This was my first meet, so I had no real idea what to expect.
One notable plus point was the huge age range, from youngsters to us oldies, who all seemed to get along fine, talking about a topic we're passionate about. Not often that you'd get that situation i other walks of life.
My most significant equipment impression came near the end of the meet - just when the raffle was happening. I've already posted my impressions in an appropriate BHSE/LL thread in the High End forum. Here it is again:
We had an impromptu BHSE/007/LL/009 mini shootout at yesterday's 2012 UK meet, which was the first time I'd seen or heard the latter 2 components:
In short, a guy whose name I didn't catch, was trying to decide whether to buy the LL immediately from the local dealer, or wait much longer and pay more for the BHSE. He already has a SRM007t + SR007, but was unimpressed with this combination, so it had been gathering dust for some time.
The-Man-With-No-Name had already tried out the LL at another table, and also the BHSE+007 at my table. Despite the noisy meet conditions, my combination was sounding pretty OK - partly because I had a rather nice analogue-sounding Audio Note CDP on loan and partly because it was often playing Holly Cole's well recorded Temptation CD.
TMWNN asked if he could try both systems side by side. In short, the LL was brought over and we swapped between the LL and BHSE, using the 007 and Holly Cole on the Audio Note as the common factors. TMWNN listened for longer than me, so may well have tried other tracks when I wandered away.
TMWNN came to the same conclusion as me, which to me was as obvious as anything can be under such conditions:
The BHSE was clearly better with this combination. It was particularly good at pinpointing each component of the "headstage" such that Holly and the surrounding instruments each stood out in a lifelike, lively, yet un-fatiguing manner. In comparison, the LL presented the same "picture" in a more smeared manner, where the images blurred into each other, in a flatter, smoother, and ultimately more boring way. All other sound considerations (e.g. which had deeper bass) seemed irrelevant in this particular situation.
I'm very wary of A/B comparisons. Sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees. I think this particular situation was so clear cut because the BHSE combo captured a reasonable flavour of what I can recreate at home in the dark: having Holly actually standing next to me singing into my ear. And when that happens, any lesser representation is simply not good enough!
Then we tried the 009 with the LL. This was a much better match than had been the case with the 007. However, that image smearing was still present, albeit much less obviously. This produced a good sound. However, putting the 009 to the BHSE was better still. Both TMWNN and I agreed that the BHSE + 009 bested the 007 on detail, but then we differed slightly: TMWNN preferred the 007 overall because it was less fatiguing. I didn't notice that (but I do listen at lower volumes than most people seem to). My take: The BHSE + 007 pin points each component in a remarkable headstage. The 009 then gives each pin point extra texture, timbre (and probably a few more descriptions beginning with "t"). Very impressive, although I was hoping for a bigger soundstage from the 009, based on other reports.
- Look, this was just a meet impression. YMMV
- I think TMWNN could well be ordering the BHSE soon
- I'm completely happy with my BHSE+007. One day, I may audition the 009 more thoroughly, but I'm in no hurry
- The LL+007 is not a good combination, but LL+009 is just fine
- The LL costs less than the BHSE and is less fuss . It looks smarter in real life than in the pictures and it seems very well built. And the value of having a good local dealer should not be underestimated. So it's got a lot going for it, but it just lost out in this particular comparison
PS, both units had been switched on for 5+ hours by this point