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8/14/10 Denver CO summer meet impressions  

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Some pics for now. More to come later.

Effusion's rare/OOP tubes in a self-built custom case
co2010_1.jpg

bixby's Consonance Droplet CDP
co2010_2.jpg

HeadphoneAddict's Woo WES and PS Audio PWD
co2010_3.jpg

HeadphoneAddict's SRD-7SB MKII, Woo WEE, and eXStatA
co2010_4.jpg

Millett Starving Student
co2010_5.jpg

complex's Woo WA2
co2010_6.jpg

post #2 of 36

Thanks Steve!

 

I posted in the other thread that we needed an impressions thread, but I wanted to leave that honor for the meet organizer.

 

I have some lousy looking iPhone photos up at my MobileMe gallery http://gallery.me.com/lganzmd#100381

 

I posted my Beyer T1 impressions already:  http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/440799/beyerdynamic-to-launch-new-top-headphone-at-ifa-called-t1/3675#post_6854924

post #3 of 36

Some clean looking gear in there. Thanks for the pictures!

post #4 of 36

Here are a few candid photos from the meet.  I'll also post some impressions after I type them up....

 

Doug and Rachelle From Westone

 

 

Millet Starving Student and Grado HF2

 

A candid shot of a headphone display

 

A bunch of high end headphones

 

Possibly world's headiest CD player, and sounds great too.

 

 

A batch of tubez

 

Sherwood in front of the tubez

 

Wicked headphone stand

 

Headphones and their sources in the wild

 

Some more sweet headphones


Edited by barleyguy - 8/15/10 at 7:55am
post #5 of 36

I already put my impressions in another thread, but here they are copy/pasted:

 

I heard Larry's LCD-2 out of a Zana Deux and then from my crappy system--I am amazed to say that they are not only the best headphone I've ever heard, (besides the R10) but also a new favorite, simply because they have such an original and agreeable sound sig. Even from my Aune/LD 1+, they sounded excellent.

 

In fact, in most ways I even preferred them over Steve's O2/Blue Hawaii/Plinius combo on either system. The LCD-2 (and in fact, most orthos) is the first can I've heard that does everything right. I mean, EVERYTHING. Listening to Alessandro Carbonare from the O2 didn't quite do it... There was just something missing, something unnatural about them. The LCD-2 on the other hand, reproduced the sound of the clarinet better than any headphone I have ever heard, and IMO, has the best tonal accuracy to date for all music.  I'm not entirely sure what it is, maybe a more exposed frequency band, maybe they're just orthos, but the mids on the LCD-2 gave the clarinet something more beautiful, more colorful, more playful, just something magical.

 

Perhaps orthos share a sound of sorts that I enjoy more than other driver types. Listened to the LCD-2, HE-5 and 6, all of which sounded better to me than any of the electrostats except for in the areas of speed and possibly some transparency.

 

Once I get a job and the money, the LCD-2 is the next big purchase on my list. Considering how incredible it is, it may be the last can I ever buy (but probably not).

post #6 of 36

First of all, I want to say that this was a really fun and educational meet. Lots of great conversation, headphone listening, and also went out for a couple of decent meals. I spent most of the day listening to orthos and portable DACs. I also listened to the Westone ES5s (again) and the Westone 2s.

 

Starting with the orthos, I spent lots of time with the HE-5, HE-5LE, HE-6, and LCD2. I was listening mainly from my CTH headphone amp with uDAC2 as the source. There are definite differences between the sound signatures of the different orthodynamic headphones. The LCD2 has a “fun” sound signature; it's very detailed, but also a bit forward and sizzly. The HE-5, in contrast, is also extremely detailed, but in a more neutral laid-back mellow way. I feel like the HE-5 would be very unfatiguing to listen to for long periods of time. The HE-5LE is very similar to the HE-5, with only slight differences in the cable and the damping AFAIK. But those slight differences make it a bit less mellow and possibly a little tipped up on the ends of the frequency range. The HE-6 has a similar house sound to both HE-5s, but feels less distinctive in sound signature to me, a little more “mainstream” sounding for lack of a better term. It's very good, but a little more like the signature of many headphones that sell in larger quantities than most orthos IMO.

 

After a day of listening to the various orthos, if I was asked to pick one of the 4 models to spend my own money on, it would be the HE-5. All of them are great headphones, but I feel like the neutral unfatiguing sound signature of the HE-5 would get the most use, for me, over a long period of time. The LCD2s are the most fun, but for long term listening I'd go for the more mellow choice. (This is personal preference BTW, and other people would and do prefer other sound signatures.)

 

Now to the portable DACs. I spent significant time with the uDAC over USB, the uDAC2 over USB, and the D10 over optical (all Larry's). I also brought along an MAudio Transit and an Icon Mobile, both of which I own. I tried all of them as a direct headphone source and also as a line level source for the CTH headphone amp.

 

The original uDAC is very good. It's better than the Transit and the Icon Mobile, and likely better than whatever computer sound card you are using. The uDAC2 steps that up a bit though. It's more detailed, seems to have a blacker background, and supports 24/96. But the D10 over optical, IMO, overshadows both uDACs by quite a lot. It's got more of a high end DAC sound, as opposed to a “better than my sound card but not quite high end” sound. The D10 costs twice as much as the uDAC2 and 3 times as much as the uDAC though. The uDAC2, for its price, is quite excellent. But if you are willing to spend twice as much and have an optical source, the D10 is worth the upgrade IMO. The D10 is now on my shopping list.

 

And finally, I'd like to give my impressions of the Westone 2 and the Westone ES5s. I listened to the Westone 2 with Comply tips and also with custom molded silicone tips that I brought along. My general impression of the W2 is that it is very good. It has good but not mind-blowing detail, a balanced but not reference sound signature, and sounds a lot like a pair of $150 headphones. I really enjoyed them and would consider them if I was shopping for a universal IEM in that price range, but I wasn't left craving them.

 

The ES5s on the other hand are awesome. This meet was the third day I've listened to them, after also trying them both days of CanJam. This time I used my custom molded tips with them, and didn't really want to give them back. They have an extreme level of detail, excellent balance, and are fun but still very neutral and unfatiguing. The soundstage is wide and deep, and they allow music to convey emotion. On one of my normal test songs, “On the Beach” by Oceanlab, the difference between a common 'phone and a high end 'phone is the ability to hear emotion in the the singing and breathing of the vocalist. With lower end earphones the breaths are just breaths. With the ES5s they have a feeling of emotion, almost like sighs. With lower end earphones the soundstage is more of a left or right experience, whereas with the ES5s it more like hearing the music in a room... The short version is that I've been impressed enough with the ES5s the 3 days I've listened to them that I really want a pair. Note that I've also heard the JH13s and JH16s (as well as the JH3A), and did a room to room comparison at CanJam. All of the high end customs are great, and if I won a pair of any of them I'd be stoked. But the ES5 is the one causing my wallet to cower in fear.

 

Overall, it was another great meet, and I'm glad I made the drive. I encourage everyone to make it out to a local meet and do some listening and chatting. Thanks to everyone there for helping to make it great.


Edited by barleyguy - 8/15/10 at 12:09pm
post #7 of 36

Many thanks to ASR for setting up the meet.  And to Larry for bringing all that great stuff and for auctioning off some cool bits donated by himself, Sherwood and others, to help with costs.

 

I really enjoyed meeting everyone again this year and meeting some new folks, especially the crew from Longmont!

 

The highlight of the meet for me was hearing the Senn HD 800s through Headphone Addict's Eddie Current ZDT!  I have never heard a better match for the Senns.  In all the other systems I have heard them they seemed to lack life and soul and could sound a bit remote and thin even though detailed.  WOW through the ZDT they were like nothing I had heard before and is probably the most synergistic match  one could hope for with these cans.  Drive, bass that flows just like when hearing a jazz organ pedal in a room.  I had always given the Senns the cold shoulder because they sounded a bit soulless, but now I can see how with the right amp they can be transformed.  As Larry sez it's all about Synergy!

 

I was also quite impressed by Effusions setup and especially the little Quinpu amp.  An under $200 amp that sounded just fine throught his Senn 650s and my Shure 840s.  This is a really nice starter amp for sure.  It could be that he was using a super smooth and fine sounding Paradisea 3 in front of it and it certainly suited the Senn 650s much more so than when "I owned them with my rig.

 

I was also glad to try  out all the other stuff.  ASRs Ayre dac and HPA's PWD were serving up delictable bits through there respective systems and my interest in a few dacs that I had not heard was satisfied at the show with good showings by the Centrance and Nuforce HDP.

 

And finally thanks to Sherwood for another very interesting sampler.  A world tour that I cannot wait to start on my next hike or bike ride.  cheers mate!

 

I hope to see a lot of you at RMAF 2010 in a few months.

 

As a last note, any of you or those reading have a good knowledge of how to setup an entry level computer based system with Linux for decent audio playback?  I just had a system go bad with XP and will not be reinstalling XP. 

post #8 of 36

This is my fourth consecutive Colorado HF meet, and I must say they get more enjoyable every year.  I'd heard most of the gear already, but I'm glad to see the perennial standouts were there.  ASR's Plinius/O2/BHSE rig was drop-dead-perfect, yet again, and Larry's Zana Deuz Transformer / HD800 combo were sublime, as well.  I have a renewed love for Sennheiser every tim I visit one of these things, and last time it was owing mostly to the afforementioned HD-800, Larrys HE-60s, and Effusion's HD650 / Darkvoice rig, which was really a whole package of excellent.

 

As always, it was great to see old friends and new faces.  Nothing better than spending an afternoon catching up and listening to some great music.  Excpe tmaybe spending an evening catching up and eating some great food (thanks Bixby!)

 

Cheers all

post #9 of 36

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
post #10 of 36

Thanks to ASR for setting this meet up once again and to everyone who participated; I only hope that I can be more helpful with future meets.

 

It was really great to see everyone I meet last year and to get introduced to those that I had not; Larry, you're the man!  Truly some really great gear!

 

The highlights for me, other than meeting and chatting about all things headfi, was trying out the HE-5, HE-5LE, Beyer DT990, and the Shure SRH 840 on my rig... I was able to get some really great impressions as I get closer to finding my next purchase.  I really liked the Shure SRH 840's, the sig was really welcoming and balanced for a closed can.  Thanks to HeadphoneAddict, Bixby, and Vladco for letting me audition! 

 

Craiglester, it was great to see you again, it was unfortunate that you weren't feeling well, I hope you are feeling better.  One of these days, I'll have to let you have some time with that case of tubes; some truly great combos can be had with the selection.

 

Sherwood, it was really great to see you again, I had a really great time learning, discussing/listening to the music on our rigs, and viewing your amazing photography; do you happen to have any of it on-line for viewing/sale?  Also, I'll have to put together a list of tunes to check out; so much great music, so little time...

 

It was great to meet everyone from Westone as well; maybe one of these days I'll actually get a proper mobile setup!  Thank you for your support, you are a great company for Headfi and Colorado.

 

It was a really fun meet and I hope to see everyone again soon in October! 

post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all who came - it turned out to be a very good meet (at least I thought so) with a solid showing from the local area. Thanks of course to Westone for making the trip too. Though the number of people was less than last year's, it didn't take anything away from the meet - in fact, one could say that this was better for listening since it was quieter.  I also thought that this enhanced the meet experience as it was more conducive for simultaneous listening, talking, etc. This time I actually did get to meet everyone who showed up, which was definitely a good thing. There was also a follow-up post-meet dinner (organized by bixby) at Parisi in west Denver, which turned out to be a cool place and had some good food and gelato.

 

Total funds collected from all voluntary donations came out to $260. As this is less than the hotel room cost of $500, no money will be given back to Head-Fi.

 

I wrote in the meet thread that I will probably not organize another meet in Colorado - well, that will probably still hold but there may also be a small chance for just 1 more next year in the Broomfield area. I will not have any further info on this until at least January next year.

 

More pics and gear impressions to come later.


Edited by Asr - 8/15/10 at 10:28pm
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post

Thanks to all who came - it turned out to be a very good meet (at least I thought so) with a solid showing from the local area. Thanks of course to Westone for making the trip too. Though the number of people was less than last year's, it didn't take anything away from the meet - in fact, one could say that this was better for listening since it was quieter.  I also thought that this enhanced the meet experience as it was more conducive for simultaneous listening, talking, etc. This time I actually did get to meet everyone who showed up, which was definitely a good thing. There was also a follow-up post-meet dinner (organized by bixby) at Parisi in west Denver, which turned out to be a cool place and had some good food and gelato.

 

Total funds collected from all voluntary donations came out to $260. As this is less than the hotel room cost of $500, no money will be given back to Head-Fi.

 

I wrote in the meet thread that I will probably not organize another meet in Colorado - well, that will probably still hold but there may also be a small chance for just 1 more next year in the Broomfield area. I will not have any further info on this until at least January next year.

 

More pics and gear impressions to come later.


Asr, thanks so much for organizing this meet.  We all really appreciate the time you put into putting this together.  

 

I'm a little bit disturbed by the small amount of cash donated to help pay for the room, and with 15-16 rigs set up we should have had more than that.   It appears that over 25% of the donations came from me and my son (although we did get gear in return from the auction).  The economy sucks, and many of us including me live paycheck to paycheck, but it's not fair to leave the bulk of the expenses on you.  Let me know if I can help further.  I'm sure I can scrounge up a little more after Wednesday.

 

I hope your Beta 22 has recovered after it cooled down.  Is it working again, or still dead?

post #13 of 36


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post




Asr, thanks so much for organizing this meet.  We all really appreciate the time you put into putting this together.  

 

I'm a little bit disturbed by the small amount of cash donated to help pay for the room, and with 15-16 rigs set up we should have had more than that.   It appears that over 25% of the donations came from me and my son (although we did get gear in return from the auction).  The economy sucks, and many of us including me live paycheck to paycheck, but it's not fair to leave the bulk of the expenses on you.  Let me know if I can help further.  I'm sure I can scrounge up a little more after Wednesday.

 

I hope your Beta 22 has recovered after it cooled down.  Is it working again, or still dead?

 

Asr,

 

I would also like to thank you for putting this together.  It was a great meet.  I also regret that it didn't break even on donations though.  I was planning to donate and ended up doing so through the auction.
 

I do think calling a stop to the auction may have been perceived by some as "we've raised enough money".  I think your intent was more to keep Larry from giving away a bunch of gear, but some people there may have stopped contributing at that point.

 

I can't speak for Westone, but PowderHound hinted that we may be able to have next year's meet at the Westone headquarters, which would save on renting a room.  It would also be cool to see their facility for those of us that haven't been there.

post #14 of 36

I had a really fun time at the meet, and thanks to Asr for setting it up. It was my first meet btw, I learned quite a lot and got some good impressions on some great gear. I would say my favorite would be the O2 w/ the BHSE which just sounded amazing with the Stevie Ray Vaughan album. Tied with that would be the LCD2 which could be the winner since they sounded great even out of my D1, although they did feel like two 5lb weights on either side of my head . Overall, it was a great time, and if I could, I would organize the next one just to have one. Sadly, I'm only 16, so I don't see that as a good possibility. Hopefully, there is another one next year. Oh, and thanks to Westone for being there as well, I just might have to get some 3's .

post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by barleyguy View Post

Asr,

 

I would also like to thank you for putting this together.  It was a great meet.  I also regret that it didn't break even on donations though.  I was planning to donate and ended up doing so through the auction.
 

I do think calling a stop to the auction may have been perceived by some as "we've raised enough money".  I think your intent was more to keep Larry from giving away a bunch of gear, but some people there may have stopped contributing at that point.

 

I can't speak for Westone, but PowderHound hinted that we may be able to have next year's meet at the Westone headquarters, which would save on renting a room.  It would also be cool to see their facility for those of us that haven't been there.


Yes, Doug did mention that he'd like to investigate having the meet at Westone like they did in 2007.  I think that would be a money saver, but it could make it harder for people who come from everywhere other than Colorado Springs.  If that happens,  I could likely talk my wife into hosting a couple of people (that I know and trust) at our home for the night before a Colorado Springs meet.  This way they wouldn't have to travel a long way on the AM of the meet.

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