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Spring Toronto Meet 2014  

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

Figured I'd start a new thread for meet impressions if only mostly to post pictures.

 

First, a big thank you to Julian for organizing the meet. The Head Fi name tags were a nice touch. The size of the party room was probably perfect for the number of people who showed up, and having a view(and access) outside was great.

 

Overall meet impressions:

The first thing that struck me was how many tube amps were on display. Since my main rig is also hollow-state, I know tube amps can sound great, but I’ve yet to hear any tube amp that plays with the sort of absolute control and ease that a statement solid state amp can have.  I’m hoping we see more high-end solid state amps at future meets if only for variety. Maybe it’s just that I own too many tube or hybrid amps, but I think I’m ready to try SS again.

 

I haven't been too active in audio lately, so I was surprised by how much difference a source can make. Near the end of the meet I was checking out AlanHell’s Benchmark DAC-1/Rudistor RPX-35 setup on the MDR-CD3000s, and mentioned how a warmer source might work better for me. AlanHell was nice enough to swap sources to the Oppo Bluray player, which completely changed my impressions of the Rudistor. Initially the setup sounded detailed but cold and thin, which was odd for a Class-A SS amp, but the Oppo flipped the sound 180 degrees. Another setup I tried with the CD3000s was with zorin’s Discmen feeding an ALO Continental. This took me right back to the great sound I remembered listening to when I bought my first set of CD3000s back in ’92 when all I had for a source was my D-321.

 

Enough rambling; time for pictures.  Oh, and please let me know if I've messed-up the description on your equipment.

 

Stapsy's monstrous Eddie Current 2A3 mkIVs with the HD-800s.  You can see the massive outboard power supply behind the laptop. These interstage coupled parallel singe-ended amps are powerful enough to drive efficient speakers as well.  There was an issue with a solder joint on one of the channels, but this setup still sounded great.

 

 

ChrisJ's SRS-2170 Stax rig.  Very smooth and airy.  Definitely need to try more electrostatics if given the chance.

 

 

NightFlight's modded Bottlehead Crack driving another pair of HD-800s.  The HD-800s unfortunately sounded a lot better than my Crack+HD650 combo.

This better not lead to yet another headphone purchase...

 

 

xzez's Aune T1 playing through HE-400s, instead of driven by the Fiio E17 he also had.

This wasn't supposed to mate-up the best, but I actually liked the full-bodied character.

Need to spend more time with the HE-400s in the future.

 

 

AlanHell's Benchmark DAC-1/Sennheiser HDVD-800/Rudistor RPX-35 setup.

This was one of the most impressive sounding setups I heard with my old MDR-CD3000s.

I think I have to build a system around the CD3000s in the future now that I know what they're capable of.

 

 

EuphonicArin's AKG K240s.  This is the second time I've heard these AKGs, and I've liked them both times.

 

 

Another shot of AlanHell's setup with balanced Beyerdynamic T1s.

The mids on these headphones always struck me as a bit too forward, but I wonder how these sounded balanced?  Anyone know?

 

 

happywater's Jeff Rowland Aeris/Little Dot MkVIIIs driving HD-800s.  AMAZING presence and clarity.

 

 

Burson Conductor driving LCD-3s.  Controlled, smooth, and full bodied.  One impressive sounding setup.

 

 

MickeyVee's Naim DAC-V1/Woo Audio WA6/HD-800 setup.  Still quite new and not fully burnt-in.

Another setup to keep an eye on at future meets.

 

 

zorin's ATH-W3000ANV/ALO Continental setup.  Don't let the Discmen fool you, these were one my favourite setups at the meet.  

 

 

Discman porn.  From back when discmen were real discmen and Sony made some world-class headphones.

This setup with my MDR-CD3000s really brought my old 'phones back to life.

Loved listening to the guitars on Emmylou Harris's "May This Be Love" with this combo.

 

 

Clsmooth391's Eddie Current Balancing Act+HD-800.  Unfortunately didn't get a chance to hear this combo.

 

 

happywater trying out the Balancing Act next to JAG87's Paradigm Studio 20s.

 

 

Gozzer trying out Nightflight's HD-800/Crack setup next to my H-650-Crack setup.

 

 

xzez tring out ChrisJ's other setup with a Fiio E09K driving DT-880s?

 

 

HE-400s on a DIY rig.  Anyone know the specifics?

 

 

Finally JAG87 shaking one of the many numerous hands offered to him for putting together an awesome meet.  Thanks again Julian!

 

post #2 of 53

Thanks again to Julian for hosting!

 

Getting to listen to everyone's gear was spectacular, and from what I heard, my pocketbook will definitely be getting a lot lighter soon!!!

 

That Aeris/Little Dot MkVIII combo with the HD-800's that happywater brought was an incredible setup. I don't think I've ever smiled so much while listening to music.  Truly spectacular.

 

Also got a chance to listen to my first pair of electrostatic headphones, ChrisJ's SRS-2170.  I think I may have to start saving up for a pair of those...

 

Thanks again guys, I had a great time at my first meet!   Here's to many more!

post #3 of 53
Nice photos Jeff!

I was thinking about trying out the Balancing Act but was afraid if I turned the knobs the wrong way I would have turned into Frankenstein's monster! LOL tongue.gif

Hmmmm.....maybe the meet should be renamed the HD-800 meet?
post #4 of 53

Everybody's setups were cool and all (HD800 everywhere) but really, the one that left the biggest impression on me were ChrisJ's bass-modded Q701 on someone else's Schiit Vali.  Just awesome.  If I had the choice of any setup from the meet to get for myself, it would be that (or the K812).  

 

Main reason?  

 

Not all of my favourite music was recorded/mixed/mastered as well as it could have been, and I wouldn't give up any of it for a headphone that could make my good-sounding tracks marginally better.  That setup had it all for me; clean highs, smooth mids, sub-bass slam that didn't bleed into the mid-bass, and most importantly, they're comfortable.  Really great combo.

 

Not to say that any of the HD800 setups were bad, they just didn't engage me the same way (Maybe because I'm a bassist?).  It was pretty neat to see all the huge tube amps too.

 

Last thing, holy crap, a lot of you guys listen to your music loud.

post #5 of 53
I think the set up beside the discman collection is also worth mentioning.
Just love the attacks come from those electronic musics.

It is a shame I forget to steal all the musics I heard from the meet!

Hope the summer meet is coming soon~
post #6 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote: Originally Posed by AlanHell
I think the set up beside the discman collection is also worth mentioning.
Just love the attacks come from those electronic musics.

 

Zoom25's setup with the Dangerous Music Source!

Somehow I missed transferring this picture to my meet impressions folder after processing it.  Sorry Zoom25!

This was another setup that worked great with the CD3000s.

Zoom25 was awesome about setting me up with tunes, and yeah, those AH-D2000s really worked well for movies.

Thanks again Rachit!

 


Edited by greyhorse - 3/30/14 at 3:54pm
post #7 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Nice photos Jeff!

I was thinking about trying out the Balancing Act but was afraid if I turned the knobs the wrong way I would have turned into Frankenstein's monster! LOL tongue.gif

Hmmmm.....maybe the meet should be renamed the HD-800 meet?

Thanks Chris, but the pictures would have been better if they hadn't been shot on a Canon right? ;) 

post #8 of 53

I only saw that little Dot Mark MXXIIV (Did I get that right? :tongue_smile:) once I was packing up. I would have loved to hear how that piece of art sounded. It certainly looked nice.  The balancing act was IMHO not at all 'balanced' in the tonal department. However, what it did in the detail department was just awesome. The monster $ tag is a bit high for me though.

 

I'll be sure to tackle the BH Mainline before I would go either the BA or 009 route.  I was glad to finally hear the Anaxilus mod for the HD800.  Definitely doesn't seem to take anything away.  However it was really hard to make heads or tails of anything for certain given the busy nature of the meet.  Regardless it was great fun. I'll definitely be at the next one.


Edited by NightFlight - 3/30/14 at 7:03pm
post #9 of 53

Awesome photos Jeff! Can you spot the only person who's wasn't ready to be photographed? Hahaha

 

Hat off to Stan's Audio Technica ATH-W3000 ANV. This was probably the best headphone I heard at the meet. Those cans sound sublime out of his dated looking CD + discman source... this just contributed to the "wtf" factor even more. So I kindly asked him if I could take them to my source and then I vanished for 15-20 minutes. He had to come looking for them lol. Yep... they were that good.

 

Honourable mention for Mark's RS1s. I was mostly a Grado hater until I tried his RS1. Still not exactly my cup of tea, but they were pretty darn good.

 

I would like to give a big thanks to Aaron, Vincent and Adam for bringing their IEMs. Since this is my current affliction, I am glad for any chance I get to try out what's out there. I got to listen to some unmentionables by Heir Audio (smile Aaron, my ears are still ringing), the UE900s, the Westone 4R, JH13 FP, and the IE800s. Color me impressed!

 

I hope that those who stayed behind enjoyed the speakers as well. Near the end as most people had left (we didn't want to disturb anyone during the meet), we decided to rock the house a little bit. All I remember is Pavel smiling the entire time. Either he had too much alcohol, or he liked what he was hearing.

 

LOL! Cheers guys!

post #10 of 53

It was a really good meet and hosted so well by Julian. Thank you for taking the time and effort to organize this.

 

Didn't get the chance to listen to too much but loved Stapsy's HE5 and Greyhorse's HD650. 

 

It's a shame the KGSSHV didn't make it's way down. Would love to have known how it compared to Brian's KGSS I heard a while back. 

 

It was great to meet so many enthusiasts.


Edited by Clsmooth391 - 3/31/14 at 10:28am
post #11 of 53

Thanks for the photos Jeff, and Julian for hosting.

 

The setup in the second last picture of the first post is a millet-hybrid fed by a fiio e10 DAC. The millet was made by pavel (fallenangel) that I was lucky enough to win at a meet ~2 years ago.

post #12 of 53

Great photos, Jeff. And big thanks to Julian for the excellent job hosting.

 

It was quite marvelous being able to demo so many different setups, and although the environment was kind of noisy, it didn't detract at all from enjoying what was shared. I didn't get around to trying so many of the really high end setups, my priority was first for gear I could possibly afford and not get so lured in to items totally outside my price range ;)

 

Why there were so many HD800s became more than obvious after spending any amount of time with them. They are some stunning cans. But, what really did it for me was Chris J's setup. The Stax, while somewhat uncomfortable, were incredible fun to listen to, and the Q701s were so much of how I like music to sound. I will definitely be picking up a pair of those for myself in the near future. Never got around to trying the K812's but there are always future meets for that.

post #13 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightFlight View Post
 

The balancing act was IMHO not at all 'balanced' in the tonal department. However, what it did in the detail department was just awesome. The monster $ tag is a bit high for me though.

 

 

 

I have tinkered with the upstream + tubes to get the sound I like. I listen mostly to vocals so have got more mid bass emphasis. In it's stock form the Balancing Act is very balanced, especially my version, the 307A. For my tastes, the sound in stock form is too thin.

 

Come to think of it, I actually explained to you at the meet that I tinkered with the sound LOL. Surely I shouldn't have to keep the sound neutral just because of the name of the amp? :normal_smile :


Edited by Clsmooth391 - 3/31/14 at 10:53pm
post #14 of 53

Did anyone get  to try  Audio technica w1000x  ?  Some might consider this a step below w3000anv but I find the sound of w1000x has a bit more warmth and slightly wider and deeper soundstage. Everytime I listen to  w1000x, w3000anv and w5000, I always come back to w1000x for prolong listening, probably because I prefer the vocal to sound less upfront than w3000anv and w5000. w5000's soundstage is huge but sometimes overwhelming that it sounds unreal.  I do find that warmness makes w1000x sound a slight muddy compare to the other two.


Edited by macdevign - 3/31/14 at 9:56am
post #15 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHell View Post

I think the set up beside the discman collection is also worth mentioning.
Just love the attacks come from those electronic musics.

It is a shame I forget to steal all the musics I heard from the meet!

Hope the summer meet is coming soon~

 

 

I played a few different stuff for you, but I think you liked the album "Strobelite Seduction" by Kaskade the most. It was the one with the vocals.

 

Among the other ones were: Kryptic Minds - Can't Sleep (for sub bass). I had some Above and Beyond stuff going on as well: Group Therapy and various other Anjunadeep (deep house).

 

Your HD800s were bass monsters off my DM Source.

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