6/26/05 Pittsburgh/HeadRoom Meet
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Thaddy

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Well, even though we had a small turnout, the meet still turned out pretty good. A big thanks to tkam for getting the room, and also to Tyll for making the long drive to come visit us Pittsburgher's on this hot day. It was a scorcher!

Anyways, before I get into my thoughts, I figured I'd post up some pictures from today:

My PC setup, with my Millet hybrid and HD580's.


My Millet, tkam's M3, and ym SD-3950


tkam's gear...note his modded Denon with balanced outputs



tkam groovin' with some DT880's


Tyll and HammerSandwich sharing the Sennheiser love with the Melos.


Ryuichi checking out the new Millet Hybrid that Tyll brought


Myself enjoying theCardas-recabled DT880's out of my Millet.


Myself and HammerSandwich comparing the balanced and unbalanced HD650's out of the two Max's. This was probably my highlight of the meet...


That's all for now!


Impressions should be up soon!
 
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Tyll Hertsens

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About half way to the meet I realized I didn't have my camera....AAAARRRGGGGHHH! So, sorry guys, no pix from me this time.

First, a big thanks to tkam for providing the space--very generous of you, sir. And another thanks to Thaddy for running out to the bus stop, twice, to pick up and send off Ryuichi.

Yes, this was a small meet, but very satisfying. since I wasn't burried in taking care of HeadRoom business answering questions and what not, I got a good chance to spred out and take in a lot of other folks equipment. I even spent a good bit of time shuttling around with a Desktop Portable to compare with various amps for my own internal reference. It was nice to be able to always A/B against the Desktop Portable.

I very much enjoyed tkam's woodied Grados. They had a lovely smooth and mellow sound. His table of hot rods was impressive and his is the second Dynahi Ihad the chance to play with on the trip. (The first was Drew's). I think this amp is quite nice with a terrific punchy sound and an elegant refinement. Runs hot as heck, though, I suppose you got to keep all those electrons ready to go. A very enjoyable listen. I was not so impressed with his M3 though, and he seemed to agree that it wasn't as good as he'd like either.

Thaddy's set up was sweet. The Millett Hybrid is a fun amp to play with, and his EMU-0404 sound card was easily able to feed it well. His SD-3950 player sounded very good. Scared me at first as I compared its analog out to the Desktop Portable driven by its digital out, on the surface they compared quite well. After a little while you could tell it didn't have the finesse, but it definately got the basics VERY right.

It was nice to hear HammerSandwich's California Audio Labs player into the Melos. This is truly a "blast from the past" system as both companies are now defunct, but it was clearly a highly listenable system.

Ryuichi brought a little Rega amp. I was pretty sceptical as the Creek and Naim amps I've heard were pretty bad and I had mentally lumped this amp in with them. Not so, it was a competent little bugger. We opened it up---or I should say we let it come apart, as he had lost his screws somewhere ---and took a look inside. If I hadn't heard it first I would have been pretty harsh in it's insides: single sided board, fairly cheap parts. But it's sound belied the cheap build quality, and I did enjoy my little listen to this amp.

I thought the HeadRoom stuff was great! But hey, I'm partial. I'll let the other guys post their impressions in that regard.

One thing nice about this meet for me was that we all got a chance to really talk about our gear and play around with each others stuff. You guys may be pretty used to that, but I'm not. I really enjoyed myself, both with the hardware and with the conversation. I'm very much looking forward to meets where I don't have to bring quite as much gear, and can spend more time intensly playing with the hardware and and talking with others.

Thanks, guys, I hope we get the chance to do it again ... if I'm not there, go ahead and start without me.
 
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Shayla

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I was very impressed with most of the gear I heard today. The balanced max sounded like... nothing I've ever heard. The HD650's sounded like they weren't there. I've heard of this happening, but have never experienced it myself. It was just... perfect.

Everything from the bithead to the home amps sounded quite good, and the microstack was probably the most impressive. I'm not sure how the DAC would fare against a 1212m, but I think it would be very, very close.

I had a great time with the guys, and the small number of people made for a very pleasant and memorable first meet. I'm looking forward to another.

BTW Tyll, if you want a roadie for the west coast tour, you have one
Until Augest 29th, anyway.

Michael
 
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Tyll Hertsens

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Hey, man , I might take you up on that, except I do get to drag the whole famn damly on the west coast trip, so your out. Three screaming kids, plus you, plus the same van load of stuff you saw today, might be more than I could take. But thanks for the offer, and thanks for making the trip today. It was fun, wasn't it?
 
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grandenigma1

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blah... summer too busy... cant wait to get back to school and relax


looks like you guys had fun! sorry I couldnt make it! I was busy roasting to death at the shore... fun times!
 
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Thaddy

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The one headphone I really wanted to hear was the HD650's, but man...I had no clue I'd open a can of worms (good worms though!) by listening to the balanced HD650's. There is no other word to describe them besides "speakers". They are like listening to really good speakers. When Hammer and myself were doing the balanced/unbalanced comparisions, we both felt it tough to put our finger on the difference. The balanced HD650's just seemed more engaging, they demand your full attention. If you think you're going to listen to some music while trying to get some work done, forget about it, they'll have none of that!

Besides the drool-fest over the HD650's, I was also very impressed with the Cardas-recabled DT880's. They sounded wonderful out of the unbalanced Max, as well as my Millet Hybrid. However, I didn't like them out of tkam's M3. The sound was too thin and fast for my liking. It reminded me of the AKG K501's, and while they are good cans, I prefer a more full-bodied sound.

I also took this chance to listen to some more Grado's. I think the RS-2's (or were they RS-1's?) were so-so, but no where NEAR worth the asking price. I think it's horrible that Grado uses such cheap materials to build their headphones, and it's unfair to have to spend another $100+ on new pads and headbands just to make them bearable to wear. The 325i's were possibly the most horrid headphones I've heard. Round, uncontrolled bass coupled with a harsh, shreiking midrange caused me to take these off halfway through the song. Sorry Grado guys, I really tried to like these, but I just can't. Ah oh well, to each his own! I'm a Sennheiser guy, and nothing is gonna change that :5800smile:

I wish we could have had more time to check out the amps I brought along from Z-Audio, as I really think they are something special, but we were so busy playing with the balanced setups, as well as tkam Dynahi (which was awesome!).

It was also very interesting talking to Tyll about this thoughts on amp design, as well as the future of Apple. If Tyll is right about Apple and the music industry (as well as categorizing your music collection), then I think it will be an exciting time


Even though this was a small meet, it was nice to see tkam and HammerSandwich again. These guys definately share the passion for our hobby, as they were more than happy to try out any headphone/amp setup that was present.

And Tyll...well, for those of you that haven't met Tyll, I suggest you buy your plane/bus/train tickets now and get to the nearest meet. He is certainly an interesting person, and is really going out of his way to bring all that great gear to your city.

I really wish I could type more right now, but the coffee in my new HeadRoom mug is low, and it's time for a refill!
 
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Shayla

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens
Hey, man , I might take you up on that, except I do get to drag the whole famn damly on the west coast trip, so your out. Three screaming kids, plus you, plus the same van load of stuff you saw today, might be more than I could take. But thanks for the offer, and thanks for making the trip today. It was fun, wasn't it?


Worth a shot


Yes, it was quite fun. I'll do it again next time around.
 
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Jahn

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens

Thaddy's set up was sweet. The Millett Hybrid is a fun amp to play with, and his EMU-0404 sound card was easily able to feed it well. His SD-3950 player sounded very good. Scared me at first as I compared its analog out to the Desktop Portable driven by its digital out, on the surface they compared quite well. After a little while you could tell it didn't have the finesse, but it definately got the basics VERY right.




Finally, an 0404 makes an appearance at a Head-fi meet! I'm glad you liked it Tyll, that's my source and I feel it feeds all the tunes nicely to my rig.

I have a modded "Tushi" Toshiba 3960, and I agree with you - that 3950/60 lacks a bit of finesse (even with mods) from analog but I can't seem to part with it due to its warm and lush presentation. And as a transport I remember it spinning discs for the Headroom Overture DAC with no problemos!
 
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Thaddy

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Tyll got the full treatment too, since my 0404 is modded


One thing I wanted to do was compare the FLAC version of Dark Side of the Moon [Original Master Recording] on my computer to Hammer Sandwiches CD copy. That would have been quite interesting...
 
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tkam

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I'll post my pics tonight so just impressions for now. To start off I want to thank Tyll for coming even though it was a pretty small meet it was great to pick his brain and listen to the new Headroom gear. The Balanced Max is a really really nice amp ( I want one ) and the microstack sounded very good for it's size/price. I really looking forward to hooking up my recently modded denon 2900s balanced outs to the max and using the balanced hd650 it was truly an amazing sound. The suprise of the meet for me were the cardas cabled DT880's. I've never really liked them before but the cardas cable makes a world of difference. The bottom end and lower midrange fill out nicely and the high-end isn't shrill at all anymore.

It was great to see thaddy and hammer again and it was a pleasure to chat with Tyll he's a true enthusiast. I'm pretty sure my never-ending headphone journey is headed to a fully balanced system. My wallet is
but I'm


Pics and more impressions later...
 
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tkam

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tyll Hertsens
I was not so impressed with his M3 though, and he seemed to agree that it wasn't as good as he'd like either.


I've recieved a few questions about this, so just to clarify things a bit. Out of the setup at the meet which was Toshiba 3950 - zu oxyfuel - M3 the M3 sounded a little thin, I'm not sure if it was the toshiba or the zu cables which I believe were brand new. Whatever it was there was no syngery there whatsoever. Actually I've never heard the M3 perform that poorly before. It is a nice amp that is very much on the warm side of things with a full and rich sound.

The AKG 501's NEED a tube amp, they sounded much better that time I heard them out of an Eddie Current HD300. They were very thin out of most of the solid state amps I tried it on.

After getting to listen to pretty much the entire current Grado lineup I can say that I don't like any of them other than the PS-1's. The 325i's are the brightest pair of headphones I've ever heard I couldn't listen to them for more than a few minutes. The RS-1 and RS-2 aren't my cup of tea either, it sounded like Grado was trying to hide their inherent brightness by adding some weird coloration which works well for the mid-range but makes the treble sound really strange.

Pics coming up in a minute need to resize them a bit first...
 
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tkam

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Picture Time...



























 
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Jahn

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Tkam i think that's a very interesting observation - we were both coming from the HP-1000s right? Well, you with the headphile one and me with the SR200 one lol but both had HP-1000 Joe Grado drivers. And we both felt that out of all John Grado's offerings, the one we could stomach (or Ear) was the PS-1. I guess behind all that bass is lurking a pretty monstrous neutral phone. Hmm, professional studio quality indeed!
 
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tkam

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I don't know how neutral the PS-1's are but they don't have that harshness that the rest of the John Grado, Grado's do. It'll be interesting to see how they and the rest of my headphones for that matter sound balanced
.
 
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Ah, THERE they are! Tyll, curious if you got to listen to my amps....curious to hear what you thought! likewise for the rest of ya'll!
 
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