Winnipeg meets' thread (Ongoing)
Nov 7, 2016 at 1:26 AM Post #2,626 of 4,134
I've got a folding table and a small rolling desk... I think that'll be sufficient, otherwise I can always pull up some of the big subwoofers from downstairs that are big enough to use as tables
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Nov 7, 2016 at 2:30 PM Post #2,627 of 4,134
6XX will be ~$350CAD after all said and done - pretty great if you dont already have a decent pair of open backs.  They scale really well to gear too apparently. 
 
Theyre the TH-X00 of this holiday season lol 
 
Nov 7, 2016 at 8:19 PM Post #2,628 of 4,134
Just got the TFZ Balance 2M and will bring that to meet. I'll post a review hopefully just before. 
Solid p1 competition at the exact same price. 
 
 
Here:
 
Packaging:
The box is actually quite large, mostly due to the big leather case it comes with. There is also a felt pouch that most people will probably end up using. If you want to travel though and bring most of your accessories with you (including a small amplifier) the big case is really handy. I’ve managed to fit in my Fiio Q1, some extra tips and adapters, and a usb cable. The case feels solid and looks premium and is probably the best looking case I’ve seen come with an IEM, although it’s not waterproof.
There are two sets of single flange tips in 4 sizes, 1 large double flange, and 1 medium foam tips. I tried them all out and go into the differences in sound below. There’s also a shirt clip and ear guides. The ear guides may be necessary for some, as the memory part of the stock cable doesn’t hold that well. I didn’t need the ear guides.
Two important notes:
I don’t have any really neutral IEMs. My reference for what is neutral is a STAX Lambda Pro.
This was a review copy provided by TFZ.
Build
Im going to start with the cable because it was my favorite. It has a cool, rope like texture, and is just the right length. It doesn’t tangle, and it’s extremely light. The right angle is a bit bulky for my liking. It happens to be the same size and oval shape as the connector on my phone case, but I could see this not fitting most phone cases because it has such a wide oval shape. The covering of the angled connector has the TFZ logo in red on the black cable. You can actually see through the big L connect and see that there is a normal sized connect under it. They didn’t need to make it any bigger, really.
The build of the actual earphone is hit and miss. They’re quite large and heavy. This makes them feel really good quality. So they’re large, they’re heavy, and they’re covered in gold paint. I don’t like how the gold looks. It’s shiny, and it chips easily. Using paint has caused problems with a lot of IEMs and it’s probably the only real flaw I can find with the build. Aside from the look, it’s not going to hold up.
TFZ also included their upgrade cable. This thing is awesome. It’s light, pliable, doesn’t tangle, has a heavy duty right angle connector and the memory wire comes basically preset to the perfect angle. This thing retails for $50 and I recommend it to anyone who needs a cable and doesn’t mind a giant connection.
Sound:
 
The Balance 2M is part of a new reference line-up intended to have a flat FR. I think at some point it’s important that they recognized their previous IEMs were heavily V shaped. Something I’ve seen from many over seas IEM manufacturers is they all claim their IEM is either ‘big bass’ or ‘reference’ regardless of the actual sound. I’m going to first outline the differences between the tips, then go into the sound signature overall with the tips that I think gave it the most ‘balanced’.
 
Double Flange: You only get one set of double flange tips, and they’re likely a large. These fit really well for me and were really quick and easy to put in and out. Their deeper insertion made it so I couldn’t feel the heavy IEM at all, and regardless of really how I sat the cable, they fit great. These sounded really similar to the narrow bore single flange that I’ll mention later, with the exception of the treble, which had some really hot spots. I’m not normally susceptible to lots of treble, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to stop listening to a headphone or earphone due to treble spikes, but after twenty minutes with these tips I couldn’t stand most songs I previously really enjoyed and was ready to stop listening, but first I had to try the other tips.
Foam:  Again, you get one size, and they happen to fit me. These elevated the bass and lower mids and smoothed out the treble. The treble was almost perfect at this point, but the bass was elevated far above neutral. It wasn’t really my thing, it was a dark leaning IEM and created what I can only imagine as downward slope for the frequency response. Fit and comfort were great, and bassheads may like these, but I sure didn’t.
Wide boar single flange: Flimsy and didn’t fit right, wasn’t a fan, didn’t listen too much
Narrow boar single flange: This IEM was clearly tuned for these tips, and I will describe the sound below as heard using these.
Bass: Unlike with the foam tips, which had far too much bass, and unlike many other Chinese IEMs I’ve heard, the TFZ Balance M2 have bass that extends low and isn’t overpowering. It’s a refreshing change from something like the A73, which has bass that also extends low, but is clearly elevated far above neutral and creates a V shaped signature. The subbass is probably 1 or 2 dB south of neutral, while the bass into the mids remain quite neutral.
The bass on this is better in terms of texture, detail, and is more balanced when compared to Gr07, Noble 3, and Fidue A73.
Mids : They exist. There is no mid-bass hump, and they aren’t the best I’ve ever heard, but there isn’t really anything wrong with them.
Highs: Detailed. Equally detailed to GR07. It’s smooth, and I could listen to this for a very long period of time without being fatigued. There’s no sparkle or pop to the treble that I’ve heard in many V shaped IEMs that give you that sense of detail, but when compared to those IEMs , the detail is still there in these without an artificial sparkle often found.
Soundstage:  Tall, wide, but not as deep as I’d like. It’s probably exactly what you’d expect from a $200 IEM. The separation is there, and the instruments are clear and easy to pick out detail between different instruments, however the distance between these instruments isn’t as great as I’d like. I think the best example are the drums in Gibralter, by Beirut. The beginning of this song on some headphones and earphones provides a huge sense of distance and space between every note. Here, although there is clearly distance and separation, and it actually sounds quite crisp, the sense of space isn’t up to par with some higher end headphones and IEMs.
 
Quick and dirty comparisons
Gr07: The TFZ is more comfortable, but heavier and the paint chips. The bass goes deeper. They’re both pretty flat but the GR07 has more peaks in the treble. I’d say the GR07 is similar to the TFZ with the double flange tips
A73:  I consider this IEM to be a really solid budget performer. The TFZ has a way better cable, that’s actually removable, and is more comfortable.
They’re about equal in terms of detail but the A73 is very clearly V shaped. Soundstage might be a bit deeper in A73 than in the TFZ.  Separation, though equal, had a bit more distance in A73.
For long periods of listening, and for a wider variety of genres, and for increased comfort and a removable cable, the nod goes to the TFZ
 
GR07:  I didn’t like shape or build of the GR07. Housing is poor, cables aren’t removable, and I could never find the proper direction with the adjustable nozzle. Bass is better in TFZ, without straying from a neutral profile. The GR07 is unique in that it has a large soundstage and a really nice tonal signature. I think it competes with much more expensive IEMs for these two reasons, and even though I rarely listen to it due to comfort, it’s still a great IEM.
 
Noble 3:  This thing was a disappointment. It had a good build and was comfortable, but came with a poor selection of tips I actually wanted to use, and didn’t do anything really well. Poor soundstage, mediocre bass, and some decent detail up top. The TFZ is better at half the cost.
 
AKG N40: I heard this for a couple hours last week.  I don’t have it right here, but from what I remember this is the closest match to the TFZ. The TFZ lacked a little sparkle found in the N40, and I’m not sure that why the N40 had more detail. The N40 had better build, and is smaller. It also is better looking. I’m a huge fan of this IEM.
 
FAD 1: The FAD is smaller, pretty comfortable, and also comes with a really solid cable. The FAD has an even more intimate soundstage, less extension in the highs, but with similar detail. The fad had boosted mids and sucked out bass that lacked detail and wasn’t very exciting.  The TFZ beats it in almost every category related to sound.
Conclusion: There some really great IEMs coming out in the $200 range, and this TFZ is no exception. If you’re looking for a detailed IEM that’s flat, exceedingly picky about tips and seems durable and well made and you don’t mind paint chips, the weight, or an intimate soundstage, this is a solid IEM. Competition is fierce at this price range and TFZ has a real competitor. I wouldn’t call this fun, hyper analytical, a basshead IEM, or even a giant killer, but it is a great value for those who aren’t looking for a V shaped or bassheavy earphone.  
I often look at my headphone purchases in terms of value, and I've had some poor value headphones and some really good value ones. This is up there as something that comes as a very good value. Lots of accessories, a great presentation, I really enjoy the sound signature, and the level of detail is fantastic. My only hope for the 4m and 6M is a little more seperation and a better paint job.
 
Nov 8, 2016 at 2:37 PM Post #2,629 of 4,134
My table is getting crowded... thankfully I can put half of this away after the meet.

 
left stack: Neurochrome HP-1, Bryston B60, Lab Gruppen LAB300; in front: Yamaha mixer, NuPrime uDSD, Schiit Wyrd
middle stack: Wolf Ear Makoyi, Furman Elite 20 PFi power conditioner
speakers: Johnblue JB3
 
Not in the picture, I also have a couple daps (SoundAware M1 and M1Pro) in for review. If anyone wants to bring some microsd cards with music you can try them out.
 
Nov 10, 2016 at 11:08 AM Post #2,630 of 4,134
I'm actually quite under the weather today with bronchitis.. if I improve tomorrow then I will come otherwise I'll stay at home to prevent spreading it around.
Also my 4s still haven't come back from Audeze yet.
 
Nov 10, 2016 at 2:13 PM Post #2,632 of 4,134
  I'd like to come tomorrow, but im not really sure how these meets work, where they are etc. Could someone PM me some info ?

 
For any newcomers, our meets are pretty low key. Bring some gear, bring some snacks. I'll have some extra tables set up for people to put stuff.
We will start at 1pm on Friday.
 
Send me a PM for location (it will be in Lindenwoods).
 
Nov 10, 2016 at 2:14 PM Post #2,633 of 4,134
I'm actually quite under the weather today with bronchitis.. if I improve tomorrow then I will come otherwise I'll stay at home to prevent spreading it around.
Also my 4s still haven't come back from Audeze yet.

 
Aw man, hope you feel better! Just wear a surgical mask to keep all the germs in
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Holy moly, the LCD4 is still out? That's been over 3 months now!!
 
Nov 10, 2016 at 7:14 PM Post #2,636 of 4,134
Aw man, hope you feel better! Just wear a surgical mask to keep all the germs in :p

Holy moly, the LCD4 is still out? That's been over 3 months now!!


To be fair to Audeze, I didn't send them out right away when the drivers went.. I didn't ship them till quite a bit after our August meet.
 
Nov 11, 2016 at 11:27 PM Post #2,638 of 4,134
Thanks Nathan for organizing and hosting another very successful meet!
It was great seeing old faces and meeting new people and hearing new gear! 
 

 
Nov 12, 2016 at 12:40 AM Post #2,639 of 4,134
I echo Viper2005's and dscythe's sentiments! It always blows me away how people are so willing to haul all their (expensive) gear around and set it up just for everyone else's enjoyment.

Just in case people are interested, I noticed some vintage fostex planars on ebay located here in Winnipeg: http://m.ebay.ca/itm/RARE-Vintage-1970s-Fostex-RP-Orthodynamic-Headphones-Made-in-Japan-T50-/252624517627?_trkparms=aid%253D222007%2526algo%253DSIC.MBE%2526ao%253D1%2526asc%253D20150519202400%2526meid%253Dad3456761f2e4903b046c8e6e58f12d1%2526pid%253D100408%2526rk%253D13%2526rkt%253D17%2526sd%253D262714838165&_trksid=p2056116.c100408.m2460[/URL]
 
Nov 12, 2016 at 3:28 AM Post #2,640 of 4,134
@Viper2005 Of course the one pic you take of me I'm stuffing my face
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I'm glad everyone had a great time! Definitely one of our best meets, and certainly the most gear we've had out too. Seriously guys, I had to haul two and a half extra tables out (honourable mention for the snack cart). Now if only @bearFNF could have made it then we would have truly broken the bank with all his crazy stax, though @ecwl certainly wins the day with his Chord Dave and Focal Utopia. @Velomane's Ether-C-Flow was quite popular today as well. It seems the holiday was a good day to pick for people to meet up. Not sure when we should plan for the next one.
 
I snapped a couple quick random pictures too, I'll take a look through them tomorrow and see if I can put up a few and list off all the toys we had out on the tables.
 
@ri-fi Holy moly it's an original T50. Those are rare as hen's teeth, but wow the bidding has shot up to $250 CAD already.
 
By the way guys, the maker of the Makoyi amp (the big red tube amp on the table) will be sending me some better tubes, so anyone interested in hearing those later please let me know (I feel like the stock tubes were not doing it justice). I can also hang on to the Neurochrome HP-1 amp for a while and can loan it out for anyone interested. If anyone would like to share thoughts on those two amps, please do as I will be writing up reviews for them and/or communicating it back to the designers since both of these are still very new to market.
 

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