OK time for impressions.
As mentioned in the other thread, of the 3 meets I've been to so far, I think this was the most enjoyable one! The terrific weather and the ferry ride added to the positive experience (it has been over 15 years since I last took a ferry).
Relating to the actual meet:
My main goal for this meet was to try my Shure SRH940 with other DACs and amps. I'm not quite ready to upgrade my headphones at this point and I figured I should probably upgrade my other equipment beforehand.
Jolida's prototype amp was a pleasure to listen to. It added some nice warmth to my rather analytical-sounding Shure SRH940. It didn't have as much warmth as the Schiit Audio Lyr or Asgard amps, but it was still pretty decent. My only real complaint was the tight 1/4" hole since it took some effort to put in/out a jack. If I were to try this amp in a future meet, I would compare it to other amps more closely.
Sachu's Stax SR-007 on the Liquid Lightning....daaang those sounded good. If I were to pick a headphone of choice from this meet, it would be the SR-007's by far. Everything about the SR-007, to me, seemed balanced. The soundstage was wide, but not too wide as I find to be the case for the Sennheiser HD800. Listening to Joanna Wang's "Lost in Paradise" made me feel, well, lost in paradise. The vocals seemed very clear and up-front, the bass was well-defined, the drum hits had a natural sound to them, and the cymbals had a nice sparkle. With my SRH940, the Joanna's vocals are up-front as well but they kind of blend in with the drum and cymbal hits, not to mention the quiet-sounding bass. Similar to Joanna Wang's song, Lia (Japanese singer)'s "Tori no Uta" was awesome. The thump of the mid-bass was perfect for a vocal pop song and the vocals were, again, put right up-front. Fila Brazillia's "Heat Death of the Universe" was also a pleasure to listen to. Those deep lows, I can't get enough of them on the SR-007.
In Doc B.'s office, he was featuring a Blumenstein floor speaker setup. I didn't get a chance to listen carefully to them since I was busy taking photos...but from my brief listen they sounded really good for 3" speakers. At home, my family owns a Boston Acoustics speaker system (just left and right channel speakers) that are 5" I think? The bass seems larger on those speakers, but the Blumenstein speakers definitely had better clarity in the mids and highs. The home speaker system has a treble attenuation that I miss from my SRH940.
On to BIG POPPA's Sennheiser HD650 + Woo Audio WA3 rig. I will probably get dinged for this, but I'm still not a big fan of the HD600/650. I can't quite put my tongue on it, maybe I think they suffer from that "Sennheiser veil" (too much warmth, not too much treble energy). I am fine listening to the HD800 on the other hand, which is odd.
Ironically, even though my goal for this meet was to try out other amps, and there were two Woo Audio WA3 tube amps at the meet, I didn't try one.
Back downstairs, I briefly tried m2man's iPhone 4 + HP-P1 (+ Schiit Mjolnir?) + Ultrasone PRO 900 setup. I wasn't familiar with the track being played so I couldn't tell you an accurate representation of those pieces of hardware...
I did try the Ultrasone PRO 900 on my own rig on the other hand. I can see why these would appeal to bassheads. The lowest of the lows were booming! Fila Brazillia's "Heat Death of the Universe" and Massive Attack's "Teardrop" songs were club-like when listening to them through the PRO 900. Impressive "V-shaped" headphones I must say. Personally I wouldn't pay for such a headphone, but many bassheads would say otherwise in a heartbeat.
Upstairs again, I tried atomicbob's Audio Technica ATH-M50. I did try the M50 at a previous meet (Queen Anne Library), but it wasn't on my gear, nor my music tracks, so I couldn't quite give it a good listen. This time around, I was able to use it with my own gear and I must say, I am impressed with how they sound considering they only cost $150 nowadays. The bass (all regions) seemed to have a nice "oomph" to them and the mids were really lively, though very slightly recessed. The treble was good, but they didn't have the sparkle that I was looking for. Nonetheless, I can definitely see why Head-Fiers readily recommend these excellent-sounding cans for its price.
Right next to the M50 was the well-received HifiMan HE-500. Atomicbob's setup wasn't quite ready so I decided to give them a try on my rig...which is not adequate to power the HE-500. I did give them a brief listen, and they were like my SRH940, but with an open-back sound characteristic and more impact from the bass. Some people have recommended the HE-500 as an upgrade for the SRH940 and I can see why. Since the HE-500 was a really popular headphone in this meet, perhaps I will try it on proper equipment in a future meet.
Ham Sandwich's Schiit Lyr and Asgard rig was fun to listen to. The AKG K701 pairs well with the Schiit amps, and I can see why the SRH940 would too. Both the K701 and SRH940 are known for their light bass, so the warm-sounding Schiit amps can really make them sound much fuller and more balanced overall. The SRH940's highs were tamed quite a bit, and the warmth from the tubes was clearly audible, making the SRH940 less fatiguing and much more enjoyable for listening to bassier music genres in general. I couldn't tell the difference between the Asgard and the Lyr from my testing though. Theoretically the Lyr should "sound better". Perhaps in a future meet I can try to compare them with different music tracks.
Speaking of Ham Sandwich, thank you for bringing the binaural classical album over. I haven't listened to a binaural classical album before and it was quite the experience (I listened to Strauss's "Also sprach Zarathustra, Saint Saens - Organ Symphony"). I swear the Also Sprach Zarathustra sounded like I was in a movie theater.
Now to the LCD-2. I have tried it before in prior meets, and it still doesn't give me the same "wow" factor as the Stax SR-007 does. I think Equus put it the LCD-2's presentation in words that I couldn't describe earlier.
I'll probably get pinged for this too. "What?? how could you NOT like the LCD-2?!"
The LCD-2 has a pretty closed-sounding soundstage for an open-back headphone, much unlike that of the SR-007 or the HD800. Listening to Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" the kids' voices seemed very clustered and claustrophobic to my ears. Even with the SRH940, the voices seemed more realistic to my ears, having much more air between the people's voices. I think the oddly closed soundstage making vocals (male and female alike) seem congested is what I don't like about the LCD-2. Other than that, the bass and treble extensions seemed fined to me. That darn soundstage though...I just can't get over it. >.>
Finally, Palmfish's rig. I was actually mighty impressed with the Denon AH-D7000. Usually people bring up the D2000 for a balanced sound, but the D7000 was pretty great-sounding. The bass was more on the soft side, having less bass impact/punch than I thought it would be, but there was decent bass extension. Continuing to talk about the soundstage, the soundstage of the D7000 was massive for a closed headphone. I was pleasantly surprised! There was a lot of air between instruments, more so than my SRH940. Like the ATH-M50, I think the D7000 was lacking the kind of sparkle I like to hear in higher-pitched instruments. The treble also seemed to have an early roll-off as cymbals didn't quite have the "ringing" sound that I heard in the ATH-M50, but for the average listener, I think the D7000's are a fantastic pair of headphones.
Lastly, I just have to say thank you again to Doc B. and Bottlehead Corporation for hosting the meet, BIG POPPA for organizing the event, everybody who brought food, and sachu for bringing the Voodoo Doughnuts. :)
Edited by miceblue - 8/8/12 at 10:44am