Awesome meet! Thanks Nick for being a fantastic host and providing a great location!
So, yeah, I made a rash decision and traded my somewhat vintage RS-1s away at the meet. I picked up ktm's Stax SRM-1/MK-2 / SR-404 combo in the trade. Any regrets? Nope! I still have a pair of SR-225's to satisfy my Grado love anyway.
It'd been a while since I'd heard a Stax setup, and I was really enjoying the combo / lots of musicality, which is my ultimate goal in a headphone setup (not chasing details or neutrality). If my foot is tapping, if my body is moving to the music, then I'm happy. This probably explains why I'm a fan of Grados, but the SRM-1/MK-2 / SR-404 combo did that for me as well. It's smoother and more laid-back, and with a wider soundstage than the RS-1 / MAD Ear+ combo. Something I didn't know I was looking for at the time, but I'm glad I found.
But now I'm at that point where I have to make it just a little bit better. So I'm going to pick up Yuceka's SRM-1/MK-2 since I think it sounded just a tad smoother and more refined than ktm's version (Revision C vs Revision B apparently). And then, I think I need to improve my source (currently a Bifrost). Not sure what to do about that just yet / maybe a Gungnir?
Speaking of the Gungnir, Maxvla graciously set-up an A/B test between the Gungnir and Bifrost for me. After a very brief test with the HD800s, the Gungnir was the clear winner. Just so much more detail. I was listening to a Radiohead track at the time, and I could hear details in the individual vibrations of Thom Yorke's voice. Not so with the Bifrost / voice was smooth, but not detailed. Aside from that, in my quick test, I noticed that the overall presentation really opened up / clearer separation of instruments - Bifrost sounded compressed in comparison.
Maxvla also set-up an A/B test between the Bryston and Mjolnir. Since it was late in the day at this point, and since it was immediately clear that the Bryston is the better amp, I didn't bother listening to the Mjolnir for more than a few seconds. So take my opinion on this one for what it's worth, but if you are considering the Bryston and Mjolnir and the money difference isn't a problem, just go with the Bryston and be done with it.
BTW, the HD800s were a treat. I didn't think I liked them at first, but when directly comparing them with the RS-1s, it was clear / HD800s are a very nice headphone.
As far as my MAD Ear+ and Nick's MAD Ear+ HD 25th Anniversary / Nick's was the clear winner. Wider soundstage, more control, just, everything about it was better. Now I haven't rolled the tubes in mine, so it would have been interesting to swap out the tube in Nick's with the one in mine, but I never got around to doing so. And with my switch to the Stax setup, my Ear+ might very well go up for sale soon anyway.
Oh yeah ... I listened to MorbidToaster's set-up. You know, the Stax 009 + Liquid Lightning? I really don't get what the big deal is. Seriously, not that big of a deal. Really.
Except that it's ridiculously awesome. It handled any genre of music I threw at it with complete control. It was a ton of fun to listen to as well.
I think that sums it up for me. Great meet!