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Dallas Meetup - June 1, 2014 - Pictures and Impressions Thread  

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Don't see a thread created for this yet, so I'll kick it off. If you have any thoughts or pictures of the meet to share, please do so here!

post #2 of 50
Thread Starter 

I'll kick it off!



 



Firstly, a big thank you for Nick for never failing to gather the headphone enthusiasts in Dallas. The community is the richer for your presence, and the fatter for all of the wonderful snacks and drinks you provide us.



 



Grados of all shapes and sizes at this meet.



 





 





 





I can see/hear the positives of the Grado house sound - I think if they were my first headphones, the sound signature would be quite addicting. However, as I started in a different camp before working my way up, my impression of the sound signature is similar to what I think of the Audio-Technica house sound - where ATH has a warm tilt to it, Grado has a lively sound. Both are a bit unnatural to my ears, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're bad headphones.



 



I will say that the RS1 was quite acceptable and perhaps the first Grado I've heard that I actually like. The third Grado in the pictures also had a nice sound to it. 



 





Well, isn't this a treat? Maxvla had ECP's latest and greatest, the Black Diamond, at the meet. Paired with the HD 800 and the Matrix Xsabre, this was the highlight for me. Crystal clear and resolving, it was an effortless sound. The amp itself is absolutely gorgeous. Mad props to Chris for his music selection as well - I found a ton of stuff I personally enjoyed and have on my own setup, which made for easy comparisons.



 





 





Austin Audioworks had a new prototype amp they brought to the meet for Head-Fier impressions. Fed by an OPPO player, I plugged in my Enigmas and came away quite impressed. The pairing had a very clean sound - when I relayed my thoughts to the amp designer, he mentioned that he specifically set out to eliminate the feedback issues in the system. I also had some concerns : the BRIGHT power light, the dual 3-pin XLRs vs 4-pin balanced, and the chassis quality. He assured me that the prototype was merely designed for sound, and that all of these issues would be resolved by the time the finalized product came to fruition (which is slated to be sometime next month!). I'm very interested to see and hear the final product.



 





My own personal contribution to the meet - Balanced Enigma fed by the AK240. Was happy to see the Enigma often taken around and tried out on peoples' own setups.



 





AKG Q701. Not a big fan of the AKG's I'd heard to date, I gave this one a shot. Oh, not bad at all. $200? Wow, really pretty good. Would have to spend more time with it to form a final opinion, but at the price I think it's quite nice.



 





Beyer T1. Finally got to cross the last TOTL I hadn't heard yet off my list. Incredibly comfortable headphones. Considering the comfort issues I have in one form or another with some other TOTLs, kudos to Beyer. Meet conditions and a short two song demo later, I came away relatively neutral on these. Sound signature was fairly even keeled to my ears, but it didn't move me with any particular feelings. With most other brands, I can easily form an impression of their TOTL headphone. Fostex - Fun and sexy, Sennheiser - Analytical and detailed, ATH - Warm and inviting, etc etc. With the Beyers I didn't hear anything particular. I somehow came away slightly unsatisfied, but they didn't do anything wrong to incite wrath either.



 





AKG 550 and Senn 600 fed into Matrix doodads, courtesy of Maxvla. Not a big fan of AKG as mentioned, this was my second shot at the 550s and they were still just so-so to my ears. The 600 is still a favorite of mine and sounded great as ever.



 



Good times! Also came away from the meet with a jar of really spicy salsa, so wins all around. 



 



To the gentleman who was interested in the Enigmas - sorry, I completely blanked on your Head-Fi handle after pigging out and driving home. Feel free to contact me on here!


Edited by HideousPride - 6/2/14 at 9:22am
post #3 of 50

Thanks for starting this thread! I had a ton of fun today, and was grateful for getting to hear so many different setups! I'm glad my Grado collection got some good head time, and hope it leads to more people enjoying their sound as much as I do.

 

Some impressions:

- Nick's Decware with the HD800s is incredible. Seriously.

 

- The Austin Audioworks amp, after it's roadside repair was a lot of fun. At first listen, it came off as a bit nasally to me, but as I listened to it, it sounded old fashioned - a lot like being at a live concert. Loud, brash, and energetic from my RS1i, and more confined but still energetic from the LCD-X. Well done!

 

- The Beta amp from the T1 sounded good. The T1 is one of those ultra-transparent headphones that doesn't show off one aspect of the music over another, and while these words may not make it seem like I enjoyed them, believe you me, these are all positives for the combination. It played the music exactly as it was created - nothing more, nothing less. Now, when I plugged in my PS500s, per Nick's instructions, I never thought those particular Grados could seem so bright and airy! The PS500s are definitely the dark Grados, and I've so gotten used to the intimacy from those cans that I didn't think they could be anything but. Pretty crazy.

 

- The ECP (?) Black Diamond and HD800 was another huge highlight for the day for me. Upon first listen, I immediately went to the soundtracks that Chris had on his tablet (which, by the way, jriver's theater mode is sweeeeeeet). It was seriously like listening to Oblivion at the IMAX. The music, soundstage, and presentation were just huge in every way.

- The two Matrix dac/amps sounded great as well, but I think I got spoiled listening to the Black Diamond that I couldn't possibly give the Matrices an unbiased, unsoiled opinion. D;oh.

 

- The HF-2/PS500 sound off was a bit of a surprise to me. I figured they would have sounded exactly the same, but they really didn't. Both are definitely the darker, mid-bassiest of the non xS-1000 Grados, but the HF-2 came off as brighter, airier, and peakier. More like a traditional Grado, whereas the PS-500 sounds like a Grado wearing a velvet, green smoking jacket. I'm super glad we got to do this comparison!

 

- The Enigma's, to me, sounded a lot like the MrSpeakers Alpha Dogs, and I came away with similar impressions from the ADs. They sound great, but the sound signature just isn't for me. To me, the Alpha Dogs and Enigma's have great voices, but I wish they had the LCD 2/3's instrumentation, and I wish the LCD 2/3 had the AD/Enigma's voices. In the end, none of those is really for me, but I do appreciate what they do well.

 

- The Philips Fidelio X1 was a bit of a surprise to me. I haven't ever heard any of the Fidelio line, and like these! Not as crisp as my Grados, but playing M83's Midnight City, they were alive and brought out the electronicy-ness of that music.

 

There are more combinations I listened to, but my brain is fried from buying a new car - oh, did I mention I picked up a new car on Saturday? lolz. And driving all day. Thanks again, everyone, for making it a great meetup. Thanks again Nick for hosting, and putting on some really good food (and, yes, I DO know my fromage!). I'm confident in saying that everyone that showed up had a great time. Now, some pics...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 50

Thanks all for attending! Lots of fun today. My quick 2c:

 

I'll have to eat some of my words about Bottlehead after hearing Bryan's Crack + Speedballed amp. It's actually quite good for the money. I haven't been as impressed with the other Bottlehead kits I've heard and/or built myself... but the Crack + Speedball delivers more bass and lush tubey goodness than I was expecting at this price point. No, it's not quite as magical nor refined as the Decware CSP, but at half the price it's a darn good option for an overachieving headphone rig. Seems like an ideal choice for the HD600/650. HD800 also works well but it won't quite get into the stratosphere. Overall, if you want to build a fun headphone project that actually sounds good, this be the one.

 

O2 DAC/amp + Sony MDRMA900 headphone = Cheap n' good. Once again, O2 finds itself performing way better than it should at this tier. Credit to Maxvla for finding the pair.

 

Black Diamond - Wasn't that into it. Seemed similar to the Bryston BHA-1 using balanced output, but with a slightly excited top end.

 

Rockhopper Audio Beta 22 - A bit brighter this time than I remember from the last meet, but nevertheless clean and authoritative top to bottom. Very good complementary companion for Audeze.

 

Alpha Dogs - Great cans for the cash. Sounded quite nice out of the Concero HP (again, a bit sweet on top but clean) and the... what was it? ICI-8 portable thingy?

 

With the GSX a no-show and the Liquid Glass absent, the Decware CSP2+ with EML 5U4G and Mullard E88CC remained my go-to HD800 reference. Just did everything right. I'll miss it. *sniff*

 

The Austin Head-Fi event will take place next summer, so I'll announce the Dallas 2015 meet sometime after the dates settle in. 

 

I think I bought too many treats! Gotta throw another party tomorrow!

post #5 of 50
I wanted to say thank you to Nick for arranging and hosting the meet today. Both myself and my friend Keith had a great time while we were there. Keith is very new to what I refer to as "real" headphones. Of course I've had to apologize to him for opening his ears and therefore his wallet to the possibilities.
I gave him a set of Grade SR80'S 2 weeks ago... He now has the bug to get others.

I had to leave quickly and much earlier than planned. My wife's grandfather had a stroke so we had to go to the hospital. He is stable but we still have to wait and see how much damage was done.

I was really hoping to check out the A&K 240 as well as Nick's amp and HD800'S. Actually there were several setups I didn't get to check out that I wanted to. I do want to thank my tablemate, the other Brian, who spells his name wrong :P for allowing me more time with his pair of T1's. I was VERY surprised to see how they performed with my little FiiO E18! Oh and my friend is made at me for making him try those out too. They are now on his list as well smily_headphones1.gif

The Ear-Off between my Grado HF-2's and hsubox's PS500 was fun. His description above of them is dead on. I can easily see myself owning both some day.

I'm also thankful for other for posting their pics as I only managed to get one picture taken today. But most of all it was nice to actually meet so many fellow Texan's with the same affliction for this lustful hobby of ours. Maybe next year I can get some time on Nick's beautiful amp with my own pair of T1's.
Edited by MrFaust - 6/1/14 at 9:55pm
post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 

Sorry to hear about your family emergency, hope the grandfather recovers well. If you're local, I've got the AK240/Senn HD 800/Enigma and some other toys you can listen to if you don't want to wait. Shoot me a PM and we can arrange something.

post #7 of 50
Thank you for the kind words and offer. That would be great! I live up here in McKinney and work in Addison. Maybe we can arrange something in the coming weeks.

This is one of the main reasons I enjoy this forum over all the other forums for various interests that I have. The people here are the friendliest and most gracious I've found.
post #8 of 50

Thanks to those of you who took the time to jot down your thoughts. I hadn't even heard of some of the gear used here. Wish I could have made it.

 

HideousPride and hsubox, your comments make me really want to try a pair of T1s. As a decade+ Beyer addict, I'm super tempted to slip back into that realm, but I can't really justify another set of open cans after collecting my new Audeze gear.

post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFaust View Post

Maybe next year I can get some time on Nick's beautiful amp with my own pair of T1's.

 

Glad it was fun! But alas... my Decware CSP2+ is for sale and thus won't be at the next meet unless a local Head-Fi'er picks it up. *hint hint* ;)

post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 
Nick's done a great job with tube rolling on his Decware - I've heard a couple configurations when he went on a tube-buying frenzy and really think he's picked out some of the best when it comes to HD 800 (and other TOTLs like the TH 900) synergy. It does a good job of eliminating some of the harshness in the highs of both headphones I just mentioned and makes for a very pleasant and non-fatiguing listening experience. Probably not your thing if a buyer likes really bright and detailed, but I was fairly tempted to pick it up myself at the meet despite have zero need for it right now.
post #11 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by HideousPride View Post

AKG 550 and Senn 650 fed into Matrix doodads, courtesy of Maxvla. Not a big fan of AKG as mentioned, this was my second shot at the 550s and they were still just so-so to my ears. The 650 is still a favorite of mine and sounded great as ever.

 

Good times! Also came away from the meet with a jar of really spicy salsa, so wins all around. 

 

To the gentleman who was interested in the Enigmas - sorry, I completely blanked on your Head-Fi handle after pigging out and driving home. Feel free to contact me on here!

Are you sure those are HD-650s?  The frame looks like that of the HD-600s.

post #12 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post

Are you sure those are HD-650s?  The frame looks like that of the HD-600s.

 



You're correct sir! Sorry, brain fart on my end after long day. I'll fix it.
post #13 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by HideousPride View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post
 

Are you sure those are HD-650s?  The frame looks like that of the HD-600s.

 



You're correct sir! Sorry, brain fart on my end after long day. I'll fix it.

No worries.  I just realized I'm a huge nerd for even noticing that lmao.  Love the impressions, thx all!

post #14 of 50

Ohh my, I'm on the front page of head-fi!

 

 

Thank you to Nick for creating a really awesome atmosphere for the get together and for the awesome food. It was really a great time and was really nice meeting everyone! I look forward to when there is a meet down here in Austin :)

post #15 of 50

Thanks to Nick and Chris.  Much interesting, new and unique gear to sample.  As I already had a good run a Barry's excellent wile still a prototype headphone amp before the the meet, my most important new experience was listening to the new Oppo headphone amp, the HA-1.  Also loved the PS 500 vs. HF-2 shootout.  As always Nick's extended snack and refreshment offerings rivaled even the best gear.  Thanks also to all who participated by showing up and sharing their kit.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Meets, Get-Togethers, Factory Tours › Head-Fi Meet Impressions, Trade Show Reports, Factory Tours › Dallas Meetup - June 1, 2014 - Pictures and Impressions Thread