It's Japan. Few people have 40 acres and a mule.
It's Japan. Few people have 40 acres and a mule.
Mostly because in Japan most of your commuting time will be spent on trains or bus, and I'm talking about 'hours' here. Portable setups are more efficient than desktop ones.
Here are my pix :-
The day started off beautiful. In case anyone hasn't seen pix of Tokyo, buildings for as far as your eyes can see...but nothing too tall :-
Here's Fujiya's specials for the weekend. By Saturday though most had sold out leaving little left for those who turn up on Sunday :-
One of the 1st stops was to VicJohnAudio's table who invited other Korean cable, IEM and DAC/amp makers along. The black box attached to the Ultrasone Edition 5's is a prototype DAC/Amp John is making.
These tiny little DSD DAC/Amps were first featured last year (but no DSD support back then I think?). Very neat little portable component.
Think the AK240 is expensive? Well better not look at the price of the gold one then :D.
Some of us were invited to the Fostex presentation of the TH-500RP. The lead designer explains about the concept of it, then we have models parading with the headphones and finally we're allowed to demo it.
Hifiman actually had 2 booths in different floors. This one has the new HE-560 (& HE-400i which I didn't take any pix of). I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the HE-560. I do like it quite a bit.
Next to the Hifiman booth though was Bakoon and they were showing their new HDA-5520 portable. It takes 12xAA batteries!! I have to admit even with their demo T50RP's I still didn't know how to appreciate current and preferred the voltage output instead. I was told that maybe I should have tried with an even higher impedance headphones like the HD800s.
At the Jaben desk, there was this hybrid tube amp with no information. Even the maker behind it was a secret.
Meanwhile next to Jaben's table was my favourite Analog Squared Paper by Shikada-san. He has a mini transistor amp :-
Next stop was Unique Melody where they demonstrated their new little gadget. In this case it was a pair of Mentors converted to active (however they can make any pair of earphones you provide to them to active), then plug it to the little black box which has a daughter board that has a USB connection. UM will also provide software that will talk to those components and effectively you can tune your IEM to sound to whatever you like. It's not just playing around with the FR but also delays, timing, etc. It's initially intended for say the recording engineers and according to Stephen Guo and his business partner Sam(my?), is the same way how they tune their models (presumably he meant the Mentors, Miracles, etc.). So now you can do this in your own home. Should you decide that you like a particular signature, you can save the file, give that file and your active IEMs back to UM and they'll change it back to passive with the tuning of your choice in the file (ok, not exact but as close as possible).
Here are the girls from the Monster table. Maybe you'll get to see them in CES 2015 next year :D.
Nothing fancy in the way the AK240 is connected to this SoundDroid Typhoon but if you take a closer look, you'll see another port there (which I didn't take advantage of). It's a 2.5mm balanced headphone out. So this prototype SoundDroid is capable of a fully balanced output! (yes I checked, fully balanced. No phase splitter).
Noble Audio has also finally made an appearance in Japan. Wagnus displayed the Noble IEMs and I have to say I was very very impressed with the Kaiser10's . In fact together with Wagnus reference Proton cable balanced to for the AK240, that combination was seriously very good.
At the Musica Acoustics table, there was an impressive collection of Whiplash Audio cables too. I tried the TWAu AK240 balanced plug with the Tralucent Ref1 (also distributed by Musica Acoustics) and that was also another awesome sounding combination. Hard choice between this and the Noble K10/Wagnus Proton.
Back up to the Jaben table, I was introduced to the Calyx CEO/President. I had some time with the Calyx M. I'd say it's a nice sounding DAP but didn't compare it side by side to the AK240. The UI was better than expected but not as smooth/fluid as the ZX1 or iTouch. The magnetic volume slider is very sensitive in the sense there's little graduation. It's stiff to move (which is probably good so that it won't move in the pocket) but takes a little bit of an effort to slide - so the fear here is that one may suddenly jump up in volume with exerted force.
How I felt when there was so much I wanted to buy but can't :-
Brimar cables were also there but I didn't get a chance to try them out.
Tucked in another room were more desktop and industrial audio products. Here were two desktop amps I tried, Heada and Phasemation. Both were nice but I liked the Phasemation a little more with its Damp dial. Phasemation also makes monoblock tube amps for speakers.
Back to Jaben desk again, this is the Glove Audio by Michael Goodman (CEntrance). This is a neat way to get more out of your AK120. It's a DAC/Amp that takes from the AK120 (or AK100) optical. The DAC is a Sabre although not mentioned which model. I really like the sound out of this device too. The trebles are nice and airy and natural. I'd personally like a little more bass punch (not to say it's bass light but I do like more bass in general).
Then we have very bubbly Tomoe at the Acoustic Revive table.
Back to Musica Acoustic's table, we have Arisa and the HD800s (with Whiplash cables). Dimitri, even after two full days still had lots of energy.
And the VentureCraft folks who have been extremely nice and accommodating to me in my audio journey since 2011. I really like these folks.
The day couldn't have ended better with a beautiful sunset.
There are more larger set ups in some rooms, but its not practical for most exhibitors to ferry the gear to the show as many will be just catching a train.
I didnt take any photos of the computer or larger set ups as they arent so photogenic to me. plus i like portable.
great pics Anakchan ...as always!
I dunno what you've captured here, but I like the design.
Please tell us that it's a DAC/amp intended for use with Android phones?
Oh, and thanks for all the pic's BTW, looks like a good time to me!
It's from a company called Acoustune or something, and they're a HK/China company but the device itself is designed in Japan. They exhibited last year too, but I don't think they're ready for production yet. This model is called the AS1001, I believe. Apparently, the device is designed to capture the analog tube sound, and it might have some sort of analog crossfeed as well, but I'm not sure.
Nice pics guys.
Looks as if the ED-5 will never really catch on, appears that Ultrasone may have made another misstep on that one unfortunately.
What were the overall impressions of the TH-500RP? if anyone would care to elaborate.
Keep the pics and impressions coming if you have them