Jacq's Opinion Editorials (#4: A Little Guide in Organizing and Hosting a Successful Headphone Meet)

Discussion in 'SBAF Blogs' started by jacq, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Hello guys, been a long time lurker but I haven’t really posted much in the forums and I’ve decided to change that with my reflections during my trip to Asia. About me, I’m not very technical as most of you folks though I enjoy the hobby as much as anyone here. As my gear is constantly changing, I’d like to link you guys to my headfi account instead in where I keep my current gear inventory updated.

    As for what I intend to post, I’d like to just treat this thread as an opinion thread about headphone stuff I see, along with the pictures you may often see Instagram and other sites. I guess the reason for the change is that I’m kind of tired of the lack of quality Reddit offers and with the mods telling me my posts are just for “moneyshots” to reap karma. Being kind of insulted with this, I decided to just move my content elsewhere though I’m not that disciplined to keep a personal blog. I am hoping that the SBAF community would be accepting for what kind of content I want to share online. Please let me know if you have any questions. Hoping to update this twice a month or at the very least, once a month.

    Here are examples of my headphone shots. Along with some here on my IG.

    Index:
    #1: Traveling with a DAP + IEM? How ideal is it?
    #2: The Ever Elusive Audio Nirvana
    #3: Photography: A Shill's Medium
    #4: A Little Guide in Organizing and Hosting a Successful Headphone Meet.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017

  2. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    #1: Traveling with a DAP + IEM? How ideal is it?

    [​IMG]
    DP-X1 + UERM along with its case, my daypack and carryon.

    I’m insanely jetlagged right now and I decided to take up on writing about my 30-hour flight from Asia to Florida. This journey was done with multiple layovers, and I definitely had to sit to listen music during the times those times. I suppose I’ll start with my own personal rules when it comes to choosing a portable setup:

    · UI – subjective but this is of absolute importance to me as I tend to enjoy choosing different playlists or albums when I listen.
    · Battery life – pretty self-explanatory but the more battery the better when you’re out and about
    · Storage – also subjective but being able to bring however much music is pretty great to me. I love dual microSD or DAPs that offer over 128gb.
    · Sound quality – for me, there’s really just a baseline to establish and I enjoy a detailed, neutral DAP that would be a reliable reference if I were to demo something when I travel.
    · External outputs – having digital out like USB, optical/toslink, Coax is very nice when you go to meets or testing equipment on the go.
    · Streaming – I stream so this is a must for me though it’s a non-issue for some people.
    · External controls/ergonomic design – I like having something easy to use when I’m in public transportation or walking, playback controls are definitely a godsend.

    The DAP that fit this bill has been the DP-X1 to me, so far. I had an Apple iPod Video back in high school and I’ve owned others ever since then, like the DX50, FiiO X5c, AK100ii, AK240. Soundquality wise, I think the RWAK240 is still better sounding than the DP-X1 but the price difference was just way too big that I couldn’t really justify the 240. Instead, I took the money and put it towards the Yggdrasil and I’m happier than before. The DP-X1 definitely needs work in the battery life area along with sound quality but given the fact that you get a lot of features, it’s hard not to be compelled to buy it.

    In regards to AK, I know they’re hated around this parts and with good reason. Poor customer support, rapid product release turnover, lack of -almost- essential features like streaming, some build flaws that cause certain issues to suffice even faster, and worse of all, it is tied with a hefty pricetag. It’s definitely a fashion-fi piece with its cases made from reputable tanneries, along with the luxurious product launches they do so I can definitely say it’s not for everyone. I continue to be interested in what they release in the market in hopes that other companies will take the features they have to integrate it to more affordable models.

    [​IMG]
    RWAK240 + SE846 with some badass looking cheapo cables.

    Now, despite all the idealized concepts about owning and bringing a DAP to travel, the biggest issue still remains, it’s still bulky. It’s a separate device from your phone, and if you’re anything like me when I travel I mostly bring my phone, camera, powerbank, wallet, IEM, and DAP. I’ve asked myself multiple times about this, how do I optimize what I carry onto the plane and my own daypack to be able to not feel weighed down with the stuff I’m carrying? I’ve tried several things just to streamline the storage process and I think the most simplified way is to carry it with just the DAP + iem case that’ll fit in one of your bag compartments. Having a pelican case may be nice and I have owned one along with other cases but having the DAP inside a pouch will just add unnecessary bulk if you’re carrying a small sling bag of sorts.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Decisions decisions... Eventually went with the black pouch with carabiner which would hang nicely on the airplane bin where they keep the magazines with less weight than the pelicases.

    Perhaps the argument of stacking can suffice as well. With all the portable DAC/amp choices out there, there’s a massive realm of possibility if going this route. Owning an iPhone may complicate things further as some DAC devices refuse to play nice with Apple and others may drain the battery faster. This can also mean adding unnecessary bulk onto the case with rubber bands or Velcro. I’ve owned a few DAC/amps to go with my phone or my DAP itself to give it an extra sound quality boost but I found that most times, I'm not too willing to carry it. It also makes me feel angry that it’s often not pocketable with an excess of wires sticking out due to interconnects. I do keep an RSA Intruder on standby as a transportable setup with the HD800 if I really have to bring the HD800 to have someone try. Otherwise, it’s DAP + IEM for me.

    [​IMG]
    Got too lazy to find an actual pic but this is what my transportable rig looks like, DPX1 + Intruder + HD800. It's connected through restickable tape by Scotch.

    Anyway, now that I’ve gone through this long winded tangent, I will tie it all together to say that I have traveled with my UERM + DP-X1 for around 50 hours total, excluding all the layovers. and I’d like to give my data upon walking around and traveling with it. Of course, take with a grain of salt… It’s pretty subjective.

    · Having the DP-X1 out, especially when I was commuting was not fun. Overall, it was a bit too bulky. I wore a coat when I traveled and I had the DP-X1 in one pocket, my phone in another along with my wallet. Perhaps if I had a breastpocket, it would fit quite nicely.
    · My UERM is 2.5mm TRRS terminated so I had to use a 2.5mm – 3.5mm adapter along with a 3.5mm – lightning connector to use with my iPhone 7. It doesn’t sound very good with piercing treble and it sounding very thin so I hope more and more companies release alternatives to the lightning to 3.5mm connector.
    · The DP-X1 was great to use when I was able to sit and listen without any interruptions so it was mostly used during boarding gate queues, sitting out somewhere, or flights itself.
    · After owning the UERM, CIEMs are definitely a plus for me in terms of comfort. I don’t think I’ll be going back to universals unless I could get a custom sleeve.
    · In terms of sound quality, the UERM could use a companion IEM that’s fun and engaging that would fit my preferences. The good thing about IEMs is that they’re so small that you don’t really notice them so I can see myself bringing a second pair without any issues.

    Overall, I think owning a DAP is worth it if you’re okay with it being an extra bulky thing to bring. I think this can be a non-issue to those who commute to work or school on a daily basis though I don’t think it’s completely ideal for traveling where you have to be somewhat aware of your surroundings. Despite of its shortcomings, I’m probably still going to keep the DAP + iems setup to bring with me in my upcoming travels.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  3. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    #2: The Ever Elusive Audio Nirvana

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Current setup as of today, January 24, 2017.

    Alright, I figured I’d write all this I become extremely overwhelmed with all the gear I’m going to go through in the next few months. As of now, I have an HD800, SR007, L700 with an SRD7, ampnsound Mogwai (loaner) and a Schiit Yggdrasil in my possession while my Master9 and Studio are on loan. The Studio is less than 2 miles away so I will get that back once the RCA black plates arrive to write a proper review, though the Master9 is still in NYC loaned to someone. It has been one hell of a ride for me in the past year, gear-wise and the way I listen to music has definitely changed—for the better(I think?!).

    Looking back to when I came back to the hobby from being burnt out with midfi, I deciding to stop wasting my money on midfi and just going to the best that I could afford with all the upgrades. My initial purchase started with a 400i and the Alpha Dogs which I sold my LCD2.2 for, due to the fact that I couldn’t power it very well(was using an Objective2, lol). After obtaining those cans, I bought an NFB-15 which I eventually sold for a Liquid Carbon preorder, while springing for an LCD-X and an Asgard 1 I picked up for very cheap. As for the DAC, I was able to get a cheap R2R DAC, the ADCOM GDA700 which I intended to use with the LC through balanced XLR. I then eventually got an Ether open, that I briefly owned as I decided to sell it for an HD800 and a STAX L700 with an SRD-7 the following month. Upon countless delays with the LC, I decided to cancel my preorder and put my money into a Mjolnir 2 and I eventually replaced the DAC with a Gungnir Multibit. The Mjolnir 2 lacked detail that I craved for and I was really disappointed with how the Ragnarok performed so I blind bought an Audio-GD Master9. The LCD-X eventually got replaced with an LCD-3 and life was good with my LCD-3, HD800, L700 trio. Curiosity about the Yggdrasil then dawned on me so I decided to sell my AK240 DAP + Gungnir Multibit to fund it and it has been one of the best purchases I’ve had so far. Fast forward to late 2016, I decided to sell my LCD-3 to buy an SR007 in Japan, while deciding on having a KGSSHV built as soon as my builder is ready, which will be around March. Now I have plans in trading off my L700 for an LCD-4 + cash on my side. Early 2017 came to me as a surprise as I got some (surprise) money back home and so, I decided to get an EC Studio that was in the classifieds which I figured wouldn’t be too hard of a thing to sell if I didn’t like it.

    [​IMG]
    The Setup. ~September 2017.

    And so, here we are in late January 2017.

    I wanted to write this to state my opinions about my thoughts on endgame and what I learned throughout the way. I think as time went by, I learned more and more that endgame is a mindset rather than a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist. If I had to pinpoint a time when I realized this, it was probably when I got the M9+Yggy combo with my 3 headphones. All three are great, though my desire to upgrade or get better things come from curiosity and also, because the opportunity presents itself in a way that I don’t seem to lose very much. I realized that I upgraded because I was more curious about things, rather than trying to hope that an upgrade would be the end of spending for me in the realm of audio. I think things are constantly changing, they will be upgraded and new features will be added that people would hype up as if it’s the product you’ve always been waiting for. So I thought, why fight it? Why not try to refine the thought process so that it doesn’t get out of hand, so that it’s logical and hopefully economical, and it doesn’t leach out to your relationships or character?

    [​IMG]
    Hugo TT not mine but HD800 - Studio - Yggy + Singxer is here to stay.

    I’ve been trying to create a system in how to streamline my audio setup and what I want from it and I think I’m comfortable sharing my process. One, I like having multiple pieces of equipment but I make sure they are all being utilized in one way or another. Anything that doesn’t get used can be sold to be recycled into more expensive gear if I will it. Two, I think that it’s important to know what you want out of your setup and not be so judgmental to those who think differently. I can definitely sense the elitism in some people with hatred towards others with what they possess. I think we just all hear differently and plus, it’s others people’s money. Three, never feel bad with hyped up bad purchases or losing money over deals because you can always cut your losses and move on. I know some people who are discouraged with preorders, early adopters, or even overpaying on used products but it’s futile to think negatively. Thinking about how these bad deals are a temporary thing probably helps with one’s endurance/sanity, as that’s pretty much how I’ve stayed for so long with this hobby. Four, think of it as a passion or interest and not a vice. Headphones are addicting and buying gear is addicting. I know it reeks of consumerism and materialism, which is totally the opposite of simple living but I learned how to enjoy it in my own way. I label myself as a minimalist and I still stand by that, as I streamline the SNR in my life and make time for the things that matter. Whenever I meet new people, they ask me about my interests and audiophile headphones has always been one of them. Most people probably think it’s pretty useless but who cares, it’s my life and my money. I like being able to sit down and hear all the details, realize how fun some albums can sound, and being able to hear live recordings like I was there. I love it, these are all the reasons why I love headphones. Being able to talk about the gear, similar artists and overall enjoying the company of others are other incentives, and I try to say that it’s pretty much like how other people are interested in their own hobbies. I guess I write this to those who feel like this hobby is something one should be ashamed of, especially when it comes to upgrading gear. I’m sure this interest means something different to everyone so I guess I urge everyone to find what this all means to you personally.

    I remember one question I asked myself when I got the Yggdrasil, what’s next after this? There were a million combinations, it was like when I spent more, more new things needed to be bought. I thought about running my mind through all those combinations but eventually I took a step back to enjoy the present. What was I thinking? I JUST got a Yggdrasil after 3 weeks of waiting, I should enjoy it! I know endgame is a destination we’re all trying to reach and all, but sometimes it’s nice to look around to relax and enjoy all our temporary endgames for the time being.

    [​IMG]
    One of my favorite pairings, Yggdrasil - Master9 - LCD-3 2016 revision.
     
  4. Marvey

    Marvey Loves sex and records

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    I moved you over to the prestigious blog sub-forums with Moffat and @MuppetFace. Thanks for sharing your audio journey. Maybe move on to a turntable? You've heard pretty much everything else you need to hear.
     
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  5. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Welp, wow I'm at a loss for words, thanks! I will definitely update this consistently now haha. I'm definitely thinking about moving to TT's @Mikoss and @JoshMorr have been telling me that I can't escape my fate as I have an insane fondness for Jazz that I'm pretty sure only analog can satisfy. I will be moving for graduate school in June but with the luxury of having my own place, it will be much easier to venture onto speakers and vinyl if I decide to.
     
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  6. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    I like the posts!

    Whenever I read about someone's endgame system, it's usually the HD800 or some other full size headphone from the $1000-$2000 range. However there are also a lot of IEMs in that price range but I never really read about them considered in an endgame system. More like the best portable system. However if I am looking at IEMs at that price, i think they should be competitive with anything else regardless of physical size.

    What do you think about IEMs as a primary system?
     
  7. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Personally, I haven't heard of a portable setup besting a desktop setup to date. With the Studio and the Yggdrasil in my possession, the bar is set very very high but despite these two, I still find IEM setups a bit too overpriced for what they can do right now. Like, I enjoyed the AK380 though I don't think it's worth the price, along with the mojo. I recently tried the iSine20 and I wonder if this is a new change for IEMs, they kinda sounded like full sized to me because of the added air though they are heavy on the ears and kind of big. For real world use, I'd imagine they'd be used at home as part of a high end transportable system while having no regard to cost or portability. In terms of killers in value, I would give credit to the UERM and the Andromeda, which I have heard and really liked though the UERM is hard to find now. Hearing the K10 and Katana, I suppose they are good but not $1600(or whatever) good.

    My biggest problem with IEMs is that everything in the high end is absurdly expensive with very questionable value in terms of sound quality. For me, I think a decent, competitively priced IEM setup can be done, being the andromeda to be the frontliner for then paired with a good DAP that can power it. If we're talking about the bleeding edge, like 5% stuff, it can get absurdly expensive fast. Add in the fact that the portable manufacturers keeps releasing new things every 2 months or so. I am hoping this normalizes within the next 2 years.
     
  8. Warrior

    Warrior Friend

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    Great blog @jacq!! I always enjoy your thoughts on audio, and reading about your journey is no exception.

    I'm one of the few that prefers iems to headphones. Not sure why. I definitely enjoy my headphones, but iems I find very enjoyable for some reason. Even when I have the opportunity at work, I grab my IEMS before my headphones. I have 650s and Th900s. I just purchased a pair of zmf Blackwoods, but I doubt that will change my preference.
     
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  9. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    #3: Photography: A Shill's Medium

    So here’s a little backstory. I was a photographer first before I realized how much I liked Hi-Fi. In 2009, I bought a DSLR out of curiousity and I’ve been a shutterbug ever since. I had a Nikon D60 and with the 18-55mm I went around shooting EVERYTHING and editing pictures with incredibly unrealistic colors. I acquired lenses, which I also bought and sold for profit, then eventually moved to the Canon system with a 40D and a 50mm 1.8 mk1(that was such a sharp lens) and a 17-40mm 4L lens. I know it’s not much but I enthused about it as much as a person could. This was the time when I learned so much about it, being involved in clubs in college that I was even holding workshops for them.

    The problem with photography though is this thing called GAS. Gear Acquisition Syndrome is actually worse in audio since you can’t really do much if your gear sucks but with photography, it can be a crutch. If you look at the Flickr pool for lenses or cameras, it’s like people can take the most magnificent photos with their extremely mediocre gear. People like the DigitalRev or Chase Jarvis advocate that you don’t need much to capture the moment or compose a great picture, it’s a mix of skill and luck. Despite this, people like me at the time made it an excuse that I would need better gear to be a better photographer so in the end, I kind of just sold it off. At this point in my life, I was also extremely minimalist so I felt pretty guilty with owning such excessive camera gear. It was like my mind was telling me “no, you should own nothing, only experiences matter”. That was a pretty lonely time in my hobby life until I eventually came to terms with the fact that it’s okay to own stuff you enjoy which eventually led me to like headphones. Headphones were fun to learn too and I spent my days reading on headfi like most of us start out. I went through so many midfi headphones and sources, then eventually quitting for a couple of years until I went back again. I would say I’m pretty comfortable with my deciding criteria when it comes to upgrading but I always enjoyed seeing headphone pictures or gear setup shots.

    [​IMG]
    Spring 2010. I can't get enough of things to hoard! :)

    When I did a lot of Discording in the past, I always liked posting the pictures of cool setups that I found online as it gave me satisfaction to see things match aesthetically or seeing how people are routing their systems. Even when I take pictures now with my now renewed photography setup that follows my mantra of “a single lens, a single body that’s portable enough to travel with”, I always try to be mindful of the compositions I do. I recently delved into this and asking myself the question of why I enjoy such pictures, or what makes a successful photograph when it comes to headphone setups? I’m probably not the only one, but I mostly enjoy aesthetically pleasing gear and I consider it a part of my consideration process as much as I can, so why is this? I came up with 3 reasons as to why.

    One, I think some photos can give us the idea that a product may be the one thing that’s been missing in our setup all this time. There is always so much hype involved whenever a new product gets announced and they have always been lauded as giant killers in any category they’re in. Reviewers will often say that they perform higher than the asking price and that it’s the best sounding item there is. We all know that time and time again, these hype trains rarely deliver. Early adopters would most of the time lose money and the hype dies down until another announcement comes again. These photos can make things look incredibly appealing, given like it’s low hanging fruit to any potential customer. Because why wouldn’t you, it sounds incredible and it is well within your grasp.

    [​IMG]
    AK240 and Vibro Labs Aria. Remember the hype on these?

    Two, like commercials on TV, these photos can give us the sense of experience that advertising lays out for us. A person’s high-end setup looks like it sounds incredibly appealing despite us not fully understanding what each component gives to the table. Putting several high-end headphones together make us go wow as we leap in adoration with one’s collection, despite us just mostly idealizing the sound since we’ve never even tried any of the headphones. In short, photos evoke a certain musical lifestyle we all want to reach that give us the sense of audio nirvana in the purest form with luxury, relaxation, and ultimate fidelity.

    [​IMG]
    This is all you need for that perfect weekend getaway.

    Three, we can be genuinely curious as to what people are satisfied with and this gives us more reason to research photos of what other pairings can be possible. I mostly do this whenever I consider a product as I try to see what people are using it with. I think synergy is a real thing and I find it easiest to look at pictures than reading lengthy pages on that *other* site. Add in the fact that I’m pretty dumb when it comes to reading the more technical posts so I simplify this by just looking at pictures. It works, though it has caused me to look at MORE pictures for fun’s sake now.

    As for point number two, some companies definitely bank on this and I admit that I always try to aim for that angle whenever I take my pictures. I enjoy taking pictures that have depth in them in a technical sense but I also try to aim for them to have unconventional composition while looking effortless, comfortable yet looking extremely interesting. I think when it comes to headphone photography, I would always give this answer to the question as to why I take photos of them. If it was possible, I’d like just to show a picture that could tell how good a product is without writing a lengthy review. To me personally, I shoot and the review is the toll I pay for me to show the world my photos.

    [​IMG]
    Old setup, Gumby > Mjolnir2 > LCD-X/Ether. I felt like this was an okay setup, definitely could've been better. But oh my, look at how good it looks :D.

    To me personally, it’s a task to write reviews and to listen to things I’m not particularly interested in but look aesthetically pleasing. I’d really rather find ways to photograph things and show as if they sound extremely good even though they don’t and completely fool everyone since my pictures would (hopefully) look good. I laugh at it because it’s funny, really funny. I find it incredibly ironic to think that I left photography to discover audio and now I’m running back with arms wide open where I’m smitten with photography because of audio. I guess I found the point of GAS, and I dove head first into it.

    [​IMG]
    Photography is pretty great. I bet this picture makes you just want to buy an HD650 if you don't have one already.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017
  10. Torq

    Torq Last Remaining Good HF Poster

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    I wonder what you could do with my M-P (Typ. 240) and 0.95/f Noctilux ... ;)
     
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  11. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Only one way to find out! Haha. I recently upgraded to a Sony A7 from my A6000, really excited with that. Then maybe someday I'll grab a cheap 0.95 like the Mitakon.
     
  12. Torq

    Torq Last Remaining Good HF Poster

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    I'm seriously tempted to snag one of the new A7 bodies to add an in-body IS capability to my Leica glass. While I don't need it for most of my current photography, it would be useful for some of my hand-held low-light/night photography.

    I'm are you'll find the shift (back) to full-frame to be quite freeing ... I hated fighting getting a proper WA setup with APS-C.
     
  13. Lasollor

    Lasollor Almost "Made"

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    I enjoyed your post, I've been there too.
    About 5 years ago when I've started my phd. studies in Japan, I spent more time in the university's dark room developing and enlarging than in my lab.
    I've even started to work part time at a used camera shop, spending all the money I've earned at the same place. Then one day I've realized I don't need two M6 bodies and 6 different lenses for them and 4 medium format cameras and have better things to do than developing films all day. So I sold off everything and only kept a digital camera.
    Then started to buy audio gear thinking that at least I can work on my thesis while listening to it. I still haven't finished it if you are wondering...:rolleyes:
     
  14. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    Yeah, if I could afford and justify it, I would've gotten the A7ii which has IBIS but I don't really shoot as often as I did. And I'm excited, I've never really owned a full frame camera before though I've already prepared for the upgrade since the lens I'm using is a 28mm F2 that's actually full frame. Anyway, I bet your setup is like a dream. I can't imagine how it's like haha.

    That's so awesome that you lived in Japan. I was there for a brief 4 day layover and I had such an amazing time! And yeah, I definitely get the feeling of realizing that you have so much. I always try to be conscious about that as much as possible though it doesn't always end that way. I think as long as you have a use for everything you own, you should never feel bad about the things you have.
     
  15. Lasollor

    Lasollor Almost "Made"

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    I am inherently attracted to minimalism while also a hoarder by nature. So most of the time I'm in the process of de-owning things which doesn't make my life better/happier/simpler on a daily basis. On the downside I'm constantly looking for the "best" cost/happiness-simpleness ratio which means buying new things to compare, until I can settle down on one. But this way I have no regrets about the things I keep.
    I've been living in Japan for about 6 years now, its a beautiful country but living here as a foreigner has its challenges. I came here prepared (one of my masters degrees is in Japanese studies) but I know too many people who ran away after a few months living here. But I think traveling in Japan is an awesome experience and all my friends who have visited me loved it.
     
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  16. jacq

    jacq Friend

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    A Little Guide in Organizing and Hosting a Successful Headphone Meet.

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    A meet we had last year with a Yggdrasil surviving a 45-minute drive to the meet location itself. I told myself I'm never bringing it again!

    I’ve been in the hobby for 5 years and dabbled with it on my own for the first three. I was mostly on and off about it since I had to juggle schoolwork alongside with it too. I mostly bought mid-fi gear, always hoping to have people to share it with, online or offline. At the end of my 3rd in university, I pretty much lost interest in the hobby and sold all my gear except my Denon D2000 with some really crappy mic interface I used as a DAC/amp. I didn’t look back though I always felt that I missed looking through pictures and reading reviews about potential headphones to upgrade to. After working for a while, I decided to take a trip to Chicago which was also the weekend when AXPONA 2015(?) happened and that’s when I pretty much decided to go hi-fi. This was more of an outcry of the misery I felt when I owned mid-fi gear, where the gear seemed to lack a few minor things in one way or another. I decided to just try to get the best I could afford to minimize upgrading too much and after a year of dabbling through, I’ve pretty much settled down to what I think is enough for the time being. Maybe a couple minor upgrades like a KGSSHV and a Freya for my setup to have some variety but the journey definitely helped me shape my way of perceiving headphone differences and giving decent assessments of them. Through this method, I have met very interesting people online and offline though this post will focus mostly on offline meets. Team South Florida has held something like 5-7(?) meets in the past two years since we’ve started, and I am hoping it keeps going when I leave. With this guide, I feel that this would be a good opportunity for me to give a few tips on how to hold a meet effectively, so I hope it helps!

    1) Be aware of who is near your area and PM them.
    – It can be kind of creepy, and not a lot of audiophiles are very social from what I’ve noticed but this is the best way to get a group of people to meet up. I mostly PM to ask for an interest check to get a general census on who still lives nearby or not. Once you get a list of people, you can ask around to see if they’re interested in meeting and what gear they might be able to bring.

    2) If you want a meet to happen, you have to be proactive about it. Suggest the dates and see if it’s plausible for most people to come. – This can be very problematic when you’re trying to hold a meet with a lot of people. Be aware that whenever you throw in a date, there will always be people that cannot make it so you have to be more flexible or forego those people to make it happen. Know that there can always be a next time so don’t feel bad if someone can’t come or whatever. I think this is a better alternative than not having a meet at all due to the differences in a schedule for everyone.

    3) Check hotels, libraries, complex clubhouses for room rates. - This can be a backup plan if you or someone you know cannot host a big meet. Know that some places require a month in advance for booking so plan well and call around. Personally, I feel like if I can get 4-5 people for a meet $10-20/person for the room is mostly reasonable especially if it’s a place that’s not too far for everyone.

    4) Duration of the meet. – When setting up the date, you’ll probably want time too. I have found that around 5-6 hours would be plenty of time for a meet with 10-ish people as fatigue can kick in pretty quickly. I try not to sweat minor details when you’re at someone’s house but always try to be flexible.

    5) Encourage people to bring sources. – I kind of like to put this out there as etiquette to who you’re borrowing gear from. First, I think it is beneficial to have your own source as you have tracks that you’re familiar with. Secondly, it would be a politer way to demo gear as you’re not making others wait until you’re done with your demo. Third, you would be more familiar with how the chain can play out by having your own source. So if anyone ever asks you what they should bring to the meet, always try to suggest sources like a DAP (with a 3.5mm line out cable or USB) or a computer with files. Oh, and power strips! You can’t have too many IMO.
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    I suppose you could be like me and try to justify $2,000 towards a DAP that has optical out. |\/|

    6) Once you’ve ironed out the details, relay the message to everyone who’s coming and be the correspondent all throughout the day of the event. – Tell people where it is, possible gate codes for a gated community, and try to keep tabs on who will be there along with their list of gear. I used to like to post a gear list on a group message thread for people to know what will be there to have people avoid bringing duplicates.

    7) PM manufacturers to see if they can send you something for the meet. – This may be a bit advanced and I’ve only done it with ZMF, to be honest, but you can always ask to see if it’s possible for someone to send you their gear. This is pretty nice since you mostly get to try out new stuff and it benefits the manufacturers as you provide them exposure to a group of people who may be interested in purchasing.

    8) Be considerate of your host and fellow audio-friends, bringing extra people is okay but give people a heads up. – We’ve had a pretty small issue in one of our meets that’s the cause a little precaution now. There was a guy I invited who brought his friends over to the meet who seem to not know anything about audio. So he brought 4 or 5 of his friends who barely interacted with others and stayed in one corner all throughout the meet. When they had left, one of the people in the group had the rings of his Audeze was dented and pretty badly too. We had kind of suspected them doing it since they did borrow it for quite a while and some were pretty awkward when they talked. Nonetheless, it left a bad taste and now our meets are mostly closed. I still PM people or post on the meetup threads here and elsewhere but because of that incident, I’m mostly wary on who to invite. A lot of gear can be very expensive and most people won’t admit or take responsibility when something does break. I mean heck, someone dropped my SR007 mk1 on the floor the last meet and I thought I was going home with a scuffed one.

    9) Snacks. – people will get hungry so suggest a chip in for a snack run or pizza delivery. Bring cash, Venmo, PayPal or even delegate the items yourself. You can always just ask, “who wants to bring x, and y?” and people would be more than willing to bring.

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    Smoked ribs anyone?

    10) Always be polite with people’s opinions even though you may not agree with them. – This is pretty self-explanatory but I think this is pretty much essential when it comes to meets. Most of the time when you’re done listening, someone would ask what you thought of the setup or a particular part of the gear and you give them your thoughts. There are moments that you find people meandering over things you may imagine as placebo or negligible that they claim are making the most difference but the best thing to do is to smile, nod, and politely express your thoughts if you must. It’s just headphones, no need to be all stressed about it.

    11) Keep an open mind and enjoy yourself. – I always found my curated gear the best for myself and I always felt like I was happy and satisfied with whatever I had upgraded to each time. To me, the meets are for trying new things I’ve never heard before as it may be something to work towards or to avoid. There are a lot of things I have avoided since I have thankfully gone to meets and heard them with my chain, while pretty much confirming my interests for others. Going to meets can also allow you to meet people who may have similar interests with you outside of audio and you may meet some very close friends through it.

    12) Exercise safety! - Lastly, I'd like to point out to always exercise caution and take the necessary precautions as we all are carrying expensive gear. I mostly like just PMing the address to people one by one rather than posting it publicly whenever it's a resident or something similar. There are people who I haven't responded to because we were getting sketch vibes from them so we just avoided them overall. I kind of feel bad, to be honest, I might just invite him to the next if there is one before I move.

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    Our most gear heavy meet ever. My car's market value went up at least 3 times that day.

    You've reached the end of the guide! Congrats. I have done plenty of meets along with ones where I just met up with one person since everyone else lives far. Despite the limited gear, it’s still good. There is something special about being able to talk about things that interest you in a deeper level without them feeling like an outsider and I think that’s mostly what I love about headphone meets. I hope this lets people do meets! Unfortunately, I will be moving to Tennessee in June so I will probably join the Nashville group if I'm ever free.

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    Happy listening!
     

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