Looks like I'm the first one back from this (I did leave a little early) so without further ado I present the UK National Head-Fi Meet Impressions Thread! I'll be sure to post impressions as they come to me and while they're still fresh in my mind. I should first of all say thanks to jr41, nuwidol and EddieE for putting this meet together and I do hope you all had a good time today. Thanks also to our sponsors for arranging a nice venue for us and for the generous raffle prizes that they put together. Here are a couple of pictures to get the ball rolling; I only managed to snap a couple but there was a lot more on display than you can see here. I'm sure others will have plenty of close up gear porn photos that they'll post here as well.
Update: More photos from AmpCity at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/AmpCity-UK/174836835899601?sk=info
Okay, disclaimer time. My impressions come from a Sennheiser-loving background. My setup is currently a DAC1 feeding HD650s so I do like a reasonably dark sound with a reasonable amount of bass. I hope that helps somewhat when reconciling your own experiences with mine.
Sennheiser HD800: Hearing these was one of the main reasons that I wanted to come along to the meet. Hell, I'd have come along if the only headphones there were the HD800! I spent about 25 minutes with these on various rigs during the day so I hope I can give a reasonable impression of them for you. First of all, the hype is mostly justified. It's true that these really are something special - detail retrieval and accuracy is out of this world and the soundstage is excellent too, though I found it depended heavily on the source material mix. If you're coming from the HD650s like me then the amount of bass might be a bit of a shock at first because there isn't much of it but this is also an advantage as the HD800s are clearly designed with one purpose in mind and that's to be a top-of-the-line reference headphone for critical listening.
Dependency on the source is my only real complaint with the HD800 and that's where it fell down for me. With a well mastered album these cans really do shine - they display excellent tonality and sharp, punchy bass. With other albums though I found them to sound flat and often sibilant. I should stress that these are minor problems with an otherwise great headphone but for near enough £1000 I expected to be more wowed by them than I was but I suspect that they simply don't suit my tastes as I'm looking for a little more musicality and smoothness with my headphone choices.
Audez'e LCD-2: These really were the star of the show for me. I hadn't heard much about them before today but having now heard them connected to several systems I think I can say that I'll be looking to purchase a set of these in the future. The best way I can describe them is as "a better HD650" and, given how much I like the 650s, that's praise indeed! They have a liquid smooth sound with a slightly prominent bass hump like the 650s but with a richer midrange and sharper highs. I should stress that the bass is extremely well controlled (due to the super thin drivers, I imagine) and doesn't seem to obscure any of the fidelity in the higher frequencies. Transient response on these is lightning quick so if you find the 650s to be sluggish in this regard then I can highly recommend the LCD-2s as a solution.
Comfort was also surprisingly good. I often feel that my head isn't built for headphones with this design and I find the Grado headband in particular to be uncomfortable so the LCD-2s were a nice surprise. They are quite heavy on the head, it must be said, but never naggingly so and the ear cushions are lovely and comfy. Overall I walked away very impressed, a great sounding, musical and well-balanced headphone that deserves to be up there with the best of them.
Edited by Bizzel - 4/4/11 at 1:20pm