DFW Meet - March 23 2019, Impressions thread!
Mar 23, 2019 at 7:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3


100+ Head-Fier
Aug 6, 2014
Hey all! Thanks to everyone who made it, I was glad to meet everyone. I think the meet went well, always glad to chat with fellow head-fiers and of course try some different gear! My apologies since I was the organizer and was like 15 minutes late (there's always something...) and was a bit flustered, but hopefully it was worth it. Seems like everyone was able to set up fairly easily.

Here's come thoughts on some of the gear I heard:

a) Campfire Solaris - reeeaaallly nice iems. I was gratified to find out they were hybrids, I really didn't have much info on them prior to today. Wouldn't mind hearing them again, maybe compare to my favs so far the UM Mavericks. Might even pull the trigger on a pair if they're good enough. Only turn off is the cable connector, I'm not a fan of that rotating design.

b) Focal Utopia - very nice. Good powerful bass, nice imaging. I did detect a dip somewhere near 8KHz which diminished sparkle a bit for my taste, otherwise really good. Not in the market for another open-ear though.

c) Had a chance to compare my ZMF Ori to the Aeon Flow Closed. AFC sounded very shouty to me. Not really what I was expecting. I had been thinking about buying AFC, went with the Ori and I'm glad I did.

d) cubed4life has a really nice setup with slightly modded T50rps, quite enjoyed listening to this setup. Very linear with very slight dips and peaks, which makes it very cohesive. I plugged in my Oris into the Questyle (?) and was surprised that they didn't sound too good - we guess the cause was the single-ended connection. Back into my Hugo 2 they sounded great again. Would like to try the Ori into this setup with balanced cable again for a full straight comparison.

Thanks all again, pleasure to meet you all and hope we can make it happen again! Saw some love for the HD800 and HD800S, so next time maybe I'll bring the Apex Teton for everybody to try.

Mar 25, 2019 at 11:34 AM Post #2 of 3


100+ Head-Fier
Feb 20, 2017
Dallas, TX
Thanks John @katulu for putting this meet together - it was a lot of fun and always great to get together with folks we can share this audio passion with. Hopefully we will be able to do it again.

Two things really stood out to me and hit well above any expectations I had going in.

First was John's setup - the Mscaler>Dave>Blue Hawaii>Stax SR009 - Out of this world and my first words were "why would anyone want to listen to anything else" - totally awesome and I really appreciated the opportunity to experience that setup.

Next was Walt's Focal Utopias - Although everyone didn't agree, I certainly felt they surpassed my HD800S by a significant margin. At MSRP, I think they are over-priced, but at often discounted market prices I will have to consider them - I loved them.

It was a pleasure meeting everyone and I hope we can do it again
Mar 26, 2019 at 10:17 PM Post #3 of 3


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 21, 2017
Thanks to katulu for setting things up. This was my first meet, but hopefully not my last.


Hugo M-Scaler - Chord Dave - BHSE - STAX SR-009
It was my first time with any of the equipment, so I was excited to give it a listen…what can I say about this setup…it definitely lived up to the hype. The SR-009 were surprisingly light when I put them on. The one downside to the 009 was the headband adjustment. It’s super solid but required adjustment with two hands prior to putting on your head. But, once you got them on your head, wow! People aren’t lying when they talk about the detail on these cans. The bass was not as light as expected based on what I’d read, but it’s no bass monster. The sound signature isn’t something I’d want for daily listening, but I’ll happily listen at a meet every time I get the chance!

Hugo M-Scaler - Chord Dave – Utopia
I was also able to plug my Utopia into the M-Scaler/DAVE combo. Right now, I’m just running the Utopia through an Oppo HA-2SE. Eventually, I’ll have more suitable source gear, but I can’t buy it all at once! I did some brief A/B comparison with the Chord setup and the HA2. That’s not a fair comparison, but I wanted to see if I could actually hear much of a difference. Boy could I. I was particularly impressed by the blackness of the background out of the DAVE as well as the added clarity and separation. I can see why people like the DAVE/Utopia combo, it adds something special to the Utopia. I don’t have the most discerning ear, nor do I have much time comparing source gear, so I’m not one to call out subtle differences as I’m not sure if it’s my mind playing tricks on me. This was no trick. The difference was very noticeable.

Sonus Faber Pryma 01
I hadn’t heard of these headphones, but they looked great sitting on the stand when I walked in. I listened to them through my Oppo HA2-SE, which had plenty of power to drive them. The ear cups are small for an over-ear closed back. They aren’t what I would consider on-ear, but they’re close. They had a fun sound signature, decent detail for a closed back, but I found the bass to bleed a little into the mids, which made them sound slightly muffled to me, maybe a little congested, though I only have open back cans right now, so that just may be me not being used to closed backs.

Monoprice Liquid Spark Amp
Nice little amp, great form factor. Listened to the 800S out of the amp and it sounded great.

Project Ember Hybrid Amp
Also listened to the 800S out of this amp. I thought it sounded a bit warmer when A/B testing with the Liquid Spark. Again, my ears aren’t trained, so it could be placebo, but the pairing was nice.

Sennheiser HD800S

I’ve heard these once before at Audio Concepts in Dallas. They were just as comfortable as I remembered, and the detail and soundstage were there in spades. Very fun to listen to, but I don’t think I’d want to own these as they are too analytical for my tastes…oh, and I like bass

Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow Closed

I auditioned the AFO at the AV Boutique in Vegas. It was very early in my headphone journey, so I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew Mr Speakers made the most comfortable headphones I’d ever put on my head. That memory was consistent. The AFC are super light, and the pads are very thick. I felt like I was wearing marshmallows on my ears. These headphones had a surprising amount of detail. I remember thinking the Mr Speakers I auditioned in Vegas sounding slightly muffled (which is a terrible way to describe them, probably not accurate, but that’s the only way I could describe them). These did not have that problem. If I’m ever looking for a pair of closed backs, the AFC will definitely be on the short list.

Questyle CMA600i
I was happy to plug my Utopia into this piece of gear, as it’s on my short list of DAC/Amps in the near future (read: when I save up money after buying the Utopia). The form factor is great, and it has plenty of power. I was only able to try the SE output, and would love to try the balanced if we ever get to meet up again. Unfortunately, I had to head out shortly after cubed4life showed up, so I didn’t get much time with the pairing.

Overall, great to meet people, listen to new gear, and talk about the hobby in person. Looking forward to the next time we can get a group together. Thanks to all who brought their gear and excitement! And, thanks again to katulu for pulling it all together!
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