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CanJam SoCal 2019 Impressions thread

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  1. Watagump
    I did pretty well on not eating many of them, maybe 5 at most.

    Not sure, I was just thinking it came from the show since I started feeling it the next day.
  2. Zachik
    Twizzlers are making you soft, weakening your immune system! :nerd:

    (no idea if scientifically proven, but hey - sounds plausible...)
    Wildcatsare1 likes this.
  3. halcyon
    As a licorice aficionado I must object :)

    That TNT Minecraft stuff ain't licorice. It is sugar on top of sugar with artificial colourings and who knows what.

    This is licorice:

    And this is licorice (salty):


    Back to topic.

    Any more HEDDphone impressions?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2019
  4. DecentLevi
    Any more HEDDphone reviews? Wow you guys are killing me. This is THE ONE I can't get out of my mind. First time I can remember actually being excited to write a review. So here it is, I finally have time to write one and I still have my notes from last weekend.

    INTRODUCING THE HEDDphone One from Heinz Electrodynamic Designs (Hedd.Audio)
    To me this is the breakthrough I didn't know I needed, and a lightyear jump in sonic reproduction capabilities. The giant killer and certain to be an industry changer with its' new technology.

    Newly conceptualized Air Motion Transfer (AMT) driver using a folded (not ribbon) diaphragm. The HEDDphone is the first to use "full range" AMT, based on a tweeter created by Hedd Audio for speakers 30 years ago, now tweaked to reproduce the full frequency bandwidth (10Hz-40Khz).
    from their website:
    The Air Motion Transformer (AMT) is an electrodynamic transducer that allows to move air significantly faster than common voice coil, magnetostatic (planar) or electrostatic systems. Their traditional piston-like movement is overcome by a folded diaphragm that squeezes out air four times faster: A breakthrough for capturing more details in a musical recording.

    Sound impressions
    Super extended frequency response high to low, to me akin to the best hybrid of the planar and electrostatic sound. Humongous soundstage, phenomenal dynamics, sounding as lifelike as possibly imaginable. Uncanny handling of dynamics with drivers so fast that nothing seems to be added or removed from the transient response. Drums sound taut and snappy with good weight that hit like a real drum and decay exactly when it should. Has an amazing ability to reproduce a holographic soundstgage where 3D objects seem to magically whiz at you, and yet fit coherently into the sound. Ability to handle seemingly infinite complexity of layering and instrument separation. The sound is sweet, liquid smooth, non fatiguing and a TOTAL chameleon. It sounds bright with bright gear or recordings, dark with dark gear or recordings, all while maintaining it's wonderful sense of cohesion, detail and super realistic presentation that is smooth, not harsh or edgy, or under/over-done in any way.

    Selected headphone comparisons

    - Meze Empyrean: this comparison was super brief but all I can remember is that it was like putting a great electrostatic headphone up against a good dynamic one. Much more detail, instrument separation, cohesion, etc.
    - ZMF Auteur. One word, WOW! The story goes like this: I gave another listen to the Auteur, my favorite ZMF headphone on the Prima Luna Evo 200 tube amp, one of the best at the show. I was quite impressed at the ZMF pairing, super robust, hard hitting, detailed and pleasing sound. Plugging in in the HEDDphone was entering a whole new window of the recording. Totally unrecognizable from before. Detail and instrument separation are increased drastically, and overall resolution is second to none, with great FR to boot. Super pleasing sound with the HEDDphone.
    - Rosson Audio Rad-0: This was also an indirect comparison but I can attest to the HEDDphone outdoing the resolution / speed and soundstage of this one as well. Though I still adore the Rad-0 for all it's amazing prowess and to me better than every other dynamic and planar headphone I've heard. If you prefer a somewhat darker or laid back signature then I would actually recommend the Rad-0.

    Over the years I have tried hundreds of models dynamic to planar to e-stat from nearly all known hi-fi audiophile brands, and to me this has them all beat and to me this is even more preferable than the HE1 / Orpheus 2 I tried due to portability and ability to scale with amps... and hey sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Though an indirect comparison, I also liked this better than the new RR1 Conquest e-stats and the Raal SR1A for better tonal balance and dynamics.

    While yielding highly versatile sounds depending on equipment used, if I had to compare it to another headphone I would say it's close to the HD-600 headphone and the QDC Anole VX IEM in terms of sound signature, yet still better in quite a few ways.

    Selected source chain pairings

    - unknown amp at left end of Hifiman table: amazing overall fidelity, enough to jumpstart my interest
    - Euforia amp from Feliks Audio: great sound, but volume was too quiet; not enough power
    - Prima Luna Evo 200: Sensational, endgame material. Effortless everything
    - Quad PA One+ amp: Absolutely Fantastic sound! Made me jump up and interrupt people to have them try it. Juicy, liquid, dynamic, detailed, meaty... tasty! This tube amp drove it very well on high gain with headroom to spare, and happens to be much more affordable than many.

    I also saw people hogging it with the amps on the left tables upon entering the Woo Audio room which I didn't get to hear. And disappointingly I think no one ever tried it with the Woo Audio WA 33 amp that I believe was their larger tube amp.

    Visceral impact
    This headphone managed to give me a feeling I could not soon forget. Surrounded by the newest best technology from IEMs to new planar headphones, electrostats such as the newly revised Stax Lambda L300 limited edition, having tried headphones from all major suppliers new and old to me, this stood out like an elephant in the room. At first listen at the end of my session at the Hifiman table I saw a unique looking headphone so I plugged it in, not expecting much. I knew something was special straight away and asked the owner if I could try it on a few other systems. This headphone gave pure sonic delight and fidelity I could not have expected, sounding mouth wateringly detailed, airy, spacious, intrinsically refined - a sound that is crisp, pure, totally engulfing with seemingly limitless ability to reproduce any and everything you throw at it in the best way possible - ohhh, so close to 'the truth' of not only the recording, but also the source chain, revealing the sound of your amp / DAC, etc. I just can't forget about this HEDDphone: One way or another, I'm gonna get ya!!

    Small caution
    While giving fantastic sound on all amps I tried it with, this headphone is moderately hard to drive and scales well with gear, so it's recommended to use this with more powerful amps (see above for a general example)

    Next phase
    Thanks to user Monsterzero for checking with them, Hedd.Audio is planning a North American Head-Fi tour of the HEDDphone. Details on how many loaners will be sent, when, etc. are expected to be posted on this (link) thread in the future as they come.

    This headphone is expected to roll out in Quarter Three of 2019. But they are handcrafted so expect them to come out slowly.

    Good things come to those who wait.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    THGM, marhol, halcyon and 5 others like this.
  5. DecentLevi
    Hi guys, here's the last part of my impressions from gear that stood out at the meet last weekend, beside the above HEDDphone review which also mentions a few other fantastic headphones, amps and IEMs.

    iFi Micro Black Label

    This solid state DAC+amp unit blew me away. Already released in 2017 I was surprised I wasn't familiar with it. It puts some powerful punch into a good headphone with great weight / heft and clarity, driven by its' internal DAC giving absolutely fantastic sound given it's very modest size and mid-tier price. A search on Head-Fi will bring up its' thread containing perhaps one of the most elaborate reviews I have ever come across, bar-none. Very good solution if you're seeking a transportable rig that is easy to set up (needs only the USB cable and power chord), or if you're a budget hobbyist with a small budget looking for an all-in-one solution. This pairing in fact sounded so good with my HD-600's with upgraded silver cable that strangely, the upgraded Dekoni earpads I tested them with at the show didn't sound as good as with my tube amp at home which preferred the former pads.

    Cavalli Audio Liquid Carbon X

    This solid state amp was a dramatically reworked version of the Liquid Carbon from Massdrop. I was extremely taken aback, basically shocked at how much better this maverick performs, having owned the old 1st gen original Liquid Carbon amp. Not having any notes on this one, I do remember this thing packing more of a punch, and much more clear and vivid that the original LC amp - and similar performance to the unit above; a main difference is this also sporting a balanced connection, cheaper and without a DAC. I just looked it up and the price is lower than the original too, by about half! Amazing! And this is from a company that now has closed doors so I'd imagine the window is limited on this amp.

    QDC Anole VX
    image_0783dea5-6815-4c1a-bef9-95d0ee429694_grande.jpg vx-2.jpg
    This universal fit IEM not only passed fitting into my moderately small ear canal with wonders, but to me it has surpassed every other IEM I tried at the show by a longshot. From my notes I took while listening, the sound is transparent, with perfect dynamics, full frequency response, and "by far the best IEM I've ever tried". Perfect fit, beautiful!

    Though it's been a while I have tried several hundred IEMs at earphone shops in Japan, Korea, etc. and I don't remember being quite as impressed as with this one. Impeccable clarity and PRaT / dynamics, wide soundstage with good spacial positioning, airy, vivid, extended and a full FR that actually reaches way down into the sub-bass and without overpowering other frequencies, maintinging it's delactable, clear sound. I tested with several well mastered rock and electronic music songs on my Onkyo DPX1-A DAP (good pairing) and it performed superbly with both genres, and amazingly they even sounded very good even with lossy MP3's as well. They are also very efficient which means lower amping requirements and does not drain batteries fast from needing a loud volume, though they probably shine best moving up to higher DAPs.

    I tried most all models especially the hi-end ones from Westone, Ultimate Ears, 64 Audio, Periodic and Jerry Harvey Audio. Of those I was most impressed with the Westone w60 for the most neutral and detailed sound, yet nowhere near the QDC Anole IEM. I recall one specific model of these companies which I'll not name save for discrediting them, but let's just say it was a similarly priced +/- $2.5k 'flagship' IEM that some guy loved and to me sounded super muddy / veiled and not even remotely close to the performance of this thing. Ultimately just a few people seemed to get the chance to try this one at the meet because it was the only one on display at the Shenzhen Audio booth and somebody bought the last one right after trying it. I'll say he must have been impressed to fork over that much $$ right on the spot!

    IEM disclaimer: I'm more of a full-size headphone collector so my knowledge with these in-ears is limited, and I had only tried around 1/2 of the IEM's present
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  6. frix
    I tried the HEDD headphone briefly during the high end in munich. It was so heavy and construction and comfort wise so bad I didnt bother listening to it more than 2min.
    halcyon and bidn like this.
  7. DecentLevi
    @frix The HEDDphone is still having the cups reworked and what you tried was a prototype. A representative told me they are reducing the weight and have improved the headband while keeping the sound the same. The one I tried at the show was I think using the newer suspension headband and to me was comfortable enough to wear for hours.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  8. frix
    Good to hear they are adressing those issues
  9. HiFlight
    I remember it well, especially plotting how I could steal Ray Samuel's R10's and not get caught! :ksc75smile:
  10. csglinux
    While it's refreshing to see marketing fluff that goes beyond just "allows you to hear the music exactly the way the artist intended", if what they're saying is true, they'll have massive problems with 4th order harmonic distortion.

    On top of which, folded diaphragms sounds all kinds of wrong to me. Sound waves reaching your ears from any appreciable distance are going to be essentially planar - introducing folds into a diaphragm that's centimeters from your ear is going to create all sorts of nasty, unphysical, high frequency constructive and destructive interference. I think their marketing department needs to take a second shot at this!
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    bidn and jsmiller58 like this.
  11. DecentLevi
    @csglinux the above you are quoting is technical data to be precise, and has nothing whatsoever to do with marketing "fluff" as you fabricated. For the sake of the community I highly recommend actually trying something for yourself rather than putting out negative unsubstantiated claims based on pure speculation. One of the main doctrines of Head-Fi is to not make speculative statements about how something sounds before you try it, something which you have basically already encroached upon. Nobody who has actually tried the HEDDphone has shared any of your sentiments in any way, shape or form whatsoever! Furthermore, let's imagine there actually is scientific data to back up your hypothesis - but then there's still that massive grey area in the hobby that science alone does not always dictate sound performance, being that many times something can sound good or bad contrary to how it should perform based on science alone.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  12. csglinux
    They may sound good. I haven't heard them and I fully accept we don't understand everything about how our ears and brains process sound.
    But there is zero chance this product "moves air four times faster than electrostats". If that's not marketing fluff, then it's pure BS. It's one or the other.
  13. DecentLevi
    Whether or not the thechnology behind the HEDDphone One actually moves air 4x faster than electrostats is something that perhaps the folks at Hedd.Audio can confirm if they have any measurements on it yet or not. Either way, the technology behind this headphone is directly based on speakers that this German company has been making for 30 years, and I believe has great potential as a game changer.

    I will make a disclaimer on my above review, that I had not tried all other headphones, having not gotten the chance to try a few of HifiMan's offerings and a few other obscure gems floating around. Furthermore there is no one-for-all headphone, as others can still prefer another sound or 'build' - even I can prefer another one depending on the environment (music, chain, etc.) I did also give major respect to the Rad-0 from Rosson Audio which is actually more recommended for those preferring a more 'velvety' / lush or warm & laid back signature. For me though, the HEDDphone is certainly a top contender at the least.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2019
  14. twister6 Contributor
    Have you tried oBravo headphones or earphones? Curious how it would compare to HEDDphone. oBravo been using AMT tweeters in their headphones (40mm AMT) and iems (8mm AMT) for the last 5-6 years, though it's always in a hybrid driver config with additional DD for low end. I think they are underrated due to their pricing which puts a lot of people off.
  15. csglinux
    I appreciate the honest feedback. I will try to get a listen one day. BTW, I didn't intend to shoot the messenger. I just can't stand marketing lies. At the end of the day, the air molecules have to end up moving at the same speed, or its frequencies would all be off by a factor of 4. Probably what they mean by "4x" is that they're just limiting diaphragm excursion. To me it seems disingenuous not to also mention that a folded diaphragm will have side-effects, because you'll no longer have a planar wavefront. It'd be interesting to see how these measure in terms of distortion...
    Whitigir likes this.
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