New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

London Mini-Meet Impressions  

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all those who braved the snow and ice and cold last night to come to the mini-meet in Bank, it was great to meet you all and hear all the gear.

 

Bit hectic at work right now but will add my impressions later - just thought I'd get the thread started for others to add to and thank everyone again for coming along.

post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 

No one yet? OK I'll go first. My "big things" of the night were the Stax, driven by Eletromod's heavily modded Stax tube amp so I'll start with them.

 

Naturally, I gravitated immediately to the famed O2 first (Japanese version I believe from the colour scheme). And very nice they were too. The bass was luxurious, went very deep and was very textured if a little too much in quantity for me; the mids were sweet and laid back and very "real" sounding. Treble was not to my tastes. They were a few years old and Electromod explained to me the effect of run-in on stats that the treble suffers a little while the bass increases and I think the run-in O2s, for me, were lacking the kind of treble quantity and energy I really respond to. The fit, for my head, was also very odd. There was a gap between the fronts of the pads and my temples and the headband always felt like it was slipping off (it wasn't, it just felt that way). They weren't uncomfortable per se, all parts touching you were very soft and breathable, but they just didn't fit right which was a bit disconcerting. Not that it matters when they are that far out of my price range, were not my ideal headphones - although to read the above it might not be clear that these were the best headphones I'd ever heard… untill...

 

The SR507. The amazing SR507. Electromod advised that being brand new, their sound when run in would be different, but in their present state I was completely blown away and think that I could happily settle on these phones for good. I found it impossible to go from them to any set of phones in the room - the drop in quality (for my personal preferences) was just too great. And I include in that both the beyer T1 and the Stax O2. Mr Q's description of the Stax as "creamy" really fit the SR507 mids while the treble sparkled and glowed and the bass was very fast and at just the right amount for me. The soundstage was the most "out of the head" I've heard from headphones and I found them really comfortable as well. After a few goes I decided to stop my self from listening to them, so I could enjoy the rest of the gear. They are so far beyond my price range anyway…

 

The T1 were great, and a more financially realistic objective for me when they start to drop in price. My first impressions, through my own Cantate.2 were that they sounded great, but nothing that special. While they were better, they didn't grab me all that more than the 600ohm DT880 in attendence (which were very nice as well). But listening again through the more powerful FiiO E9/E7 combination they really came alive. In most dynamic headphones you get a trade off between clarity and detail on one side and body realism on the other, but the T1 tore all that up and delivered both in spades with a great soundstage that, while not quite matching the K70*, clearly exceeds most other dynamic headphones I've heard. Billie Jean by Michael Jackson did reveal an achilles heel later in the evening - deep bass was lacking a bit and there was even a tendency for the bass to lose control slightly on extreme low notes. It was only that one track I caught it on and on everything else they were utterly spellbinding. Perhaps a different amp/dac would fix that, but despite it's deceptive price tag the FiiO E9/E7 combination was one of the surprise hits of the night.

 

A lot of people seemed as surprised as me that a desktop rig this cheap and this small was quite so good. The head-fi world is one where, to an extent, price tag and quality of product are a little conflated sometimes. We see amps and dacs for hundreds of pounds and assume anything less just can't be good, can it? Yes it can. FiiO have pulled off a product here that was not just holding its own but actulaly out performing a lot of the more expensive amps in the room and frankly at the price is a no-brainer. Funny thing is if they'd slapped a multi-hundred price tag on the unit it'd probably have generated a lot more interest and praise by now.

 

Other insteresting moments included being able to compare the filter mod on my K702 to the stock K702s there and confirming I definitely prefer them modded (although others disagreed ;-), and a "cable test" on the K702 with an ALO cable to stock (for me, no difference at all, again, others disagreed ;-).

 

The only slightly negative issues on the night really related to lack of sources. I couldn't get my laptop to pair with Electromod's DAC for some reason so we ended up listening to those glorious staxs through various digital audio players. Considering you read so much that Stax will sound terrible without a top class source the results were surprisingly good (i.e. still the best thing I'd ever heard), but did leave me wondering what we were missing out on if we could have got a computer or CD player hooked up. There were other issues with a CD player not having the right cable and macbook power sources being left at home (no problem though as the battery lasted OK in the end) and me leaving my harddrive at home so having a tiny amount of music to play with. But none of that actually stopped us all enjoying the gear and (I hope I speak for everyone) the evening as well.

 

Reza was a no show as well so no photos to speak of (I think there might be a couple of grainy ones on someone's phone).

 

It was nice to meet and chat with other people of this hobby rather than boring my girlfriend and mates to death with it all, and learnt a lot from some conversations too. There was more talk about a potential weekend meet in the new year as well which could be great to get more people from around the UK out, so lots to look forward to for the UK headfi community.

post #3 of 23

Nice impressions EddieE, glad to hear everyone enjoyed themselves and the weather didn't interfere. I would have loved to sample those Stax and the T1!

 

It would be great if there was a weekend meet in the New Year, I'd be up for it for sure.

post #4 of 23

Well, first thank to EddeiE for organising a very fun meet and to all those who attended despite the weather. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to listen to three different Stax and the T1, which were all very impressive. I never considered Stax before as I saw them more targeted towards Classical music fans but I found even the 303 was very enjoyable. The T1 also sounded great, a bit like an improved K702 with a more solid or thicker sound. There was many other interesting headphones, The Yamaha ortho and modded MS-1 among them. The Thin Film Acoustics IEM  was also very intriguing. And the tiny tube amp (what was it??) sounded very smooth and  refined out of the HD650.

My only regrets was that the evening was a bit too short to have a chance to meet everybody and properly evaluate all the gear on hands, but as my first meet it was very enjoyable.

We were lucky to also have a Ayre DAC  but I didn't really get a chance to listen to it.mad.gif. Did anybody there did??

Here some crap pics (as the officials photographers failed to turn up.....wink.gif.)

 

IMG_0017.JPG

IMG_0024.JPGIMG_0025.JPGIMG_0019.JPGIMG_0022.JPGIMG_0023.JPG

post #5 of 23

Nice venue!

post #6 of 23

Eddie,

 

Thanks for organising this.  As I found out last year at the Manchester meet, there is NOTHING that replaces using your ears when choosing equipment.

 

I promised to post links to the E7 / E9 combo.  I bought mine on ebay, but they are available from Amazon so here we go:

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/FiiO-Desktop-Headphone-Amplifier-Black/dp/B004AVKGS6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1291240980&sr=8-2

 

for the E9 (interestingly the RRP is £169 but it is on sale for £83.49 and is available for less than that from other sellers)

 

and

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/FiiO-USB-DAC-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B003VO75V4/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1291241068&sr=1-1

 

for the E7 (£57.50)  - you may be able to get a better deal (though not from amazon) by buying them together.....

 

I loved listening all of the kit but especially to the STAX (great but i'd be paying for a divorce if I bought one) and the T1 (I had no idea that it would be soo much better than my 600ohm DT880s)..

 

Ade


Edited by apmusson - 12/1/10 at 2:09pm
post #7 of 23
Quote:

Originally Posted by EddieE View Post
 

FiiO have pulled off a product here that was not just holding its own but actulaly out performing a lot of the more expensive amps in the room and frankly at the price is a no-brainer. Funny thing is if they'd slapped a multi-hundred price tag on the unit it'd probably have generated a lot more interest and praise by now.

 

Any chance you can let us in what the E7/E9 was compared to and more specifics as to how it performed against them? Many people are wondering how it compares to other well known amps in The Official E9 Thread.

post #8 of 23

Thanks EddieE for making me annoyed I missed something.

 

I'm glad that there was plenty to listen too and even though I couldn't make it, congratulate you on pulling it off.

 

I too get drawn to Stax but have decided to leave that to later in life.

 

Looking forward to the weekend plans in the new year.

 

Regards

 

Sceptre

post #9 of 23

EddieE

 

Thanks for organising the event - look forward to the next one, now I've got the hang of what it's all about. I should have some more interesting kit to bring next time, and hopefully will still be solvent!.

 

Was intrigued to see from your comments, how much the Stax SR507s are and found them on EBay for £615 - as opposed to £880 for the T1s - have I missed something? 

 

All - see this link for E7/E9 combo offer @ £121: http://www.pjbox.co.uk/product/Fiio-E7--E9-Dock-Combo-OFFER/3843.html

 

PS I thought the Jecklin's worked well as a sort of toupee duggehsmile.png

 

Regards

 

Jez

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

JezC,

Well I wouldn't consider the T1 realistic either unless it drops in price, which I think it will while I doubt the Stax will much. Also consider the SR507 on ebay is from Japan, so add customs too. But the main thing is that with the Stax you need an amp as well as just the phones, so add another couple of hundred quid or so for the cheapest and over a grand for the best.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Riku,

Well there is the subjective and the objective.

 

Objectively the FiiO combo had more power than the Apogee Duet, Corda Cantate.2 and the other Meier which I'm actually unsure of the model of. In terms of its ability to drive phones I can objectively say it out-peformed all those pricer models. I'm not very down on the technical side of things, ie. the difference between current and voltage swing and stuff like that, so can't give a lot of detail, all I know is that the T1 felt underpowered through those multi-hundred pound amps while it sung with the £120 FiiO combo.

 

Then there is the issue of features. It is very versatile with the two channel power output, dac section which doubles as a portable amp and so on. Although I do have some issues with the lack of RCA line in and pre amp output. Not really sure why they decided mini sockets were a better option there... 

 

Subjectively I preferred the sound of it for more up-front fast music, while I felt my Cantate.2 had perhaps a little more grace and delicacy.

 

I'd need to do much more comparison with more controlled conditions. I'd like to try the same external dac with all the amps, for etc, to judge the quality of the amp and dac sections, compare using the same tracks and so on before saying for certain that the FiiO was "better" than those amps. But it is better at driving demanding phones than them, has an immensely enjoyable and involving sound signature and is absolutely worth the money. Since I've budgeted badly for christmas I'm considering getting a set so I can sell my Cantate..2 to generate a christmas present fund!


Edited by EddieE - 12/1/10 at 11:55pm
post #12 of 23

@Jecz, 

That's funny but I also checked prices for the various Stax. Purely out of curiosity of course....wink.gif

post #13 of 23

I cannot believe I missed this :( 

 

How does one get on the notification for any UK meets?

 

I live in Dartmoor, Devon, Are there any events planned near here?

 

On the subject of the Fiio E7/E9 are bought mine from www.mp3amplifier.com and absolutely love them. I have used the following headphones with them, Sennheiser HD-415, Sony mdr ex-91, Denon AH-C751s and Sony MDR-XB700. All come alive with amazing details. I have in transit a pair of Fischer Audio FA-003 so look forward to comparing these too.

post #14 of 23

Glad to hear that the Fiio combo was holding its own! As a poor law student, its nice to hear that I grabbed a product with a nice price / performance ratio.

post #15 of 23

Good to see it all went to plan and everyone had a good time. Still a shame I missed it, but as an added bonus of justification I started going down with man flu that evening so I might have gotten you all ill anyway :p I suppose the source situation wouldn't have helped either considering I had no intention to lug a heady CD player with me just for the evening.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JezC View Post

EddieE

 

Thanks for organising the event - look forward to the next one, now I've got the hang of what it's all about. I should have some more interesting kit to bring next time, and hopefully will still be solvent!.

 

Was intrigued to see from your comments, how much the Stax SR507s are and found them on EBay for £615 - as opposed to £880 for the T1s - have I missed something? 

 

All - see this link for E7/E9 combo offer @ £121: http://www.pjbox.co.uk/product/Fiio-E7--E9-Dock-Combo-OFFER/3843.html

 

PS I thought the Jecklin's worked well as a sort of toupee duggehsmile.png

 

Regards

 

Jez


Yep, the big thing with the Stax is that they need an energizer (effectively an amplifier for electrostats), and it's an absolute requirement being that you can't just plug them into a conventional device, whereas you could run the T1 from a portable player if you really wanted. On top of that, the level of energizer most would recommended for the SR507 would probably cost as much as the headphone itself. Then again, most would recommend a £500+ amplifier for the likes of the T1 and HD800 anyway, so you're looking at similar cost in the end. The main thing is that if you already have a half decent amp from your current set up, you can afford to buy only the T1 for starters (for example, my Graham Slee Solo would probably do reasonable justice to a T1, and I can upgrade it to the latest Solo model for around £200 I think, which is something I'm considering for the future). If you're heading up from nothing, or just portable / low end equipment, and you preferred the SR507 to the T1 in an audition, it would certainly make more sense to go with a SR507 system. In that respect I personally think Stax is overlooked here (just going off impressions, not having even heard one myself), and they actually have some decent lower end options that, from what I've heard, are easily comparable in price and quality to some of the more respected mid/mid-high dynamic headphones such as the K701, DT880, HD650 etc. once you've added on decent amplification.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
This thread is locked