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Chi-Uni-Fi 5 2011 Chicago Area Headphone event impressions!!!  

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

Another Amazing event!!!

 

 

Ah 2011 is ended the Chicago Area with a great bang...at least in the headphone world it has! It was held at the Northbrook Sheraton hotel with easy parking, private entrance, a huge room, and a thermostat everyone forgot to set to cool (the heat was set to 75 degrees). Or maybe it was the hottest of the gear or the great times everyone was having that set the thermo?....hmmm I don't know.

 

The event started off slow but worked its way up to an easy 25+ people by late afternoon (usually 30 people is the average from years before so this by people count was perfect!). Steve (AudioAddict) and Ray (Ray Samuels Audio) where the first to arrive then Laszlo and all others started moving in quick. Playing Host I was able to snap some pictures early in but was too busy later on though i know lots of others shot pictures also. Let us get those out of the way now!...

 

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post #2 of 31
Thread Starter 

OK now that I got that out of the way, and again i was snapping pics early in the event and others have snapped better pics i am sure. Let us get to some impressions.

 

As any host (or person who plays host but Steve does all the work work) may know, it is hard to get listening time in while you run around with the hosting of the event. But this year i snuck lots of listening time in..and i took notes.!

 

here are a few impressions on my listening of other peoples rigs..BTW this is one of the high points of any headphone get together for me, To listen exactly how someone else listens to their music. The gear is the gear but ow a person assembles their rig and how the gear mixs and matches is something spacial to me.

 

Linus rig

He was serving a Eepc netbook into a EMU 0404 into a Bottlehead powering the HD600's.

Everyone has dreams of the big gear out there yet what most don't realize is a rig like Linus is the common these days for people on the boards. And the common is where the attention and talk on the boards is mostly. So i wanted to hear his rig first off to see if these setups have a magical addicting power I heard at my first meet in 2003 with a cd player instead of netbook and usb dacs ( that makes me sound old!!). I listened to some Pink Floyd he had on his Eepc and wow this rig has some rock loving magic! Weirdly spacious with the separation of crazy parts in the song another Brick in the walls was awesome!

 

Kieth rig

Emotive ERC-2 feeding into a Grant Tubedac-11 powering the HD650.

Kieth and I talked about his current headphone choices. We talked about how he was looking towards the 600's more then the 650's, I am a fan of the 600's (and a everyday user of these) So you can guess where my feedback went postively towards. I listened to Stings Fields of gold song..a classic Audiophile track. Sound was great with Stings voice being nicely done with warmth nicely, Would it sound better with the 600's? not sure but I have a feeling Kieth will answer this in the future!..haha

 

 

Ok i have more impressions and thanks and stuff to talk about but i just woke up and i need to make some coffee...

 

 

Post your thoughts and questions....go post them...this is the 2011 Chi-Uni-Fi 5 impressions thread so go for it!!!!!!!

post #3 of 31

Just used the code on Comply! Great price with the discount. Had a great first experience and will be writing impressions asap. Thanks everyone.

post #4 of 31

Like last year, I had a great time these year again.

 

I would like to thank Steve and Billy for the work that they put into this and for starting the interest in for next year.

 

Ray as always is a generous person, he had three listening stations, The Darkstar, A-10 Thunderbolt and B-52.  I had the pleasure along with my friend to listen to all three, great products and always had someone listening.  I didn't get any pictures of these setups but others did.

 

The Bottlehead Crack was great to listen to, since I still haven't finished building mine.  We also got a treat from Bottlehead, the Smack was on loan from Doc by way of Tod R.

 

A lot of great setups and always great people.  I do have some pics that I will upload later.

 

James

 

 

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Edited by james93 - 11/13/11 at 1:01pm
post #5 of 31

Another fantastic meet.  Got to hear lots of new cans.  I was especially impressed with the HifiMan presence at the meet.  its seems that the HifiMan cans are the current ones to beat.  although, still a strong sennheiser and grado presence in the room.  One special thing for me was to finally get to the hear the LCD2.  I'll have to make some more comments later, but I was of course impressed with it.  I would like to hear the LCD3 someday, because I'll never afford them! lol. 

 

another cool discovery was a set of cans I had never heard of.  made by Fischer Audio.  Funny that it is a fairly unknown company (at least to me) and there were Two sets of these at the meet from two separate people.  pretty cool.  I love this community.

 

I am also the one who took advantage of the extended audition of the HE300 headphones from HifiMan.  My first comment being that they were very impressive for a $250 can.  even better though with a $900 cable! LOL.. I will be doing a write up on these soon.

 

More to come, but special thanks to Steve and Billy for putting the meet together.  And a Big Thank You to our vendors who made such great donations for the raffle.  amazing.

 

EDIT:

I see that the previous thread is closed.  Billy, you should put a link to the impressions thread as the last post.  That way everyone on it would get a notification of this thread.  It took me 5 minutes to find this thread because of The slowness of this site.  I almost gave up.  


Edited by Keithpgdrb - 11/13/11 at 10:45am
post #6 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithpgdrb View Post

I am also the one who took advantage of the extended audition of the HE300 headphones from HifiMan.  My first comment being that they were very impressive for a $250 can.  even better though with a $900 cable! LOL.. I will be doing a write up on these soon.

 

 

 

I had the pleasure of breaking these cans in for the meet and was quite impressed and even more impressed with the press release Fang sent that the price was lowered to $249.  What really made these special when Warp08 had a pair with him that he put of his Whiplash Audio Reference Cable on (the $900 cable mentioned) and really shows you what these cans are cable of.  It would have been interesting to hear the HE-300 with a somewhat more affordable aftermarket cable as it is apparent they do have potential. I look forward to Keith's review of this new players.  Thanks for taking the time to audition them and post your thoughts.  I will be sure to let Fang know.

post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keithpgdrb View Post

\

 

EDIT:

I see that the previous thread is closed.  Billy, you should put a link to the impressions thread as the last post.  That way everyone on it would get a notification of this thread.  It took me 5 minutes to find this thread because of The slowness of this site.  I almost gave up.  



I can't edit any posts in a locked thread. Weird it would be locked and i see the NY meet is locked also... new practice on the forums?????

post #8 of 31

Another great event! It was nice recognizing people from last year's meet (my first) this year as well as new faces. I got to spend even more time with some really great gear. Some of the highlights included the obvious- Sennheiser Orpheus on Ray Samuel's A-10 Thunderbolt II, Laszlo's Sony R10's and Ray's fully balanced HD 800's on the B-52, which to me the balanced HD800 still has the most amazing soundstage I've ever heard. The 3D effect of being completely surrounded by the music in all directions and forgetting you're wearing headphones had an almost hypnotizing effect on me. For now, this remains my dream set-up.

 

This was also the first time I got to listen to HiFiMan HE series headphones which were huge at the meet. The biggest surprise of the meet was how good the HiFiMan HE-6 and HE-500's are!  The HE-6 driven by Ray Samuel's Dark Star amp was stunning. He played a track for me with a female jazz singer and it was the best sounding female vocals I've ever heard through headphones. The bass presence was very powerful, and I could hear every string of the upright bass in astounding clarity as it sounded like the bassist was sitting just a few feet behind my left ear. The HE-500's were also very impressive on the HeadRoom desktop Amp/DAC setup. The Beatles White Album never sounded better with very good separation of every instrument. It was laid back, but not too laid back and just the perfect amount of warmth. The HE-300's were a much different beast altogether (I wasn't aware till later that they are not planar magnetic like the 6's and 500's) and was much more "in my face" and the high end seemed much more pronounced. A very good sounding, very detailed headphone, but not really my cup of tea.. I only wish I had the chance to compare the HE-4's to round it out, since the HE-4's fit squarely within my budget.

 

It was also nice trying out all the Grado's on my rig too, from the 225's to the HF2 and the Alessandro MS1. Even still I'm not sure which Grado I like the most. Also was able to try out Dawid's Fischer Audio DBA-02's which very well may be my next IEM purchase.

 

The raffle was fun and I even managed to win a few cool prizes. Congrats to Billy and Steve for another great year.

 

Another special thanks to Ray Samuels and gang for good food and conversation after the meet. My girlfriend also really enjoyed herself and wants to come back next year! All in all it was a great day, and I can't wait till ChiUniFi 6 in June beerchug.gif

post #9 of 31

Let me thank everyone for attending.  I hope you had an great meet experience.  While I know the meet was on the northern side of Chicago, I thought the accommodations were great.  Plenty of room for everyone to spread their gear out and affordable as well.  

 

Like Billy, I had some time early on and took some photos and put them out on the ChiUniFi Facebook page.   

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=306014656077657&set=oa.260503370666515&type=1&theater

 

This was the first time I really got to spend time with the HiFiMan HE-500 and I will say they didn't let me down.  I was very impressed with the resolution they were capable of and how much easier they were to drive.  I primarily listened to them though the HeadRoom BUDA / UDAC set up the files streaming from JRivers Media Center 17.  I also had a brief chance to listen to Warp08's HE-500 with the Whiplash Custom Modification and reference cable through the his HiFiMan balanced HM-801.  There is not a lot to say other other than that is one fantastic matched setup.  However, you really didn't have to have the high end set up to enjoy the standard HE-500 as I took them over to On Song Audio Distribution's set up and listen to them being driven by the new Calyx Coffee with the streaming coming from JRivers Media Center as well and they sounded very nice.  Actually, I turned down winning a Hornet hoping to win the Calyx Coffee as I enjoyed the versatility of the product.  No I didn't win the Calyx Coffee in the raffle.  It wasn't my lucky day in the raffle.

 

Another setup I wanted to comment on was Todd R' with the Bottlehead Smack when his laptop with Pure Music was streaming to the Calyx DAC 24/192.  This DAC is built like a brick.  When I picked it up I almost dropped it as I wasn't anticipating the weight (sorry about that Chris).  This DAC is powered 100% by the USB, which is very unusual for a high end DAC.  They have figured out a way to utilize the USB power and store it and feed it to the DAC as need so no wall wart is needed when streaming from the computer by USB.  The sonics were also very good.  If I was not planning on upgrading my PS Audio PWD to the new MKII edition, I would be seriously considering spending more time with this product.

 

Of course you have to comment on the new RSA Dark Star amplifier.  Everyone has heard the buzz and this amplifier really makes the HiFiMan HE-6 shine but what I wanted to comment on was put in low gain, how this really brought out the performance of the Audeze LCD 2s.  I think not a lot really thought the LCD 2 needed that level of current to sound great but it does suggests these headphones do have another potential level.  One can only speculate how the LCD 3s might sound with the Dark Star.

 

 

 

 


Edited by Audio Addict - 11/13/11 at 2:24pm
post #10 of 31

Thanks to dxanex for letting me listen to his Little Dot Mk II with my HD-650, looks like I'll be purchasing one soon.

 

A few more pics from around the room.

 

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post #11 of 31

I sent the friends that donated the gift certificates the information on the winners.  If you didn't receive a copy of the email, please drop me a PM.

 

For the two that won the prizes that came in after I left for ChiUniFi 5, I do have them and will get them shipped out early in the week.

 

 


Edited by Audio Addict - 11/13/11 at 1:49pm
post #12 of 31

ChiUniFi 5 (November 12, 2011) Impressions

OK, I'll go first.  Since I just got home, I'll share pictures and a video first and impressions later.

 

Billy, Steve and Ray.jpg

 

The key organizers of ChiUniFi 5 and Ray Samuels early in AM

 

HiFiMAN EF6 Prototype.jpg

HiFiMAN EF6 Prototype and HE-300s.  The EF6 front plate and controls will be updated prior to commercial release, but the amp's circuit design was complete.

 

BUDA Desktop System.jpg

 

BUDA Desktop System exhibited by AudioAddict

 

RSA Exhibition 2.jpg

 

RSA Exhibition 1

 

RSA Exhibition.jpg

 

RSA Exhibition (Early Morning)

 

RSA Exhibition 3.jpg

 

RSA Exhibition (Early Morning)

 

Todd R Smack Amp from BottleHead. Interesting design, very unique in its execution. 2.jpg

 

Todd R Smack Amp from BottleHead.  Interesting design, very unique in its execution.

 

HE-6 Balanced Closeup with the RSA Dark Star.jpg

 

HE-6 Balanced Closeup with the RSA Dark Star

 

Whiplash Hybrid Beyer T70s 250 Ohm.jpg

 

Whiplash Hybrid Beyer T70s 250 Ohm

 

Todd R Auditioning the Whiplash Hybrid T70s on his rig.jpg

 

Todd R Auditioning the Whiplash Hybrid T70s on his rig

 

What? No way I'm giving up this seat....jpg

 

AudioAddict:  What?  No way I'm giving up this seat...

 

HE-6 combo has that effect on listeners..jpg

 

An hour later, same position. The Dark Star/HE-6 combo has this effect on listeners...

 

RSA B52 Glory Shot with MDR-R10s, Whiplash Hybrid T70s and Sennheiser HD800s at the ready.jpg

 

RSA B52 Glory Shot with MDR-R10s, Whiplash Hybrid T70s and Sennheiser HD800s at the ready

 

Angle shot of the imposing Boulder CD player with unidentified attendee standing guard at the right..jpg

 

Angle shot of the imposing Boulder CD player with unidentified attendee standing guard at the right...

 

Auditioning HM-801 Balanced Amp module with HifiMAN HE500R.jpg

 

Auditioning HM-801 Balanced Amp module with HifiMAN HE500R (Whiplash Audio hardwired version)

 

HM-801 Balanced Amp Module+HE-500R with 24/96 HDTracks Files.jpg

 

AudioAddict: Auditioning the HM-801 Balanced Amp Module+HE-500R with 24/96 HDTracks Files

 

My Precious….the HE90s. But Big Brother is watching like a hawk!.jpg

 

My Precious….the HE90s.  But Big Brother is watching like a hawk!

 

Dark Star combo in front of the giant Boulder CD-player with Grace and Ray Samuels watching.jpg

 

AudioAddict sitting at the Dark Star+HE-6 combo in front of the giant Boulder CD-player with Grace and Ray Samuels watching

 

The Sennheiser HE90s and A-10 was a popular combo.jpg

 

Ariel and Ray:  The Sennheiser HE90s and A-10 was a popular combo

 

The Whiplash HE-xxx Reference cable has elevated the performance of the HE-300s to unheard heights. Not for the faint of heart, but won universal praise..jpg

 

The Whiplash HE-xxx Reference cable has elevated the performance of the HE-300s to unheard heights.  Not for the faint of heart, but won universal praise...

 

OnSong Table with Todd R watching his rig.jpg

 

OnSong Table with Todd R watching his rig

 

Ray Samuels.jpg

 

HE90s…hmm.jpg

 

Ray Samuels:  RSA was the biggest exhibitor by far

 

RSA Exhibition Busy (Todd R conversing with Ray Samuels).jpg

 

RSA Exhibition Busy (Todd R conversing with Ray Samuels) while the R10+B-52 and the A-10+HE90 combo are being enjoyed from the Boulder source

 

16 Customs.jpg

 

My table.  Lots of portable gear including the JH-3A with the Whiplash crossover cable prototype, SR71B, HM-801 Balanced Amp Module combo and the HE-500R, plus HE-300 recabled

 

Eager attendees preparing for the Raffle.jpg

 

Eager attendees are preparing for the Raffle

 

And the Winner of the HE-500 Grand Prize is…Grace Samuels! One happy camper..jpg

 

And the Winner of the HE-500 Grand Prize is…Grace Samuels!  One happy camper...and thanks for supporting the Raffle with $150 worth of tickets...:-)

 

Please add your pictures here if you were in attendance, there were many tables I could not get to.  Thanks.

 


Edited by warp08 - 11/13/11 at 5:24pm
post #13 of 31

We'll get these moved but for now, I thought some would like to see some photo's taken by Warp08.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/580178/chiunifi-5-november-12-2011-impressions#post_7889642

 

post #14 of 31

 


What? No way I'm giving up this seat....jpg

 

AudioAddict:  What?  No way I'm giving up this seat...

 

HE-6 combo has that effect on listeners..jpg

 

An hour later, same position. The Dark Star/HE-6 combo has this effect on listeners...

 

It looks to me like this was photoshop. biggrin.gif

 

post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by gjohnst4 View Post

Just used the code on Comply! Great price with the discount. Had a great first experience and will be writing impressions asap. Thanks everyone.


I also ordered a set for my Klipsch X10is since I didn't win any of the sets drawn at the end.  Thanks to Comply for the discount.

 

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