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Dutch Mini-meet (November 8th) - impressions - Page 10  

post #136 of 143
Originally Posted by paaj View Post
So, had a great meet! Almost everything seems to be gone, only thing I've found so far are some hard cased glasses (X mark on the case). I suppose they are the sunglasses ZarakiSan (sorry, I have a hard time putting names to nickhames/faces) was so afraid to forget If they are, pm me your address and I'll send them to you.
I think foto's and impressions can be put in this thread, I'll add a link in the first post.
I most certainly did not! I almost forgot my D2, all my amps, and a few cables, but you gave those back to me just as I was about to head off in the recently repaired car. Thank you very much!

Kees, Stich, thanks again for the help with the car! I feel like such a dork!

PS: Anouk, I took the RE0's with me so I could find someone who wanted them myself. If you ever want them back (at least before they are out of my own hands), then please let me know.

Headphone impressions:

- Sennheiser HE60
These headphones, as I as well as others have found, were probably not in perfect condition. Sicne paaj mentioned that he'll be sending them to Sennheiser (Of Germany I presume), I will say only this: They are elecrostats and they most certainly sound like it. They have a very typical airy sound while simultaneously being without punch or so I feel.

- The HEAudio electrostat (I forgot the name at this time)
Miles better than the HE60 at the time, though I wonder how they stack up to each other when the HE60 is serviced. The HE60 has the same floaty character that I find in most electrostats to my ears, but it has more presence, more grunt than I expected. It plays well and I feel it has a good sense of refinement to its sound. All in all, this would have been one of the top headphones, if not for...

- Stax SR404
Coming straight from dynamic headphones and putting these on, I thought these were simply the same kind of headphones as all the other top contenders (R10, L3000, HD800, etc), but boy was I wrong. Unlike the other electrostats, these crazy-comfortable ones carry an extremely nice punch, are slightly coloured, have a kick and a sense of immediacy that no other electrostatic pair of headphones ever seem to have. They manage to rock my skull while still keeping that airy tone that make electrostats so amazing to listen to. I was not alone in being more than impressed, I was amazed, and I really hope to some time hear the entire Stax range now.

- R10
The Big Sony was here as well, owned by tohenk2 like most of the dynamic headphones I am going to mention. After hearing the L3000's, which I'll mention below, I was struggling to be impressed by the R10's. While refined, and at least somewhat powerful, they miss a sense of involvement for me. I feel as if I'm taking a step back and hearing the music, instead of really listening to it. They really do make me feel like they're not really trying, like a big lazy V12 in a monster car being used at 20kph on a high way. Perhaps they simply need a very involved amplifier in order to function in a fashion I enjoy.

- L3000
Ever since I bought my pair of W5000's, I've looked in envy at the magnificent L3000, its large price tag, the marvelous leather skin that envelops the cups. With a sense of anxiety I put these on my head, as you can imagine. That certainly is asking for being put down, as you may imagine, but I guess I was lucky not to be disappointed. Sure, there were downsides, like the way they seem to skip over the extremely high notes (well, more like sounds that accompany drums in most cases) and therefore give off a sense that they're overly bassy, or at least to my ears. And while not exactly narrow, they are not as widely soundstaged as many other top headphones either. But to make up for these small problems, they are warm, they completely envelop you in a cocoon, put a smile on your face knowing you're listening to some amazing headphones. The L3000 have a character, they have an 'opinion', or so I feel. Listening to Norah Jones and James Taylor proved to me that they don't miss an ounce of detail, nor of timbre. I must say these were my second favourites of the day, perhaps even.

- Sennheiser HD800
I think these headphones are very love-or-hate. They're utterly different from the cans like Audio-Technica makes them, and still very much incomparable to, say, a can like Grado or Stax either. The HD800 to me was fairly cold, too analytical, perhaps the opposite of what I was expecting from the giant Sennheiser after hearing the HD650, which to me is a little too warm, a little too dark as well. The cans to me sounded very bright, very focused, and very cold, which reduced musicality a little bit. Others have complained about the highs being too bright as well, as well as being a little off-tone if I remember correctly. I consider these a technical marble, but like the Sony R10, perhaps not something which emotionally affects me. With a good tube amp, which I failed to try them on, I could imagine them a lot better. Still, I think the people at the meet who like Metal or Trance, they seemed to enjoy them a lot more. With speed and accuracy, they are more like Grado in that respect, though they are very much away from them in terms of tonal emphasis.

- Ultrasone Edition 9
Having heard these earlier at the meet in, if I remember correctly, Nieuw Vennep, I must admit to feeling a little uninterested in them compared to the giants like that lovely SR404 and the L3000. But what surprised me about them was the way they seemed to eat the music up and turn it into a bundle of joy. Perhaps not unlike the R10, they felt effortless, but perhaps a different type of effortless (Is such a thing even possible?) than the R10 has. They are still enjoyable, perhaps more than the R10 to me, to simply turn on and listen to for hours. They're not exactly mellow, and they don't lack engagement, they're just not pushy, there's no sense that you need to listen very clearly for them to please you. The R10, in that respect, disappointed me, but the E9 surprisingly made me smile and simply tap along (like I admit I do a lot) while they played.

- Alessandro MS-1000
I'm not a Grado fan. They sound pushy and urgent to me, something I simply can't stand. All Grados, apart from the MS-1000, had this in my opinion, though the crossfeed filter on my Arietta smoothed it all down a little bit. So, judging prematurely, I thought these would be the same, but the big pads seemed to help. I enjoyed the listen for a little while, especially with the mentioned crossfeed, and found them much more relaxing than any of the other things I heard from Grado and Alessandro.

- Audio Technica ESW10
I joked that these cans were probably the smallest of the bunch when I was over there, but then I put them on. They reminded me not just a little, but almost utterly of my W5000's! They are on a similar sound signature as the other Woody A-T's, which I can appreciate, but they're a little darker and a little more laid-back than my W5000's. They're utterly beautiful to listen to, entertaining, and certainly a giant-killer! Even in the midst of all the beauties various of our guests brought, these little wonders stood up beautifully, producing an agreeable and gentle sound that I can really dig. If I were to get portable headphones, these would be it.

- AKG K1000
Unfortunately, I could not get these to produce a stereo image in the middle of my head. From what I could hear, though, they are certainly similar to the SR404's, also producing that airy yet meaty sound that I must say I enjoy a lot in a can. They however are certainly different animals when you look at the way they work, and it shows in details. Where the K1000 might even be considerably more precise and attentive to detail, I still liked the SR404 more when it came to thumping bass, to amazing sparkle and depth etc etc. They do not, however, disappoint. I just wish I could find a way to use both my ears properly.


I would like to once again thanks everybody for sharing their gear, paaj for sharing his garage and his time, and the Gods of Head-fi for their beautiful creations. I am once again baffled by the way everything sounded, the differences you can hear even in a 'crowded' (sort-of) room with people in the background, the set-ups that simply shine compared to what I myself own. I also enjoyed everybody's friendliness, the chats we all had about this-and-that, and so on. Head-fi truly is a great community and these kind of meets should always be held.
post #137 of 143
Hello Guys, insomnia reigns. Anyway, did anyone by any chance make a picture of my hd800 and/or symphony? I am trying to sell them but cant send any pictures.
Greetings, Anouk
post #138 of 143
Hello, I forgot, who did bring the woo ges electrostatic amp again? I thought it was from the seem person who brought the Jade but I am not sure...
Greetings, Anouk
post #139 of 143
First of all a huge thanks to Paaj and his family for providing the accommodation, taking great care of us and making us feel very welcome!

Now to the impressions:
Most of my listening was done with the amp of the Audio-gd Compass fed by the Audio-gd Reference One, unless otherwise indicated. (In its defence: The amp of the Compass, while certainly not the epitome of sophistication, has proved to me to be an excellent all-rounder working equally well with every headphone I've thrown at it.) Almost all my listening was with classical music, since that comprises about 95% of my 'serious' listening. Tracks included: Ravel-Rhapsodie Espagnole: Feria (Berliner Philharmoniker/Boulez/DG) Shostakovich-Symphony No.15: 1.Allegretto (London Philharmonic Orchestra/Haitink/Decca); Debussy-Preludes Premier Livre: La sérénade interrompue (Krystian Zimerman/DG); Vivaldi-Concerto for two mandolins C major (RV558): Allegro molto (Il Giardino Armonico/Teldec); Beethoven-String Quartet in F minor, Op.95: 1. Allegro con brio (Gewandhaus-Quartett/NCA).

Beyerdynamic DT48E-200 ohm (beautifully modded by Kees)
I had the chance to compare this directly with my own unmodded DT48 (both of them 200 ohm versions). The modded version is warmer, has more soundstage and, although not really significantly less detailed, does present the detail as more of an organic part of the whole. Another benefit: with those K24x velour pads the modded version is a lot more comfortable to wear too. So, three cheers for another great Kees-mod!

Audio-Technica W5000 & L3000
Some impressive heavyweights from Audio-Technica and....no, sorry, they just don't manage to cut it for me. While I appreciate their refinement, everything sounds way too rounded and plasticky. And in the highs particularly the impression of strong roll-off really ruins the representation of a realistic acoustic. Admittedly, the L3000 had by far the least to suffer from these ailments, but it still sounds like an Audio-Technica...

Sony R10
So glad there was the opportunity to try this almost mythic beast. And right away I could hear why this is such a highly-praised headphone: The whole presentation is so smooth and balanced, it just makes you want to soak in it like a warm bath. The only problem is, it's way too smooth, almost glossing over details that I want to jump out at me. So no, again, not for me. (Phew, saved a few quid up till now.)

Sennheiser HD800
Very high on my 'potential next purchase'-list, but I was slightly worried by that peak in the highs on the frequency graphs. (Something I'm very sensitive to, particularly in headphones that are otherwise fairly neutral.) To my relief, it manages to stay just safe of discomfort in that regard, but only just... (better, perhaps balanced, amplification will no doubt help here) For the rest, to me this is certainly a headphone that impresses right of the bat. The signature is beautifully neutral without being dry, and the way it manages to grip every instrument and present it as a totally distinct entity (very much like an electrostat, actually) certainly doesn't fail to amaze. Still, there was this nagging feeling: was I actually listening to music here...?

Grado GS1000
I was really surprised to hear how these do not sound like a Grado. No real aggressiveness, but rather a beautifully coloured (but not unrealistic) presentation that almost errs on the other side in being slightly laid-back. And it has an excellent soundstage too! These definitely go on the list for future consideration.

AKG K1000 (PrimaLuna Prologue Two/Unison Research Unico CD player, Blackmore's setup)
...And then everything falls into place, surely this is what music should sound like! The soundstage was to be expected, what I didn't expect was the fullness and body of the sound with a beautiful bass extension. Coupled with that gorgeous AKG signature sound: almost neutral but with a little bit of just the right colouration. While the HD800 gives you the individual instruments, the K1000 presents you with the orchestra, perhaps not quite as detailed as the HD800, but so much closer to real life. (And I refuse to believe that the difference in amplification that I used for these two headphones could have anything to do with it.)
Definitely the setup where it was the hardest for me to stop listening.

Ultrasone Pro900 (with Kees-mod)
First, trying these on my own gear with orchestral music it was hard to keep listening for more than a minute. Everything came across as completely synthetic, as if fed through a hyped-up midi sequencer. Later on, trying them (guided by Kees) with the Earmax Pro and music more appropriate to them (piano solo), their qualities became much more apparent. They really do manage to give you the whole timbral depth of the instrument (albeit with a strong emphasis on the metallic part) and also present the full frequency range very convincingly.

Ultrasone Edition 9
Based on my experience with the Pro900 above, I was expecting a very short listening session, but these didn't leave my head for quite a while. There's something eminently likeable about these that's very difficult to describe. Don't expect them to be really realistic in the way they present acoustic timbres, but the lack of realism completely failed to annoy me. Instead, I was enjoying the detail retrieval, nice soundstage and overall musicality and warmth. Very nice indeed!

Stax 404LE & Sennheiser HE60 (Stax SRM-T1/Northstar M192 Paaj's setup)
While I've heard plenty of electrostat speakers through the years, I've never had the chance to listen to stat headphones. This is certainly something I could like: it translates all those characters familiar to me from electrostat speakers to headphones really well. Gripping details and particularly transients in a very impressive way. Timpani hits almost make me jump out of my seat! The 404LE has a beautiful almost burnished warm timbre to it that's very pleasant indeed. The HE60 on the other hand is definitely brighter to me and rather reminds me of the HD800 in the way in presents you individual instruments to the detriment of the big picture. Exciting? Certainly. But in the long run...

Jade Electrostatic Headphone, Sennheiser HE60 & Stax 404LE (Woo GES/Audio-gd Reference One)
A fascinating experience having the opportunity to hear these headphones for some extended listening and repeated swapping. The Jade and the Sennheiser seem to represent different ends of the spectrum: While the Sennheiser is in-your-face, dynamic, with a smallish soundstage, the Jade is far more distant, much better in presenting the whole rather than the parts, with a beautiful soundstage and accurate timbre. However, the Jade does regularly feel too laid-back, not really giving you the amount of detail one would expect from an electrostat. In comes the 404LE again to give you the best of both worlds: detail, organic presentation and a beautiful signature.

Now, do I want an electrostatic setup? I don't know, there still something that has never quite agreed with me in the way electrostats sound. There's always something slightly synthetic in the way the instrumental colours are almost defined by their detail and the way that strings seem too often to be reduced to a sort of likeable hum rather than the full bloom and depth that they have in real life. But the 404LE definitely made an impression.

Concluding, we had a great day. Amicable and friendly people in a relaxed environment with plenty of opportunity to do extended listening with different combinations and the chance to hear some real rarities. I wouldn't say it has made my future headphone choices much easier, but I certainly learned quite a lot.
post #140 of 143
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Stitch View Post
Oh JJ, The X marked hardcase;
If they look like This and it contains a metal, dark grey frame with mirror grey/metallic glasses it is my Oakley Juliet. Guard it well, they cost a smal fortune.
How i did manage to forget them, usualy i guard them with my life.
If the weather is ok it might make a nice motorcycle ride, what a shame...
They do look like that. They are in Utrecht now, so you can pick them up or I can send them to you.
post #141 of 143
Hi guys, think it may be better to start separate impressions thread, but then under impressions link. I will be starting one shortly, unless someone is faster

Just re-copy your impressions from here to here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f45/du...-share-454659/ pls, thx
post #142 of 143
Wow, nice reading all the impressions! More please...and more pics please!!!
It's so weird in a way to see the varying opinions of people on the same headphones. They produce the same sound though everyone interprets it so differently. Very interesting.
Also there's no such thing as the perfect headphone, I thought that to be my ed9s but they're not. I can clearly hear their flaws now. They are bearable for me though. What is perfect anyway but now I really think it's pretty much impossible for dynamic headphones to render sound in a "perfect" natural way. You'd have to go speaker for that as the design is per definition flawed. Electrostats do seem to come much closer to the goal of accurate representation of sound. With the K1000 as the baffling winner of yesterday. Really amazing experience.
I learned a lot and I know which way to go from here.

Haha, Bart as Dr. House, you're not the first mentioning that :lol:

Anouk, I will email you some shots I made of your setup tonight. I have to run for work now
post #143 of 143
Originally Posted by Blackmore View Post
Hi guys, think it may be better to start separate impressions thread, but then under impressions link. I will be starting one shortly, unless someone is faster
Might be a good idea is it would end up in the correct category....I'll lift over my impressions then....anyway, gotta run!!
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