Chicago Meet (21 May 2005) - #2 Stop for Headroom (Pics Coming Soon)
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Eagle_Driver

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I just got back home from the meet featuring Headroom.

I met Tyll, Jamie and Joe over there. I also got Tyll to listen to the two Sonys that I brought to the meet - the much-recommended (by Head-Fi) MDR-7506 and the somewhat hyped MDR-XD400 (both costing around the $100 price point). Suffice to say that Tyll was quite pleasantly surprised by both of those 'phones (especially the MDR-XD400).

At the opposite end of the sound quality spectrum (among mass-market consumer headphones) was the Bose TriPort. Mr. Hertsens brought that 'phone just to show the meet goers how ********* craptacular (for its $150 price tag) those TriPort really was. I listened to the TriPort, and it sounded even worse than I remember it sounding at Best Buy! Muddy bass, screechy highs, no bottom or top-end extension, no mids! Arrrgghh!


As for the other headphones at the meet:

The new Sennheiser HD201 was surprisingly good for such a cheap closed headphone. Hard to believe it costs just $20, yet it sounds only slightly worse than the better $100 closed cans.

The Sennheiser HD485 didn't quite meet my expectations for a semi-open headphone. I prefer the slightly cheaper eH350 to the HD485, the latter of which sounded a bit too thick for my liking. The eH350 sounded a bit better than my HD497 (even though both 'phones share a very similar design) - but it also costs slightly more. Between the eH350 and the HD497 (at Headroom's prices), you get what you pay for.

The HD595 and the HD650 need no explanation. I listened to both 'phones with the Cardas balanced cable on a new-model balanced Max amp. The 595 sounded slightly brighter than the 650, but otherwise both were very similar.

I tried the other closed 'phones. The Ultrasone DJ1 is quite a warm, nice-sounding set of cans. The Beyerdynamic DT231 was also good, if a bit withdrawn in the mids. The Sennheiser HD25-1, on the other hand, did not impress me very much. It was pretty good, but not worth its high price.

I listened to Ray Samuel's Raptor - with a pair of the Cardas-cabled Sennheiser HD600's. This amp impressed me - but so did the new, renamed Headroom lineup. I wish I could afford any of those amps. Maybe another time.

I had a great time. And thanks to B-ILLY (bhd812) for hosting the meet.

Randall aka Eagle_Driver
 
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ayt999

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the meet is over already? anyways, even more impressions to add to the ones from Detroit, and that thread is just getting started too. I'm so excited.


seems that you'll have pictures up before them too. lol
 
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Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ayt999
the meet is over already? anyways, even more impressions to add to the ones from Detroit, and that thread is just getting started too. I'm so excited.


seems that you'll have pictures up before them too. lol



Actually, I left the meet before it ended - because I had to catch the bus home before I miss the last one.


Tyll told me about the new high-end Sonys. The MDR-SA5000 was MIA (Missing In Action), while he was very disappointed in the Qualias.
 
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First off, thanks to Billy for hosting, and to Ray Samuels, Tyll, Todd R, and Mikhail for coming by with their gear.

I can't really give too strong an impression of the new headroom dacs, since I didn't have my emu there, but I did like them, a little more forwardin the midrange, a little warmer. The desktop portable as an amp sounded very good, I'd say it has a very different flavor, but is at least as good in regard to detail and presentation as the gilmore lite I have on loan from headamp. I still prefer the EC HD25 to either of them, but for small, portable solid state amps, they sound great.

The vinyl setup Ray had running through his XR-10B and Stealth was absolutely awesome. Too bad its worth more than I'll make this year.

I didn't hear the singlepower amps, but I'll do that next meet.

And thanks again to Billy for pulling it all together. I had a good time, and look forward to another meet later this summer
 
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Sorry I wasn't able to attend!!!! I was looking forward to it, but it is tough getting away when you have a 16 month old.


I'm waiting patiently for pictures...
 
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Jose Perez

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Wish I could have made the trip but couldn't trade work days with anyone and I didn't want to leave them short if I called off. Maybe the next time through. Can't wait to get more details though
 
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Todd R

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I'm sitting here trying out my new Headroom coffee cup (it works great, thanks Ty), so I'll post my pictures.......

The Headroom guys had just a couple headphones to try

Both sides of the tables were completely lined with almost every kind of headphone.


L to R The upgraded power supply for the desktop amps, Desktop amp, Millet Hybrid, Portable Desktop, Micro amp & Micro Dac.


The New Max's, standard on the left and balanced on the right.


Jamie (L) Joe (R) from Headroom.


Ty & Reynman


Mini amp shoot out Mint, Micro, SR-71


Max inside


Desktop inside
 
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john_jcb

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Sorry I could not make this one. I have a long list of must do items that i am slowly working off before my daughters wedding. Lucky for me it is getting shorter as I have only 1 week left. Even less until the relatives and guests start coming from out of town.
 
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Tyll Hertsens

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My goodness, I've just realized the hardest thing about this tour is going to be keeping up with the threads and posts.

First, HUGE thanks to Billy for putting together a ... dare I say it ... panashe to the extreeme meet. I particularly enjoyed to room of aromatic eargasm---a small bathroom modified to the fullest with Meridian and Grado delights. Truely an intimate Head-Fi meet experience.

I'll also tip my hat to Billy for bringing in our own private coffee hostess who taught us all a lesson: she (and I'm sorry, to my wifes delight probably, I've forgotten her name) was watching TV as we began the meet and I told Billy we were going to have to get her to turn down the TV to do our thing. Billy looked at her (a bright and shining young, powerfull black woman) and then looked at me, and then looked at her, and then looked at me, and I could see he knew he was in trouble, "Who do I piss of and be killed by" was the look on his face.

I decided to rescue him. I walked over to her and said, "I'm sorry but I'm going to have to ask you to turn the TV down so we can listen to headphones. I know that sounds stupid, but it's only because you really don't onderstand: you see, in this room is some of the best audio in the world. These guys are really looking forward to thier eargasm but it will be hard with that TV on." (I didn't really say eargasm but you get the idea). The I said, "And, you're not going to get what I just said until you give it a shot." So, I walked her over to the Wadia and Max Balanced Amp, slapped the cans on her noggin and punched the play button. SEVEN TRACKS LATER! when sh finally took the cans of, she understood. She then went around the table and listened to a bunch of stuff settling in on a Desktop Portable amp being fed by a portable DVD player playing "Moulen Rouge". AFTER ANOTHER 20 MINUTES! she came back and thanked me, and when I suggested that she give headphones on the TV a try she was more than happy to oblige.

The moral of the story: Everyone has two ears and listens to the perfect audio of the natural world every day; they just don't expect (because they never get) natural audio from an artificial playback system. But when they do, they know it. If this hobby has a point larger than itself, it is the message to the rest of the world that great sound is very pleasurable and can be had on headphones.

The other thing I felt very srongly this meet was that I was coming into the home of friends. As unusual a croud of geeks you could hardly get, but the willingness to embrace the joy we find in our hobby, and share that with each other enthusiastically, is heartening. This, Head-Fi, is a very real humanization of technology. It's proof that when you put amazing technologies in the hands of people they CAN put it to use in service of improving the human experience. In other words, the internet hasn't turned us into machines, but rather we have forced the internet into serving our humanity.

Holy Smoke! That's enough balony for now.

Cheers!
 
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Ray Samuels

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Thanks Billy for organizing this meet, wish it had more people there, it went very well. Please thank your parents for letting us trash the place & let them know that we really appreciated thier kindness. Thanks for the coffee & the pizza with all those other sweets.
Ray Samuels
 
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ChicagoPhil

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Thanks to everyone who had a role in this great event, especially Billy.

This was my first meet, and I am relatively new to headphones as a hobby/pusuit of great fidelity. I bought my HD-545s about 8 years ago, and thought they sounded quite amazing out of my portable cd player, or home player at night when I couldn't listen to speakers. I never purchased an amp, and the senns never really served as more than "when speakers weren't an option." Then I received an ipod as a wedding gift and my search for better phones to use with it led me here, and as the saying goes... here I am now with UE-10s.

i wish i could have arrived at the meet earlier in the day, as there were so many things to hear and experience. i didn't have much history with a wide range of high end phones, (i went to a local hi-fi shop when i made my first purchase and sampled a beyer, grado and senn and went with the latter) so rather than utilizing the meet for a singular purpose (comparing portable amps say) I was almost overwhelmed with the multitude of options before me.

i listened to a number of phones on the Meridian - fully upgraded Desktop system, and plugged my ipod into a Micro and Desktop, as well as an SR-71. After the Headroom guys left, I spent some time with Billy's Grado collection hooked up to the Raptor with Meridian source.

but spreading so wide, yet still not hearing everything i might have wanted to, i'm not sure what exactly i took away other than there is a lot of room for upgrade from where i am currently. i look forward to future meets and thank those of you who offered to discuss with me outside of the forum.

a couple of curious things. at the meridian - desktop system, i had been listening to Todd's HD-650s with the Cardas cable. When he started packing up his gear, Jamie found me another pair, but they didn't sound the same... more forward upper range, less bass. could they have been not as broken in?

cheers,
phil
 
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The 650s were probably older and broken in compared to the one you were using before. With break-in the bass tends to scrub away and subtle details emerge.
 
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Todd R

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ChicagoPhil

a couple of curious things. at the meridian - desktop system, i had been listening to Todd's HD-650s with the Cardas cable. When he started packing up his gear, Jamie found me another pair, but they didn't sound the same... more forward upper range, less bass. could they have been not as broken in?

cheers,
phil



Phil,
Break in was probably the cause for the sound differneces. My 650's are about a year and a half old with lots of playing time. 650's take a while to loosen up and sound right.
Todd R
 
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Another Chicago head-fi meet that came and went. Billy, great job (again!) of organizing and providing us all the eats and libations. BTW, Jasper thanks you for the milk, cupcakes, candy, and the extra Beer Nuts. Jen and Calvin said thanks for the 'drink'!


Headroom - Thanks Tyll, Jamey, and Joe. You guys are a dedicated bunch of nuts to come out to all points to help the spread the gospel. My wife thanks you for the coffee mug.

I was looking forward to listening to the MicroAmp and as soon as arrived I plugged in my HD1. Bliss! Nothing against my SR71, (6001 is throughly entrenched in my portable rig), but there was some nice sounds coming from the HD1/Sensa 2XS/MicroAmp combo. I was able to customize the sound with the gain and the crossfeed. The setting I liked best was crossfeed on and medium gain. Everything seemed cohesive. Patricia Barber's vocals were right there. MikeJazz's bass resonated nicely. Each pluck very detailed and clear. Nice set of options to have, though for my commuting purposes I may not get the intended effect due to the intrusion of outside noises. The Micro Amp is is a great alternative to the SR71 and the SuperMacro. I should have brought the DEJ-2000 cdp to try out the Micro Dac. Tyll and Headroom, great job!

After gorging on pizza and beer nuts and talking to Todd and Tyll, I decided to get down and dirty with Ray's set-up. I tried out the G08 and Raptor (with my 650s w/ Equinox cable) set-up and his vinyl rig featuring the Stealth and his new dual mono phono preamp. I popped in some Diana Krall and listened to the first 3 tracks of The Girl in the Other Room especially the title track. Mind you, I haven't listened to my rig for over 2 weeks (507/Raptor), been burping, changing, and rocking with baby #3. Smiles all around, like hanging out with an old friend. I felt an ease and comfort with Ray's CD rig. Oh what's this? An XP7! Switched out the MITs and the XP7 (8610) is alive. Similar sounding, though the bass was a bit more pronounced in the XP7, due to the 8610. IMHO, it would be more cohesive with 797s. Those are the opamps in my XP7.

On to the Stealth, dual mono phono stage, and Diana Krall. Quick, hide my wallet! Diana Krall's voice was more immediate and detailed...er organic. Instead of being reproduced I felt as if I was in the recording studio as she recorded the title track. Same with the instruments, they were being played instead of being reproduced. So this is what its all about! I did switch out my 650s with Ray's tried and true 600 w/Cardas cable. IMHO, a different, dare I say better sound with the 600s, smoother vocals, more controlled bass. I attribute the differences due to Ray's well broken in 600s vs my almost year and half old 650s.

Last stop. The balanced Max and the Wadia 861. Oh boy, this combo has some power. I played Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. Loud! Loud! Loud! The brass was clear and detaild without being harsh. The timpanis were tight and low and a lot of impact. That was a great way to end my listening session.

Anyway another great time for the dimunitive head count. As Tyll said it was like coming over to a friend's house. Well friends, lets do it again in July in Champaign w/Headroom.

[size=xx-small]BTW - Fred nice to see you! You've been missed. As always great stories![/size]

Regards - reynman
 
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oh man, its gonna be torture waiting 2 more months, looking at all this stuff makes my eyes way too big. i think im not going to buy anything for the next 2 months because im sure i will HAVE to buy some things after this meet. thanks for the pictures!

rj
 
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