Okay, I think I'm ready to dish out some quick impressions for what I've heard in the meet:
- Stax SR007 MkII : The system of testing was (CMIIW) AK100 --> Grace m903 --> SRM-727II --> Stax SR007 MkII
Memories of listening to the life sounding SR009 shadowed me prior to hearing this. Once the music hits, I was floored. The micro-details is amazing, spaciousness was immense and playing Bon Jovis You Give Love A Bad Name is amazing on these. The vocals are forward sounding and the treble was astonishingly for me just the right amount. I had it at the MUCH more louder than my normal listening level yet I was not feeling any signs of discomfort showing the 007 does not have fatiguing highs. This is not saying the SR007 outshoned the SR009, it is just a reminder for me on how great these electrostats sounds since the last time I heard the SR009 was 2 years ago and comparing it with the SR007 would not be possible based solely on memory. I had time to compare this to the Abyss which I will cover below.
- JPS Labs Abyss : CDP Marantz --> Bakoon Amplifier --> JPS Labs Abyss (Sorry but I forgot the models for the setup)
Ah.. The head torture device-looking Abyss. I had to take off my glasses for this demo since it was uncomfortable wearing it with the Abyss.Once on, I think I got the fit right since the pressure is purely on the top of my head. What struck to me first is that how thick the vocals were much more thicker in the Abyss compared to the SR007. I think this means that the Abyss is more prominent on the lower area of the frequency than to the SR007. The spaciousness was a little bit vague for me since the genre of songs for demo differs greatly with the demo on the SR007 but I think it has lesser soundtage although by a slight margin. I really like the fullness of the sound when a guitar strings played. It is not as bright as the SR007 but it is not lacking whatsoever.
- Rudistor Chroma MD-2
Forgot the setup but I believe it used my own AK100 as source, Bakoon amp and straight to Rudistor Chroma. The thing is, it is seated right next to the Abyss and for me, it was flat out trounced by the Abyss.It should be considering the price. The spaciousness of Abyss really belittled the Rudistor Chroma (at the same time proving Abyss actually has a great spaciousness to it). However, the Rudistor has its strength on playing a fast paced music. Also, the comfort was really good and it was thanks to the huge earpads mostly.
- Sennheiser Orpheus (HE-90) : Macbook --> HEV-90 --> HE-90 (orpheus)
Finally, after all the dreams, all the anticipations, all the challenges (hey, we must pay 5 bucks for hearing this) leading up to hearing the Orpheus, I got to hear it.... on low volume. Really disappointed but since it was a rarity I understand the conditions of hearing it. I think based on what I heard on the Orpheus, it has a character more into a Stax system than any other since it is basically an electrostat. It has clean vocals and a bright tone to it. Giving more beat to the song, the Orpheus can follow which shows that the Orpheus can still do well outside of its comfort genre. However take this as a grain of salt since during the time of my audition, the sound from outside really made focusing on the sound hard.
- Final Audio Pandora Hope VI : AK100 --> FAPH VI
The first thing that I thought is they are huge and by the time it was on my head, the weight of it justifies the size. This thing surprised me though, with its sound quality. The mids is a little bit behind compared to the lows but it does not muddle the vocals. The treble was just right by not making my face go weird when the cymbals hits. It is more to a warmish type of sound. Also, might be underpowered since I just stick it to my AK100, forgot to ask the FA representatives.
- NAD Viso HP50 : AK100 --> NAD Viso HP50
When Tyll said this was one of the best headphones under $500, I don't believe a single thing. The looks on the picture looks outdated (was wondering why the ads was saying it was stylish) to me and the leather pads made me remember the uncomfortable days with the M50s. BUT, how wrong was I. Since the minute I look at it in person, it was really gorgeous. The sleek design does not look out of place in the torrents of "design and style" headphones and for the sounds itself? Oh boy... It was worth the price. It does not stand out but it just do any sounds correctly. The bass was there when it's needed, the mids and the vocals were not laid back but not too forward. The micro details was really good and for a closed headphone it strikes me at how spacious it is with these headphones! The treble is not too strong but is nowhere near the word lacking. I was also wrong on the comfort, I had a long listening session with these and I do not feel that much heat like when I was wearing the M50s. So in conclusion, THE headphone that surprised me in this show. I still believe it is not the best under $500 but I say it is punching way above its weight.
I think that's all for now with the reviews. I will list the other headphones I heard with its temporary verdict:
Above Expectation HP:
- JH Roxanne with AK240 (Conflicted in putting this to "As Expected" category regarding the price)
- Final Audio Heaven II
- Sony XBA 3
As Expected HP:
- Shure 846
- JH11 Pro Freq Phase
- Beyerdynamic T1
- Sennheiser IE 800
Note that I will probably give my updated impressions and of them is the AK240. First word is they are SMOOTH!
Also will upload some close-up pics of the Orpheus.
Regarding the people they are stupendous! I am saying this to specifically to Jerry Harvey and his wife. I saw him & his wife giving out an IEM cable connector and a JH shirt for free and they don't look burdened by any means. If their aim is to focus on the raising the image of the JH Audio, then they have hit the target right at the middle. Well done!
Also the Mook committees fron Jaben, the Final Audio representative and almost all vendors participating in the event was marvelous!
Hands down a successful event and one I hope will be recreated in the near future here in Indonesia.
Hats off to all of you!