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Head-fi Austin 2013 Impressions - Page 7  

post #91 of 208

Many thanks Chris and others for organizing this meet-up which was my first.

 

I enjoyed finally meeting other head-fi'ers and discussing a mutual passion.  I had a great discussion with pabbi1 about his start in the hobby, building amps, and prototyping with Cavalli.  Also a great discussion with Nick about getting the best value-for-the-money including a hands-on experiment with the my DIY Millett MOSFET-MAX amp + grubDac and his HD800s compared to his HD800 setup.  I actually ended liking the HD800s much more than I expected.

 

A big thanks to Maka for the introduction to Jack Johnson and for providing some 24-bit material to try-out on Chris's X-Sabre DAC and my amp.  Amazing!

 

I am also glad that my HE-400s were able to influence some future purchases.  I find them to be an outstanding value.

 

My overall favorites from this meetup were:

 

1.  HE-60/Liquid Lightning 2 (this combination could do no wrong IMO)

2.  HD800/Decware CSP+amp or Liquid Glass (I honestly could not decide between the two)

3.  Stax 09/Liquid Lightning 2

4.  Fostex TH900/Liquid Fire

 

 

Looking forward to the next meetup.  I need to pick out another DIY amp/dac to build by then.  I am open to suggestions....


Edited by ModMax - 3/4/13 at 12:15pm
post #92 of 208

I bet a CTH would kick ass with the HE-400. 

post #93 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post

Pffft.... if everyone doesn't know my rig by now...   ;-)

 

Your rig's celebrity was the only thing stopping me from stealing it.

post #94 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

Would it be a good idea or is it too much trouble to have a card at each listening station listing the equipment on display?  When something has been borrowed at the meet, at least you would know what was supposed to be there.  This would also help if the owner is somewhare else in the room.  There could also be a blank space on the card for last minute additions.  Not all of us are familiar with everything and this could be helpful.  Opinions?

 

It's not a bad idea; however, I don't mind having to explain some of the gear.  It helps to make sure you interact with more people instead of shuffling over to a new table, reading a card, and starting your listening.

post #95 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post

Pffft.... if everyone doesn't know my rig by now...   ;-)

You're absolutely right, of course, except for the new attendees who wouldn't know your rig.

post #96 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzerdave View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

Would it be a good idea or is it too much trouble to have a card at each listening station listing the equipment on display?  When something has been borrowed at the meet, at least you would know what was supposed to be there.  This would also help if the owner is somewhare else in the room.  There could also be a blank space on the card for last minute additions.  Not all of us are familiar with everything and this could be helpful.  Opinions?

 

It's not a bad idea; however, I don't mind having to explain some of the gear.  It helps to make sure you interact with more people instead of shuffling over to a new table, reading a card, and starting your listening.

It's fun and educational to talk with peeps about one's own rig.  But I wouldn't want to be tied down to my spot all day long.

post #97 of 208
Why is the CTH kit so expensive??? $450? I read that it could be built for under $200... confused.gif
post #98 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

It's fun and educational to talk with peeps about one's own rig.  But I wouldn't want to be tied down to my spot all day long.

 

Which reminds me of an important guideline I need to reiterate:

 

NEVER move someone else's gear from their spot for any reason whatsoever without their prior knowledge and approval.

post #99 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by gopanthersgo1 View Post

Why is the CTH kit so expensive??? $450? I read that it could be built for under $200... confused.gif

 

small volume custom chassis manufacture is not cheap. The parts that they have selected for the kit are all "audiograde" and they have modified some of the component list for what they feel is an optimized sound. 

 

You could always buy a blank board and buy your own parts and chassis.  

 

..dB

post #100 of 208
.
post #101 of 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBel84 View Post

small volume custom chassis manufacture is not cheap. The parts that they have selected for the kit are all "audiograde" and they have modified some of the component list for what they feel is an optimized sound. 

You could always buy a blank board and buy your own parts and chassis.  

..dB
That's what I'm going to do...
post #102 of 208
Thread Starter 
Started out my day with a breakfast at La Madeline by Research. Quiche Florentine, Potato Galette, and a side of sausage with an OJ. Very good, but expensive. They gave me a free loaf of bread which I've had a few slices of now and it is fantastic. Getting to the meet, the early bird winner goes to Adrian and Mark, getting there before even I did. Thanks for the help with the table cards and showing people where to go, guys.

Moving on to gear:

Onkyo C-7030 - Matrix M-Stage - AD900
Notes: Medium stage size, center surprisingly good. detail is good, but not much air. bass extends nicely and has more volume than expected. vocals are thin. mids could be better. similar frequency balance as HD800, just lacking refinement.

Comments: Nice headphone for the cash. Expected a treble happy headphone but found some nice bass. A junior HD800 in all aspects, I would say, even down to the mids being a bit thin.

With D2000:
Notes: Lots of bass - more bass in it's balance than LCD-2 has I think. Mids better than expected. Treble not too hot. Not too bad for partial closed. Sibilant shimmery vocals, center is decent. Kind of harsh overall.

Comments: Not the right balance for me, but there wasn't anything that stood out as terrible. About what you can expect from a low to mid-fi closed can.

V-DAC - Liquid Fire - TH900
Notes: These are definitely different than the prototypes. Much more bass. Very clean though. Medium size stage. Detailed but somewhat rolled treble. Hints of sibilance but not distracting. Center is decent but still fuzzy, perhaps better than LCD-2. Good HPs but not one I will buy. Ultra refined Beats, IMO.

Comments: Heard the prototypes of the TH900 at RMAF 2011 and have taken crap for saying they are fairly balanced so I wanted to hear a production pair. They are clearly different. If you like bass but still want a refined mid and treble range, this is the can for you. Just make sure you pair it with an amp that has ample control or the bass will get out of hand.

With Ultrasone Signature Pro:
Notes: Treble, where did you go?? No air, no sparkle. Bass at least isn't overdone. Center pretty good. Everything just sounds a bit off?? No attack on anything. Narrow but deep stage. Weird.

Comments: Not sure what to say about this phone. A significantly rolled off headphone that doesn't have overpowering bass.. just.. weird.

With Ultrasone Signature DJ:
Notes: Sig pro but with more bass and even less treble. Vocals rough and distant. Mids and low treble need a bump. Not for me. Small sound stage.

Comments: I'm guessing only a DJ would like these.

With V-Moda M100:
Notes: Subwoofers with treble and mids as addons. Vocals smooth but lacking attack. Bass overdone and not that impactful surprisingly. Bass is clean but has sort of a wall of bass effect. Hard to describe.

Comments: Was a big fan of the M80. Disappointed they went this direction with the M100. Can't recommend these to anyone. I've come to realize Soundfreaq is actually more of a Bassfreaq! Note the similarities on all of these headphones...

Lavry DA11 - EC Super 7 - HD800 (SE)
Notes: Similar to mine in balance but lacks attack. Softer on treble. Not as much air. Stage similar. Really like the cymbals, amazing. Vocals are slightly fuller than mine. Bass needs more impact, but it's pretty good. Very nice rig. Would be happy with a few tweaks. Tendancy to harshen on some vocals like mine with the Gungnir instead of X-Sabre.

Comments: A near mirror of my own rig. Liked vocals and cymbals better on this than mine, but felt it lacked attack and air.

WTL Amadeus - Leben 300 - HD800 (SE)
Notes: Stage is very large. Bass is big and bold. Upper mids seem compressed. Voices can be harsh at times. Natural smooth presentation with imaging. Impact is good, attack is not as crisp as I would like, but not bad. I don't think the HD800 is a good match for this rig for my liking.

Comments: This sounded almost identical to Travis' Harbeths. It took me almost an hour to get adjusted to the Harbeth signature and while I thought it was good, it's not the pairing for me. Same with the 800s on the rig.

Denon DVD-3910 - Liquid Glass - HE-6
Notes: Sibilant occasionally. Center is very good. Imaging perfect otherwise. Stage is large, slightly smaller than HD800. Overall just get a feeling of the sound being thin. Vocals need more body.

Comments: Sound overall was excellent, just a little thin to my taste. Hifiman fit is awful.

With HD650:
Notes: Treble took a vacation. Mids too shouty with the lacking treble. Midbass too much, lacks attack across the range.

Comments: Never been a fan of the HD650. Too dark and lacks energy. Glass didn't do anything to fix this.

with HD800:
Notes: Wow - really smooth. Not the most detailed. DAC probably holding it back. Attack is very good. Need to try with X-Sabre. Very promising.

Comments: One of the amps on my shopping list, though not too seriously (not a tube roller). Liked what I heard with the Denon's built in DAC, but needed to try with better. X-Sabre cleaned it up and gave more sparkle and air, but in the end I felt like it was sort of a wash between the LG and BHA-1 with just balance differences separating them. More on that later.

PS Audio DLIII - WA2 - T1
Notes: Big and open but not all that smooth. Guitars sound weird. Tone is really off. Lacks attack. Somewhat thin in mids and lower treble. Center is decent not great. Imaging is so-so. Most sounds come from middle then way off to the side like there is a gap at 10 and 2, but dead center still fuzzy. Odd.

Comments: Never been a fan of the T1, and this is textbook why. All sorts of oddities. Not for me.

Gungnir - BHA-1 - K550
Notes: Good center - very good. Bass volume needs a bump. Mids and treble attack is good. I like the treble. Not the cleanest but has a similar presentation to the HD800. Vocals are nice. Medium to large stage.

Comments: Thought I would not like these, but tried them anyways. Surprised to find out I really liked them. For their price I can certainly suggest them to anyone wanting a HD800 but doesn't have the budget for it. And they are closed... wtf??

X-Sabre - Glass - HD800
Notes: Smoother than BHA-1, a bit less detail, but better body. Very good, just give and take between the amps. On similar performance level.

Comments: I'm not a tube roller, so whatever it has in it when I listen will determine if I like it or not. Unfair to the tuberoller's dream amp, but I knew going in that I was much more interested in the LAu than the LG. With the tubes it had in it, I thought it's performance was on a similar level as the BHA-1, just with frequency balance changes. Impact, texture, attack, all the same. For me, not worth the increased cost.

Oppo - GS-X mk2 - HD800
Notes: Smooth and detailed, a nice combination. Lacks air and stage is smaller than I'm used to. Attack is dull, frequency balance is good. Promising for sure.

Comments: As I did with all rigs I eventually tried with my DAC I listened to it as it stood first. Despite it having some glaring issues, I was confident they were source related.

X-Sabre - GS-X mk2 - HD800
Notes: Best in show, no doubt, IMO. Smoother still than the Glass, but somehow still detailed like the BHA-1. How is this possible...

Comments: My future setup. Loved it.

That wraps up my listening impressions. I got quite a bit of listening done as you can see. More than I figured I could do while running the show.

On the way out of town Sunday I stopped at Milano Trattoria again (as I did last year) in Georgetown, and had their Risotto con Pollo, which wowed me last time. It was just as good as I remember this time. Waited all year to have it again, since no restaurants in OKC make it, and it didn't disappoint. Fantastic. If you guys like Italian you really owe it to yourself to eat here. Prices are reasonable and it's a casual place, not stuffy at all. It's worth the 20-30 minute drive from downtown Austin.
post #103 of 208

Wish I had listened to the GSX2 on the sabre.  I thought it was thin and harsh out of the Oppo.  Also I hear your HD800s are some of the smoothest around, according to the high seas, so that might have been a factor. 

post #104 of 208

I still found his harsh with the BHA-1. :D If it makes any difference, I mean.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TWIFOSP View Post

Wish I had listened to the GSX2 on the sabre.  I thought it was thin and harsh out of the Oppo.  Also I hear your HD800s are some of the smoothest around, according to the high seas, so that might have been a factor. 

post #105 of 208
Thread Starter 
Yes, we took the Sabre off as it was blocking the cooling holes on top of the GS-X. I think the only other person who listened to that particular chain was Brad Avenson who I tossed my headphones after I was done.
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