European Head-Fi meet at Jan Meier’s house – Impressions
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saint.panda

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First of all, thank you Jan for inviting everybody to your place and for being a most terrific host. We just had a great time and those hours passed by really fast.



Only some short impressions here:

Rega Planet (2002 version): incredibly smooth, amazing groove, great details. Much better than my old Philips CD 850 and imo better than Jan’s modded Sony SACD player. I'd get this player if I had the money. And it looked so damn tasty as well. I loved the toploading system.

Gilmore Lite (mine) vs. Corda HA 1: Frankly, the HA 1 outclassed the Gilmore Lite. Especially the midrange on the Gilmore Lite was too lacking - no body. It was the same with all headphones and the HA 1 wasn’t even burned in as it was fresh out of the box. However, note that the Gilmore Lite retails for 250$ and the HA 1 for 375€´
Edit: the bass on the Gilmore Lite was a bit tighter. But the highs were a bit too bright (fatiguing).

Prehead vs. RKV MKII: At first liked the RKV better but in the end the Prehead was just more natural and realistic. The Prehead also did a great job as a preamp when feeding Jan’s 2 self-built mono poweramps powering some Kef speakers.

Jan’s analoguer: the other participants noticed more of an improvement when using the analoguer. Imo the sound was just slightly less fatiguing.

I, now, believe that amps make more of a difference than I originally thought. Imo the amp is almost as important as the source. The source changes the sound signature but only a good amp can unleash the source’s given potential.

Headphones (usually out of the rega planet and a prehead and Jan's self-made interconnects)
-HD 555: I was not impressed at all. Imo there was no comparison to headphones such as hd600 or Beyer 880. Definitely more forward than the HD 600. I can't provide a thorough analysis but IMO these headphones lacked quite a lot.
-Beyer 770: Now these headphones have bass but the rest wasn’t very convincing. Plus the bass was really slow and a bit bloated. Jan called it a boombox.
-Beyer 531: Not as a groovy as I thought but it came really close to the Beyer 880, pretty much the same sound signature but with less details and less soundstage. Definitely good for the price.
-AKG 1000 (plugged into the rkv): I finally got to try these
Well, they were nice but nothing for me. More bass than I expected. Great soundstage. I’m glad I didn’t like them because I couldn’t afford them anyway.
-Grado HP 1000: best details among all headphones tested. Very good highs and midrange. Not enough bass which might be due to the bowl pads. These headphones are so fast and the attack is stunning. Nevertheless, they didn’t have enough soundstage for me.
-Jan’s heavily-modded 931: good but not enough listening time on them to make a proper judgement.
-Sony CD3000: These cans failed to impress me again. Despite the Prehead and the Rega 2002 which is really smooth cd source, I still found them too bright. And the soundstage just didn’t sound right to me. Calling it fake might be a bit too much, but to me it just didn’t sound right. Nonetheless, the cd3k had the best bass (tight and impact) among all headphones tested (including the hd650).
-Senn HD 600: I still can’t figure how these were supposed to be the “best headphones in the world”. Some instruments just sounded plain wrong. A piano didn’t sound like a piano. Bass was slow and bloated in comparison to Beyer 880 or CD3k
-Senn HD 650: Now we’re talking. Though still a bit too dark and this one sounded really good
-Beyer 880: I liked them at the start of the meet, partially because they were mine. However, at the end of the meet I thought that on a good source and a good amp they were better than the Sony 3k, better than the hd600 and better than the HD 650 (for classic and jazz). The HD 650 was better when it came to more ambient and electronic stuff. The Beyer 880 lacked some bass. One last note: The HD650 sounded really realistic and natural, just a bit too dark. Although people claim that vocals on the Beyer 880 are great I found the vocals best on the HD 650. Vocals on the Beyer 880 are a bit sweetened.

Comfort: Imo the Beyer 880 and Sony 3k won this contest followd closely by the Beyer 531. The HD 6x0 had too much clamping force.

I’ll post more detailed comparisons between the HD 650, HD600 and Beyer 880 in the “headphones” forum as I spent hours listening to these 3 cans in particular (out of both the prehead and the RKV). And maybe some references to the Sony 3k. I’ve made some notes but can’t find them at the moment.

Pics (sorry Jan...ISDN modem....
)

Audio Valve RKV MKII (sweet)


Jan wearing HD 650. Headphones (clockwise: ) Sony CD3000, Beyer 880, Beyer 531. CDP is the Rega Planet. The silvery amp is the Gilmore Lite. The big amp at the bottom is the prehead without front panel and the amp on the top is Jan's new prototype


Some additions to the earlier pic:
Sony D-211 at the right side, the headphone on the farest left is the Beyer 770, on top of the big amps is the Corda HA1 MKII, the big player on the left is the Philips CD 850, the weirdly-coloured cable is a Oehlbach NF2, the normal looking cables are Jan's self-built ones


Beydynamic 880 plugged into a Philips Dolby processor and Lords of the Rings (amazing
)


Sennheiser HD 555, Grado HP1000, Ultrasone 650


AKG K1000 with the "earcups" flapped out


AKG K1000 and the Beyer 531


Jan's speakers and you can see his poweramps on the left and right side to the speakers


From left to right: Impedanzer for the RKV on the top and one of Jan's mono poweramps at the bottom; Audio Valve RKV; Prehead at the bottom and Analgouer on top; Jan's modded Sony SACD player


Great meet and a big thanks to Jan for providing and setting up all the stuff. Even opened a new Beyer 770 just for us to try them.
Great conversations, great music, great equipment and great people. I don’t think anybody who was there would have missed it for anything in the world.
And btw, Jan is a pretty good pianist as well
 
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Lisa

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Nice to read the impressions. Sorry I couldn't be there.

Anyone take pics?
 
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Wow, looks like you guys had a great time. I'd have loved to have been there but hopefully next time. Heck, perhaps we'll do it down here then..
 
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TMC

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Great pics and thanks for the Gilmore Lite/HA-1 mkII comparison. I was considering between these 2 amps also for DT880. Looks like there were plenty of toys I'd have liked to try, especially HP1000 and K1000 would really have been interesting. But since I've recently plunked down on an amp/headphone combo from Jan, maybe it was better not to know what I'm missing
 
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saint.panda

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Lisa and ipodstudio, too bad you couldn't make it. Let's just have another European meet sometime in the future (maybe in 2 years?)


TMC, I added just another note to the comparison: In my opinion the HA1 was better, not different, but simply better. However, the bass on the Gilmore Lite was a bit tighter. The highs were too bright (very fatiguing).
Actually I didn't even like the Gilmore too much with the Grado HP1000.

Oh, and we did a listening test. It seems that I can hear up to 16khz.
 
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Dan the audioman

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Seems like you guys had a nice time. You guys obviously had a bunch of fun toys to play with.


Thanks for impressions. Its interesting to know that you found the corda HA-1 better than the gilmore lite. I take it that it had more body to sound.

Regards,
Dan

EDIT/ I just read up on another post and apparently you did find it to have more body.
 
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bowls on the HP-1000?
I haven't tried that combination yet (my PS-1 came with the bowls and they are replaced with flats already so I do have a pair to try out now... hmmmm) but why did you guys go for that combo?

wish I were in germany, looks like you guys had a fun time.
of course, having people over at my place so they can audition my headphones (isn't that what it was? oh... it was a mini meet and there were other headphones and amps there too
) was fun too.
 
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Well, well, well... so I missed that fun. *sigh* Met the girl again instead, though...


Anyway, anymore word about these prototype amps Jan had mentioned? And what about the people on the pics - can we have a who is who?

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
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Was there the new prototype of Corda amp as Jan mentioned in Meetings,etc forum? If yes, which category of amp it is? I am curious.
 
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Dan the audioman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ayt999
bowls on the HP-1000?
I haven't tried that combination yet (my PS-1 came with the bowls and they are replaced with flats already so I do have a pair to try out now... hmmmm) but why did you guys go for that combo?



Actually, due to the fit of the hp-1000, different types of pads don't make as much of a difference as on, for instance, the rs-1's. Atleast I thought so.

Regards,
Dan
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan the audioman
Actually, due to the fit of the hp-1000, different types of pads don't make as much of a difference as on, for instance, the rs-1's. Atleast I thought so.

Regards,
Dan



I agree

When I had the Hp-2 I tried many different pads, and they did not seem to make much difference like they do in other newer grado headphones.
 
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Great international report!; thanks.

No PS-1?
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by saint.panda
TMC, I added just another note to the comparison: In my opinion the HA1 was better, not different, but simply better. However, the bass on the Gilmore Lite was a bit tighter. The highs were too bright (very fatiguing).
Actually I didn't even like the Gilmore too much with the Grado HP1000.



Yeah I read in the amp forum about your finding the Lite being too bright with DT880, which made me rethink going for a Lite/DT880 combo. I'm glad I did since the treble from HA-1/DT880 is just about where I want it to be, and if anything slightly less with a couple of admittedly fairly bright albums. But the Lite must have very tight bass indeed as the HA-1 make my AD8620 Meta42 sound quite flabby in that range.
 
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saint.panda

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We didn't have a PS-1 and Taurui's Hp10000 was pretty new so he hasn't gotten flat pads yet.

Jan's prototype was pretty nice. He said the the circuitry is pretty similar to the Prehead but with some enhancements. He set up the Prehead and the Prototype next to each other fed by the same rega planet (rca splitters are a bliss
). And it had tons of features: preamp selection, crossfeed, switches for slight attenuation of highs, mids and lows (very slight attenuation, not comparable with eqs).... Though the others noticed more of a difference to the Prehead, I just thought that it had a slightly less agressive sound. For me this difference was only noticeable on rock but not really on classical or jazz. Jan said that the new Prototype will be placed slightly above the Prehead.
You can see the Prototype in one of the pictures: the two amps without front panel. The bottom one is the prehead and the top one is the prototype.
 
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saint.panda

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lini
Well, well, well... so I missed that fun. *sigh* Met the girl again instead, though...


Anyway, anymore word about these prototype amps Jan had mentioned? And what about the people on the pics - can we have a who is who?

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini



Hey Lini, too bad you couldn't come. I hope your absence was really worth it

I finally got to listen to your "groovalizer" and to be honest I was not too impressed by its grooviness but rather how well it competed with the beyer 880 in terms of details and so on.

We were only 5 people including Jan. About the names, in the the pic with the speakers: that was Patrick, me and Christian.

Edit: sorry for the double post, wanted to edit the quote into the former text but then mindlessly hit the submit button

This was Harald, Jan's friend with the AKG K1000


I hope by now the other guys arrived home safely and will add their impressions (some pro-CD3000 and pro-AKG 1000 opinions
)
 
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