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Berlin headfi/HIFI-FORUM meet on Sept. 11th: post your impressions and pictures here  

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

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
  • beyerdynamic
  • Compact Monitors
  • Denon
  • digital highend (Sleek Audio and Nuforce)
  • Monstercable
  • Ultrasone

for providing samples, some of which were brand new products.

 

Anyway, these are my personal impressions of gear I've tried:

 

Headphones

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="" />

 

In-Ears/Earbuds

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:

 

 

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Edited by sepinho - 9/14/10 at 1:34pm
post #2 of 30

Shall we begin with the HD558 and HD598 or should I just skip to the awesomeness of the Audio Technica W1000X m00h let me listen to with some random Metal and the opening track of "Frida" (the soundtrack)?

 

Who was it again with that great silver shiny self made amplifier, Vinyloid?

 

DanG's whiskey was very pleasant too by the way...

post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep Funk View Post


Who was it again with that great silver shiny self made amplifier, Vinyloid?

 


The Bijou Tubeamp? That would be me.

 

It's a pity that I wasn't able to attend the meet on Saturday...

But I suffered a severe case of sleep deprivation.

 

Fortunately I set my gear up at friday, so you didn't have to miss it. ;)

 

I,m looking forward to your impressions of the meet!

post #4 of 30

Thanks Sepinho and m00hk00h for organizing such a successful event!  We didn't have a huge crowd, but that made it more intimate and I personally thought it was better this way.  And thanks to Matthias and Oliver of Sennheiser for coming.  If you're reading this, it was great to meet both of you.  It was also great to meet everyone else who came out.  It was cool that such a large Polish contingent managed to come.

 

 

My Impressions:

I haven't been very active the last few years because my main rig is still in the States and I'm in Germany.  Shipping my Melos and Meridian would be rather difficult.  As a result, I've been confined to a portable rig (iPod classic -> ALO LOD -> Corda 2MOVE -> Ety ER-4S/Beyerdynamic DT250-250).  As that's what I'm used to, my main point of comparison at the meet was based around those parts I'm used to.  Also, I took a very casual approach, as I didn't come to the meet looking for new toys to buy.  The main product on my horizon is still the JH Audio JH-13 and that wasn't available there.

 

I tried the new Beyerdynamic T5p, the closed version of the T1 (I hope I got that right).  When I listened to the T1 in the big rig in the "high-end" room, I thought it was very good, though I preferred the Sennheiser HD-800 -- at least with the acoustic music that was playing.  But plugging in the T5, I wasn't really impressed.  Soundstage wasn't spectacular and I just didn't hear anything that seemed to justify its high price.  It's too bad, since I do like my 250 as a closed office headphone.

 

I also briefly tried Rasmus's iQube which sounded very nice.  It sounded a little more balanced perhaps than my 2MOVE with my iPod and DT250, though not significantly so, and I wasn't sure if I actually preferred it.  When I found out that it was significantly more expensive, I was sure that I'm better off with the 2MOVE which is a great amp.

 

I listened to the Shure 530 for the first time, which was a fine headphone but didn't really grab me at all.  I think I'll just stick with their microphones for now...

 

The Ultimate Ears 700, which I listened to for a couple minutes was quite all right.  I don't know what the price range is, though I think someone told me it was a $60-70 or so?  It had a nice sound with a fair amount of bass and doesn't go deep into the ear, so some might find that more comfortable.

 

The HD800 was also very nice with a very wide, open soundstage and balanced, natural reproduction of acoustic instruments.  I'm a Grado guy, so this isn't a headphone for which I'd lay out that kind of cash.  But if you like Sennheiser, it's worth checking out.  Now as I check what year it is, I suppose people who are in the loop more than I am (just about everyone) already knows this.  So... let's just say that I found it interesting. :-)

 

I also heard the HD650 for the first time.  It was good, but not significantly different than the HD600, I thought.  Again, something for the Senn fans, I suppose.

 

The K1000 set-up was also very cool.  I've heard the K1000 several times before, the first time being with Vka in Boston on the Cary 300B amp (I think it's called the 300SEI).  The set-up I heard on Saturday had a lot more juice behind it and it was great with the K1k.  Not as smooth and warm, but yummy and punchy indeed.

 

A fun little surprise was the little NuForce uDAC.  I can't remember who it was who brought it, but he said it only costs 60-80€.  At that price, it's a steal.  Though I looked on Amazon.com and it was $129 for the uDAC2.  Perhaps the original one was cheaper -- but if I found one at that price now, I'd buy it.  Again, it was just a short listen but the sound was very nice, it's very small, and if it were under $100 I might just buy one for the heck of it.  Of course, I already have a 2MOVE which has a USB input as well and is in a little bit of a different class... hmmm... I suppose I should have compared the two.  But if you're in the market for such a toy, the uDAC is something to consider for sure!

 

 

Biggest disappointment:

Definitely getting to Berlin so late that I missed out on getting a burger at White Trash Fast Food.  It's so damn hard to find a real burger in Germany, even though it isn't even all that hard in America.  By which I mean that the best burgers around here are usually so far below the average pub burger in the States.  But the cold draft beer after the 13-hour driving ordeal was already great, and Sepinho's Oregon gin was delicious (thanks again, man!).

 

 

Thanks again, Sepinho and m00hk00h, and it was great meeting everyone there!

post #5 of 30

Great experience for sure, thanks again to m00h and sepinho for going through all the trouble of organizing it.

 

I wish I had been able to come earlier, but the 1-1/2ish hours I had were really mind-expanding (the whisky as well...).

 

And a special note to DanG - on your next Berlin visit, try the bird burger - I think it's probably closest to an American burger as it gets outside the states.

 

One question to all attendees: does anyone remember who manufactures the "Stradivarius" solid-state amp which was seen in the room facing the street? I tried google but found nothing...

 

Thanks and see you all at the next meet!

post #6 of 30

I just typed for about an hour about my impressions over on hifi-forum, so I will keep it simple for the moment.

So all I want to say at the moment is: it was a really, really great experience.

Thanks to all attendees and all the manufactures who provided gear, to Sennheiser for even being present and to Hifi im Hinterhof for kindly letting us use their rooms.

We will definitely do that again!

 

I will post Pics and my full report later.

 

Ben aka m00h

post #7 of 30

Thanks for the suggestion, but after the ordeal of getting up there, I don't know if I'll be so adventurous again.  But Sepinho had actually wanted to go to The Bird except that apparently it has about 2 tables.  So he wasn't able to get a reservation.  If I do make it back, I will try a burger there.  I get the feeling that I should be trying to get myself to Berlin and live there for a while.  Freiburg is very small and spiesig...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WirBrauchenBass View Post

Great experience for sure, thanks again to m00h and sepinho for going through all the trouble of organizing it.

 

I wish I had been able to come earlier, but the 1-1/2ish hours I had were really mind-expanding (the whisky as well...).

 

And a special note to DanG - on your next Berlin visit, try the bird burger - I think it's probably closest to an American burger as it gets outside the states.

 

One question to all attendees: does anyone remember who manufactures the "Stradivarius" solid-state amp which was seen in the room facing the street? I tried google but found nothing...

 

Thanks and see you all at the next meet!

post #8 of 30

@Deep Funk  - the guy with that great silver shiny self made amplifier was probably me ;) BTW it's called Audioton Hooligan.

 

@WirBrauchenBass  - "Stradivarius" is in fact a custom built AMB M3 with additional input selector owned by Klangoholic from HIFI-FORUM.de. Great piece of gear IMO.

http://www.amb.org/audio/mmm/


Edited by Vinyloid - 9/13/10 at 4:20pm
post #9 of 30

Audioton Hooligan, interesting name...

 

This meet really convinced me to add some audio gear to the listening set up, DAC, amplifier, etcetera...

post #10 of 30
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vinyloid View Post

 

@WirBrauchenBass  - "Stradivarius" is in fact a custom built AMB M3 with additional input selector owned by Klangoholic from HIFI-FORUM.de. Great piece of gear IMO.

http://www.amb.org/audio/mmm/


Ah, thanks. You do not happen to know who did the custum building? Really impressive work...

post #11 of 30

By the way, we found an HD800 box while cleaning up the place yesterday. So if someone misses his HD800 box, contact sepinho!

 

m00h

post #12 of 30

I'm sorry to threadjack, but I was hoping to get some details on the new Sennheiser HD558/598 from you guys at the meet. Please, if you find the time and had the chance to give them a listen, post. There are quite a few curious head-fiers like myself who would really like to know about them.

post #13 of 30

Hi moohkooh and Sepinho. Thank you for a great day. Here are my impressions and pictures.

 

HiFi im Hinterhof - September 11th:

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This is a K1000 setup like not other. I do not remember the owners name. But they sounded absolutely fantastic and I am sure the owner has spend a LOT of time finding the right components in this chain. Specially the different head-stage settings were fun to play with.

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The new Sennheiser HD598. It sounded great and also better than the HD595. Still it has the known Sennheiser house-sound. I loved the design though!!! Nice to see someone create something completely new.

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One of my main reasons to go to this meet was to find out if the new T5p was any good. 

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I spend some time listening to it from different portable amplifiers, the iQube, the P-51 and DanG's 2Move. I found that the detail-level is great (Typical for the other Teslas too), they are generally very open sounding bearing in mind that they are closed. They do lack some timber and decay compared to my reference, the cheaper Grado SR325i. They also did not involve me in the music like the T50p does to me. I simply did not find this headphone to me my taste. Considering the price tag I am VERY happy that I bought the T50p instead of the T5p. 

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I also did yet another comparison between the T1 and the HD800. And after I used to own the T1 and decided to change to the HD800 I wanted to confirm that I made the right decision. And now I am absolutely sure. The HD800 is the headphone that suits me best in all ways - sound and comfort. 

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Another new thing I discovered was the NuForce uDac. I was very surprised by its great synergy with my Grado SR325i's. I am definitely going to get one in a not so distant future. It had a very high resolution and made the 325's sing with a crispness I have not heard in any other product in this price. The bass was so tight I could not believe it. 

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It is VERY small!

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The best sounding Solid State amplifier represented at the meet was in my ears the Stradivarius AMP. WOW - I wish I could build stuff like that:

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It had a cross feed filter which was very audible in the high setting.

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The proud owner of Beyerdynamic T1 - Serial number #1 (1001) - was represented at the meet. What a collectors item !!!!!

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Another surprise to me was the new ATH-W1000x - it sounded MUCH better than the Beyerdynamic T5p when it comes to closed headphones. So detailed and very easy to listen to. Great wearing comfort and they are true beauties.

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DanG trying the iQube:

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I have to admit that I came to the meet with a hangover and not enough sleep from the night before - you know how that always happens in Berlin. But it was not until DanG brought out that bottle of whiskey that I got back to normal again. It was an absolutely delicious cask strength whiskey! Thanks for bringing it Dan!

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I do not know what happened? Maybe there was a buyer doing nothing but collecting all the headphones he could get his hands on??? All I know is that this pile of headphones kept growing all throughout the day.... hmmm?

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I think I listened to most of the things represented at the meet. The only thing I never go to hear was this setup. China-galore - freshly aquired at the IFA by Sepinho. I HAVE to remember to hear that at the next meet.

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All in all it was an absolute pleasure to be a part of the meet in Berlin. Will I see some of you at the meet in Copenhagen? If not I hope to see you at yet another European meet.

 

post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by zmd View Post

I'm sorry to threadjack, but I was hoping to get some details on the new Sennheiser HD558/598 from you guys at the meet. Please, if you find the time and had the chance to give them a listen, post. There are quite a few curious head-fiers like myself who would really like to know about them.


I only heard the HD598 and they did sound great! They are detailed and has a fine soundstage. In fact they reminded me of the HD595. They still has that thin veil on their sound like the old Sennheisers has. The design though is great. Same shape but different colours. I only gave them a one minute listen. So this is my only impressions. I do not know what the price is going to be but I would not hesitate to recommend these to those who like the 595. 

post #15 of 30

Regarding the HD558 and HD598, my impression is that both sound good to start with but are not what I am looking in a headphone.

 

The HD598 has a quality feel to it and sounded good, especially with Jazz I think although I was not convinced with the overall sound. The mids and highs are good contrary to the low end which lacked something. I found the HD558 and HD598 warmish neutral. Just my short impression.

 

Something else which surprised me, the AKG K701 sounded too smooth for my tastes. My Pioneer Monitor 10R had a sharper sound and drums actually sounded more like drums.  

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