-52/R10 rig had the most beautiful mid range I've ever listened to. Listening to Ella made the hairs on my back stand up. The soundstage is wide and the sound in general is pretty airy to my surprise. The imaging was pretty 3D, but not as much as the O2s. The bass felt a bit boomy, but that might be the recording. The treble also sounded a little bit brighter than my taste, but my ears are treble-shy.

The Audeze planars were surprising. They sounded pretty good from the short listening session I had. The clarity was almost as good as the Omega II possibly. Its soundstage was very wide, but its imaging wasn't in the same class as the O2s. Of course, the Blue Hawaii and O2 combo costs like $8000 while the CTH(at least I think it was a CTH) and Audeze planar combo costs less than a 1/10 of the price; so, relatively speaking the little amp and headphones held up pretty well. I'd love to take a crack at them again in my room with my set up to see how they compare to my Lambdas since they're one of the few set ups things I listened to that I can reasonable afford at this point - as much as I loved the O2/BHSE as a poor college student I'm not getting that rig any time in the near future unless I win about 10k in Vegas or something.

The Beyer DT48 was something I've always wanted to listen to and I got a chance to listen to Uncle Erik's 25 ohm DT48 out of his Zana Deux. I did like what I heard, but ultimately I'm more intrigued by it than impressed; you'll understand what I mean after the next few sentences. I put in my Sviatoslav Richter EMI Schumann recording and I wasn't too impressed with the sound. The soundstage was small, and it sounded a bit too bright for me. However, it handled the details pretty well. After listening for a few minutes, I popped in my Richter DG Rachmaninov Piano Concerto no.2 with Wislocki and the Warsaw National Philharmonic the headphones sounded very different. The bass of the opening section of the first movement was thunderous and the sound had much more body than before. Between the two different recordings, the Beyers changed more than any of the other headphones with which I've listened to these recordings. If my impressions are true, then the Beyers are amazingly transparent. I still don't know if it's placebo or if I was tired though since I listened to the Beyers near the end of the day on Sunday. Also, the Beyers had the advantage of being closed with great noise isolation so this may have made the changes more pronounced than with the open cans with which I listened to these recordings. However, what I experienced with them really interested me so I really need to spend some more time with these cans. I've been looking for a closed headphone for classical music which comprises the majority of music to which I listen so if my impressions prove true I'll likely be picking up a pair of these Beyers soon because they happened to be within my price range.

Finally, we have the HD800. It's just great. First of all, it was the most comfortable headphone I have ever heard. With most headphones, my ears end up touching the drivers or the sides of the pads which annoys me, but this never happens on the HD800 due to the distance between the ear and the driver. The sound was airy and spacious. The depth of the soundstage was excellent, right up there with the Sigma 404 and the K1000 I feel. The clarity was good. The tonal balance is great. The bass digs pretty deep and effortlessly. The mids have a weight and presence that I've not heard from any headphone except the K140 I used to own. Laugh if you will, but this is actually quite the complement because in terms of just body and presence in voices the K140 is extraordinary. The K140 lacks in the technical aspects of a good headphone like clarity, detail, extension, soundstage, and imaging, but the HD800 happens to have these in spades along with that mid range body and presence. Finally, the HD800 is somewhat amp dependent from what I heard during the meet. I was thoroughly unimpressed with it out of the Headroom setups. They lacked clarity compared to electrostats and made the music sound boring and lifeless in my opinion. However, out of Ray's Apache and Raptor, I absolutely love the HD800. Although I think the Omega 2 is slightly better than the HD800, a top shelve HD800 set up will probably cost half of what an O2/BHSE costs, maybe even less than half and the HD800 does some things better than the O2 in my book anyways, most notably the body and presence in vocals and depth of soundstage. The HD800 has the potential to be a real winner in my book and if I get some more quality listening time with these I may even be tempted to starve myself to raise the funds necessary to buy these.

As I have said earlier, these are all meet impressions so take them for what they're worth, not very much. I just need to make that clear. About ten to twenty minutes in a noisy environment is not enough to make a decision about a pair of headphones. I learned that with nearly every headphone I've ever purchased I needed at least a good two to three hours of focused listening before I can really tell how much I'll really like a pair of headphones.

Anyways, I would like to again express my thanks to everyone who made CanJam '09 possible. It was a valuable experience for a newbie like me to listen to the megabuck setups and meet people who shared the same interests as I do.
post #348 of 636
Just a quick comment ...

Amp is not just the key ... source can be the problem too!

I heard in a mini meet a O2 v1 with KGSS ... the source was a MacBook + NuForce dac ... I said to the guy, the sound was not like all comments I had read before. In fact, was not very good.
Later, we tried the same setup but using my own cd player (something high end) ... was a night and day difference. Problem was not the amp ... was the low quality source.
post #349 of 636
Thanks to blubliss, who spent an hour with me on Friday night getting the thread open and getting those first Day 0 pictures up.

Thanks to the California crew for putting together a killer CanJam. Setting up various small rooms is a lot of extra hard work, but it was well worth it.

If there was a theme at this meet, it would seem to be the year of the electrostatic. A couple of people pointed out how many new electrostatic amps were at the meet. To me the proof that electrostatics have become mainstream (as mainstream can be in this small market) are the planars that runs off any old amp. Between the Audez'e and Fang's planar, electrostatics may have just become obsolete. I call the Audez'e headphone the Magnepan in a Can because that's exactly what it sounds like. (Thanks, Stevieo, for pointing out all that great gear. Great to see you.) This is an unassuming can that looks like I patched it together from band aids, but boy is it killer. After Stevieo pointed to it, I sat down and listened for about 3 seconds before taking them off, standing up, and turning to Stevieo cursing wildly. I must've scared the vendor something awful, but it didn't take more than 3 seconds to convince me I want one. They're coming out soon and should list for about $300 or $400. I can't wait. Fang's can is also amazingly clear, but I have to limit my impressions because I auditioned it late Sunday afternoon when my ears were exhausted, and I didn't hear the can driven properly. It has a 4 ohm impedance, making it very hard to drive from normal headphone amps.

Spent several hours late Friday night on Voltron's rig listening to the HD800 and a couple of Grados incuding the HF2. The 800 is a very nice can that does everything right. It's hard to find any flaws with it. They're huge. It feels like trash cans with speakers over my ears. I wonder if all that space is what gives them such a sense of imaging. There's a sweet spot where the sound comes together, but it's very easy to miss the sweet spot with one or both cans or have the cans shift slightly. If you do that, they phase out and the image gets lost as if you're in an echo chamber. I'm not the biggest Grado fan, but the HF2 is a big less grainier and the sound is balanced a little differently than the others. Personally, I prefer the ringing tone of the wood grados to the flatness of the metal ones, but I could go either way.

Matt from Innovative Product Realiztion has (yet another?) gizmo he unassumingly calls the GR9 that pulls the digital signal from an ipod to feed it to a DAC. Unfortunately, the prototype wasn't complete to the point where you could hook it up to a DAC. Skeptically waiting to hear a completed product.

I listened to Donald North's DNA DAC+Amp and was quite impressed with the unique sound it produces. It seems to be made for 80s New Wave. I also purchased a few CDs he had for sale. I forget his association, whether he's a distributor for a small label or what. Someone please fill in the details.

Aix Records does simultaneous video and audio recordings in concert hall environments. I haven't cracked them open yet, but I'm sure looking forward to listening and watching 7 nice new treats.

Also bought a bunch of jazz and classical CDs from Eastwind Imports.

Picked up the Beyerdynamic DT770 to keep my 831 company. It was nice to see people from Beyerdynamic finally show up to a meet. Fortunately, they were sitting right next to Benchmark, which is the amp I'll be using for these cans, so along with my new music, it was a great audition. Thanks to the guys at Benchmark and Beyer for all the help setting up the audition.

There's so much more....

I've never listened to so much gear at a meet before. Coming with none of my own gear has something to do with that. In the past, I've listened to a lot of rigs through my own cans. Since there was at least some similarity, it was much less tiring. It's a lot more exhausting listening to different rigs all set. It's also harder to know what each piece of equipment is contributing to the overall sound.

It was great to hang with so many old friends, and make new friends. Our two long time peerless leaders from NY didn't make it, but a last minute decision from daveDerek, and a surprise visit from Romanee made up for it.

One last thought. Trying to get a bunch of head-fiers together for dinner is like herding cats. It must've taken an hour to get 6 people together for dinner Saturday night, and there was a lot of confusion Sunday night after the meet. It was a great dinner Sunday night--we had enough to take up 5 tables, and some had just one cheek on a chair. Wish I didn't have to leave. Next year, I'm staying the extra day.

Looking forward to making it 5 for 5 next year.
post #350 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by pompon View Post
Just a quick comment ...

Amp is not just the key ... source can be the problem too!

I heard in a mini meet a O2 v1 with KGSS ... the source was a MacBook + NuForce dac ... I said to the guy, the sound was not like all comments I had read before. In fact, was not very good.
Later, we tried the same setup but using my own cd player (something high end) ... was a night and day difference. Problem was not the amp ... was the low quality source.
Agree. Source first.
post #351 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by SiBurning View Post
Mr. Woo must be a Pink Floyd fan because he handed me their latest prototype, The Peach, which had me eating a peach--literally. It had lovely tone, a round and full body, deliciously sweet. My small audition with the peach left me wanting more. Thanks for the refreshment.
Excellent pictures. Thank you for sharing them.

Just curious, did you mean The Allman Brothers with the Eat a Peach reference?
post #352 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by subtle View Post
Excellent pictures. Thank you for sharing them.

Just curious, did you mean The Allman Brothers with the Eat a Peach reference?
Of course it's the Allman Brothers. Thanks. Updated the reference. There's so much going on at these meets, it gets confusing.

For me, the meet is so much more than just the gear. I try to focus my picture taking more on capturing part of the feel of what it's like being at a meet, leaving it to more steady, capable hands to document the gear. It's more fun for me that way, since I love all the little things going on. Of course, the incriminating pictures don't get posted, but probably don't need to be.

The best picture I missed was Fang coming out of the elevator carrying a pelican case with a huge smile on his face bopping about and singing along to his new portable system. I was so amused that I couldn't even lift the camera to take the shot. Being there with 300 people all having such a great time, sharing the experience--it's all so infectious and is really what makes the meet so special.
post #353 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by SiBurning View Post

I listened to Donald North's DNA DAC+Amp and was quite impressed with the unique sound it produces. It seems to be made for 80s New Wave. I also purchased a few CDs he had for sale. I forget his association, whether he's a distributor for a small label or what. Someone please fill in the details.

Aix Records does simultaneous video and audio recordings in concert hall environments. I haven't cracked them open yet, but I'm sure looking forward to listening and watching 7 nice new treats.

Also bought a bunch of jazz and classical CDs from Eastwind Imports.

Picked up the Beyerdynamic DT770 to keep my 831 company. It was nice to see people from Beyerdynamic finally show up to a meet. Fortunately, they were sitting right next to Benchmark, which is the amp I'll be using for these cans, so along with my new music, it was a great audition. Thanks to the guys at Benchmark and Beyer for all the help setting up the audition.

There's so much more....

I've never listened to so much gear at a meet before. Coming with none of my own gear has something to do with that. In the past, I've listened to a lot of rigs through my own cans. Since there was at least some similarity, it was much less tiring. It's a lot more exhausting listening to different rigs all set. It's also harder to know what each piece of equipment is contributing to the overall sound.

It was great to hang with so many old friends, and make new friends. Our two long time peerless leaders from NY didn't make it, but a last minute decision from daveDerek, and a surprise visit from Romanee made up for it.

One last thought. Trying to get a bunch of head-fiers together for dinner is like herding cats. It must've taken an hour to get 6 people together for dinner Saturday night, and there was a lot of confusion Sunday night after the meet. It was a great dinner Sunday night--we had enough to take up 5 tables, and some had just one cheek on a chair. Wish I didn't have to leave. Next year, I'm staying the extra day.

Looking forward to making it 5 for 5 next year.
Your part about the Donald North DNA DAC+amp perked my interest since I am a fan of 80s post punk and new wave. Can you elaborate on that a little? thanks
post #354 of 636
Any Westone ES3X owners listen to he JH13? We have heard a some people say the like the JH13 better than the UE 10 and 11, but what about the highly regarded ESX?
post #355 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by Possum View Post
Ah, so you were the one holding up that dummy. It'll be interesting to hear what your recording sounds like compared to actually being there.
Yes and no. I was the one "holding" it during the first talk. I was in the back sitting next to the dummy head in the middle of the room.

Jasper994 was the one holding it during the second talk sitting mid-room right next to 909.
post #356 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kclone View Post
Any Westone ES3X owners listen to he JH13? We have heard a some people say the like the JH13 better than the UE 10 and 11, but what about the highly regarded ESX?
You want the JH13. Trust me.
post #357 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by doping panda View Post
Ray's B-52/R10 rig had the most beautiful mid range I've ever listened to. Listening to Ella made the hairs on my back stand up. The soundstage is wide and the sound in general is pretty airy to my surprise. The imaging was pretty 3D, but not as much as the O2s. The bass felt a bit boomy, but that might be the recording. The treble also sounded a little bit brighter than my taste, but my ears are treble-shy.
One note on that - you were listening to my custom remaster of that album. The bass is indeed a bit boomy on the recording. However, cutting it out any more than I already did ruined Ella's voice. The main focus on that LP for me was Ella's voice. Ray's system really sweetened that voice up though. I only wish I could have run my Sinatra through his rig to see what it put out. I also wish I could have spent more time with his Shadow amp to see what it could do with some of my other remasters.
post #358 of 636
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kclone View Post
Your part about the Donald North DNA DAC+amp perked my interest since I am a fan of 80s post punk and new wave. Can you elaborate on that a little? thanks
Sheesh! I'll try, but I'm not all that great at decribing gear.

Ti captured a good picture:
CanJam 2009 Gallery
http://www.ibiblio.org/tkan/audio/ca...9/dsc02520.jpg

He had two sets of cans. One (I forget what it is but you can see it in the picture) sounded grainy, almost Grado grainy. The other (AKG or AT?) much less so--I'd call it sandy. The sound reminded me of the cleaner or lighter style of distortion that's common in new wave. Overall, it's a light, clean sound, yet neither refined nor too polite. I listened to both rock and a string trio, and it sounded good with both. Detail, clarity, and opacity were good. I haven't heard anything quite like this setup before.

Sorry I can't really go beyond that merest impression. There was just too much to listen to, and it's all still confusing. I also didn't listen all that long. It's something I want to demo again under quieter circumstances when I bring my own music.
post #359 of 636
Any more pics?
I wish I was there...
post #360 of 636
thanks to all the organizers & vendors who made this meet memorable.

great to see everyone again.
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