☯️ Cavalli Audio presents The Source AV’s Summer Series 2016
Jun 17, 2016 at 5:10 PM Post #241 of 442

Bones1885

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I've created a beryllium-tungsten alloy.


 
Oh man can't wait to hear that pairing! Bet they sound heavenly! 
Are there any pairings that sound amazing with either the Elear or Utopia? 
 
Jun 18, 2016 at 7:04 AM Post #242 of 442

mikemercer

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Oh man can't wait to hear that pairing! Bet they sound heavenly! 
Are there any pairings that sound amazing with either the Elear or Utopia? 

IM PUMPED TO HEAR THAT TOO!
 
missed tonight
be there today!!
 
and, @warrenpchi
where's my Cavalli Portable (Spark proto)???? 
cool.gif
 
I'm missing it man!!!!
 
Jun 18, 2016 at 2:58 PM Post #243 of 442

DGCFAD

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As a writer I have been constantly told I should do more social media. The problem with that is I am old. How old you ask? I come from the world of patch bay sequencers. I can hear you scratching your head saying “Huh?” They were a very primitive form of computer that you programed by connecting patch cables (much like an old fashion telephone exchange) to create the sequence for a musical composition. They were used by the old greats like Keith Emerson, Larry Fast and Isao Tomita to create complex orchestral pieces using analog synthesizers. My introduction to computers was building a flipflop in high school electronics class. For those who don't know what a flipflop is, it is a 1 bit processor. We used it to randomly output a yes or no via a small neon bulb to create a sort of magic eight ball. I was already in my forties when AOL came into being with the first “chat rooms” (though technically, the first blogs go back to Usenet) and I didn't quite get it then. The idea of a blog did interest me, I even set up a band Myspace page at one point, but I never did much with it. Even now, I limit my Facebook and Head-fi time to about an hour a day. What this is leading up to, is yesterday I went to a press event at The Source AV in Torrance CA, the launch of three new Focal Headphones, which is not really news as the announcements and initial reviews were released on Wednesday. So as I'm not covering the event for any publication, I thought I would post my impressions here.
 
To tell the truth, in many ways, I would rather have gone today to the public event and hung out with all the head-fiers, but there were some advantages to the press preview, mainly being able to listen undisturbed in relative quiet, because, like the HE-1000s or the Abyss, these do nothing at all to block out external sound. In fact, throughout much of my listening test, I could hear music coming from other listeners across the room. (I cringe to think how disturbing I must have been to them as I listen to a fairly eclectic mix of music at fairly high volumes.)
 
There was an excellent choice of electronics available for the audition, in fact, there were more amplifiers than headphones to accompany them. Warren Chi was there with the Cavalli Liquid Tungsten. A pleasant surprise was Peter James from HeadAmp. There was of course Questyle Audio with Bruce Ball and Alden Zhao (all the way from China), and Jason Lord's (The Source AV) extensive inventory of headphone amplifiers. Representing Focal JM Lab there was Nicolas Debard arrived from France (I guess making him an alien). To round out the evening there was the usual suspects, Brian Hunter and Dan Browdy of Audiohead as well as Maurice Washington (Moedawg140) from Head-fi.
 
I first listened to the Utopias ($4K) on the amazing HeadAmp GS-Xmk2 dual chassis dual mono amplifier pushed by an AURALiC VEGA using my Questyle QP1 as a digital source (it has my demo music list on it), and the sound was impressive. The tonal balance was excellent, and the speed and precision were very good, as well as the dynamic range. I noticed some anomalies in the low bass, so I connected to the QP1 directly to verify if it was in the file or the equipment, and the sound stayed wonderful. Though I had to switch to High Gain, there seemed to be no danger of running out of power to drive the Focals.
 
I moved over to the Questyle Audio Gold reference system (CAS192D Golden DAC, CMA800P Golden Preamp, and two CMA800R Golden balanced mono block headphone amplifiers) and the presentation was stunning, with a huge sound stage, and deep natural bass. Jason was kind enough to have his people break out a pair of STAX SR-009s for me to compare (using my QP1 as a preamp to a Cavalli Liquid Lightning). The tonal balance not to mention the build quality was significantly better on the Utopias, but the electrostats still had a slight edge on speed.
 
I then put on the Focal Elears and listened to the Liquid Tungsten, and immediately noticed something off. The subsonic bass (below 80 Hz) was way over emphasized, so I moved over to the Questyle Audio CMA600i DAC/headphone amplifier and the sound became much more controlled and musical. Finally moving over to the the “Gold Stack”, I was reminded how much difference electronics can make. As a last comparison, I moved back to the Utopias, where it occurred to me that the old saw remains true that the speaker creates your sound, and everything else is just refinement. While the Focal Elear is a very good headphone for $1,000 there is quite a lot of competition in that bracket, and if I had a $5,000 budget for a headphone rig, I would definitely choose the Focal Utopia with the QP1R over the Elear with a $4,000 front end.
 

 
Alden Zhao enjoying the Focal Utopia headphones on the Questyle Audio “Gold Stack” reference system, with Bruce Ball.
 

 
Close up of the Focal Utopia headphones
 

Maurice Washington
 

 
Andre listening to his phone next to the Cavalli Tungsten
 
 
 
Jun 18, 2016 at 11:52 PM Post #244 of 442

mikemercer

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  As a writer I have been constantly told I should do more social media. The problem with that is I am old. How old you ask? I come from the world of patch bay sequencers. I can hear you scratching your head saying “Huh?” They were a very primitive form of computer that you programed by connecting patch cables (much like an old fashion telephone exchange) to create the sequence for a musical composition. They were used by the old greats like Keith Emerson, Larry Fast and Isao Tomita to create complex orchestral pieces using analog synthesizers. My introduction to computers was building a flipflop in high school electronics class. For those who don't know what a flipflop is, it is a 1 bit processor. We used it to randomly output a yes or no via a small neon bulb to create a sort of magic eight ball. I was already in my forties when AOL came into being with the first “chat rooms” (though technically, the first blogs go back to Usenet) and I didn't quite get it then. The idea of a blog did interest me, I even set up a band Myspace page at one point, but I never did much with it. Even now, I limit my Facebook and Head-fi time to about an hour a day. What this is leading up to, is yesterday I went to a press event at The Source AV in Torrance CA, the launch of three new Focal Headphones, which is not really news as the announcements and initial reviews were released on Wednesday. So as I'm not covering the event for any publication, I thought I would post my impressions here.
 
To tell the truth, in many ways, I would rather have gone today to the public event and hung out with all the head-fiers, but there were some advantages to the press preview, mainly being able to listen undisturbed in relative quiet, because, like the HE-1000s or the Abyss, these do nothing at all to block out external sound. In fact, throughout much of my listening test, I could hear music coming from other listeners across the room. (I cringe to think how disturbing I must have been to them as I listen to a fairly eclectic mix of music at fairly high volumes.)
 
There was an excellent choice of electronics available for the audition, in fact, there were more amplifiers than headphones to accompany them. Warren Chi was there with the Cavalli Liquid Tungsten. A pleasant surprise was Peter James from HeadAmp. There was of course Questyle Audio with Bruce Ball and Alden Zhao (all the way from China), and Jason Lord's (The Source AV) extensive inventory of headphone amplifiers. Representing Focal JM Lab there was Nicolas Debard arrived from France (I guess making him an alien). To round out the evening there was the usual suspects, Brian Hunter and Dan Browdy of Audiohead as well as Maurice Washington (Moedawg140) from Head-fi.
 
I first listened to the Utopias ($4K) on the amazing HeadAmp GS-Xmk2 dual chassis dual mono amplifier pushed by an AURALiC VEGA using my Questyle QP1 as a digital source (it has my demo music list on it), and the sound was impressive. The tonal balance was excellent, and the speed and precision were very good, as well as the dynamic range. I noticed some anomalies in the low bass, so I connected to the QP1 directly to verify if it was in the file or the equipment, and the sound stayed wonderful. Though I had to switch to High Gain, there seemed to be no danger of running out of power to drive the Focals.
 
I moved over to the Questyle Audio Gold reference system (CAS192D Golden DAC, CMA800P Golden Preamp, and two CMA800R Golden balanced mono block headphone amplifiers) and the presentation was stunning, with a huge sound stage, and deep natural bass. Jason was kind enough to have his people break out a pair of STAX SR-009s for me to compare (using my QP1 as a preamp to a Cavalli Liquid Lightning). The tonal balance not to mention the build quality was significantly better on the Utopias, but the electrostats still had a slight edge on speed.
 
I then put on the Focal Elears and listened to the Liquid Tungsten, and immediately noticed something off. The subsonic bass (below 80 Hz) was way over emphasized, so I moved over to the Questyle Audio CMA600i DAC/headphone amplifier and the sound became much more controlled and musical. Finally moving over to the the “Gold Stack”, I was reminded how much difference electronics can make. As a last comparison, I moved back to the Utopias, where it occurred to me that the old saw remains true that the speaker creates your sound, and everything else is just refinement. While the Focal Elear is a very good headphone for $1,000 there is quite a lot of competition in that bracket, and if I had a $5,000 budget for a headphone rig, I would definitely choose the Focal Utopia with the QP1R over the Elear with a $4,000 front end.
 

 
Alden Zhao enjoying the Focal Utopia headphones on the Questyle Audio “Gold Stack” reference system, with Bruce Ball.
 

 
Close up of the Focal Utopia headphones
 

Maurice Washington
 

 
Andre listening to his phone next to the Cavalli Tungsten
 
 

AWESOME write-up :)
 
Jun 19, 2016 at 12:35 AM Post #245 of 442
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As a writer I have been constantly told I should do more social media. The problem with that is I am old. How old you ask? I come from the world of patch bay sequencers. I can hear you scratching your head saying “Huh?” They were a very primitive form of computer that you programed by connecting patch cables (much like an old fashion telephone exchange) to create the sequence for a musical composition. They were used by the old greats like Keith Emerson, Larry Fast and Isao Tomita to create complex orchestral pieces using analog synthesizers. My introduction to computers was building a flipflop in high school electronics class. For those who don't know what a flipflop is, it is a 1 bit processor. We used it to randomly output a yes or no via a small neon bulb to create a sort of magic eight ball. I was already in my forties when AOL came into being with the first “chat rooms” (though technically, the first blogs go back to Usenet) and I didn't quite get it then. The idea of a blog did interest me, I even set up a band Myspace page at one point, but I never did much with it. Even now, I limit my Facebook and Head-fi time to about an hour a day. What this is leading up to, is yesterday I went to a press event at The Source AV in Torrance CA, the launch of three new Focal Headphones, which is not really news as the announcements and initial reviews were released on Wednesday. So as I'm not covering the event for any publication, I thought I would post my impressions here.


 


To tell the truth, in many ways, I would rather have gone today to the public event and hung out with all the head-fiers, but there were some advantages to the press preview, mainly being able to listen undisturbed in relative quiet, because, like the HE-1000s or the Abyss, these do nothing at all to block out external sound. In fact, throughout much of my listening test, I could hear music coming from other listeners across the room. (I cringe to think how disturbing I must have been to them as I listen to a fairly eclectic mix of music at fairly high volumes.)


 


There was an excellent choice of electronics available for the audition, in fact, there were more amplifiers than headphones to accompany them. Warren Chi was there with the Cavalli Liquid Tungsten. A pleasant surprise was Peter James from HeadAmp. There was of course Questyle Audio with Bruce Ball and Alden Zhao (all the way from China), and Jason Lord's (The Source AV) extensive inventory of headphone amplifiers. Representing Focal JM Lab there was Nicolas Debard arrived from France (I guess making him an alien). To round out the evening there was the usual suspects, Brian Hunter and Dan Browdy of Audiohead as well as Maurice Washington (Moedawg140) from Head-fi.


 


I first listened to the Utopias ($4K) on the amazing HeadAmp GS-Xmk2 dual chassis dual mono amplifier pushed by an AURALiC VEGA using my Questyle QP1 as a digital source (it has my demo music list on it), and the sound was impressive. The tonal balance was excellent, and the speed and precision were very good, as well as the dynamic range. I noticed some anomalies in the low bass, so I connected to the QP1 directly to verify if it was in the file or the equipment, and the sound stayed wonderful. Though I had to switch to High Gain, there seemed to be no danger of running out of power to drive the Focals.


 


I moved over to the Questyle Audio Gold reference system (CAS192D Golden DAC, CMA800P Golden Preamp, and two CMA800R Golden balanced mono block headphone amplifiers) and the presentation was stunning, with a huge sound stage, and deep natural bass. Jason was kind enough to have his people break out a pair of STAX SR-009s for me to compare (using my QP1 as a preamp to a Cavalli Liquid Lightning). The tonal balance not to mention the build quality was significantly better on the Utopias, but the electrostats still had a slight edge on speed.


 


I then put on the Focal Elears and listened to the Liquid Tungsten, and immediately noticed something off. The subsonic bass (below 80 Hz) was way over emphasized, so I moved over to the Questyle Audio CMA600i DAC/headphone amplifier and the sound became much more controlled and musical. Finally moving over to the the “Gold Stack”, I was reminded how much difference electronics can make. As a last comparison, I moved back to the Utopias, where it occurred to me that the old saw remains true that the speaker creates your sound, and everything else is just refinement. While the Focal Elear is a very good headphone for $1,000 there is quite a lot of competition in that bracket, and if I had a $5,000 budget for a headphone rig, I would definitely choose the Focal Utopia with the QP1R over the Elear with a $4,000 front end.


 







Alden Zhao enjoying the Focal Utopia headphones on the Questyle Audio “Gold Stack” reference system, with Bruce Ball.


 







Close up of the Focal Utopia headphones


 






Maurice Washington


 







Andre listening to his phone next to the Cavalli Tungsten


 


 
Thx Gary, it's a fair impression with fair acknowledgments. I'm not 100% in agreement but your opinion, (we're close) unlike others is diligent and written from a good close listen and good expertise.
 
The Source AV TSAVJason Stay updated on The Source AV at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com./pages/The-Source-AV-Design-Group/153623164648713 http://www.twitter.com/TheSourceAV http://www.instagram.com/Thesourceavdesign http://thesourceav.com/ Products@TheSourceAV.com
Jun 19, 2016 at 1:03 AM Post #246 of 442

mikemercer

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I'll be writing up the event at OccupyHifi late-night tonight! But of course I wanna drop some impressions in here as well. 
 
GREAT job fellas!!
 
This was a treat indeed: Hearing new headphone offerings from Focal - whose loudspeakers have always sounded, to me, like AMAZING HI-FI. Their bass always slams with gestalt, but its controlled. The mids and highs catch every audiophile-buzzword in my brain, and their transient attack and speed have been very impressive too. They just don't grab me emotively (in the gut). I haven't connected to music on a soul-level through em yet - but: 
 
I was blown away by their Grand Utopias when I was hired by Nordost Cables to help with a presentation. Roy Gregory and I hung out afterwards and listened to those babies - and I have to say that time, that time I got lost in the music! It was just music in a room. The loudspeakers disappeared into the room - so I was anxious to hear these cans - and unfortunately had to miss my opportunity to hear em' yesterday, and been so slammed I forgot about last night!! But - today was a BLAST. 
Here are some pix - Further Impression's comin'::::
 

Loved walkin' into the Meet-like environment in this room! GREAT job moving all those two-channel systems outta there, and getting the tables in the same room. 

I ALWAYS listen to Gary if I hear about a combo he digs - and he's never failed me! The Utopia + Questyle Gold Edition - as a System was my FAVE of the day by far!
As I mentioned above when mentioning their speakers: Their attack and transient speed have always astounded me - and the Utopia's FAST AS F___! That was impressive, especially w/ Depeche Modes Violater. They had a spectacularly airy soundstage, so dimensionality (space between instruments/triggered sounds, etc...) was superbly executed. More thoughts to come - but an engrossing experience FO SHO!  4K? I really need more time w/ them to know how I feel about that.

and I LOVED hearin' em on one of my personal top 3 reference desktop amps!!!  The MAGICAL Cavalli LAu.
The separation and imaging were sublime. The AXIOS seems to serve em well - and hearing these driven via dual XLR (hmmm... Cavalli's SolidState differential amp) on this AND the Gold Stack was such a cool experience to have at an audio store! It was too much fun - it was like a TEASE. in the best possible way!!!!
 
More to come 
basshead.gif
 
 
Jun 19, 2016 at 2:11 AM Post #247 of 442

chowmein83

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I just wanted to do my own quick write-up of the event that happened today (June 18th, 2016) at The Source AV, centered around the three new headphones by Focal - the Listen, the Elear, and the Utopia.
 
I wasn't sure what to expect before I got there. The best way I can describe what happened today is a mini-CanJam, or a smaller Head-Fi meet. There were several manufacturers (including Cavalli, Questyle, AK, Focal etc.) who had actual people and products there with their own booths, similar to what you would see at a full-blown headphone show.
 
I liked the atmosphere they had going on there. There definitely wasn't any pressure to buy anything. Discussion and chatter were discouraged in the part of the place where the manufacturers set up their listening equipment. That definitely made it easier for people to really listen to the gear.
 
However, that doesn't mean people weren't chatting. Everybody was really friendly and approachable, and really helpful (seriously, thanks to everybody who helped me find the right cables to listen to different stuff!). Special mentions to @Stillhart, who was real friendly and with whom I had a nice chat with, with Alden and Bruce of Questyle for being willing to chat and just being plain friendly, and @shiorisekine at the Cavalli table who helped me find an Elear to listen to so I could compare it to the Ether. Of course, I also have to thank Jason of The Source AV for allowing to use his store so this could even happen.
 
One more special mention that I have to make: Questyle's products. I'm not sure why I always missed their tables at the other audio shows that I have gone to, but when I sat down to listen to their stuff today I was really blown away. Wow, that gold stack of theirs (CAS192D DAC, CMA800P pre-amp, dual CMA800R amps) is really, really good - great tone, great clarity and detail without being harsh, great separation and imaging and it effortlessly drove every headphone I threw at it. Their QP1R DAP was also pretty good as well - it definitely drove the HE1000 the best out of any DAP I've listened to - great controlled bass.
 
Today was pretty great - plenty of friendly people to chat up with, lots of great gear in a relatively good environment to listen to, and there was the free food and drinks (soda and beer). I'm not sure what more I could ask for from something like this.
 
Jun 19, 2016 at 2:35 AM Post #248 of 442

mikemercer

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  I just wanted to do my own quick write-up of the event that happened today (June 18th, 2016) at The Source AV, centered around the three new headphones by Focal - the Listen, the Elear, and the Utopia.
 
I wasn't sure what to expect before I got there. The best way I can describe what happened today is a mini-CanJam, or a smaller Head-Fi meet. There were several manufacturers (including Cavalli, Questyle, AK, Focal etc.) who had actual people and products there with their own booths, similar to what you would see at a full-blown headphone show.
 
I liked the atmosphere they had going on there. There definitely wasn't any pressure to buy anything. Discussion and chatter were discouraged in the part of the place where the manufacturers set up their listening equipment. That definitely made it easier for people to really listen to the gear.
 
However, that doesn't mean people weren't chatting. Everybody was really friendly and approachable, and really helpful (seriously, thanks to everybody who helped me find the right cables to listen to different stuff!). Special mentions to @Stillhart, who was real friendly and with whom I had a nice chat with, with Aiden and Bruce of Questyle for being willing to chat and just being plain friendly, and @shiorisekine at the Cavalli table who helped me find an Elear to listen to so I could compare it to the Ether. Of course, I also have to thank Jason of The Source AV for allowing to use his store so this could even happen.
 
One more special mention that I have to make: Questyle's products. I'm not sure why I always missed their tables at the other audio shows that I have gone to, but when I sat down to listen to their stuff today I was really blown away. Wow, that gold stack of theirs (CAS192D DAC, CMA800P pre-amp, dual CMA800R amps) is really, really good - great tone, great clarity and detail without being harsh, great separation and imaging and it effortlessly drove every headphone I threw at it. Their QP1R DAP was also pretty good as well - it definitely drove the HE1000 the best out of any DAP I've listened to - great controlled bass.
 
Today was pretty great - plenty of friendly people to chat up with, lots of great gear in a relatively good environment to listen to, and there was the free food and drinks (soda and beer). I'm not sure what more I could ask for from something like this.

INDEED!
 
nicely expressed 
beerchug.gif

 
Jun 19, 2016 at 2:08 PM Post #250 of 442

mikemercer

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I realized a MAJOR oversight in my short comments (as some people are apparently reading deeper into my brief words earlier):
 
My time w/ the Focal cans was not long enough to, IMHO, warrant what I would even call a formal "Impression" by customary Head-Fi standards.
They're observations, for anyone that might also think I'm "bashing" them (received a private note about that).
 
I'm actually quite psyched to hear them on my personal reference gear whenever that happens!
 
and I'll have more to offer -
I have notes, just been CRAZED trying to finish music reviews ALL-NIGHT!
Gotta make that paper!
 
So, again: My apologies for not making that clear initially!
 
I have more to add - but I enjoyed them. I remember writing something about not hearing what I would personally feel is a "4Ker" - but that's hardly a "bashing" I think.
 
I preferred the 1K Elear with the time I had!!!
SILKY, dynamic, and an all-around more excitable listen for me. I'm not claiming it to be "more accurate" - that's for sure! The Utopias, for me, I would need to spend time with them in the Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab to reach some kind of conclusion, or, as I stated earlier, a formal Impression!
 
But both were comfy, stylish, light, and I can't wait to hear em w/ DHC leads!
They were great w/ Kimber AXIOS.  I thought the Nordost Heimdall2 headphone lead gave everything "a little too much". It was too shouty for me.
UBER-detailed, but not as engaging. I preferred pacing w/ the AXIOS on both! But, for me, w/ the Heimdall2 - its either usually too much - or spot-on, NO in-between! 
 
Jun 19, 2016 at 11:25 PM Post #252 of 442

Stillhart

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  Sounds like a fun event! I'm sorry I missed it. I'm looking forward to hearing the headphones at a later date. Especially the Elear looks very interesting. And thanks to @Stillhart for a great writeup on the headphones!

 
Well there will be ones to demo at the Source from now on so you can go down any weekday or just wait for the next event in 3 weeks. 
 
And thanks for the kind words; I'm glad you enjoyed it!
 
Jun 20, 2016 at 12:14 AM Post #253 of 442

mikemercer

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I'm really anxious to try the Utopia on my own reference systems every time @Stillhart RAVES!
I enjoyed them - but need time on gear I know - and I bet they're still breakin' in right Dan??

The ELear, for me, wasn't what people would say is "better" - it's not nearly as accurate a set a cans as the Utopias - but it grabbed me. The fullness of its mids, it's silkiness and continuos was sublime.
LOVED it on the Cavalli LAu! One of my Fave references
Psyched to toss em in the Sonic Satori Personal Audio Lab!!!

GREAT TIME AGAIN GENTS!!!!







 
Jun 20, 2016 at 1:36 PM Post #254 of 442

Stillhart

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So I just wanted to post quickly about how great I thought this latest event went.  The turnout was bigger than ever and I think people had a really good time for the most part.  I liked that we tried to keep the talking in the listening area to a minimum and I think we should probably keep that going in upcoming events.
 
And despite the fact that it was a big Focal launch party, we somehow still managed to fill up a table with random headphones that people brought in!  Epic!
 
From a community perspective, I think this event was a huge success.  Hopefully the sponsors feel it was worth their time too because I'm looking forward to more.
 
The next event is going to be all about custom in-ear monitors.  I don't have the final list of who's going to be there but names I've heard mentioned:  Ultimate Ears, JH Audio, Westone, Noble, 64 Audio, Fitear and Empire Ears.  I'm not sure if all of them will be there but those are some of the names I've heard being thrown around.  There will be an audiologist on site to do impressions too.  Oh and I believe Warren is bringing coffee and croissants for this one.  
 
Jun 20, 2016 at 2:05 PM Post #255 of 442

AxelCloris

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The next event is going to be all about custom in-ear monitors.  I don't have the final list of who's going to be there but names I've heard mentioned:  Ultimate Ears, JH Audio, Westone, Noble, 64 Audio. Fitear and Empire Ears.  I'm not sure if all of them will be there but those are some of the names I've heard being thrown around.  There will be an audiologist on site to do impressions too.  Oh and I believe Warren is bringing coffee and croissants for this one.  

 
Man, I'd love to be out there for that. FitEar? They might be in attendance? I was under the impression they don't sell their customs outside of Japan. That MH335DWSR has my interest.
 

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