Here are some thoughts on the 3 cans that wowed me and my brother at the meet:
Beyerdynamic T5P (wow factor: 9.6/10): if I have the cash to burn, I'd grab a T5P any random day of the week. The T5P I heard sounded significantly better than everything else (HD800, LCD-2, T1, etc...) and it didn't even need a high-end amp. It sounded that impressive just by being plugged directly into a DAP and into my MacBook. I was floored. And it wasn't just me that thought that. There is no way a simple recable can do that, but the owner (Tim Liu?) said so, so I guess I have to believe him. I'm recabling my ES10 soon, so let's see if it gets that much of an improvement.
Fostex TH900 (wow factor: 9.5/10): this is a very grand-sounding pair of cans. It did seem to require amping, but when it got the electricity it needed, it came alive. Bass was more tame than the T5P mentioned above, but it was much easier to listen to. If you have ever listened to an orchestra, this is it. The soundstage in particular was very very very wide and airy. These don't sound like a pair of closed cans at all, but yet they are. I can definitely see this one as the end-game cans for some people. The T5P above sounded more dynamic and in-your-face, but I think the TH900 takes the cake for a more neutral, laid-back, but grand presentation.
Audio Technica W3000ANV (wow factor: 9.4/10): this one didn't sound as grand as the other two headphones, but... oh God, that midrange... Midrange is remarkably good on these. It sounds even better than the T5P and TH900 mentioned above. I don't think the W3000ANV can match the above headphones in terms of details, or in terms of refinement, or soundstage, but... the midrange is so smooth, so good, so emotional and involving with these cans. Just saying that they're "good" really doesn't... say much. If I could pick only one pair of cans to use on my bedstand, this would be it. Now I know what to upgrade to from the ES10.
Mr. Speaker's Mad Dogs (wow factor: 8.9/10): when I first put these on, they sounded overly warm. I couldn't decide between dark and warm because they sounded like they had very big soundstage and with good sparkles. That was directly out of my iPhone, and out of the Schiit Lyr. Then I had the chance to try them out with the Meridian Explorer DAC, and then with my C&C BH with treble boost. And wow, that changed things quite noticeably. They sounded more neutral, more balanced, and their midrange was much clearer. Overall, I think my ES10 still has better midrange than them, but I'd prefer the bass of the Mad Dogs a lot more. ES10 has way too much bass when the music doesn't call for it.
Stax Sigma (wow factor: 8/10): also very wide soundstage, although I think it's because the place was so loud that I couldn't sense soundstage beyond a certain wall of noise. I think the TH900 sounded bigger than these. However, these were very easy to listen to, because they presented the music in a soft and light way that didn't seem intrusive, but still gave enough of a presence. What can I say? They sounded like I had some good speakers right in front of me.
AKG K1000 (wow factor: 6/10): sorry, but these weren't very comfortable. They sounded very good, though. Playing with the angle of the "speakers" gave sort of a weird crossfeed effect. Other than that, they also sounded very soft and light. Super easy to listen to. Too bad they aren't super comfortable. I think it's the clamping force.