SBAF 2022 Schlong Nominations

Discussion in 'Leaderboard, Overboard, and Deals' started by purr1n, Sep 23, 2022.

  1. RestoredSparda

    RestoredSparda Friend

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    Similar to the 7hz Timeless, I'd like to nominate the Moondrop Kato in dynamic IEM land.

    It was the first dynamic IEM under $200 that stomped on much more expensive options I've heard up till then. Expansive sound stage (for an IEM), very good comfort, excellent stock cable, great stock tips, and a fairly even frequency response without any treble fuckery. Best mobile audio experience for me so far.
     
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  2. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    (It also could be that while there is some hype for FuckBanger, it's just not a Schlong award kinda product. But this wouldn't be discussed, it would only be alluded to.)
     
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  3. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    Will work on this.
     
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  4. YMO

    YMO Scatologically ribald obsessive

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  5. Boops

    Boops Friend

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    Send me some photo reference.
     
  6. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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  7. Boops

    Boops Friend

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  8. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    Interesting year in the hobby for me. I scaled my system up, scaled my system down and tried a lot of gear. Overall the theme this year for me was comparing what I liked to the fresh and new and hyped, and ultimately deciding that what I had / liked was considerably better already. There was a few new releases that stood out for me which you'll see on my list, but my list reflects the focus on past gear being great.

    Mini Open / Mini Closed - Mini Open absolutely blew my mind about headphone design and clarity. I love Mini Open, and it's incredibly interesting. You look at stuff like Verite and Utopia which is to add everything you can to headphone design. Then you look at Mini Open which removes everything you can about headphone design. It's a statement that simplicity is actually good and rivals complexity. That's #1. #2 is a statement that you don't have to get nervosa about DAC, Amps and tubes. I have experienced the best I've heard music sound off an OG 2010 Ipad, headphone jack and Mini C with Youtube as a source.

    Bottlehead Crack Basic - I've come back to this amp this year. Though I prefer the SW51+ the Bottlehead Crack is the best OTL I've heard that's readily available. A few small mods too and it jumps itself up to the best of the best. I've also seen a lot of other people going back to this one this year and think it deserves a mentions.

    Koss KSC75 - I started with Koss KSC75 and Porta Pros about 10 years ago and honestly every upgrade from there has seemed like a large side grade. I really though I was just nostalgic for these two headphones, even though they are great, I didn't get why they could be compared directly to more expensive headphones. I've continued to listen to them throughout the years, probably more than my big stacks. The ETA Mini stuff did make me realise, because here I had a headphone that could resolve things like a TOTL, but it had clarity that I only heard from my on ear Koss. Indeed, minimal dampening, small to no earpads, on ears and driven from the source is one of the most clear and musical combinations you can get.

    Honorable brown starfish nominations:

    Verite Open and Verite Closed - Bought both of these last year because I had an Aeolus I enjoyed for a few years. These were one of my most wanted headphones and once I got them I instantly hated them. They are everything bad about the Aeolus/Aeuteur but taken to the next level: overdampened, bad transients because of the dampening, slightly off timbre and dead with no small dynamics because the driver is so fast/touchy that the dynamics blows out anything small. They both were so bad they made me realise how bad the Aeolus was and I quickly sold all three.

    Bifrost 2 - Simply put the transformer Schiit uses hums/buzzes like a mad man in AUS and NZ. So much so I had to cope and double sided velcro it under my desk and 5 feet away from my listening setup. I eventually realised how rediculous this was and sold it.
     
  9. Joshvar

    Joshvar Facebook Friend

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    I've heard all of 1 new thing - the Atriums - this year, but I think in the same arena of other niche/distinctive products which if they are for you, they are really for you. Reminds me of how the EC Aficionado and Rockna Wavedream in that manner - I can hear how they're not for everyone, but they do things in a confident, cohesive way that gives them a character that is not for everyone - but if it's for you, hide your damn wallet.
     
  10. Qildail

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    I know Marv is going for Michelin stars, so I guess this nomination is more in the fast casual dining section...

    Modius E -- A rare ESS implementation that doesn't sound like it was designed by SkyNet. Clear, detailed, but without the thousand paper cuts that come with oversharpened implementations that check the boxes on specific statistics and call it a day. It does its job and gets out of the way, though, which has been great for my chains that have warmer amps or headphones downstream where AKM449x chips just sounded bleh. Balanced and SE output, pretty much every modern connection you need (don't @ me, BNC people), and still 5V-USB powered for sub-$250. Sure, it's not going to beat DACs at 5x or 10x the price, but it's not a bad place to be for silly folks like me that still like their DS DACs.
     
  11. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth Damsel in distress, ZMF Whore

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    1. ZMF Atrium: Yes, a lot has been already said about these. But seriously, pair these with the right amp, and they're really OMG good. Does everything the old-school Hifimans can out of a power amp except Atrium doesn't need a power amp and also doesn't have the downsides the Hifimans have (needs mods, no matter what it sounds like an ortho). Did I mention it slams more? And the sonic textures in the bass/low mids are just amazing; personally I've never heard a headphone that can do this (I have not listened to the medieval torture device that's called the Abyss 1266).

    2. Schiit Jotunheim 2: Came out over a year ago, but honestly I think this is worth a schlong nomination. In the solid state world, it's hard to justify going higher than Jot 2 unless you own Focal headphones and want a DSHA-3F, which costs many times the price.

    3. iFi Zen Phono and Schiit Mani 2: EXTREMELY GOOD budget phono pres. Honestly, these things kick the ass of phonos that are 10x the price. In my system the Zen Phono has better synergy, but I can easily see that the Schiit Mani would work better in other systems
     
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  12. Biodegraded

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    Forgot about this; +1 from me. Looking back to my review notes for the requisite paragraph...

    $149 for great blackground, transients, plankton; and 4 gain/load options and fully-balanced topology. Probably best synergy with budget to mid-range belt-drives, might be too 'technical' and not euphonic enough with expensive or snappy upstreams.
     
  13. HotRatSalad

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    Jotunheim 2 what chacha said, sounds killer with HD650 and planars, never found anything else that did that, in the price range. Oh and it's real good with Aeolus, preferred it way over Liquid Platinum. Have heard 3F

    Darlington Labs MP-7, you guys should really check one out. Ask for a loaner.

    Mani 2 way better than Mani 1 after mani 2 go MP-7 kind of nothing I wanted to bother with in between those in the price range.
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Perhaps for 2022, a comprehensive list, from one to three schlongs. Our version of recommended components at various price ranges or maybe regardless of price.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2022
  15. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    I think both. Within certain price ranges, and also regardless of price. We should let the tiny giants stand shoulder to shoulder with the recognized great shit when they deserve to.
     
  16. penguins

    penguins Friend, formerly known as fp627

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    If we do a 1/2/3 Michelin stars system, should we also have honorable mentions like the Michelin guidebooks have?

    - ZMF Atrium and Rockna Wavedream for honorable mentions. I can't nominate for schlongs as I haven't spend enough time with either, but in the time I did spend across multiple units with both, they were pretty great.
    Atrium because it gets a lot right while not losing what makes ZMF headphones "ZMF".
    Wavedream because it pretty much sounds at least "very good" with almost any genre on almost any amp, speaker, or headphone that I've heard it with. No tricks, special equipment, or anything else required.

    - I was going to nominate the modded Modi MB for an honorable mention as well , but I saw Modi MB already won in 2016.
    Not "the best" technical performance ever in a DAC, but it has a great sound and value and I can see it being very synergistic in some setups. Plus, a hint of that rich tape reel sound and grain for $250 when it was still in production.

    - Maybe modern tube manufacturers such as ELROG, EML, new WE, or even PSVane, etc. for a honorable mention. Sure, none of us like dealing with or spending money on tubes, but I suspect this hobby would be a lot rougher, expensive, and annoying (ie sourcing tubes) without reliable sources of new tubes. No schlong b/c toobz is still expensive and I feel like a professional shut-in when I have to spend money on tubes.

    - Lastly, same as last year, I would nominate the Stellaris 2 or 3 golden schlongs for several reasons, but once again, I don't think enough people have heard it probably due to it's relative rarity and price for this to be a fair nomination.
    However, if we want to consider it, based on previous E, L, V criteria:
    Excellence - As purr1n and others have already said, this amp will make most dynamics sound great. It even makes crappy gear sound better. It performs at so many other levels as well.
    Longevity - Yes, I listen to and talk about other amps regularly, but from the first time I heard the prototype to today, this is still easily my favorite amp and I still get excited when I listen to it today.
    Value - half way there for value - No way around it, it's expensive. But in my limited experience at other boutique audio dealers (mostly international), I have only heard 2 amps (for HP) that sound a bit (but not a lot) better absolutely speaking. Except one was $50k+ and the other was $100k+ (converted into USD at the time) and both were much bigger and heavier. There were a few other amps I tried that got close and they were also all much more expensive and most amps weren't close but again, more expensive. From what I understand, haggling was allowed on most or all of these amps, but it was for mostly for 10-30% off with a few units closer to 50% off, and I think every amp I tried would still be more than a Stellaris after haggling.
     
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    Btw, speaking of Michelin-like GS stars, is my understanding correct? ;)

    1 star = Worth buying when budget is enough
    2 stars = Worth prioritizing to buy over any other audio purchases
    3 stars = Worth risking to debate against wife’s/husband’s/partner’s disapprovals
     
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  18. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I agree that there should be some mention and recognition that at least in the large envelope tubes, we're in a pretty good place with the new manufacturers. I'd considered submitting something for the new production WE300b, but decided against since it's too niche. I would humbly submit that there's quite a few reviews floating around here with big glass from Lin Lai poking into the pictures of some of our favorite amps. I know we kind of shy away from tube nervousa, but there's something that should at least be said of a particular manufacturer when they keep showing up plugged into some of the fancypants amps. At least they don't suck.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  19. RestoredSparda

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    +1 for LinLai!
     
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  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    4 stars = you have already divorced/separated because of the 3 star component, there's no stopping you now
    5 stars = you've taken up drinking to enlarge your liver so you can sell part of it
     
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