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Nor-Cal Feb 11/2012 Impressions Thread - Page 3  

post #31 of 345
Originally Posted by uzi View Post



Yes, thanks again!  Meanwhile, I think I'll be attending future events like this:



I'll of course cut ear holes along with eye holes.


I would LOL so hard.

post #32 of 345


First and foremost, I’d like to extend a huge thanks to CEE TEE for organizing this meet. It was a lot of logistics to coordinate, and the controlled chaos couldn’t have gone more smoothly. This man is the Michael Jordan of event-planning! Also, thanks to all of the behind-the-scenes people that helped make this happen.


Oxygen was thin in the rarefied air of n3rdling’s corner of endgame kit. Being at that table, I felt like Scrooge McDuck jumping into a pool of gold coins. Getting to demo those cans alone made the trip out to Burlingame worth it. I’m sure many people felt the same, since I saw perma-grins from damn never everyone over there.


Frank Cooter’s table was another highlight – as it was chock full of gorgeous exotic pieces. The copper-and-wood amps should eventually be in a museum. Kudos!


Particleman14’s table was another of my favorites. He had damn near every DIY project I’ve ever wanted to build laid out “naked” on the table. It was quite inspiring and makes me want to pick up a soldering iron and just start fluxing away.


I loved finally being able to hear all of the flagship electrostat rigs in the same place. I caught time with the Orpheus, two SR-009 rigs, two Omega2 setups and the HE-60s. I could live happily (okay, that’s an understatement) with any of them, but surprisingly my favorite was the Omega 2. I felt it had all of the speed, detail, effortlessness while still retaining a warm signature – which proved to be an intoxicating mix. I zoned out for a good while on mikeymad’s Omega2 + Woo Amp setup and snapped back trying to figure out how many minutes had passed.


There were a plethora of HD800s in attendance, which presented a great opportunity to hear them on a lot of different rigs. My favorites were the Balancing Act and Apex Pinnacle. I felt those rigs really let the HD800 stretch out its wings. The new DNA Stratus was also sublime. The Violectric V200 was also a match that I liked a lot, but clearly a notch below the previous three, imo. One pairing that I was really hoping to like was the Bijou since I’ve heard people liking that amp with it. Unfortunately, I found it constricted, flat and muddy. The Beta22 at the same table was a tremendously better pairing – my only complaint being that I detected a slight edginess that I didn’t notice with the BA, Pinnacle or Stratus. I wish I got to try the Woo 6SE or the other Eddie Current amps with the 800s.


One of my absolute favorite rigs there was the HD650 + custom 2359Glenn-built amp that was at Clayton SF’s table. I’ve tried to like the HD650 before, but couldn’t help but associate it with the dreaded “V-word”. On this particular amp, it was quite a revelation. It sounded open, airy and clear while still being warm and smooth. Anyone looking for a sub-$1000 endgame, I’d seriously give that pairing a consideration.


I enjoyed chatting with Val from V-Moda for a bit. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and he seems really receptive to input from members. When he saw that I had the V-80s, he immediately asked me what I would change about them – which left me a bit stumped because it’s a headphone that I’ve really come to like in the past week. Given its goal and price point, I really think they nailed it. I got to listen to the Crossfade LP2 and it’s a legit basshead can. The low end is extremely punchy and clean, and it retains that smooth, liquid, rounded presentation that seems to be the V-Moda house sound. I prefer the V-80/M-80 overall, but I’d love to give them a more extended listen to see if I can replace the Pro 900 for my head-banger basshead moments. I've definitely become a fan of this company. 


A few other highlights for me – I finally got to hear the K1000 at Mkubota1’s table. That was definitely a unique and interesting experience. The W3000ANV and HP1000 at purrin’s and Anaxilus’s table were both a treat. I actually went back to listen to them three separate times. I enjoyed the LCD-3 at Frank Cooter’s table quite a bit, though I wish I had more time to spend with them. I finally got to hear the PS500 at the Schiit table – which sounded very smooth on the Asgard and quite lively on the Lyr. Jason was very friendly and nice to chat with. I’m very much looking forward to their upcoming balanced stuff. And lastly, getting to hear some vintage orthos: Sachu’s Wharfedale Thunderpants, gogater’s Yamaha YH-1000, Lurkumaural’s Fostex T20, and the vintage Fostex T50 that was in the hallway table. Really cool stuff that made me want (more like, least resistant to) to dive into that vast Ortho thread. 


Dead tired right now. I'll post pics and more impressions later. 

post #33 of 345

First off, Cee Tee, danke for organizing the meet.  Everything seemed to run smoothly and being greeted auf Deutsch was certainly a welcomed surprise!  I had a great time at the meet both listening to equipment and chatting with members (especially with Jude about the early days of Head-fi).


For me, i really enjoyed the two Eddie Current tube amps with the LCD-2s.  Very very smooth and detailed!  The SR-009s were also on a next level in terms of transparency and detail.  I had hoped that i would enjoy the HD800 as much as I had at the 2009 Norcal meet, but it sounded distant and artificial compared the previously mentioned headphones.


Kudos to the vendors who were very friendly.  I am patiently awaiting my new set of UE-4 Pros that I ordered.


Overall, this certainly will not be my last meet.

post #34 of 345

Here is a gallery page of photos I took at the meet.  Enjoy!




Thanks to CEE TEE for organizing this event, and to everyone else who helped put it together. Your efforts are appreciated by all, everything went smoothly and we all had a great time.

post #35 of 345
Any impression on Bottlehead's prototype DAC? Seems to be a nice piece of kit.
post #36 of 345
Nice meet, cant wait to see more impressions,especially on all that stat gear.
post #37 of 345

amb - Thank you for the photos.  I missed another stunning meet full of nice people and great rigs.  I am bummed!


CEE-TEE - You pulled together another stunning meet.  And I missed another stunning meet...  Dang!

post #38 of 345

Anymore impressions of the EC Super 7?

post #39 of 345

Ah those pics make me regret missing this meet even more. 

post #40 of 345

Thanks CeeTee for putting together another amazing meet, this might have been my favorite one ever.  Thanks Susan for manning the table all that time.  It was a lot of fun seeing many of the same people I met at the last meet as well as some new faces.  Jude even made an appearance. :)  I got to talk to a bunch of people about electrostatic stuff which always makes my day.  Everybody was careful with gear which is always appreciated.  I usually don't even listen to anything at meets anymore but I heard a few things briefly:


Liquid Lightning: Heard it with the SR007 and SR009.  This one is still a bit of an enigma to me.  I was having trouble getting a grip on the sound in the 20 or so minutes I listened to the two LL rigs.  It seemed like this amp was a bit mid centric - there was less bass than I'm used to and there was also a bit of a dip in the treble.  Overall though it was clearly better than the exstata and some of the Stax amps but I wasn't really blown away.  That switch is pretty neat!


Frank Cooter's rig: First off, this guy's work is incredible!  Not only are the chassis beautiful as you can see in the pictures, but when I took a peek inside everything was so neat.  I think his P2P work looks more organized than by stuff on PCBs :p  I listened to the SR507's first and they sounded alright but I like the older Lambdas more.  They had way better imaging than the other Lambdas, but they were a bit more closed in and the upper mids sounded a little wonky.  I like my Lambdas with a bunch of air. :)  I got my SR007 out to hear what this amp could do and was impressed.  Very pleasant sound and the O2s were well controlled.  Your rig keeps getting better Frank, now I wanna build one of those Audio Note DACs. :D  Now get to work on that trash can amp!


UERM: Listened to the "universal" ones from the BA and these things sounded pretty damn good.  Super impressive for an IEM.  They were quite neutral and the soundstage was actually kinda large.  I even got tricked once into thinking somebody made a little noise to the side of me while listening but it was just the recording. 


Good show everybody, you guys have a great community up there.

post #41 of 345

What a wonderful meet!  CEE TEE, you and Susan did a really standup job of running one of the best enthusiast events I've ever seen.  I can't believe it was free, though it seems like plenty of us bought raffle tickets to support the cause.


It was great meeting some active HFers who I haven't had the chance to speak to in person yet.  I finally was able to meet jude, n3rdling, and sachu, who were all extremely friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable people.  I wish there was more time to chat, but there was just too much to do!


I'll go into my meet impressions.  I went back multiple times to n3rdling and sachu's stations and spent the most time there, as my primary interest are electrostats.


Orpheus/HEV90 (n3rdling): If I only listened to classical and singer songwriters, this would be the cream of the crop, no question.  There was an amazing lushness around violin and cello notes, and I got a lump in my throat while listening to Bach.  This was the most 'tubey' setup I've ever heard, but there was none of the associated negatives.  I wouldn't characterize it as a neutral setup, but what it did for classical music was just astounding.  The Stax sound clinical and detached, even overly analytical, in comparison.  The Orpheus didn't do it for me for other genres, but it was just so good with classical, that I can understand why there are may posters who finished their journey here.  The really interesting thing was how smooth the Orpheus was across the entire dynamic range.  It rendered PPP and PP, suddenly sweeping to F, as effortlessly as I've ever heard from an amp.  Even the BH sounded a bit 'stepped' in comparison.


Liquid Lightning (sachu) & Blue Hawaii (n3rdling): This was the big surprise of the meet for me.  sachu's Liquid Lightning and n3rdling's Blue Hawaii were my favorite amps at the meet.  I'll post a list of thoughts after going between two amps many times.  I compared notes with a few people.  Some agreed with me, others disagreed quite a bit, so listen to both and make up your mind!  I don't think we'll be reading anything definitive anytime soon:

- The Liquid Lightning, despite being a solid-state amp, sounds much more tubey than the BH!  The BH, meanwhile, deserves its reputation for being solid state.  It epitomized all the sound signature qualities I associate with a KG design (no color added, plays exactly what the recording should sound like, very clean percussion, cleanness throughout all the dynamic ranges).

- The SR009 was unremarkable to me on the BH.  I'm convinced the SR009 doesn't require a top-tier amp to drive well, and I did not hear a significant difference going from the GES or the Stax amps I've heard, compared to the SR009 on the BH.

- The O2 shines with the BH.  It's obvious that the 323S and GES does not have enough power to drive the O2 to its full potential.  The three things I immediately noticed were that: (1) the notes were articulated cleaner on the BH than GES, especially during fast passages like metal (2) the bass felt cleaner and better defined and (3) the dynamic range seemed more smoothly rendered.  This is what I wanted the O2 to sound like.  Unfortunately, I didn't bring my MK2, but the MK1 sounded great.  I prefer the O2 signature over the SR009, and the BH is an amazing amp for O2 lovers.

- The SR009 sounded great on the Liquid Lightning.  The bass was full, round, and resonant, dynamics were good, and the soundstage depth felt larger.  The O2 did very well too, but the SR009 sounded like the more vibrant and rich headphone on the LL.

- The LL seems like a great solution for people who don't want to mess with tubes, preamps, or their signal chain too much.  It was being fed with a humble Cambridge Audio DAC and still sounded great.  A lot of people will be able to get a LL and a modest DAC, and be done.  I didn't have a large basis of comparison with the BH, but my hunch is the BH is more ruthless and revealing, and n3rdling has a really nice source, which helped quite a bit.  I don't think it would have done so well with something more modest behind it.

- I think the preference between the BH and LL will come down to one's favorite stat headphone.  Like others, I find the O2 and SR009, while both very Staxey, pretty different in character.  The LL sound was rich, open/expansive, full, and resonant.  The BH was articulate, clean, controlled, and a bit narrower and focused.  I think people will need to listen to both amps with both the O2 and SR009 to make up their minds.


Balancing Act + HD800 (purrin): purrin has done some really nice things with the tubes here.  Compared to the last time I heard his BA, the sound a bit more centered (less of the huge soundstage/room thing going on), and the sound is much cleaner and articulated.  Even after hearing many other dynamic amps, this is the best one I've heard, though the Liquid Fire was pretty special too.  purrin and anaxilus have been doing a lot of experimenting with the BA, and are the Eddie Current gurus in my book.  The sound signature is different from the stats, so really, I can't recommend much but for people to listen to it and see if it does it for them.  I think a lot of younger listeners would prefer the BA over the BH and LL, as there is a lot of articulation, power, impact, and fantastic bass with the BA.


Liquid Fire + LCD-2 (R2?): Another big surprise for me.  I not too fond of the LCD-2, and this is the best I've ever heard the LCD-2.  The Liquid Fire helped get rid of a lot of the veil and mud I associate with those headphones.  I didn't spend too much time here, but I really liked what I heard.  For dynamic lovers looking at the top, they should be looking at a BA or LF.


Apex Pinnacle + HD800: Was a nice setup and I understand now what the Pinnacle gets such kudos.  It reminds me a lot of what a dynamic SR009 would be like.  Lots of detail here, and it doesn't conceal much, if anything at all.


Eddie Current Super 7 + 2A3: The Super 7 sounded great with the HD600s and RS2s.  It wasn't at BA level for me, but at roughly a third of the cost, it's the only thing I've run into at the price range that comes close.  The 2A3 also sounded great.  I wasn't at this station too long, both both amps did a great job powering the Senns and Grados, and it was difficult choosing a favorite between the two.  The way they were tubed, they sounded closer to the Zana Deux than the BA to me.  I find EC amps challenging to evaluate since they can change character so dramatically based on tube choice.


Frank Cooter's Stat amp + Lambdas: Not only was this thing gorgeous, but after the Orpheus, this was my 2nd favorite rig at the meet for classical.  I've never heard the Lambdas sound so good.  Strings were rich and resonant, and I could hear the bow and rosin scraping over the strings without the detail being glaring or excessive.  There were people coming around constantly to take pictures of the two amps Frank brought.  It's worth coming to a meet just to see and check his amps out.


It was great meeting many of you, and I hope you all had as much fun at the meet as I did!

Edited by Elysian - 2/12/12 at 11:33am
post #42 of 345
Originally Posted by Rob N View Post

Anymore impressions of the EC Super 7?

 X2, particularly impressions of the Super 7 with the HD800.  Did anyone get to pick up the Super 7 he had ordered, and, if so, what news?  Did anyone hear when Craig will be shipping the initial round of Super 7s?

post #43 of 345
Originally Posted by ctemkin View Post

 X2, particularly impressions of the Super 7 with the HD800.  Did anyone get to pick up the Super 7 he had ordered, and, if so, what news?  Did anyone hear when Craig will be shipping the initial round of Super 7s?

Craig told me they should start shipping this month



post #44 of 345

It would be very inappropriate to talk about my impressions here without saying thanks to our organizer Cee Tee! For this huge and successful meeting I can not imagine how much efforts Christian  has put into the organization. I know he has constantly individually contacted almost every headfiers coming to the meeting to make sure everything perfect.

I also want to thank rroseperry to give me the ride. 

For reference, I am the second luckiest guy that day to go home with two raffle award, Roc aviator and true blood maker IEM. I will put this in my resume as my awards! 


post #45 of 345

I had an amazing time, it was so much fun getting to know everyone and listening to amazing and critical feedback. I mostly wanted to get to know everybody's preferences of sound as I craft future hi-fi gear for this community.  It was odd as the content had such an impact at this show on the inpression of "whats good" compared to Canjam.   I secretly tested a popular new genre, dub step on many rigs and learned a lot.  Yet, other genres the owners had qued up sounded brilliant and articulate.  The right weapon for the battle is critical. And content, content, content.  Even same genre in the same year's mastering is vital on uncompressed tracks.  


A lot of the gear couldn't handle modern music I found out.  Last time, I mostly tested jazz and acoustics and I liked the hd800 and stax 009s.   There is a huge "divide" now IMO of what is a great headphone based on the genre, more than ever before.  It's important to have multiple headphones to maximize your experience based on genre and environment.


The most kick ass headphone for me was the antique Technics, it sounded like crap but I loved the ID!  Loved the reel 2 reel and I'm always a sucker for  tube amps, but nobody brought a LP record player. Let's get pure analog next time!    I wish I won the Altoids amp.


Cheers everybody, see you in LA for the next meet soon!!!




Edited by valkolton - 2/12/12 at 1:19pm
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