CanJam @ RMAF 2018 Impressions (Oct 5-7, 2018)

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  1. Bazirker
    Yanno having listened to the Eligia quite a bit earlier and A/B'd for a few minutes with the Clears, I think "congested" may be the perfect word to describe them. I mean they sounded great, but less so when they're sitting right next to the Clears; a quick A/B with the Clears or Elears rapidly betrays that something is lost in closing up those earcups. The soundstage narrows quite considerably, although they otherwise are quite technically sound and maintain Focal's sound signature nicely. If you're stuck on getting closed back phones, I certainly wouldn't rule them out, but they basically sound exactly like what you'd think would happen if you took Focal's and closed em' up. Unlike @Allanmarcus, I find them (and all of Focal's line-up) quite comfortable, which is perhaps aided by the fact that I have a tiny head?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  2. raypin
    Mm....sounds like you were not impressed or immediately blown away by the DMP Z1????? You have doubts?

    For me, it is different. It does not take me long to decide if the gear is really special or not. During CanJam Singapore 2017:

    1. It took me less than 15 minutes to know that the Chord Blu Mk II paired with the Chord DAVE was special/extraordinary. I had been using the Chord DAVE for months before the show and I knew that adding the MK II would take my headphone listening to a whole, new level. Ordered it.

    2. Same with the HE 1. 15 minutes. I’ve been using the Stax 009 for months before the show and I knew that the HE 1 handily beat the best Stax.
    By the time the elevator of the Pan Pacific brought me to the lobby, I made up my mind to buy it.

    3. 64 Tia Fourte. Same story. 1 solid hour of auditioning later (right before show closing), I made up my mind and pre-ordered it.

    From what I can “read” from your video, the Z1 just wasn’t all that impressive. If you were to make a snap decision, would you recommend it with no hesitation?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  3. Dsnuts Contributor
    [​IMG] [​IMG] First stop of Fiios booth. Got to listen to their M9 and Their newer 4 BA FA7. These had a good sound to it and I found out you can get custom plates but unfortunately only in China. These had your typical Fiio bass boost with good stage a bit warmer in tone. Good detail and smooth treble. They did remind me a bit of the FH5 tuning. Fit is amazingly comfy. These shells are actually smaller than they look.

    Got to try the Fiio M9. Dual Ak4490 dacs. Smaller sleek form factor. Had a good full bodied sound to it with decent stage but the player didn't stand out to me being anything special. I liked my Shanling M3s sound quality better. It was what I was carrying around . I came prepared this time. My own player and more importantly I brought 2 of my earphones with my own tips. People were amazed by the DZ12 the way they looked. Had more than a few people ask about them. People on the JH booth were dissing on them since they were Chinese made. Lol. But more on that later.

    Next to them is 64 audio. Which had their higher end stuff I will get back to later but next table was Campfire Audio. I have to admit I have been frequenting CA thread reading all the impressions of the newer Andromedas.
    [​IMG] Finally got to listen to these bad boys.These are extremely impressive especially given their price point. I know $1100 asking price is a lot but trust me on this when I say these were the best value per money on the entire showroom. I will get back to how these hung in there in sound vs the bigger boys on the block. More on this later.

    Also got the hear the Atlas. CA don't mess around with that bass. They bring it on all their earphones. Similar to how Sony does. I notice everything they have includes bass in the mix the Atlas might be a bit too bassy for buys that like a more balanced sound. But that dynamic they got on the Atlas is no joke

    Then there was Sennheiser. Got to hear both the HD660 and the new HD820 closed back.
    [​IMG] Both cans sounded outstanding out of their HDV820 amp.
    Hate to say it but I fail to see how the HD820 is worth $2400. It sounds good enough. Wide stage, excellent imaging and detail. Reference level type sound but hecks to the no I wouldn't spend that much on these cans. I thought the new Fostex TH909 was better value for this level of SQ. HD660 sounded really good on the amp as well. Actually had the fuller mids vs the HD820 but the staging is not as good even though the HD660 is open vs the closed HD820. Sorry to say the HD58x seriously hangs with the HD660. Which was a surprise to me.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] I made the mistake of listening to these bad boys first. Before listening to their M7 and M9. Mistake as it pretty much ruined the M7 and M9 for me.

    These are summit fi earphones from Sony. The IER-Z1R at $2300 MSRP is absolute authority with the type of 3D imaging and full bodied sound which is best described is like listening to floor speakers. These don't sound like earphones or even headphones. The dynamic range on these earphones are 2nd to none. For me easily the star of the show. Start saving your cash fellas these are for real. Substantial progress of Sony sound on these like you have never heard. I was more impressed with these than their flagship headphones Z1Rs. I hope these goes down to a more reasonable price. One to look out for. Oh by the way the fitment in my averaged sized ear was very comfy. Excellent design.

    The M9 reminded me of Campfire Audios Andromedas. Similar staging the bass end is no joke on these new BA based Sony earphones the M9 sounds like it has a full on dynamic driver for the bass. Easily matching any dynamic performance. These have wide stage with a spacious sound. Excellent detail and imaging hearing these out of Sonys Flagship player the WM1Z. At $1500 these are definitely compelling.

    The M7 is the most neutral tuning out of the 3 and these remind my of my old EX600 monitors. A bit rolled off on the treble but very great even balancing from treble to bass. A bit smooth with a slightly warm tonality. These sound good for the $799 MSRP.

    Also got to hear the MDR-Z7M2.@ $899 price point. These are supposedly upgrade over the previous Z7s and I will have to trust the Sony rep when they told me it was a nice upgrade from the Sonics of the Z7. Your gonna have to be a fan of bass to love these things or Sony sound in general. Warmest sounding of all the Sony phones I have heard these have a deep wide stage very full bodied sound. Treble is a bit on the reserved side but that is where the Z1R headphones comes into play.

    Z1R is more refined than the Z7M2. Again bassy but stage is crazy good for a closed back. The spaciousness of the sound was awesome to hear on these. I can see how these are a love hate type of sound depending on your mood of the type of body in your sound you like. And body these have. To be honest I was more impressed with the IER-Z1R.

    This is the section a lot of guys are probably waiting for. Empire Ears.
    [​IMG] I got to listen to their Phantoms and Legend X. Also this one is of particular interest to a lot of guys since it will be on MD for $1000. We are talking about the Zeus R and XiV. There is a switch on these that gives you 2 sound profiles. Goes from 8 crossovers in the R and XIV to 7.

    14BA earphones don't come around too often so this earphones by itself was reason enough for me to travel to Can Jam to hear. The R sounded more balanced to me but the XIV which will is currently sold on MD has a mid forward signature but not as mid forward as I thought they would be. In fact the differences between the R and the XIV was not huge. It actually has a good bass end and good clean treble. The mids are outstanding on these and that is what the main focus it. I took my time listening to these since these are definitely compelling at the $1000 price point. I will get back to what my verdict on these are a bit later. Lol.

    The LX has crazy bass. I don't know how they did it but the bass does sound like subs. The tech is real on these. The mids and treble don't suffer due to the bass either. Guys that like them some high end bass will love these things. These have the closest signature to the IER-Z1R but what differentiated Sony's flagship and the Legend X. These don't have a great sound stage to my ears. It is adequate but the sound is almost too big for the stage they have. Which is a challenge for bigger bass earphones. Sony's IER-Z1R actually has the stage to pull off this sound signature better imo. In a head to head match. I would pick the Z1R. The Legend X has great imaging, sweet treble they sound spectacular for EDM. But it is the Sonys I would actually consider spending this amount of cash on. If they didn't exist. These do sound great for the type of sound they are going for.

    Phantom has a sweet coloration to the mid range which makes them sound euphoric. Better balanced than the Legend X and that treble is clean clear and crisp. Detailed thick with a full bodied tone. Vocals come smooth and has some shimmer. With a fairly wide and deep stage. I was actually more impressed with the Phantom than the Legend X. Both earphones are definitely worthy of their price tag but at $1800. It is the phantom that had the better value imo. Bass heads would gush over the Legend X however.

    Another surprise of the show. Actually taking the 3rd spot in the earphones realm. 1st being Sony the In ear stage diver . Prophile 8!. Astounding earphones for the price of $1300. relatively cheaper considering what others are charging. [​IMG] These darker ones on here. I got to listen to their prophile 8 it is called. Nice 8 BA eaprhones. The 2nd best dynamics I of any earphones I have heard and is actually at the sound level very close to Tia fourte in sonics at less than half the price. These were probably my surprise of the show. I have never heard any of the earphones from this company but. I was very impressed with these earphones. These were made for stage performers but the tuning is fantastic on their prophile8 They call it s studio reference signature. Has 2 switches on the back plate of the earphones. When switched to the off setting the earphones have excellent balanced dynamic clean spacious sound. One switch is for treble enhancement and one for bass. Both switched on and you get a v signature. Bass turned on and they mimic the Legend X. lol. The sound has a very chiseled sound to it very defined notes. Wide with a deep stage. The detail on these earphone was on a similar level to earphones costing double. It was only Jerry Harvey's Layla that I thought outdid these in dynamics but otherwise. These are an outstanding value at $1300 asking price.
    [​IMG] They make customs in all wood. Like this model. Stunning to look at. The prophile8 is an earphone I will most definitely consider for purchase.

    Clear Tune Monitors.
    [​IMG] Got to hear both flagship models the Davinci 9 and 10. Number representing how many drivers on each side. The 9 goes for $2,000 and the 10 goes for $2,400. Similar to the EE pricing. Both earphones have a brighter tint to the sound due to well represented treble. The 9 had some splashy treble that I wasn't much of a fan of but that could have been due to my Spiral dots I was using. I know if a brighter tuned earphone has some extended treble the Spiral Dots can enhance this which is not good.

    The 10 was more spacious than the 9 being their top end iem. Has some reference level detail and imaging with a slightly forward upper mid section. Female vocals sounded really good on these. Again don't know if it was my tip but the treble was a bit too forward for my liking. Otherwise both these have really good mids to them with a 3D sound scape. Cesar the owner of CTM was very cool to talk to. Both these earphones had some good bass for BAs but some of the others I have heard at Can Jam did bass better than both of these for BA earphones. Including the Andromedas.

    Next was 64 Audio. Always popular on Headfi. Couldn't wait to hear their earphones.
    First was the U12. 12BAs which includes 1 tia driver. Tia is their proprietary driver tech they include on their earphones that is specific to these guys and these do sound incredible. Neutral with great imaging and timbre with a tight detailed bass end.. But. These sound almost identical to my NiceHCK DZ12. Almost identical. I thought I was listening to my DZ12. Lol. My DZ12 from NiceHCK cost $720. These cost $2000. Value is not good with this one.

    Tia Fourte. A much more fuller in body, more dimensional than the U12. Large spacious sound. Deep full bass end that actually competes somewhat with the Legend X in bass. I was very surprised by these but for the cost. I would go IER-Z1R here yet again.
    [​IMG]

    CL2 Planar from RHA!
    [​IMG]

    Ya so I went in on this one with an open mind. For the most part the tech is really interesting. The size and shape of these are smallish but produce a BIG sound.
    I commend RHA for coming up with these. I think more advancement is needed for different tech on earphones and it is always interesting to hear something completely new. A planar single driver and the sound this thing produces is large and in charge has a roomy sound with some deep hard hitting planar bass. These come a bit mid forward sounding and has good dynamics and the mids are full bodied. The bass is the star here with a deep rumble that is not felt or heard at this price range however the treble is the culprit. Treble comes a bit flat sounding with a combination of a boxy stage with its warm tonality. The sound is slightly canned a bit stuffy due to the full bored sound on these. If anything they are unique sounding but for the asking price of $899. Hmm
    [​IMG] Small housing. Big sound.

    Then there was Jerry Harvey!
    [​IMG]

    I got the meet Jerry Harvey at the show. Guy is distinct looking and stands out. One of the those sound genius guys. You know your talking to a mastermind when he starts talking sound tech on his earphones. I went straight to his big boy the Layla. Oh wow these are the very meaning of dynamic sound. So encompassing. These took 2nd place for me at the show. following the Sony IER-Z1R and I can argue these have even a better reference tuning than Sony's earphone but two things. These have some serious meticulous tuning to it. The detail and imaging was outstanding. The only negative was for me at least was the fit. I had to keep pushing the earpieces for them to sound correct. Larger housing on these mean a bit of hit or miss in comfort. Their other earphones are smaller housing less BAs so they fit better. These have the sound to back up the cost. I like these over the Audio 64 stuff to be honest.

    I didn't even cover the headphones.. I got to hear Audio Technicas ADX5000, Meze Empyrean and Fostex TH909.
    My pic is the new Fostex TH909. These have a better tuning than the older TH900 by a landslide. Better fuller mid range. Excellent staging. Treble was a standout to me as well. While the Empyrean was the highest end headphone I heard. At $3000 they better be.

    In the end. It was too much fun and I got something from it. This man wanting my $1000 for his AndromedaS.
    Had to do it.
    [​IMG]

    Limited edition AndromedaS. In the beginning of the show I got to hear their line up and I have to say I was extremely impressed with the AndromedaS. So much so I kept on asking about them. They look stunning in person. These are easily 3rd runner up in the entire show. These and the In ear stage prophile8. I kept listening to them and that was when I realized I needed these in my life. I was gonna wait for the MD Zeus drop.. Nope. Not after hearing these.

    To my ears the 5BA tuning on these are so masterful and the new mids driver they incorporate has a slightly more mid forward from the previous green Andromedas. Did a head to head and I think either one was good but these S version to my ears was special. These will go toe to toe with anything I heard all day and in many ways does things better. Like stage. Has just a good a mids as the Zeus but with better bass and treble shimmer. Imaging is impeccable. The sound quality was off the chain. If the looks is any indication these are the real deal and in limited supplies. I believe on 2K in existence. It was a close toss up between the Green which they had on hand as well vs these. The mid range won me over while retaining much of what makes the Andromeda special. No comfort issues. Wide specious. I couldn't get the sound out of my head while listening to the other earphones. I had to have it.

    A $100 off the asking price online was good enough for me. I gave Ken my credit card. Today was a good day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  4. Bazirker
    Couldn't agree with you more regarding the HD820. They are BEAUTIFUL looking headphones and sound great, but not four-digit-figure great. I haven't heard the HD58x, but I did listen to the HD660 earlier today and enjoyed them quite a bit...given I have a set of HD650's on my ears quite happily at the moment, any thoughts on if an HD58x purchase would be reasonable?
     
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  5. singingbee
    FINALLY SOME IEMS... LOVE YOU BRO!!
     
  6. Dsnuts Contributor
    I didn't even get to the players. Ya I focused on iems since I wanted one of the nicer ones. AndromedaS won me over huge. I like these over several much higher priced offerings. You don't know how good a phone is until you get to hear them all at one sitting. Until the Z1R gets a drastic price cut. Or street prices are more reasonable. AndromedaS is a stunner.
    [​IMG]

    These are offered on Campfire audio web site ready for purchase. Ken told me they are running low on these. Lol.. I like these over Sony's M9 which cost $1500. Heck I liked these over most of the stuff they had at the show. Definitely bang for buck. If you can call a $1100 iem Bang for buck.

    And for guys at the show. Take a real good listen to these. Then take a listen to anything else. Ken Ball is selling a few of these for $1000.

    I liked these over the Audio 64 and CTM stuff. Both costing and in the case of the tia fourte 3X as much. Lol.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  7. Mkoll
    It doesn't really tell us anything to compare the airiness/space of the sound of closed to open headphones of similar caliber. All else being equal, closed will always sound more congested than open. Do you have any impressions of the Elegia vs other closed headphones?
     
  8. Dsnuts Contributor
    Oh man seriously everyone that reads this needs to get a HD58x. They don't sound too far off from the HD660 at $150. I know it sounds too good to be true but having heard the HD660. Even the Sennheiser guys was agreeing with me on the crazy value of the HD58x. Highly recommended. One of the best values in all of audio as far as I am concerned. Don't let the cheaper price fool you into thinking they are some cheapo knock off HD660. They got a sound to their own and has not just good but outstanding SQ.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  9. Tsyer
    Anyone try the Hifiman Jade2 and accompaning amplifier yet
     
  10. HeadphoneAddict Contributor
    Forgive me if I made some errors, and let me know so that I can edit this. We have been coming to canJam since 2009 in LA, and my son wouldn't let me skip this if I wanted to.

    So far my son and I are pretty impressed with the HiFiMan HE-1000se which is an energetic and punchy headphone, even with just a small portable amp (CEntrance HiFi-M8, BlueDAC, and also the DACportable). We prefer it to my original HE-1K that I love so much, and while my 20 yr old son found his Edition-X to make more sense vs the HE-1K, these HE-1000se have left him pinning for a new headphone. I'm still very happy with my HE-1K and Edition-X (and HE-6), but would love to own a pair of these.

    We were able to get decent sound quality and volume from the HE-1000se via a lightning headphone jack adapter on my Xs Max and his 7+, with no distortion at 100% volume, but with even a small amp like the BlueDAC they would play clean and distortion free into painfully high volume levels. They have stronger bass the my HE-1K (more like the Edition-X strong bass), but while still musical and energetic they seemed less colored in the upper mid and lower treble - They could be be my one and only headphone.

    The Ananda were much more efficient and neutral sounding, and while not as engaging as the HE-1000se or the older highly efficient Edition-X, they are a true audiophile headphone. The bass plays deep and is strong, although not as punchy as the Edition-X or HE-1000se, but the midrange and treble is smooth and flat. I didn't get to spend enough time with the HE-6se but plan to do so on Sunday - I still absolutely love my original HE-6 via a 50-75W speaker amp, but the EF-1000 seemed to have enough power to drive these well. And they seemed to be lighter than the original as well.

    The Jade 2 were very nice and detailed, but since getting out of the never ending struggle to get more voltage swing for my previous Stax electrostatic headphones, I've paid less attention to stats these days. However, I didn't find the Jade 2 to struggle at all with their amp to achieve high volumes without breaking up. But I like the punchy bass and musicality from the HE-1000se more. If in the market for some, I might have considered these, but stats can only be used with a special amp, while planar-magnetic and dynamic headphones can be driven by a myriad of devices, many being portable. That's just more convenient for me.

    And you don't need a full size headphone to get great sound. The RE2000 IEM are the best single driver IEM I've heard since I got into this hobby 12 years ago, being driven by the iPhone Xs Max via lightning adapter, but even better with the BlueDAC and the HiFiMan R2R2000 DAC/amp. With the lightning adapter I had the iPhone volume at about 60% most of the time, and in low gain on the BlueDAC at about 90% (so maybe 30-40% volume on high gain). It's hard for me to state which popular IEM that these would compare to, and not miss a point of difference here or there, so I'd really need to spend more time with them to try that. But the sound is way up there. I still can't imagine how Dr. Fang did this with one driver (Nano technology).

    I tried the RE2000 via my laptop and DAC/amp with a wide variety of music (rock, jazz, electronic, country, folk) and found it to do plucked string instruments (guitar, string bass) and pianos well, along with vocals and percussion, and especially electronic music. With some lower bitrate complex music, like movie soundtracks, their sound could get more congested, but with less complex or audiophile quality music I greatly enjoy them. I found it very hard to find music that they could reproduce well, and this "silver" model will be a bit less expensive (with no difference in sound) vs the model that's popular in China and made with real gold.

    I think that I may still prefer my older RE-1000 custom 2-driver IEM slightly more, mostly because the tips on the RE2000 were a tight fit in my ears, and my right ear canal was hurting a little - I'd need to get some smaller tips. Nevertheless, the single driver may be improving the imaging with live jazz recordings, in reducing phase and time alignment issues. I think that good multi-driver IEM manufacturers can still do an excellent job battling those issues, at a high cost due to the R&D to get there.

    Their R2R2000 DAC/amp being so small was a nice surprise, after the HM-801 and HM-901. It can be used many ways - it's not just a micro SD based DAP (up to 512GB) with minimalistic screen to save battery power for the desktop class DAC chip, but used with an iPhone app to receive high res music files by bluetooth that are compressed by the iPhone app and then expanded and decoded by the R2R2000 DAC. This way it can bypass the iPhone's AAC BT transmitter and send CD quality music, as well as working like a standard AAC BT audio codec receiver and amp. The sound quality using the iPhone Xs Max standard bluetooth was quite impressive, but it stands out most for me as a microSD card player and USB-C 32/384 audio DAC/Amp with balanced line out or headphone out.

    It will also reportedly work with the iPhone camera connection kit, although the 6 hour battery life will cut in half vs having a PC's USB power to charge it, taking about 2 hours to charge on a PC. I'd be curious if the USB-3 camera connection kit with lightning power connected would extend that battery life back to normal.

    The Burr Brown 1704 powered DAC sounds great. As a DAC/amp via USB, after some brief listening I thought it was as good and likely a bit better than any of my CEntrance DAC/amps that I brought with me (certainly topping the HiFi-M8 that was my gold standard for portable DAC/amps). I'd need more time with it to say by just how much of a margin it wins. The RE2000 IEM actually have better synergy with the R2R than with my HiFi-M8, where the HiFi-M8 mids seemed more distant when I switched from the R2R to the HiFi-M8. The BlueDAC was a better match for the RE2000 than the HiFi-M8 but I was unable to test it side by side with the R2R.

    I might use the R2R a lot with the iPhone interface which sound great with just standard AAC BT (the 768 over-sampling helps), or more likely via their iPhone App, than as a standalone player with SD card. I'd just put it in my pocket with the headphones plugged in, and use it wirelessly with my iPhone. However, the iPhone app broke for accessing files stored by iTunes after iOS 12, but will be fixed in a week or two. I may be able to get a review sample and report on this later.

    It doesn't have the full touchscreen interface of something from A&K, so I expect to hear a lot of grumbling, without considering all of the other things it can do (working with iPhone and Android, via AAC, LHDC, and their hi-res app, as well as via USB as a DAC or DAC/amp). My CEntrance BlueDAC, DACportable, and HiFi-M8 that I brought with me to the show can't store 512GB of files and be used as a standalone, only working either via BT or cable, and yet nobody complains that there is no tiny screen to expand it's capabilities.

    I'll allow complaints about the price, at over $2000, so it will have to be able to go head to head with the Astell & Kern players that I have not been able to afford either. These chips were bought up in limited supply, and once they're gone the R2R may become be hard to find if people don't want to let theirs go. I've spent a bit of time with the A&K players and balanced Westone ES-60 at the 2015 CanJam, and I feel that this R2R is playing along the same level of sound quality from taking it to my room for a couple of hours and playing with it.

    I was also impressed with the R2R when driving my Westone W60 and W80, and JH16 Pro custom IEM, so it's not tuned for just their own IEM. The W-60 are a good bang for the buck, and fairly close to the W80 universal and ES60 custom IEM, so I hope more people get a chance to try them out at shows like these. The W80 are a step up, but don't always fit smaller ears as easily, like those of my son. They're as good as some custom IEM, but if they fit you the W-60 would be a great IEM to get. At a certain level ($+1K), almost all of the custom IEM are pretty darn good, and would be picked according to preferences. But I enjoy my Westone and JH Audio customs equally as well. Don't make me choose.

    I did end up buying a Moon-Audio Black Dragon balanced IEM cable for my JH Audio Roxanne, which upped the game with audibly improved energy and clarity. The stock cable is already quite good, and similar in performance to the Silver Dragon, but the sound with the Black Dragon was a step up.

    At the same time, I found the Silver Dragon cable to be a very good fit with my Weston ES60 and W-60, and bought a balanced cable to use with my BlueDAC as well. My son has compared the single ended and balanced Silver Dragon cables for his JH 16 Pro freqPhase, and he felt that other than a bump in volume with the balanced headphone output that the 3.5mm single ended cable sounded 95% as good and made more sense for his needs - BAM, 3rd cable bought (he can have it for his birthday). I considered buying one for my JH16Pro as well, but had to draw the line somewhere. Besides, the Mic cable on the JH16pro is pretty convenient for mobile use.

    Other news, I still prefer the Sennheiser HD800 and HD800s to the HD820 or the HD6.. series, and I own the HD800, HD600, and HD6XX from Massdrop. But the HD660 did impress me as basically an HD650 without the veil, and being easy enough to drive with just a lightning cable adapter! Maybe not the best sound, but they did scale up when used with my CEntrance DAC/amps, and at the $400 show price a wise choice for someone looking to dip their toes in the audiophile headphone market. I'd still pick the HE-400i from HiFiMan though.

    I got a brief listen to the Mr. Speakers Ether2 and liked it, finding it to be very flat and neutral sounding. I didn't get to spend enough time with it to get a feeling for how musical it was, or whether it was something I thought that I would want for myself. but I would be hard pressed to pick anything that they did wrong - maybe not "musical" enough for me? With a kid in college, and having two others in school from 2012-2017, my budget for buying new high end headphone shrank considerably, so I've tended shy away from listening to many of them that I know I can't afford but might like. If it doesn't reach out and grab me by the throat and say "buy me" then I feel relieved.

    I still enjoyed the Audeze LCD-4, but seemed like the LCD-4z was a little more midrange-forward, even if they claim they should sound the same - I suspect the differences were in how my HiFi-M8 handled the different impedance loads, and I didn't think to try changing my output impedance switch from 1ohm, to try 2 ohm or 10 ohm. My main issue is just how much they weigh, even in the new updated model - it’s just too much for me, and I struggle to use my LCD-2 V2. I do have the very light Audeze Mobius Portable Wireless 3D Gaming Headphones, and they sound better than a $400 wireless headphone should be allowed to sound. But I've only put about 2 hours on them and so I can't really comment further until I get to know them better. I still have to try them with analog input and the USB-C DAC.

    The Headamp booth was actually my second stop late on on Friday, and I came away impressed with the ability of the GSX Mini to drive the HiFiMan Susvara. It was not underpowered, and had good synergy with the headphones. when my son graduates in a couple of years, I plan to update some of my 10 year old gear with new tech, and this may be on my short list. I think it would drive my original HE-6 fairly well too.

    We also played in the Audioengine room for a bit, and my son has spent a year trying to decide between the HD3 and HD6 speakers, and may have decided to get the HD3 before the end of the year (with his Christmas money). If he didn't have a 10" subwoofer in his dorm room the HD6 would have been the clear choice, but he also likes to feed his xBox into his A2+ speaker's 3.5mm input while using it's USB DAC at the same time to play his music on top of his gaming experience, something he can do with the HD3 as well but not with the HD6 (BT, analog, and optical inputs, but no USB DAC). The HD6 in the other AE room with a turntable sounded quite impressive for the price, as they picked the optimal location to allow the best bass response (just the right angle and distance from the wall can help a lot).

    Audioengine has stepped up their game with aptX HD codec on their bluetooth receivers, such as the B1 receiver, and inside the HD3 and HD6 speakers. I plan to get a new B1 and compare it to my original B1 from several years ago, which I still use. Even the original B1, with it's 24/96 upsampling and re-clocking has been wonderful sounding when sending music from my MacBook or iPhone into my Eddie Current ZDT tube headphone amp. With 3 inputs on my amp I have connected the $189 B1, a $1500 Nuforce CDP, and a $4000 PS Audio Perfect Wave DAC Mk2, and somehow can enjoy all three sources without issue. I actually listen to the B1 more than my PS Audio DAC due to convenience.

    So, that's what we got done on Saturday. I'll update this after we get home from the last day of the show Sunday.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
  11. MaceHane2

    Fantastic write-up on your thoughts so far! Really enjoyed reading this and very much appreciate you taking the time to write it. I’m always interested in HiFiMan cans and although their higher-end units (Edition X upwards) are now out of my range it’s still great to read your thoughts. Out of curiosity (as I have an HE-6) what pads do you have on them, if not stock?
    Thanks again! Take care out there.

    Carl
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  12. whirlwind
    GS-X Mini Impressions ??
     
  13. Zachik
    This is basically a more powerful and balanced Gilmore Lite Mk2.
    That is a good thing, because I personally prefer the Gilmore Lite over the big GS-X... regardless of the big price difference!

    So, the easiest way to describe the GS-X Mini is:
    If you're familiar with the Gilmore Lite Mk2, and want more power and/or balanced - get this one!
    Sound signature is very very similar to the Gilmore Lite Mk2, and in fact Peter from HeadAmp has told me that the GS-X Mini "has 2 Gilmore Lites inside" (for balanced) plus linear power supply and circuitry to take SE input (if you do not have balanced source) and split it internally to balanced.

    Very nice amp, but too pricey for me (will go for $1800-2000 depending on volume knob choice).
    At $1000 (twice the price of Gilmore Lite) it would have been a no-brainer to me!
     
    halcyon, marhol, gr8soundz and 2 others like this.
  14. Zachik
    ...or 3) folks are there, but auditioning and socializing all day, partying all night, and have no time to post impressions :wink:

    Judging by past experience, most long / detailed / comprehensive impressions would start appearing 2-3 days AFTER the show is over.
     
    Stillhart and RCBinTN like this.
  15. Bern2
    Must be great to have a son that's so into audio as yourself. Really cool.
    If you are going by the ZMF table...would appreciate your comments on their offerings.
    Bern
     
    Monsterzero and Keithpgdrb like this.
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