Arizona Head-Fi MiniCon the Second: September 15th, 2018 Impressions
Sep 19, 2018 at 9:47 AM Post #16 of 32

koover

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Not sure what Greg has for a projector. My wife gave this to me for Christmas one year. It’s never been out of the box. Maybe she is clairvoyant.:joy:
That would be awesome. Just need a nice smooth white wall or portable screen.
Yeah my PJ is not portable so that idea is nixed.
 
Sep 19, 2018 at 2:58 PM Post #17 of 32

Coolzo

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Thanks everyone for coming out to the meet! Thanks @koover for being the community/insider guru, @Destroysall for being the speaker man and OG organizer, and @anteroth for being the crazy demo-gear-guy. Thanks also to our insiders @evanrude of Audeze, @ampsandsound, and @TSAVAlan for making the trek out to our city-size toaster oven. @justin w. , you're awesome for rushing a beast of a Blue Hawaii out the day before the meet! Finally, thanks also to Denise and all of the others at Schiit Audio for funding the space and catering for this event (not to mention all of the silver boxes, two-channel gears included. Nice!).

So many people played pivotal roles in making this happen, but it wouldn't be possible at all without our attendees. To our regulars, who've been with us since ye olde days at the public libraries- you're all responsible for helping to spread our Head-Fi disease across the state, muahahahaha! Thanks for sticking with us and being awesome. To our newbies and not-so-newbies- hope you learned some stuff, hope you heard some stuff, and hope to see you again next year!

I could keep tagging people all day, but I'd probably still forget someone's handle, so yeah. AZ and Southwest Head-Fi community, give yourselves a pat on the back please. Let's do it again soon!

I didn't give myself a chance to take alot of photos, but here's the two-channel room at the meet. There was another set of speakers, but this was taken after they left unfortunately.
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Sep 19, 2018 at 7:41 PM Post #18 of 32

M3NTAL

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Big thank you to everyone who helped put this together and to the vendors who attended and provided us with some great gear to check out. Big props to all the people who came from other states to join us - thank you!

I think @balderon and @funch deserve Lifetime Achievement awards for coming to every meet that Arizona has had and always bringing huge amounts of amazing gear that is consistently great sounding.

Some gear impressions:

Benchmark HPA4: TOTL worthy for those who are sticking with solid state gear. Dead silent and effortless. Amazing volume control system.
Sonoma Model One: Unoffensive and all-around decent. Easy buy if it was a MUCH lower price.
Audio Zenith PMx2 v2: Pretty close to my ideal tonal balance. Not sure how I feel about price, but not much else compares to it as a complete package. (Build / Comfort / Sound)
Audeze LCD-i4: I heard these for a second time - now with the Cipher cable. They were actually quite good, but unfortunately offer no sound isolation. Those in the market for TOTL earbuds should have these on their list to try.
Mr. Speakers Voce: Very nice first entry into the Electrostatic world!
 
Sep 19, 2018 at 10:04 PM Post #19 of 32

funch

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Thanks. The meets sure have changed over the years. Balderon hosted the first one in 2010, then again in 2011, so he should get the Founder's Award as well.

IIRC, we had an old timer's reunion of sorts at this last meet. Mental, Mr. Sneis, and Eyedrop were at that first 2010 meet as well.
 
Sep 20, 2018 at 10:16 AM Post #22 of 32

Toshu

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I attended the get together and it was my first time. Being a noob I was very impressed at how very friendly and helpful folks were. Special kudos to Justin from ampsandsound for spending a lot of time w me. Great amps!
Also thanks to Evan at Audeze.
I look forward to learning more on the forum as well as seeing you guys again next year.
 
Sep 21, 2018 at 4:40 AM Post #23 of 32
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Meze. Doina was kind enough to send me a balanced cable for raffle but no one other then me had any Meze HP's. That’s a shame too as these are GREAT affordable headphones. Hopefully in the spring we can all have the opportunity to hear the Empyrean :kissing:. Read above post and you can pick this up from me if you have a 99 Classic or Neo. Thank you Doina and you guys need to take that short flight out to see us some time!

Guys, the meeting was a blast, from what I read. We're more than happy to have been able to join it indirectly, through @koover.
Hope we can also join you one day from the other side of the globe and meet you all personally.

Congratulations in advance to the lucky one of you who'll grab that 2.5 OFC balanced cable - the latest in our product line-up.
Cheers! :beers:
 
Meze Audio Design. Comfort. Sound. True audio. Stay updated on Meze Audio at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
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Sep 27, 2018 at 11:48 AM Post #24 of 32

miceblue

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I finally collected all of my thoughts and photos. Sorry for the late post.

Wow, what a meet!

Thank you @TSAVAlan for being the chauffeur to the meet. It was a loooong commute from LA to Phoenix.

Thank you @Muinarc and cat (maybe not for Alan) for the hospitality, and providing a place to stay during the weekend.

Thank you @koover and everyone else who made the meet even possible! This meet reminded me a lot of the Seattle meets I used to attend, so it was very communal and casual. As usual for me, there were too many things I wanted to listen to, and too many people I wanted to talk to, but not enough time.
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In terms of gear, the highlights for me during the meet were listening to the STAX L300 LE, Audeze LCD-1 prototype, Sonoma M1, seeing the RME ADI-2 DAC in-person and using its menu, and seeing some beautiful wooden headphone stands. It was also fun waiting in anticipation for the raffle prizes (thank you Audeze and Schiit for offering the raffle prizes!). Thank you to @donaldj68 for the generosity when it came to the freebies table. I ended up taking a SACD player with me since I don't have one to play the SACDs I buy from Amoeba Music in Hollywood, hahaha.

I've been contemplating getting the L300 LE for a bit now since it was first announced. Packing a lot of the SR-009 tech into the Lambda series seemed promising. I tried @VRacer-111's L300 LE on my rig and A/Bed them with my SR-207 and muinarc's SR-007 MKI. I found them really fatiguing without an EQ, similar to the SR-009 (so for those who like the 009's sound, maybe this Lambda headphone is for you). The SR-207 can sound a bit shouty at times from the ~2 kHz resonance peak, but the L300 LE sounded grating to me. I much prefer the sound of the L500 over the L300 LE. On VRacer-111's rig, the L300 LE sounded tamer, but still far too bright for me unfortunately.
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The RME ADI-2 DAC seemed like a popular DAC at this meet, with at least 2 rigs having one (@skippy's and VRacer-111 above. I hadn't previously heard of this little DAC before, but it seriously looks like something I would be interested in to replace my Pulse X Infinity. It basically offers everything I'm looking for in a DAC at a very reasonable price range. I've been having a hard time finding a DAC that does all the ADI-2 DAC does in a similar compact form factor.



Switching to another electrostat system, the Sonoma M1 was interesting to hear. The last time I heard this was at CanJam at RMAF 2016. Hearing it again with music I'm more familiar with, I wasn't a big fan of its sound either. It sounded overly warm to my ears. Mid-way through my listening session, I had to talk to someone over the music and I noticed my voice sounding really nasally. After the conversation, I hummed out a "sine sweep" kind of sound and I noticed a large resonance frequency at the lower frequencies somewhere. I have no idea how the matrix of diaphragms work in the M1, but something seems off with the lower frequencies such that it affects how the music sounds through it. The whole time I was listening to the M1, I was hearing something really off with the bass region, and the resonance frequency thing might be it.
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On a higher note, I really enjoyed @balderon's LCD-1 prototype. It reminded me a lot of a LCD-2 pre-fazor, early serial number, which is by far my favorite LCD-series headphone. It lacked the finess and refinement of the LCD-2, but it retained its overall balanced sound signature, which I value in a headphone.
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Speaking of Audeze, I got to listen to the Mobius again and really had a blast with the 3D feature. @evanrude was a pleasant dude to talk to on all things Mobius. I just got my blue Mobius last week and I love the 3D effect for watching movies and playing video games; it's a very convincing DSP.
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I didn't get a chance to listen to the new Sine open unfortunately.
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It was a lot of fun talking with @Zyker about different types of wood. His wood headphone stands are simply beautiful. I usually don't see wood headphone stands at the meets I've been to, so it was refreshing to see something other than black metal headphone stands. The multi-wood stands were out of this world. He was really generous to offer to make me a bamboo stand.
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Justin from @ampsandsound was fun-going and enthusiastic about his amps. The different impedance outputs are a nice feature to have to tune the voicing you hear coming from the amps; you get more bang for your buck. I'd still like to get a vacuum tube amplifier some day for the novelty. Bottlehead and Ampsandsound's amps always look so gorgeous to me.
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This was my first time in Arizona, so it was quite the adventure in the ~110F weather, grid-patterned roadways, 2-lane highways, cacti, and many shredded tires along the highway shoulders, hahaha. There was some good food over here too. TSAVAlan, muinarc, and I went to Los Sombreros where I got mole chicken after the meet. I don't know why, but mole doesn't seem to be a very common dish, so I've been on the hunt for some tasty mole and Los Sombreros delivered. The Sunday morning before the long drive back to L.A., we went to a Waffle House. Holy cow those breakfast portions are big. I honestly wasn't a fan of the waffles, ironically enough, but everything else was pretty good.
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Sep 27, 2018 at 12:08 PM Post #25 of 32

miceblue

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Here are some other photos I took during the event.
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^ by far the coolest-looking tube I've ever seen

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Thank you @justin w. for making this stunning piece of art
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^ you can make a nice wallpaper from that photo!

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Sep 27, 2018 at 6:18 PM Post #26 of 32

VRacer-111

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The Sonoma M1 was a dissapointment for me as well, sound quality is 'okay', but was expecting more from it, especially being an electrostat - much prefer any STAX I've heard to it. It also has the most microphonic cable I had ever heard in my life... worse than any IEM I've had. Kept hearing strange noises I knew weren't in the tracks until I quickly realized that any little bump of the cable sent noise right into the cups. Absolutely unlistenable without holding the cable in your hand near the Y to dampen any noise it conducts, and even then you still could transmit some noise to the cups. That cable absolutely has to go...
 
Sep 27, 2018 at 8:41 PM Post #27 of 32

Ken G

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The Sonoma M1 was a dissapointment for me as well, sound quality is 'okay', but was expecting more from it, especially being an electrostat - much prefer any STAX I've heard to it. It also has the most microphonic cable I had ever heard in my life... worse than any IEM I've had. Kept hearing strange noises I knew weren't in the tracks until I quickly realized that any little bump of the cable sent noise right into the cups. Absolutely unlistenable without holding the cable in your hand near the Y to dampen any noise it conducts, and even then you still could transmit some noise to the cups. That cable absolutely has to go...

Totally agree. I was the one who first asked Alan to bring the Sonoma and was completely underwhelmed. I’ve heard that that particular Sonoma HP/Amp combo doesn’t get you a whole lot of volume so perhaps a very noisy room impacted my listening judgment however the Audeze LCD2-C, LCDi4 and LCD4 sounded incredible under the similar listening conditions.
 
Oct 19, 2018 at 12:53 PM Post #29 of 32

DeviousEnigma

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In other extremely silly news, I don’t know who finally jostled me enough to figure out that I don’t own an LCD-2F like I thought.... it’s a 2.2 non-fazor.

Oh and Chris has some sick headphone stands and I’m still waiting to hear back about a pair.
 

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