Folks, this was my first meet, and I had a Great Time!
I apologize for my unexpected early disappearance (more importantly, for my stuff's unexpected early disappearance). At lunch time I got a message that stomach flu had just struck at home, with all its cataclysmic associations, and I HAD to get back, so I packed my stuff in my tiny red FIAT Abarth, turned tail, and retraced the 4 hour drive I had started at 5:00 this same morning! All is OK at home now.
I did manage to (loosely) recreate my "can collection" that I had set up for practice at home and posted a picture of... here it is at ChiUniFi...
A very apt metaphor of this experience for me was found out in the parking lot, where a beautiful black Italian sports car reposed in stately grace, owned by someone who at least doubled my knowledge about headphone audio in 5 min of discussion. So I HAD to position my own (red) Italian sports car next to it, emphasizing the contrast between beginner (me) and Master (him)!
I went with several goals in mind...
1) Hear the Sennheiser HD 800, properly amplified and with source to highlight its capability... done! I really did hear a clear distinction of of "you-are-there" presence never heard on any other headphone. It was already on my shopping list, but I wanted to hear if there was a clear difference with even the best of my own headphones (HiFiMAN HE-500). There was.
2) Hear the Audeze LCD-3, again in best conditions... done! I can now understand the analogy that the Sennheiser is "clinical" -- it is EXACTLY as if you were there... no "signature," no extra bass... all clean glass and mirrored metal to hear. And the LCD-3 has a personality, a warmth! It is the example of why people do not build furniture of glass and metal, but of wood and colors. Absolutely beautiful to hear.
3) Experience the Sony HPA-2 headphone DAC and amplifier... one of the few that actually captures the digital signal from the iPod/iPhone rather than relying on it being converted in the Lightening connector with a DAC and then obtained. Clear improvement in soundstage and presence! It goes on the shopping list too.
4) Hear the Shure SE846 that was scheduled to be there. As I LOVE my Shure SE 535 IEMs, but find them a bit light in the bass, and with SomeGuyDude's recent review suggesting that the Shure SE846 did not simply increase the bass like turning up the knob on an equalizer, but actually made it as though each bass instrument was playing louder.... Not Done. I did not find the Shure SE846 there. Guess I'll (eventually) buy sight-unseen (sound-unheard?)
5) Meet Claritas... done! We had great exchanges comparing our headphones, which were of the same family but not identical.
6) Meet ThePianoMan... not done. Had a number of great conversations on head-fi.org with him. Casualty of my abrupt departure.
7) Meet jude.... DONE! What a wonderful host and leader we have in him... most knowledgeable and free with advice and great to just talk with.
8) Talk with and learn from Ray Samuels, and from jude and him about how he began the crafting of the Emmeline headphone amp (not a goal in advance but an opportunity not to be lost);
9) Sell my AHA (Automated Headphone Auditioner, the black-haired mannequin at the right of my setup mimicking my avatar on the left). Not done, but almost! Its first enthusiast was so excited that she wanted to buy 4 of them, one for each family member, but I only had the one... she wanted all or nothing and I could not give all!
10) Give folks a chance to sample all the way from consumer headphones (Beats, Yamaha) through really-good headphones (HiFiMAN HE-500, Grado PS500). Done!! The variety of IEMs (ranging from the Shure SE 535 through Fidelio L2s and T-PEOS H-200s and beyond) didn't get much play, though.
I think I did a fair job of concentrating on my goals rather than trying to sample everything there. I did suddenly become aware of the Chord Hugo and want to learn more about it, and I was happy to see the novel idea embodied in the decibull IEMs.
Of course, talking to the folks was great! As a newcomer not knowing persons by face, and having put together the lists cross-referencing people and equipment they posted that they planned to bring, I had many conversations with myself of the following nature:
"Hmm... Sennheiser HD 650 at his spot. Lessee... four people were saying they were bringing the 650, which one is he? Oh look, there's a Fostex T50rp as well.... let's go to the other list, equipment by person, and find which of the folks bringing HD650s also have the Fostex... "Oh, Hi, FraGGler!!""
(of course, that was the Engineer in me. A real person would have just walked up, offering his hand, saying, "Hi! I'm John of kayandjohn!" and have gotten a response that included the other's name!)
All in all, a wonderful first meet. Thanks, all, for making it so!
Edited by kayandjohn - 6/21/14 at 6:59pm