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Austin Meet Impressions (4-16-11)  

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'll start this shindig off.  Sorry if I'm a bit poignent. :P

 

We had a very nice small meet at Whetstone Audio this afternoon.  I know I had a good time, and it seemed like everyone else did as well.  A list of some of the equipment is in the main thread here, http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/544253/austin-meet-april-16-2011-3-6pm-at-whetstone-audio  There were some notable additions such as a pair of Grado RS-1 and Hifiman HE-5LEs

 

Like everyone else there I was blown away by the LCD-2 and HE-5LEs that were brought out.  I definitely give the edge to the LCD-2 for overall clarity and just plain amazement.  The LCD-2s seemed to do everything just right in my mind, even on my Audio-GD Compass, however, the HE-5LE's had an insane ability to reproduce very low bass (they never stopped) which wasn't matched by anything else I heard. 

 

The Lebon CX300 Brian of Whetstone had hooked up for us was amazing as well.  Made the HF2s sound better than I've ever heard.  As I expected, the amp difference was somewhat minor going up the chain from the Compass, but it was definitely noticeable.  I can see how people edge towards the best of the best and eek their way into the super high end if you have the means.  I'm now convinced of the last few percent costs exponentially more when it comes to source and amps.  Headphones, on the other hand, sound quite different even among the same price points.  

 

I'd never heard the K701 before and have to admit playing classical music (what the owner listened to) through it was very very nice (especially paired with the Schiit Valhalla).  It was, however, missing far too much bottom end for me and the music I tend to listen to most of the time.  Impressive headphone, but seemed fairly one trick.  

 

The DT770s were quite nice.  Very good for the price point, but seemed to be missing some of the midrange I enjoy with rock music.  D7000s (which were apparently extremely new and not broken in) sounded very good.  Similar to the HF2s in sound to me, but are closed phones which can have many advantages.  I've always found open phones sound better for the money, but those were probably the first closed phones I truly enjoyed.  

 

ATH-ES9W were stellar little portable phones.  Something I could see carrying around for sure.  

 

Amp and source wise it was hard to really sit down with one and get a good idea of the slight differences.  All of the setups sounded very good.  It was fun to see everyone and their different tastes of music and sound.  People listening to Classical, Funk, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, Electronic, etc.  Even had a bass head that brought a very interesting little device called the "Portable Subwoofer" that really did make the phones sound like you're at an electronic concert or club.  

 

Overall a very good time.  Thanks to everyone, especially Brian from Whetstone. 

post #2 of 29

I'll post some impressions later. I just want to upload some of the pictures I took first.

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Edited by driftingbunnies - 4/16/11 at 7:50pm
post #3 of 29
For one, I'm glad you enjoyed my D7000s. I bet they'll only get better with age. I'm burning them in right now as we type actually.

I'll do my impressions a little differently.

ZO Personal Sub: Dear. Lord. This little device is absolutely the most surprising piece of audio gear I've ever heard. It doesn't sound like an EQ on the sound...it just sounds like the song was produced with more bass. It's so smooth and has so much power in a tiny package. I actually plan on buying this and pairing it with a Clip + very, very soon. I did some number crunching and it's pretty much made for the Clip size wise. Clip+ (2.2 x 1.4 x 0.6 inches) ZO (2.75 x 1.5 x 0.38 inches)

LCD-2: So. I expected them to sound good with pretty much everything other than my main music scene...Electronic. Boy was I wrong. I've posted in the LCD 2 thread already saying that sure, they have a little less bass than I like...but I don't care because everything else just sounds so good. Even with some of the Dubstep I put through them they just floored me. The other thing I loved was the weight. They feel heavy on your head, but in the best way possible. I love weighty cans, and these certainly qualify. Although I think the HE-5 LEs are more my style out of the 2.

HE-5 LE: My next headphone (well maybe the HE-6). They look great, they sound great, and they floored me just like the LCD 2 did. Once I get my sources good enough to power these, I want a pair. That's really all there is to say.

ATH ESW9: I was pretty excited to see these there. They've caught my eye since I started here on Head-Fi, but I never pulled the trigger. I love the look, and I love the sound straight out of my J3. There are 2 problems I have with these though...The cable feels terrible. It's so flimsy, not bad...I'm just afraid of something happening to it. The other problem is just a general cheap feel. I want them to be portable, but they just feel so brittle.

Peachtree Nova: Now I didn't get a ton of time with it, but it was brilliant for the period that I used it. I loved it for my D7000, and the LCD 2. The thing that really made this one notable for me (other than the sexy wood) was the tube on/off feature. It changed the sound quite a bit between the 2 modes and sounded excellent either way. A feature that I'd love to see on some other amps.

Overall I had an absolute blast, got some great ideas for a new CD player, and have decided on a few purchases. All in all, an excellent day.

Head-Fi Future Wallet Damage: HE-5 (Or 6), ZO Personal Sub, Clip+.

EDIT: I hate you Head-Fi. I just dropped $150 on a Black Clip+ and a ZO. Although...if I like the sound out of these enough...maybe I'll sell my J3 and get money back on my investment. Hmmmmm....Blessing in disguise?
Edited by MorbidToaster - 4/16/11 at 8:22pm
post #4 of 29
The HE-6 is the HE-5LE but better in every respect, every single one (I've heard both). If you are saving up to buy one, make it count and get the 6. Add a Schiit Lyr for power and you are good to go.

Looks like a nice meet. Great pics.
post #5 of 29

I guess I'll post some of my impressions.

 

Overall, I felt that everybody's system sounded good. I enjoyed the K701 with the classical music. I enjoyed the Liquid Fire and LCD-2's. I enjoyed the HE-5LE's. I enjoyed the Leben. The D7000's are very good on my system. Wouldn't mind getting a pair of those. I don't think I ever felt that anyone's system was bad at all. But I guess it's due to my lack of time spent analyzing and comparing different setups. However, there are a couple things that I did compare that was quite interesting.

 

I compared the Averson amp next to my Concerto amp powering my DT770/600 with my own source and music. Things to note about the Averson. Very powerful, strong bass, greater emphasis on detail and accuracy. My concerto on the other hand, was more "tube-like" and smoothed out the treble and did not have the same bass impact as the Averson did. Even though they're both solid state, they are completely different monsters in their own right. I think the Averson would be a very interesting amp to have but I do not have the funds to venture into that direction at the moment. I wouldn't mind getting a loaner though. :P

 

The LCD-2 is the main headphone that I really wanted to listen to since I had pre-ordered one but have not decided whether or not I should spend the money. So my first few listens to it, I can definitely acknowledge that it's a good headphone. There's no doubt that it performs well, but I just wasn't that impressed with it to be honest. The HE-5LE's gave a bit more a thump in my opinion (couldn't try with the same song though) but it's really hard to tell which one I would prefer due to the limitations. However, I was able to A-B it with my DT770/600 (Dan asked if it was even a fair fight) and it definitely was not a fair fight. I started with the LCD-2's and switched to the DT770's and could tell something was missing. I was pretty surprised how much was missing. I have no doubt in my mind now that the LCD-2's are amazing and am impressed with how big of a jump it was from my DT770's. I'm still deciding whether I should buy it though. lol

 

 

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by driftingbunnies View Post

I guess I'll post some of my impressions.

 

Overall, I felt that everybody's system sounded good. I enjoyed the K701 with the classical music. I enjoyed the Liquid Fire and LCD-2's. I enjoyed the HE-5LE's. I enjoyed the Leben. The D7000's are very good on my system. Wouldn't mind getting a pair of those. I don't think I ever felt that anyone's system was bad at all. But I guess it's due to my lack of time spent analyzing and comparing different setups. However, there are a couple things that I did compare that was quite interesting.

 

I compared the Averson amp next to my Concerto amp powering my DT770/600 with my own source and music. Things to note about the Averson. Very powerful, strong bass, greater emphasis on detail and accuracy. My concerto on the other hand, was more "tube-like" and smoothed out the treble and did not have the same bass impact as the Averson did. Even though they're both solid state, they are completely different monsters in their own right. I think the Averson would be a very interesting amp to have but I do not have the funds to venture into that direction at the moment. I wouldn't mind getting a loaner though. :P

 

The LCD-2 is the main headphone that I really wanted to listen to since I had pre-ordered one but have not decided whether or not I should spend the money. So my first few listens to it, I can definitely acknowledge that it's a good headphone. There's no doubt that it performs well, but I just wasn't that impressed with it to be honest. The HE-5LE's gave a bit more a thump in my opinion (couldn't try with the same song though) but it's really hard to tell which one I would prefer due to the limitations. However, I was able to A-B it with my DT770/600 (Dan asked if it was even a fair fight) and it definitely was not a fair fight. I started with the LCD-2's and switched to the DT770's and could tell something was missing. I was pretty surprised how much was missing. I have no doubt in my mind now that the LCD-2's are amazing and am impressed with how big of a jump it was from my DT770's. I'm still deciding whether I should buy it though. lol

 

 


Mine too, and this is why I want these over the LCD 2s. Well, that and I like the HE series aesthetically over the LCD 2. wink.gif
post #7 of 29

 

 

I really enjoyed my time at the meet, it's only the second one I've ever been to and this was a better experience somehow.  Thanks to Brian for allowing can heads to use

his shop.

 

Thanks to Alex for bringing his Liquid Fire.  It was beautifully made and had a unique look to it.  If I had the coin .......... 

 

I am hearing challenged so I don't hear many of the differences that other folks do.  Fortunately, my aids have a feature where I can turn off the compression/expansion

scheme and flatten out the frequency response for music.  Works pretty well.

 

Ben, nice pics, glad I didn't bring my Canon Power Shot.  :^ 0

 

My friend Jeff enjoyed his time at the meet.  He doesn't own a 'puter(!) so I'll add some of his impressions as well.

 

Being so the last five years with computers, I was kind of intimidated by all the laptops producing music files to listen to.  Maybe that's why I didn't listen to some of the set

ups.  Kind of afraid to touch other peeps gear, I guess.  I was surprised by how many folks fifty years younger than I had music I could enjoy.  I should retire my curmudgeon side for another day!  I liked the BD 770 very much.  Heck-of-a-phone for 2 bills.  Jeff thought the Concerto was quite special and he's certainly got better

ears than I.  The HP-2 surprised me as well, much more up front than my 325is(!), still like my G-Cush for comfort, tho'.  The planars, wow, I hadn't heard Jeff's

HE-5LE or the LCD-2 before.  I think this is the place to go.  Maybe the HE had ultimately the deeper bass (they both went super deep, IMO), but the LCD-2 did

something with the soundstage that the HE didn't.  Not sure what it was but I liked it a lot.  Personal gripe:  when you spend 7 bills for a can, shouldn't it adjust to fit your head right out of the box?  The 5LE didn't, although Jeff reminded me that a piece of foam wrapped around the head band yada-yada.  That's the kind of thing that would drive me 

crazy.  Yes, the LCD-2 was quite heavy but I think in a good way.  Maybe I'll get one and see if it bends my spine.  I was tickled that my Peachtree drove the thing quite well, even drove the HE pretty well.  Part of the Peachtree's magic is in the DAC, but that would be true of all our set ups, of course.  Travis to Travis: The 7000's were excellent, broken in or not.  More bass than I'm used to but still good.  If I needed a closed phone, that would be a great first choice.  I didn't get a chance to really judge the Leben, couldn't figure out the silver on silver buttons on the CDP. Next time I should bring my reading glasses. LOL!

 

Great afternoon and a pleasure to meet so many nice people.  Wonder if San Antonio or College Station is ready for one?

 

Edit:  This should teach me not to cut and paste.  Weird.

 

 


Edited by bbophead - 4/18/11 at 8:31am
post #8 of 29

I'm kind of glad (my wallet more so) I didn't make the meet because I've been itching to get myself the HE-5LE/EF5 combo. But also kind of wish I had made it so I could have compared it to my STAX 3030 system.. Ahh well, what can you do? Judging from the impressions and pictures, it looks like yall had a great time. I can't wait for the next meet. I doubt I would miss that for much of anything!!

 

Morbid, what is your ETA on the ZO? I'd like to be able to hear it with my Westone 4 and Cowon D2.

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

 

 

I really enjoyed my time at the meet, it's only the second one I've ever been to and this was a better experience somehow.  Thanks to Brian for allowing can heads to use

his shop.

 

Thanks to Alex for bringing his Liquid Fire.  It was beautifully made and had a unique look to it.  If I had the coin .......... 

 

I am hearing challenged so I don't hear many of the differences that other folks do.  Fortunately, my aids have a feature where I can turn off the compression/expansion

scheme and flatten out the frequency response for music.  Works pretty well.

 

Ben, nice pics, glad I didn't bring my Canon Power Shot.  :^ 0

 

My friend Jeff enjoyed his time at the meet.  He doesn't own a 'puter(!) so I'll add some of his impressions as well.

 

Being so the last five years with computers, I was kind of intimidated by all the laptops producing music files to listen to.  Maybe that's why I didn't listen to some of the set

ups.  Kind of afraid to touch other peeps gear, I guess.  I was surprised by how many folks fifty years younger than I had music I could enjoy.  I should retire my curmudgeon side for another day!  I liked the BD 770 very much.  Heck-of-a-phone for 2 bills.  Jeff thought the Concerto was quite special and he's certainly got better

ears than I.  The HP-2 surprised me as well, much more up front than my 325is(!), still like my G-Cush for comfort, tho'.  The planars, wow, I hadn't heard Jeff's

HE-5LE or the LCD-2 before.  I think this is the place to go.  Maybe the HE had ultimately the deeper bass (they both went super deep, IMO), but the LCD-2 did

something with the soundstage that the HE didn't.  Not sure what it was but I liked it a lot.  Personal gripe:  when you spend 7 bills for a can, shouldn't it adjust to fit your head right out of the box?  The 5LE didn't, although Jeff reminded me that a piece of foam wrapped around the head band yada-yada.  That's the kind of thing that would drive me 

crazy.  Yes, the LCD-2 was quite heavy but I think in a good way.  Maybe I'll get one and see if it bends my spine.  I was tickled that my Peachtree drove the thing quite well, even drove the HE pretty well.  Part of the Peachtree's magic is in the DAC, but that would be true of all our set ups, of course.  Travis to Travis: The 7000's were excellent, broken in or not.  More bass than I'm used to but still good.  If I needed a closed phone, that would be a great first choice.  I didn't get a chance to really judge the Leben, couldn't figure out the silver on silver buttons on the CDP. Next time I should bring my reading glasses. LOL!

 

Great afternoon and a pleasure to meet so many nice people.  Wonder if San Antonio or College Station is ready for one?

 

Edit:  This should teach me not to cut and paste.  Weird.

 

 


I can't believe I didn't notice the Nova was also a DAC as well...Now I really want one. I loved it at the meet. It looks fantastic and the tube options were really cool too. Not sure where I'd put it...but I want one.
post #10 of 29
I'm surprised everybody enjoyed the peachtree so much. I heard from sellers that it doesn't really sell that well and there isn't much about it on head-fi. I was thinking of getting one a while ago but I was turned away because it does everything well but probably not as good as getting separates.
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by driftingbunnies View Post

I'm surprised everybody enjoyed the peachtree so much. I heard from sellers that it doesn't really sell that well and there isn't much about it on head-fi. I was thinking of getting one a while ago but I was turned away because it does everything well but probably not as good as getting separates.

It's beautiful and sounded great. The tube bypass is what was really cool to me. Just hitting the button and watching the tubes go off was so fun. lol
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post
Quote:
Mine too, and this is why I want these over the LCD 2s. Well, that and I like the HE series aesthetically over the LCD 2. wink.gif


Look out for the HE500 when/if it comes into production. I tried the prototype at the UK meet. It was easier to drive than the HE6. 

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrQ View Post




Look out for the HE500 when/if it comes into production. I tried the prototype at the UK meet. It was easier to drive than the HE6. 


I've been reading up a little but I need to see more reviews once it hits production. Whichever sounds better is the one I'll get no matter how hard to drive. After hearing the higher end and wanting the best of those high end options, I'll buy the best, and work to drive it. biggrin.gif
post #14 of 29

So little being being said about the amps...just wondering???

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by treal512 View Post

I'm kind of glad (my wallet more so) I didn't make the meet because I've been itching to get myself the HE-5LE/EF5 combo. But also kind of wish I had made it so I could have compared it to my STAX 3030 system.. Ahh well, what can you do? Judging from the impressions and pictures, it looks like yall had a great time. I can't wait for the next meet. I doubt I would miss that for much of anything!!

 

Morbid, what is your ETA on the ZO? I'd like to be able to hear it with my Westone 4 and Cowon D2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post

So little being being said about the amps...just wondering???


It should be here by weeks end (at earliest tomorrow), along with my Clip+. Gonna velcro those things together and have a brilliant ultra portable rig. (Which I am looking to pair either some ES10s or 1964 Customs with)

Also, we only had 3 hours. No one really got to compare amps much. We were busy trying to get the HE 5LE and LCD 2 passed around and A/Bed. lol
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