Seattle Secret meet 5/31/2015
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Jun 1, 2015 at 10:07 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 34

BIG POPPA

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Thanks to ericr for hosting we had an invite only secret meet. Will post my 2 cents when I get out of work.
 
Jun 1, 2015 at 8:01 PM Post #3 of 34

Soundsgoodtome

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*note: these were taken with my 3 generations old cell phone under fluorescent lighting so the quality is sub-par. Focusing on half the pics were bad and these are the good ones that came out.
 
The rule was, if you're on the HE1000s and you don't have a beer in hand, we'll get you a beer. So that pretty much sets the tone for what kind of meet we were having! Pictured is @ericr, our host, we got the Ragnarok running the HE1000 balanced using the MHDT Labs Havana DAC with an A&K Dap outputting via SPDIF. Mjolnir was to the right, I believe @Barra may be interested in selling it..
 


Here we have @bigpoppa explaining something, to Serg, Eric, and Bill at the TOTL room.

 
An here we have the newly discovered HD700 Gilmod with @miceblue wearing the phones. What is the mod? Just wear the HD700 backwards for an instant upgrade. No joking. Serious, if you have an HD700 try it backwards.

 
 
More convo in the back room. Some of the stuff talked about back here was so deep end audio, very fun and informative stuff. I'm sure the beer helped.

 
Here's JJ and Bill Sr testing out Eric's Project Ember and MHDT Labs Paradisea 3. @atomicbob brought his giant budget killer which consists of a Mousai Wolfson DAC paired with a Project Sunrise 3, a fantastic combo that knocks it out of the bar for well under $1k. Bob also has a newer model HD650 which he also hears some improvements over the older version out there, a steal at it's current sale prices.

 
The Garage 1217 Project Sunrise 3 is a Class-A OTL tube amp with Mosfets. If it's good enough to impress Atomicbob, it's good enough for me. At $250 he is absolutely floored by the performance, and he puts the equipment through the paces under a microscope in his lab with measurements as well.
 

 
 

 


This was my rig which consists of a Gustard U12 Xmos transport running both TOSLINK and SPDIF to 2 DAC simultaneously. Here is the Paradisea 3 with it's hood off.


When the Paradisea 3 is paired with a tube amp, wether that be a hybrid or a full-on OTL, something magical happens and you get a really smooth and pleasant sound. It reminds you of a turntable with tube preamps in its presentation, not the most accurate but damn well pleasing with almost any good headphone.

 
This is Sergio's amp that is essentially the same as Big Poppa's but in a solid state form. I believe they have more info on these two great amps, both sounding absolutely fantastic even if being just a prototype! Plugs to LHlabs on Sergio's Laptop!


Thanks to @Stillhart for loaning me his DAC19. At the beginning of the day I had both Paradisea 3 and DAC19 plugged to the Audio-GD C2 Class A and switching between the DACs on the fly was possible by just pressing the input button. (The Gustard U12 fed both with the exact same signal from the PC). When Big_Poppa showed up with is tube amp I wired the Paradisea to it which. After talking to @Stillhart (Dan @ headphone.guru) he tells em that running the DAC19 via ACSS and line-out simultaneously was ok as long as it went to 2 different amps. This meant I could've kept my A/B system while feeding the DAC19 to BigPoppa's amp.


Here is my station. A few good responses from taking the grill off in terms of soundstage. The cable I was using was a Dyson Audio Litz custom cable to the HE560. The beefy USB cable was also by Jeff at Dyson Audio. His stuff can be found on e-bay if anyone is interested, great service! Just ask Eric, he was able to get custom cuts done fast.

A little dirty secret on 90% of the music on this particular computer, with the exception of the Hi-Res stuff. They're all 500KBPS OGG Vorbis encoding.
wink.gif


 
I'll have more impressions to share on the different gear I tried but I wanted to share the pics as to get some color in the thread.
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 12:30 AM Post #5 of 34

johnjen

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Atomic Bob's 1K$ system was kick ass.
 
I played a hi-rez track of the Firebird Suite and it truly was VERY impressive.
This system has wonderful synergy with itself and has great scaleability.
 
And when the phase reversal trick was added it bumped the performance over the top.
 
That is THE best system in that price range I've ever heard.
 
JJ
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 1:38 AM Post #6 of 34

miceblue

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I came in late, but it was a lot of fun getting to talk to people nonetheless. Truly a great bunch of folks to talk to!



barra's LCD-2 is definitely one of the best LCD-2 units I've listened to.

The serial number is closest to this one measured on Innerfidelity:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/AudezeLCD2SN5312123.pdf
Adding-on the approximate diffuse-field HRTF and Harman target curves on the frequency response plot, indeed this particular unit aligns pretty well with the curves overall and it's one of the better-measuring LCD-2 units from there in this regard.




Apart from that, I think the star of the show was the Sennheiser PX100-II, no questions asked.

/s




A really nice-sounding system with the OPPO PM-3. I preferred a slight increase of the bass potentiometer.



AK100 II + Mhdt Labs Havana 2 + fancy RCA cables + Ragnarok








The HE1000 sounded fine out of the rig, but I personally thought something was off. The soundstage and imaging of the HE1000 in this particular setup reminded me a lot of the AKG K 701: a wide soundstage that lacks depth and height, and has a somewhat devoid center image. With Chesky's "Drum Kit/Dynamic Range Uncompressed" test track, the odd soundstage was most evident to me there.

The HE1000 sounded pretty lame on the Geek Out 1000 though, admittedly, and the weird soundstage was still present.

Switching the Geek Out 1000 on bit-perfect line-output and connecting it to the monstrous silver tube amp that soundsgoodtome posted, the center imaging and soundstage returned back to what I'm normally accustomed to listening to with my STAX SRS-2170 system and it sounded MUCH better to me overall.

I'm participating in the HE1000 beta test, so I'll see how it sounds on my system, but from what I heard at the meet, it has the typical nice, gut-hitting, planar magnetic bass, a bit of an uneven-sounding midrange and especially the upper-mids, a frequency peak somewhere above the upper-mids to make it sound a bit metallic (not the 9-10 kHz peak I don't like though, which is good), and a slightly grainy treble. I don't think it has the same effortless sound and presentation of the STAX by a long shot, but it's probably one of the better non-electrostatic headphones I've heard. It sounds pretty dynamic overall, but not transparent to me. It also didn't have the same effect that the SRS-2170 and 1964|ADEL A12 have where I can turn up the volume really loud without it sounding harsh and fatiguing to my ears (which is probably really bad for my hearing, but they just sound so darn good to me).


Finally, what time did the meet end? Around midnight. XD
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 1:54 PM Post #7 of 34

Stillhart

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I found that my HE-1000 beta unit had some harsh treble peaks until it burned in a bit.  By about 72 hours or so, it'd settled down nicely.
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 3:30 PM Post #10 of 34

Barra

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Hey Guys, that was fun - and thanks again to EricR for hosting at his office. The problem with these meets is that the conversation is so good, that it is hard to take the time to actually listen to all the goodies that are spread around us. It is not too often in life to be surrounded by those that share the same passion. It would have been easy to have stayed all night into the wee hours of the morning. If it wasn't a work night with morning meetings, I would have probably stayed much later.
 
The shinning stars of the night were multiple this time:
  • HE1000: My focus was the HE1000 as I have been very excited to get a listen, and it didn't disappoint. Well...., after the point I got past the hype that made me feel like it should have been a portal to another galaxy and allowed me to fly which it wasn't and didn't. When I got back to reality, I found that it was definitely the best headphone that I have heard - not having the LCD-X or Abyss present for side by side comparisons - but only by a small margin. It was one of those headphones  that sneaks up on you the longer that you listen in the way it does everything right and gets out of the way of the music rather than being colored like my favorite LCD-X or my own LCD2.2. Would I pay twice the price for the HE1000 over the LCD-X - well no, but to be fair, so far I haven't paid twice the price for the LCD-X over my LCD2.2 either for the same reason. The SQ upgrade is in single digits percentages rather than double so it is hard for me to justify - at least until I get rid of other bottlenecks in the pathway. Besides, the side by side with the HE1000 vs. LCD2.2 was over the Schiit's new ROK amp (thx JohnJen) which seems to be the great equalizer making everything sound its best. The LCD2.2 would have probably fallen apart on a lesser system.

    NOTE: The interesting HE1000 take away for me was the build, granted it is a prototype that may change before shipping, it was much smaller in person than I expected from the pictures - reasonably normal looking size vs. the Abyss. It was also very comfortable to wear for long periods. Although, it seemed a little fragile making me concerned for its safety in this crowded environment. However, the cable connector is finally upgraded to a small (maybe 2.5mm or smaller) pin connector like my HD700s providing us with confidence in the cable - solid positive connection, nice cable build quality (finally given the issues with the HE560), and a break away built in safety allowing the cables to pull out in tug situations rather than breaking the HP or cable. The overall look was ok, but not as polished/rich/solid looking design as the HD800.
     
  • The ROK: Again, thank you JohnJen for allowing me to hook his new Schiit Ragnarok into my system to give it a great audition. Bottom line, this amp will drive any HP to its best quality. It is transparent in its delivery, but very dynamic in its SQ that squeezes everything it can out of the sound file. The be fair, this may not be your mothers Ragnarok as JJ never leaves good enough alone. If you are interested in how JohnJen, upgraded this beast, you will have to ask him, but it sounds awesome. The only problem was that it was screaming for its mate, the Yggdrasil DAC. I heard them together at CANJAM in Colorado and the pairing takes them both to another level. However, paired with my tube DAC, the Havana - the ROK transported its tubey characteristics like a champ adding a very euphoric/euphonic sound quality to all headphones connected. I have never heard my LCD2.2s sound so good. I also appreciated the dual balanced/SE outputs allowing two of us to listen at once. However, the balanced output was definitely louder forcing the SE listener to listen at lower volumes. One oddity that I never noticed before was that the stepped volume that had a very loud clicking sound that was audible from the unit itself without HPs.
  • Garage 1217 Project Sunrise 3: AtomicBob's MSD192 DAC > Sunrise 3 AMP setup was a real surprise. Listening through HD650s, I was treated with what was called a reverse mod A/B with the mod removed. It was a two step process that required an extra piece of cable in the chain and a software change, so it wasn't instantaneous, but it was reasonably fast to do. The idea is that by reversing the channels so that one was pulling negative current from the amp and the other positive rather than both pulling from the same side, the amp had more juice in both channels to drive the headphone and maybe less interference from the other channel. The result was stunning. The sunrise sounded incredibly black to begin with if you read about its build, but the mod took it to another level. This is a mod that I would like to figure out how to apply to my home stereo as well as my desktop to see the results.
  • Junk vs. High-End Cables - Power and RCA Interconnects: We A/B'd generic verse nice power cables and were surprised by the results. We had generic power cables to compare to a Cryo'd Copper power cable and a Silver power cable. Immediately, I could hear the copper and silver power cables widened the sound stage considerably with surprising results. Playing Chesky demo tracks, the sound became lifelike and behind me where I turned around and looked thinking it was someone in the room behind me. Then the A/B was a bit shocking - however, only done on the ROK. All 3 that were blind tested thought that the silver power cable was the best, but confused the generic with the Cryo'd. Yet, we all heard the difference between A/Bing the generic and Cryo'd with not blind testing. Regardless, the test was enough to convince me to get a new power cord for both the amp and the DAC. The silver and copper RCA upgrades felt like they made a difference as well, with the silver being better. I will need to purchase the upgrade RCAs myself to be able to do some long term testing to better determine the percentage value. In the end, I think that the effect is additive as I put the best of everything together to conclude and the result was stunning with the HE1000 and my LCD2.2.

    NOTE: JJ pointed out that the power strip had limited the output that was provided by the wall plug that was a cheap plug limiting the total power provided. He had a test unit to show total potential. So the results may have been significantly different with a short straight run from the panel into an audiophile grade outlet like at JohnJen's house that he measures a 10x increase in total power on tap. My feeling is that smaller pipes are noisier than bigger ones and every bend in the pipe (connection) creates additional noise in an additive way. So big, short, straight pipes = quiet.
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 4:21 PM Post #12 of 34
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Originally Posted by Soundsgoodtome /img/forum/go_quote.gif
An here we have the newly discovered HD700 Gilmod with @miceblue wearing the phones. What is the mod? Just wear the HD700 backwards for an instant upgrade. No joking. Serious, if you have an HD700 try it backwards.

Oh, you think listening to the HD700 backwards is an upgrade? Try it with the HD800! You'll be in for a treat.
Ishcabible said:
in Headphone Sightings 2 - Page 805/img/forum/go_quote.gif


 
Jun 3, 2015 at 5:15 PM Post #13 of 34

Barra

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  Thank to everyone for the pictures and impressions. One minor correction, the headphones on the MSD192 + Project Sunrise III were very recent build Sennheiser HD650.

Corrected
 
Jun 4, 2015 at 12:16 AM Post #14 of 34

BIG POPPA

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This was the first meet in a long time I got to let my hair down and relax. Listened to great gear. Had many great discussions, JohnJen Balanced mod, then with atomicbob cable tweek. Tubes and tubes discussion, Cable Blind testing, Dac Measurements, Sound color vs No sound color, which do you prefer?
Seattle is looking like a Head-fi destination spot. Then we Have Doc B across the pond at Bottlehead with is new 845 amp. The Seattle Head-fiers gear has been getting better and better, and now pretty off the chain.
We have rules like if you have the HE1k's on, somebody will get you a beer. No questions asked. The headf-fiers that came were some of the vertaran audio geeks, with some esoteric views on gear. My kind of people. Nobody worried where gear was going or what was being swapped. Everybody was genuinely nice and happy to be there. A head-fier made a comment "if you have only 3 hours sleep and make it to a meet, you are a real head-fier" there was a couple of us there just like that. Just a few observations
 
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