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NYC Sony Qualia meet TAKE #2

post #1 of 112
Thread Starter 
It was awesome but I need a rest since breaking my back carrying the Singlepower Supra. meech broke his carryon luggage's wheel from carrying the Singlepower Maestro ZR. Those are some heavy beasts. I'll post my thoughts later.

Who's missing a Norah Jones CD?
post #2 of 112
Ditto . . . tote that barge, lift that bale -- Lug-and-schlep. Bozebuttons must be a living dynamo. 7 or 8 boxes of gear, loads of setup and takedown -- and he seems to take it all in stride with nary a whimper! Kudos to his and everyone's contributions -- and to Josh Kim of Qualia for his patientce, forebearance and genuine interest in our pursuits.

I definitely need sustenance and rest (not much sleep this weekend), and time to let so many impressions simmer and sort themselves out before I dare volunteer any remarks -- but it was a very rewarding experience with lots of different opinions and tastes participating. Must pull the shades now and chill.
post #3 of 112
Cant wait for all the opinions to start coming in!!
post #4 of 112
After a discussion at the meet about power supplies, lan now has my Solo to mod the stock PSU-1 so it can do right by the modded Solo. I'll leave impressions of this amp to the others so I won't be tooting my own horn.

That CD isn't mine, but I have a feeling my No Doubt:Tragic Kingdom is in BozeButton's SACD1000. PM'd him already - it gives him a good chance to check it out tho, I love that CD, especially Don't Speak on track 10 - it was Killer with the Qualia 010 and the K1000 and the K501 on my Pinkie/Tushi combo. That track also was great with the SACD1000/Melos/RKV/K1000 combo too.

The HP-1 was a KILLER GRADO. I want it so bad. The PS-1, believe it or not, was TOO bassy for me. And I'm a basshead. Yow. Darth Grado. "Scream" by Michael Jackson through the PS-1 would scare my child.

My Ferrington Guitar Sampler CD from this Coffeetable book ended up having some gems on it for reference work, who knew? For an acoustic, simple setup, track 6 by Stephen Bishop was hard to beat.

For a complex track, Michael Jackson actually did very well showing some strengths of soundstaging. Don't laugh. Put on "Black or White" - the imaging was almost Binaural in nature.

lan's DI/O setup to use the Toshiba's digital out was A/B's with the analog out of the swenson mod. I really liked the bass in the analog mode and the midrange and separation in the digital mode. Also, the analog was more forgiving of "hot" recordings - the Boulder modded ART DI/O had no tolerance for them and would distort and spit out badly recorded tracks.

The Toshiba really benefitted from the burn in time - it was good to hear other people's opinion on it since I've been listening to the gradual improvements. The Solo should be fully burned in in a few weeks - and since new caps are going to be put in the PSU-1 it will take a bit longer to burn in.

Oh yes, at the end of the meet, I heard a Sennheiser for the first time (I don't count the 280) - the HD650 with Silver Dragon cable. what veil? Don't worry folks I won't betray Grado, but having a 650 as a change of pace to the MS-2 would suit me just fine. The K1000 is also an intriguing next can to own, although its truly open nature would drive my wife (and me!) quite batty.

Sovkiller brought his PPA with the CD3ks - shame I didn't have time to listen to that rig compared to my Solo. I didn't hear ANY of the awesome tube offerings there today from Singlepower or Cary either lol. (btw from hearsay i hear people say the Cary amp was a good match for the Qualia.) I pretty much started with the uber-modded Melos that Bozebuttons brought, and I thought "um, end of game. I'm spoiled." then went back to my rig to find some synergistic moments with the various headphones at hand (surprise, the K501 is really a great can with the Solo, Pinik Floyd was right. I didn't like that can on first listen last month, but today it really brought a realistic presentation with the Pinkie/Tushi...I'll stop here since tooting my own horn is imminent.)

Edit - Josh was an excellent host as usual - I found out that due to his position at Sony (not the PR guy) he can't post on head-fi to share his impressions. So if you are reading this Josh - you're a class act, and feel free to come to the big Fall Meet, bearing Qualia gifts or not!
post #5 of 112
Just finished putting my system back together,Listenig to Jahns NO Doubt cd he left in my Stan Warren modded Philips Sacd 1000.
This was a great mini-meet,Nice to meet Sovkiller & his brother,Glad Maniacsmile and Meech joined us this time.
I was trying to concentrate on listening to the 010s this time,and I spent most of my listening time with them.
I had the Cary & the Supra hooked up to the Meitner gear.Tubes in the Supra where tubes Mikhail recommended to use with the 010s Tungsol RP for the driver &6sn7wgt in the output. Which I later swaped out sylVT231s at the end of the meet,but didn't listen to it. I noticed a hum from the Supra when I got it the other Day & assumed it was because I had it on top of My exactpower power conditioner,When I Picked up the Supra away from the Exactpower unit the Hum was gone so I looked no further. Mistake on my part, The Hum was there at the meet and the exactpower unit was home.Turns out I checked out the Supra when I got home to see the cause,
The culprit was the Tungsol RP causing the Hum.I am listening to the Supra with all Sylvania VT231s ,Stone Quite Now,
I bring this up because most listening at the meet was done with the Tungsol in place so the sound of the supra was compromised so bear that in mind with impressions given.
That out of the way I am still up in the air about the 010s,I thought the Cary did the best job with them,It fleshed them out better,extended the soundstage,They where sounding like top flight headphones,bass was better.
But to be honest switching to the R10s,everything just sounded more right.
The 010s do somethings better then the R10s,but overall I feel the R10s have the upper hand.This is a meet impression,I would like to spend more time with the 010s at home as they are so differant sounding.
I listened to meeches Hd650/mobuis with his Sacd mods 555es Meastro zr
setup,At first listen the 650s sounded very boomy and loose on the bottom end.Later on I went back to his system and gave it another listen.
He had a differant Cd on,Forgot the name ,he told me.The 650s sounded really good this time,everything was there from top to bottom,Meeches system was singing. I had 2 pairs of 600s and even had the Cardas cable for them,I tought they where OK but eventually sold them both.
I think The 650s are an improvement over the 600s,I will have to pickup a pair in the future.
Its been a long day for me,I will post more later on.
post #6 of 112
Anyone take pics this time?

Can't wait to hear your further impressions.

post #7 of 112

Pics to come...

I took some pics. I just imported them into my PowerBook and will try to adjust them tomorrow and start uploading them. I couldn't spend enough time shooting, because the raison d'etre was principally to hear the Qualias and that is how I spent most of my time. I'm a bit unhappy I didn't get to hear the CD3000s or the HP1 with the same equipment, but it was a (not so) mini-meet and it seems everyone did have to confine their focus somewhat according to their preferences.

I'm very very satisfied with the extent of exposure I got to the Qualias with an interesting selection of components! I hope I (we) can hear the Q010 with the Singlepower Supra (and whatever other marvelous amps materialize for the Q010) when the problems have been corrected and it can perform optimally.

It's sad that Sony hasn't yet come up with a version of the Q007 (or other) amp that they can send to the U.S. to present the Q010 as they intended. Josh said the amp is presented as a complete system with speakers carved of an exotic wood that Sony fears would warp badly if shipped here. Nonetheless, they've stranded the Q010 as an orphan that -- in the absence of the splended gear our group pulled together to exact some great performances from the phones -- must subsist on a sorry diet of miserably amped headphone-out signal. Poor things.

If my work load tomorrow isn't too pressured I'll at least get some select photos online. If the studio is as frenetic as usual, I'll let you know.

Best Regards.
post #8 of 112
I agree - the fact that Sony is just powering the 010 through the SACD's headphone out is a shame. I'd love to hear a tube amp with their source - imagine a Cary amp sitting on top of that 9000 - that will draw a crowd for sure! Of course I can see why Sony wouldn't do it, because then some folks might think the amp is necessary to use the 010 (which it may be, lol) or even just want the amp, which Sony doesn't sell. Ah well. I didn't take pictures this time around because the camera is with my sister at the moment, and the vidcam was doing Menu duties for the 3960.
post #9 of 112
I'm still trying to organize my ideas.....I had not too much time to listen everything in details as I would like, but pretty much I tried for a good period of time, with a few tracks I'm really used to and I know very well, the new Qualia, "the King" R-10, and tried also but not for long time, but time enough to conclude my preferences, the PS-1, HP-1000, HD650 + Zu Mobious, and K-1000, pretty much a little of everything. I hate to post impressions based on a meeting, in which you've tried the different setups only for a few minutes, but anyway we have to say something, and as you are asking for I go, more to come....I can't talk too much of what I liked and why I liked it, I need more time to form a more detailed opinion, but for sure I know what I didn't like, and what is not my cup of tea at all….

Take my comments as a grain of salt, and please do not take anything personal. All the members there were extremely nice, and I felt really comfortable there, and honestly I liked all of the members in that room, and I have to thank everybody for making this little session possible, (special mention to Tom, you guys have to agree with me, that carrying 7 boxes or gear, just for alistening session of an hour or two, is not an easy task, including two of the size of a computer monitor)…..I felt like in a big family, and I do not want any member to feel bad, or uncomfortable with any of my posts, being the owners of this gear I will mention. Regarding that meeting, it was a pleasant experience for me, and I do not want to ruin that pleasure with any hard feeling later…..OK? Anyway preferences is all about....and what is good for me, for others may not, and in this case, nobody is wrong, just that we all have different tastes…period...and as usual read my disclaimer, all is IMO, to my ears...etc.....

IMHO, and IMHE the king of the day was the legendary any setup I tried it, it was really euphonic and seductive, extremely musical....maybe all the amps there were good for it, but in all cases it really shined, whomever have said, that the R-10 is lacking on the bass dpt, has never heard the R-10 in a good setup…period….I even feel it with the same bass amount as my CD3000. IME it is ike a CD3000 on steroids, a little better on eveything, but similar signature (just a quick note before I forgot, the Supra there had a hum, whomever the owner is, please check that, don't know if the rest of the members noticed that, but my brother and me, both, noticed it, and it was noticeable with the R-10 and with the CD3000)……

About the other tube monsters in the room, and far from trying to make anybody feel bad, I'm trying to make myself feel comfortable. And I know that is not right to blow my own horn, but I don't think I will get any other blow….LOL….So it's me or nobody, I do not recall, many members having heard seriously the two more humble setups, the PPA and the Solo, so I will post my own impressions, about my own setup, kind of horrible, eh???.....(Of course the main goal on that meeting was to hear the Qualia, not a PPA or a Solo amp)

Call this meet impressions, you know what I mean, it was my first, and I was like trying to hear everything at the same time, OK?

Well, honestly I was expecting to be absolutely blown away by the Cary, Maestro, modded Melos, or the new Supra, given the difference in price tag, and the praises here in headfi, but sorry guys, today, this didn't happen at all. They are all very good and darn fine amp, with a wonderful sound, but practically talking, and given the price difference, I think I will keep the PPA forever, to my ears, there was nothing that I noticed I was missing with that humble PPA, while I was listening to any of these "Giants" killers there, even while them, IIRC, were hooked to a very good external DAC, while the PPA was hooked directly to the SCD-XA9000ES, so maybe with a better source, my opinion will be even more favorable toward the PPA (IIRC the Solo was using an external DAC as well) Don't take me wrong, but my cloth ears were not able to find anything in the sound, that justified spending that huge difference in price, over what I paid for my humble PPA, on any of them. Again, I can be wrong, and maybe in a more extended listening session probably my opinion will be different…and it will be only that, at the end, my opinion, OK? I know that probably I may need more time, and a more extended listening period of time, but the PPA sounded to me, in that short comparison, at the same level of all of the amps in that room, again take this comment as a grain of salt (I hate to say that, as it is my amp, and I love it, but the love is not what is talking now, believe me) and for sure I need more time for a better and more complete evaluation of all of them…

BTW the Solo really impressed me, I was expecting a more humble amp, the sound is really nice, at the level of any other more expensive amp, even it was able to drive the K-1000 to a decent level, pretty good…..two thumbs up for Pinky….good job man...

I heard for a few minutes the SR-71, IMO very clear, airy, but too thin sounding, again, you may say that I'm used to the bass boost, but the rest of the amps sounded OK regarding that area to me, and none of them has bassboost, so IMO, this was not the reason. OTOH, comparing this tiny amp, to what was inside that room, the result is pretty obvious to me, at the end it is just an small portable amp, but not my cup of tea at all.

Well now the Qualia our main concern and the pricipal topic here (at least for me)…well honestly as Tom wisely said, the highs are there, the mids are there, the lows are there, but too perfect to be true, and to be good, IMO, there is nothing seductive on it, that screams "buy me", at least not hooked ot any of those setups…...OTOH I don't know if it was only my impression, but I felt it sounded hollow, like listening to the music inside a cave, I hear like reflections, resonances, echoes, I don't know the exact term for that…and it is extremelly weird, because people complained that the CD3000 sounded like that, and I have never noticed that effect before, and the Qualia that is a completelly open back headphone by nature, to my ears had this problem. I don't know but it seems that I had spent too much time with closed cans, and being it an open can, makes the presentation a little different, honestly I prefer the R-10 by a good margin….the construction is Ok to me, but I would like more freedom for adjustments in the headband, and the cable is very similar to the one on the CD3000, at least to the look and touch…

The PS-1 and HP-1000 IMO, and according to my short audition of them, sounded in comparison to the Qualia, R-10, CD3000, and K-1000, dull and bass bloated to my cloth ears, call me nuts if you want….LOL…but I would choose any of the prior mentioned ones over these two Grados any day…...I know that some of you guys love those headphones, and will swear on them, but IMO too heavy (at least the PS-1) and too uncomfortable, and I didn't like the sound of them a little bit. Call them neutral, balanced, natural, whatever you want, but what I heard today, both hooked on a Carlo's modded Melos, PPA, and some other amps, didn't sound natural to me at all, neither…OTOH, I felt a lot more natural, and a lot more musical, the R-10.....Thanks Tom for making my dream possible...LOL...

HD650+Zu Mobious…same impression as I had before of the HD600, I was expecting a huge change with this new HD650, and honestly, IMO the HD650 is an HD600 with a little better bass extension, but I felt it sort of rolled off at the end in both ways, not my cup of tea neither at all…

One thing I must admit today is that I'm pretty satisfied with my humble setup now, I heard some other very good setups, and I noticed that mine is not that bad in comparison, so in the near future, as my budget is not so generous, I will not look for anything else (R-10 appart...LOL... ).
post #10 of 112
Sovkiller it was a pleasure meeting you today, and if anything I think your approach was a great one - focus on one rig, especially one your are familiar with, and use it as your benchmark rig when comparing headphones. In fact, this is the reason why I didn't get the chance to listen to your PPA - I was too tied up in my Solo lol!

By the way, you are right that the Tushi was using a DAC - but that was on input 1 in the Solo. Pinkie had the swenson mod analog signal going directly into input 2. I should have made that clear for people, so they could A/B as they wished. Perhaps only lan and I took advantage of this setup, so I apologize. I would say half the time it was using Input 1 (External DAC) and the other half Input 2 (Analog out). In my mind, the 3960 through the analog out had a pleasant bass I hope you had the chance to enjoy - even without a Bass boost, I can hear bass with the CD3000 with certain tracks. (For the times I need Bass, I can dial in the EQ from the BSR EQ3000 - maybe I'll bring it to the Fall Meet to just annoy folks!) lan considered the swenson signal to be a bit bass bloated compared to the dac signal, but if it's bloat i rather liked it lol.
post #11 of 112
WE needs some pics!!!!!!
post #12 of 112
Peter took a lot of pics, and Josh also took a lot of them with the new Qualia camera, maybe we could get some of them...
post #13 of 112
I actually wonder what happens with those pics Josh took - do they go into the Sony archive or something? BTW that camera was crazy, wasn't it? It really is the smallest digital cam I ever lusted for.

More than 24hrs later, I'm thinking that if I ever sprung the big budget for a top of the line can, that I wouldn't be doing it a disservice with my rig. I really enjoyed the Qualia 010 this time around, and the K1000 as well. All in all, my second mini-meet was a worthwhile venture and I look forward to a different approach next meet - instead of focusing just on my rig, I want to give the big boys a try, like the Singlepowers! Having a second go at the Supra tweaked without the hum will be a good thing to look forward to this Fall.
post #14 of 112
We need comparisons between the 010 and the HD650/zu on meechs amp and the Supra. (did you guys still use the Supra with the bad tube)
post #15 of 112
Originally Posted by tom hankins
We need comparisons between the 010 and the HD650/zu on meechs amp and the Supra. (did you guys still use the Supra with the bad tube)
Unfortunely the Supra had the bad tube in it for most of the meet,Maybe the last 20 minutes when I put all Syl vt231s in the Supra was the bad tube removed & the hum eliminated. Meech was packing up his gear at the time and had to leave early,So he never heard the Supra with the VT231s in it, as it would have been a good comparison since he had all syl vt231s in his Maestro.
Meech & a couple of other members did listen to both on Meeches setup,I only listened to the Hd650s on Meeches setup,but not the 010s.
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