Quick impressions from the NYC meet at Grado labs
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bifcake

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I just came back from the meet at Grado Labs, which was organized by Bozebuttons and hosted by John Grado. I wanted to share my impressions of the various equipment I got to sample at the meet as well as general impressions.

First and foremost, John Grado is a really gracious host and a hell of a nice guy.

Bozebuttons has got ALL the toys!

Now on to my impressions:

1. After comparing Clou Red, Clou Blue Equinox and Cardas cables with the Sennheisers 580s and 600s, we had gotten a general consensus that the Equinox are the best sounding of the bunch. Clour red is uneven in its frequency response, clou blue is a modest improvement over the stock cable and the Equinox is the best balanced sounding cable. The Cardas is between Equinox and Clou Red.

2. Cary Integrated Amp is the superior headphone amp beating out Headroom Max and Blockhead. It's the most musical, sweetest and non-fatiguing sounding. We did an A/B comparison of the blockhead and Cary from a Sony DVD player serving as a transport and a Levinson 36s DAC. Cary amp is AWESOME!

3. Grado phones are faster than Senns. They tend to be on the bright side though. Senns are more mellow sounding, with better sound stage and deeper bass. I can see why people like Grados though. If you like your music a bit on the bright side, they're terrific, fast and effortless. It's easy to tell that a lot of love goes into producing the Grado phones. Many people wrote that Grados are uncomfortable. I didn't find that to be the case at all. They were light and sat on my ears well.

4. Meta 42 (almost all out) and Creek OBH-11 sound very much the same. There are very subtle differences, and it was difficult to say which one is better.

5. Corda (not portable) is a nice little amp. It sounds almost as good as the Sungen for half the cost. The Sungen is a bit fuller sounding.

6. Grado RA-1 is a nice amp as well. Very neutral, clear and fast. I would have to do an A/B comparison with the Corda to say which is better. I didn't get a chance to do that.

7. John Grado built a pair of speakers (prototype) which utilize 74 headphone drivers in two towers, which use their own subs for lower frequencies. The speakers were to die for!!! Very clear, and mellow, non-fatiguing sound, lovely highs, beautiful midrange and seamless crossover. The bad news is that there are no plans to make them available for sale. Instead, John Grado prefers to concentrate on manufacturing and improving his phono cartridges. I believe we should threaten to storm the Bastille if these speakers aren't made available to the general public. Vive l'audiophile!

8. NYChead has GREAT taste in classical music.

9. Grado SR40's are now my standard for portable headphones. They easily beat out Koss ksc-35's, which are quite good. The SR-40s provide good isolation, terrific midrange, good highs and decent bass in a nice looking set of portable phones (not a traditional Grado design). Best of all, they go for $40. Terrific value!

10. I didn't particularly care for the AT 2002. They were too bright, too thin and paled compared to Sennheiser and Grado offerings.

That's about it for now. That's all I can remember for the moment. There was other stuff that I'll write about as it comes back to me.
 
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purk

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Bifcake,
Thanks for your impression.

Quote:

Meta 42 (almost all out) and Creek OBH-11 sound very much the same. There are very subtle differences, and it was difficult to say which one is better


To my ears, Meta42 with AD845 sound significantly better than the Creek OBH-11. I used to have the Creek, so I'm very sure on this.

Quote:

3. Grado phones are faster than Senns. They tend to be on the bright side though. Senns are more mellow sounding, with better sound stage and deeper bass. I can see why people like Grados though. If you like your music a bit on the bright side, they're terrific, fast and effortless. It's easy to tell that a lot of love goes into producing the Grado phones. Many people wrote that Grados are uncomfortable. I didn't find that to be the case at all. They were light and sat on my ears well.


This is true when you only have the grado on for ears for less than 30 mins. After an hour of used, you will experience some ears pain.



Purk
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by bifcake
7. John Grado built a pair of speakers (prototype) which utilize 74 headphone drivers in two towers, which use their own subs for lower frequencies. The speakers were to die for!!! Very clear, and mellow, non-fatiguing sound, lovely highs, beautiful midrange and seamless crossover. The bad news is that there are no plans to make them available for sale. Instead, John Grado prefers to concentrate on manufacturing and improving his phono cartridges. I believe we should threaten to storm the Bastille if these speakers aren't made available to the general public. Vive l'audiophile!


! wow, that's pretty awesome! what did everybody else that was there think of this?
 
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eric343

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Now I know why Apheared had so many Grados and made such huge amps for them...
 
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bifcake

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Quote:

Originally posted by kin3tix
! wow, that's pretty awesome! what did everybody else that was there think of this?



Everyone loved them. Without exception. And I mean LOVED them.

Re: Meta and Creek, I stand by my impressions. Granted that sources, phones and cables may bring out differences, but my experience has been as described above.
 
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kelly

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I'm told the META42 and Creek were on portable CD players and that bifcake has a mullet. I'm not sure which of these may be responsible for his impressions.
 
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bifcake

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
I'm told the META42 and Creek were on portable CD players and that bifcake has a mullet. I'm not sure which of these may be responsible for his impressions.



Creek and Meta42 were indeed on portable CD players. As was the Corda amp.

These are not intended as full detailed and methodical reviews. Simply as my impressions. The comparisons were made using the same portable player, with the same cables. So, whereas the source was crappy, it was consistent.
 
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kelly

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bifcake
I was kidding.
But it is sometimes more difficult to tell the difference between two amps when the amps are outclassing the source, or at least I've found that to be true in my experience.
 
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bifcake

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Kelly,

I absolutely agree with you. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to plug them into something decent since I would have had to unplug something else like Headroom Max, Blockhead or a similar high-end amp. That would have pissed a lot of people off and they would have beat the living crap out of me.
 
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kelly

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bifcake
These meetings always have a source shortage. I carted an SACD player and two DACs to the last Dallas meet and we still were short on good sources.

Did you miss the RKV?
 
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BenG

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Portable --> Corda

I tried connecting a Pana SL-S120(which outputs at .6V). I will say that you have to jack up the volume on the Corda much higher than you would with my full-size players (which output at 2V+) & the sound suffers because of it. The Corda is not designed for portable players. doh!
 
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bifcake

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Quote:

Originally posted by kelly
bifcake
These meetings always have a source shortage. I carted an SACD player and two DACs to the last Dallas meet and we still were short on good sources.

Did you miss the RKV?



Oh yeah! The RKV is a great amp!! I liked it quite a bit! I didn't get to listen to it as much as others, but I liked it a lot. Crystal clear, good resolution, a bit bright compared to Cary and Headroom offerings, but a solid performer. For the money, I think I'd go with the RKV over Sudgen.

Interestingly enough, all the amps that I REALLY liked at the meet are tube and I generally prefer solid state amps.
 
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anyone took pictures?
 
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First of all, I want to say it was an absolute pleasure to meet everyonr today. It was a great day, and again a big Thanks to John Grado for his hospitality and genuine excitement for us being there today.

Some observations:

Of all the amps there I'd have to say I prefered the RKV and the Max overall as my favorites. The RKV was very precise, not as fast as, say, the Sugden, and very alive. Tried this with the HD 600 w/equinix cables and it was fabolous. Good, but not outstanding bottom end, incredible midrange, articulate, and Pavoratti's voice was very piercing through this amp.
The max w/ the same headphones presented a faster, somewhat fuller (but not by much) sound which really showed off the highs and lows as a total package. I personally preferred this sound over the Blockhead, which to me really didn't live up to it's reputation.

The Melos Sha-1 and the Mapletree are fantastic amps with Grado's phones. They both seem to corral the brightness and really bring everything up front with a faster sound. Have to give the Melos the nod over the Mapletree as far as overall dynamics and soundstage. Nick Dangerous, hat is a Fantastic amp you built, you should be proud.

Of all the cable/Sennheiser combos there were I feel the Equinox was the best as far as "enhancing" the "Sennheiser" sound, while the Carda's made for a more "up front" presentation. Some of concluded that the Equinox does more for the 580's that they do for the 600's.

I'm in agreement with Bifcake. The SR 40's are an incredible phone for portible listening and the price. If you're not impressed with these for the price (provided you like the Grado sound), I just don't know what to say. By far they're the best $40 headphone I've ever heard. Blows away the quality of the Porta Pro's.

It's late. I'll post more later.
 
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i wanna hear more about the at2002's.
 
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