Schiitcago 2017 Impressions

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  1. grizzlybeast
    I'm pretty sure we can expect the Auetur to be brighter and less bassy than even the Eikon but with a more open, detailed, and spacious sound. That means it will be even further from the Atticus
    ToroFiestaSol likes this.
  2. Zachik
    @grizzlybeast - did you audition it @ Chicago meet? Or are those your educated guesses / conclusions based on impressions by others in this thread?
    Nothing wrong with the latter, BTW!
  3. grizzlybeast
    educated guess
  4. givemetacos
    I heard both versions of Auteur (2 pad types) at the Chicago meet. Granted that was also the first time I got to hear Atticus and Eikon and I only have about 10 min of listening time on each one of these headphones, but I thought the Auteur sounded much closer to Eikon over Atticus. It uses the same biocellulose driver as Eikon as well. I would say the highs were pretty similar on Eikon and Auteur so if you find the Eikon fatiguing, that might also still be an issue for you with Auteur. I can't remember which pad type, but one of them Zach described as being the "slightly warmer" version. But even that one compared to Atticus was very different and not nearly as warm as Atticus.
  5. Zachik
    Thanks! Atticus is going to likely remain my favorite then. I appreciate your comparison.
  6. Keithpgdrb
    It was so loud in that room, I don't know how any of you came away with any real impressions.
    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.

    floatingskull likes this.
  7. Hansotek
    I don't find the sound of the Auteur to be fatiguing at all. It is certainly not as warm and lush as the Atticus, but I wouldn't rely on that piece of information to automatically assume that you know where it will fall in line in terms of your preference in relation to the other two. It still runs warm of neutral, but it also sounds different enough to be complimentary to the other two. From what I heard, the Auteur is more detailed and more transparent than A&E. In some ways it sounds a little bit like a much punchier and slightly more airy version of the Stax SR-007 - by that, I mean it's balanced, but with a slightly darkened tint that makes it a great headphone for just about anything.

    I'm definitely going to get one to sit alongside my Atticus. It's a damn impressive headphone.
  8. Zapp_Fan
    I wasn't going to say anything, being a noob to the scene, but yeah, I find it very hard to tune out background talking. I did notice that some of y'all listen at really high SPL (to my ear it must have been 93+ ...) so that could certainly make it easier to draw conclusions :) ... My only feedback on the event would be that it'd be nice to have a designated listening room/area where it's quiet. Personally I can't really listen past background noise very well and I can't tolerate high SPL very well either (tinnitus and my ears just don't seem to work right above 95dBA or so), I imagine some others are in the same boat.
    Aiwa Aiwa Corporation Stay updated on Aiwa at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.

    floatingskull likes this.
  9. chulas
    I read mentions of a November event, if not too far from the land of cheese heads, I would definitely like to attend. I should get my mani by then, and would love to bring my turntable and see if i can listen to some spinning vinyl on the two channel setup that was present at this event.

    To that end, I know I talked with person(s) about what speakers were set up in the two channel room, but could some one post the brand/model/series of those speakers again? They sounded so crisp, so clear, I nearly lost myself in the space while they where driven bu the vidar. I really want to see if i can re-create that in my home.

    All in all, I had a wonderful (think about that word... wonderful.. as in full of wonder) time at this meetup. Thank you ever so much to the gentlemen who organized it, and thank you to shiiit for sending gear (even thought a phono preamp was not to be found :wink: ) and the other individuals who brought setups to share audio nirvana with all.
  10. Luxifer
    Definitely interested in a November event as well. Bummed that I missed this one, but it looks like it was a good time. Cheers!
  11. floatingskull
    This was a great event, thanks to Schiit for sending us all the gear and food. I really enjoyed hearing the iFi equipment and the ZMF headphones too.

    I must echo earlier comments that it would be really nice to have an area where people are asked remain quiet, it was incredibly difficult to properly audition equipment, especially when most of it is open-ear, with all the noise. Perhaps where all the vendor equipment is, with some extra tables for additional setups brought by attendees. Then have an area for food, socializing, an other impromptu setups and listening. Just my two cents.

    I will say that I ended up buying an iFi DSD Black Label because of this meet and how impressed I was with it's sound and capabilities. I was most impressed by the LCD-3 headphones (makes me want to buy the LCD-4) and the ZMF Atticus. Then, I loved the way HD800S sounds with the bass boost on the iFi DSD Black Label. And the Utopia's with the 3D effect on and bass off. Leaving with a friend of mine, we both still liked the Utopia's the most. Auditioning so many different headphones made me even happier to own them.

    My favorite Schiit setups were the Asgard 2 with Bifrost Multibit and the Gungnir 2 multibit with the Mjolnir 2. I would really have liked to try the non-multibit varieties of the Bifrost but with all the noise, I'm sure the difference would barely have been audible. I currently have an Asgard 2 so I'm on the verge of getting a Bifrost to pair it with. But I'm going to see what the Burr-Brown DAC in the DSD sounds like with the Asgard 2 as an amp first.

    It was great meeting so many friendly, likeminded, people and I am already excited for the next event. Thanks ThePianoMan for organizing!
  12. Keithpgdrb
    I'm looking more closely into a november date. will likely be the 4th or 5th. that should be far enough from the holidays. I'm going to shoot for a Sunday meet this time. anyway, I'll keep you all informed. But be sure your on my meet notification thread, and your set up for alerts to new posts.
    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.

    zach915m likes this.
  13. Audio Addict Contributor
    I will try to make this one. I may have a couple of new toys if they can get into production.
  14. ThePianoMan
    Ok, after a week of busy shipping and trying to get stuff back to people, Here are some impressions.
    Sorry about the noisy front room. I was trying to direct people to the back where the food and garden was, but folks seemed to want to hang out in the front and chat despite the lure of boneless wings and pizza. Oh well. Seems like most folks had a good time, and it was wonderful chatting with everyone, although it was a trick managing so many attendees between just a few organizers.

    I really enjoyed meeting all of you (or seeing familiar faces).
    A few people asked, so here's the gear from the two channel room:

    Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 3's. from Music Direct (great guys, lots of good sales if you stop by their showroom or website!)

    Preamp: Schiit Freya
    Amp: Schiit Vidar
    DAC: Yggdrasil, Multibit Bifrost, at one point a chi-fi r2r DAC and a soundblaster.

    Cables: Audioquest Columbia (also on sale from music direct! Super great cables) Audioquest speaker cable from the early 2000's (can't remember name)

    If you're interested in two-channel stuff but don't know much, let me know! I'm a big two-channel geek, so I'm always happy to chat about it. I know keith and a few other folks are into two-channel as well.

    Here's a few pics:

    IMG_8879.JPG IMG_8880.JPG IMG_8881.JPG IMG_8882.JPG

    Sound impressions!

    I was lucky to get to play with the gear for the weeks preceding the meet, and also to get to do some listening both before, after, and during some of the slower parts of the meet.

    The Gungnir/Mimby combo is really nice, does a lot of different music well, drives pretty much every headphone. It's been around for an eternity in head-fi time but it still just sounds really nice.
    I think the Jotunheim is my new favorite schiit headamp though. Buttery smooth, very linear, lightning fast and extraordinarily punchy. A great value at the price. I'd use it for my mixing/mastering work, it's neutral and dynamic enough. Single-ended and balanced out are both great. Even the Beyer headphones and unmodded HD800's sounded as well-behaved as ever in the treble on this amp.

    The Utopias sounded quite nice as well. Paired very well with Valhalla. Quite dynamic, but they have some dips that make them seem a little disconnected between the mids, bass, and treble. Otherwise fairly decently balanced. Not my favorite, but a really enjoyable headphone nonetheless.

    The Beyerdynamic D1990 was a big surprise for me. I enjoy beyerdynamic headphones while realizing they aren't anywhere close to neutral. This one was much better behaved in the treble than I'm used to, though it still had a distinctively 'beyer' sound. What I was really surprised by though was the punch. These cans were a lot faster, tighter and punchier than I'm used to with Beyers. I can see people looking for a lively headphone enjoying these. They even sounded pretty good out of the Jotunheim.

    ZMF Auteur.

    I got the chance to hear a prototype of this headpone a month or two ago at Zach's house.and it sounded really excellent. Very linear, the most neutral of any of his headphones, but still a touch warm. IMO pretty difficult and demanding headphones to drive (I don't care for OTL tube amps on heaphones) but out of the right amp they really sing. Its not often I hear anything as dynamic, lively or as naturally detailed as these, and when you do there's usually frequency response tradeoffs (a la Utopia). These kinda had it all. If I had my druthers I'd like an even more neutral sound, but of course Zach can always do a little custom tweaking. I suspect that at the price point these are going to be very popular. There really isn't anything that can compete with how coherent and all-around enjoyable these are.

    Abyss out of the Milo was pretty phenomenal. Very different presentation than most headphones, but detail retrieval and dynamics were stellar. Kinda finicky though, and expensive to the point of not being that interesting for me, even if I did have the money to afford them.

    Audeze LCD series headphones sounded better than I remember. Fazors and other upgrades? I heard less veiled, darkness, and more smooth punchiness. Nice, Audeze.

    Popped my head into the two-channel room only a few times. The room was large and a bit diffuse, but tonality and soundstage was wide and pleasantly warm. Yggy sounds phenomenal. Can't comment outside of that on this room.

    However, I did get the chance to more seriously audition the Freya, Vidar, Gumby combo. The Freya schiit sent came with a very nice anodized steel or aluminum remote. Not sure if this is for sale soon or just a custom one-off show remote for increased durability (it's different than the one pictured in the manual) but people would pay good money for it. You've been put on notice Jason. (I know, it's just a remote, shoot me.)
    In terms of Transparency I think the Saga has an edge on the Freya - transients are cleaner and sharper on Saga, as one would expect from the simple stage. The Freya has a softer transient sound, and while I found the JFET buffer and passive modes difficult to tell apart, the Tube stage was very lively and nice. I noticed most people preferred this one. Overall a killer, feature-packed preamp for the price.

    Vidar is where the real goods start though. The Vidar + Saga combo was unbelievably transparent. Vidar is TIGHT. Bass was tight (right on down through the 20-30hz range) midrange and treble were tight, everything was just lively, transparent and bursting with energy. A very vivid and energetic listen. Not fatiguing though, and pulled off a neat trick with relaxing music and detail/depth/precision of soundstage. Probably the stupid value schiit offers. There's nothing else in the price range that comes close to comparing, even in the used market (in my experience, and I have soem VERY nice amps at home that I compared it to... all of which cost significantly more than the vidar)

    If I were Jason, I'd be looking to do more with that Pivot point tech... and I'd be looking to put some microprocessors into pivot point headamp. In any case, the new gear knocks it out of the park for me. It's' for sure on my list of new mixing/mastering gear wants. It's that good.

    Big thanks again to everyone who came. Looking forward to doing it again soon, and a possible november meet!
  15. scottcriswell
    Glad to see the name you chose!
    zach915m likes this.
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