What a weekend! I had so much fun at the meet and the surrounding get-togethers at White Trash and obscure Boxi cocktail bars. Thanks everybody for coming and sharing your amazing equipment! I spend more time talking to people than I did listening to the amazing gear showcased, but I don't regret it at all. It just confirmed that the community is as kind, funny and interesting in person as it is online.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Hifi im Hinterhof for not only giving us 2.5 rooms to spread out in and for generously providing some high-end gear of their own, but for also spending time and man-power to set up the rooms. They plundered their own shop windows so we would have enough audio racks, for crying out loud!
Another loud'n proud "thank you" to Matthias and Oliver of Sennheiser for their support. They brought an amazing amount of gear yet showed no intention whatsoever to turn it into a Sennheiser show. As witnessed by the fact that they brought out-of-production stuff, just because people had requested to hear it.
Further thanks to (in alphabetical order):
- audio technica
- Compact Monitors
- digital highend (Sleek Audio and Nuforce)
for providing samples, some of which were brand new products.
Anyway, these are my personal impressions of gear I've tried:
I had never heard audio technica phones before, so they were number one on my priority list. m00hk00h provided almost the complete W-series, so I got to try W100, his modded W100(0), the regular W1000 and the brand new W1000x. And I have to admit I prefer the W100. It sounded clearer and a little brighter than the newer models, but still had all the details and the punchy, precise bass that I was looking and hoping for. The W1000x in particular sounded a little dark to me, which might have been due to the fact that they were new and not burned-in yet. Too bad the M50s weren't there, because they are high on my to-buy list. But I've confirmed now that I like audio technica's signature sound, like I thought after reading about them on headfi.
Next on my list were beyer's DT770s, both the 250 Ohm and m00hk00h's funky 600 Ohm Manufaktur version. I couldn't A/B them directly and to be honest, I couldn't hear a difference. But both sounded really well-rounded and smooth, another contender for an evenutal purchase! I tried the DT880s too, but I'm currently in the market for a closed headphone. So the HD800 and the Stax I tried are out of the question for a purchase too. " class="bbcode_smiley" height="" src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies//smily_headphones1.gif" title="" width="" />
But darn, if I ever win the lottery, I'm gonna buy myself a Stax setup. I've never heard beautiful decay like that before. The hi-hat hung in the air for seconds, instead of cutting off. Simply amazing! Ultrasones 2900 probably suffered from the same problem as the W1000x: We received it brand-new from Ultrasone, so they weren't burned-in at all. That might explain why they tended to sound a little too muddy for me.
I tried a few more headphones, such as my new HD580s, which literally arrived the night before the meet. But I didn't spend enough time with most of them to be able to really make up my mind about them.
I haven't tried the HD558 and HD598 yet either, but I still have them here and will do so in the next few days. m00hk00h seems to really like the 598 and I consider that to be high praise! " class="bbcode_smiley" height="" src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies//smily_headphones1.gif" title="" width="" />
Matthias and Oliver of Sennheiser were kind enough to bring a few of their IEMs as well. I tried the CX980 and the infamous IE8 and really preferred the latter. The CX980 - a favorite of Matthias' - were too boomy for me. And while the IE8 was great, it was clearly seconded by ragnar295's MTPCs. Those really do live up to the hype for me! It's a shame Monster IEMs are so expensive in Germany.
Another surprise: The MX980s. I would've never thought that earbuds could sound this detailled. Bass was punchy and precise, voices sounded natural and highs weren't shrill at all. They felt less involving than IEMs or most of the headphones I've tried though. Fit is crucial with these too, but once they're properly adjusted, they sound great. At first I thought that fit was too loose and tried to push the Earbuds deeper. But that immediately lead to muddy and boomy sound. Luckily, they slid out again automatically to their proper position. I didn't get to try the Sleek Audios until after the meet, but goshdarn, they're amazing. I won't compare them to the MTPCs because of the two days that lay between trying both, but I'm seriously surprised that there wasn't more hype about the SA6s on headfi. I absolutely love them and have been using them constantly for the last two days. Too bad that I'll have to return them soon.
I didn't really try any of the amps and sources available, because I wanted to try all of the head- and earphones with my own gear to be able to compare. Obviously, I tried the Stax with its amp, and the higher-end audio technicas and Ultrasones with m00hk00h's great-sounding and beautiful audio technica amp that was set up in our "high end" room.
A few pictures that klangaholic and I have taken at the meet:
Edited by sepinho - 9/14/10 at 1:34pm