Oregon Meet 01-07-06
Jan 9, 2006 at 3:29 AM Post #16 of 63

tradja

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tkam
Whoever's amp that is, cool wood knob
smily_headphones1.gif



Quote:

Originally Posted by Various Headfi Members
<assorted knob comments redacted>


Glad you guys like the...uh...knob. Larry helpfully provided me with that Paduak round, and I just hacksawed off a brass screw for the indicator dot and buffed and linseed oiled the whole thing.

Alas, my poor PIMETA. This meet got me hungry for an amp upgrade! I had no idea that my amps were my rig's biggest opportunities for improvement.

This was my first meet. I had a great time meeting everyone. Like devwild says, it did seem like a lot of listening to my test tracks, but what a layout of gear! Tom's Dynalo and devwild's M^3 (w/ AD843?) were especially impressive. My HD580's really woke up on both, in a way that I've never heard them before: upfront, more dynamic, lots of punch. Great layers of detail.

Trying out the HF-1 and K701 were treats indeed. The HF-1 were the first Grado that I haven't found screechy, thin, and lean. Nice rich sound! The K701's were a lot of fun. Before this meet, the "highest-end" cans I had heard were HD580 (well, and MS-2), so I don't really have a hi-fi context to place them in. What an amazing presentation: open, airy, detailed, fast, and all just so effortless.

Using the M^3, I slightly prefered the K701's to the DT880's (stock and Cardas) simply on the mids -- vocals had a remarkably natural, round, completely grainless character on the K701's while the Beyers, while excellent, still sounded drier, "canned" and, well, "headphoney". The bass and treble extention was excellent on both, and the ability to present complex passages has really gotten me interested in flagship cans. Since both are the best cans I've heard to date, these are just my observations. After several enjoyable years of careful listening on budget and mid-range gear since coming to headfi, I'm not exactly a noob, but I do have limited context. And besides, everyone likes something different.

Some other fun and interesting comparos I did:
DT880 stock vs. DT880 Cardas: The recabled Beyers had a lovely smoothed out high end, but stock had a relative sparkle that I missed on the Cardas. Beautiful recable job by highflyin9, though.

Stock V6 vs. my thrift store V6: The consesus here seems to be that V6's are harsh, sibby, and unmusical. I have always been curious that my V6's, purchased for $9 from a thrift sotre, sound vastly different to me: smooth, warm, and eminently enjoyable to listen to. Finally I got to A/B them against a "stock" or "normal" pair, and sure enough, they were dramatically different cans. I found the normal cans unpleasantly bright, with hollow mids. The normals had tighter and better defined bass, though, but I've never found the bass on mine to be unpleasantly sloppy. Solo piano was especially revealing: mine are warm and rich, almost like my K240s, while the normals seemed tinkly and hollow. iSleipnir A/B'd them later, and he commented that mine lacked attack detail in a bassline he was following. Unfortunately, I didn't get to talk with him more about it; I hope he posts his observations in greater detail. I wonder what happened to mine? Left attached to a home receiver headphone jack for years?

KSC-35 vs. KSC-50: Both are great little clips. Both sound the same to me. The 50 were substantially heavier and "bouncier" on my ear. The 35 seemed to fit closer and ride lighter. The 50 sure looks a lot better to me. The 35 looks like something the flight attendant hands you when you board a really budget airline.

I had a great time and I look forward to the next meet. Unfortunately (in this context), Mrs. Tradja and I will be travelling for most of 2006, so I might miss out.
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 3:30 AM Post #17 of 63

tradja

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Thanks very much to devwild and Gigabomber for putting this thing together!
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 4:17 AM Post #18 of 63

Gigabomber

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tradja
Using the M^3, I slightly prefered the K701's to the DT880's (stock and Cardas) simply on the mids -- vocals had a remarkably natural, round, completely grainless character on the K701's while the Beyers, while excellent, still sounded drier, "canned" and, well, "headphoney".


I was contemplating this very same thing and was considering the idea that we were comparing amps more than cans in a way.
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 7:12 AM Post #19 of 63

devwild

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The amps (and sources!) definitely make a difference, that's why I like listening to headphones mainly on my own gear at first. At least one person at the meet didn't like the SA5000 at first, but was impressed once hooked to the M^3. Since I cycled through and tweaked the setup for that purpose, I'm not surprised.
5000smile.gif


We also each have very distinct aspects of the headphones that we prefer, and different aspects that we hear and latch onto at first impression. Lately I've been finding just how different those two things are. This also means I respect other people's views because they usually mention aspects I don't even realize may be critical over time, especially as my music tastes change.

That's one reason why these meets are fun and useful, but also a good reason not to depend too much on first impressions, or even a/b comparisons. I wouldn't enjoy listening to my frankensenns at work if that were the case.
580smile.gif
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 7:41 AM Post #20 of 63

fewtch

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Appreciate the DT880/K701 comparisons, those are the first I've read (and basically confirm my impression that I made the right decision going with DT880s, as it sounds like these two headphones are almost neck-and-neck in the sound quality department).
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 9:57 AM Post #21 of 63

james__bean

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Sorry for not posting any impressions, I just really don't have the time at the moment. Ugh... first I had to work until 11 and then I had to help a friend pick out parts for a computer I'm building him. I've slept 8 hours in 3 days... not good. I actually had to pull over on the way home last night and sleep a couple hours because I was so tired.
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Jan 9, 2006 at 2:00 PM Post #22 of 63

seeberg

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How is everyone? I finally got the chance to post, and I've got pics (un-56k friendly warning!!!). But first, I'd like to say thanks to Gigs and Dev for putting this meet together, and that I definitely look forward to future meets, considering how they grow and get better each time. Second, I have impressions of headphones mainly, as I didn't have time to audition amps- so I guess I'll have to wait until the next meet or until I build one to listen to one
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But enough about that, on with the pics!

This is a scope of the main room, it was quite spacious, and could have held many more than were present, probably 20-30 easy, assuming we could handle ourselves
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bigspace5ai.jpg


Next up is Budgie's homemade Toooooooob amp
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I missed my opportunity to listen to it, but I had quite the enlightening conversation with him about how to build one, and I think I might just have to when I can get a better grasp of the instructions available at Headwize.
budgiestoobs0gj.jpg


Here's Devwild's rig early on in the meet. He had a Rebel XT and an iPod Nano, the former I had not seen with a lens in person (it's quite large, but its a DSLR, go figure), and the latter which I had not seen at all in real life. Quite small if I do say so myself, but not small enough for me to abandon my Karma
smily_headphones1.gif

devsrig7us.jpg


Here's mine and Gigabombers, I brought the snacks. I was also a tad disorganized but managed to rearrange my gear favorably. I brought less with me than at the last meet, but it wasn't a problem.
gigsseebsrigs2te.jpg


Up next is what I was giving away at the meet, several pairs of Shure foamie eartips and Slicsound earbud attachments that don't work well with my ears. I gave away all but one pair of the Shures and no one had earbuds to test the Slicsounds with, so it looks like I'm keeping them until the next meet, perhaps.
giveaway0fv.jpg


Here's one of the stars of the show, and a pair of 'phones that I was very eager to audition, since it might be the one and only chance I get, the Grado HF-1's. IMHO, these headphones were quite the lookers, with that mahogany, metal, and ABS all coming toghether to make something that auditioned quite well for me. But I'm not posting my impressions yet. That's for another reply.
hf133xl.jpg

hf1jpg4du.jpg


iSlepnir's gear:
islepnirsrig4bu.jpg


James Bean's setup, he brought the only full size PC...
jbrig6vl.jpg


...More to come!
smily_headphones1.gif
,
Abe
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 2:28 PM Post #23 of 63

devwild

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SnoopyRocks' Dynalo (he built):
IMG_1474.jpg

Pretty cables:
IMG_1479.jpg

Mike (lurker-head-fier - Eboz) built this fine piece of machinery:
IMG_1482.jpg

USB DAC w/coax digital out, headamp, crossfeed filter all in one:
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seeberg, gigabomber, james__bean, eboz, snoopyrocks, budgie, isleipnir and guest:
IMG_1489.jpg

same but with me on the left and gigs behind the camera:
IMG_1492.jpg
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 7:05 PM Post #24 of 63

Eboz

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So technically I /was/ part of head-fi, because I have had an account. Just never posted anything. I think that the meet was great and I had a lot of fun. I wish I could've done this before buying my Grado 225's, because I really like the Beyerdynamics and AKG's. Just a slight correction about the amp that I built: it's USB, amp and xfeed, but it also has a SPDIF output. The SPDIF is handy if you'd like to hook it up to a main stereo system, or to test different DAC's. Also, the reason I brought the Mac, is that my PC was just horrible for playback and I hadn't tried the Mac yet. I suspected that the Mac would play music better and I think I am right. Not once did I hear a pop or crackle like I have with the PC, even though we were playing through iTunes. Apple used the same PCM2706 chip though, for making their AirPort Extreme, so I'd hope that they have good driver support! I will post a few pictures here and I even have some of the internals from my amp.
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 7:12 PM Post #25 of 63

devwild

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I have updated my captions accordingly.
smily_headphones1.gif
That was a cool idea with the auxillary output, some vendors should take note. Thanks for coming, hope you make it again.
 
Jan 9, 2006 at 7:42 PM Post #26 of 63

Eboz

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dac_wide.jpg

You might notice that the digital output's pulse transformer is missing. It's there now though and it was in place before the meet. The voltage from the digital output here is just under .5V. I could raise this, but so far I've not had a problem driving any DAC with it.
dac_close.jpg

akg_usb.jpg

usb_micro.jpg

phones.jpg
 
Jan 10, 2006 at 1:40 AM Post #28 of 63

Gigabomber

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Borat
Nice Maddox t-shirt gigabomber.
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Thankee. 'Twas it's maiden voyage too
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(I always seem to have my eyes shut when half of the pictures I am in are snapped. *sigh*)

oh and JBean, when you get those ATH's, whichever you do decide on, tell me so that we can have a two man meet cause they have tempted me for far too long! Those CD3ks are beckoning as well....
Blast!
 
Jan 10, 2006 at 8:22 AM Post #29 of 63

SnoopyRocks

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There was some joking about how many casualties (growing gear collections
evil_smiley.gif
) there would be after the meet. Well...I'm the first. Care to guess what I bought? Here's a hint: I paid $229.

Anyway on with the impressions:
(my reference point is 325i through a Gilmore dynalo)

SR325i vs HF-1
The HF-1s sounded better than I expected. They have a fuller mid range than my 325i, a softer high end and more mid-bass. I thought that the 325i had more low bass though, but the difference was slight. Considering how much lighter (and hence more comfortable) the HF-1s were in addition to the sonic differences, I'd pick the HF-1s between the pair.

HD580
These really surprised. The FAR exceeded my expectations, especially for rock and metal - my favorites. They really get an undeserved bad rap in this regard. Veil - what veil? Overall a very nice can. In retrospect, wish I had gotten a pair of these instead of MS1 because the difference is HUGE - the HD580 are really that much better.

DT880 (stock cable)
These reminded me of HD650. I must admit however that this is not a fair comparison considering how little time I had with the 650s and how long it's been. They were very clear, articulate and tight, but a bit lacking in the bass for my tastes. Nice, but not for me, which is to say headbangers look elsewhere.

KSC35 vs KSC50
They sound very similar. The differences are primarily cosmetic and aesthetic. The 35's fit my ears better, but were not as pretty. Going from these to HD580s reminded me that you get what you pay for: better detail, bass, highs, etc. Most glaringly was the cymbal presentation, as it was seriously lacking in the Koss.

For me the bottom line is that the comfort / fatigue issue with grados have finally gotten to me - so much so that I voted with my wallet tonight. I won't be moving up the Grado ladder anymore. Comfort here I come! Let the guessing begin...
 
Jan 10, 2006 at 8:59 AM Post #30 of 63

iSleipnir

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I really enjoyed this meet. I got to listen to a bunch of gear. The main things I walked away with was that the DT88s are a fantastic headphone and that I want to own a M^3.

First off. Comparing the two V6's was very interesting. They were so far apart agewise that physically looked different from each other! What I hear between them seemed to me to be from extended burn in. What I envisioned is that because the v6 had a looser diaphram (think) while it wasn't as accurate it as the new(er) ones it had a smoothed out higher end and was warmer. I did like that but I would sacrifice accuracy for the wamer sound and tamed highs, though I do prefer that coloring better.

Another think I noticed was how much an amp can do. The SA5ks are somthing I really wanted to hear and when I first listed to them on my AE-1 I realized that they were great headphones but I didn't like the sound of them. But as soon as I tried them with the M^3 which Devwild designed with them in mind I had a completely different impression of them. They changed to something I wouldn not buy to something I will own when I own an M^3. I'll type more latter. I'm tired. Bed time!
 

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