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UK National Meet 2011 Impressions (02/04/11) - Page 4  

post #46 of 91

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alvin sawdust View Post

I have to admit to not being a fan of the HD800, but powered by Fing's singlepower supra, they had punch, warmth and authority like i didn't know they could achieve. Very impressive.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tws1 View Post

 

HD800:

However, later on I heard it on Jing’s monster amp, and WOW. Jing, thank you. Awesome. You really proved ‘them’ all wrong, really thin homemade cables (no offence, I know you spent hours winding it!), balanced by your good self with the help of cheap wires and a shoelace (the secret is out!), and an amplifier that you said was a mess of wires inside. It sounded magical, so much better than I had imagined. Anaemic? Not true, plenty of bass and thump, wonderful! Superb sounding system, thanks for bringing ALL that weight!



Thank you for the very kind words! It's impressions like this that make lugging heavy amps and coming to a meet worthwhile.

 

In fact I was surprised by how much interest I was getting as I was unpacking my amps and I'm glad a few people got to listen to HD800 balanced on an american 'muscle amp'.

 

I had a much better time than I expected and people were really friendly and I think I recognised a few faces from the last meet I went to up in Manchester. Things have changed a bit since then and I got to listen to some new kit that had been talked about here on the forums.

 

The Audeze LCD-2 is an excellent headphone, no doubt about it. I would have liked to hear it balanced as single-ended I preferred my HD800 to it, though this is probably more due to the fact that I am used to how the HD800 sounds. As it is, I found that the treble was more present than I was used to, a characteristic that ironically I found with the HD800 at first. As I was telling the Audeze rep, I'm not a great believer in burn-in, but in this case, this could have been the difference between the LCD-2 and my very well used HD800.

 

I thought the Thunderpants out of the Darkvoice 337SE were very startling. Incredibly dynamic and impactful. It was only for a few seconds and I could have had a bit longer with this combo. Trying the Thunderpants out of my Supra Toaster was a much more mediocre experience. Another headphone I'd like to try balanced.

 

Hearing the HD650 balanced on my Supra XLR was also a great experience. I can see why the SDS-XLR is a popular choice, as it is a very fun combination. The HD800 is a bit more resolving and exerts greater frequency control, especially in the bass, so I think the HD650 would have its place on music that hadn't been mixed to a very high standard.

 

I enjoyed the opportunity to try the JH13pro with universal foams - nice but not blown away, which is not surprising given my very modest source (Sony portable MP3 player). However, this is my 100% use case for such a pairing and I doubt I can justify the price increase over my current Shure SE530's with custom molds. If I could, I would probably opt for JH16's instead as I felt the bass was a little recessed.

 

The Ampcity representative did a great job introducing the Audio gd stack to me and I tried it with the Denon D7000. I think the setup was well matched and the music was very smooth and involving. The D7000 sounds quite a bit like how I remember the D5000 to be and it was well driven. The system does have a signature, something I confirmed when I tried the HD800 with it. Listening to the first track of Viva La Vida by Coldplay, when the music starts to kick in after the minute or two, I was hoping my feet would start tapping but alas, perhaps I'm too used to my own setup.

 

I had some very fun chats with many people and it was great meeting you. Thanks to the organisers, sponsors and everyone's equipment I got to try out - I had a really great time!

 

post #47 of 91

 

Well it's my turn to share my impressions. First of all I would like to say a big thanks to all the sponsors and organisers. In particular John (jr41) and Ampcity for making this possible and personal thanks to Ampcity for sponsoring my raffle. I felt the meet was a great success and everything went according to the plan and perfectly organised.

 

Coming to the impressions the star of the show were LCD-2s and Head-Direct stuff. In particular I was absolutely impressed with the way the LCD-2s have shown their prowess. I've tried them out of the Onkyo Pre-Amp which Simon from Decent Audio, UK had and my Neco V2 which drove the LCD-2s quite decently. Every time I go to a meet I'll Stax O2s all the time. They always impress me in their own way when driven by their Stax energizer unit. This time I had the similar feeling about the LCD-2s. I felt they are right up there with the Stax if not a notch down. In my view they are above the SR-507s and approaching closer to the O2s. I liked the HE-6 as well but they are really hard to drive. I feel they absolutely need a powerful amp on par with any decent speaker amps. For some reason I preferred LCD-2s over the HE-6s on this occasion with the given source and amplification choices. LCD-2s are extremely neutral, transparent and natural sounding. Listening to Jazz was an absolute treat over the LCD-2s. HE-6s held their own as well in creating a more enveloping sound if I could put it down as.

 

The other pair of headphones I tried were the Edition 8. Compared to my Denon A100s they had more open sound with a wider head stage or sound stage. Bass was really good although slightly over pronounced similar to denon. But for some reason I didn't feel the mids and highs on ED-8s were right. Mids sounded a notch below and highs were a bit grainy. Although I liked the construction of ED-8s, I feel they are a bit over priced just like the other Edition headphones and they still got the Ultrasone house treble signature. My Denons have got pretty good mids along with more transparent highs which result in gobs of detail. I've even compared my A100s to D7000s which Ampcity were showing. I could they are up there in terms of detail retrieval and mid frequencies. A lot of people are still thinking that A100s are same as D1100s with a different housing. You should try and decide for yourself. They are no way similar to 1100s and they have got a high grade and high end driver unit (Checked with Denon UK). Tried the Just Audio amps and they are brilliant with excellent construction and the volume pot is outstanding.

 

I'll try and post my impressions of the raffle won pair (Swapped HE-4s with UM-Aero) once I receive them. And once again many thanks to the Sponsors, Organisers and fellow members who made this event possible. See you in the next meet. 

post #48 of 91

Hi Guys, 

May I also say thank you to Amp City and JR41 for a Saturday meeting I did enjoy (ok thanks to Eddie as well?). 

I do hope all that attended had a great time; the only thing I would say is next time can we please say that you do not have to have gear to turn up?

Those people who did attended can I just say thanks for making the effort and begin very courteous with everyone’s equipment it does make the day oh so much more enjoyable.

It was nice to see the HE-4's go to a good home, as those who were there you are more than welcome to contact me thorough my web-site below if you would like to try out the Hifi-Man HE headphones or the Schiit Amps at home as I know some of you wanted to when I spoke to you on the day, the HE-500 and 600 i should have shortly.

I really hope to see you all again and ear fresh for the next meet.

Mark

www.highendworkshop.co.uk

 

Who got the IEM tip stuck in there ear??

 


Edited by HighEndWorkshop - 4/4/11 at 5:12am
post #49 of 91
I have (pretty sure I have) finally heard all the high-end headphones in production today after the meet (was missing JVC/Victor DX1000, HE-4/6, LCD2)

There is a few highlight as in the Head-Direct HE-4 is simply underwhelming compared to their higher end counterpart, where it's mids is a real let down to me.

Head Direct HE-6 didn't wow me either with its dark presentation which contribute to a lower preserved detailed level compared to the HE5-LE which I quite like.

LCD-2 is a beast of a phone, I could say it excel on all front BUT in soundstage, which it just lacking. If the soundstage could have been better, it will be my future phone.

Going back in time, listening to the second batch AKG K1000 did surprise me with its great presentation and it have more bass than I expected. The bass impact is there for sure and mid is very sweet and airy. Great for vocals, it does sounds a lot like my AD1000PRM though.

Gonna get more impression out if I have more time later on.
post #50 of 91

Nice impressions Ra97or, I agree the K1000 is something special, its really stuck in my mind to be honest. I'd like to have heard it fully powered through a good quality power/integrated amp really, or at least an amp designed to handle them, as I found the highs a bit grainy and harsh on headinclouds amps (which were just brilliant with everything else by the way, definitely a highlight).

 

But it was utterly unqiue, the way the sound was completly outside your head and almost surrounding your body if that makes any sense?

 

I wish I'd spent a bit more time with them really, as it'll probably be a good while till I get to hear them again.

post #51 of 91
Thread Starter 

Yeah, headinclouds' amplifiers were really something. I also liked his Arcam CD36 a lot, that had to be one of the best sounding sources I've heard in a long time - sweet and musical while retaining plenty of detail. Maybe once my amp is finished I'll put together a DIY DAC based around its Wolfson chips. 

post #52 of 91
The K1000 to me sounds like AD1000PRM far less colored and being even more airy. The mids and bass (normal drums level) is pretty nice to me (although haven't tried anything that have really low bass). The treble on it doesn't sound as detail or crisp as many other headphones, I preferred the treble presentation on my PRM even. But taking into the account of its age and possibility of under driving them, they really sounds great as it is. I loved the great airy mids on it myself.
post #53 of 91

Just recovered from our weekend in Cambridge (with my detour to the meet on Saturday!)  have been reading impressions and would like to post  mine.

 

Thank you to the organisers: it is one thing to think about organising a meet but a lot of work and energy goes into actually making it happen.    A great day. Thanks to all who shared gear and opinions - so interesting and entertaining.  So much food for thought, and I agree with JR41 how pleasant you all are!  And thanks to Ampcity for doing so much  to make it a success.

 

It was the first time I had the chance to listen to other amps and phones and it was a treat to sample the Denon,  JVC- Victor and AT models, Didier’s T50RP and others which you were so generous in sharing.

 

I was amazed to actually come across the K1000 and was very taken with their sound.  I never expected my gear would be called upon to drive those!  (Incidentally I have JLH 20W monoblocks for my speakers which could handle them).

Thank you to those people who liked my DIY efforts:  it is the first validation I have received from experienced Head-Fi’ers.  I take no credit for the circuit designs - only careful DIY.

 

I was impressed by LCD-2 so much that I dived in and bought a pair. 

 

I would like to comment briefly on the HD800 to set the record straight, without  starting a discussion thread here.  I like the HD800 a lot for speed, detail ,transparency, bass definition etc.  but have always found them too hot.  This has been well expressed in the thread , http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/505966/hd650-or-hd800/30.  I agreed with Stoney after going back to HD650 for voices.

Then I found the modification thread,  http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/446585/hd800-modification-thread  and added little bits of fabric which helped a lot.  However I have not decided if I can permanently accept their limitations despite their strong points.  Jury still out.

 

The meet has made me think about balanced operation, what I could be making next and downloading music - so has expanded my horizons.

 

See you again!

post #54 of 91

I think if it came to an actual discussion of the sound signature I was not overwhelmed by the K1000 at all, like you say, nice airy mids certainly, work-to-rule bass, highs not great… overall average. Maybe its another story altogether with full power applied but if you had that sound signature as I heard it with a normal headphone's presentation my response would be "it's OK I guess".

 

What really stuck in my mind ever since was the presenatation of the sound. I just loved it - the soundstaging and imagining is unique and I'd love for someone to pick up on the idea and make a modern day equivalent. I am sure with all that has been learned about driver design today the same concept could be taken and something mind blowing could be achieved. Imagine the ortho principle combined with the K1000 principle - the OK-1000 if you like. Granted a small nuclear power plant might be needed to power them but still… one can dream...

 

 

 

post #55 of 91
I wrote a long impression last night but got distracted by a phone call and somehow deleted the all thing mad.gif
Anyway! Like many I wasn't impressed by the HD800 and thought the LCD-2 sounded great but somehow wasn't completely won over, probably due to my ridiculously high expectations from reading about them on here for the past 6 months wink.gif Although I am still very likely to get a pair in the near future rolleyes.gif
The K1000 was badly underpowred when I listen to them so can't say much about the sound but the fit was very unpractical as you have to make sure your head remains straight and avoid moving as much as possible.
They were so many toys and so little time I felt like a headless chicken during the meet trying as many things as I could. Still I missed out on so many cool set ups.
For me the most remarkable was how good Alvin's Darkvoice 337SE sounded, so clean and dynamic with wonderful taunt bass, and that was with my 64ohms JVC. Being more of an objectivist I was amazed on how big a difference a good amp can make. Coming back from the meet I though it was the relatively cheap 337 and was ready to buy one but sadly it cost quite a bit more than I thought. It is also a lot bigger than I want and only has one input.
@Alvin, What tubes were in there? Were they some expensive and exotic NOS?
The T1 out of the MrQ's NFB10 were very impressive and incredibly transparent. I heard those before out of his Apogee and didn't think much of it.
Regarding iEM, I loved the JVC FX700 the most ,they are a definitive improvement on my FX500, which I love. The Hifiman RE262 were also incredibly smooth with great bass and silky mid and treble. The new Westone 4 sounded similar enough to my W3 but with better and thicker mids.

PS: Listening to my new HE4 biggrin.gif, which are growing on me. At first I thought they were a bit too treble happy for my taste (coming from the JVC most cans are quite bright) but they are actually very balanced with great bass and treble extension and very good tonality.
Edited by zenpunk - 4/4/11 at 10:32am
post #56 of 91

Hey Didier, glad you enjoyed the 337se. The tubes I use are GEC A1834 / 6AS7G  and telefunken EF800. The GEC are a bit of a rare bird and not too cheap, but the telefunken are quite readily available and not too expensive. 

 

Sorry to hear you are enjoying your new HE-4s biggrin.gif

post #57 of 91

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighEndWorkshop View Post

 

Who got the IEM tip stuck in there ear??

 


It was me! redface.gif That was the first time it happened to me and I guess the tip didn't grip on the nozzle of the CK10 hard enough. Luckily there were some skilled audiophiles around who managed to help me pull it out with a plier! 

 

It was really a superb meet. I consider myself really lucky to have tried out so many different gears. Though I think I only got to try less than half of the gears available on the floor, and missed the Stax and HE-6. But I learnt a lot and I met many cool people around, got to see some faces that were just names on Head-Fi. Awesome! Hopefully I'm able to make it again next year and maybe win the raffle then! 

 

post #58 of 91

 Thanks a lot for coming along Mark, you brought a lot of great kit and you're obviously a veteran meet go-er - the crate of bottled water was a really nice but also very practical thought!

 

I find myself mostly agreeing with all the impressions posted so far, which is quite reassuring (I'm still new to this hobby with a hitherto very limited exposure to different kit).

 

For me, the stars of the show were Mr Q's Beyer T1's paired with Alvin Sawdust's Darkvoice 337se tube amp and DB Audio Labs Tranquillity DAC. This setup had serious punch, speed and detail while striking a brilliant balance and neutrality. I expected to come away thinking the LCD 2s were the ones to shoot for, but the T1s offered everything the LCD 2s could plus a better sound stage and neutrality. I just wonder how fussy the T1 are when pairing with amp and source on account of their clarity.

 

The LCD 2s were very nice indeed, they had a very engaging, well defined and detailed sound but I agree with comments that they lack sound stage and are a little dark. I think I heard them from at least three different systems (including the Meier Concerto and Audio GD Audio-gd NFB-10ES) and they sounded remarkably similar from all of them. I think this affirms the view that they very much enforce their own sound, which I believe is a good thing as it makes them an easier match with amp and source, etc. (I hate the idea of phones which are difficult to pair with source and amp, it's just not practical - unless you're loaded!). I was struck with how similar they sound to my HD 650's, it's just that the 650's sound a little mushy by comparison.

 

The LCD 2s are massive, as I think everyone has gathered from the photos. Hats off to the designers though, they're very nicely made - the leather pads are lush! The weight is very well distributed and you don't know you're wearing them, until you turn your head that is. I don't know whether it was just me, but the inertia when turning one's head was very noticeable and a little off putting.

 

It would be a tough choice to choose between the LCD 2 and Beyerdynamic T1 in my mind. The T1's were the better headphone - absolutely crystal clear with no draw backs that I could distinguish - a true window into the music, but I can't help think that if I wanted to replicate the sound I heard at the meet I would have to invest in the complete setup I listened to, not just the headphones - and that makes them risky. The LCD 2s on the other hand would be the safe bet; they seemed to pair well with a variety of equipment and they had a very enjoyable and relaxing sound. But would they ultimately be as rewarding? Of course, you could just own both like Mr Q - lucky b*****d! ;-)

 

I was hoping the HiFiMAN planars might be an easier on the wallet alternative to the LCD 2. Although I didn't listen to them for long (perhaps that's telling), I just found them uninteresting with a rather hard sound. They were also very difficuly to drive! Even out of HiFiMAN's specially designed amp and the Schiit Lyr they needed a good twist of the volume knob to get any volume and they lacked dynamism. I wish I had listened to the supposedly easier to drive HiFiMAN prototypes as I felt it was probably the challenge the current range present to amps which was holding them back.

 

As for the HD 800, while I thought their flaws were inexcusable at their price point, they also had some strong points. I was struck by their sheer definition, accuracy and detail- the steel guitar on Water of Love, Dire Straits, was razor sharp (and that was on my relatively mediocre system). It's just they were so unforgiving and the rending of symbols was un-natural. A great technical headphone in some ways but they didn't make for a relaxing listen.


I learnt a number of general and valuable lessons from the meet too:

 

1. The differences between headphones are not as night and day as I had been led to believe from reading reviews, etc.

 

2. As a consequence of point 1, I think it's extended listening in the right environment which allows you to hear the subtle differences and true character of a headphone/system.

 

3. Meets are great to meet and socialise with head-fi'ers and have a brilliant time (it's worth attending one purely for this purpose) but it's generally too noisy and distracting for critical listening. I imagine a focused mini-meet would be better for serious auditions, but of course the range of gear if generally limited.

 

3. You don't have to spend a huge amount of money to get most of the way there. I was very impressed with EddieE's Stax and Beyer Electrostat setups, which I understood didn't cost the earth, but they weren't far off the best systems driving the LCD-2s.

 

4. Trust your own instincts, go with what you feel you want and don't be swayed by 'extremist impressions'. I agonised over my setup before I bought it due to some rather polar impressions of the HD 650 and other elements. But by going with the overall view I ended up buying a system which I feel suits my tastes very well and this was re-affirmed by the meet. Sure the HD 650s are a little dark and also a touch too slow for some genres, but overall I love their sound signature - as some one remarked at the meet, they do nothing wrong. They make for a very relaxing listen and do a great job with acoustic instruments and vocals. While it's certainly possible to improve on what they offer, and cut out most of their short comings, you have to spend a lot more money.


Edited by jr41 - 4/4/11 at 12:00pm
post #59 of 91

Great impressions John!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jr41 View Post

It would be a tough choice to choose between the LCD 2 and Beyerdynamic T1 in my mind. The T1's were the better headphone - absolutely crystal clear with no draw backs that I could distinguish - a true window into the music, but I can't help think that if I wanted to replicate the sound I heard at the meet I would have to invest in the complete setup I listened to, not just the headphones - and that makes them risky. The LCD 2s on the other hand would be the safe bet; they seemed to pair well with a variety of equipment and they had a very enjoyable and relaxing sound. But would they ultimately be as rewarding? Of course, you could just own both like Mr Q - lucky b*****d! ;-)

 

 

Make you sick doesn't it? tongue.gif Not only the best dynamic phones and best orthos for my tastes but also my favourite Amp/DAC too in the NFB-10ES! It's got to be Stax next right Mr Q? wink.gif

 

I also posted a run down of my experiences with the various orthos on the ortho thread here.

post #60 of 91

Ditto from me on the thanks part to Ampcity and John (Jr41); Plus to Mark for making room for me and providing bottled water.

 

Great to see the photos as well.

 

So when is the next 'UK National Meet'?  :)

 

Justin

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