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NY Area Meet, November 12, 2011 Impression Thread - Page 3  

post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 563 View Post

Thanks everyone for another great meet.   My favorites match SkinnyPuppy's - the Red Wine Audeze LCD2/3 combinations were sensational.  I don't know how Vinnie does it - a year or two ago he really nailed it with his Isabella (?) and Decur's R-10 combination as well.  

 

I was also very impressed with the JH-3A/JH16 combination, though I felt kinda dumb thinking for some reason, going in, of the JH-3A as a portable system.   Even the JH16 with universal tips sans JH-3A sounded great this go-around - last year, they didn't impress me as much (I own the JH-13).   Good thing I had Doug around to keep reminding me, "do you really want to spend that kind of money, do you really want to buy it, will you really be using it ..."  That said, I still had Beth Orliss do impressions for me - she did them the last time for the JH-13s, and told her I'd try to decide by New Year's if I'm going to bite the bullet :)  Decur had impressions made as well, and like me, didn't bite the bullet - yet.   Holographic/three dimensional/pure are the best words I can use to describe the JH-16/JH-3A combination.  No overwhelming bass and the highs were nice and smooth (I know a couple of folks thought they sounded a little trebly). The question is, if being used at home, then why IEMs?  And if being used on the road, say, with a laptop, well, that's a heckuva chunk of change that I'd hate to lose.   Tough call.

 

I finally had the chance to try out the SR-009 - all three of them at the meet, and what a difference the system makes.  I was a bit disappointed with the SR-009, Woo WES combination - much preferred the SR-007s with the WES - the highs on the SR-009 were just too much for my taste with the WES - for me, at least, not easy to listen too long with them.   On the other hand, the SR-009 with the Cavalli amp proto-type and Cary Xciter DAC combination sounded great - much less peaky, very musical (for an electrostat).  Just a very nice set-up.  I can't recall the amp used with the third SR-009.  It was a bit noisy in the room, so I didn't get much of a chance to a get a good listen to it, but it was easier to listen to, for me, again, than with the Woo.

 

I just saw that the BHSE was at the meet - dunno how I missed it - darn, if that is THE rig for the SR-009, I'll have to wait until the next meet (hopefully) to find out.

 

I have to say that the Woo WA6SE/Audeze LCD3 combination though was just magical.  Smooth and very, very nice - although I'm not sure I'm a closed phone kind of guy - the phones are comfortable (the Audeze were new to me, as I had never heard the LCD2 before), but after a while, the leather makes my ears sweaty just a little bit.  Still, if I were to go closed, I would definitely consider them.

 

The best part of these meets, though, are the people, and it was great seeing everyone.  Great chat/discusson with Vcoheda and Wavoman about magic dust and cables and balanced vs. unbalanced.   Doug is always great to see, it was very nice meeting Decur, and of course, chatting with Tom (Bozebuttons) about all the great buys he's made over the years (I'm totally green with envy).   Also, nice talking with Vinnie and Jack, as always.   

 

Thanks again to the organizers - these meets - needless to say - are always great!   Glad I was able to spend pretty much the whole day there - and the time flew by like a rocket! 



I might be reading your totally wrongly but did u really mean to say the LCD3s were closed cans? Pretty sure they're open cans.

post #32 of 50

I also wanted to chime in to thank the organizers for making this meet happen. What a fun time. I had as much fun getting to meet everyone as I did listening to rigs. It's always funny how much we all know about each other just from posting online even though many of us had never met before the meet. I particularly enjoyed getting to meet a few more of my fellow Stax Mafia members.

 

Cat6man, your 404LEs were amazing. I never thought I'd enjoy them as much as I did. The highs were a bit strident, but on the whole if I met someone looking to get into Stax for the first time I'd now recommend the 4-Series Lambdas without hesitation. Though they are bested handily by the 9s, in my mind they are the price/performance ratio king in the Stax lineup and thus a perfect place for new Mafia converts to get their start.

 

The revelation for me was getting to listen to Kerry's DIY-BH. I came into the meet skeptical about how much of an improvement the higher-end DIY Stax amps would really have over my mid-90s production model SRM-T1. I'm not skeptical anymore. Though it got a bit loud, it wasn't hard to hear the impact and wide open soundstage that you get from the higher powered amps. It's a pretty substantial improvement over the sound coming out of the SRM-T1 even when listening with the 9s (which sound pretty darn good out of the lower tier amps). With the Omega IIs I'd say a higher-tier amp is almost a must as I find them to be a bit too relaxed and muddy when they are under-driven. Though it'll be no BH, suffice it to say I'm now really looking forward to getting my KGSSHV up and running. As for a DIY-T2 in my future, well... probably not, but never say never.

 

Of the other Stax amps present I will say that I liked the WES but I didn't care all that much for the Cavalli prototype. While I thought the WES was bested by Kerry's BH, I think it's a formidable amp for those who don't feel like undertaking the massive DIY project or dealing with Justin and his always increasing delays over at Headamp. The Cavalli sounded warmer and much more like my T1 than it did the BH or WES so I personally would probably pass on that. (Disclaimer: I'm a detail nut, not a bass-head so YMMV.) If you like a bit warmer sound though, it may be the stat amp for you.

 

Outside of the world of Stax I listened to a number of the Audeze rigs and they just aren't for me. I definitely think the 3s are very smooth and are a substantial improvement over the 2s (which I do not like at all). That being said, I still find the comfort to be quite poor when compared to better engineered products like the Senn HD800s, Beyer T1s, and the Stax lineup. Even with the 3s though, I just don't think the Audeze sound signature is for me.

 

I sampled a number of other rigs around the room and I enjoyed listening to them as much as I enjoyed talking to their owners. The "best of the rest" for me may have been the AKG 701 on Mullet's Cavalli Compact 2. With a little tube rolling, I think I could be quite happy with that rig. Dollar for dollar it'd be hard to do much better on a price/performance basis without spending quite a bit more $.

 

Finally, thanks to Mullet for giving me a ride to the meet. Sir, your collection of Phish is truly legendary.

 

EDIT: Also thanks to Ari for the rip of the Binaural Stax CD!


Edited by TMoney - 11/14/11 at 6:07am
post #33 of 50

I'd definitely have to agree about the CTH. It sounded great considering the size and price. With the gamma2 Mullet had along with the CTH it's hard to get a much smaller rig for the same quality.

 

I tried the gamma 2/CTH with my HE-500 and I came away pretty impressed. I'd definitely get one in my future if I ever see it available.

post #34 of 50

All,

 

Thanks for another great NY Headfi Meet!

 

Special thanks to Erikzen for organizing it, Yikes for conducting the not-so-silent auction, Alex/Audeze for bringing the LCD-3s

to be used in our setup, and all who stopped over to listen to our Audeze Edition System and new Corvina balanced amp and

posting your impressions - and to those who took pictures to share with everyone.

 

See you all at the Spring meet, and thanks again for inviting Alexis and me (Red Wine Audio) to be part of the fun.

 

Cheers!

 

Vinnie

post #35 of 50

@crumpler -  D'oh, right, my bad  - what threw me off, I guess, is (and I'm plagiarizing right now from some Australian website I just googled after seeing your post ... "the pads are very soft , imo a significant improvement over the original LCD2 pads. They are as soft as my Stax O2 pads but more compressible. The memory foam has good loft and make for a comfortable fit with a great seal. When you first put them on, there is that slight pressure you get similar to a closed headphone. I think this is due to the clamping pressure of the frame and the good seal from the pads. The pressure may be greater for macrocephalics but is no problem for me."

post #36 of 50

I wanted to say Thank You to everyone who organized and came to this meet! I am really a noob with everything but eveyone was so nice letting me listen to their equipment and answering all my questions! I really apreciated everything!! I had a great time. I learned TONS. Thanks again Everyone. I will for sure be coming to the next local meet in the fall.

 

Brian

post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by 563 View Post

@crumpler -  D'oh, right, my bad  - what threw me off, I guess, is (and I'm plagiarizing right now from some Australian website I just googled after seeing your post ... "the pads are very soft , imo a significant improvement over the original LCD2 pads. They are as soft as my Stax O2 pads but more compressible. The memory foam has good loft and make for a comfortable fit with a great seal. When you first put them on, there is that slight pressure you get similar to a closed headphone. I think this is due to the clamping pressure of the frame and the good seal from the pads. The pressure may be greater for macrocephalics but is no problem for me."



I had a similar feeling when I tried them on, I thought it was the crazy bass giving my ear drums a stretch exercise! But I guess you're right, it's probably just the sealing effect. BTW, I don't think this can be classified as truly open design as the driver baffle is closed or just ported, isn't it? I guess it is still open back but not truly open like an HD800 where the driver is really unbaffled. I am not 100% sure about this, but basically I don't think you can get such bass unless you seal or vent the driver baffle. Or the driver itself is occupying the whole space but the magnet / frame will basically make it rather reflective baffle than acoustically transparent. Note, that this typically yields to poorer imaging compared to truly open designs, which would corroborate with how the LCDs are perceived in general.

 

post #38 of 50

lol, seriously though who recabled and balanced their aviators?

post #39 of 50

Many thanks to Eric for running the meet. I had a great time. 

 

Thanks also to everyone who donated gear to the auction. Woo audio, Red-Wine audio, HE audio, and many others. 

 

I mostly go to these to catch up with people from here. I got plenty of that, and met some new people so the meet was GREAT for me. I have never talked with Alex from Audez'e before today and he is totally cool. I always talk with Jack Woo, and he was awesome too. These guys both have some seriously cool stuff brewing.  

 

I did take a moment to listen to the STAX SR-009 on the WES, and the LCD-3 on the Woo6se. 

 

While I am generally a big fan of Woo audio gear, I think that the 009 work better with the BHSE. They sounded GREAT on the WES - better than most people's systems, but the BHSE did the 009 just a little bit better. 

 

The Audez'e LCD-3 sounded GREAT on the woo-6se. I thought they were every so slightly bright, but more importantly they were not gritty or harsh. These headphones were very smooth across the board and really sounded awesome. I should note that I normally like the highs ever so slightly rolled off on my headphones. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkinnyPuppy View Post

lol, seriously though who recabled and balanced their aviators?

 


I did. 

 

They actually sound OK. I think you could do a bit better for $150 after a bit of research, but for the average person who cares more about looks than sound they are awesometoast. My biggest complaint considering what they are and their target application is that they aren't really big enough for my head :(

 

They are balanced to run off of my Balanced Mahogany cmoy, and for possibly destructive testing of DIY amps. The balanced mahogany cmoy is a clone of a well known amp.

post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMoney View Post

Of the other Stax amps present I will say that I liked the WES but I didn't care all that much for the Cavalli prototype. While I thought the WES was bested by Kerry's BH, I think it's a formidable amp for those who don't feel like undertaking the massive DIY project or dealing with Justin and his always increasing delays over at Headamp. The Cavalli sounded warmer and much more like my T1 than it did the BH or WES so I personally would probably pass on that. (Disclaimer: I'm a detail nut, not a bass-head so YMMV.) If you like a bit warmer sound though, it may be the stat amp for you.


Thanks for the comparison between the WES, BH, and LL prototype!  I was wondering about the LL since a fair number of people at Canjam said they found the LL more fun to listen to than the BHSE.  Your impressions make me feel better about the BHSE as my end-game stat amp, since I'm looking for the amp that gets the most detail out of the SR007As as possible.

 

Sounds like it was a great meet, and I'm envious of the pics.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar3 View Post

-I finally got the opportunity to hear a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC, courtesy of Krisstack, and now I want one.

 

Glad you finally got to demo the Alpha!


Edited by Elysian - 11/15/11 at 12:41am
post #41 of 50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elysian View Post

Glad you finally got to demo the Alpha!


Thanks! Unfortunately, it was in an unfamiliar system.  I'll have to figure out a way to get it into my own system sometime next year in order to get a better impression of the improvements it confers.

 

I also hit up Equus for impressions, as he recently got a BADA Series 1 as well.  He also sent me a very detailed response.  Thanks to both of you guys for the help.

post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysian View Post


 

 

Glad you finally got to demo the Alpha!



just saw that a series 2 alpha is out now (magazine advert).............anyone know anything?

post #43 of 50

The Series 2 has a newly designed PCB and possibly a tweaked design.  Only units after serial no. 1503 or so (June 2011) are upgradeable for $350.  Berkeley will not upgrade older units because too many older parts will have to be thrown out, and they would rather have the older Series 1 units go to new homes rather than a landfill.  They are keeping the $5000 MSRP.  The case is exactly the same, and the limited edition black case is now available at MSRP instead of the premium price with the Series 1.

 

According to Berkeley: "The Alpha DAC Series 2 employs new clocking and isolation technologies that provide enhanced imaging precision, timbral purity and resolution."

 

As of Nov 2011, Chris (computeraudiophile.com) says in his review of the Grace M903, that the Series 2 is one of his reference sources.  He previously liked the DAC202 more than the Series 1.  From reading Chris' phrasing, it's unclear how he feels the Series 2 compares vs the DAC202.  He does consider the BADA and DAC202 to have much more in common with each other, in terms of sound signature, than the Meitner or dCS (the Meitner and dCS are reportedly pretty similar).  Chris said he's aiming to have a Series 2 and Alpha USB review out in the next few months.

 

Most people I've spoken with are assuming that the Model 2 is an incremental improvement on the Series 1, as opposed to a completely overhauled system.

 

I'd be interested in hearing comparisons on the MSB Platinum DAC IV vs Alpha DAC, as I've been read a lot of interesting commentary on the MSB unit.

post #44 of 50

Thanks Elysian.  I hope Chris' review uses more than USB input.  I found his alpha vs. 202 hard to use since he found 202 with firewire the best but couldn't figure out where alpha and 202 stood with AES/EBU or spdif. 

post #45 of 50

Np.  I predict he'll probably use a Alpha USB paired with the Series 2, so it'll be USB since Alpha USB has no firewire (so it'll be via AES/EBU or BNC again).  I heard a few people say the INT202 does not pair very well with the BADA, and is a slight step down from the Lynx AES16.  I believe Chris has had an Alpha USB for the last few weeks, but he's pretty mum on devices until he has a chance to do a full write-up.  The nice thing about Chris is that he doesn't pull punches when he feels it's necessary (see recent Esoteric D07 and Grace M903 reviews).

 

I agree that it wasn't an apples-to-apples comparison on his DAC202 vs Alpha Series 1.  My Alpha improved substantially when I added a WaveLink.  I'm usually fairly bland about praise, and I thought the WaveLink addition would be a subtle improvement (like going from Toslink to BNC), but adding the WaveLink was pretty remarkable for the Series 1.

 

After experiencing the WaveLink, I would not recommend a BADA unless you're willing to budget in a WaveLink-caliber converter in.  The WaveLink allows for detail to effortlessly come through casual listening, which was only previously apparent while listening critically.  Two friends who heard my setup both said they are not sure how it can get much better at this point.  Fwiw though, my preamp is doing a lot of the heavy lifting.  I tried taking out the preamp last night out of curiosity, and it was ugly.  The entire soundstage collapsed, and the bass was completely sucked out.  Detail was still good, but without soundstage (e.g., depth), it just sounded noisy.  It's interesting how system components mate together.  With the WaveLink, the images (with the preamp adding soundstaging) gained texture to shapes, which previously had good substance but not enough detail for my tastes.

 

My decision came down to BADA vs DAC202, and I ended up going with the BADA based on user reviews, feedback, and talking to people who are familiar with both Berkeley and Weiss gear.  It was a tough choice.


Edited by Elysian - 11/15/11 at 5:51pm
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