CanJam 2016 OC Meet Impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by purr1n, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. burnspbesq

    burnspbesq Friend

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    I like it a lot.

    It's extremely quick; by far the best transient response of any Audeze I've heard, but without being excessively spotlit. Good extension at both ends, with tight, well-defined bass. In the passages in the first movement of the Dvorak "New World Symphony" where the cellos and basses play in unison, you can clearly hear both. Good soundstaging and imaging. I like the look of it.

    Two minor (at least for me) quibbles: (1) it's not super-efficient. Driven straight out of the headphone jack of an iPhone, it doesn't get super-loud, and at max volume it gets just the tiniest bit dense when there is a lot going on in the recording. With either the GOv2+ or the Cavalli portable, it really sang. That could also be resolved by using the lightning cable, although I didn't listen long enough in that config to be sure. (2) It was perfectly comfortable for 15-20 minutes, but the top edge of the earpad was a noriceable presence on my ears, so I am a little concerned about comfort in long sessions (I do have to fly from LAX to Heathrow occasionally). That will get sorted over a 30-day trial.
     
  2. ohmaigulay

    ohmaigulay Friend

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    On ears.
     
  3. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    This L700 sounds more and more appealing to me. I might take the plunge...

    Any more impressions on the Ayre Codex? Headamp's QB-9 DSD + Blue Hawaii + SR-009 is still one of the best systems I've heard.
    Early feedback said the Codex was just as good as a DAC (albeit a slightly different flavor. Warmer) and had a great headphone amp.
     
  4. No_One411

    No_One411 Fired by Jude

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    @velvetx liked the Ayre Codex, but I think that was with the HD800.
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Did anyone else stop by the Radius booth? Their portable DAC/amps sounded very good to me. Unfortunately they don't have a US distributor at the moment.
     
  6. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Sorry unfortunately the only HD800S that was brought to the meet was by the guys at Source A/V. Sennheiser had none available for the show.
     
  7. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    No the HD800S was at the Cardas booth with the Ayre Audio Codex just for a short amount of time though.
     
  8. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    The pairing with the HD800S was really good. Definitely brought bass and smoothness with the HD800S. I have heard the Codex twice and really like it. Though of course you need to change your cables to use it.
     
  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I could easily see the Codex being someone's endgame integrated amp/DAC component.

    I also really liked the Emotiva Stealth. It felt like a strong contender against the Bifrost line, but with a built in amp as well making it a good value.
     
  10. Friday

    Friday Friend

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    Oh Radius made an appearance there as well? I quite liked their TWF-41, enough that I actually bought a pair at the Singapore Canjam . Admittedly it had some fit issues, and the cable needs changing, but they were offering it at a price I couldn't say no to since it was a demo unit for the show.
     
  11. ohmaigulay

    ohmaigulay Friend

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    The Abyss had the bass presence on the LAu but the rest of the spectrum sounded very off. I didn't rate the LCD-4 at all for any of the Setups. I think the best I've heard the Abyss was on @purrin 's Eddie Current + Theta GenVa which he brought to last year's CanJam. Though his Abyss was modded I think.

    Overall I was impressed with the LAu. It really made my HE-6s sing. I liked the LW (liquid tungsten) as well. That amp was just so transparent and effortless in its musical presentation. In fact I felt it was being held back by the DAC-19 it was connected to. Felt like the DAC was slowing it down?

    On a past thread I remember Marv mentioning that he's not a big fan of the Cantana DAC (and DAC-19). Same PCM chip if i'm not mistaken. I'm wondering if that's what was holding the LAu and LW back. Wish I had the opportunity to listen to both on the same dac. A Gungnir Multibit would do. For the money, Gungnir Multibit and Mojo2 hits the spot. Was also impressed at how well it drove the HE-6.
     
  12. kevnin

    kevnin #facetweeting - Friend

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    Warning – long post coming from a noob at this kind of thing. Nearly everything listed here I heard for the first time, often for only 10 minutes or so, and not always with my own music. Take with the appropriately sized chunk of salt.

    General Thoughts
    I had 2 goals for the show: 1) listen to a number of amps with my modded HD800 to see how they compare to my mjolner2 and DNA sonett. 2) try a bunch of headphones to see if I like anything better than HD800, or feel anything is worth buying as a complement to it. Going to a show like this really helps to cut through the online hype, as I was surprised how much expensive gear I listened too that really wasn't any better than what I have.

    I came in with a plan to listen to amps only with my headphone on Saturday, and headphones on Sunday. But when I got delayed and showed up late I abandoned the plan and just went through a few rooms listening to whatever I wanted to hear. This was a mistake. By Sunday afternoon I had too much jumbled up in my head and couldn't effectively evaluate amps anymore.

    Best sound of the show: SR009+BHSE

    Unfortunately it seems true there's no point buying the SR009 unless you get a really expensive amp to go with it. When I first heard the SR009 I felt it had too much of that ethereal-type sound to the point where it was unnatural. Then out of the Stax 727 it sounded thin and bright. But the BHSE really does kick it up to another level. Extremely technically proficient at everything while still being musical. I didn't want to stop listening to this one.

    What I plan to buy as a result of the show: Stax SR007 mkII.
    I didn't expect to like this one as I thought it would be too dark based on stuff I read. It isn't. This headphone just oozes musicality. It has female vocals absolutely nailed. This is the perfect complement to HD800 I've been looking for – different sound signature but equal clarity. And unlike the 009 it sounds this good even out of the Stax amps.

    Honorable mentions
    Cavalli Liquid Crimson
    Best SS amp I heard with the HD800. [Edit: I've been informed this is a hybrid amp] I actually liked it better than the Liquid Gold. Excellent powerful sound with a touch of smoothness. If I didn't know what I was listening to and you told me it was a tube amp I would believe it.

    Stax L700
    Coming into the show this was at the top of my potential buy list. It didn't disappoint, it's just that while the L700 sounds good with female vocals, the SR007 brings the magic. Still the L700 has some advantages - it is more neutral compared to the warmish SR007, and I think it had better bass impact also.

    HFM HE400S
    Impressive for the price point. Well balanced, strong tight bass. Would definitely recommend this one to anyone looking to get into planars on a budget.

    Other impressions:
    HFM Shangri la: Extremely good imaging and separation. Hard to evaluate further due to limited unfamiliar music selection. I'm not convinced its better than SR009+BHSE though, which makes the pricing that much more ridiculous.

    Mr. Speakers Electrostat: I thought it sounded pretty good but not at the level of the higher end Stax models. Soundstage was of the smaller intimate type, but still good separation.

    Audeze LCD4: I enjoyed listening to this one, basically an improved LCD3. But waaay overpriced.

    Audeze Sine: sounded pretty good for what it is, but too uncomfortable. It sits weirdly on the ears and the pads are not soft.

    Airist Heron:
    Clean sounding SS amp. Nothing really wrong with it but didn't really impress me either.

    I heard a ton of other stuff too but I'll stop here for now.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  13. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    Awesome write up and impressions man! I'll have to hear Stax for myself one day, it seems. One thing to point out is that Crimson is a weird sort of hybrid amp that has a tube in it's belly. So your ears did not deceive you :)

    Did you figure out what amp you're going to check out for the hd800?
     
  14. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    LC is a hybrid amp using a single 6922 tube.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Yep. That's what I think too. Better than the Liquid Gold. But Gold costs more, so it must be better.
     
  16. Jun

    Jun Friend

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    Thanks to the show, I found out my modded HD650 is end game for me so no itch for buying any new headphones. Give credit to the HD650 thread here at SBAF the modded HD650 is really that good.

    Stax sr009
    There was 2 stax rigs at the show, one on the 3rd floor from Stax and there was the 2nd floor stax with BHSE. Both rigs sounded amazing it was clearly a step up above all the other rigs at the show. I like the rig from STAX more it was a CD player paired with STAX amp don't remember the model numbers sorry. I felt this set up made other set ups pale in comparison, though I felt the STAX was too soft and too polite at times.

    Stax L700

    I didn't spend too much time on the L700, I was mostly using it while I waited for the SR009 to open up. But it sounded better than any other headphone at the show besides the SR009.

    MicroZOTL2 with Metrum Mussette and HD650

    This amp paired with my HD650 blowed away my expectations it's a really good amp. If I had the money I would definitely get this amp. The soundstage is very big with this set up, it might have been the dac or amp as I didn't switch sources. It made my HD650 sound like an HD850 :). It also sounded really good with the Ether.

    Liquid Tungsten with Audio GD DAC-19
    I was one of the few who got a chance to audition the Liquid Tungsten out of the Audio gd DAC-19.
    To my ears it sounded better than my bottlehead crack, I was listening to mostly hans zimmer sound track. It didn't impress me too much to be honest because I listened to it right after I got blown away by the microZOTL set up. I heard it with the HEK and Ether and HD650. It sounded the best with the Ether.

    Meze 99
    Amazing closed headphones at an amazing price. Very clean sounding bass and treble.

    Taction Kannon
    A really fun headphone, out of my group we all liked this headphone. It gives the impression of a shaking subwoofer with the built in tactial transducers in the headphone.

    MrSpeakers Ethers and Electrostats

    I loved both the open and closed back ether headphones. I felt the closed back was done really well it sounded spacious and open to me. The electrostats felt unrefined to me, like an unfinished product, the ethers sounded better in comparison.


    Modded HD650 is the winner here.
     
  17. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I didn't know MrSpeakers came up with an Electrostat until recently.

    Thanks for the impressions. Particularly about the L700. Seems so far those are not shit, which is good to know.
     
  18. kevnin

    kevnin #facetweeting - Friend

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    Thanks!

    LOL, well I guess that makes sense. I didn't see a tube and assumed it was SS.

    Unfortunately the stuff I really want to hear, DNA and EC, weren't there. Liquid glass could be on the short list but the tubes that were in it must not have been a good match for the HD800, something was off with the highs.
     
  19. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    @kevnin It's a shame you didn't get to hear the Liquid Tungsten. That was the best amp I heard the HD800 with by far.
     
  20. kevnin

    kevnin #facetweeting - Friend

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    Yeah I missed grabbing the last spot by literally 20 seconds on the HF thread. I was going to try and find Warren to see if I could sneak a listen on Sunday, but got distracted and never got around to it. Should have made it more of a priority.
     

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