Austin 8/14/21 meet impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by ColtMrFire, Aug 15, 2021.

  1. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Thanks @Erroneous for hosting this one, it was my first meet since the whole beer bug thing started and it was nice to hear some stuff. @famish99 @penguins and @SoupRKnowva were all there, good folks.

    Gear was @Erroneous 's Aficionado/recently acquired Stratus/Holo Spring/May/Utopia/Verite Closed.... my EC 445/HD650M/Elex... @SoupRKnowva brought this insane shiny beast of an amp that belonged in a Flash Gordon sequel, and @famish99 brought his Wavedream and ETA Genesis (forgot which version). For some reason I noticed a bit of treble sharpness in my 445, which is not present when hooked up at my place, so maybe it's my power conditioner. That amp is very transparent so will pass through any weirdness or gremlins.

    The DACs had warmed up for a few days before listening. We basically did a blind ABX test between the Spring, May and Wavedream on speakers. We all guessed wrong except @penguins, who has magical powers. I honestly did not have a preference for any one DAC, which goes to show how subtle the differences are.

    I got to try the ETA Genesis finally and while I liked it (very balanced sounding), I'd like to hear it with different pads, as I don't think I was in love with the solid leather pads. I was really impressed with the Stratus, which I'd never heard. It had all EML mesh tubes I believe. Lovely amp, reminds me of my old Starlet, only more resolving.

    I was excited to finally hear NOS DACs, because I'd never heard them, but was slightly let down in the sense that it did not sound all that different to me than OS... maybe a closer stage, MAYBE a little more involving emotionally... but meet conditions/expectations bias and all that.

    Sorry for the less than perfect pics, don't know what was going on with my camera.

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  2. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    @noisyscott was kind enough to loan us his Holo May while he was out of town.

    It was great to get everyone together for a little shit talking and gear comparison/ music listening.

    I was very impressed with @ColtMrFire's 445. It has this sort of holographic 3D space rendering which almost sounded similar to reverb. Made the music sound like it was taking place in a concert hall. I was wondering if it was because it has one input and two output tubes per channel, but Colt explained it's because it extracts *all* of the low level detail from the recording.

    @famish99 brought his Elekit 8600 with Elrog output tubes and it sounded like it was tuned specifically for my speakers (modified Klipsch Quartets with titanium tweeters and squawkers, Crites crossovers and mids attenuators).
    These speakers can start to lose their composure at high volumes but the Elekit kept them perfectly in check and drove them well at 8 watts. It also had a ballsy low end which I normally have to add in manually via Loki when I drive them with my 60 watt Jolida JD502B. Very nice.

    I thought Spring was a definite step below both the Wavedream and May. It sounded a little duller, a little stuffy, not as effortless.
    NOS to NOS, I thought May and Wavedream were neck and neck. Put Wavedream into Linear filter and it pulls ahead. Add oversampling into May and it's right up there with the Wavedream again. All of us agreed that you can't really go wrong with either.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  3. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Yeah this was what jumped out at me when I first got it. The WE5842 driver tubes seem to enhance this a bit more than the stock 6C45pi though. I listen to alot of 80s pop/new wave, because they put alot of that reverb stuff in those recordings. And classical is obviously benefitted by it.
     
  4. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    Thanks again for hosting @Erroneous .

    My thoughts briefly:
    - For headphones, I still like the Rockna Wavedream in linear vs May in NOS for headphones but only by a tiny bit.
    - Also for headphones, if I only used NOS, I would actually prefer the May over WD in NOS. I would have to find a good way to upsample somewhere for the May. However, I don't usually listen to music in NOS.
    - Both have a very similar sound though (in NOS) and I would be quite content owning either DAC (any mode).
    - I agreed with everyone else that the WD and May perform better than the Spring 1. However, in my own previous experience with Spring 1 and 2 + feedback elsewhere online, there is a noticeable jump between the S1 and S2.

    - On the speakers, I am extrapolating based on this one system/chain that I wouldn't have a preference for either the May or WD and it would come down to the individual speakers/sub, setup, room, and all of the other stuff impacted by each individual setup.

    - The EC445 was a good time. Different from other amps I've heard in a similar price range. Agree with both Erroneous and ColtMrFire that it has a very holographic presentation of imaging and staging.
    - Running all EML mesh tubes on the Stratus sounds very good. It will change the sound from the normal "DNA house sound" but not in a bad way at all. FWIW, I ran an EML mesh rectifier on my Stellaris and while it also changed the sound away from the DNA house sound, I didn't like it and sold the tube soon after.
    ----------------
    Also got to hear @famish99 's Prism Sound Callia DAC on his setup briefly (different day / location). No detailed listening notes or thoughts, but as far as I can tell (I am not familiar with his speakers) - this is a very good entry in the $1-1.5k range (although I understand they had a recent price increase). IMO easily contends with the Gungnir MB and Soekris 2541. All 3 have a noticeably different sound. Gungnir MB is more of the Schiit house sound (without sounding like the Yggdrasil), 2541 is more analytical and neutral with a sprinkle of magic, Callia is more like a blank neutral slate. Someone else mentioned the Callia sounds the most similar to a Bricasti and I agree.

    Thanks to both of you again for your generosity and to @ColtMrFire and @SoupRKnowva for bringing over your amps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  5. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    For the record, I brought a v1.1 GenesisG with the new pads.

    Definitely impressed with the 445, gave me a glimpse of why people will run insane horns to use this tube. Personally I found the amp tuned a little bloomy for my taste, but I'm sure rolling a few tubes could get it closer to preference.

    My Elekit is tuned for my modded Forte 3s and I was surprised how well it worked with the Quartets given that they lacked a bit of bass reinforcement since they're on stands. But the bass was pretty present especially relative to the Jolida and the Coincident 845. Previous attempts to hook up the amp to other setups have had it sounding a bit bass light (@SoupRKnowva 's Acoustic Zen Adagios and @noisyscott 's Tekton Moabs).
     
  6. Failed Engineer

    Failed Engineer Friend

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    Looks like an incredible density of quality gear there. Always looking for any excuse to get back to Austin. If these meets happen semi-regularly I'd like to swing by if open invite, more to meet people with similar interests really.
     
  7. noisyscott

    noisyscott Rando

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    Seriously, that is a stellar lineup of gear. Nice meet you put together there @Erroneous and @famish99

    Glad ya'll got to listen to the May! @ColtMrFire, @SoupRKnowva, @penguins, sorry I missed you this time around. Looking forward to the next one! Maybe I can host over at my place and ya'll can listen to the Moabs.
     

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