This was about as close to a real Canjam event i have been to since the one in LA in 09.
Great turnout, masterfully organized by CEE TEE and his lovely colleague Susan. Thanks for all the effort.
Was a treat for me to finally put a face to the names that have been so familiar the years i have been active here and meeting seeing some familiar ones. N3rdling, Frank Cooter, Purrin , Anaxilus, Elysian , Clayton, mikeymad, icarium, volition, blessings, iron dreamer, linuxworks, Doc B, particanman, Jrossel, Ti kan, amp head, iron but, asr and last but not least, jude. It was an absolute pleasure meeting you all and look forward to the next meet.
Finally, i'd like to say thanks to wiatrob for hauling my rig out with him and for lending me his DAC and macbook pro. Was brilliant finally to have met you. :)
For a change I made it to this meet on the dot at 8, and got to listen to a bunch of gear. So here are some brief impressions.
I made a beeline to Milos' setup in the morning and got to listen to the SR-009 and the SR-007 on his BH.
It only took 15 seconds to see that the SR009 was the superior transducer over the 007. I was taken aback by how controlled the headphones were. It was even more surprising since it gave the impression that the 007 were a little bloat in the bottom end. Not by a whole lot but definitely enough to stand out. The O2s are also a little mid centric than the 009. That said, the SR009 did not bowl me over on the 009. I commented to Milos i liked the O2 better on the BH over the 009. There was nothing proving an emotional involvement with the music when i listed to the 009.
I switched over to his HE90 setup, the Orpheus. Instantly made it one of the only two highlights of the meet for me. Someone said it best earlier, time stands still, when you listening to this headphone. The SR009 is still clearly the better transducer technically and it shows this.
Then i went around with my wharfed ale thunder pants checking out some of the dynamic gear. The Audio GD stuff one person had didn't cut it. he was rather taken aback by how inefficient the wharfs were. I tried listening to the B22 on Linuxworks station and i don't know if he was running a gain of 2 or more, but it too struggled to drive the Wharfies. I left disappointed.
Then I found Craig Uthus's station int he vendor room. I was tickled to see him make the meet. was a pleasure meeting him. I proceeded to eagerly listen to his 2A3 amplifier first. While i had to turn up the volume past 2 o clock position to get to listenable levels on the wharfs, it was a classic pair up. I loved the presentation on this amp. It made the wharfs sing, very much like my Stacker amp at home. Great authority in the low end of the spectrum.
I also saw he was showing off the ECSS solid state amp..i quickly moved over to it form the 2A3 and it too did a commendable job driving the wharfes. The only thing that stood out was it had a little bit of sibilance in the female vocals (diana kraal) and not as controlled in the bass as the 2A3 that was next to it running off the same source. Just a tad bit of flutter.
I spotted Clayton's rig in the member room and saw the Leben sitting on his table. I figured this should be a no problem job for the Leben. I was severely disappointed with the Leben. I honestly do not know why folks think this is a good headphone amp, but this was just terrible. Too much distortion, barely able to drive the wharfs. But I guess it must gel well with other headphones that are not orthos.
Moving on, I went back to the quiet room and seated myself in front of Purrin's Balancing Act rig. I have had the opportunity to listen to the Balancing Act on a number of occasions now thanks to the brilliant system KingStyles has built around it. I loved this amp before I heard my wharfs on it. I Loved it even more when it could drive them (albeit like the 2A3 amp need to go high er not the control pot). The Balancing Act was even more spectacular than the 2A3 amp i had heard previously. Possibly because of a better source or just the material I was listening to. Easily among the top 3 dynamic amps I will heartily recommend any day of the year.
I moseyed over to Frank's table and tried out his electrostatic amp with the 007. It sound great, but not as resolving or refined as the other amps in the room. Still a nice listening experience. Love the craftsman ship. An eye and ear pleaser from a through and through gentleman.
In the afternoon, I got around to do some serious listening with the SR009 on my Liquid Lightning setup, trying to wonder if it would sway me enough to seriously consider it.
Milos was kind enough to let me borrow his SR009 for a good half an hour and again for another 15 minutes when comparing it to the HE60.
First the HE60, I liked it, it sounded great, but i liked my 007 far better. I felt the HE60 sounded veiled, especially lacking extension in the highs. Which was totally surprising for me.
I sat down with the 009 and the 007 and ran through the gamut of reference recordings i had brought over with me on my rig.
20 minutes passed with the 009. I had doubts whether the 007 + Liquid Lightning combo could be surpassed, sadly the SR009 sounded absolutely gorgeous on my setup. I loved the seamless transition in the soundstage, the attack in the transient sections, the midrange was spot on and the bass..onh my the bass..this combo is my reference for authority and slam now. Who ever said stats can't do bass. Heck, this is coming from a ortho head who owned the LCD-2 for 2 years and heard the LCD-3 for a week on my own rig. The orthos don't hold a candle to the quality in bass reproduction.it was like peeling off the layers of an onion, ever so delicately but determinedly .
Switching over to the 007 after the 009 on the LL, i noticed the 007 was more mid centric than the 009, a little more mid bass emphasis giving an impression of more oomph but not as extended as the 009. These were similar to the observations i had made on the BH which sealed my impressions between the two headphones. One crucial difference however between listening to the SR009 on the BH and the LL was I preferred the Liquid Lightning by far over the BH. The SR009 wasn't just technically better than the 007 like it was on the bH, it was able to match the warmth of the SR007 to provide a truly world class engaging listening experience.
Given that I wasn't even using my own source, a lowly entry level Cambridge DAC Magic sounded so darn good with the 009 and LL, it was quite a revelation. The enjoyment factor was at an all time high and was easily the highlight of the gear listening impressions for me.
All that said, will I buy an SR009 in the future..perhaps if my living situation changed, as in if i can no longer own speakers, I would go this route. As it stands, the SR007 does it for me plenty with the Liquid Lightning and apart from the SR009, is the best headphone setup i have heard (and owned) in the last 6 years that does it all for me.
Look forward to making the next NorCal meet..Seattle meet in April is next up for me :
Till then, I think I am going to head over to a bar or two on Haight and Ashbury and grab a few beers and enjoy SF before i hop back on a flight to Portland. Thanks for having me over gents and making me feel at home.
Edited by sachu - 2/12/12 at 5:35pm