Separate names with a comma.
I'd toss the HD700 and upgrade to HD800 (S if you must) posthaste.
I'm certainly considering it, but I've not found the HD700's treble peaks to be problematic as many here ( on headfi, not this thread ) have suggested. That may be due to the fact that I've only ever paired them with a tube amp, but I bought the 700s and 650s at the same time to do a comparison, and enjoyed the 700s more than the 650s in my setup. That Lyr2 / HD700 pairing is in my office, and I'm lucky that isolation is not an issue, but I think the HD800S would probably be overkill in that scenario.
They are certainly appealing though.
My first such event, had a great time, thanks to the organizers & exhibitors, everyone was friendly & welcoming, and i had a couple of interesting chats with follow attendees.
Despite having a pair of HD600's for over 10 years, I'm pretty new to the current world of headfi, so got to listen to a whole bunch of gear i hadn't heard before, I thought the Woo WA8 with the Utopia was a fabulous combo. The MrSpeakers estat also high on list of standouts.
Was most impressed by the lcdi4, Mr speakers electrostatic production version, and Final Audio Lab II
If you liked my K1000 yesterday, you can get your own here!
The K-1000 remains my favorite headphone if amped right.
I feel that the k1000 is pointless. If you want poor isolation and sound leakage, just buy speakers instead. A speaker setup will definitely surpass it in the same price category given it's age.
Before I begin, huge thanks to Ethan (@third_eye) who has organized a great meet. Very nice to drive instead of fly for a change!
My impressions from the SF meet, at no particular order:
ZMF Headphones: Zach (@zach915m) and his lovely wife Bevin (apologies if I misspelled your name) manned (hmmm….. staffed? ) the ZMF table, as they always do. What a great team - how many guys in this hobby actually have their wife or GF not only supportive, but also play an active role?! Anyhow, I auditioned the Atticus and Eikon (again), and personally preferred the Atticus. Only 2 questions I have to answer are: WHEN (not IF) am I buying an Atticus, and WHICH wood?
While at ZMF table, Mass Drop's @CEE TEE showed up (never met him before. Another great guy as it turns out) with the CTH amp. Obviously, a pre-production unit, but looked like a production unit (not like a prototype). The CTH was connected at the ZMF Headphones table. Since I already joined the drop on day 1, I figured I would audition how the Atticus and CTH sound together... Coming from a guy who likes warm and smooth sound - this is a great match!! Not only the sound signature of the combo was so great in my opinion, but the amp definitely had TONS of power to drive this 300 ohms beauty with ease.
I will try to answer questions on the CTH, but keep in mind that I have only auditioned the CTH with that 1 headphone, so can only provide impressions for that specific combo. It was using the 1/4" (6.3mm) jack, btw. Not the XLR4 (but then again the XLR4 is NOT balanced so should sound the same). My only reference point is using the same Atticus with the Feliks Audio Euforia (also at ZMF's table). Not surprising - that match was great too. It is hard for me to compare, at the meet conditions, whether the Euforia (that cost 5 times more than the CTH) sounded better or not. I liked both with the Atticus. A lot.
1More - I way prefer over-ear headphones, and only own couple decent IEMs. One of them is the 1More triple driver. I think that for under $100 it is a no-brainer. I listened at CanJam SoCal (4 months ago) to the quad drivers, and was NOT impressed. At the SF meet, I gave them another chance, this time a pair that is the personal pair of one of the 1More guys (sorry, do not remember your name). They sounded much better than I remembered, so maybe the burn-in made the difference. I still believe the triple are the better bang for the buck, but even the quad are definitely an affordable nice IEM in the ever growing landscape of crazy priced ($1,000+) IEMs. Shutout to @moedawg140 who is always fun to chat with, and was helping out the 1More team at their table. Good luck in October buddy
Ethan’s (@third_eye) table - first, whoever knows Ethan, knows how great of a guy he is. Always such a treat to chat with him and (at least for me) learn so much from him. I truly wish he were local in the SF bay area, so I could hang with him more than couple times a year Ethan brought with him a huge (and great sounding) DNA tube amp (I never seen or listened to those before). Definitely a nice treat for my ears He had some pretty expensive headphones to try the amp with - the $4K Utopia and the $6K Susvara. Both sounded OK, although none is my taste in sound signature (big sigh of relief by my wallet ). I also tried on the really funky AKG K1000 headphones that were brought by someone else (I believe it was @bosiemoncrieff). Very interesting weird looking “ear speakers” as opposed to headphones!
Century Stereo table - Spent some time with the friendly folks there, auditioning the HD800S connected to the new HDV820. That combo is great for people who enjoy very detailed / analytical listening experience. I am not one of them…
Also auditioned the Focal Utopia and Elear plugged directly to the A&K new SP1000. That is probably the 4th or 5th time I audition the Focal duo, each time plugged to different sources / amps, and honestly still looking for some light bulb moment to understand WHAT people hear that I don’t… As for the SP1000, it was definitely struggling with the Utopia. Had to crank the volume 90-95% of max, and it was NOT too loud... Not sure if it is hard to drive or SP1000 has weak amp. For the record, in previous auditions, including Ethan’s setup, it was a desktop amp, so lack of power was not my reason to not being impressed by the Utopia!
The A&K SP1000, BTW, is by far the HEAVIEST DAP I have ever held in my hand! OMG!! For those who plan on getting one and carry in your pants pocket - may I suggest sawing an inner pocket made of kevlar, and wear a strong belt? Are you kidding me A&K?!?! That thing feels like the weight of a bowling ball, condensed into a big DAP size… (or maybe it's made of some dwarf star material?? )
Woo Audio - one of my main goals for this meet was to audition the WA8. I was crossing my fingers that Woo would send one, and they actually sent 2 of them!
Re-iterating my preference for smooth and warm sound - this DAC/Amp combo delivered in spades!! Back-paddling (a little bit) from my Utopia impressions, the only setup I enjoyed the Utopia with was the WA8. I still enjoyed the Mr. Speakers AEONs more! (Thanks Dan @mrspeakers for letting me borrow them for 5 minutes to audition with the WA8). Since I (try to) put my money where my mouth is, at least when I can afford it, I bought from Mike @HiFiGuy528 one of the demo units!! BTW, also auditioned the Susvara with the monstrous WA33 (I think). Good match, IMHO, but well over my comfort zone (that combo is over $10,000).
Mr. Speakers - Dan @mrspeakers is a great guy, so much fun chatting with, and I learned so much on the subject of E-Stats from him. Obviously, I auditioned them, and was VERY impressed. Not in my price range ("under $3K" for the Estats + amp that cost another $3-4K or more), but for whoever is looking for as many details as possible, without sacrificing the “fun” factor - those are shaping out very nicely.
Kannon - Interesting new headphones concept. Basically, adding haptic feedback actuators to the headphones, so basically whenever the frequency deeps below certain threshold - you FEEL it, and not just hear it. Very unique experience. People that like neutral - stay away. Bass heads - you must give it a try. For me, the jury is out (and comfort wise - they should improve the choice of ear pads!)
I think that summarizes my great day at the SF meet. I really hope to have another one in SF in a year from now!!
(are you listening Ethan? )
I will be happy to answer any question guys. Feel free to ask.
It was my first Head-Fi meet up and it was a really interesting time - I'm new to this whole thing, and it honestly blew my mind. I feel like my journey into this world is just beginning, and this was a great first experience with it! I felt a little fish out of water, but I learned a ton in a short amount of time, and with coming in completely unprepared and with limited knowledge (and only owning Sennheiser Momentum 2s) I'm stoked, if not a little sad for my wallet.
The bubble has been burst, now I know how much I've been missing! Thanks to everyone for being so friendly - and for sharing the experience and your knowledge!
You people suck! I can never attend these even though I live close enough...
big THANKS to everyone who stopped by our booth. It was a lot of fun chatting with everyone.
"You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." The Matrix.
Sorry to tell you, but you just took the red pill
Very accurate! Not entirely sure what I've gotten myself into yet - but I'm excited to start the journey!!
I enjoyed the Head Fi meet--I think this was my fourth or fifth meeting I've attended. I was impressed with the Taction demo of their headphone subwoofer technology, and I also enjoyed the "new" ZMF Eicon headphones.
In comparison to previous Head Fi meets in the Bay Area, I was disappointed that there were very few, if any, personal systems on display. In the past, I had an opportunity to meet a lot of people, listen to different playback sources, and hear a wider range of amplifiers and phones. This meet was more commercial and less communal than in the past. Perhaps that is the direction the meeting is moving towards, and that's fine. I was expecting more.
That said, my buddy and I saw more women Head Fiers and we both agreed that it's great to see more women enjoying this hobby, and hopefully, that will continue.
This year's SF meet was one of my favorite events and meets I've experienced. Thanks to Ethan (@third_eye) for organizing the meet, exhibitors for supporting the Bay Area/Northern California, and attendees for being the awesome people you are.
It was fun helping out 1MORE at their booth, and listening to their new gear, such as their new dual driver ANC Lightning in-ear - the noise canceling worked well, even during the height of the day in the main ballroom. It was also nice chatting with those that stopped by the booth and get your thoughts about audio in general.
Before and after the event was fun, and had a grand time staying around the Bay Area to hang out with audio aficionados and friends alike. Fogo de Chão in The City with 1MORE's Ari, David (ask David to spit freestyle rap for you) and friends was amazing (ask me in person about what happened there, pretty funny story), to eating with Questyle's Alan (@Netforce) and Bruce (@bSquared64) in South San Francisco at the sandwich shop Darby Dan's and everything in between.
All in all, the SF Meet was well worth attending - see you next year!