2018 SBAF Golden Schlong Audio Awards

Discussion in 'Leaderboard, Overboard, and Deals' started by purr1n, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    FORWARD

    Sorry for being late. A few changes were implemented for 2018. We decided to grant Golden Schlongs and Honorable Mentions on per category basis (headphones, amps, sources, portable, and other). This does not mean that each category will necessarily have a GS winner, but each category will have at least an HM. It is also possible for a category to have multiple GS winners (although this is not the case for 2018).

    A total of 23 products were nominated by SBAF senior members. They were voted on, but final selections were made by a group of a half-dozen people. A few pieces of gear were downgraded from GS to HM or altogether removed after deliberation. Just because we have more categories does not mean we want to give out more Golden Schlongs. Here are the results:

    GOLDEN SCHLONG WINNERS

    ZMF Auteur - Headphone
    A late entry in 2017, but because it didn't get into the hands of enough trusted people, we decided to delay its nomination to 2018. There were some concerns that it would be forgotten because of this, but like any good piece of gear, it's withstood any FOTM or FOTY and persisted. This was the top vote-getter among all of the nominated gear. Like other ZMF headphones, the Auteur is a bespoke product. The customer can choose from a number of woods which impart slightly different sonic signatures. The Auteur still adheres to the general ZMF house sound but is the most neutral among all of ZMF's offerings. Its resolution is comparable to the HD800, but with superior transient response.

    JVC HA-FD01 (modded) - IEM
    A rare find from @james444. With extremely simple modifications, quite an impressive DD IEM. While it can be debated whether this truly belongs in TOTL status, there is no debate on its fantastic value and decent frequency response. Most DDs will have heavy bass and a spike in the highs. With the modifications suggested, the highs are smooth. The frequency response isn't perfect, but it's close enough for those who prefer a neutral signature. The highs are fast, the lows have plenty of texture, although are not the most controlled.

    MiniDSP EARS - Misc (Measurement Gear)
    With the proper compensation curves, anyone can now get superior more accurate headphone measurements results than Jude's G.R.A.S. 'Nuff said.



    HONORARY MENTIONS

    Massdrop x Focal Elex - Headphone
    Dynamic, fast, and neutral enough (small spike in the mid-treble) to become a reference along with the HD650. A good somewhat affordable more dynamic sounding alternative to the Sennheiser headphones.

    ZMF Verite - Headphone
    Bassy and full-bodied sound with a transient response on par with the Focals and resonance play reminiscent of (and more evident than) the Sony R10. A romantic take from ZMF on what the latest TOTL Sony headphones should have been.


    Massdrop x CTH - Headphone Amplifier
    Cheap, sounds good, hybrid tubes, lively and clear sound. What more could we want?

    Schiit Lyr 3 - Headphone Amplifier
    The first constant transconductance amplifier from Schiit. The bold and robust sounding 6SN7 is used instead of the 12A_7 and the 6DJ8 (to a lesser extent) which I always felt were subpar to the octals. Newb audiophiles who want the last word in bass articulation need not apply. But those who feel music lives in the mids will love this amp. Personally, I roll the brighter 6SN7s as the Lyr 3 is on the laid-back side.

    Sony ZX300 - Portable Music Player
    The ZX2 is still better. The ZX300 is close enough with aa Sony designed UI and them not trying to mess with Android.


    Pap Trio 15 - Speakers
    The price has crept up in the last few years, but this remains an outstanding deal in the morass of $35,000 or even $10,000 piece-of-shit small two-way speakers with small woofer cones from the likes of Velleton, Magico, Marten, etc Go for the Voxactiv wide-bander, but for those too poor, the Tang-Bang works well enough (but will need more powerful amplification).

    Riva Festival / Arena - Portable Speakers
    Holy cow, big sound in a small package. Remember the PSA Sprout AIO DAC and amp that went for $1299? Well, this combines almost everything in the Sprout (with the exception of the phonostage), and includes speakers for $350. I bought a few Arenas (< $200) as x-mas gifts for relatives.

    Dangerous Music Convert-2 - DAC
    Read all about this DAC here (a set of balanced and informative impressions - very proud of SBAF members for the quality of these impressions): https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...rt-2-dac-review-stream-of-consciousness.7000/


    Campfire Solaris - IEM
    Arguably the first and only IEM that successfully integrates DD and BA drivers. Others have come close, but have not reached this level. A little laid-back in the upper mids, a few still prefer the Andromeda or PP8, and others find the fit a too much like Lt. Uhura's earpiece. But these criticisms can only be said for a product which is so strong. See here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/campfire-audio-solaris-raising-the-bar.6926/
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Here is a list of nominees which received a substantial number of votes:
    • Audeze LCD2C. Was originally an HM, but demoted based on the number of strong entrants and upcoming entrants (Verum, which qualifies for 2019).
    • Modi-3. $99 for a $500 sound. I'm willing to bet that this will destroy any entry from Topping and I will even set up a blind test for myself to confirm.
    • Massdrop x ZDT Jr. Probably got fewer votes as a result of hum issues. Good for Massdrop for making things right and offering to fix.
    • Massdrop x THX AAA 789. Great accurate, neutral wire-with-gain sound. Demoted from HM, just because. I might have argued with the Klingon High Council to retain its originally slated HM status, but that d-bag from THX rubbed me the wrong way by shitting on competitors' products.
    • Sony 1000XM3. Noise canceling headphones, not from Bose. Sony was always a little bit behind, but no more.
    • RME ADI-2. Lots of folks like this. Has lots of features, including a headphone amp that sounded like ass to me (dead with glare) when used as an AIO. It's still on my list to give it a second shot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  3. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    Who accepts the Golden Schlong for the JVC? Are we sending one to Japan or does @james444 get it since he discovered the iems and came up with the mods?
     
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  4. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Arguably both since one would not exist without the other, and no one would want the JVC sans james mods. Or the reverse effect of the Harry Potter prophecy, neither can live while the other survives.
     
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  5. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Take it back and agree with @fraggler. James should get it for himself.
     
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  6. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    Which forum members own a pair of these? I'd love to hear them.
     
  7. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Maybe James can get a golden testy.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not sure who got the entire package, but a quite few implemented their own variants by using PAP's tweaked Eminence drivers or used the same Voxactiv or series xovers. Their open baffle stand with removable baffles are nice, but a 6 x 2 board does the same thing.

    @Btdk34 and @sphinxvc might have speakers which are closest to their retail package. @Serious does something similar with Voxactiv and stock Eminence, but with an even a more simplified xover. @zerodeefex uses the PAP woofers and OB concept, but Moth Cicada drivers instead of Voxactiv @Hooncake might actually have the real deal PAP 15 Trio, but with tweaks. Even my horn setup borrows from the same concept, but uses the stock Eminence on an OB. I demoed what was essentially the same thing using Cicada drivers and DSP with biamping at a Changfest SF Bay Area meet about five years ago. I just never told anyone that PAP was the inspiration for it.
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Sure, considering that JVC didn't know what to do with the FA01, and wouldn't know what to do with a Golden Schlong. I still think JVC should be given one if they ask for it. We should be honored to present them the award. The Golden Schlong is very serious award for audio achievement.
     
  10. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Yes. Do this! Your previous blind comparo between the modi4490 and the ODAC was a nice success.
     
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  11. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Give one the cack and the other the boules
     
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  12. fraggler

    fraggler A Happy & Busy Life

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    @Muse Wanderer has a set with Voxativs and some sexy pictures of his listening space here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...f-your-speaker-system.480/page-11#post-173579
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  13. Ringingears

    Ringingears Honorary BFF

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    A real shame that the Massdrop Eddie Current ZDT Jr. had issues. IMHO I would have voted for it to have a GS or HM.
     
  14. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    If you want to try the RME ADI-2 DAC in DAC-only mode, send me a Bifrost Multibit or similar and I'll send you my RME for a couple of weeks. The Slow filter is outstanding. You might want to use EQ to compensate for treble roll-of at 44.1k with that filter (I have a setting for that but tend not to use it because I'm treble-sensitive). With current firmware, you can just plug and play with Windows 10.

    If there's a mini-meet or something coming up anytime soon, we could swap there as well. I still want you and some others to hear a Project Sunrise or Horizon with the atomicbob Noise Nuke. With one of those or an LPSU, I find that it outdoes the MCTH handily in just about every way. I also secretly find it more fun to listen to than the Liquid Platinum despite the latter still being technically superior.
     
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  15. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Are you implying that James *would* know what to do with the golden schlong???
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The Horizon is fantastic. I thought I should make this clear given how much I've crapped on the higher power Ember. There is a reason for this: the Ember uses a opamp and the Horizon uses a single mosfet. In such cases, the simplier chain wins - unless if one believed purely in measurements and allowed that belief to create an expectation bias that the Ember sounded better.

    One warning though: the big cap and series resistance at the outputs may make these Garage 1217 headamps unsuitable for the latest low impedance orthos such as the LCD-X or Verum, and most IEMs. There might be excess low frequency rolloff or lack of power delivery to these cans.

    The cheap hybrids space has become a crowded with the Loxjie P20, Vali 2, Horizon, MCTH, etc. BTW, I don't believe for a second that the Loxjie P20 currently being discussed on SBAF is any good. I'm sure in time I will get my hands on it.
     
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  17. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I've never tried the Horizon, but the Sunrise III is a definite keeper, even without the NN/LPS. it's really engaging without being warm butt
     
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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not surprised. Sunrise uses the same single mosfet after the tube and the same topology as Horizon.

    The Starlight also kind of sounded like ass, not as assy as Ember. Guess what serves as the output stage?

    BTW, I didn't know the circuits until years after I decided whether the amps sounded like ass or not.
     
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  19. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Funny coincidence but @E_Schaaf brought over an Auteur today and I was surprised, prob my favorite zmf, over verite etc. Has the most even fr (but still is a bit downward sloping). Also has some cup coloration and reverb/decay, some bloominess in the bass, not as open as normo openbacks but still fun. Main thing is it retained some bite and attack vs other zmf I've heard.
     
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  20. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

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    Mine uses stock Eminence like @Serious, and a DIY point-to-point version of the older PAP x-over. It's not actually necessary to buy anything from PAP, unless for some reason you want PAPally anointed parts. The amount of money you save by NOT buying PAP parts is enough to socially uplift a potential Tang Banger to a respektabel Voxativ 1.6 (which is way more flexible amp power-wise) holding the budget constant otherwise. I'm curious about what the Voxativ would sound like with Oris lips. For the speaker as a concept/model and for its accessibility, it's a well deserved award (or honarary schlong smack or whatever).
     

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