Golden Schlong Awards 2019

Discussion in 'Leaderboard, Overboard, and Deals' started by purr1n, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    PRIOR YEARS
    Golden Schlong Awards 2019
    Schlongs.jpg

    FORWARD

    The changes implemented for 2018 are retained: Golden Schlongs and Honorable Mentions (now Silver Dongs) are granted on per category basis (headphones, amps, sources, portable, and other). Each category will not necessarily have a GS winner; but each category will have at least a DS. It is also possible for a category to have multiple GS winners.

    Factors such as product longevity (L) and value (V) are taken into consideration. There's always something to be said for products which have withstood the test of time or provide exceptional value. Face it: while there have been some incremental improvements in audio, it really hasn’t gotten any better in the 70 or 80 years from the mono record days; the industry has seemingly gone mad and catered more and more to the ORFAS, AKWRP, and now OME crowd. That’s Old Rich Fart Audio Society, Asian Kid With Rich Parents, and Objectivist Measurement Extremist.


    To manufacturers who may unwittingly find one of their products as a winner of the Golden Schlong Award (we don’t notify manufacturers that they won): please do not be alarmed. The Golden Schlong is nothing to be worried or ashamed about. It’s a real complement and not a joke. We call it the Golden Schlong Award because we do not take ourselves too seriously and to mock audiophiles who use the hobby as a means of measuring penis length. You will never find one of us strutting about the audio shows like the Sun King or Holy Roman Emperor, expecting you bow down to kiss the ring, in hopes of getting a good review or receiving a lot of press exposure. In fact, you will never know who we are. As I like to say, we take audio seriously, but we do not take ourselves seriously.

    Last year we were super selective. There were few winners. Not much gear really got the senior members excited as many nominations were veto'd for an award. This year however is totally different. Lots of great stuff worthy of GS awards. It can even be argued that the DS gear deserved GS awards. I almost feel bad about giving out so many awards because the award is supposed to be selective - not everybody is supposed to be a winner. But the fact is, lots of great stuff this year, and some quite affordable too.


    Now on to the winners. Please know that we have not heard everything and anything, and that some products with good buzz may likely end up as future nominees or winners. Great gear that gets released toward the end of the year may have to wait until the next where we can get more ears on it - don't worry as we do not forget.


    GOLDEN SCHLONG WINNERS 2019

    HEADPHONES

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    RAAL Requisite SR1A (E)
    The SR1A makes me not want to listen to any other headphones; or from someone I respect: “it’s what every headphone wishes it could be”. The downside is that the SR1A really isn’t a headphone, it’s an ear monitor a la the AKG K1000. Bass extension is surprisingly good, but that’s because it’s really a half open baffle. The tuning is like the old Yamaha NS10 monitor given its intended use as part of a portable audio editing, mixing, or mastering system. Anyone who has a problem should use EQ before rendering judgement. Unlike headphones with all sorts of internal cup and ear interactions, the SR1A responds beautifully to EQ. I suspect we haven’t yet fully scratched the surface of the full capabilities of the SR1A. Sounds great with any decent solid-state amp, even a cheap used class AB pro audio amp. The need for a power amp and converter box should be alleviated in the future as manufacturers develop specialized high current low voltage amps to drive the SR1A’s ribbon, which is essentially a short-circuit.
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/raal-requisite-sr-1a.7283/

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/raal-requisite-audio-sr1a-review-holy-moly-buy-this-now.8041/

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    Verum 1.0 (V)
    Arguably better tonality and timbre to any orthodynamic headphone in the market today. Where it lacks is ultimate resolution. Timbre is a throwback to the 70s Japanese orthos for those who have ever had a chance to hear one (they had other issues). Lively and responsive presentation that could almost fool you into thinking you are listening to a traditional dynamic driver. The price is amazing and a throwback to the times when headphones didn’t cost $5000.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/verum-audio-exciting-high-performance-diy-planar.6348/

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    Utopia (EL) – won SD 2017
    The Focal Utopia has finally won its Golden Schlong. It came close before. There was a lot of initial interest, then it seemed that many early adopters sold their headphones for whatever reason. Now it seems that the Utopia has made a comeback. I suspect that the Utopia just needed time for people to figure out how to build a good system around it. In respect to the HD800, better midrange resolution, clearer midbass, faster transients, and better dynamics. However, headstage takes a backseat. Pair this up with a DNA Stellaris headamp and your preferred source, and you have one of the finest traditional dynamic driver headphone systems on the planet.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/focal-utopia-review-collective-stream-of-consciousness.2669/

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    ZMF Verite Open / Closed (E)
    The was a late release last year so it was not considered for the 2018 GS where the Auteur took the honors. The Verite takes a different approach from the more neutralish Auteur and adheres more closely to ZMF’s house sound, which is sort of a W frequency response with a darkish downward slope. This may not be for everyone, but there are sure plenty of fans. The dynamic driver is fast without edginess or etch. The wood cups play role in the internal reverberation and resonance, minor with the open model, and not insignificant in the closed model (which is slightly less dark tonally). Numerous earpads are available for the customer to tailor the tonal response somewhat. The Verite experience is intimate and seductive. This is the headphone that Sony wishes it could have made with the MDR-Z1.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/zmf-verite-measurements.7043/
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/zmf-verite-closed.8082/


    HEADAMPS

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    ECP DSHA 3F (E)
    The most artfully transparent solid-state headamp I have ever heard. I hesitate to use that word transparent because of its often-bad connotations or meaninglessness; but it is what is it. Unlike many so-called transparent amps, errors of omission are few if any, highs are even keeled, and emotional involvement is there in spades. The 3F will take the best aspects of any headphone and highlight them. It’s not a give and take or balance kind of synergy we want, it’s a how do I maximize what this does well kind of synergy. Two types of transformers are available to the customer, one warmer, one more neutral, to suite the customer’s taste and components used. I have nothing else to say.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/ecp-dsha3f-ravenswood-3f.7382/


    SOURCES

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    Schiit Bifrost 2 (EV)
    The most approachable of the higher-end Schiit multibit DACs. Yes, the Bifrost 2 is now a true high-end DAC. The tone is warmer like the OG Gungnir Multibit, but with the clarity of the old balanced outputs whether the balanced or single-ended outputs are used. In addition, Mike Moffat put some magic pixie dust into this thing, so it slams an Yggdrasil. Why get the C7 Corvette when the Camaro 6 SS 1LE more assuredly plants the rear tires out of the turns?

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/schiit-bifrost-2.8226/

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    Pi2AES (EV)
    For those of you willing to dabble in the RPi world, the Pi2AES is a plug-in board that offers a plethora of outputs: HDMI (i2s), AES, spdif, BNC, etc. The sound is a good step up from typical USB and eliminates any variables from the USB ports of the source. The RPi (not included), provides the brains to playback music, from USB sticks, over networks, or Internet music services. All on this in a physically compact package. I can’t wait to start building them and placing them throughout the house, replacing laptops, and Mac Minis. No more need for keyboards, mice, and monitors. Everything can be controlled via a cell phone. Note that Allo provides their version of this with audiophile power supplies but only spdif outputs. For the uninitiated, I plan on writing a guide for dummies on how to put everything together with pictures. Geeks are horrible at making things simple.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/raspberry-pi-i2s-to-spdif-hat.1990/


    TWO-CHANNEL WORLD

    GoldenSchlongSM.png
    Schiit Aegir (EV)
    Downside: 20W into 8-ohms. Upside: A specialist amp that does wonders for efficient wide-banders or moderate volume listening. Resolving of microdetail, incredible microdynamics, and highly engaging.
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/schiit-aegir-power-amp-impressions.6953/


    to be continued...
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    SILVER DONG WINNERS

    HEADPHONES

    SilverDongSM.png
    Sennheiser HD600 (LV)
    Sure, let’s finally give the HD600 it’s due. It’s the sister of the HD650, which won a Golden Schlong in the award’s inaugural year. If the HD650 is too sleepy (without mods) and requires to you use a Drop THX AAA or HeadAmp GL to cut through the veil, then the HD600 requires no such efforts. In fact, a darker or laid-back sounding amp works better with the HD600.


    HEADAMPS

    SilverDongSM.png
    DNA Starlett (E)
    Readers will probably never hear much of Donald North Audio gear outside of SBAF. DNA is a small operation; and as such, not able to afford the King’s ransom that Head-Fi charges for exposure (meets and sponsorships). DNA amps are doggedly traditional SET designs without the use of solid-state parts and voiced by ear. Explosive dynamics, a decent dab of tube bloom, and seductive (something about lathering Sofia Veraga boobs with soapy suds). The Starlett is 90% of a Stratus, for almost one-third less the cost. The output tubes aren’t as expensive and rollable as the 2A3s, so we get to spend time listening to music rather than listening to tubes. It’s said that too much listening to tubes makes one stupid.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/dna-starlett-impressions.8361/

    SilverDongSM.png
    SW51 (V)
    This is another yet that no one will hear about on HF. This is a SET design by a by our Russian friend. The designs from that part of the world are extremely clever, as unlike wealthy spoiled Americans or Europeans, Russians cannot just throw money at the problem. This results in amazing performance for the price. If the Drop ZDT Jr or Night Blues Mini is bloomy, warm, and perhaps thick, then the SW51 is even and clear, but with smoothness as of the aforementioned.

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/shortest-way-sw51-amp-impressions-simple-set-amp.8042/

    NOTES ON THE REST

    These will have their place in the recommended components list. An L (for longevity) will be added if not already there.

    Drop HA-FD1X / JVC HA-FD01 (ELV) – won GS 2018
    Andromeda (EL) – won GS 2017
    Auteur (EL) – won GS 2018
    HD650 (LV) – won GS 2017
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  3. ogodei

    ogodei Headphone Heaven Gatekeeper

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    No third place "Brass Balls" winners ?

    It was worth a ban. ;)
     
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  4. schiit

    schiit SchiitHead

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    Thanks again for the consideration, congrats to the other winners, and thanks for the awards!

    And no, we don't think it's a joke. We proudly display our previous Golden Schlongs at the Schiitr, and we've used the icon in Stereophile (and other magazine) ads.
     
  5. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

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    Big kudos to @Garuspik !

    Let's not forget that Verum 1 started as one small Kickstarter of a guy from Ukraine without any former background in headphone industry. For me, he is the ultimate 2019 Golden Schlong winner.
     
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  6. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    With additional points for sense of humour :)
     
  7. Garuspik

    Garuspik Tovarisch Ukrainian Terminator MOT - Verum

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    I'm very thankfull to SBAF for this award and will proudly place it on my website!

    Our current president plays piano with his pennis:



    So in Ukraine you need to have at least some sense of humour (not necessarily widely accepted :D)
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  8. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

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    Congrats to all the winners! Especially my personal fave, the SR1a.
     
  9. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    That's the best and the most hilarious award I've ever seen. By far.
     
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  10. Donald North

    Donald North Friend

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    I love silver, especially in transformers, and am honored to receive this SBAF 2019 Silver Dong award.

    I can now proudly say that I am a Donger!
     
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  11. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    Great stuff...that reminds me of this scene from "Hollywood Knights"
     
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  12. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

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    Hey guys - thank you! Very honored and proud of the awards we've won and very grateful that our headphones have been heard by so many of you. We will find a good way to display these on our site and if you guys ever make a physical version I'd love to put it in our shop.
     
  13. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

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    Gotta think a Golden Schlong statue/trophy would be a great conversation starter at ZMF HQ.
     
  14. elmoe

    elmoe Friend

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    Haha I'd donate to make a golden schlong trophy. Take my money.
     
  15. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    "It's a major award!"

    "Shucks, I wouldna know'd that, it looks like a lamp!"

    "Well it is a lamp ya nincompoop, but it's a major award! I won it!"

    "Damn, Hal, you'd say you'd won it?"

    "Yeah, I have mind powers, mind powers."

    Congrats to all!
     
  16. dsavitsk

    dsavitsk Friend

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    Thanks to everyone at SBAF for this Golden Schlong! And for the continuing support. I am truly humbled.
     
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  17. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

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    If it's a physical object, then it can be used in many ways :cool:
     
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  18. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    Congrats to the winners. Can confirm the DNA Starlett is worth the hype. I've been in the hobby almost 10 years, bought and heard alot of gear, and the Starlett is the best thing I've ever bought, period. Pair with a Sennheiser or ZMF, call it a wrap, and spend money on something else. Really really wanna hear Utopia.
     
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