I'd like to echo a big Mahalo Nui Loa to all the music lovers who shared their awesome gear and ears-on experience at the Austin head-fiers meet-up. It was my first time attending this type of event and you were all great in making me feel comfortable and part of the experience. Here were some of the my personal highlights.
It was amazing to talk to and then listen to other people rigs and appreciate music as they like it. All of the systems sounded really really good. I really liked the sound of top-tier headphones on dialed-in tube amp setups. Many people at the meet had tube based amplification.
Listening to Nick's Decware CSP+ amp, I was wowed by glimpses of what could be the best listening I have ever had to Sara K.s “If I could sing the blues”. While I was listening, everyone drifted away for a short while and I got to enjoy the Sennheisers without background noise. NICE!, I can see getting a pair of the Sennheiser HD 800s. I had the same “WOW” feeling listening to Dire Straits' “Money for Nothing” on Jazzerdave's Decware Taboo and the LCD-3s. I think I need a Decware, mmm. I wonder if the Amps (and which one) are flexible enough to be a fit for both headphones.
I did not listen to all of the systems. I did not fell it proper to touch people things without supervision.
I also shied away from most of the more esoteric systems. I felt it was better to let the more experienced users do the critical listening. Some of the equipment looked incredible. Was that high a mass disk player? Did that tonearm hang/balance by thread? Next time I need to sit down and introduce myself. But there were lots of systems to listen to.
I was interested hearing the effects of tube rolling first hand and can now relate to the synergistic relationship of matching the headphones and amplification to make these uniquely personal listening systems sing. I went home and ordered three sets of tubes for my Dared MP5. I'm having fun evaluating the changes. So far. I like different sets of tubes with different headphones. :)
Thanks ModMax for letting us use your rig to test the E17 vs Modi vs Chris' wicked X-Sabre on your system so we could see the differences on something similar. The HE-400 might be my next headphone or maybe straight to an LCD.
Here's a quick way to get more HiRes samples:
I was at HDTracks today and there is a 2013 free sampler available of 24/96 songs. You have to register on the site to download it, but it is free. www.hdtracks.com
For those with the newest high res dacs,'s Nordic Sounds (2L) site has DXD and DSD64 file high res samples to compare resolutions.
Great meeting all you, and thanks.
I'm still enjoying your company.