San Jose Meet Impressions:
Jun 14, 2004 at 3:24 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 42

NeilPeart

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The SJ meet was a resounding success and I saw a lot of new faces and some familiar ones as well. I’ll post a more complete review of the meet when I have some more time, but here are my favorite systems from the meet, in no particular order:

Meridian 588/Gilmore Reference 2-Box/GradoPS-1 Pro Balanced w/JG UWB cable

Accuphase DP-85/Singlepower MPX3 w/Sylvanias/Sennheiser HD650 w/Zu Mobius Cable

Meridian 588/Carlo-moded Sugden Headmaster/Audio-Technica ATH-L3000

Linn Ikemi/EAR HP4 w/Sovteks and 60's Amperex/Grado HP-1 w/JG UWB cable

Sonic Frontier SFT-1 Transport/Mark Levinson No. 36 DAC/RKV MkII w/Telefunkens/Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas Cable

The balanced Grado PS-1 Pro was surprisingly much better than the regular PS-1; perhaps the quality of the cable factored into that improvement as much as the balanced configuration. The difference was easily noticeable and not subtle at all.

The 600ohm DT990 also surprised me with their quality, as the 250ohm DT990 is one of the worst Beyerdynamic ‘phones IMO – this 990 was a different beast and I preferred it to my DT531. The DT531 also displayed its sometimes splashy character, and I may sell it in the future (but it still grooves so well that it will require some debate before I sell the rare headphone).

The L3000 again displayed its superiority over the W2002, and in many ways over most other cans at the meet, but it fell short of the PS-1 Pro and HD650/Zu IMO. The modded Headmaster was nearly identical to the standard Headmaster, save for a very subtle difference in the treble presentation, which was a bit peaky and harsh on the standard non-modded HM. The modded Headmaster was slightly smoother, but the difference was only really noticeable on the PS-1; the L3000 slightly masked the variances.

Another surprise was the prototype SDS Labs/PPA hybrid amp, which is currently unnamed and referred to tentatively as the MMM-amp (Morsel's Mosfet Monstrosity - thanks, Morsel and Ti). This was easily my favorite SS amp, and I preferred it to my Corda HA-2, the Emmeline HR-2, PPA and Grace 901. I eagerly await its completion, but I realize it may not be ready for prime-time for quite a while. This amp sounded magical with the Senns, Beyers, Grados and ATs I listened with.

Thank you Bruce, for graciously hosting the meet and thanks to all the members who attended (especially the one who brought the delicious cookies)! I look forward to another meet soon and will post more detailed impressions as time allows.
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Jun 14, 2004 at 4:35 AM Post #3 of 42

ayt999

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first of all, many thanks to gpalmer for driving me to and from the meet on such short notice. it was a blast and also, thanks for the dinner.
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hope you enjoy the ATH-L3000... I want them back in a week.
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also, thanks a lot to utep10 for hosting a wonderful meet at his spacious home. it is somewhat far from berkeley, but well worth the trip to meet all the fine Head-Fiers that came.

here are some of the pictures I took:
NeilPert with HP-1 and PS-1 with HP-4 in background
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uh... people. I don't know their handles.
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gilmore lite with PIMETA (I think it was a PIMETA at least)
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pretty.
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HP4 with Linn Ikemi (gpalmer's setup)
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NeilPert's Corda and NAD with Morsel's PPL
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the picture says that it is an MG-HeadDT
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NeilPert posts about this amp later in this thread
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gpalmer's meridian, gilmore balanced reference, headmaster, balanced PS-1. balanced RS-1
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another shot
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utep10 looks good with those Leatherheads on his head
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another shot
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I don't know what equipment is what here... so you can guess
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woohoo!! my setup!! I wish I had my gilmore balanced reference and Blue Hawaii already so I could plug them in.
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yay for Pull-Ups!! also, there was a nice STAX setup nearby.
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some comparisons going on here....
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some more people
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MPX-3 with some source (gpalmer's knee at the corner)
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another shot of the above setup
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I wonder whom this is.....
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the MPX-3 meets the Accuphase DP-85
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they are multiplying!! (I went to the other room in hopes to see more when I came back, but that didn't happen.
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I was looking forward to taking one off the offsprings too.)
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comparing a modded Headmaster to the stock Headmaster
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I assume they are holding a top secret conversation about amp designs
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utep10 really wanted to have a picture taken with the PS Audio Statement XLR's... I decide to go for a different background pose this time.
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the meet was a success!! just look at the smile on his face after he has heard the equipment and knows that his wallet is going to get a nice reduction in size.
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Jun 14, 2004 at 4:45 AM Post #4 of 42

psxguy85

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Very nice pictures guys! I could have sworn I saw a Pull-Ups box. Is it true that we have a young young head-fier out there?
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I'm just playing, i'm sure it was to carry equipment along.
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 4:54 AM Post #5 of 42

pspivak

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The Pull-ups box were courtesy of my son Eli (see the avatar at the left). I told you the Stax were portable.

Many thanks to Bruce (UTEP10) for the use of his house and to all the Head-fi'ers for bringing their equipment. I had a great time and it was wonderful to be able to meet the people that go along with the comments that I read.

There were some fabulous systems to be heard to be sure and I, for one, could not pick a favorite or a best sound.

Thanks again.
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 4:59 AM Post #7 of 42

psxguy85

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Small request, can there be a few captions added to some of the pictures to identify Head-Fiers, I want to be able to put the screenname with the face, and eventually their first name with their face. Dang, I can't wait to go to Cali and attend a meet.....
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Jun 14, 2004 at 5:10 AM Post #8 of 42

NeilPeart

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Here are 2 pictures of the prototype SDS Labs/PPA hybrid amp:

18.jpg


19.jpg


This amp really impressed me and it is my favorite solid-state amp, though I realize it is still far from completion.
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 5:13 AM Post #9 of 42

ayt999

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Quote:

Originally Posted by D-EJ915
Great pics AYT, one question...what are these guys doing??


I was asking the same thing myself... talking about amplifier designs? that is my best guess.
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as for captions... I can add some, but I don't know most of the people's screennames so they will have to fill you in on that.
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 6:03 AM Post #10 of 42

gpalmer

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Heh, magnum looks more constipated than anything else in that last shot.
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It was a great meet, many thanks to Bruce (utep10) for hosting it. man I missed both the ASL amp and the Stax, not one of my better days. OTOH, the Leatherhead has landed courtesy of ayt999 and I'm really looking forward to a week with these bad boys! My initial impressions at the meet were very positive but I didn't get to hear any of my music on them yet.

EDIT - Oh and the RKV is very nice in person, I always thought it looked terrible in pictures which didn't seem to go along with everyone who saw it and loved it. Now I've seen it and loved it too!
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 6:21 AM Post #11 of 42

KurtW

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It was a great meet! Nice to see both familiar and new faces. Thanks to Bruce for hosting it. And thanks to everyone who brought the equipment; there was a lot of great and rare stuff, but it was nice to hear the cheaper portable stuff too. I came late but there was still plenty to see. Nice pics ayt999...and you're right, we were talking about amp design. Thanks to Neil who gave me a quick "best of" survey. More comments later.
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Jun 14, 2004 at 7:24 AM Post #12 of 42

psxguy85

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Very grateful that you have added captions. THANKS AGAIN! (even if they are not identifying people, I'm sure that can be done later, at least theres info to go with whats happening in the pics)
cool.gif
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 8:14 AM Post #13 of 42

gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by NeilPeart
Linn Ikemi/EAR HP4 w/RCA tubes?/Grado HP-1 w/JG UWB cable

?? Transport/Mark Levinson No. 36 DAC (IIRC)/RKV MkII w/Telefunkens/Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas Cable

The L3000 again displayed its superiority over the W2002, and in many ways over most other cans at the meet, but it fell short of the PS-1 Pro and HD650/Zu IMO.



The HP-4 had a mixed set of Sovteks and 60's Amperex in it. The transport with the Mark Levinson was a Sonic Frontiers.

All in all this was a really high end meet, there was lots of really great gear in all areas, source, amps and headphones. I spent more time socializing than listening though and really only listened to a couple of peices critically, it was wonderful to get exposed to all the different gear. I personally like a pretty good chunk of time to form impressions about gear, longer than I get at a meet anyways, say four hours a piece to get initial impressions if I know the rest of the signal chain and at this meet I was confronted with entire signal chains that I had never heard.

I really enjoyed the sources I hadn't heard before which were the Accuphase DP-85 and the Sonic Frontiers transport to Mark Levinson Number 36. I didn't hear the Accuphase with the Singlepower amp, I heard it with the Grace 901 and I enjoyed this combo very much. It was on an unfamiliar jazz piece but it was a very classy combination. I didn't get to hear SA-CD on it, ayt999 tells me it is clearly better than the CD playback so I'm hoping I get a chance to get a listen to that in the future. I got to hear the Sonic Frontiers transport to Mark Levinson DAC to the RKV with the PS-1s and the Senn HD-650s and I enjoyed both headphones on the combo very much. Certainly this source like the Accuphase is far too good to even begin to judge at a meet, but it's be a lot of fun sitting down and getting to know them.
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The amplifers I hadn't heard before were the Meier Audio CORDA HA-2, the MMM amp and the RKV, MK II. I really liked the Corda HA-2 right off the bat and found it really didn't fit my expectations of it based on reading posts about it. I only had a few minutes with it though before it was wisked off for comparisons. I also got to hear Morsel's Mosfet Monstrosity which seemed very promising and apparently has the ability to drive the AKG-1000s. This was a quick impression, hopefully Morsel will invite me over for a lengthy audition!
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Both of the above were on unfamiliar music so again I have to take the coward's route and defer judgement till I get to hear them some more. I know what amp I'll be trying to get my hands on Friday night, beware NeilPeart!
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I got to spend a good chunk of time with the RKV and I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure I would want it's presentation 100% of the time but it was potent, coherent and very enjoyable, particularly with jazz. It really didn't fit the expectations I had formed from reading about it and it was a lot prettier to see in person too, man this is one amp that takes a lousy picture.

For me the most interesting headphones at the meet were the L3000s. I probably spent ten to twenty minutes listening to them on unfamiliar music so I can't say for sure but my initial impressions were very favorable. I've wanted to hear this headphone for a long time since I love the way the W2002/carlo modded Sugden Headmaster handles the mid range and if there was a headphone that improved on this I wanted to hear it. OTOH, I wasn't willing to drop the money they were looking for without hearing the headphone first.
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I don't trust ATH that much yet.
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Jun 14, 2004 at 9:51 AM Post #14 of 42

amb

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It was nice meeting all of you and thanks to Bruce for making this possible. There were some impressive gear and it was fun to listen, compare and contrast...

I have created a web site with pics I took. If you have pics to add I would love to receive them from you. I was too busy taking pics of the equipment and not enough of the people... The site is here:

http://www.amb.org/ti/audio/headfi/

I am glad you all liked the modified SDS Labs amp I brought. Here is a page with detailed info about it:

http://www.amb.org/ti/audio/beta18.html

This amp, along with several other prototypes that I also built, are testbeds for some ideas and design elements for a new amp that Morsel and I are working on (currently codenamed "MMM" but surely we will come up with a better name). The design is still very fluid and we are pondering many technical issues and solutions. It is too early to call the amp I brought as *the* MMM, but stay tuned. When we're ready, we will present our plans on the DIY forum to solicit comments. Morsel and I are both very enthusiastic about this project and we hope that it will really make some waves when it debuts.

Hope to see you all at another event soon! There is something in the works for a NorCal meet around November. See this thread:

http://www5.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=59321

-Ti
 
Jun 14, 2004 at 10:17 AM Post #15 of 42

zcx

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dsc00817.jpg



as I see, one of the PS1, the cable is a little bit thin, but another is more wide?!

Are they all the stock cables come with PS1?
Or one of the cable was changed by someone, just like change the stock cable of HD600 to Zu-Mobius?!

Any answer?


THanks.


Felix
 

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