Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2018

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by thegunner100, Aug 24, 2018.

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  1. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    No you heard right, Audio engines are pretty mediocre at best.
     
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  2. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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  3. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Lots of interesting issues.
    More importantly lots of interesting people similarly or differently talk..
    Overall quite interesting!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  4. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    @Elnrik so the new Fostex has more balanced treble than the Klipsch HP-3? Hmm.

    That aside holy fiddlesticks there's a lot of cool new stuff.
     
  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    The two liquorice sweets (Liquorice Allsorts in UK, don't know about US) that press against the head must be very expensive.
     
  6. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    The transparent one encores are going in my office.

    The Moth/PAP eminence woofers in OB are still my main setup but the vast majority of systems I've heard suck compared to the the Vanatoos.


    That snake Warren who fucked Alex over royally is still allowed to engage with the hobby? Wow.
     
  7. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    It's been too long since I've heard the Hp-3 to say.
     
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  8. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Solution, I look for the TH909s and share impressions when I can. Gotcha :p
     
  9. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Gear I heard this year that did not sound so great, even though I liked them in the past. ATC and Amphion.
     
  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Here are some thoughts on the stuff I heard at RMAF yesterday. I find myself becoming less and less "productive" each year, as I spend less time trying out as many things as I can and more time bullshitting with people I know.

    ZMF Aeolus/Areolus/Nips - I really liked this one. I think out of all Zach's stuff, it sounded the most like an HD650, but with better low-end extension and maybe a hair more aggressive top-end. It reminded me of some of the several-year-old HD650 pairs I've heard, which are more dynamic and lively than modern pairs. The Aeolus has that lush, full, dynamic sort of sound with great balance overall.

    In comparison, the Auteur was more HD600-like, with less mid-bass and more aggressive upper-mids and treble than the Aeolus, though still not as forward and aggressive as an actual HD600.


    ZMF Verite - This one turned out to make for a humorous story. When I first put it on, it sounded pretty darn muted on the top end...and I suppose just muted overall. Zach had me try with a different pair of pads. This made them a little more lively sounding, but something still stood out. I couldn't tell if the treble was shelved or if the midrange was really forward.

    So, Zach explained that he was using some pretty aggressive front damping over the drivers. What he had at RMAF was just his latest iteration. He eventually took that front damping off a pair entirely and removed a bit of particular damping in the cups to see what I thought. Spur of the moment iterative tuning at RMAF! I'm a bad influence.

    I thought the Verite sounded a lot better with the front damping removed entirely. Really crisp and fast overall, clear, good dynamics, and probably the least colored of the bunch. The only thing I noticed was a bit of a metallic sheen on the top end, which I mentioned would probably just need the lightest amount of front damping to tame.

    @MisterRogers came by and heard a non-changed pair. I bullied Zach into letting him hear the same changes I heard, so he made the change. @MisterRogers seemed pretty happy with that. Then @Elnrik inadvertently heard the same changed pair and liked it a lot as well.

    Before I knew it, Zach started taking out damping on the spot on all the Verite pairs. I came back a little later, and he said impressions were largely positive in favor of the change. He's going to revisit some lighter damping materials for the front. He made some comments about how he had been getting fatigued trying to tune the headphone and ended up with some pretty extreme front damping. I know that feeling. Trying to tune a headphone will drive you crazy and mess with your hearing.

    Because of that, it's hard to comment much on how they'll really sound at launch, but I commonly heard the phrase "planar-like" tossed around due to the speed of the sound. Tuning was more similar to Auteur if anything.


    ZMF Pendant - This amp sounded pretty darn good. Obviously, I can't comment on its technical chops on a show floor, but it was noticeably cleaner, sharper, and more linear than another Ampsandsound amp Zach had on demo. It still fell on the fuller side of the spectrum, but really buttoned up and less bloomy than whatever other A&S amp it was he had. Seems like a good option if you want a middle ground between really lush/euphonic and super tight and linear.


    MrSpeakers Ether 2 - I wanted to see how the E2 sounded with some last minute kinks ironed out. While it was still mostly what I heard in the near-production unit, the steely timbre was not as present and a little tighter sounding even still. Dan also mentioned he'll probably include some light front damping inserts for those that wish squash any slight treble nasties. (Note: it could be the NOS DAC used with his rig that made them sound a little smoother up top than what I heard at home.)

    Still, very clean, clear, sharp, pristine sound, but with a good sense of presence and power to the low-end, and rather well balanced mids and treble. I'm going to see if I can get a production unit for review, but so far this one is near the top of my list.

    I know some friends commented that they thought it sounded a bit hollow or lean still. I know with the Ethers, any of them, it can be tough, since seal is so important. Lots of hair, hats, or even just particular ear, head, jaw, etc. geometry can throw it all out the window. It is a valid issue for quite a few people and worth noting. It's not like the Sennheisers, which really play nice with all of our ugly heads and head accessories.


    RAAL Ribbon Headphone - I didn't catch the exact model name, but this one is reminiscent of the K1000 in how it acts like an ear speaker. You can even adjust the angle relative to your ears, and they float over your ears with no real coupler. The headphone did somewhat resemble a cross between dental head gear and a torture device, but comfort was surprisingly decent.

    The music playing through these was entirely unfamiliar to me, and the older guy controlling the volume seemed to want to listen at 110dB without pain. Nonetheless, they seemed to have a surprisingly full low-end (possibly even to the extent of being rather colored) and sounded smooth, liquid, and balanced through the mids and treble.

    These are 0.2ohm in and of themselves, so the headphone comes with a loading adapter, presenting somewhere around a 5ohm load, to use with a speaker amp. They recommended anything outputting around 50-150W for the headphone.

    At $3500, the price seemed rather steep, but perhaps not too outrageous for a sort of boutique, niche product like this.


    Focal Elegia - This one surprised me quite a bit. Perhaps it was the Questyle stuff smoothing everything out, but the Elegia actually sounded...normal. It seemed smoother than the other Focals, i.e. less rough and metallic, with more linear bass and a smoother midrange. Surprisingly spacious sounding for a closed headphone, but still limited in scope and air. Little in the way of being wonky, a common problem for closed headphones. It just sounded like a nicely balanced closed headphone. This one might actually become a reference for closed headphones. I would have to assume that from a technical chops perspective, we're looking at something along the lines of the Elear.


    Meze Empyrean - Pretty good overall, though I didn't find it to be a highlight like some did. Pretty good, but not great, and too expensive. I found the bass and mids to be a little too thick and bloomy overall, and the highs seems a little rough and scratchy. So, while the tone was overall kind of warm and thick, the timbre left something to be desired even if subtle in its etch. It was kind of like an HE1000's sound signature, but with a fuller sounding low-end and a much less rough and bright sounding top-end.

    However, I only tried these with the velour pads, so I can't speak to how they sounded with the leather pads. The pads were insanely comfortable, but the suspension strap headband somehow started to hurt the top of my head in short order. I found that odd. Maybe it was a fluke.


    Sennheiser HD820 - I know this isn't something brand new or announced at RMAF, but it was a good opportunity to check one out nonetheless. I didn't hate the HD820, but I didn't care for it. The bass was surprisingly full and pronounced, though not as tight as I remember the HD800 being. The midrange as a whole sounded fairly normal. Treble wasn't too bright overall, though I could hear some hot spots wanting to poke out a bit.

    By and large, it's not the thin, overall bright sort of HD800 experience at all. But my disappointment stemmed from an overall incoherent sort of feel to the sound signature. At times, the bass had a clear separation from the mids, and could vary between sounding thin or thick depending on the music. And the midrange didn't transition smoothly into the treble either, with the latter sounding a bit confused and trying to go in different directions all at once. It just made for a weird listening experience. Again, lack of coherence is the issue here.
     
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    [​IMG]

    Isn't there anybody heard HFM Jade 2 (HFM said they would be at rmaf 2018)?

    I am a bit curious because Jade 1 was the first product with which Fang enter audio industry, regardless of some notorious qc/durability issues. Also they are way, way more practically priced at $1,500 (still expensive, but look at shangrila, shangrila jr, and susvara lol) - even cheaper than he6se.
     
  12. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Update : Mr.S Ether 2 sounded better to me on the Jotunheim than it did on the Liquid Glass. If a little got taken off the top end, I might really like it. As it was on either amp, it was too shimmery.
     
  13. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    The Vanatoo transparent one encore was very good. Mids and highs were very smooth, and they had decent imaging. Low end was much better than I remembered. I liked them.

    Preorders get $100 off, and ship in Jan/Feb.

    IMG_20181007_131027.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  14. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    how exactly? I thought Alex just decided to hang it up.
     
  15. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    $100 off transparent one encore preorder. $40 show coupon off the transparent zeros.
     
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  16. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Did nothing. Spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to travel and do nothing. Hired his friend to do nothing, too. Gave out one of a kind prototypes in exchange for free personal gear. List goes on.

    @purr1n @ultrabike and I have known he was a shady shit for years but he just proved us right.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
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  17. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    Well, I compared the hd800 to hd820 at the sennheiser table, off the same source and amp. The 820 wasn’t nearly as bad as it was on the violectric I heard at TSAV. Maybe that amp combo doesn’t work. At any rate, the 800 and the 820 are related, but do have a differences. I would need a lot more time to identify them, but others have. I don’t understand the pricing as the 800s still sounded better to me. Go figure

    I had an opportunity to hang with Tyll and Dart in puttputt. He’s leading an interesting life.

    I finished the show listening to a quad set up of focal grand utopias. I think I’d like a couple of pairs for my home theater. Not sure what I would use for a center, though.
     
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  18. AllanMarcus

    AllanMarcus Friend

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    I think someone asked about the Kern potato speakers. The $3000 ones didn’t do it for me. The $5000 ones with additional subs sounded pretty good. Lots of other speakers less expensive that sounded better or at least as good.
     
  19. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Fixed, thanks
     
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  20. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    New Schiit:

    IMG_20181007_133451.jpg

    IMG_20181007_133624.jpg IMG_20181007_133715.jpg IMG_20181007_133654.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2018
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