People impressions: This was my first time meeting people from Head-Fi. A nice group of folks, they were. It was nice to finally interact with fellow Head-fiers and headphone geeks in real life.
AKG-K1000: Not as good as I thought it would be. Technically, it is good, extremely neutral, fast attack, great detail, very wide soundstage, but a little too wide for my tastes; it kind of takes away from the headphone experience. They were also fairly dry-sounding and not very impactful. What really turned me off was that because they're pretty much flat all the way to 20khz and probably beyond they sounded very bright and harsh, at least to my ears. I have no problems saying I preferred my HD650s to these.
W5000 - Stock: Definitely a strong upper midrange emphasis here, but otherwise somwhat flat and uninvolving. They were only moderately comfortable, and had that somewhat tubby sound I've come to associate with closed headphones. For the record, I liked these more than the modded ones.
W5000 - Modded: Very tubby sounding; the mod strongly dampens the upper midrange and increases the prominence of the "closed" headphone sound.
A900: Much better balanced than the W5000, IMO, and slightly more comfortable. Still has that darn closed sound though, almost like some kind of reaction from the enclosure.
STAX Lambda: Now this one I liked. It was very natural sounding, ever so slightly tipped toward the bright side, very fast and detailed, and not too uncomfortable. I preferred these to the K-1000s.
AKG K340: Very tubby sounding, somewhat hollow in the lower ranges.
HD600: Not that much different than my 650s. Slightly less bass and a small peak somewhere in the upper treble, but other than that, nearly identical.
HD580: Very similar to the HD600.
HD595: I didn't listen to this one very much. The soundstage is more forward than the other Sennheisers that were there.
SR325: Not as bright as many say. The bowl pads were very uncomfortable. Sounded very similar to my old SR-60s.
HF-1: My next favorite after the STAX. Sort of like an SR-60, but less harsh with a slightly warmer overall tonality, at least to me.
DT770: Oh my, the bass. Dished midrange, although not as bad as the K81s. Tipped trebble. Holding them in my hand, I could feel their toughness.
Alessandro MS-1: Very similar to the SR-60. Based on my memories of how my SR-60s sounded, they sound almost identical.
AKG K-501s: Just as mediocre as I remembered. Bass-shy with a strong treble emphasis, giving a delicate, whispy kind of sound.
That Sony Headphone: Extremely shrill, NO bass.
Dave's PPX3 SLAM amplifier was awesome, my favorite there, by far. I loved the way it sounded. Now I need to get one. The Darkvoices also sounded great. I am happy to say that listening to these completely dispelled any misconceptions I had about tube amplifiers, especially tube amplifiers coupled with Sennheiser headphones. I will be getting a PPX3 as soon as possible.
One thing I learned from this meet is just how good my HD650 are, and how good they can be. Speaking of HD650s, I had a chance to compare my stock cable HD650s to Dave's recabled HD650s. I could not hear any difference.
Pizza Impressions: The pizza was very good. It was the first thing I had to eat today, so I kind of pigged out.
I can't comment on too much of the gear as I am still new to this hobby and don't want to spoil myself on gear that I have no chance of buying for the next year or so, so I stuck to gear that I was considering upgrading to in the near future. I started with Davesrose's HD580, which had some clipping coming out of my portable amp, but sounded great coming out of his PPX3 Slam.
I then moved on to the MS-1s that were available (can't remember who's exactly, but he was cool). They sounded a bit like my K81DJs, only more refined in the upper ranges. Immediately afterwards I tryed out another gentleman's HF-1 (I'm horrible with names) and I was really impressed with them. My X1 drove them no problem. Shame they are kind of hard to get ahold of.
After a while I went to the DT770-80. I actually prefer my K81DJs to these, the bass in the 770 just muddies everything else up, not to mention they are huge.
Then there was pizza, and it was good.
The last headphone on trial was Davesrose's HD595, and I really liked these out of my portable setup, almost more so that the HF-1 (heard Funkstörung like never before). I believe one of these is in my future
Overall I had a great time and was able to meet some people who enjoy this hobby as much (or more so) as me. Come next meet I hope I will have some gear that will impress, and will have enough experience to truly appreciate headphones like the Stax and the K1000. But untill then, I will sit back and enjoy my HD497s and wait untill I have the money for the HD595s (and maybe a MicroDAC
Thanks for the great time everybody. I look forward to doing this again soon.
Alright, for those of you who listened to the stock and modded W5000s, please post your thoughts in the link in my sig, thanks! Both pairs were modded until they had the blue tape on the cords, so if you listened before then you only heard the modded version.
I'm already developing a new version of the mods, which I think may have a better overall balance that more people will like (including me), so there will need to be another comparison at the next meet, whenever it happens to come. For reference, the modded phones you heard are called F5000, the new mods will be called F5005.