See you at the next head-fi meetup,
Hey guys - turns out I won't be around to make it tomorrow. I'm really bummed since I missed the last one too. The one before that was so fun! Anyway, I'll keep an eye out and hopefully we can have another one this summer or fall some time.
Thanks to everyone who organized this event, to Travis (of The Headphone Bar in Vancouver) for getting this great venue in a great location, for Mother Nature in keeping this day rain free, to Generation Girls & TwinQY for driving the initial meet and getting folks organized, and everyone who came, brought gear, listened to stuff, chatted a bit and enjoyed themselves. This was my first Vancity meet and I enjoyed it very much so!
Some random notes from today (brain farts) ...
First off -- thanks for coming out everyone ... too little time so many pieces of great gear to try.
One single thing that's glaring at me as I write is how there is such little margin between top-tier headphones once you come down to it. There seems to be a certain barrier that a headphone has to break in order to become a world-class headphone but once that barrier has been broken what remains can simply be classified as marginal preferences - leanings towards sound signature. I can attest to this after listening to the LCD-X, Stax SR-007, SR-009, LCD-2, HD800, my own HE-500. All of these headphones belong to a certain tier and have simply chosen different emphases of showcasing that landscape. The differences have to do with very narrow margins. Of course amplification has a foundational importance to this -- any of these headphones when poorly amplified can sound downright unimpressive -- amplification has to be a given but once done, it's really a question of 'what tone do you prefer.' The Stax SR-009 really impressed, I guess mostly because of what I perceived as its tonal balance -- right between the lines -- remember that game where you had to hold a wire-ring around an electrified wire and were not supposed to touch it -- yeah that one; the SR-009 gets it right everytime. No sudden jagged-edges - just seems to be a headphone that gets it right every single time. The SR-007 sounded a little more muscular and requiring an even more muscular amp to get it over the top. I'm still impressed by the LCD-2 and even more so with the latest LCD-2 that Travis had. It reminded me so much of the LCD-3 from not too long ago, but this time not as detail-mongering as that 3 seemed to be. No doubt Audeze has been doing a lot of tweaking but the latest crop of LCD-2 is really, really good.
Amps seem to comes in all different shapes, sizes, types, and modulations something well attested by the types of amping I witnessed at the meet. This brings out just one conclusion -- the headphone is by far the most important part of this equation. After that it's just a question of continual experimentation to find the harmonic pair (headphone and amp) that plays well together, or to put it in the vernacular -- a pair in love with each other -- you know -- it either happens or it's pain and needles.
The meet felt a little short, of course it doesn't help that I arrived a little late. Some notes for next time around:
> a sign up sheet for Head-fi handles with optional slot for real-world names
> name labels go a long way in putting face to name and helping memory (I know it sounds like kindergarten stuff -- but kindergarten lessons are never meant to go away)
> some way of exchanging names, contacts, etc (blank Head-fi business cards??? to be penned in on a need by basis)
> I like social contributions, so a way to chip in is always welcome -- perhaps as a means to extend the meet-time for instance, like GG had suggested (and while I'm thinking of it -- thanks much Travis for hosting us -- you know -- what goes around ... and so forth)
Okay -- wild idea and to be handled with kid gloves and as delicately as eggs -- just an idea -- how about organizing a gear exchange or a pass it on gear round -- I'm thinking mostly headphones. I know that would take some work (and eh .. responsibility, not to mention trust) ,, I don't know, think about it. How about renting gear -- I don't know, would Headphone Bar be willing to branch out in that way with caveats etc. What can I say - another brain fart. I must be getting to the end of my tether.
HE-6 ... where were you .. soon, next time maybe ... ?
Some pictures posted below -- thanks much guys ...
Really a big thanks to every cool guy showed up today - wow I did not expect some grandfather auidophiles! And they are so amazing! And greatest appreciation goes to Headphonebar Travis, thanks for the LCDs and the AKG K812 and spectacular stuff!
Just felt this meet was a summit-fi one, really there were some philosophies. Some people long for simplicity, some people would strive for the best neutrality, and some people just want to purely enjoy their music. There was an atmosphere of enthusiasm!
What a surprise, I find out about this the day after.
It was a fun meet for me too, even though I didn't get to listen to a few of the phones I wanted to check out. For me the revelation was how much difference cables made to the basic sound of the Audezes. Someone suggested that Audeze figures that everyone who cares about it is going to buy an aftermarket cable anyway so why spend money on providing a decent cable. Perhaps. All I can say is that NIc Morelli's custom balanced cable changed the LCD-X from something I rather liked to something that rivaled my Stax 009 setup for pure pleasure (and certainly surpassed it in terms of bass weight/richness and slam). Actually it's appalling how much musical info is lost in many otherwise audiophile systems just in the cabling, even with some expensive current "audiophile" cables. And of course amps also make a huge difference, but everyone knows that.
Unlike Terja I don't have the impression that top tier headphones sound similar (the 009s and the X's definitely don't) - but it's hard to come to conclusions when every setup is its own system that might be synergistic or not with a particular phone.
Didn't get a chance to do cable change comparisons on the LCDs, but can attest to cable change effects, although it's a subject that tends to polarize people somewhat. In terms of top tier headphones sounding similar that is not what I was putting across. They definitely all sound different, but good different. In other words they have attained a certain level of SQ that is very, very good while sounding different. It's just that each listener basically has to zone in on the tonal quality they prefer. The problem tends to be when people have chosen a preferred tone, they then tend to want to convince themselves that the other top tier headphones are somehow inferior, which is not the case at all. They each have different tonal balances while sounding very very good. They present unique tonal balances while breaking the invisible SQ barrier hence their classification as world-class headphones. So there is something to owning different versions of such headphones -- but there are always limits to deal with ...
Terja, correct. I listened to the HE-500s and HD650s (which I owned a while ago) on different gear and they all had some top-tier great qualities that make them favorites among a lot of people. You only get incremental improvements as you go up the chain and price range. And regardless of objective measurements telling me one can is flat neutral compared to another, I've learned and accepted that there are colorations that I crave and need to hear in order to enjoy my music. Readily able to admit that it's due to inferior hearing or lack of appreciation to extreme neutrality. I've got a weird condition where treble peaks don't really bother me.
Also, I heard Adrian's cables (Blue Dragon) on my HD800s after he swapped out my stock one and there were immediate differences. Also swapping his LessLoss power cord introduced some more subtle but noticeable differences. Again, this is my observations but may not necessarily jive with others. And that's cool too! I just know what I heard. :)
I think Fireboy (?) and I discussed potentially organizing a mini-meet in a couple of months. I'm happy to host up to 10 folks in my workplace office space (it's wide open on the first floor) which is a block from Coal Harbour Community Center. Let me know if you're interested in such a thing and I'll get another thread going. This time should have my MacMini set up for everything...I was woefully unprepared from a source standpoint. :(
Would be interested in a mini-meet, but if at all possible after the new crop of Hifiman HPs are available at say Headphone Bar (or Canada in general). I think having those at the meet would make for worthwhile comparisons with some of the other cans. Just my 2 cents, but yeah I would love to be at one of those.
I just found this thread on the "recent discussion" list below - obviously after it is now over. It would have been a fun trip up from Seattle had I known. However, coming from Seattle requires a little planning. Is there some way of knowing about these Vancouver events in advance without doing regular forum searches? Perhaps a broadcast PM letting everyone know that the new event is coming and the thread link?
I also have to point out that the Noble Audio guys were mentioned in the first post as being in attendance, but I have not seen a picture nor a mention of how the demos sounded. Did they not make it to the event? If they did, does anyone have any impressions for me?
Hey Barra - sorry you missed this one, and so did some local Head-fiers who only got wind of it after it was over -- so your suggestions are quite good. I think GirlsGeneration or TwinQY keep a PM list for these meets so PM any of them and they can add you to the list. Other than doing regular searches I don't know how anyone finds out about these meets. It would be cool if Head-Fi had an ongoing list of upcoming meets and locations pinned to the first page. I may float that idea to the mods. Re: Noble Audio -- I think GirlsGeneration was setting up a mini-meet for the day before the main meet for them. They were not at the main meet on Sunday if I recall correctly. Ask GG about it. Hope you make the next one when it comes around.
I just tried a mass PM to announce the upcoming Seattle meet and found that there is a low maximum number that can be PM'd at once rendering it useless as a tool.
However, I started a general Seattle Portable Club that is a general announcement thread that I am using to announce the upcoming meet. With the general thread subscription, I can provide links to each new event so that everyone gets notice. It would be good to have a Vancouver Headfi Announcement thread for the same purpose.
By the way, for anyone interested in a Seattle visit, I just pasted this upcoming event on my Seattle Head-Fi - Portable Club thread. The reason I was interested in Noble Audio other than obvious reasons is that they are going to be at Seattle's July event. So anyone that missed them has a second chance. We do get Vancouver members down to our events, so please let me know if any of you are interested in joining the portable group at: