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CanJam 2009 Impressions - Page 25  

post #361 of 636
Two things i cant believe to mention were the Head-direct portable player.

First off it was smaller than i though i would call it about the same size as an old school tape player. The interface was a lot easier to navigate than i thought it would be and if Fang(i think his name was) is right he has big ideas for the design included a shiny black finish which might be nice. I only got a chance to listen to it on some Yuin Pk2's but i thought it was very good...and i look forward to the final version being released.

Also i was very fortunate and won two amp3 mp3 players and the more i listen to them the more i am blown away. They have the probably hardest interface i have ever used and i didnt find a manual. But when it comes to sound quality they totally blew away my old portable setup. I never knew that my Pk1s could so good. And now listening to my Alo-780s they are driving them with no problems. Definitely a great product!
post #362 of 636
Originally Posted by Audio Addict View Post
Did Ray balance the pair himself?

post #363 of 636
Originally Posted by LFF View Post
The Harley/Hoffman talk was amazing. Great music, great sound and lots of cool anecdotes shared by Joe Harley and Steve Hoffman. The good news for those of you living vicariously off this thread - I recorded BOTH talks in binaural sound for an upcoming Head-Fi podcast. It needs to be mastered a bit and edited, but you guys are in for a treat.
Looking forward to hearing this, I remember the last talk was great.
post #364 of 636
Nice photos and descriptions.
post #365 of 636
more to come from us im sure....lots of us are fuggin BEAT...i just got done packing and just dropped in some music for a relaxing session....and for those who know know what that means.....
post #366 of 636
Frank Cooter is my hero
post #367 of 636
Originally Posted by ServinginEcuador View Post
Two things stand out from the two days I spent at CanJam 2009:

1. I really liked the Luxman P-200 amp Todd the Vinyl Junkie had running the pair of HD800. Great sounding amp that got little attention, but deserved more.

2. The HD800 are definitely my next, and likely last, headphones.

I'll also add that it was a blast getting to meet up with so many old head-fi friends, and make some new ones. I'm glad I went to the show, and hopefully it will come around again somewhere that I can attend again. It was a LOT of fun.
Yup, the P-200 is a hell of an Amp!
post #368 of 636
Such a great meet. Far Exceeded my expectations!!!
Ray Samuels - awesome guy and awesome products - bought my predator!
Craig Sanborn - Thanks for the awesome deal on the ATH-A900ti's.
And thanks finally to the leadership of head fi for putting this meet together.

post #369 of 636
Great impressions already, so will just add a little.

First off, the biggest surprise for me has been the hf-2's and the Audeze planar. The hf-2 is remarkably good, as long as you like the Grado sound. Sounds to me most like a mini PS-1, with reduced bass. That is a plus in my book as the PS-1 has always been too bass heavy for my tastes. The real shocker has been the Audeze planars. These are very fast, clear phones with a great frequency balance. They may lack a little low-end weight but that is definitely IMO. A big chunk of that comparison was using them on a Gilmore lite fed from the Spectral 2000 DAC and a PCDP transport. I compared them to an O2/BHSE using the same source, so not a liteweight comparison. The Audeze kept up in clarity and speed, but not in midrange smoothness or bass extension (WooHoo big surprise with the price differential). At $350 - $400 dollars, this phone is a steal. Also listened to the Head-direct planars side-by-side using the Headamp GS-X and Neko Audio DAC. I slightly prefered the Audeze on sound alone and with price factored in (Audeze: $350-$4000; Head-Direct: $700-1000). Remember, however, that both of these are prototypes. The first 25 Audeze units will look like the above, using the off-the-shelf housing. The housing limits the driver and I was told they will also sell the drivers, but pricing was indeterminate. If you angle the drivers so the front is closer to the skull than the back the sound improves and IMO that is the direction they need to go with these.

Which brings me to the Neko Audio D100. This is the real deal. Listened out of the GS-x on my K340's with a Macbook feeding it via optical output. Very smooth and clear with a variety of genres (rock, classical, jazz). Definitely to my tastes as it, like the GS-x simply gets out of the way so you can hear the recording in all its glory or with all of its faults, but it does not accentuate the faults in the recordings. It lets you hear them but doesn't throw them in your face.

The HD-800's were awesome on both out of the Luxman P1 (SE) and the Headroom BUDA (balanced). Others have given good impressions. IMO the impressions vary because this phone lets you hear the upstream components in all their glory (or not). Very electrostatic like speed but you have the advantage of dynamics of dynamics. Can't really say much more without more listening time to see how the electronics are influencing any other specifics. It looks like I will own this but I'm definitely going to let the dust settle first.

Still, best sound at the show for me was an old phone and a new amp: The Omega I and the BHSE.

A few pictures:

Audeze Planars

I listened to Frank Cooters electrostatic amp with my O2's and it handled them like a champ, plus the Mercury vapor tube glow is just way cool.


Lastly, hats off to the organizers as this was a superbly organized event and the California crew (jpnums, 909, Iron_dreamer, LFF, velogreg, Jasper994 and Edwood) did a great job and always went the extra mile to make sure everyone had a great time.
post #370 of 636
Woo DAC is really interesting. I hope Jack will reveal the specification soon.
post #371 of 636
First of all, I can't say how much I appreciate the endless hours of hard work and lost sleep that jp#'s, 909, edwood, irondreamer and all the other folks that it takes to put on an event like this. You can always tell a well run event because you don't realize that all the mini-disasters that are inevitable, aren't happening (unless you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time of course).
This was an epic meet and hopefully, it'll inspire all the rest of the International meets.
So my hat's off to all the guys.

I was lucky enough to be in the Summit fi room and most of us set up on Friday night. I was able to have a ring side seat for the ES-2/HE90 shootout. Neilvg and blubliss set up side by side and shared sources. There was a difference in sound between the headphones (one new production and one old) and the amps. I think that I'll leave it to those two to relate what they heard but it was pretty interesting to watch and listen to their comments.

My next door neighbor was Frank Cooter and as always, his diy amps were fantastic. This year it was an electrostatic amp and I gave it a pretty good listen. At first it was a little edgy but once he borrowed one of filbert's modified Sonic Frontiers dac's the sound really came together. I think that dac is really something special (good for you filbert!) and Frank's new amp is another beautiful sounding creation.

Next to the ES-2's Voltron had some of "audio's most wanted" digital demo gear.
One was the Amarra 4 music system. It was a major hit at the last Rocky Mountain Audio Festival and uses the Sound Blade audio engine that's a standard in CD/DVD-A production on top of an iTunes interface. Extremely versatile and great sounding.
On top of the Amarra was Berkeley Audio Design's Alpha Dac.
Both of these products are hot off the presses and I'd bet that just about every audio magazine (print and web based) is either in the process of doing reviews or chomping on the bit (ha ha get it? bit/byte) to review one.
From what I heard, I think these two will be the server/dac's that will re-set the bar for a while. The future of audio? Stay tuned.

blubliss also had his SP XLR on hand and I think that it was the best I've ever heard the R-10 sound. They always seemed to lack that last bit of snap to their presentation but it was all there when balanced and hooked into this monster amp.

909 had an Eddie Current HD-2 with his Reimyo player and it was easily the best I heard the HD800 (which I love). I can't wait to hear a totally burned in 800 on this rig. To me the 800 is what the 600 and 650 aspire to be. I think that "all" aspects of the Sen. house sound have been elevated several notches and made incredibly balanced at the same time. I also heard them balanced in Headroom's demo and the sounded fantastic there too.

Speaking of balanced, I listened to Craig's Balancing Act and his vinyl rig through a Zana. The Balancing Act sounded full and even with fantastic depth and imaging. Very nice. And his new tube phono stage was almost the equal to my CAT preamps precise and pristine sound (the CAT Ultimate is about $8k now days). He was using a Denon 103 cartridge which is very low output and said that he'll be replacing the Jensen transformer with a better one in the production version (I have very expensive Stevens and Billings with mine). It will feature user impedance and capacitance loading. It could be one of the best things I've heard from him (which is saying a lot!).

I listened to the new 'stat amps pretty closely. I've never really been a fan of RS Audio's house sound so if you are a fan, don't believe me. I didn't like the Thunderbolt and it seemed to run out of steam pretty easily on the O2's. It just didn't do anything for me.
I have to say that the WES was more of the sound that I like but just didn't move me either. It was populated by the superb Black Treasure tubes so it probably sounded close to it's potential. I guess it could be the digital sources that both were using. But at this price range, I expect a lot.
The BHSE on the other hand had plenty of oomph. It also seemed to have pretty good pace/prat. Of course that sort of thing can often times be changed with tube rolling but with stock tubes it seemed worth the money.
All three have superb casework and your personal taste will have to decide which is the best. I guess my main question with any 'stat amp is fine detailing. Unfortunately meet conditions make those evaluations tough.

I spent a few minutes with the Audeze prototypes and they had the nice snap that a good planar should but they seemed to have a bit of a veil to them. It could have been the amp/phone match (planars usually present a tough load) a lack of burn in (planar speaker manufactures usually recommend at least 150 hours burn in) or the shallow enclosure that was obviously off the shelf (early reflections could have been blurring the sound). They show great promise though and I'm loving the idea of competing planar headphones out there again.

I really loved the smaller room set up. Even when it gets noisy, it isn't anywhere as bad as when you have a single big room. And it doesn't seem like it lasts as long either.

About the only criticism I have was the visitor parking. A couple of non-member single day people I know were only able to stay for about 4 hours. They parked in the hotel garage and ended up paying more than I did for my 3 day stay ($18 for the first hour and $6 for each hour afterwards). If we could have offered them vouchers when they paid to get in, it would've saved them quite a bit. But, I guess we'll know better next time.
post #372 of 636
I forgot to mention the Neko Audio D100 and I can reiterate what other people have's a great Dac'n deal for the money. They are using the Jensen (I believe) output transformers (2). That and the quality input regulation with good Dac chip (2 in parallel) with attention paid to the clocking and it's a steal at the price. You can pay more but receive much less!
post #373 of 636
Frank's amp really makes me drool.
post #374 of 636
More than listening to gear, I just had a great time meeting HF and members of other headphone forums. The organization of the meet was absolutely top notch and the community presence was mind boggling.

The HD800 were very unique in that they could sound so different in so many setups. I thoroughly enjoyed them in a balanced configuration on my B52 and look forward to ordering a pair in the future.

The balanced R10 out of Andy's SDS-XLR, the HE90 out of Neils ES2 were absolutely amazing and I had ample opportunities to listen to them as my setup was in the same Catalina D room.

I was almost ready to completely go offline as when I powered up my rig, I tripped the breaker and everyone in the room lost power. This happened three times before I finally was able to have the hotel services daisy chain 2 extension cords to power off a completely different circuit.

Edips Reks stopped by and mentioned the extra gain on the setup. Switched the 12ax7 pairs (Mullard CV4004) for a pair of 12AU7 Telefunken smooth plates and he was much happier. I just had the extra gain to mitigate some of the meet conditions. Great guy to talk to and we exchanged some of our audio philosophies...a very pleasurable personality and he really had some great audio insight...always fun to hear!

Anyhow, the HD800 and the JH13's are probably on the plate for me as I think they were some of the best sounding units at the show. One of the best I heard the HD800 was when Neil and I went up to Jude's room Saturday night. He had the Lavry DA11, a Raptor, the new top of the line Cardas cables and a power plant premier all hooked up.
Absolutely amazing. Jude likes most of his headphones through the Luxman amp he owns, but the HD800 were best to his ears on the Raptor and he didn't know what was the real reason here. Maybe the OTL design, but the HD800 were just spectacular here. Neil and I both were taken aback by how nice this was sounding. Maybe because the pair was broken in so well for the past 3 months that Jude owned it. Also, there were no meet conditions whatever it was, the sound was heavenly with some Cowboy Junkies, Damien Rice and some MFSL tracks...all lossless through iTunes. The digital crossfeed on the Lavry DA11 was a total trip. Absolutely brilliant!

I loved every tiring minute of CanJam and hated the Monday morning blues.

Oh one more thing, the Ultrasone Edition 8's sounded so much better than the 9s. I did an AB through Rudi's RPX 33 which was right there next to the Ultrasone table. Putting on the Edition 9 brought back memories and reminded me why I had sold them. Edition 8 were a totally different story though...a more refined headphone to my ears.

My good friend ServingEquador won the Ed. 8 in the Raffle and I was so happy for him. Couldn't imagine a better person to have those! He had absolutely no clue they were $1500 headphones! He found out later when he checked at home and almost fell out of his chair. hehee

Here was my setup/table:

One of the highlights of CanJam for me was actually on Thursday evening Ray Samuels and his son Charles graciously came over to my home for dinner and some music listening on my speaker system (add a pair of tube monoblocks and single driver speakers to fully treated room to get an idea). Ray brought over his new A10 and boy did we have a great time. We played around comparing the B52 preamp section with the A10 preamp section. I was almost torn apart when I heard the A10 preamp kill the B52 preamp and we both were just wondering what the hec was going on...turns out a simple tube change (pulled out the Telefunken 12AX7 Smooth plates from the A10 and into the B52) in the input section fixed everything. Now the preamps were sounding EXACTLY the same and my smile returned back to my face What an experience..a pair of tubes made the difference between mid fi sounding and hi-fi sounding experiences. We both were absolutely dumbfounded. The input tubes on the B52 make an absolutely massive difference to the sound! Bad thing is now I have to track down a pair of matched Telefunken smooth plate 12AX7 tubes. Great food (thanks to my family cooking some elaborate North Indian dishes), good music and an amazing company made this a very memorable evening for Ray and I.

Honestly, this is one of the best headphone meets ever. Thank you head-fi...without you, this would not have been possible.
post #375 of 636

Positive Feedback report online!

Dave Clark took some nice photos when he visited.
Here you go;

CanJam 2009
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