Detroit Mini-Meet (SAT 6/28) - Impressions
Jun 28, 2008 at 11:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 32

Quint

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[size=large]Detroit Mini-Meet (SAT 6/28) - Impressions[/size]



Just got back from the meet. Wish I could’ve gone out to dinner with Ray, Jude, and the rest of the gang, but many chores (which I’m blowing off to write this, of course!) awaited. I had a great time chatting with everyone and listening to some terrific gear. Ray’s amps, as usual, were the highlight. It was a sincere pleasure to finally meet Ray after what seemed like a million phone conversations. He’s a prince among men and one helluva designer. As a B-52 owner, I know why his products inspire such loyalty, and I heard and saw it today. Last but not least, many thanks to Jude for organizing this shindig. It was a terrific experience for me, as I’m sure it was for everyone—and the pizza wasn’t half bad, either!
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Jun 29, 2008 at 5:40 AM Post #2 of 32

elrod-tom

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The meet was great...good to see some folks I've not seen in a while.

I'm tired and scrambling to get my house back in order (we have guests arriving soon), so I'll save impressions for tomorrow.
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Jun 29, 2008 at 2:28 PM Post #3 of 32

SteveM324

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I agree that the meet was great. We need to meet more often. Thank you Jude for making your office available. It was great to finally meet Ray Samuels after many phone conversations and 3 RSA amp purchases. The stories were entertaining and it was a great time had by all.

Steve
 
Jun 29, 2008 at 3:09 PM Post #4 of 32

elrod-tom

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We should definately do this more often.

With regard to Ray, it's always a pleasure to have him at a meet. He is nothing if not entertaining.
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Jun 29, 2008 at 4:40 PM Post #5 of 32

thread

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I had a fantastic time. Met some great folks, listened to some great equipment, and ate some great food. Big thanks to Jude, Ray, and all who contributed! We'll have to do it again soon.
 
Jun 29, 2008 at 5:43 PM Post #6 of 32

Ray Samuels

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Thanks Jude for this fantastic mini meet, thanks for the greatest Pizza you provided for all of us. Your have a great place. My wife & I enjoyed the trip so very much.
It was pleasure to see Elrod Tom, & Jeff, Also meeting some great friends that I have talked to but never had the privillage of meeting them.
Thread, aka Adam, Quit, Aka Andrew, & Steave With all the rest of the friends that were there.
Thanks.
Ray Samuels


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Jun 29, 2008 at 9:09 PM Post #7 of 32

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I heard so much new stuff yesterday, that it's a bit hard for me to decide where to start...

First of all, this was my first meet. It was also the first time I have heard the R10, balanced Sennheisers, or anything balanced at all! I wish I could have spent more time listening to the balanced rigs as I find them very interesting. Both the Senn 600 and 650 really did increase in speed and accuracy in balanced mode as I expected. The R10 also gave a very clear and vivid look at the recording... It did sound quite impressive.

As much as the balanced amps (Ray's Apache and elrod-tom's Headroom Balanced Desktop) added to the sound, I'm not sure it's something I'm rushing out to acquire... Especially with my favorite headphones, my Edition 9's, not being said to improve much in balanced mode. It was, however, a very welcome experience -- particularly on the Senns that everyone has but few actually run balanced.

I also got to try the W5000, JVC DX1000, and the markl-modded Denon D5000. All of these were very impressive phones.

In the end, though, I really can't say I'm at all disappointed with my own rig! The RudiStor RPX-33 / Edition 9 really does hold its own against this stuff, I feel, with crispy, accurate reproduction and great extension on both ends. While the cups are a bit small for some ears, they suit mine well enough.

I also had the opportunity to hear some of Jude's IEMs! The original Klipsch Images, Sleek Audio SA6's, and the yet-to-be-released Sennheiser IE7 are all seem like solid contenders in terms of sound quality and form factor / usability. My initial expectation still holds on the funny interchangeable parts on the SA6 being a bit awkward... those bits seem really easy to lose.

Oh, and I got to try a prototype of Ray's upcoming SR-71A. It is a dualmono, 3-gain amp that uses 2x 9V bates. It is a very serious portable amp that anyone who wants very beefy sound in a small, portable package will want to consider. Alas, there is no DAC, but for use with an ipod etc, this little guy really does pack a serious punch. Ray had no problem saying that it could really be compared even to his Apache. It seems to me that he has done it again here and brought something really special.

Anyway, I feel like part of the club.
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Thanks for sharing the gear and good times.

And Ray: Thank you for making it up here. It was very nice to meet you, your wife, and your Apache.
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Jun 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM Post #8 of 32

Nightfall

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This was a highly enjoyable afternoon, and it was wonderful to see some old friends again, and meet some new ones. And Ray, a special thanks to you and your lovely wife for making the trip all the way from Chicago. It was so good to see you again, my old friend, it had been too long. Jude, and Tom, thanks also for making it possible for this to happen, and for giving me the chance to hang out with you guys again, I've missed that.

Andy, it was great to talk audio with you again, and share the wealth of knowledge that you have from all of the exceptional equipment you have experienced. Thanks also for the cable recommendation.

Joe, thanks for the wonderful audition of some outstanding acoustic guitar music, and the additional recommendations. It was great to meet you. Adam and Steve, likewise,and I apologize that I didn't manage to have the chance to talk with both of you more, it took me a while to catch up with things with my old compadres, Ray, Jude, and Tom.


There was certainly a lot of interesting equipment available to sample. My primary thoughts are on the gear that made the biggest impressions on me.

Ray's Apache is an exceptional headphone amplifier, in both single ended, and balanced mode. While I was long ago converted to the ranks of avowed tube lovers, this is an amp I could easily live with. It has quite a bit of warmth of a quality tubed amplifier, as well as the detail of a fine solid state amp. A lot of amplifiers claim this, but almost none ever manage the feat. As with all of Ray's equipment, the Apache is superbly built, of military spec quality, with excellent components. It's also a stunning piece of equipment to look at, and second only to the matchless, and fabled B-52 in this regard. I wish that I had the opportunity to experience it as a preamp also, as I expect that, knowing Ray and his design brilliance, it will offer tremendous performance in that mode too.

The markl modded Denon D5000 headphones also left me more than impressed. These are simply outstanding and were a huge surprise as I listened to them on a number of rigs using a wide variety of music. The modded Denon's seem to handle the entire frequency range seamlessly, and I would place them amongst the top ranks of available offerings. These are the first cans in years to truly impress me enough to feel that I should perhaps need to add another one to my stable.

I didn't have a lot of time with it, but the Luxman headphone amplifier was beautifully finished and what I heard from it sounded exceptional. It is certainly not inexpensive, but seemed a very high quality piece indeed.

Thread, I only had a couple minutes with your Rudistor, but it this is a very nice solid state amplifier with excellent articulation, precision and complete clarity throughout the soundstage. Well done.

And lastly, what I would select as the star of the entire event was Ray's prototype SR71A. This absolutely blew me away. It is literally so good that it is capable of equalling, and in some cases even surpassing some quality
non-portable headphone amplifers at easily several times the price. From my perspective, this sets a new, elevated standard for portable headphone amplification. I was simply stunned at the quality of sound it made possible. Later this year, my brother will be in the market for a great sounding, well made, ultra reliable portable amplifier for his yearly work stops in Alaska, Wyoming, and Mexico, and I will be sending him straight to Ray to snap one of these up.


All in all, one of the most enjoyable days I've had in a very long time. Thanks to Jude, and everyone else for making it possible.


JC
 
Jun 29, 2008 at 11:27 PM Post #9 of 32

boomana

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Sounds like you all had a great time. Nice pics of gear and people. I have only two questions: Why is Jude disco dancing in the last pic? What depraved music were you listening to that could possibly have brought that on? I thought I at least knew elrod-tom's taste in music better than that
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Jun 30, 2008 at 1:34 AM Post #11 of 32

boomana

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jinp6301 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Theyre playing a game with the Wii, Vicki. Looks like Wii tennis or baseball?
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Ah, I've never seen a Wii, which accounts for my confusion....still...I prefer to think that Jude is disco dancing.
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Jun 30, 2008 at 5:09 AM Post #13 of 32
Quote:

Originally Posted by boomana /img/forum/go_quote.gif
....Why is Jude disco dancing in the last pic? What depraved music were you listening to that could possibly have brought that on? I thought I at least knew elrod-tom's taste in music better than that
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LOL. We played Wii. thread thrashed me in Wii Golf. I returned the favor in Wii Tennis, which wasn't really fair, as I've been playing Wii Tennis for over a year, and thread only just started playing. (By the way, if any Head-Fi'er reading this in Metro Detroit wants to come by the office for a Wii Tennis match, please PM me--only if you're quite good at it, as we've crushed every outsider so far, every time with a very lopsided outcome. I'm sure there are far better Wii Tennis players out there than us, but we just haven't had any come into our office yet.)

I just got back from a fireworks display, and have been gone much of this day, but will post photos and impressions tonight (if I don't fall asleep first) or tomorrow.


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Jun 30, 2008 at 11:56 AM Post #14 of 32

Quint

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Some quick impressions. As I stated above, to me Ray’s amps were a standout. The SR-71 simply amazed me. The sound produced by that little box was nothing short of revelatory. At its price, I think it’s going to set the world on fire—and probably establish a benchmark not only in its class, but also a few steps above. A true wonder. The Apache also sounded terrific with whatever ‘phones and music I threw at it. I’ll keep my B-52, thank you, but I could easily take the Apache home and be done with the rat race.

Adam’s Rudistor/Ultrasone combo also sounded very nice, possessing a combination of grunt and delicacy that was intriguing. I’d like to hear more of it, though I get to hear half of it as an owner of the Edition 9s, which really wow me every time I strap them on.

Though I didn’t hear it for very long, Jude’s Luxman amp exuded typical Japanese attention to detail. The sound was rich and silky smooth, and the fit and finish . . . well, let’s just say WOW!

As for headphones, of the ones I wasn’t real familiar with, I think the JVC HP-DX1000s impressed me the most, possessing a beguiling mix of smoothness, low end power, and resolution. They’re already terrific, but with a few choice mods, those things could be incredible. I’ll probably be on the lookout for a pair at a good price. As much as I liked them, I doubt I’d pay full retail.

The MarkL Denons were also very good—I went back to them a few times, and even did a comparo vs. the R10s and ED9s—but nothing I heard convinced me to sacrifice either my Sonys or Ultrasones for them. Between them, my R10s and ‘ED9s handle pretty much any type of music I listen to. It would be nice to get one ‘phone that could replace both of them, but so far I haven’t heard one.

Anyway, that’s all I can think of at the moment, but the meet was a blast, and hopefully we can do it again soon. We’ll probably never rival the bigger markets in terms of numbers of Head-Fiers, but the guys we do have in the southeastern Michigan area are passionate and dedicated. Again, many thanks to Jude for putting this on. A great time was had by all.
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Jun 30, 2008 at 11:58 AM Post #15 of 32

markl

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The pair of markl mod-ed phones at the meet were one of the earlier prototypes. The mods have evolved a bit since then. As soon as I can, I'm going to put together an "official" demo model to send to meets. I've got some new tricks up my sleeve I'm excited for people to hear.
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