A big thank you to ASR for setting up this meet.
I got there pretty late, around 2:30 or so. Spent pretty much all my time there at ASR's and HeadphoneAddict's table, special thanks to Steve and Larry for bringing such wonderful gear.
Below are some impressions, keep in mind all are " to my ears", your milage may vary.
*Re-cabled Jade vs. O2mk1
On ASR’s BHSE:
--O2 is more precise and crispy and has better bass. Wide stage. Sharp and fine details. Very relaxing sound. “effortless”.
-- Jade has a slight advantage in human voice replay. Sound stage is much narrower, more upfront, some might consider it to be more “engaging”. A little “harder” sounding (probably due to less micro details than the O2mk1).
--The O2 wins, by a slight margin.
On headphoneAddict’s WES:
-- Similar to the above, except O2’s bass was a bit too strong for me (though I got used to it after more listening). Jade still has an advantage in replaying human voice, but that edge was very very slight.
-- The O2mk1 wins again.
-- There is one area Jade can still beat the O2, though, that is the Jade’s smoothness/forgivingness, it sounds better when playing certain recordings, say, Diana Krall’s the girl in the other room album (which is said to be very sibilant).
So the O2 wins when driven by top-level amps. However the Jade is said to have less amping requirement and can reach full potential with something like a GES. Maybe next time I will have a chance to try a Jade/GES.
*My feel is that the BHSE has better control, while the WES is more fun. Both are great amps.
*HE60 (on WES): didn’t do too much for me. A bit bright sounding.
*HE5 vs. 5LE (both on ZDT):
-- the HE5 is bright and somehow gives me a kind of “dynamic phone” feel? don’t know why.
-- 5LE is darker and more meaty.
-- 5LE wins by a large margin.
*5LE vs. HE6 (both on ZDT):
-- HE6 is a lot less efficient, I had to turn the volume knob a lot higher (say, 12 o’clock instead of 9).
-- The HE6 has a much fuller and "creamier" sound, a little darker than the 5LE also.
-- IMO the 6 is a much better phone.
*HE6 vs. LCD2 (both on ZDT):
-- LCD2 is brighter and more upfront. much narrower stage. I still felt a “tendency” of voice abrasiveness, though nowhere near that “grainy” impression I got when I was in Seattle.
-- HE6 has a more relaxed sound and is fuller, more realistic.
-- Still couldn’t handle the LCD2’s clamping pressure; The HE6 on the other hand is very comfy, did not feel too heavy either.
-- I don't like the HE6's leather skin at all. Meanwhile the LCD2 looks great.
-- over all, HE6 gets my vote, especially for long sessions. YMMV.
*“HE6 / ZDT” vs. “re-cabled Jade / WES”:
-- the HE6 combo has more bass and goes deeper, but the Jade combo wins by a good margin in most everything else: more crispy sound, better details, and more realistic feel.
-- Sound stage is probably about the same (didn’t pay extra attention in that area, but nothing jumped out at me so I assume they were similar).
-- Not a fair battle, though, as the HE6/ZDT combo is $1.5k+$2.5k= $4k, while the Jade/WES is around $2k+$5k= $7k.
Overall, it was a very fun meet :D
Edited by AudioCats - 8/15/10 at 1:50pm