LAX Hilton Can Meet 10/18/2008 Impressions
Oct 19, 2008 at 2:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 87

jp11801

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Wow what a great time, amazing gear and great Headfiers. Just thought I'd kick off the meet impressions thread, I'm on an iPhone so my impressions will come later.
Big thanks to David (909) for putting this together as a dry run for Can Jam 09. Thanks to all the members and MOTs that were in attendance, there were debuts from RSA and Eddie Current among other cool offerings.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 2:20 AM Post #2 of 87

dallan

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Ya Big Thanx 909 Dave! I was only able to stay a few hours but totally wound up and enjoying it. Thanks to those who brought items to audition as well as the Craig, Mikhail and Ray bringing their goodies and expertise.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 2:59 AM Post #3 of 87

Edwood

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Heheh, I'm posting from George Petrelli's on my micro laptop.
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The meet went quite well, air conditioning issues aside, I think it will be an excellent venue for CanJam 09.

-Ed
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 3:28 AM Post #4 of 87

santacore

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That was a lot of fun. Thanks David for taking care of all the business. Much thanks to all the locals that shared their gear, and all the vendors that participated. Frank, your amp was amazing. I can't get that thing out of my head.
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Oct 19, 2008 at 4:09 AM Post #5 of 87

BRBJackson

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Great meet, guys, I'm just sorry I couldn't attend the after-party. Many thanks to David for putting this on. It was nice to catch up with old friends, and meet some new folks as well. I agree, this hotel will be a great venue for the Nat'l Meet.

Here are a couple of comparison shots of Ray's more recent portable amp offerings.

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Left to right: SR71A, Predator, Tomahawk, and on the right, his new little beast. It is amazing to have that quantity and quality of sound coming from such a tiny amp. I'll let him announce it formally in detail, but suffice to say it looks (and sounds!) like another winner from Ray.
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 5:38 AM Post #6 of 87

cp8ir

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Thanks to everybody who brought their gear to share, and thanks David for organizing this. It was pretty overwhelming for a newbie to see and hear some stellar stuff for the first time!
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 6:17 AM Post #7 of 87

chadbang

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This was my first meet and even though I could only stay a short time, it was great fun, entertaining and extremely enlightening. Everyone there was very friendly. There was an underlying sense of comradery to be sure. People were very friendly and willing share helpful words and opinions. i suppose it was like a meeting of like-minded fanatics, so no one was ashamed to open up about their love and appreciation of equipment. Big thanks to 909 who is an excellent young guy. A great organizer - very personable and helpful - who greeted each arrival individually and made them feel comfortable. I hope he had a great time, he deserved it for all the hard work. I was very pleased to meet the famous Uncle Eric (who's hardly old enough to be an uncle) and sorry that I missed meeting Edwood who I've known here awhile but never seen!

I learned alot today about phones I've read about for years, but never listened to. It should be said, one listen is worth ten thousand words! There were tons of phone lying everywhere just ready to be freely auditioned. I can't believe the generosity of those who put them out to share. I even wore a fabled set of Sony R10s courtesy of Ray Samuel - a real gentleman and very nice to speak with. If you are thinking about buying phones and have the chance to go a meet. I would say it's a must. Again, there's nothing like hearing phones to find your panacea.

My own revelations:
Ray Samuels is a genius of sorts. Although I've been reading praise for his amps for nearly 8 years, I've never heard one before. He had a table with all the amps pictured above. An SR71A, Predator, Tomahawk and his new baby, the Mustang. Well, they were an eye-opener. I was totally entranced by their sound and, frankly, I now know that I'm less of a tube man and more of a solid state fan when it comes to headphone amps. Ray's amps are gorgeously smooth and wonderfully rich sounding. He is a genius because he's pulled off the Holy Grail of audio: Create a sound that reveals the full sonic picture (detailed) while presenting it with an invitingly rich sound. Somehow he manages to create a detailed sounding amp that is at the same time smooth, engaging and never fatiguing. Not one of his amps had a touch of sibilance or brightness, yet all the detail was there. And his midranges are magical, too. Vocals are right on the money! I've spent decades listening to vocal presentations and Ray has nailed it. Perfect weight and presence and body. All in these little tiny amps of his! Of all the amps, I fell deeply in love with the SR71A. It is going to be my next purchase (come Xmas bonus) and it's may well be my last amp. It's that good. I would happily eschew any full-sized desktop for that sound this little portable puts out. It made my HD580/600 sing! A perfect match with wonderfully rich, perfectly proportioned impactful bass. By far Ray Samuel's table stole my heart and attention!

As for headphones, Revelation One: I've always thought I might like some of the lovely AKG701s. Boy, what a surprise. I was initially enamoured with their airy treble (for about 30 seconds), but what a problem with sibilance! After all these years of considering a pair, I ran screaming from the AKGs, sorry to say. Only the old fashion K240 were sort of to my liking, even though not my favorites either. Revelation two: I spent some time running through phones just using my ipod's out. Of course it was a far less glamorous listen that through many of the wonderful amps (I liked Dave's(?) Lisa II quite a bit, the rolling bass boost knob was very handy), but I wanted to see which cans worked "stand alone." The clear winner, and a big surprise because I kept reading threads that said they "must have" a big amp behind them, was the nicely balanced, rich sound I got from a pair of Beyerdynamic DT880. I'd never heard them before either, and I really liked them. If I had to live without an amp and wanted a good pop/rock phone, I'd definitely invest in a pair of these Beyers. (I may do so with a price tag sub $200 on Amazon). They were also nice and light to wear. (Oh, did I mention the Sony R10s are also like wearing a feather! I was so surprised. I didn't hear any rock or pop through the R10s, but some classical and violins sounded superb. I could hear this phone plays alot with reflection and it's enclosure and the results were great for a chamber music type listen. Of course, I don't even want to think about lusting after R10s). I did a quick run of Grados. I'm starting to develop an appreciation for Grados, although i still will keep my Senns, they are great headphone. The RS-1 are of course very, very nice. But my main thought was, "Jeez, can't they even get rid of this sandpaper-feeling cheap @#$% foam in the top of their line!" I'm mean, really. But beside the very pleasant and fun to hear Beyers, I think the other phones that would be on my "must have" list would be the Stax. Crazy how they sit on your head away from your ears! But, oh, the spaciousness and naturalness that lends to these "speaker phones". Of course my first thought was, "I wonder how you fix the bass issue?" as most ear-sitting cans give you that big bass whallop, but I'm sure someone has figured it out for Stax.

The Big revelation, sort of: I've owned Senn HD600 and grilled modded HD580s, so I spent A LOT of time comparing them the HD650. I know this is an ongoing question here. And, yes, the HD650 are darker and bassier - which I always thought I'd like better. Suprise, although the vocals are more liquid and chocolaty, they might in fact be a touch syrupy. I honestly have to say in 9/10 cases I preferred the HD580/600. The only time the HD650 sounding right was when paired with a bright sounding tube amp. Were they then so much better than HD600s? No, I didn't think so, but at least they finally sounded right! I did neglect to do an iPod out with HD650, which was an oversight, but that's almost a mismatch in terms of products. But is the HD650 darker and more veiled? Absolutely. Do it think in most cases that it's as well balanced as the 580/600 with most equipment - No. Would I spend the extra money for the HD650? I now think my answer is also "no." That was real shocker.

Otherwise, it was a wonderful day. Thanks again to 909. My advice to all headfiers is seek out the meet closest to you!

Thanks, 909. Jude, this young man is a great Head-fi representative!
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 10:33 AM Post #10 of 87

krmathis

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Nice line of RSA portable amplifiers you have there.
Looks like a lot of fun. We need more pictures though...
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Oct 19, 2008 at 10:42 AM Post #11 of 87
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Many CD's available to choose from as free door prizes!
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Blubliss had to start setting up his monster rig early:
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Which included this most unusual tube...
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which was only part of the active cable shielding system!!!
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Frank Cooter also came packing a truckload of towering amps:
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Smyth Research brought in a bevy of their specialized surround technology
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What could Ray Samuels possibly have under the veil driving those R10's?
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Why it's his teensiest amp yet, the Mustang, packing a punch!
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It was a busy day, so asr had to pull double-duty!
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While a pair of funky headphones, and no Al (voltron) made JP Nums a bit blue!
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Eddie Current was well represented, from a duo of Zana Duex:
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to a Moth Audio classic:
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and a new amp, coming soon:
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The DIY table sat empty and alone for most of the day...
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...until Edwood decided to reterminate Numbers' AD2000...
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...which became a more involved cable surgery than first anticipated
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There was also a fine looking Darkvoice:
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Which was amazingly sourced from this hapazard pile of parts spread across two UCLA cafeteria trays:
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Eventually, time came to tear down the mighty rigs!
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Oct 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM Post #12 of 87

krmathis

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Wow! Really nice pictures...
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Nice to see that Ray have released another portable amplifier.
The market for portable amplifiers seems to grow rapidly, so its great to see him filling a space for ultra-portable ones (below the Tomahawk)
 
Oct 19, 2008 at 2:47 PM Post #14 of 87

purk

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please keep the impression coming.
 

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