I really enjoyed the meet, as always. I spent most time talking with people, especially Mullett, ESL-1, and Dan. I really enjoy talking about all sorts of things with everyone, even things that have little to do with headphones at all! Pics to come, and thanks to Ari for doing the auction, Tom for organizing, Joe for loaning me cables, Jude for coming to support the community, and all the vendors and members who came to just hangout, it was really an awesome meet!
On to some impressions
N.B. As i said, I didn't really spend that long listening to that many systems for too long. I think I missed a few setups but I did get a quick listen to a lot of gear.
Abyss - First time I heard it was at NYC Audio Show last February. I hated it. I heard it last year at the winter meet, and I loved em. This time, I didn't like them. I think it may have been a fit issue, because I really just can't get a read on these. They are interesting sonically, but I just can't get a read. I think I like them a lot, I just need to spend more time getting a better fit
Teton - was really nice. Quite articulate and punchy I thought. I liked it a lot. But, there was a very apparent, yet quiet, hiss in the amp, but it could have been the song choice. I picked a song I'm very familiar with in Pinball Wizard, maybe Decur was using a different recording than I. However, it was definitely one of the best tube amps I've heard, minus the hiss.
HD800 - I owned a pair, but sold it because I prefer the T1. I still feel the T1 is a more involving, more interesting headphone, probably the best in the world in my opinion. However, the HD800 is certainly better for classical, more laid back music.
Lampizator - As mentioned, it's difficult to "review" a DAC when it's in a system with an unfamiliar amplifier and an unfamiliar pair of cans. I know I like the He-6, but have only heard it on a few occasions. I had never before heard the W4S mono blocks. Overall, the system sounded fantastic. I loved chatting with Craig and the other guy there (sorry I didn't catch your name) for a few minutes. He enlightened me about some DSD stuff, which was quite nice.
K812 - I really enjoyed my Q701, and I think the K812 has a similar tonality. It has better sound staging though, and a much more airy feeling. I really liked it driven from the small fostex portable.
Momentum - The first time I heard them, I didn't like them. This time, out of the HDVD800, they were pretty nice, I listened for a bit, but wasn't my preference on music, so I couldn't get a good feeling, but they were definitely usable.
HDVD800 - I want this amp badly. Really badly. I want to compare it to my Burson Soloist pretty bad, too. This amp just seams so clean, and coming from Sennheiser I can expect great things. I actually did notice a difference between the balanced and unbalanced HD 600's. This is the first time I really heard a noticeable difference. I think the HDV600 is something I want to get, since I don't need the DAC, but it's still out of my budget unfortunately.
Alpha Dogs - I really like the Alpha Dogs, and I think Dan has done a fantastic job in their production. The cups are perfectly finished, the headband distributes weight evenly, and the pads are some of the most comfortable I've worn. I think they sound like an open headphone truly. They have a little darker sound signature than I prefer, being a T1 + Solid State user, but I think they sound spectacular in terms of detail retrieval, balance, and comfort. I also want to say that Dan is one of the nicest guys ever. I got to talk to him for a good chunk of time, and it's always a pleasure to chat with him. We talked about some totally random stuff, as well as some relevant topics such as the foam he uses and why he didn't choose a matte finish. I think he's a great guy, and I always look forward to his attendance of the meets.
Woo WA7 + Power Supply - I really like all of Jack's amps. They are all so clean and articulate. I had a few issues before where I was using poorly matched headphones with his amps, but I now wish I had never sold them. They all sound so clean and are never too smooth. The WA7 impressed me from day 1, with a more solid state sound than most tube amps. I think Jack does a phenomenal job tuning his amps. I listened to the Aloha Dog on the WA7 and found the combo quite pleasing. There is some great aesthetics to the amp as well, which can only help the cause. Jack is also a great guy, and I wish you guys would all leave his station alone so I could a) listen for an hour on all his different amps and b) talk to him for a little haha. He's always so busy I would feel bad starting a conversation. But he's quite a nice guy and really knowledgable too.
W3000anv - I'm quite thankful Maxx134 left these at my table for a while, as my dad and I both loved them. They were pretty awesome! They were comfortable and sounded fantastic. They also looked cool. They had some nice separation and detail retrieval. They also had no noticeable flaw in their frequency response, which I didn't expect for some reason. They were really a treat.
R10 - I have heard them plenty of times, but I'm still always amazed at how great they are. If I could own one headphone only, any headphone, it would be the R10. They are so airy and spacious, but still articulate and involving. The best listening experience of the meet was Eric Clapton Unplugged on the R10's, simply sublime.
TubesUSA - George was a really friendly guy, and tested and graded my tubes for me, which was very helpful. I think I'm going to end up buying some tubes from him, and it's nice to have a more personal connection to some extent.
T5P - I really wanted to like these. They sounded a bit closed in. It could have been the amplifier, I'm not sure how good the Beyer amp is. I did like the T90 a fair bit though, and Pete and his partner (Sorry again for forgetting the name!) helped me find the earpads for my T1. They are really nice guys, and their help is greatly appreciated.
LCD X - I think it has some good qualities, and some not so good qualities. I expected it to be a bit brighter than it was, which was a little disappointing. I heard them before, but I just expected a different result this time and I'm not sure why. I think they are quite comfortable, but not as sonically preferable as the LCD3
LCD XC - I heard a prototype last year at the NYC Audio Show and was absolutely blown away, granted they were running off some ridiculous CD player and Amp that cost together I believe $20k. I hadn't heard them again until the meet, where they really shined off of the GSX-2. I think these are my favorite Audez'e headphones for sure, and I wish I had the funds to buy a pair, as their slightly darker signature would compliment my T1's well.
Lambda vs. Lambda Pro - Tyler, Joe and I compared Joe's Lambdas with my Lambda Pro's using his Stax SRM-T1 amp. I think the Pro had a bit more bite to it, and the original maybe had a little more extension, but I don't think anyone could pass a blind test, as they were much more similar than different without a doubt.
Amp Product designed by Doug (Don't remember the name) - this was the amp with the green plastic glass casing. I don't remember what topology exactly it was, or what the price will be, but the amp sounded pretty good with the HD800. I think I need to know the price to ultimately judge the value and performance of the amp, but it would definitely say it performed well enough to warrant further investigation.
LCD 2 - I actually liked the LCD 2 a little more than I thought I would. They sounded pretty dark, but at the same time, they had some nice extension and treble presence. They were a little laid back in the treble region, but they were still good for the music that was there. I was pleasantly surprised by these.
Final note, the winner for best demo music goes to Dan (Mr.Speakers), with a close second going to Jack. Third is a tie between Frank and Skullguise. They all had ample music samples that I liked, especially AC/DC, which is great for testing the attack of headphones. I think Dan wins because I also got to listen to some B-52's, which really showed off his headphones well. Jack had a lot of interesting albums too. Frank for his plethora of generally known artists, which was fun, and Skullguise for his epic Sony media center. That thing was sweet!
If I think of anything else, I'll add it.
the teton has no hiss, i have the album "the who" "tommy" with pinball wizard on 16/44 standard redbook and "24/96" purchased hi-rez from hd tracks, and the hiss you heard is on the hi-rez 24/96 hd tracks but completely dead silent on my 16/44 original cd ripped to my computer!
funny,i never noticed this until you mentioned it!
you have some good ears