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Seattle BottleHead HQ Cracks and Stax Spring Meet 2014  

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

First all, thank Dr. B for hosting the meet. Everything went smooth, and thanks for everyone's great effort to make this happen. There were a lot high end gears.

 

 

Dr. B's studio:

 

 

 

 


Edited by Seamaster - 4/28/14 at 8:01am
post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 

AKG K812 meet HD800:

 

 


Edited by Seamaster - 4/26/14 at 9:22pm
post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

Kingstyle rolls like a king:

 

 

 


Edited by Seamaster - 4/26/14 at 9:23pm
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 

 


Edited by Seamaster - 4/26/14 at 9:25pm
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 

 

 


Edited by Seamaster - 4/26/14 at 9:30pm
post #6 of 36

Here's my mega post with images:

First off though, huge thanks to Bottlehead for hosting the meet, Big Poppa for organizing the meet, Girl's Generation for the ride there, and Lugia for the ride back to my dorm. Also big thanks to everyone there who let me listen to their gear and photograph it!

 

Big poppa chatting with someone from Bottlehead:

 

Bluefish's headphone loadout:

 

Uhh, alpha421's setup? (Sorry I forgot your username)

 

This was what the restroom sign looked like:

 

The glorious pictures that greet anyone who enters the bathroom:

 

Didn't get a chance to listen to any of these headphones, hopefully next time!

 

I got to listen to this setup. The HE-6 driven from that speaker amp sounded pretty sweet, but I'm not sure if the 6 is worth twice the price of the 500. I also thought it was still a little too sharp sounding (like all the Hifimans I've heard/owned) unfortunately. I didn't like the Beyer DT880 at all; it was too bright for my tastes.

 

Sweet setup! I really liked the keyboard too.

 

I listened to the Fostex TH900 with the 2A3, I enjoyed the bassy sound signature, but I think the midrange might be a bit too sucked out for my preferences, and it's a wee bit too expensive for me to consider buying. 

 

Girl's Generation enjoying the 009.

 

To reciprocate, he took my photo as well when I was listening to this 009. With the KGSSHV, it sounded a bit too warm. Not a "lush" warm, just kind of a lifeless warmth. 

 

Girl's Generation's friend (I forget your username, but I remember it's the one with all the random letters) looking at some IEMs.

 

Big Poppa talking with Alpha421(?)

 

Another picture of Bluefish's setup, with my crap to the right.

 

I listened to the D2000s and really liked them! Even though the isolation is a bit lame, I liked the sub-bass boost and the general kick it had from the bass, and I didn't really find the treble harsh or offensive at all. Once I see a good deal on these on eBay and have some money, I'll probably buy them. :D 

 

I also finally got a chance to listen to the Airbow SR-SC22. Out of my SRS-212 amp, I didn't notice a huge difference between this and my 202 with 507 pads, except that the Airbow sounded a bit harsher and brighter.

My 202 (background) and the Airbow (foreground)

 

Just the SC22

 

I liked the connector.

 

 

The Alpha Dog and an HD800. I didn't spend too much time in this room so unfortunately I didn't get to listen to either of these.

 

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to listen to any of these either.

 

Lugia962's massive setup. I didn't actually bother listening to any of this either, because I made a trip down to Tacoma a few weeks ago to listen to all of it at his apartment. Pity I lost all my notes for that journey though. I'll try to summarize them here.

I really like the SR-Sigma. Someday when I have money I'll try and get one. Even They're actually pretty dark sounding, with a pretty large bass bump that rolls off quickly, almost like when I hold my SR-202's drivers a few inches from my ears. Despite being so dark, they have a really weird and awesome soundstage, and they maintain an amazing amount of clarity for being so dark and old.

I liked my 202 with 507 pads more than the 404, Lambda Nova Signature, and Lambda Signature that he had too. One of the Signatures is really forward and harsh in the mids, and the other one's just bright. The 404 is less bright, but still brighter than my 202s, to the point that the treble would probably start annoying my ears after a while.

The W3000ANV sounds okay, but I don't necessarily like its "euphoric" sound signature, if that's even the right word to use.

 

Some ATs (W5000s?) and the MDR-SA5000. I agree with Lugia that the Sony sounds good with vocaloid (artificially synthesized vocals) music, but just sounds a bit off with any real human voices. Also bright but not unbearably so. There IS some bass there too. They also have a certain effortless similar to STAX, except probably brighter.

If those are in fact two W5000s, the two sound totally different. One that Lugia's friend (dunno his H-F username) bought a while ago doesn't sound too bad, but Lugia's that he bought more recently sounds more nasally and weird.

 

The AD1000PRM is a very specialized headphone. It sounds great with approximately three songs from my library, and bad with the rest. Lugia will know exactly what I'm talking about here. ;)

 

Fidelio X1. Basically a poor man's HD650, IMO, with more bass and treble that's a bit more lifted and rough.

 

Lots of bottleheads at this meet if you couldn't tell yet...

 

Mad Dog and HE-4. I didn't listen to the HE-4 though, hopefully next time I can compare this to a stock HE-4 I heard earlier.

 

Bottlehead's freaking awesome tape machine:

 

The AKG K-1000. Holy schiit, this thing is glorious. If there's one headphone I really want now, it's this. The tonal balance was pretty dang perfect, even the bass (this is the bass heavy version I believe) with great clarity and an awesome soundstage!

 

The HD800 with the Anax mod driven from a Mainline amp. I'm not exactly sure what it was about this one, but it kind of sounded dull and veiled, more like an HD650 than what I remember the stock HD800 driven off my O2 to sound like...

 

The new AKG K812. Holy crap did this thing have gobs of clarity and detail. Comfort was pretty good too. Even with the Crack amp though, it still sounded too bright and harsh for me. It was ruthlessly revealing of the song I played on it, which I thought had pretty good mastering!

 

The new bottleheadphone. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I can give it a fair evaluation, considering it was on the same table as the HD800 and K812. :tongue:

 

Some of the parts in one of the rooms we were using. 

 

Kingstyle's setup. Oh mie gawd, talk about a jawdropping setup!

 

I briefly listened to the LCD-3 right at the end of the meet. I don't remember enough about the 2 to do fair comparisons, but I still felt it was a bit too warm and closed-in sounding, especially compared to the 009 that was sitting right next to it.

 

The legendary 009 and 007 together. The 007 MK1 sounded a bit too warm compared to the 009, but I didn't have time to fully appreciate either of them, and Kingstyles did say (if I remember right) that he had some rather warm tubes in the Liquid Lightning to try and warm up the 009. 

The 009 was amazing. I loved how hyper-resolving it was, but in a totally different way than the K812, it never really felt fatiguing or painful, and it just felt politely revealing. And the build quality of the cups and pads on both are amazing!

 

And finally, just for fun, here are a few photos of the ferry ride back:


Edited by mechgamer123 - 5/3/14 at 8:44pm
post #7 of 36
Thanks so much to everyone who came yesterday. Not sure that I counted everyone, but our headcount was close to 30. There was some really nice gear present and the best part was that for once I got a little time to listen to a few new cans with our amps. I liked the AKG K812s once I got them running with a S.E.X. amp. They are a bit on the bright side but the S.E.X. amp helped to balance that out quite nicely. I listened just long enough to HE-6s to verify that the Mainline does not have enough power for them as we suspected. But what I did hear at the slightly reduced levels I could achieve was really impressive. Hopefully I will get to hear them again, maybe with some Paramounts. The Alpha Dogs were also quite impressive with the S.E.X. amp.

It may have been my mood of the day, but the impression I came away with is that the high end cans are all getting closer to sharing a certain sonic character, a character which is of very high standards. Which makes the comfort differences start to be more noticeable. For me a lot of the newer high end cans could stand to lose some weight. Can't say that anything has unseated the K1Ks as my faves.
post #8 of 36

A very good meet. I didn't get to try all the cans and amps, as there were lines when I had time free. A good sign. Thanks to Doc & Queen Eileen for hosting us.

Here are some infrared images of rigs I did manage to audition. Spectacular listening experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 

Ok,I will start with the bad. We were very excited about AKG K812. K812 did sound good but that was it. It did not impress me at all, it can do some nice tight bass but did not go deep enough, the vocal is kind dry, and sound staging is average, certainly is not good at this price range. K812 is VERY comfortable to wear. HD800 on other hand sound much better compare to K812, of course, it is not really a fair comparison since the HD800 was well broke-in and had a after market cable to smooth out the sound. The K812 had a very skinny looking stock cable and we did not know how many hours it logged-in. The comparison was done with Bottlehead Mainline amp with volume left untouched. The mainline does everything right with the HD800 but not so hot with the AKG. I fully aware AKG is rated at 36 Ohm, and I did try both low and high gain with Mainline. As soon as switched from K812 to HD800, I feel the music started to flow again in a stress-free fashion.


Edited by Seamaster - 4/27/14 at 1:09pm
post #10 of 36
Thanks for having us Doc, it was fun as always.

Just a couple impressions. I can't say the AKG 812 did anything for me either. It was a tad bright, just not very musical or something. For $399 it would be good. I liked miceblue's Stax setup. I don't know why i didn't try it before. The HiFi man 400i was nice. I just wish they (incl the He-6) were more comfortable. I should have tried the 400 on my setup. It never occurs to me to borrow cans until I'm on the ferry. The HD-800 was almost tolerable on the 2A3 amp. High praise from me since I dont really like that hp. Good bass and mid-bass. It's usually is so hollow sounding. The treble was nice, but it's still too bright for me. The AK120 and baby amp sounded great with the Fostex's. Very impressive for the size of a fat pack of cigs. I should have stolen Bob's T1 that he was hiding, now that it's broken in. Next time.

Love those Flir shots.
post #11 of 36

Looking forward to impressions of the Bottlehead DAC...

post #12 of 36
Wow. Every time we have a meet at Bottlehead, I always think the meets can't be any better. I think this meet was one of the best ones yet!

A big thank you needs to be given to Doc B. and the Bottlehead corporation for hosting the event, and BIG POPPA for organising it. It was a lot of fun seeing some newcomers this time around, and enjoyable to talk to some of the regular folks. BIG POPPA suggested that this meet be called the "Cracks and STAX" meet due to the sheer number of Bottlehead Crack amplifiers (at least 5) and STAX headphones (at least 7) that were present at the meet, hahaha. Another big thank you needs to be given to alpha421 and lugia862 for proving a ride from the ferry terminal to the venue and back, respectively.


I think the biggest highlight for me was with curbfeeler's setup with the Benchmark DAC2 and the Light Harmonic Light Speed cable. I'm still not a fan of the LCD-2 (revision 1 I believe) since I find the treble to have some bite to it that I find a bit annoying, but as a system, the DAC2 was simply marvelous compared to my ODAC/O2 pairing (which was modeled after the Benchmark DAC1 PRE). Compared to my ODAC/O2, the DAC2 had more resolution (providing more of the micro-details of the music), soundstage depth (the ODAC/O2 always sounded more wide as opposed to rounded/balanced or deep), image separation/blacker background, and provided more oomph in the low end with the LCD-2s. This wasn't a fair comparison though since the DAC2 was connected with the Light Speed cable and super-duper power-conditioned AC power, whereas my setup was with a Monoprice cable, so I'll need to give these comparisons another go in the future. Regarding the Light Speed cable, I felt that it did improve the clarity of the music overall, but I wouldn't even consider spending $1000 on it. As with what I noticed with the DAC2 vs ODAC/O2 comparison, I found the Light Speed cable to improve the resolution/microdetails, soundstage depth, and bass definition when compared to a run-of-the-mill USB cable.

Colour me surprised.





As always, I thoroughly enjoyed Doc B.'s AKG K1000 setup. There's no other headphone out there that can give you the same experience as the K1000. My friend and I agreed that AKG should have continued making this model of headphone as it provides a much more convincing speaker-like experience than any headphone we've tried.





^ It looks like the reel to reel tape deck was smiling for the camera


Another highlight for me was the HE-6 on the Odyssey Cyclops amplifier. I didn't get a chance to listen to the HE-6 last time at the Frye Museum, so it was great to hear it this time around. It has a more intimate sound on that setup compared to what I remember with the HE-500, but at least the treble peak was tamed a bit. I don't know if I would justify the 217% price increase over the HE-500 though; it was good, but not that good.


The volume knob on the Cyclops is really shiny. XD





Similarly for the STAX SR-009, I didn't get a chance to hear it during last year's Bottlehead meet, so it was interesting to hear it this time around. For the two SR-009 setups that were here this year, I enjoyed it out of KingStyles' rig more with the Eddie Current Electra. It was weird that the Kevin Gilmore Solid State amp sounded more warm and tube-like to me than the tube-based Electra. The timbre of instruments consequently sounded off to me with the KGSS and I didn't enjoy it as much as with the Electra. I had mixed feelings for the SR-007 MK I on the Electra. Maybe it was the music selection, or maybe it was the Electra, or maybe even the media format (digital files) but I didn't quite get the "wow" effect that I did on sachu's SR-007 MK I rig with the Cavalli Audio Liquid Lightning and CD transport 2 years ago.





sachu's SR-007 MK I Rig from the Bottlehead Meet Two Years Ago (Click to show)




The final highlight, actually it was the first one of the day, for me was ___'s (I don't recall the Head-Fi username) portable rig with the AK120, Vorzüge Pure II amplifier, and HD650. We had a mini/portable meet on the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the stack sounded next to my iPod 5G, FiiO line-out dock, and JDS Labs C5D stack. I didn't get a chance to compare the two amps individually on a rig with the same DAC though, so I can't say for sure what part of ___'s rig sounded awesome. I didn't get a chance to hear the AK120 by itself either, but from the brief time I used it on the ferry, I though the user interface was rather smooth and fluid compared to barra's DX50 when I met with him a couple months ago.



And some miscellaneous photos that I took:



















^ The table I was set-up at (lots of cables, hahaha)


I'll upload and post the video footage I took at a later time. I've got to do some video editing and binaural audio-video splicing.
Edited by miceblue - 4/27/14 at 9:23pm
post #13 of 36

Ummm Miceblue, Cracks and Stax. The other way not so good LOL. Except on shipping day I was told... Stacks of Cracks....... Starting the day of the meet having breakfast with M2man and Curbfeeler at Easy Street records. Catching a ferry with no hold up and making it to Bottleheadquarters quite effortless compared to making the trip in August.

This meet was the best in gear at Bottlehead. But from the last meet in January Seattle Headfiers made a group buy of Stax gear and didn't tell me....:)

Besides the killer gear it was great the VAN CAN crew showed up, Girls Generation and posse......

The set up upstairs of all the Bottlehead gear is a sight to see....... Nicer to hear. You see the pictures, it is not the same, in person just a great experience.

There was prototype stuff for all to see at meet eyes only.

Headfiers that made it to meets like from years ago made it to this one...CoughMarkjCough and one I have to look up handle.

One thing I really really thought was great to see is a father and son came in to see and listen to what was going on. the kid was not older than 10, but he listened to the gear as much as his dad. To me that is the great stuff that happens at meets.

Will post more later Im beat had to get up at 430 and go to work this morning.

post #14 of 36


Great fun at a great meet. Many thanks to the Bottlehead hosts and Gil.

Stax-O-Rama!

A special shout to Patrick (? apology and please correct me if I erred with your name) for the chance to sink into the Sigmas, also for the extended time a/b-ing my 407s to several other Lambdas. (Concluding that the 404s suit my digital front end perfectly, so I'll be seeking a pair).

Andrew's Ember was really cool.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamaster View Post

Ok,I will start with the bad. We were very excited about AKG K812. K812 did sound good but that was it. It did not impress me at all, it can do some nice tight bass but did not go deep enough, the vocal is kind dry, and sound staging is average, certainly is not good at this price range. K812 is VERY comfortable to wear. HD800 on other hand sound much better compare to K812, of course, it is not really a fair comparison since the HD800 was well broke-in and had a after market cable to smooth out the sound. The K812 had a very skinny looking stock cable and we did not know how many hours it logged-in. The comparison was done with Bottlehead Mainline amp with volume left untouched. The mainline does everything right with the HD800 but not so hot with the AKG. I fully aware AKG is rated at 36 Ohm, and I did try both low and high gain with Mainline. As soon as switched from K812 to HD800, I feel the music started to flow again in a stress-free fashion.
Ah, I didn't get a chance to listen to the K 812 either. Coming from the K 701, I would have like to hear what AKG did to their newer line of headphones. I just read the review Tyll posted at Innerfidelity and it looks like he was disappointed with the K 812 as a whole as well.
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/akg-k812-professional-reference-headphone

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG POPPA View Post

Ummm Miceblue, Cracks and Stax. The other way not so good LOL. Except on shipping day I was told... Stacks of Cracks....... Starting the day of the meet having breakfast with M2man and Curbfeeler at Easy Street records. Catching a ferry with no hold up and making it to Bottleheadquarters quite effortless compared to making the trip in August.
This meet was the best in gear at Bottlehead. But from the last meet in January Seattle Headfiers made a group buy of Stax gear and didn't tell me....smily_headphones1.gif
Besides the killer gear it was great the VAN CAN crew showed up, Girls Generation and posse......
The set up upstairs of all the Bottlehead gear is a sight to see....... Nicer to hear. You see the pictures, it is not the same, in person just a great experience.
There was prototype stuff for all to see at meet eyes only.
Headfiers that made it to meets like from years ago made it to this one...CoughMarkjCough and one I have to look up handle.
One thing I really really thought was great to see is a father and son came in to see and listen to what was going on. the kid was not older than 10, but he listened to the gear as much as his dad. To me that is the great stuff that happens at meets.
Will post more later Im beat had to get up at 430 and go to work this morning.
Oh whoops! Nice catch. I wasn't even thinking of that when typing up my post. XD
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