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Amazing Bay Area Meet 2/19/11 Impressions Thread! - Page 3  

post #31 of 303

Thanks CEE TEE for organizing a great event!

 

This was my first head-fi event and it didn't disappoint.  Met a lot of great people who were more than generous with sharing their gear and chat about anything and everything. 

 

Really enjoyed n3rdling's STAX set up.  It happened to be playing Diana Krall's Live in Paris performance when I sat down with it and had a hard time taking the headphones off.  Really beautiful headphones. 

 

Doc B was really nice with answering questions about his kits, and K1000's on his set up fed by tape was an eye opening experience. 

 

I spent too much time with the Ultimate Ears UE11's and talked myself into buying myself a set, but hey, 25% off!

 

Great opportunity to listen to the various LCD-2's, HE-6's, HD800's and Shane55's D7000's.  All of them were as good as described, with some interesting differences.

 

I forgot to ask to set up my Elekit TU 882 with someone's transport since I was too busy running around listening to the various set ups.  Sorry to the person who asked to check it out and I had to ask for it back after a short while since I was looking to leave!

post #32 of 303

Another thanks to CEE TEE for setting everything up. I heard so many great setups and discovered that high-end phones are really a quantum leap up.

 

Thanks to everyone for answering my questions and bringing incredible gear to the meet. And it was nice to have faces to go with usernames.

post #33 of 303
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard View Post

 

Both Mike and I had a great time, though unfortunately the barbecue attachment and coffee warmer options were not available in time for the show. Maybe next show!

 

I need one with those, please place me on the waiting list!

 

Where is that little emoticon that rolls around holding its sides?
 

post #34 of 303

 

Thought I'd share a few thoughts/impressions:

 

1.  I'm really glad I came. The turnout and the quality/variety of gear were nothing short of impressive. It's one thing to read about what people are bringing in the forums and quite another thing to see and listen to it in person. A K1000 being run out of an old school reel-to-reel is really something to behold.

 

2.  I know I speak for many fellow head-fi'ers when I say that I appreciated the opportunity to get to hear a lot of the gear that I've only read/heard about on the Internet. I've often had to decide whether to buy a piece of gear based only on reviews and forum discussions and, although reviews and forum discussions are often spot on and informative, there really is no substitute for actually getting to sit down and evaluate gear in person. Many thanks to everyone for bringing their gear all the way out there on a rainy day. I enjoyed listening to all the setups all the way from the modest rigs to some of the "holy-grail" type equipment on display.

 

2.  My "Best in Show" has to be the K1000's. They have quite the reputation and I would say they more than lived up to my expectations. The soundstage on them is absolutely HUGE (even compared to HD800s), and the frequency response was remarkably solid across the board. Their bass was great, and the highs/mids seemed crystal clear. I thought they sounded great on all the set-ups but I was particularly partial to the sound out of Bobcn's Red Wine Audio rig. Note however that my preferences are somewhat biased as I am the owner of the other Red Wine rig at the meet and I'm very partial to the laid-back sound of the Red Wine equipment.

 

3.  I also enjoyed getting to listen to the many Stax set-ups. I thought they sounded amazing on acoustic guitar and jazz/vocal music. The speed of the attack on the Stax headphones is something you really have to hear to believe. However, their amazing mids and high end don't come without a price. I thought the electrostats didn't match up with the best of the dynamics when it comes to anchoring the bass down low. As my music preferences are pretty rock/indie-rock heavy, electrostats are probably not the best headphones for me. However, if you are a classical/vocalist/jazz fan you owe it to yourself to give the Stax and their ilk a listen at some point. What they do well they arguably do better than any other headphone out there.

 

4.  The most eye opening part of the meet for me was to hear how different a headphone can sound when plugged in to different amps and sources. There really is something to be said for properly matching the different components of your system together. While I love the way my HD800 and HD600 match with the laid back sound of my Red Wine amp, I didn't like them nearly as much on my table-mate Horio's more forward sounding Audio-GD Phoenix set-up. On Horio's set-up, I thought the comparably darker sounding HD650 and LCD-2 matched much better with the Phoenix amp with the LCD-2 being a particular favorite (especially while playing vinyl!). You see so often on many of these forums that people are arguing whether one headphone is "better" than another. After attending the meet, I now believe the entire premise of those types of arguments is somewhat off. The question to ask is not whether one headphone sounds better than another in the abstract but rather whether one headphone sounds better than another when attached to a specific setup. While any particular headphone may sound like nirvana on someone else's set-up, that may not always be the case on your own gear.

 

Last but not least, many thanks to CEE TEE for setting up the meet and to Horio for being a great tablemate.

post #35 of 303

Thanks again to all of you for coming and making it such a great meet.

 

 

Though I didn't have nearly enough time to listen to gear or even to talk to the great members who exhibited and showed up to participate (plus I was scatterbrained with attention toward the event):

 

The HM-801 was smaller than I had imagined!  Since my work rig is a Sony X attached to an iBasso D12, it is about as big as the HM-801 anyway...  The battery life on the X is short.  The HM-801 with an extra battery might be really nice- I would like to listen to it again when I have some more time and my own reference tracks but I thought it was incredibly pleasing.

 

I had been looking forward to listening to purrin's Grado PS1000 and comparing it to my RS2i and HF2.  I found a lot of what I love about both the RS2i (resolution/upper mid-range/treble) and HF2 (bass weight) in the PS1000 but the midrange (vocals) seemed to be recessed.  Only took a very short time to compare but going from PS1000 to my Grados a tiny bit of "roughness" was there in comparison.  However, because of the recession of vocals I think I'm happy with my Grados for now.  I wonder what a driver upgrade or re-cabling could do with my HF2 though...anyone done such a thing for additional resolution?

 

What I put on my list to buy later is a pair of closed-back Audio-Technica ATHW1000X.  Since I like Grados, purrin recommended I try his modded Audio-Technica and I loved them.  They were like candy, fit right in with the type of sound I enjoy and I didn't know a closed can could do that...I'll keep those on my radar.  (They were comfy too!)  Oh, he specifically recommends the "X" version so I will be careful when trying to get a pair. 

 

n3rdling's set-up with Stax was just the best thing I had a chance to audition (of only a few things that I had a chance to listen to a tiny bit).  It was the first time that I actually thought that something truly sounded "live."  Just incredible.

 

Doc B.'s AKG K1000 through dual monoblock amps and classical music was a special experience.  They really are "earspeakers" and remind me of being in a certain, special "Hi-Fi" coffee shop in Shinjuku where everybody sits in big old plush chairs and is <library-quiet> while facing a wall of vinyl and a hi-fi system playing classical music...

 

Got new ear impressions made, brought the ones that I had made over the holidays and like I suspected- they were a bit short and also weren't as smooth as they should have been.  (The nylon pull-out cord was visible and not fully embedded within the silicone.)

 

I was very interested in trying the UE Reference Monitors- to hear what has been designed to be "neutral" and see how that differs from what I have ben listening to.  In trying the UERM for a short period from my SonyX/D12, what jumped out at me was the mid-range.  They didn't sound at all "thin" and I like the feel of the hard-shelled customs.  I also tried the UE18 for a couple of minutes and found it very clean/full/detailed with lots of imaging and soundstage compared to what I am used to.  A "tip" for listening to universal versions of customs is to bring your own tips that you are used to.  UE had the foam tips which were easier for me to use when I first got IE8's but I learned that they do absorb high-end energy and so I now enjoy UE medium silicon tips on the TF10 for seal and sound.  I pulled the tips off of my TF 10 and put them on the UERM and UE18 when I listened and so it felt really natural after I had them in.  I would love to have more time between the UE18 and UERM but I think the UERM wold be a great first custom for me so I have a baseline, can understand what a more "flat FR" is and what is intended in the music and enjoy it.  That's just my thought process...

 

Something else on my radar is the Schiit Lyr...I was able to hear my own reference tracks and my own RS2i through the Valhalla and the Lyr and the Lyr just sounded lush <but not too warm> and nicely extended into the lows, filling in a nice floor of sound to the ambient electronic music I was trying.  The Valhalla seemed less extended in the lows and the difference on my RS2i would definitely be worth $100 to me.  That and my friend thought the Lyr handled the HD-800 really well.  Seems like the Lyr may be very versatile for the different needs of different phones and able to handle them which would be a big plus as I really want to try the HD-800.  But did the HD-800 just go UP in price??

 

Ah, my strategy for the next meet is to first try and verify what is next on my upgrade path, then isten to the things I think I might like down the road, and finally just be open to more surprises and more audiophile friends...can't wait.   

post #36 of 303


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by TMoney View Post
 

4.  The most eye opening part of the meet for me was to hear how different a headphone can sound when plugged in to different amps and sources. There really is something to be said for properly matching the different components of your system together. While I love the way my HD800 and HD600 match with the laid back sound of my Red Wine amp, I didn't like them nearly as much on my table-mate Horio's more forward sounding Audio-GD Phoenix set-up. On Horio's set-up, I thought the comparably darker sounding HD650 and LCD-2 matched much better with the Phoenix amp with the LCD-2 being a particular favorite (especially while playing vinyl!). You see so often on many of these forums that people are arguing whether one headphone is "better" than another. After attending the meet, I now believe the entire premise of those types of arguments is somewhat off. The question to ask is not whether one headphone sounds better than another in the abstract but rather whether one headphone sounds better than another when attached to a specific setup. While any particular headphone may sound like nirvana on someone else's set-up, that may not always be the case on your own gear.

 


Agreed. I saw lot of LCD2s around, but many if not most of the pairings were not optimal. Of all the setups I tried, I liked my own PWD/Peak setup best for the LCD2 though. biggrin.gif The LCD2s seem to require a lot of juice and the right kind of sound - very picky.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CEE TEE View PostBut did the HD-800 just go UP in price??

 


Yeah. I know it's only a $100, but Sennheiser's move stalled me from buying new pair a few weeks back.

post #37 of 303

I'd like to jump on the "CeeTee for Mayor" bandwagon. You would've never guessed that this was his first meet organization (let alone his first meet period!). Things couldn't have run more smoothly.

And what a nice guy. I only hope that he had a chance to "smell the roses" and reap some of the benefits of all his hard work.  So, my hat's off to him for stepping up to the plate and hitting a home run.

 

It was great to see Frank and pick his brain about amp design again. His new amp with the Stax 507's sound great! And of course, his amps always look awesome!

 

DocB, happy to help you and it's always a pleasure to sit and spend some time with you. It's great to see the headphone community and Bottlehead get together. It's off to a great start and I see fantastic things in future associations (the new Smack amp, designed for low impedance cans, could be a dream come true for Grado fans who might be struggling to keep an old Melos running or living with a solid state amp when they'd rather have a tube amp).

 

I was kinda shocked by the array of top of the line headphones and headphone amps that n3rdling brought from S. Cal. Does anyone else out there have an SR-Omega, HE-90, and an R-10 in their stable?

Hell, we should get him a room at RMAF to let the speaker community know what's possible with headphones! Amazing! Thanks for taking the trouble to bring your gear to share.

 

I got a chance to talk with a lot of folks who'd never been to a meet. They were all absolutely stoked to be there. It was great meeting all of you and I'll see you at the next one!

 

 

post #38 of 303

Oh, Frank Cooters' BLUE-glowing, ethereal tubes were beautiful too with all that copper...I didn't get a photo but I did have a chance to listen.  You can have smooth AND detailed.  It's true.  

post #39 of 303

Quote:

Originally Posted by ironbut View Post

I was kinda shocked by the array of top of the line headphones and headphone amps that n3rdling brought from S. Cal. Does anyone else out there have an SR-Omega, HE-90, and an R-10 in their stable?

Hell, we should get him a room at RMAF to let the speaker community know what's possible with headphones! Amazing! Thanks for taking the trouble to bring your gear to share.

 


LOL! Everyone should chip in and buy n3rdling a plane ticket and heavy duty travel enclosures for his equipment. I am so appreciative for him hauling his ass and his gear up here from SoCal in such horrible weather conditions.

post #40 of 303

Awesome meet guys! Even though I had to leave super-early I would like to extend my thanks to all who brought their equipment for everyone to analyze.

 

Purrin -- Thanks for letting me check out your setup. I think I'm about to pull the trigger on that Audio-Technica ATH-W1000x. It sounded much more what I was looking for in a closed back than my Ultrasone Pro 900. And I know some people don't like that band, but on my head the W1000x fit perfectly!

post #41 of 303

 I went around, listening to all the amazing setups, tested my HD600's with some great amps, heard LCD-2's, T1's, HD800's, Every Grados imaginable, HE-6's etc...

 

I imagined that this was the pinnacle of Head-Fi. It simply couldn't get much better. There was no way to improve. That's it.

 

Then I heard all of the STAX. It's not a headphone, it's a performance simulator. I imagine them to be perfect.

post #42 of 303


Quote:

Purrin -- Thanks for letting me check out your setup. I think I'm about to pull the trigger on that Audio-Technica ATH-W1000x. It sounded much more what I was looking for in a closed back than my Ultrasone Pro 900. And I know some people don't like that band, but on my head the W1000x fit perfectly!


NP at all! Just a note, my W1000x's were modified. In stock form, they were a little slow, overly romantic woody sounding, with too long a decay. I opened them up and selectively applied Dynomat (actually Home Depot roofing material) on certain surfaces. I experimented and sound certain areas more important than others. I didn't overdo it to retain some of that romantic AT flavor. I'll post my mods with pictures in another thread when I get a chance.

 

I like to think of them as something between a Grado and AT that's closed. I fall asleep listening to 'phones and my wife is much more appreciative I have these now instead of open 'phones.

post #43 of 303

For the first time I got to try the Grado HP-1's, which I expected to be a bit hyped up, but I was wrong: they were pretty damn awesome and had a much different character to them than my RS1i's.  I'm not sure how I missed the Orpheus, but I got to listen to n3rdlings O2s, and they were pretty awesome.

 

One of my favorites was actually the Little Country 3 with a K702. That's a great setup for “cheap” that I would recommend to others in the future. It (and the Schiit hybrid amp) could also double as a pretty decent space heater.  I also liked the HE-4 which someone brought; when I listened to them I immediately thought they was very similar to the HE-5's and I would liked to have spent some more serious time comparing them on my own amp.

 

Thanks to CEE TEE for organizing it - again, hard to believe that this was his first time doing something like this.  Also, thanks for all the industry folks who came - if I was working right now, I could have easily walked away with at least a few hundred less in my pocket. :)

post #44 of 303
Quote:
Originally Posted by SanJoseCanJunkie View Post

... It (and the Schiit hybrid amp) could also double as a pretty decent space heater...


LMAO! Given the history of one of the threads here... I've got to say that Jason @ Schitt is such a good sport and great guy. I was headed over to this table in the early morning when someone joked with him about the heat (non) issue. It was fairly warm room - but I was like "These amps aren't hot all! They're warm, but certainly not hot." But I guess everything is relative - I've had stuff that got truly hot.

post #45 of 303

what a fun meet! Thanks Cee Tee (and Susan!), that was amazingly well done...

 

It was great to meet again or for the first time so many Bay Area headfiers and I spent much more time chatting than listening to gear. Of what I heard, my absolute favorite was DocB Nagra tape deck connected to his mono-blocks and to a K1000. I must have spent at least half an hour sitting at DocB table asking him question about his excellent amps, and getting lost in the music he was playing. These Tape Project guys really know what they are doing!

 

HeadDirect prototype low-impedance orthodynamics (don't remember what they will be called) were my "wow!" moment of the meet. Unlike the HE6, this is a relatively easy to drive headphone, and for what I have heard a better one: the general toe-tapping character of the HE6 is still there, but the new driver seems to produce a much tighter bass. It's hard to call "great value" a headphone that is going to cost $900, but compared to the current prices of HD800s and T1s, the new HE-something is going to be just that...

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