NorCal - SF Bay Area Feb 27 Meet Impressions
Mar 1, 2010 at 4:51 AM Post #31 of 83


1000+ Head-Fier
Mar 28, 2008
I was impressed *again* with the balanced Markl D5000. I don't own any closed cans anymore so I check it out when I can. It's a nice sounding can in balanced form. That was FallenAngel's D5K

the other one that impressed me is the HE-5. I got intrigued about running that on my LD6. Steve was nice enough to let me borrow his. Had to raise the vol on this can a bit - sensitivity is not it's strong suit. But the amp had more than enough power. anyway, it's a great match!!! I was not expecting it, as I have always read how the HE-5 likes lots of current. But it sounded good with the LD6 nonetheless.

Steve's setup is great BTW - Ayre with SPL Auditor and HE5 - great combo.
Mar 1, 2010 at 4:57 AM Post #33 of 83


1000+ Head-Fier
Mar 28, 2008

Originally Posted by linuxworks /img/forum/go_quote.gif
so, when's the next one?
these events are actually motivational to me, as I try to do something new with my DIYs and push them farther to have them ready to demo.

Man, after seeing your creation and listening to your presentation - those are not just DIY. they certainly look like commercial products with new ideas thrown in. I like them!
Mar 1, 2010 at 5:12 AM Post #34 of 83


100+ Head-Fier
Mar 5, 2005
It was a lot of fun, and also very interesting running ‘The DAC Challenge’ at the meet. I believe 35 people actually sat down to compare the DAC 1 to the AMB Gamma 2 DAC, but only 33 made entries on the survey form and then proudly displayed their ‘Challenge’ buttons to spread the word.

This was not a truly scientific test, but rather a fun sampling to try and see if people would have a listening preference and what their subjective impressions might be. Neither was it a blind A-B comparison since the cable routing from the DACs to the switch was very visible to anyone who cared. Interestingly, many people waited until they were finished to ask which DAC was A and which was B. The source was a Lexicon RT20, the amp was an AMB Beta 22, and the supplied cans were Senn HD-650s (although close to half of the listeners brought their own cans and music).

In the comments section of our survey form the following terms were used in the descriptions of the two DACs (the comments have been mildly edited and combined for brevity):

DAC 1: ‘Cold Analytical Sound (good), Flabby Bass, Detailed, Smooth Overall, Powerful Low End, Warm, Centered, Forward in Highs, Impactful in Highs, Powerful Low End, Forward, Full Sound, Body, Warm Sound, Instrumental Clarity, Full Bass, Bright, Warm at Low Volume'.

Gamma 2: ‘Detailed Clarity Bright (good), Front Facing, Demanding, Dynamic, Good Transients, Tight Bass, Meaty, Smooth, Transparent, Too Bright, Crisp, Natural, Airy Soundstage, Good Mid Highs, Centered, Open, Warm Tone, Control and Definition on Bass, Laid Back, Live Sound, High Treble Range'.

Many people liked both of them a lot, and several could not hear a difference: ‘Happy with Either, Both Excellent, Both Fantastic, Very Close, Can’t Tell Difference, Depends on What Your Listening To'.

Final preferences: 16 preferred the sound of the Gamma 2; 9 preferred the DAC 1; and 8 either liked them both equally, or just could not tell any difference. If there was a trend, it seemed to be that older people had a harder time picking out any difference… surprise there

Thanks to everyone who participated! And thanks to Susan for helping with recruitment! rjkdivin
Mar 1, 2010 at 5:19 AM Post #35 of 83


HeadFest '07 Lead OrganizerThe DOTU
Jun 22, 2005
I'm glad somebody got the Maxell ad reference in the pic of meditating Gene.

Another meet for the ages is in the books. And speaking of books, I thought it was worth noting that we made $805 from raffle tickets/donations so the room was covered with $5 left over for supplies that I bought. Thanks again to Fallen Angel for starting the raffle and for contributing two of his amp creations as prizes. Thanks also to glitch39 and JDMoorman for their donations of 6SN7 tubes and a whisky tumbler, and to Whiplash Audio for the two t-shirts.

More thanks:

To Asr for opening up the room and helping with setup.

To everyone who helped me move in and out my gear and the various donated gear items.

To Todd the Vinyl Junkie for sending his portable amps and PS-1000s and for getting me the Beyer T1 in time to have it at the meet (lots of people tried those on). They made the rounds for much of the meet and were probably heard on 5 or 6 different rigs.

To Whiplash Audio for sending the Blossom amp, HD800s with Lotus cable and some TWag LODS, and for making my custom balanced TWag JH13 cable with Tiny XLR connector in time for the meet. A few folks tried it out with the balanced discrete JFET amp designed and built by luvdunhill, which really makes the JH13s shine even more.

To Woo Audio for sending their fantastic WES amplifier for the meet. I had my SR-Omega and 4070 there, and at least one pair of O2s made it over for a listen too.

To Eddie Current and HeadAmp for coming to the meet and bringing their fantastic products to share with us. The HeadAmp Pico Slim is a stone killer portable amp and the Eddie Current Balancing Act amp and Transcription Amplifier phono stage are absolutely top flight.

To the people who brought in adult beverages to share.

And to everyone for showing up.

A few pics and impressions to follow.
Mar 1, 2010 at 5:50 AM Post #37 of 83


100+ Head-Fier
Dec 31, 2008
First off, thanks to Voltron to setting this up. This was my first meet, I missed the one last May. Very cool to demo other gear and meeting other headphone geeks. Lots of gear to drool over.

I didn't do a good job of noting down the gear and who owned it. But I do appreciate the effort from all.

VERY cool setup w/ that reel to reel. Loved that aluminum reel w/ the red anodized spindles. SLICK. I read the reviews from last year's meet and it was nice to see/hear it live. My only regret is that I only couldn't demo w/ those Sony R10's.

Thanks for the demo. I have an Ah! Njoeb and love it so it was good to hear this one that I've seen over and over again when researching tube CD players. Thanks also for the Charlie Hunter recommendation. I already bought the CD combo from his website. Don't forget the Hynoptic Brass Ensemble @ the Palace of Fine Arts in May. Love that group.

Thanks for the HD650 demo. Good to hear a balanced setup.

Thanks for the listen on your electrostats. I've never heard them before and it is quite different. My favorite was definitely the AKG's. If I were a bigger classical fan, I could see investing in a similar setup. Love that Denon 2900, I have the 2200 and never realized that the 2900 was that big of a step up.

Cool setup w/ your Beta22, thanks for your time. Never heard about the LCDuino but I'm familiar w/ the Arduino system, I have a few of my own from the Makershed.

Eddie Current
Ahh, tubes, vinyl and Norah Jones' best album IMHO. That combo along w/ my Grado HF2's was just heaven I tell ya.

Misc notes
- I tried the Qualia 010 cans and was pleasantly surprised that I liked them. However, that fit is quite odd.
- That new TTVJ amp is REALLY slim. Too bad the battery was dead.
- I think I was one of those that actually preferred the Gamma 2. I thought it fit more of my Grado taste.
- I tried HD600, HD650, HD800, D1000, D5000, HE5's, AKG1000 and a bunch of others I can't remember. When those HD800's are amped well, THAT is a nice can. I know it's a bit one sided, but this meet helped me appreciate my HF2's even more. Whenever I listened to something good, I'd compare to my HF2's. They're coming w/ me to my grave... Granted, those AKG's were came really close. Hmm, next upgrade...
Mar 1, 2010 at 6:40 AM Post #38 of 83


1000+ Head-Fier
Aug 26, 2004

Originally Posted by ironbut /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I really enjoyed MikeyMad's Omega ll's driven with his modded transformer and his Woo amp w/WE 300b's. Yummy! If my sonic memory serves me, I'd say that his ES-1 has more slam but those Western Electrics always win when it comes to smooth, liquidity and body.

Fully Agree with your comments.

Many thanks for brining the Linda tape... a nice step into the studio.

Mar 1, 2010 at 6:45 AM Post #39 of 83


Headphoneus Supremus
Jul 7, 2008
Thanks to Voltron and JP and to all the people who showed up and made this meeting happen. It was quite exciting to be there. I brought my girlfriend Laura and she had a great time. The tube collection this time was quite impressive. Especially the fluoro ones...they were the most beautiful tubes I've ever seen. I wonder what Tesla would have to say about them. Voltron's battle station was #1, as always. Equipment with the best technologies available...even down to the awesome headphone stands.

This time my vote for the underdog surprise goes to Asr. His station was simple, but the most efficient and very impressive. I had a great time comparing my 702 to the HD 800 and the HE-5 on his SPL Auditor with Ayre Acoustics QB-9 USB DAC. The only ones I didn't get a chance to try out were the T1 and the time.

I liked the spirit of the meeting. Great energy, great turn out, beautiful souls. Just keep the high quality whiskey flowing and everything will be just fine!
Mar 1, 2010 at 6:51 AM Post #40 of 83


1000+ Head-Fier
Jun 13, 2008

Originally Posted by Stoney /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm not ready to spend what it takes to get to the next tier of transparency.

I'm not particularly interested in mid-tier equipment anymore, but I would personally be leaning towards universal IEMs for mid-tier setups. They sound great and don't need much power. I got a Pico amp/DAC and 2 pairs of $100ish IEMs that sound pretty great for $600ish all in. That's hard to match with full-sized rigs, considering how much good amps cost.
Mar 1, 2010 at 6:54 PM Post #41 of 83


Headphoneus Supremus
Oct 24, 2006
Here are my impressions, as always let me start off by saying thanks to Voltron, and all the other members who made this a success. The whole thing was organized well and it was easy to identify people and get to know some members by name.

First off I was very impressed with the Little Dot MK VI. This was probably one of the best I've heard the HD650's sound, and the amp really had great control and there was absolutely no veil and laid back sort of sound signature at all that I was familiar with. Great stuff

The Shanling CD player at the next table was awesome. Very good looking player, and the sound was clean and neat. But I must say I was quite a bit dissapointed with the W1000 and W5000. But I guess this would be heavily dependent on what type of music you listen to. For one thing, both of them arent great rock or metal HP's. The bass on the W1000 is even lesser than the W5000, which was making bass sounds, but lacked foundation and presence. They had a phenomenally detailed mid range, with superb clarity on individual hits and notes, but some peaks can sound well...peaky. Also had a slight tendency to sound a bit hollow, and closed with female vocals, very apparent on Diana Krall. I'd say W5000 is certainly the can to get, W1000 didnt seem to do all that much better than the A900's other than having wooden cups.

The Beyer T1 was superb. It was really smooth and my preference would be the T1 since it seemed more forgiving to all recordings, and sounded smooth and great with all types of music and gear. The HD800's tend to favor some rigs over others and while they can truly sound phenomenal in some setups, its kinda specific and the T1's are certainly better all rounders IMO.

Then there was Franks amps with the HE 5 and K1000. This has always been a treat and they didnt dissapoint this time as well. Listening to Cowboy Junkies on the K1000's was quite a lovely experience.

I was one person who wasnt really impressed with the SPL auditor all that much. I felt the GS-1 did an overall better or atleast equivalent job and I didnt go wow with the Auditors. But the HE-5's were great. Think overall smoothness and fullness like Beyers and the mid range clarity of AT's higher end HP's. They were very interesting cans and did a great job with all types of music.

I would like to personally thank Kurt for letting me try his Rega P3. This was one of the highlights of the meet for me, the P3 with rewired arm, upgraded platter and sub-platter and maybe other upgrades that I dont know of (I lost track after the first few
) sounded stunning. Jimi Hendrix on the L3000's from the P3 was to die for. I have never heard his voice sound this good, with so much air and definition, it was like he was performing in front of me where I was monitoring in the studio. Amazing stuff. The L3000's to me are a whole different level compared to the W5000. W5000's have a very distinct peculiar sound signature which can go well with some forms of music and sound pretty honky and weird on others. The L3000's were much more balanced and sounded better overall IMO.

Another personal thanks to blessingx for letting me try his GS-1 on my rig to compare directly with the Gilmore Lite. I'm going to post a more detailed comparison on the amps forum since I'm sure some other people might like this comparison, but in short, the GS-1 is clearly superior and you dont really have to try that hard to pick the differences. The Gilmore Lite (without DPS) sounds slightly anemic and slightly uncontrolled whereas the GS-1 was in complete control and provided a stunning foundation on which to present the music. DT990/600's really sing on the GS-1, and I personally felt this was the best I've heard "Chitlins Con Carne" sound.

Now onto some points about the meet as such. I'd like to mention a few things that can be worked on.

First the sound, it was noisy as hell. Now I know its one room and there are lots of people around, but it shouldnt be that hard to keep it down a bit. I'd like for everyone to be a bit more conscious and help keep the overall levels down so listening to gear isnt as hard.

Secondly, there were quite a few ppl completely hogging gear for very long periods of time. This is again just a matter of being aware that there are others who might want to try stuff out, and while I'm all for taking time to really understand the gear better, couple of songs should be the limit.

Third, after all the etiquette talk there were still some issues with ppl leaving cd's around without putting them back, someone left the tray of my CDP open, and I noticed some werent handling some very expensive cans with much care. Its not nice to police people around with such things, but the last thing someone wants is to have a knicked 1000/2000$ HP, please be careful people.

But overall, I had a great time, met some very nice people, and will surely attend the next one as well. I hope to meet all of you again.


Oh, and I took some pics, will post them sometime later today or tomorrow.
Mar 1, 2010 at 9:54 PM Post #42 of 83


Headphoneus Supremus
Apr 2, 2003

Originally Posted by jilgiljongiljing /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Shanling CD player at the next table was awesome. Very good looking player, and the sound was clean and neat.

I agree....that Shanling was just awesome.

However, jilgiljongiljing, I also enjoyed your system. I was very impressed by the disc changing speed of the Yamaha....perhaps I was "ruined" by the slow disc-changing pace of my Sony SCD-CE595. Still, very impressive system that I can actually afford.

Thanks yet again to Voltron!
Mar 2, 2010 at 2:58 AM Post #44 of 83


Sponsor: Drop
Sep 19, 2007
Does anyone remember what the two tube amps near one of the entrances were? They were very similar looking except for the tubes, and looked alot like a Bottlehead amp. They were connected to a pair of DT880s with moon audio cables. I really liked their warm impactful sound and wanted know what they were.

NM! I found it, it was the Decware CSP2. Great sounding amp I whish I could afford to build it.
Drop Stay updated on Drop at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
Mar 2, 2010 at 6:35 AM Post #45 of 83


Headphoneus Supremus
Apr 12, 2004
amb's HD800 certificate

jrossel's self-built Balanced Bijou

linuxworks' self-built B22

linuxworks himself

linuxworks' DAC, Delta-1 Relay Attenuator, and M3

oneplustwo's B22 stack

Craig of Eddie Current's Technics SL-1200MK2

Voltron's DOTU makes its usual meet appearance

Decware CSP2

Ayre QB-9 and SPL Auditor stacking almost perfectly

FallenAngel's self-built amp in a tin case

Craig of Eddie Current's mod for the Audio-Technica AD2000

HeadAmp Pico Slim, top

HeadAmp Pico Slim, bottom

HeadAmp Pico Slim & TTVJ Slim size comparison

Iron_Dreamer's Nikon D700 perched for a long-exposure shot of the meet room

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