2016 Fall NY meet impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by thegunner100, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. Maxx134

    Maxx134 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    252
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    NYC
    If it was setup for the 800, then the output transformers were not engaged so less power out with lower impedance headphones.
    With output transformers engaged, it is a better match for the others like Utopia and HEK.
     

  2. Mikoss

    Mikoss Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    953
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Canada
    Whats that shirt @SteelCannon was wearing? Are those FR measurements or something? o_O
     
  3. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    339
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Darn, I am gone for like 1 hour in the late afternoon and I miss the team picture.;)
     
  4. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,709
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Probably mountain profiles and elevations. Although it also looks like wide-bander FRs and quantification of fail.
     
    Ryu, Maxx134 and Mikoss like this.
  5. TMoney

    TMoney Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    745
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Sausalito, CA
    Not sure it would change your opinions, but for what it is worth you are wearing the Utopia backwards in the picture here, @bozebuttons .
     
  6. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    104
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I had changed them around & made sure they where on right listening later on with the Krell & studio.
    I will be getting them soon on the loaner tour & will listen with my own gear & music these are only meet impressions.

    So time will tell if my initial impressions hold up, I had high hopes for the utopia.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
    Maxx134, Kunlun and TMoney like this.
  7. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,459
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NYC
    @Hooncake asked me for some more in-depth comparison between the Andros and the Katana. Maybe @Kunlun and others can chime in on this as well.

    I haven't done any direct comparisons between the two but I have listened to both extensively on their own.

    Katana - Yes, they do sound more like full sized headphones than they do IEMs. This may have to do something with the 9 drivers and crossovers that they have, which we can characterize as the "noble coherency". The modded hd650 with a tubey amp does sound somewhat similar to the Katana. Thick bass with lush mids and downsloping treble with some sparkle. W shaped FR, if I were to make a generalization. Similarly, the slower decay on the Katana makes them seem less like BAs and more like dynamics. The Katana are a lot less sensitive to output impedance changes than the Andromedas. It would be nice to get some measurements to confirm.

    Andromedas - The Andros are distinctively BA sounding just like how the UERMs are. It is extremely clean sounding and fast throughout its whole FR. Quick attack, quick decay. With an OI between 1 and 2 (the ZX2 is 1.24), the FR is probably a slightly elevated or flat bass and midrange. The treble between the Katana and Andro are similar in that they are downward sloping with a rebound for sparkle. However, the Andros have a bit more sparkle and more air. You get a much larger and airier presentation with the Andros compared to the intimate and closer sounding presentation of the Katana.

    These two IEMs were tuned quite differently from each other, both with their own strengths and weaknesses. The biggest differences would be in the FR, presentation, and transient response. The # of drivers and the crossovers probably have a lot to do with this. In addition the Noble uses the standard tubing and bores for BA drivers while CA uses their own Tuned Acoustic Expansion Chamber. I would need to have both of these IEMs at the same time to compare their resolving nature, ability to extract microdetail and plankton.
     
    jowls, Maxx134, take and 3 others like this.
  8. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,200
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Dijon / Burgundy / France / EU
    Thks for all impressions :) . very interesting read.
     
  9. Colgin

    Colgin Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    339
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    First off, major thanks and props to @Josh for hosting and @thegunner100 for organizing. Josh's loft work-space was simply the best of any meet I have been to. Sound-proofed separate areas for IEMs, full-sized cans and speakers FTW!. Thanks to the crew for being gracious and welcoming when my wife and 7-year old boy stopped by to say hello (at my instruction he was on his best behavior). My wife listened to some headphones (impressions below), while my son hung out with me in main lounge and listened to some speakers, actually acknowledging that the sound was kind of cool.

    Some very brief impressions:

    -- Focal cans. I just finished up with the Utopia loaner and brought it to the meet. I will post more extensive impressions in the Utopia thread but I like these a lot. I really enjoyed them on the EC Studio as it gave them even more depth, but I think others thought the Studio's neutrality didn't serve it as well. I was kind of mixed on the Elear when I had the loaner. Initially fatiguing but then I grew to appreciate what it did well. My detailed comments are in that thread. Giving them another listen I was more meh. Nothing offensive but I thought too many problems given their price. Very bummed that the much-anticipated Utopia/Elear pad swap occurred when I ran back home to grab the Utopia shipping box so that it could be passed along.

    -- Audeze LCD-3. The carbon fiber headband that @take added makes these way more comfortable. I really enjoyed these primarily out of the Asgard 2, but also listened on my own Liquid Carbon. I find this a very pleasant relaxo can. Sounded more open than I had recalled. Listened to The Strokes' "Under Cover of Darkness" and track was actually listenable. This is a bit of a problem though as that song should be kind of piercing and borderline unlistenable on most any can -- just the way it was recorded -- but the Audeze just smoothed it out. Not the way it is supposed to sound but OTOH awesome song that I could actually listen to on headphones.

    -- EC Studio. Noted above, but I enjoyed pretty much everything out of this. My humble AKG K7xx sounded about as good as it is ever going to sound out of the Yggy/Studio setup. This can may not scale as much as HD 6x0; but it does scale some as judged by how really good it was on this setup.

    -- Finally got to hear the Bottlehead Crack from someone from the Maryland/D.C. crew (apologies for forgetting handles). Sounded great with my HD 600 and the various modded 650s. Kind of what I expected based on readings. I could certainly live with this setup and decent but inexpensive DAC and just be done. I have noted this several times before, but I am somewhat enamored (much to my surprise) with the HD 600 out of my cheapo Marantz integrated. I have suspected the high output impedance of the jack (probably around 120 ohms) just works synergistically with the Senns (it is mediocre to bad with everything else). Well, I would say my Marantz solid state has a very similar sound signature to the Bottlhead Crack so I am going with the OI being a huge factor. Both have a warm expanded sound with lots of separation and layering. But OTOH a little fuzzy and soft sounding. the BH is definitely better but I felt (without benefit of side by side comparos) that the Marantz got me 85% of the way there while also driving my speakers. If I didn't have cat and kid I might get a BH, but probably not worth the hassle of exposed tubes at this point. Might just try to optimize the Marantz/600 setup with a better DAC and settle on a dedicated head amp that can handle everything else (while still being good and more impactful with my HD 600) -- Jotunheim I am looking at you.

    @bozebuttons 's HEKv2. I heard this can at NY audio show and liked it a lot. I still like it a lot. Much better fit and comfort than v1 and seems to have a bit more body and less ethereal than v1. This is a good thing assuming I am not imagining this difference.

    @jmcmasterj 's modded HD 800 were great. I am not an HD 800 person, but have really enjoyed them more now that I have final heard the super DuPont mod. If I could get the mod and someone to install for me I would be tempted to pickup a used HD 800 given the attractive prices these days -- something I thought I would never consider. Brightness tamed for me and seemed more cohesive and less diffuse while still retaining excellent detail and staging/imaging capabilities.

    In sum, on full-sized cans, I appreciated all of the following even though they are all distinctly different: LCD-3; Utopia; HEKv2; and modded HD 800. In the past I always found fault with these cans, but on the setups I heard at the meet I could probably be happy with any of them. Not sure it is worth it to me to upgrade from my HD 600 setup though and if I did which direction I would go. Clearly, very big price differentials among these cans, all of which are expensive to start with.

    IEMs. Finally got to try @Kunlun 's Katanas. I had had them for several days but could not find tips that would work. At the meet there was the large complys so gave them a go. @thegunner100 beat me to it above. It did remind me a bit of HD 650 in a good way. Very different from the Andros which I already knew I liked. If price were the same and I was a buyer I would need to think hard as sound signatures are so different. I really appreciated the smoothness of the Katanas without anything sounding too rolled or veiled. And I could see how these would be nom-fatiguing. I did miss the clarity and soundstage of the Andros but do find them a bit bright and can imagine them being fatiguing over long sessions. Given price differential though I cannot really see springing for the Katanas while I always have the thought of used Andros in the back of y head.

    Listened to the rest of the Campfire Audio lineup that was there. Honestly, I did not make too much effort to form distinct evaluations of the Lyra II, Vega and Dorado, as I really didn't care for any of them in comparison to the Andros. They just all seemed to warm and lacking detail. I do think I disliked the Lyra II the most and found it way too bassy. And I think the Vega was probably my favorite of the three as it seemed to have a fun signature that would be good for certain music. But my overall feel was that if I wanted a less resolving CA IEM I would just drop all the way down to the Orion and save some money. Not to say the others are not technically better than the Orion, I am sure they are, but if I am giving up the Andro detail and soundstage none of the more expensive models over the Orion were worth the cost to me and Orion doesn't do too much wrong. (Note Orion was not there; just working off memory).

    Unfortunately, I missed a lot of the speaker comparisons but would sort of pop in to give a listen here and there. I mostly listended to @sphinxvc 's Devores which I quite like. Didn't sound good in the small square room, but were much better in the large area. Could have used some more low end, but very nice mid range and treble and nice imaging on the tracks with which I was familiar (e.g. Radihead tracks).

    For the record, my wife enjoyed all three cans she tested but in order of preference were the LCD-3 (knowing her tastes and preference for bass I totally called this), then the HEKv2 and finally the modded HD 800.

    Looking forward to the next meet.
     
    Jeb, sorrodje, Dino and 12 others like this.
  10. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,709
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Late to the impressions party, so I'll try not repeat what others have said.
    • But this part bears repeating: @Josh, you rock for letting us use your space, keeping us well fed, and even drunk. Thanks from all.
    • I know a few of us still owe you $10 for pizza and beverages, so I'll send you a PM shortly for your PP to share with others.
    • Hanging with @Hitmanfully, @Gaspasser, @jmcmasterj plus the others that traveled in was awesome. You guys left too soon. Let's get some food next time post-meet.
    • Missed @Psalmanazar, but played Suffocation - Effigy of the Forgotten in his honor. For 20 seconds.
    • Separate rooms are a total luxury that I am sure we will miss at the next meet.
    • The Utopia loaner and CA dynamic loaners made it in. We missed the Metrum loaner narrowly, timing didn't work out. About the Utopes and CA IEMs, surprised to read all the divergent impressions.
    • Small speaker room wasn't really working for the speakers, heard strange anomalies in the midrange so moved everything outside.
    • The bigger space meant every speaker had a tougher time sounding "full." Basically because no help from walls loading the low end. Marv's Altec 511bs would have been killer in this space.
    • On the other hand, having no side reflections was nice! Okay, enough about the damn room, right?
    • OSMTs sound more room filling and airy to me usually, but I think they finally met their match in this place. So yeah, OSMTs, you can't win in Costco or a barn. If you have a small/medium/big room though, they work great. They were slightly more refined out of the F3 than Stratos Plus. We didn't think to drive them out of the Studio, but then again the Studio failed hard on the 90db Devores, so there wasn't much hope anyway.
    • The Omegas weren't great, but out of the Studio, got to say, best I had heard out of them yet. Beautiful dimensionality, decent low end punch, I could see it making a decent system with sub integration and bi-amping. Actually, I think you Studio and fleawatt owners need to always think bi-amping and/or horns for a viable speaker rig.
    • Devores just couldn't cope very well with the large room, but otherwise sounded fine. We consistently ran into volume issues with the Saga and F3, it's just not enough juice for this kind of space and to overpower the ambient yak. Even at home, when I crank it as high as possible, I can just hit 90db peaks on orchestral crescendos.
    • The LS50s were the surprise of the meet for me. One, because the F3 was fantastic with them. And two, because they somehow (and unlike any other speaker there) managed to sound full and cohesive in the large space. They had body to the sound. Ambient yak meant I couldn't pick up on whether they were matching or exceeding the detail of the Devores, so I asked @Dr. Higgs if I could borrow them and now they're here at home with me for a proper comparison.
    • BMRs. This one was tough. Bass was glorious, as usual. Cued up "Head Rush" - last of us vol. 2, and "Night Fight" crouching tiger, hidden dragon to fully exploit that Scan Speak's capabilities. It killed. This speaker had reacted very badly to a medium sized living room at a recent minimeet, and I found it super reverberant. In the larger space, it sounded better than it had ever before, but somehow the midrange still lacked clarity and presence. This is something I had faulted the aforementioned living room for also, but it appears not to be the culprit. Seems to just be the BMRs. The Stratos Plus should have enough juice and refinement too, as it did for the other speakers. Jae, I guess your living room isn't haunted by an angry audiophile after all, my apologies.
    • The successor to the Emotiva A-100 (can't remember the name of this, so @take will have to fill in that blank) is a bit warmer than its predecessor, I thought. A good thing, actually. Compared to F3, this and Odyssey revealed their solid state nasties.
    • I'm eagerly awaiting @HitmanFluffy's amplifier and the Studio's Revenge some time next year. Hopefully we'll have a super-efficient horn set up in place by then.
    • Yeah, I thought somebody ordered "Strategy Ramen" for dinner. I hear things sometimes, trust my impressions at your own risk! XD (turned out it was shredded chicken ramen).
    • By the way, we found a GO V2+ Infinity at the end of the meet, @thegunner100, did we eventually figure out whose it was?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  11. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,709
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    LMAO. Just realized I wrote "@Hitmanfully" above. Freudian slip, I guess. Stupid brain.
     
  12. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,459
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NYC
    Yes, and I sent it back to @HitmanFluffy earlier today.
     
    sphinxvc likes this.
  13. Gaspasser

    Gaspasser Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    565
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    DC-area Rockville
    I thought the stars of the headphone amps were the @jmcmasterj EC Studio and the @Ryu BH Crack. It was my first time even seeing them in real life, and both are beautiful. I tried the HD650, HD800 and Utopia out of the EC Studio and for my tastes I enjoyed the HD650 most. I think I was most impressed that it scaled up THAT much.

    For the Crack, I tried my own stock HD600 and I thought the pairing was so enjoyable it pushed me to sell my Vali 2 today.

    The biggest surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the Vega straight out of my iPhone 7 with the sweet dongle. The bass was so good I was transfixed and then it dawned on me that the rest of frequency spectrum sounded clean and detailed too. I tried the Andromeda out of ZX2 and also now understand what all the hoopla is about. I must say that the ergonomics of Campfire Audio's IEMs change my whole outlook. I think I will eventually end up with either one of these IEMs.

    So the speakers were a mixed bag. I think all of the speakers except the Omegas sounded at least pretty good. I was underwhelmed by the LS50s. I was shocked how good the Overnight Sensations Midwoofer Tweeter sounded for being sooooo small and sooooo cheap. The OSMTs don't have all the detail throughout the entire spectrum but they sounded great in the big open room, which was a surprise.

    I need to get some practice soldering before I start working on the Crack and OSMTs.

    I wanted to thank everyone for bringing such great gear to the meet. I think @sphinxvc and @jmcmasterj deserve a big shout out for bringing amps and gear that I would personally hestitate to take out of the safety of my home. To everyone who brought gear: I sincerely appreciate your selflessness and willingness to share!
     
    take, Dino, Dr. Higgs and 6 others like this.
  14. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Number 1 Big D Superfan!

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,421
    Dislikes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    93
    @sphinxvc You need to be prepared for New York Death Metal and Suffocation is something that needs repeated listening to grok the riffs' own internal progression of dissonance -> consonance and how well everything is sort of arranged. Otherwise it's just hit people music.

    Yeah LS50s can fill a room like few nearfields can. Weird KEF sound though which I suppose is due to their wacky crossovers. The BBC LS3/5A are still my favorite KEFs. Here's some German analysis of the similarly weird sounding Q300 to give you a taste of KEF's British quirkiness:
    https://www.hifi-selbstbau.de/testberichte/fertiglautsprecher/411-kef-q300
    https://www.hifi-selbstbau.de/images/stories/Lautsprecher/KEF_Q300/kefq300_weiche.jpg
     
    fierce_freak likes this.
  15. Serious

    Serious Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    658
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Munich
    Actually that looks pretty fucking amazing. Almost perfect 1st order crossover, except that the tweeter still seems to be slightly too close (has to be inverted). No need to worry about vertical dispersion because of the coax. Not even the distortion seems to rise at the crossover frequency. Why would you use steeper slopes if it's not needed?
     
    take and Hooncake like this.
  16. Ryu

    Ryu Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    433
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Let me start-out by giving @Josh and @thegunner100 for hosting this great event, to @Gaspasser for hauling my fatass all the way to NY to have this great event happen, to @HitmanFluffy for all the great knowledge and shenanigans that we got into on the way up as well and to @take for letting me use his laptop because I forgot my laptop charger like an idiot (always plan ahead kids!). Let's get right into it then shall we?



    First up, the LCD-3 that @take brought. I got to hear this through his Modi 2 Uber and his Asgard 2. The first thing I noticed was that it had a bigger sound-stage then my HD650m. I felt that the mids were rather lackluster and slightly flat. Depending on the volume level, the bass was incredibly boomy and unnecessarily in your face especially at lower volumes. Because of this, I felt that the bass sort of flowed over into the lower mids and gave me that impression that it was lackluster. The upper mids are sort of where this can shined. They were very analytical and the imaging there was incredible. I could hear every single note plucked on the guitar.



    Next up is my HD650m with the Krell and the Yggy. Let me start off by saying that I don't enjoy solid state with my cans. I do have to say that this setup made the resolution of my gear look like shit. I felt that this setup made my cans sound much for neutral than I am used to but something was happening in the bass that made it feel slightly more bloomy then I like. Overall this isn't a terrible solid state setup. Definitely a rig for the HE1000 which sounded absolutely spectacular on. Really brought these things to life and was a rather resolving can to my surprise. I felt like the mids and uppers were still not where they need to be in a headphone though. They felt like they took a backseat to the bass.


    My 650m with the Sonett 2 and the Yggy was a real interesting combination. I have to agree with @HitmanFluffy that it is quite the warmfag setup. The first thing I noticed was that it brought out the mid bass distortion slightly. Making some bass notes sound a little fuzzy. The resolution was definitely on par with the krell and was just as engaging. The Sonett really brought out the sound stage and didn't make it sound as congested as the 650 normally sounds like. A strange thing that I noticed is that it dampened the uppers slightly but didn't make them sound worse.


    My 650 with the Geek Out version whatever (@HitmanFluffy) and the liquid carbon didn't sound very good at all. The bass was really rolled off, the veil wasn't pierced at all with this setup and it felt like there just wasn't enough power to cut through it. I noticed the drums sounded really good but it felt like the upper mids sounded almost hollow. Needless to say I didn't use this setup for long.


    Pretty sure Jimmy got a hilarious picture of me listening to the Studio with my cans on. I don't even know where to begin on describing this beast of a chain. The imaging on this thing was out of this world and the resolution was almost on par with the HD800. I noticed that this setup didn't make my cans sound really congested like normal, making the sound stage really pleasing to listen to. The only qualm I have is that the mid bass distortion was rather obvious on some poorly mastered tracks.


    I listened to the Slants on my rig (bottlehead crack and Bimby) and it sounded incredibly veiled. It sounded almost distant and slightly muffled, like you were to try and scream into a heavy curtain or something like that. After getting over that, the bass extension and sub bass was extraordinary and incredibly pleasing on the ears. The imaging is rather good but the T50rp driver really holds this headphone back. It really shined when I used it on the Sonett 2 but once I played a fast song the mids became muddied and thus negating all the good about it.


    The IEM table was pretty nice. I had already listened to all of the Campfire Audio gear at the Int'l meet earlier this month so I had a fresh idea in my mind. I got to try the Noble Katana and it just felt inferior to all of the CA gear. I really enjoyed the Andromedia for it's overall crystal clear sound and all around smoothness. I liked the Vega as well for the fun sound signature and would most likely use it if I ever had that kind of money laying around.


    I have to say that the OSMTs are the absolute bombdiggity and that's all I have to say about it. Others have commented better then I. All I know is that I am buying them.

    Tappo is the best pizza I have ever eaten. I have never eaten a thin crust pizza like this before and I was absolutely astounded on the full bodied flavor. It just resolved so fast and well in my mouth. The uppers of the pizza was kind rough because all of the sauce and toppings were in the mids. I figured out the strategy though, You have to consume part of the crust and part of the center in one bite.

    Overall, a great followup experience to apparently one of the best meets in a long time. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I love meeting more people. I wish we could have stayed longer and had dinner with the crew afterwords but I guess it will have to be for another time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
    take, Psalmanazar, Jeb and 7 others like this.
  17. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Number 1 Big D Superfan!

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,421
    Dislikes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Modern KEF stuff has that fucked coaxial tweeter sound; a higher order crossover may help fix this but who knows. Either way the JBL compression driver + wave guide just works better for the most part. I've heard rumors that the cheap Q100 is supposedly the least fucked sounding in terms of coaxial drivers but who knows as I've never heard it.
     
  18. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,709
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Just to clarify, I didn't mean they were filling the room. Just that they sounded full, and really only on-axis. Thinner off-axis. They didn't need any loading or help from the walls to fill out the low end, the other speakers sounded thinner in open space than they do in typical rooms. The LS50s are room agnostic in that sense, which is commendable.

    Also, this was a highly unusual room - maybe 40x70x30?

    As far as "weird KEF sound", they have their particular voicing/characteristics, will have to post more on that soon. Wouldn't really characterize it as weird though, I would reserve that term for things like JBL 530s.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
    Dino likes this.
  19. take

    take Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    138
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'll start off by saying thanks again to @thegunner100 for organizing and @Josh for hosting.

    Here are some impressions:

    Noble Katana
    I was excited to hear this, because I own the Kaiser 10, and while I enjoy it, I've always felt it could benefit from being a bit brighter in its overall tonal balance. However, I do love a lot of things about it, such as its bass, those lush Noble mids, and the smoothness of the highs. They are dark overall, and the Katanas are an excellent co-flagship in my opinion. They provide a brighter tilted overall signature, increasing the sense of detail and clarity. However, this isn't drastic enough to cause any fatigue when listening. The mids are still great. The bass is a lot tighter than the K10, and as a result, there's more clarity and detail there, too. I did mention to @Kunlun that I wished his universals had custom-level isolation, since the lack of isolation was definitely hurting my ability to fully appreciate what these could do, even in a not-too-loud room. For something like usage in public and on the Subway, which I use my K10 for all the time, customs are the way to go IMO. I was tempted to get them, but I think I'll stick with the K10 for now and try to remain happy.

    DNA Sonnet + Yggy
    It's always a pleasure hearing @thegunner100's smooth-sounding setups. This sounded great with my HD600. I didn't feel that the bass got too bloated or bled into the mids at all. I dig warm sounding stuff, so this was right up my alley. I plugged my LCD-3 into this and had a listen. For some quieter mastered tracks, it was great, and had a more relaxed sound than my Asgard 2. Combined with the increased level of detail from the Yggy, it was a great listen. Sadly, it didn't last long, because after I queued up some more loud tracks, the Sonnet apparently couldn't push enough power to drive the LCD-3 and it just wound up distorting.

    Focal Elear
    I liked the Elear, but I noticed the midrange weirdness that many people have noticed. It made the tonal balance sound pretty off on some rock songs. It was very fun and engaging to listen to, though, and I see what everyone means when they say it's a very punchy and dynamic sounding headphone. I really enjoy its presentation overall, even if it does have some issues.

    Sony MDR-Z1R
    Thanks again to @The Life for sticking around for a few extra minutes so I could listen to his Z1R. These are lighter than I expected, and the build quality and looks are as great as the pictures. The sound was a bit disappointing to me. I was expecting a more dynamic sound, and it felt lifeless overall, with a warm tilt but not a lot of bass to keep things interesting, and what sounded like too much roll-off in the highs. Cymbals were lacking shimmer and sibilance in vocals were lacking the sharpness and airiness to make them sound as they should. They isolate reasonably well, though, and while they aren't particularly exciting to me, they are more of a true closed headphone than most "closed" or "semi-closed" headphones. Compared to other truly closed headphones I've heard, they do a decent job overall and avoid the cupped-hands effect on the sound. From the way they sounded, though, I have no idea why they cost as much as they do.

    Devores
    These had a nice, smooth sound. They did struggle with the low end, with the placement in the room and the room size. The tweeters are crazy directional on these! Coming from LS50, I have to say, it is a real pain to have to basically be perfectly centered in order to get any sense of imaging. I'm sure the sweet spot could be widened with careful placement, but this was easy to notice compared to the other speakers there. I listened to a number of songs on these and found it quite enjoyable.

    LS50 vs. amps
    I own the LS50 and I brought my Emotiva Fusion Flex (the one @sphinxvc mentioned above) to compare against the other amps there. Overall, for the price, I think it does well. However, it isn't as neutral as I expected. We instantly noticed a warm tilt when switching to it. This doesn't upset me too much, since I enjoy a bit of extra warmth (I own the K10 and LCD-3, after all), but it's definitely worth noting. The F3 sounded great with the LS50 when it was able to drive them loud enough. I preferred its sound to my Emotiva and the Odyssey. The latter sounds glaring, bright, and fatiguing to me. I think the F3 could do a respectable job in a smaller room or in a near-field setup, like I have my LS50 set up.
    It was cool to see others echo how I feel about the LS50, which is that they're great when played further apart and in a nice big room. The best I've ever heard them was when I demoed them at Park Avenue Audio in their nicely sized listening room. For meets, it's understandable that there isn't time to do this, but if you place them without any toe-in and align them well in a room, they are definitely capable of a lot more impressive imaging.

    Philharmonic BMR
    I agree with others when they say that the midrange is lacking in clarity and presence. It just sounds tonally wrong with a lot of tracks. The bass is very deep and can make tracks sound very engaging, but it's really lacking in clarity too, and sounded muddy in my opinion. Bass guitars and even tight, synthesized bass notes sounded overly fat and full, to the extent where timbre was lost. The positives are the smooth highs (although the vertical off-axis performance is predictably bad) and their overall "big" sound (they are big speakers, of course; I still think it's hard to get a feel for how big these are in pictures). I played a track from In Utero and got massive, tall walls of guitar in front of me. I also agree that these sound nice with orchestral music.

    OSMT
    As usual, if you give a quick listen to the OSMT on top of, or next to, much more expensive speakers, it's hard to figure out which is playing. While they weren't able to project enough low end for the room either, and the mid-bass got a bit boomy as they were driven loud, their price to performance ratio is still crazy good. It's fun to see people's reactions to how impressive these little guys are.
    (For fun, I took a slow motion video of the OSMT's excursion while playing.)

    @thegunner100's Espresso Skills
    9.5/10 great shot. He can tamp like the best of them. :D

    I'm going to hold off on the Utopia impressions for now, since I still have the loaner for a few days and I'll post something over on that thread when I'm finished.

    @Colgin - I noticed someone listened to Under Cover of Darkness, since I saw that in my song history. :) I've been listening to that album lately and I know exactly what you mean. It's definitely not objectively "correct," but that's one of the things I love about the LCD-3. They let you enjoy songs without any harshness or fatigue, even when the songs are inherently harsh and fatiguing. The K10 pull this off too; in general, and with this album specifically.

    It was great seeing everyone again, and meeting those I hadn't met before. The office was a great setting for a meet with this number of people. Compared to other meets I've been to, the ambient noise level in each room was very manageable, which was awesome.
     
    PoochZag, Dr. Higgs, Kunlun and 5 others like this.
  20. thegunner100

    thegunner100 Hentai Master Chief

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,459
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NYC
    Thanks everyone for the impressions so far.

    Re: Sonett 2 - I didn't think the sound would be for most people. It only pairs well with high impedance headphones imo. HD650s and HD800s sound great out of it. It's not an impressive sounding amp and it is on the warm/smooth side but I think it's done very tastefully without ending up overly warm and gooey like like the WA stuff. I hope you guys were either using the XLR outputs with the Senns or the High gain/non-IEC 1/4 output. The XLR output is 28 ohms (the switches don't matter) and the 1/4 can be 11, 28, 110, or 120 OI depending on the setting. If you guys used the IEC setting, then I can see why it can be warmfag or lush (it's okay, I take no offense :p)

    Re: LS50s - I'm really curious about the new wireless version that's coming out next week. The DSP is looking really advanced and I like that the speakers can still be used with a dedicated dac. I'm not sure if some of the DSP signals will be disabled when using a separate dac as there needs to be an ADC and then a DAC.

    Re: IEMs - There's so many differing opinions regarding the CA stuff and the Katana. This would be my personal preference with the ZX2: Andromeda >= UERM >= Katana > Lyra II >= Dorado >= Vega.

    Re: OSMT - :bow:. I've never seem the OSMTs move like that before. Maybe I don't play enough music with that kind of bass?

    @bozebuttons - Yes, we do need some more headphone stands or some cloth to put headphones on next time.

    @take - LOL, I hadn't pull an espresso shot for nearly a year and I've never used a bottomless portafilter before. There was no timer on the machine either, so I just winged it xD. I was really surprised that you thought it turned out well, but thank you ;D.
     

Share This Page