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UK Meet: Manchester 2009 Impressions  

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
Worth getting the ball rolling early I think


Trip down was hellish. My mothers little Honda was not built for that kind of journey in that kind of utterly festering miserable weather. I'd also forgotten just how far it is and how misdirectional my satnav can be.


Lass O Gowrie pub:

The pub was a comfortable, slightly over-eccentricly decorated place. It was busy, but still a lot of space and good fast jovial service. I adocate a return on part of the meet masses tomo evening. Has a Pac-Man tabletop game table, which is pointlessly retro cool. Also they played Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, which scores +10 points.

Black Sheep ale: Nice enough, average enough. Pleasing in a very generic way but frankly, nothing to commend it over a pint of lager or cider for the price.
Olde Trip: Nice enough, slightly darker, too cold. Had to wait for it to warm a little.
Cromwell: A horridly insipid 70 shilling disguised as a darker beer. Sweaty nose, foosty taste with a lingering ugliness on the tongue.
Gold Digger: Best of the four. A good light ale with a strong hops, a pleasing nose and a good bit of bitterness and very light fruitiness.

Other Head-Fiers: Nil. Poor show. Although I was assailed by an incomprehensively slurred drunk Irishman for wearing a poppy.

Also I think my room at the Ibis is nicer than the room I had at the Days in 2007. But not by much.

What time is kick-off proper then? Don't want to be the same as last time where I turned up at the rooms to find them locked. Went away for five minutes and came back to find all of the tables taken.
post #2 of 103
Duggeh, as long as it’s wet and cold it does the trick down here I would have liked to have gone a few rounds of Gold Digger.

Locked in for impressions
post #3 of 103
My impressions. Please note that I listened to most of the stuff that I am writing about are straight out of this set up unless mentioned:

4 channel Balanced β22 powered by dual σ22 / Squeezebox 3 / Benchmark DAC1

I was very happy with my balanced Sennheiser HD600 and I was quite certain for a while that no headphone bettered this for quite a while. That is until I heard the Sennheiser HD800, Duggeh's Stax Omega 2 driven out of the SRM717 and the gem in the rough AKG K340

So first off, the Sennheiser HD800. I ran it single ended out of my β22. It was better than my HD600 but not 10x better (price-point perspective). It did make me want it very badly, specifically when listening to Jascha Heifetz fiddle away at Beethoven's Violin Concerto or Itzhak Perlman Vivaldi's Four Seasons - L'inverno Allegro non molto. The sound of the violin was intense, accurate, virbrant. Everything that is correct. No screeching highs, even with Heifetz's perfectionist requirements for strings. That was amazing to hear.

I also tested it with one of my favourite track Djuma Soundsystem - Les Djinns and it opened a new perspective to me on soundstage and how sharp the attack was. The other track that demonstrated pure speed and accuracy on the HD800 was Muse - Stockholm Syndrome.

So all in all, HD800 is something I want, or rather need. Please note that this was just SINGLE ENDED and I cannot fathom the beast it will be when it is balanced.

The AKG K340 was sublime to listen to. I was quite fatigued at this stage, but it was reminiscent of the Sennheiser sound I was so fond of. Note that out of the amplifier, it doesn't really sound like the veiled Sennheiser that you know. Surely if balanced this would be something to behold.

The Stax O2 was better than the HD800 in terms of 'speed', by just a little more, and the highs are just a little more refined. Otherwise they come really close. I reckon a balanced HD800 could give the Stax O2 a run for it's money, but then again, the Stax O2 was out of the SRM717. If this was out of a proper Blue Hawaii, things would definitely have been different.

I also enjoyed pedalhead's HD800 balanced into WA22. Too tired to type up impressions for that now, but because I was very picky with my song selection, I would/should not able to comment on it anyway.
post #4 of 103
My photos now up: Flickr Set. Others will upload more professionally taken ones. Now my own thoughts

High points:
  • HD800 out of B22
  • HD800 Balanced out of WA66
  • That the HD600 scales up gorgeously well
  • And that Stax setup

Learned:
  • People need to lay off the rhetoric. Anyone who says they can immediately tell a huge difference between the Dacmagic and V-Dac are liars. Plenty of people including myself had to listen multiple times and found more similarities than differences
  • Comply tips are incredibly comfy and will be picking some up when my Shure Olives supply runs low
  • Audio-Technica AD2000 are supremely comfortable and are on my to-buy list. I liked the sound sig, perhaps not for everyone
  • Denon D7000 low end presence are just wrong wrong wrong
  • That the Devil is an Englishman
  • D10 is a betteer amp than a DAC

Low points:
  • The Darth Beyers
  • HD800 from Benchmark Dac1
Confirmed:
  • Think very carefully before paying out circa £400+ for those Graham Slee Solos

Irony:
  • I left the charger for my Dacmagic behind. Ironically I have been ignoring the offer from CA to replace my charger due to safety concerns (I have experienced zero heating and melting issues). It's OK. I have not been using the DM much as I have been so busy for well 2 months
post #5 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post
Think very carefully before paying out circa £400+ for those Graham Slee Solos
I'd be interested to know what your impressions were on the Solo. They generally seem to be well liked.
post #6 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL View Post
People need to lay off the rhetoric. Anyone who says they can immediately tell a huge difference between the Dacmagic and V-Dac are liars. Plenty of people including myself had to listen multiple times and found more similarities than differences
Well I would call them hypers rather liars also we only compared them with 1 setup, which is with the EF1 and AD2000 (or did you try any other phones?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL
[*]Audio-Technica AD2000 are supremely comfortable and are on my to-buy list. I liked the sound sig, perhaps not for everyone
Mine have the pad stuffed, so it is more comfortable and the drivers don't touch your ears



Many thanks from Pedalhead for organizing all of this and we had such a great time!

Pictures and impression will come...
post #7 of 103
More thoughts as I remember them

The Ultrasone sound seems to sit in-between Senn and Denon. Interesting but nothing further

I have previously heard the GS1000 so nice to have the RS1 there to try out. I found the upper range slightly "twangy" for want of a better word. I do find the fit of Grados absolutely fine on that aspect

I quite enjoyed the headphone out of the Apogee Duet. Punchy and dynamic I thought

Shame there was no m902 there as I first heard the HD800 through that amp and I liked the combination. Dac1 just could not compete with three pronged assault of B22, WA22 and Stax
Quote:
Originally Posted by moogman View Post
I'd be interested to know what your impressions were on the Solo. They generally seem to be well liked.
I put that comment under "confirmed" because I previously had them on loan from MrJoshua on this here forum, albeit non-PSU version. Well the PSU version did not change my mind

The RSA Tomahawk I used to have was comparable with it. For the price premium it is disappointing for me, especially in the context the Tomahawk is just a wee portable amp. I also find the GS sound to be cold and analytical and could do with being warmer, although I suppose headphone matching *could* compensate

Also my thanks to Sceptre for bringing his extensive collection. And letting everyone look and touch his JH13Pros
post #8 of 103
Some pics, I didn't took many, but better than none.


















post #9 of 103
Thread Starter 
Bessies Best was another good light ale tonight. Although we ran away from the pub after one pint because of the shrieking piercing stand up comic over the PA at 120dB.

Had some delicious chinese, (seriously yummy duck, and the prawn dim sum was also very good). Retired to the hotel after a little liquorice paper roll-up.


Earlier in the day there were some headphones. I listened to some. There were also some amps. I listened to some of those too.

Proper warblings tomo evening.
post #10 of 103
Looks like you guys had heaps of fun =D

The WA22 looks a lot smaller than I thought it was!
post #11 of 103
Yeah, hope all of you had a nice time.
Looks like you had a lot of nice rigs available, which should make that possible...
post #12 of 103
Hi guys. Just got home & have time to post a few initial pics before getting on with family duties. Thanks to everyone who came. The turnout was a bit down on expectations, but good nevertheless, and I really enjoyed meeting everyone & listening to so much great stuff. I'll post some more pics and some listening impressions in a day or two once I've had a chance to go through them all. Cheers!



















post #13 of 103
Big thanks to pedalhead for making everything possible. Also, not forgetting EVERYONE who turned up. Thanks for making it such an amazing experience.
post #14 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by mofonyx View Post
Big thanks to pedalhead for making everything possible. Also, not forgetting EVERYONE who turned up. Thanks for making it such an amazing experience.
I agree! Cheers guys!
post #15 of 103
Yeah cheers pedalhead for organising and to Shaun (hifi headphones) for sponsoring.Had a great day with a great bunch of people.
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