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CanJam at RMAF October 2013 Impressions Thread - Page 9  

post #121 of 353

All these photos are getting me enthused for the Tokyo show. Next year I hope I can attend both.

 

Good to see Light Harmonic there. I got in on the Geek Kickstarter project in the hope that it would be good. 

post #122 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by ethan7000 View Post


Nice pics. So what are your new hp and amp choices?

 

Thanks!  I really don't like camera flashes very much, I find the unnatural artificial light just messes a picture up, so I was worried that some of them may have turned out a little blurry since my camera has to really slow down the shutter in order to compensate for the lack of light.  A few came out pretty good though...

 

Ideally the headphones would be the LCD-3's and the Fostex 900's, but reality just isn't quite there yet!  Actually, I thought there were some really good new offerings that are priced very reasonably for the amount of quality sound they reproduce.

 

Alpha Dog - Mr. Speakers

 

In particular, I've been looking for a very good to great closed headphone for quite a while now and I really enjoyed the Alpha Dogs at the show; amazing sound and for a very good price!  I found them to have a very pleasant, natural, yet detailed, and spacious mid-range.  They almost sound like they are open headphones at times in several ways; a closed can with fairly good soundstage?  Cool...

 

A definite kicker to the great sound is the professional build quality and finish; they really look the part of being a high-end headphone, plus they are one of the most comfortable headphones I've ever had the pleasure of wearing.  I kept thinking to myself that I wished someone made bed pillows out of this stuff, really, that comfortable (those pads must be 2.5-3 inches wide... crazy comfy).

 

Classic and Professional - Focal

 

I also really enjoyed both the Focal Classic and the Pro, great sound, but I wasn't surprised, they do make great sounding speakers already.  Although I do like the modern european design, at times they felt a little loose towards the bottom of the cups, causing me to lose a little bass impact as well as tone.  The padding was comfortable, not Alpha Dog comfy, but not bad at all and the fit and finish was otherwise excellent.

 

Crossfade M-100's - V-Moda:

 

 

The V-Moda Crossfade M-100's were also really nice; would be perfect for me when traveling or on the go.  Very nice and open sound from them; not quite in the league of the Alpha Dogs or, of course, the 900's, but really good sound from a fairly easy to drive, over-ear portable.  I thought they had quite the soundstage for such a small over-ear and also that the bass, while not all the way extended, was nice and punchy when required.  The design and materials of these headphones is world-class... would be very comfortable traveling with these, both in the case and out.  I would mention that while I don't claim to have the smallest ears, they are, I would say maybe just a little bigger than average, while wearing the M-100's the tops of my ears, one side, and the lobe were all just barely touching the sides of the pads.  Not uncomfortable for me necessarily, but someone with bigger ears might have worse issues with partial overlap of the pads.

 

 

Fidelio L2 - Philips

 

I also really liked the Philips Fidelio L2's... very stylish and comfortable, with great sound to boot!  Although I'm not sure how often I would want to use these while traveling; with the semi-open back, they may not work well on a bus, airplane, or anywhere noisy, but they are compact and fold flat.  Really liked the tone of these and thought they had a nice lower-end for cans this size as well as a nice involving high-end.  Very comfortable as well, great new products from Philips!

 

As far as the amp goes... well, I gotta say, it really impressed me.  I hope some of you were able to check out the Elekit stand from VKmusic.  The proprietor, Victor Kung, is genuine when it comes to audio; telling me it's not only his hobby, but his passion. He sells these Japanese kits, as well as others, on his website and out of his home in Canada.  He has a full time job (non-audio related), but seems to spend all his free time with his kits, enjoying not only the musical result, but the process of building them, the journey.  He has also allowed his hobby to become the hobbies of others by supplying the kits to those not so close to Japan, both with an English instruction manual as well as offering support for each kit.

 

The amp pictured below is the new successor to their popular TU-879S kit, the TU-8200 (prototype); a tube headphone and power amplifier diy kit that just blew me and my HD650's away at the show:

 

TU-8200 Prototype Kit - Elekit

 

Sourced by the 47 Treasure CD Player/DAC (seen below) and armed with my custom Audio Fest mix CD, this great medium sized tube amplifier gave me a run for my money.  It's not out until at least December and only as a diy kit.

 

This amp had great depth and clarity, yet still one of the smoothest mid-ranges I've heard from any amp powering the pictured HD650's above, ever before; massive amounts of super-silky tube bloom, but with no real negative effects on the detail of the mid-range or even in the highs.  Everything sounded great and each range had good presence.  I felt the amp displayed the best of the intimate and delicate sound of tubes; absolutely amazing with female vocalists, acoustic, and even bass heavy ambient as well as upper-mid, low-high modern classical piano were both very good, if not great.

 

As for the tubes that I listened to with the amp... just stock, the same ones ship with the kit!  If it is found to respond well to tube rolling, which I'm suspecting it just might, than NOS pairs might fair better or allow tonal adjustments.  Really great bass extension and the overall resonance in the lower frequencies was outstanding; which, believe me is no small feat in itself, at least with the few select tracks I use for this vary purpose.

 

47 Treasure CD Player Kit

 

I ended up finding myself spending quite a bit of time with Victor and his kits that Saturday... now I just wish I was a more experienced diy'er.  Victor did assure me that the kit is fairly simple for beginners and the provided English diagram instructions as well as color photo PDFs of each step aim to make the process a one day, hopefully fun project.  He did mention that the CD player above is definitely a more advanced build... I wish I knew more about it as the DAC may have led to a very positive affect on the amplifier.

 

Anyway, I'm planning to write up some more impressions in a separate thread soon; so if anyone is interested, I'll edit and put a link here...

 

Like everyone, I wish I had more time with all the great new gear at this year show, but after a while the ear fatigue starts to set in, just glad I got some good initial impressions and was able to hang out with some really good company all weekend...

 

Keep 'em coming!


Edited by Effusion - 10/15/13 at 11:23pm
post #123 of 353
Love all the pictures! Looks like im gonna have to consider gettting lcd-x and maybe even try out the vali just for fun
post #124 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by wes008 View Post
 

 

 

Soooo... Geek, Island, or Microstreamer? Just based on your brief time with the first two.

GREAT question!!  I wish I had my GEEK so I could really put them all to that test!!

I got the Island at CanJam, and just started burnin' the sucker in, but thus far, via it's balanced output, it grabs me more than the microStreamer!

 

I never thought I'd say that - (I LOVE the microStreamer) and it's VERY early for any serious impressions, but the Island is quiet, dynamic, and it has a bloom in the midrange (not a bump, more like

a nice, fluid, rounded sound) that is outshining the microStreamer when using it w/ my LCD3s or dido d901s  - but they're a little closer with an easy-to-drive headphone like my HD 25-1 IIs.

 

I am going to finally let go of my DACport because of the Island though.  It's got more sonic sparkle, with more heft and better features.  It's also just more exciting to listen to!  

Though I wish it had a 1/4" output - w/ my Moon Audio Silver Dragon cables I have the changeable terminations so I don't mind.  I left my RSA adapter for my ALO Green Line cables with Ken by accident (their's got lost so I lent it to them for the show).    

 

 

The GEEK, man, this is crazy to say I know, because I had such little time with it - but boy did its sound leave an impression on me.  A memorable one - 

GEEK drove my LCD3s low-end like no other smaller unit in this category thus far!  The drums on "Come As You Are" just blew me away,

it felt like I was listening to a larger (even tuby) desktop unit!

post #125 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

All these photos are getting me enthused for the Tokyo show. Next year I hope I can attend both.

 

Good to see Light Harmonic there. I got in on the Geek Kickstarter project in the hope that it would be good. 

Don't worry about that!!

Per my earlier post - that lil' thing is AMAZING

post #126 of 353
 

Quote:

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

Gav told me it puts out a clean watt.  

 

Originally Posted by wes008 View Post
 

 

Doesn't the DACport put out 1.5 W?

 

http://centrance.com/products/dacport/

 

Am I missing something?

post #127 of 353
I forgot to mention my visit to the Audioengine room at RMAF. I posted some comments about the new Audioengine D3 DAC/amp in my Audioengine D1 review thread, and plan to get some pictures and it's own thread up soon (still a pain to do on my iPad right now).

The D3 was quite good, with performance on the level of a DACport or Pico DAC/Slim combo! For $189 it may be the best bang for the buck in a small USB audio dongle with 24/96 native, and the ability to drive IEM and LCD-2 and HE-500. I don't have an Audioquest Dragonfly, but based on what I heard last year this should be better. The sound while driving headphones caught me by surprise for something smaller than a pack of Wriggly's gum. Like the DACport or D1 it draws too much power to work with an iPad camera connection kit, and I'll have to try it with a powered hub and iPad later.

My son has the hots for the Audioengine A5+ speakers to replace his original A5 that we bought at RMAF 2 years ago, because the + has a remote control. So now I'll have to find a buyer for the old ones in order to buy the newer model. I'd keep them for myself since they're an upgrade to my A2, but my laptop desk is too small for them.
Edited by HeadphoneAddict - 10/16/13 at 1:07am
post #128 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinocelt View Post
 

 

Doesn't the DACport put out 1.5 W?

 

http://centrance.com/products/dacport/

 

Am I missing something?

Oh I wasn't comparing the power rating of the two (GEEK vs. DACport),

just relaying what Gavin at Light Harmonic told me.  There's apparently going to be another GEEK with more power too.

 

I love my DACport - but it doesn't excite me like the GEEK did when I heard it!

Everything just sounded so much bigger than I expected.  I'm eager to get my hands on that finished product!

 

That type of product segment is really exploding now.

 

Like @HeadphoneAddict (GREAT seeing you again BTW brotha) I was also impressed w/ the Audioengine D3 at the show.  

I'm listening to it right now - after running signal through it all day while I was hangin' w/ my wifey - and thus far its wiping the floor w/ the Dragonfly,

but again these are ALL early impressions!  I do love the slick look of it too - like the HRT microStreamer, which is my current favorite

of that style of product.  Lets see how the D3 stacks up to that!

 

post #129 of 353

It seems like Mr Speakers Alpha dog is a true success, congrats. I know what I want for my birthday :)

 

Thanks Mike for all the updates. 

post #130 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

GREAT question!!  I wish I had my GEEK so I could really put them all to that test!!

I got the Island at CanJam, and just started burnin' the sucker in, but thus far, via it's balanced output, it grabs me more than the microStreamer!

 

I never thought I'd say that - (I LOVE the microStreamer) and it's VERY early for any serious impressions, but the Island is quiet, dynamic, and it has a bloom in the midrange (not a bump, more like

a nice, fluid, rounded sound) that is outshining the microStreamer when using it w/ my LCD3s or dido d901s  - but they're a little closer with an easy-to-drive headphone like my HD 25-1 IIs.

 

I am going to finally let go of my DACport because of the Island though.  It's got more sonic sparkle, with more heft and better features.  It's also just more exciting to listen to!  

Though I wish it had a 1/4" output - w/ my Moon Audio Silver Dragon cables I have the changeable terminations so I don't mind.  I left my RSA adapter for my ALO Green Line cables with Ken by accident (their's got lost so I lent it to them for the show).    

 

 

The GEEK, man, this is crazy to say I know, because I had such little time with it - but boy did its sound leave an impression on me.  A memorable one - 

GEEK drove my LCD3s low-end like no other smaller unit in this category thus far!  The drums on "Come As You Are" just blew me away,

it felt like I was listening to a larger (even tuby) desktop unit!

Thanks for the response, Mike! I think I'll wait until you and others get their hands on final Geek units, and then decide whether I upgrade the Microstreamer to the Island or to the Geek. If I went Island though, I'd wanna reterminate all my headphones :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinocelt View Post

 

Doesn't the DACport put out 1.5 W?

 

http://centrance.com/products/dacport/

 

Am I missing something?

No it does, but I honestly wasn't expecting that much out of the Geek. Not only is it pretty diminutive in size, but I was concerned by all of their very consumer-centric advertising in their Kickstarter campaign. I'm glad to hear it's coming to light as a great piece of kit. 

post #131 of 353

It's a loonnnngggg story, but I've only now gotten home.  First of all, thanks to Jude and Joe for their tireless work to put on this event!  The amount of blood, sweat, tears and dedication required in mind-blowing.  Thanks guys!  :smile:  And of course, thanks to all of my friends - both old and new - exhibitors and attendees alike - for making the event so much fun!  ;)  I'll be posting up a full report soon, but in the meantime...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by esimms86 View Post
 

Did anyone happen to checkout the Auralic Gemini? It would be higher up my wish list if I didn't already have the Woo WA7. Then again, it does do DSD(and would look almost as good as the WA7 on a nightstand or chair-side table).

 

Esau

 

I did yes, and I was quite impressed with it.  I'll be posting some impressions soon - but I can tell you that it's more than just a showpiece (i.e. they were serious about it's performance as well).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post
 

October 2013 CanJam at the RMAF Denver

Michael Liang and Michael Mercer show the opening Banner for CanJam 2013

 

 

Yay!  Thanks for posting the pic Frank!  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank I View Post
 

October 2013 CanJam at the RMAF Denver

 

Woo WA7 with the new WA7 optional $300.00 power supply that uses 12Au7 to fine tune the sound. The transparency stepped up a huge notch with the additional tube regulated power supply.

 

 

Spot on Frank, it was very much OMGWTFBBQ!  :smile:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

@Frank I did a GREAT job w/ his pics and commentary thus far!!

SO glad to have him in the Positive Feedback editorial family now!

 

Yes, definitely!  Welcome aboard Frank!  :smile:  It's gonna be a pleasure working with ya!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

 

BIG ups to @jude and Joe for the show, and @warrenpchi for the new sexy signage!!  

 

+1!  And thanks!  :o  It was fun to do.  I would love to have a commemorative poster of it (seeing as how this was my first CanJam).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspeakers View Post
 

Had a great time meeting so many of you I've only known online.  And a great dinner out, too!  

 

Always!  :D  Hey, you know what?  I bet it would be EVEN BETTER if they actually brought us what we ordered!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by remilio View Post
 

I saw Final Audio Design Pandora photos, does anybody have something to say about how it sounded? :)

 

Yup, coming soon.  :o

post #132 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by wes008 View Post
 

Thanks for the response, Mike! I think I'll wait until you and others get their hands on final Geek units, and then decide whether I upgrade the Microstreamer to the Island or to the Geek. If I went Island though, I'd wanna reterminate all my headphones :D

No it does, but I honestly wasn't expecting that much out of the Geek. Not only is it pretty diminutive in size, but I was concerned by all of their very consumer-centric advertising in their Kickstarter campaign. I'm glad to hear it's coming to light as a great piece of kit. 

ANYTIME!!

I can understand your concerns around the tongue-in-cheek language behind the Kickstarter marketing of the GEEK.  

If I didn't know Gavin (Fish, of Light Harmonic) I would've had the same reservations.  But man did that thing surprise me, pleasantly.

And I gotta give it up to Gavin for taking the chance with all that downright silly language.  I think he made it palatable for the non-headphone/non-CE devotee that way.

 

I'm still thinking about listening to "Come As You Are" by Nirvana through the GEEK and my LCD3's in the atrium! (Audirvana was the source Gav had, via his MacBook Air)

I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I heard it, my mind immediately went back to my high school days when me and my crew 

loved EVERY album and went to every show we could.  I also grabbed the girls from RHA for a listen as they walked by, to be sure 

I wasn't goin' nuts!  They couldn't believe it either.

 

And I totally forgot: Steven Rochlin from Enjoy The Music asked me to do some live CanJam coverage via his brand new Dub Bot (it went out via UStream at the time) and that was a strange experience!  I'm good with people, but interacting with a robot that looked like a segway with an iPad attached to it was a WILD experience!!  I just tried to make it fun for people, and give a glimpse of the show for the peeps that couldn't make it.  

 

Special thanks to @jaywillin and others in the live chat for their support during the broadcast!  Steve kept the details a secret from me until we did it, so unfortunately the link didn't go up here.  I also wanna thank everybody who was in the video - from 

pretty Star Warsian into alot of fun.

 

You can find the links by going HERE on Enjoy The Music's RMAF coverage page,

just scroll down to: Saturday CanJam with Michael Mercer and the Dub Bot!

 

There are 5 parts.  PLS excuse the shakiness of it all.  Like I said, it was a new experience for me!

I also wanna thank @xxlink for her encouraging words during the show!!!!


Edited by mikemercer - 10/16/13 at 12:25pm
post #133 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post
 

ANYTIME!!

I can understand your concerns around the tongue-in-cheek language behind the Kickstarter marketing of the GEEK.  

If I didn't know Gavin (Fish, of Light Harmonic) I would've had the same reservations.  But man did that thing surprise me, pleasantly.

And I gotta give it up to Gavin for taking the chance with all that downright silly language.  I think he made it palatable for the non-headphone/non-CE devotee that way.

 

I'm still thinking about listening to "Come As You Are" by Nirvana through the GEEK and my LCD3's in the atrium! (Audirvana was the source Gav had, via his MacBook Air)

I was so overwhelmed with emotion when I heard it, my mind immediately went back to my high school days when me and my crew 

loved EVERY album and went to every show we could.  I also grabbed the girls from RHA for a listen as they walked by, to be sure 

I wasn't goin' nuts!  They couldn't believe it either.

 

And I totally forgot: Steven Rochlin from Enjoy The Music asked me to do some live CanJam coverage via his brand new Dub Bot (it went out via UStream at the time) and that was a strange experience!  I'm good with people, but interacting with a robot that looked like a segway with an iPad attached to it was a WILD experience!!  I just tried to make it fun for people, and give a glimpse of the show for the peeps that couldn't make it.  

 

Special thanks to @jaywillin and others in the live chat for their support during the broadcast!  Steve kept the details a secret from me until we did it, so unfortunately the link didn't go up here.  I also wanna thank everybody who was in the video - from 

pretty Star Warsian into alot of fun.

 

You can find the links by going HERE on Enjoy The Music's RMAF coverage page,

just scroll down to: Saturday CanJam with Michael Mercer and the Dub Bot!

 

There are 5 parts.  PLS excuse the shakiness of it all.  Like I said, it was a new experience for me!

I also wanna thank @xxlink for her encouraging words during the show!!!!

Gavin (kickstarter)'s marketing language for the Geek kind of reminds me of Schiit Audio's language.  

post #134 of 353

Has ANYBODY heard the new Apex Teton amp or any impressions of the ALO Studio Six besides what Mr Mercer mentioned? These seem to be the new heave hitters so I would expect a lot of impressions...

post #135 of 353

Looks like Source Interlink brought some serious resources to RMAF and produced a decent blog output.

 

Post counts as of a few minutes ago:

39 Michael Lavorgna audiostream.com
21 Michael Fremer analogplanet.com
20 Jason Victor Serinus stereophile.com
16 Stephen Mejias stereophile.com
8  John Atkinson stereophile.com
0  Tyll Hertsens innerfidelity.com

 

Canjam is underrepresented, so far. :tongue_smile:

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