Hungarian minimeet impressions.
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Feanor

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In the end, out of the 7-8 people expected, there where 4 of us at my place (a friend of mine also turned up, who might soon turn to the dark side).
The people: Tamas (a.k.a. Banfi T), Zoltan (a hungarian amp/dac manufacturer), Peter (my friend) and me. Tamas arrived way before the other chap, so we had some time to look into the gear.

The gear: Tamas brought lots of loot: A big denon cd player, a small dvd player that got no playtime at all, his custom DAC, his DIY amp with a passive switchbox as volume control, and two headphones: beyer 880-s (old, 600 ohm version) and akg 501.

Zoltan brought a headamp and a dac that his company makes, and also some real audiophile tweaks : a couple of stabilizing platters, pic’s will come of these. He also brought some fancier IC’s and power cables.

I have a Singlepower Mpx3 amplifier, a senn hd600 and an E-MU soundcard.

First, we popped in a Bjork cd, and I had a listen with the beyers. Man, those phones are nice! They sound powerful and fun. Real nice bottom slam, and a bit of top sparkle. I heard details that the senns dont bring to the front in Hunter and Bachelorette, like some piano hits and stuff like that. Then, I listened with the 501. Ooooooh, nice voice. Not too good extremes, but Bjorks voice is really gripping with these phones. My senns had a more neutral presentation, I could hear the details but they didn’t jump out at me. They do get more gripping at higher sound levels though. A note here: These guys listen at insane volumes! Tamas listens at a higher level, but that’s still bearable. But Zoltan, man, he cranked my amp up to 1 o’clock! I usually listen at 7-8. Tamas also got me to listen to a bass solo with the beyers, man, great stuff. They have very good positioning, I got real startled by a clap from behind me. I did a bass test with the phones, using the Kruder and Dorfmeister remix of Bomb the Bass’s Bug Powder Dust. That track has some real deep bass in it , typical for K&D. First, 880-s: OMG TEH BASS! It had a real nice groove to it. Next, 501: No Bass at all! I could hardly hear it as some dull thuds. While this phone is real good for vocals (and I also liked it on non-bass centered electronica), the lack of bass would keep me from using it as a main phone. 600: again, they are more neutral, they lack the more in your face attitude of the beyers. Not bad, but not outstanding.
As you can see, I really enjoyed the beyers [they where also Peter's favorites].

The amps: too bad Tamas’s amp had a 5 pin xlr connector, so I couldn’t hook the senns up to it. His amp/dac combo sounded real good, especially with the beyers. Nice and upfront. I think he also got a kick from the Mpx-senn combo, but I’ll leave that to him. I listened to my senns from Zoltans setup, which was also nice. I didn’t really listen to the amps all that critically, the phones and D/A converters interested me more.

Tamas’s DAC was good. It sounded better than my EMU, although no direct comparison was made. The separation and details where better. We did a direct comparison with Zoltans DAC and the E-MU, and I was surprised how close they where. The DAC sounded better, but it would not be noticeable on not too well recorded music. So, both DAC’s where good, but Tamas spent some time comparing them head to head, so maybe he’ll have more on that (then again, guess I’m the only neutral observer here
).

We also tried listening without the stabilizing thingies and with, and maybe there was a difference. It was more pronounced when we put them under the DAC, though. Maybe I’ll start cutting tennis balls in half...
Also, Zoltan was nice enough to lend me one of his better quality power cords, I’m listening with it on right now.
Pics to come.
 
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Banfi T.

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I mostly agree with Feanor's thoughts and I would like to thank once more for hosting this mini meeting!

The MPX was really good, I did like it. It was an interesting contrast to my amplifier with the MPX having a real lush but well defined sound opposite to my amp's upfront and speedy presentation. Feanor welcommed me with a very unique music with lots of deep and slow bass. I listened to it with senn/mpx combo for a minute and it really grip me. The music was almost threatening in its own way and I like when an equipment is able to present all kind of feelings, even the darker ones. I had a tube based headphone amp before (the only one that I owned and wasn't made by me
), and I really did not liked its presentation, it was mostly dull and had no presence. Well, the mpx showed me the other side of the possibilities. And on the track "Hunter" Björk had a voice like mercury


As Feanor already mentioned, Zoltán is a Hungarian manufacturer, his company's website is www.hivox.hu. Unfortunatelly it is only in Hungarian language, but the headamp look liked this and the D/A was something similar to this. The headamp was a prototype, it has a bit more then 10W/channel and also had speaker connections. This headamp had a grip on the phone, very detalied sound, a bit even more upfront as mine, which is no wonder, since my headamp does not use any global feedback, and this one is all about feedback. (However, they were closer in sonic signature as one would expect given that they are from completely other design schools.)

Overall it was a nice mini meeting with too many options for a couple of hours. I was really sorry that I had to go home soon...
 
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Banfi T.

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I had a rather poor quality digit cam with me, most of the pictures I took are too dark, but here is one.

This one was made when (almost) everything was connected. My modified Denon CD Player is on the right with Hivox electronics and stabilizers (I think you will see some photos about them from Feanor). Next to the player is my two box head amp (more pics here) and on the top of them is my DAC (the shiny one). The next is passive preamp and finally the mpx3.

 
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agile_one

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Looks like a very nice meet, guys. Thanks for the impressions and pics.

Would love to hear those 600 ohm 880's and some of that stuff hivox is putting out. Very interesting music collection, too, that would be fun to listen to.
 
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Feanor

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The music Banfi T. is talking about was some Shpongle, from the Are you Shpongled? album. Good stuff. He showed me an awsome bass solo, that sounded real good from the beyers [the claping from back really startled me]. I also listened to a some drum solos with it, and the SS setups with the Beyers had SLAM! The better details and placement make me really want a better DAC, and maybe a new headphone. My pics are also dark, gonna photochop them. Gotta go now, party awaits me.
 
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Frank M

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Well, next time I'll try to stay healthy... and avoid exams

Weird to hear, though, that from the initial 7-8-9 it shrunk to only 3 participants... quite a micro-meet
 
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Feanor

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Well, here are the pic's, sorry about the delay, I have finals, and I needed to study. The pictures turned out prettty bad, mainly because this was the first time I had a camera in my hands in a couple of months.

The table:





these are the stabilising balls that Zoltan makes [I have to admit, my EE friend had to go home when he saw these, he didnt want to burst out laughing there and then] :





The balls in action:





Zoltan also makes a cool cable, with carbon filling. Flexible as hell, no need to fear a kink in these:





Here is his DAC, and I have to add that both Tamas and Zoltan have swell-looking DIY gear, with wood fronts:





Aaaand: Banfi T!





this was a horribly dark pic I had to touch up.
 
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