DC/Maryland Meet Impressions
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Dave1

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Another great meet at Hirsch's. Tons of great gear and great head-fiers. Between the Hirsch collection and Headroom, there was more gear than I've ever seen before in one place.

Congratulations Tyll on the new lineup. I am impressed. The amps are killers and there are some amazing pricepoints. The new amps also have so many inputs and so much flexibility that it is stunning. I particularly liked the Desktop and imagine that there will be a ton of these things sold.

The new sds-sds-sss-ddd-sss-xlr does actually make sounds to justify the amount of money and space it consumes. I particularly liked the pairing with the PS-1s. I guess that unlike crazy expensive power cables (sorry Hirsch), balanced really does make a difference.

The Wadia that headroom is toting around tied to a table is another amazing thing not to be missed on Tyll's excellent adventure. A great source.

Thanks to Tyll, Mikhail and Justin for coming to the meets. It is a great resource for us to chat with you guys.

It's late. I'm sure that there will be more from DC tomorrow.
 
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Tyll Hertsens

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Oh shoot! I should have posted to start the thread earlier. Damn!

Because, I really wanted to thank Hirsch for the lovely spot and lovely friends to share it with. We had lanae seating for two of the tables. (Which means out on the patio in Hawaiian----someone may need to check the spelling)

And the Wadia had a table with AC connection direct to the killler dedicated "ORANGE PLUG" mains supply plug. (What is this AC phetish?) And the couch und confy chair were well ensconcing the shootout table---- which saw more action than it's ever seen! First, Hirsch would drag out something, then Hirsch would drag out something else. Then Hirsch would drag out yet another thing. I swear he had so much stuff it would make Loe Longwood blush--and Joe has almost as many headphones as I do. (And I cheated because I didn't really have to pay for them!) As I live and breathe, Hirsch's little office looked like my spare gear room TIMES TWO. I, not kidding, had to bring the wierd stuff in my spare store room to play something Hirsch hasn't heard before. Seriously, I think he already heard my new stuff before I did!

Anyway, I broke out my Pete Millett prototype K1000 tube amp. Hirsch was surprised, he had never heard one before! AHHA! I am victorious! Not so fast dip wad! Mikhail knew more about the thing than I did! It did sound good though---so did Mikhail's PPX3.

I also drug out the Stax in-ear headphone system. He hadn't heard that either. A lot of folks got a kick out of it----it's a bit tricky to keep settled in yous though.

Anyway, I think it's the first time I've ever seen a bunch of guys drunk on headphones. At least, I had no problem driving back home to the campsite.... oh sorry.... Kampsite (its a KOA) afterwords.

Thanks, guys, it was a whole bunch of fun!

Cheers!
 
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gpalmer

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For me the highlight of the meet was getting to meet all these folks I've been posting back and forth with for some time and getting to actually know them. It was far too short and I had a long drive to make it there, but with some of the other tasks I have to attend to at the moment I had really considered making my life easier and skipping the meet. I am incredibly glad I didn't do that! I was rather off all day because I was behind in my sleep and it cut back on my ability to pull off being a social butterfly...


From a sound point of view, my personal favorite was hearing the RS-1 with the SDS-XLR and in general the SDS-XLR was my favorite part of the meet. I have to agree with Hirsch's assessment on this one. This was far and away the best I have heard the RS-1 sound and my reaction was about the same as I had hearing Bozebuttons Orpheus, I want one and I don't care how I get it!!!!
(just kidding, just kidding, but it is lucky for my kids that they are out of the house and the government has given them automatic weapons so the temptation to sell them into slavery is pretty easy to resist).

I also really enjoyed hearing the Qualias. Interestingly enough for me, there were two pair there, which in theory shouldn't have been much different since they only varied by size of the head band, but the net effect was very different. With one pair I heard the echoing that I have seen detractors post about and with the other pair I didn't hear it at all. These headphones are very picky about their adjustment! I didn't get the full effect since I didn't manage to get the seal that is required for low bass to really come through and this kept me from appreciating them to their fullest. Hopefully Hirsch will let me back in through his door after having met me and knowing better! (And I was only kidding about that I don't care how I get them, honestly!
). the Sennheiser's were also excellent through the SDS-XLR, I can see why Tom Hankins likes them so much. With the same set of tubes that the other headphones thrived on, I found that the PS-1 was a disappointment to me. It just wasn't the headphone I've come to know and love which is strange since it was my set of headphones!
I didn't have nearly enough time with this though. Particularly with the RS-1s, I only got about three songs in there and I would rather have had them number in the hundreds.

The next highlight for me was the new versions of the HeadRoom Max and BlockHeads. While I didn't really care for the lower end products of HeadRoom's I tried because the bass seemed tilted up to me, the Max and BlockHead were first rate being fed from the Wadia player. I thought they were a very nice continuation of the lineage from the last version because the main impression I got from them was the effortlessness of their sound. While they both displayed excellent detail, they didn't shove it down your throat. First they give you the sound of the band and the music, and if you care to listen to it, they give you the detail. About the only complaint I could make about these was that I would love it if there was a "rectangular box" option. These are not small boxes and being able to use them as a base for other gear would improve their ease of use I think.

Would whoever found my DVD-Player in the parking lot send me a PM, I'd like to talk to you.

Regards,
Greg
 
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Many thanks to Hirsch, Tyll and everyone else who brought equipment to play with
I agree with you guys that the SDS XLR was AMAZING! Easily the best amp I've ever heard, you only have to listen for a few moments to understand how amazing this amp is. Congrats to Hirsch for adding this lovely 140lb. piece of gear to his already amazing collection. Believe it or not today was my first chance to hear the CD3000, I believe they were part of Tyll's myriad headphones. I really liked what I heard, and if possible I will be adding a pair to my collection in the near future if i can find a new pair somewhere... and of course rewiring them


Also quite impressive was Mikhail's new solid state amplifier. Once people started listening they couldn't get off! It was that good. Very smooth, warm and musical. Where do I sign up? And how about a portable version too while you're at it Mikhail?
Also impressive were the big Headroom amps. They sounded quite nice coupled with the Wadia player, with a slightly warm yet detailed sound, excellent dynamics and punchy bass. It was nice to see Tyll in his trademark Hawaiian shirt. I was sure to wear one too as I knew he would be there
 
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tom hankins

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Sounds like another great time at Hirsch's audio center.
 
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markmaxx

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A great time was had by all! And thank you Hirsch, you are surely the President of the MD. VA. DC. Area headphone elite. Everyone treats Hirsch with such respect and deservedly so He is one of a kind.

I thought Tyll and Mikhail were the most talkative and relaxed of the two times I have met Tyll or the three times I have met Mikhail. What great ambassadors of our great hobby. We missed you Ray.

As always I go with an agenda and a great plan and then get there and get lost there are so many great amps CD. Players and headphones too choose from. I will say DC, must have more Meridian CD, players than any other area in the country there were at least 4 at this meet!

I also think the meets are evolving into a hobby not just a trade show for headphone equiptment, which is nice because after I get an amp for home use (getting tired of feeding 9Vs to the SR-71) I will attend meets not just to find a headphone for my headphone rig or an amp for home use, but to see what the rest of the headphone industry is doing and catch up with the friends.

I loved Mikhails prototype solidstate headphone amp and I almost missed it! It was in a enclosure that said Gold something, and I was ready to buy a Singlepower MPX3 on Tuesday. Sounded very Ray Samuals HR-2 ish, very lush lots of bass and tubeish I loved it.

I am late for work more later.
 
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Canman

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I wasn't planning on coming but I thought I'd make a surprise visit to check up on the MD crew. I guess it really wasn't a surprise since I haven't missed a MD meet in a long time. It was great to see everyone again and meet a couple of nuts like Tyll and gpalmer. Tyll is a wild man -- he's like a devoted hippie following The Dead on tour in his camper. Not quite a dead head, he's a Head-Fi head.

Couple of short listening notes:

L3000:
The AT Leatherheads are sweet looking cans. They don't wow on first listen, and come to think of it, they don't wow on second listen either. They are a bit warm and more open sounding than the HD-650. There is definitely a unique sound signature and according to the experts, one that takes getting used to. I didn't like these cans with classical, but everything else sounded pretty good.

New Headroom Max
Damn, Tyll. Nice job on the new Max (especially the balanced version). It's always been a good amp, but the old Blockhead had some catching up to do. Guess what, it caught up. It was totally worthy of displaying the beast that is the Wadia 861. The Sennheiser HD-650 sounds so much better driven balanced, and this amp is much cheaper and almost as satisfying musically as:

SDS-XLR
Damn. Best I've heard the HD-650. Best I've heard the Qualia too, but I still can't get the Qualia to sound right for me. This amp throws the most gigantic soundstage. I didn't spend too much time with because I didn't want to get spoiled.

Raptor
The Raptor gave a good, but not great performance. I don't understand what the fuss is all about. I hooked it up directly to the Wadia 861 through Cardas Golden Reference cables and Cardas power cord and tested with the Sennheiser HD-650 and Sony R-10. It sounds nice with these headphones, but it did not have the transparency I was expecting from the raving reviews. There was a cloudiness in the upper midrange that made the amp a bit uninvolving. Sweet looking chassis, hot as a mother. I prefer to include a 'C' before the name.

Simpl iPod amp
We took this amp apart, and it was, well, rather Simple. Most of it is battery and the charging circuit, the rest is pretty cheaply made. The way it fits to the iPod is its selling point.

Stax SR-001 mk2
These were a big surprise to me. A great portable system that includes an amp and is not very expensive. Audiocubes lists it for $239. Very clear and detailed midrange. The bass is rolled off a bit, but this is the case with every portable I've heard so far. They also have a funny fit. Some didn't take to the unique earpiece, but I thought it was rather comfortable. I am buying a set for portable use.

Sennheiser HD-201
Holy crap, full size sealed cans for 20 bucks that sound good? Solidly built, light, and comfortable too. A lively, forward listen. These sound worlds better than the PX-200. for one third the price. I heard some sharpness on piano notes that sounded like sealed-can reverberations but for the most part sound is smooth and very detailed. I am buying one of these as well. I might even order a couple of sets to get my friends into headphones.
 
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Hirsch

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I'll get some pictures and impressions posted once I've finished cleaning the place up tonight or tomorrow. I think that this was a very fun meet, and wanted to thank everyone for coming.

I will say that Headroom has really done an amazing job of redoing its line. Headroom saw that they needed to take good products and make them better and that's exactly what they did. I'll try and post some detailed impressions later, but for now I'll just say that I really liked all of the Headroom amps I heard. Tyll, you did a fantastic job on those amps!!!

Thanks to Tyll, Mikhail, and Justin for bringing products. Special kudos to Tyll for driving that van all over the country with his product line. The "lanai" arrangement worked out well (Tyll's shirt was so loud that some people trying to listen were distracted when he was inside
). Seriously, what Tyll is doing promotes not just Headroom, but the hobby itself: headphones as a serious audiophile medium. This is good not only for Headroom, but for everyone involved in headphone audio. Thanks, Tyll.

More later.
 
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markmaxx

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Gosh I had only one coffee this morning and I had intended to thanks Justin from Headamp, and Steven from Rock Hopper audio both very fine amp builders for comming.

I will second the Senn. HD. 201's sound great for a cheep closed headphone
I got 4 pair from Headroom for gifts.

Highflyn9 brought a Chineese amp the "little blue dot" he said cost $45.00 + $85.00 for shipping and wow it sounded nice just what you would expect to hear from a small tube amp warm and lush not quite as detailed as some of the other great amps at the tube table but worth a listen at 4 times the price!
 
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tyrion

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Canman
I prefer to include a 'C' before the name.


That is a pretty cold comment. Whether you liked them or not is one thing but to take a shot like that is pretty immature. There was an amp by another manufacturer at the Florida meet that fit that exact description. Rather than take a cheap shot I chose not to address it. Just one headfiers opinion.
 
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Canman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tyrion
That is a pretty cold comment. Whether you liked them or not is one thing but to take a shot like that is pretty immature. There was an amp by another manufacturer at the Florida meet that fit that exact description. Rather than take a cheap shot I chose not to address it. Just one headfiers opinion.


I sincerely apologize for poking fun at your amplifier. It was highly inconsiderate of me.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by markmaxx
Highflyn9 brought a Chineese amp the "little blue dot" he said cost $45.00 + $85.00 for shipping and wow it sounded nice just what you would expect to hear from a small tube amp warm and lush not quite as detailed as some of the other great amps at the tube table but worth a listen at 4 times the price!


Ah, sorry I should have clarified, the amp costs about $85 total after shipping. AFAIK the shipping is only around $40 as it is so small. The particular version I had there was the Little Dot II, the original little dot had 6 tubes and a smaller transformer. It's a cute little amp for the $$ conscious headfier, however I don't think that demographic was at the meet


I too really enjoyed the cheapy Senns, they are some of the best closed cans I've heard, and at $20 are certainly a no brainer. I was hoping to see the recently released AKG K26P in Tyll's pile as well but you can't have it all, can you?
 
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tyrion

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Canman
I sincerely apologize for poking fun at your amplifier. It was highly inconsiderate of me.


You weren't poking fun at anything. If I thought you were I wouldn't have commented. It had zero to do with my amp. It had to do with taking a cheap shot at the manufacturer of the amp. It was an immature comment, nothing more, nothing less.
 
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Canman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tyrion
You weren't poking fun at anything. If I thought you were I wouldn't have commented. It had zero to do with my amp. It had to do with taking a cheap shot at the manufacturer of the amp. It was an immature comment, nothing more, nothing less.


Tyrion, I gave an honest impression and I thought it was a good amp. The crap comment was indeed immature; I thought it was humorous. I like Ray. He is devoted to good design and the Raptor is his best effort yet. While my previous comment was sarcastic, let this be a sincere statement that my joke intended no harm.
 
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tyrion

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Canman
Tyrion, I gave an honest impression and I thought it was a good amp. The crap comment was indeed immature; I thought it was humorous. I like Ray. He is devoted to good design and the Raptor is his best effort yet. While my previous comment was sarcastic, let this be a sincere statement that my joke intended no harm.


Fine, I am cool with that. Perhaps I got a little too hot under the collar. It just seems that there is so much, "mine is better than yours" and "this is amp is the best and the other is sh**" comments on this site that, quite frankly, it pisses me off.
 
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