Official Chicago August 8 2015 Impression Thread
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To get this impression thread started, let me thank Tweak Studio for providing the facilities for the event.  They were really accommodating.  It was a great turnout today and I wanted to thank all those who came to downtown Chicago on a Saturday in August.  I know there were several people from outside the Chicago area that made the trip. 
 
Since I had the opportunity to have the preproduction Dharma D1000 from ENGIMAcoustics and the Geek Out V2+ from LH Labs for the event, please feel free to post your comments as the manufacturers were really looking for honest feedback.
 
It was also suggested comments on the Questyle CMA800i, Cavalli Liquid Carbon and Erzetich Bacillus Tilia would be appreciated by their respective manufacturer / distributor.
 
Below are just some photos I took to get the thread started.
 














 
 
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ThePianoMan

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Thanks to tweak for generosity, had a great time!
Zach's Omni's final production are sounding great, Rag/yggy combo was unbelievably good, enjoyed hearing lots of varied stuff. Missed the dharma unfortunately. Enjoyed chatting with Saidentary and others.
Will post full impressions later. Had a great time, and met some cool folks!
 
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I had a great time, this was a very chill and fun event.  Thank you Arnold and Tweak Studio for the nice space.  =)
 
Pics to come!
 
ZMFheadphones ZMF headphones hand-crafts wood headphones in Chicago, USA with special attention to exceptional sound and craftsmanship. Stay updated on ZMFheadphones at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/ZMFheadphones https://twitter.com/ZMFheadphones https://www.instagram.com/zmfheadphones/?hl=en http://www.zmfheadphones.com/zmf-originals/ contactzmf@gmail.com
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Stooped at Lou Malnati's before getting on the train. Awesome pizza and I found tried this AWESOME beer they had.


Good call on the pizza Kojaku
 
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Unfortunately, I couldn't make it. What did y'all think of Dharma and the Athena amp?
 
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good times today. thank you Arnold for hosting.  impressions pending.
 
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Will echo the thanks to Tweak Studio
for so graciously hosting the meet.  Thought it would be fun--didn't expect it would be THIS fun, however.  Great discussions and everyone had interesting things to say.  Briefly, several things stood out to me:
 
1. Tweak Studio is a great store with some beautiful gear.  Photos don't do justice to the Burmester equipment.  Gorgeous.  Ditto for the the Conrad Johnson monoblocks in their window. 
Thank you, Arnold, for so graciously loaning me your Stillpoints footers for the MicroZOTL 2!  What a great guy!  Great coffee too. 
 
2. Thanks to Audio Addict and all the other head-fi members who helped organize this highly excellent event.  Kudos.
 
3. ZMF headphones are the real deal.  Wow.  Very impressive, even sound with great detail, not harsh, nicely full yet still seemingly fast and absolutely GORGEOUS--another example where the photos look "nice" but don't do justice to the beauty of these gems.  And the sound--these aren't just eye candy.  I had no idea they would be as good as they are.  Personally, I now regard Zach more as a manufacturer of headphones rather than just a modifier of headphones.  Although he doesn't make his own drivers, neither do a lot of high end loudspeaker companies.  Yet nobody calls them "modders."  Just my opinion.
 
4. OK, now I finally understand why so many people absolutely love the Sennheiser HD-800.  I'll elaborate later but for now, suffice it to say that for whatever reason, they sounded literally about twice as good to me as they did at Axpona.  Just like it happened for money4me247, my respect for this headphone increased with an additional listen.  I regard it much more highly now.
 
5. EVERYTHING sounded good to me, at least in some way, at this meet.  Guys, that's just not like me.  I'm not sure why, but my best guess (at this time) is that these are people's own systems that they've optimized to fit with their rigs and their work has paid off, and the benefits of their efforts are audible not just to the owners, but to others (like me) as well.  There are almost certainly other factors at play, but I suspect that's the main factor.  I could be wrong.
 
6. Yeah, the Ragnarok + Yggdrasil is an awesome stack. I was kind of expecting that.  Still, it was nice to hear it for myself.  
 
7. Even though it wasn't a huge meet, I still didn't get a chance to hear the (vast) majority of the stuff there.  But what I did manage to hear sounded good, at least in some way. 
 
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My impressions are limited as I spent a lot of time chatting. But hey, I'll give it a crack.
 
Oppo PM-3
Exactly as I expected them to be. Did not disappoint. Lived up to the hype. Sounds just like the PM-2 to me but with more treble and a bit less detail. Thumbs up.
 
Mr Speakers Ether
Still love these things. 'Nuff said.
 
Soundmagic? Over Ear headphones
I don't think I could tell a difference sonically between these and the Beyerdynamic DT880 except for a touch more bass. Maybe that was the upstream gear. I only listened to the closed backs. They did NOT sound at all like a closed back.
 
$24 chicken sandwich
Not a good value. A little heavy on the lettuce to me; I prefer a meatier presentation and found the mouth stage to lack in fullness.
 
Ultrasone Pro 900 (modded)
Much, much less shrill than I expected. One of the best balances of realism and sparkle that I've heard for stringed instruments. (Either that or Zach's newest ZMF concoction(unfamiliar with name)) Quite transient and overall very pleasing.
 
Macaw in-ears
Dat bass. First IEM where I've felt the bass and not just heard it. Almost painfully so at high volumes. I didn't think it was good bass but didn't have enough time with them to figure out why. Perhaps slow decay, perhaps midbass bloat, perhaps too much subbass. Whatever it was, these thumped and thumped very very hard. The rest of the spectrum was good, but dat bass was insane. I couldn't figure out if I liked it. Good IEM overall. And my gosh, did I mention the bass. I feel the need to mention the bass. Even if I already have. Bass. Bass.
 
Various Trinity In-Ears
All had a nice presentation. I don't think anyone could listen to these and be disappointed. They are just good, conservatively good, but good.
 
 
As always a big thanks to Arnold at Tweak Studio for putting on the event. Great guy and I look forward to seeing you again! Now I can confidently say that a proper power isolator makes a huge difference in sound. Huge.
 
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Unfortunately, I couldn't make it. What did y'all think of Dharma and the Athena amp?

Can't speak to the Athena.  Dharmas are great.  Thought just a tad bright on the high end, but then found out they'd had NO burning in time at all.  Knowing how the brightness goes away for other audio equipment with burn in (based on my own personal, repeated experience), I think that this (perceived tad bit of brightness) is not a valid impression at this time.  They have a crossover with supertweeter.  The integration sounded perfectly seamless to me.  I think these will be very popular, and with good reason. 
 
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Thanks, guys, for having us Michiganders at your meet. Thanks to Tweak Studio and Hyatt for hosting.

I fell in love with Rag/Yggi all over again. I will have them someday!

Headphones I loved:

Ultrasone Pro900
Denon 2000
Oppo PM2/3
Mr. Speakers Ether

The Chord Hugo was outstanding. The Questyle DAC/Amp sounded fantastic and I also learned about the Fong Audio processing program.

Thanks again!!
 
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Thanks to Tweak Studio for hosting, this was my first Head-fi event and I have to say that I would definitely do it again.  
 
Ill leave the audio impressions to others but here are a few pictures I took.  I went black and white as its late and I don't feel like fighting the different colored lights that were in the room.  
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Can't speak to the Athena.  Dharmas are great.  Thought just a tad bright on the high end, but then found out they'd had NO burning in time at all.  Knowing how the brightness goes away for other audio equipment with burn in (based on my own personal, repeated experience), I think that this (perceived tad bit of brightness) is not a valid impression at this time.  They have a crossover with supertweeter.  The integration sounded perfectly seamless to me.  I think these will be very popular, and with good reason. 
 
Sorry about the confusion, the Athena A1 did not make it to the meet.  It was still being finalized.  Maybe the next meet it will be ready to rock and roll.
 
I was very interested in the limited edition Pioneer SE Master 1.  
 
http://www.pioneer.eu/eur/products/42/67/226/SE-MASTER1/page.html
 
Definitely a unique design with the removable tension bar.  From my understanding Japanese elves live inside of this custom hand built headphone probably as a result of being unable to find the legendary Sony R10s that used to be their living space 

 
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Nice to see a few familiar faces again. 
 
I was impressed with the new Grado GH1...as long as it had the big salad bowl G-cushion pads installed. They made a huge difference over the stock pads. 
Loved the Hifiman HE-1000 at Axpona this year and loved them even more paired up with saidentary's Micro ZOTL. 
At the lower end of the market: Sound Magic phones and FIDUE A73 in ears were both fantastic lower cost phones. 
 
What I did not love was getting burned for a $63 parking fee - What?!?!?!?!
Maybe in the future, us out of town people can get instructions on where to park?
 
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There were many shenanigans post meet, and even post dinner. Everyone who went is asleep or hungover at my apartment, but I will regale you when I am less annoyed by Hansotek's snoring. First impressions, not enough bass.

Kojaku
 
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