SoCal (ZMFestivus) meet Fall 2019 - Impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by tommytakis, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. tommytakis

    tommytakis Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,095
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    This was my first SBAF or any type of headphone-meet in general so today was quite an experience for me. I enjoyed meeting everyone of you and hope to be there for more future meets. Big shout out for @ChaChaRealSmooth and his fam for hosting. Overall, it was nice to finally see everyone in their human form rather than associating them with their avatars.

    Here's a short blurb here before I forget. TBH I spent more time talking to people than listen to the rigs so I'll do short "first impressions" type. I don't think I did enough listening to do a full write up.

    What I liked:
    - Those Korean fried chicken... reminded me of home
    - @JK47 's jerky lol
    - @netforce 's wild stories as a headphone salesman
    - @E_Schaaf 's modded HE-6. Probably the only planar I would be down to own (haven't tried the Verum-1) Insane macrodynamics and quite pleasing tonality. I haven't heard the stock HE-6, but I liked this a lot.
    - @insidious meme 's Black Widow. First time hearing this, and I was quite surprised with how good it sounded for what it costs. I would say 3F still sounds more like Solid state when you compare against the BW with its obvious warmth. I enjoyed both, I think it depends on synergy with the gears you have at the end of the day. I liked his Aeolus as well. 650-esque?
    - ECP Bocote 3F+ Bocote Auteur. I still believe this is the best synergy I've heard with the 3F.
    - DNA Starlett. Best value for the money if you want your way into tap into TOTL route without shelling out $$$$$ for tubez. get this amp and don't look back.
    - EC Af. Damn what a beast of an amp. I think I still prefer the tonality of ZDS, but Af is more refined and grand sounding
    - @I_want_all_the_tacos 's ZMF Atticus. unapologetically colored-af, but one of the most unique headphones out there with excellent microdynamics and concert hall-like headstage. Wish it wasn't so bulky looking though.
    - ZMF VC: surprisingly light and comfortable. really does sound like VO, but a little smoother up top and slams harder. I kind of like this more than the VO, but VO owners shouldn't feel the need to sell their Verites because they're more similar than different. If I had to choose, I would choose VC over VO.

    Meh:
    - Matrix X-sabre pro. A little too bright for my taste. I guess I prefer the R2R sound. I tried it with both Starlett and 3F and I found it borderline bright on Starlett and 3F sounded too bright for me.
    - HD800-SDR?. Still don't like it. I'm interested in hearing the SBAF modded version though
    -Raal SR1a+ Jot-R : a lot better than any of the setups I've tried at TSAV, but I don't think the Sr1a is really for me.

    CAE9D261-72E1-49E7-AFEC-3D19BC0329AE.jpeg C120BECB-CF64-49E5-B405-5AEA0065BC2B.jpeg 5BEFD4E9-9042-4A0D-B0FD-B401B6F018CE.jpeg
     
  2. fp627

    fp627 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    544
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SouthernCA
    In conclusion - it was a great time. Thank you to @ChaChaRealSmooth and his family for being great hosts. Also thank you to @zach915m for the shirts.

    Same caveats as Tommy - meet conditions etc.

    Personal conclusions:
    - My personal top 3 tube amps are still DNA Stellaris, EC Af, and Cavalli LC (did not appear). Granted I have not heard any of the Glenn stuff before. Af and Stellaris complement each other VERY well for my tastes.
    - I for sure will be buying a Metrum DAC or possibly a new Sonnet Audio DAC later.
    - ECP DSHA 3F is amongst the top 2-3 SS amps I've ever heard. Overall I like the Af slightly more sound wise, but there's the beauty of no tubes, not a space heater, desktop friendly form factor and weight, pretty wood, etc. of 3F. If I decide to go with 3F over Af later hopefully I can still get one (or ECP has "bigger better and shinier" without costing $1k more by then). 3F and Stellaris do not complement each other as well vs Af for my tastes.
    - 3F is also good with Focals as ECP intended.

    Amps:
    - Now that it's been officially out, I can officially say that DNA Starlett is great and yes, it's a big middle finger to tube nervosa and some of the poor performance/price stuff you see on the market today. I hope @Donald North sells a lot of these amps.
    - I've heard many good things about how good value the Cayin HA-1A is for $650-750. Tried @netforce 's amp today and yes, it's great for the price. Something I would be very comfortable with recommending in the future in that price range if you wanted a more laid back sound. Only thing to keep in mind is it uses 5 (readily available with modern production) tubes. Also struck me as a good pre-amp and immediately after netforce mentions he uses this as a pre.

    SR1a:
    - Raal SR1a with Schiit amp is great for me - technicalities and detail like no other. Still liked SR1a better with McIntosh MA252 but again better form factor and price with Schiit amp. However, upon hearing again I can see how SR1a is not for everyone. Lacking bass, tone is a bit off, timbre is off but a little less so than tone, can come across as bright. IMO very easy to fix though as brightness here is only lack of bass, not because of peaks, resonances, synergies, etc. like Utopia or HD800. Can be fixed by just running a sub... but if you do that on the flip side $3500 can also get some nice speakers.... IMO try before you buy with SR1a.
    - Raal SR1a - I also wore them differently this time to see if I could avoid the temple squeezing + subsequent headache - yes, but the sound stage was wonky and the overall feeling off. When worn properly, once again I had a headache in 10 minutes. However, I somehow completely missed the fact that the headband is held onto the pivot part of the cups by 2 screws per cup... if I buy these I'm definitely making my own headband immediately.

    Wizard:
    - @E_Schaaf is wizard level at modding HE-6.

    Other headphones:
    - I liked the Rosson RAD-0 but it won't displace anything for me. Great option if you need a high end but easy to drive planar though (IMO Mr Speakers, HFM, and Audeze all need proper or "specific" amps hybrid/SS amps to drive enough current... RAD-0 can piggyback off your tube amps you already use for dynamics).
    - I like almost everything about the Verite but the strongly W shaped frequency response. Verite closed FR on Stellaris with stock tubes is actually on the other side of the border between like/dislike (I like it). It was immediately obvious that Verite Closed beats Auteur in technicalities, etc. Will have to find a longish term loaner to see if I can make the frequency response right for me. FWIW I'm very hesitant to spend $2500 to $3k but if the FR was even somewhat different (i.e. less of a W) I'd buy this very very quickly.
    - Edit: thought I left a comment yesterday about asking Zach about woods, pads, or other stuff to change the W. Good to see he's already responded below with pads as a solution. As mentioned, will have to obtain a long-ish term loaner of Verite Closed next year.
    - Aeolus is a great complementary headphone to any other ZMF headphone. (Can also stand very well on it's own, etc.)

    Other:
    Bocote Auteur has perf lambskin Auteur pads + ZMF atmos silver cable. It paired well with 3F as Tommy mentions above.
    Edit: chacha's dog is very nice and a very good boy
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
  3. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

    Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,030
    Dislikes Received:
    97
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    "Surf City USA"
    Thanks to @ChaChaRealSmooth and his family for being gracious hosts, and providing us with a place for a meet and some really tasty food. Top notch crispy wings, rice balls, Asian Pear, and some bad ass grapes the size of strawberries.

    Even with the amazing line up of gear, I didn't do much listening, mostly socializing, and having a few good laughs. It's always nice to meet some new faces and hang out with the usual suspects.

    I stayed away from the hard liquor and managed not to pass out on the front lawn, the couch, or anywhere else for that matter.

    If anything came of the meet, I think @BillOhio has solved the unsecured fit issue of the RAAL SR1a... a chin strap!!!
     
  4. fp627

    fp627 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    544
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    SouthernCA
    On a different note did anyone get to try the HE6 with the 3F? Thoughts?
     
  5. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,767
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Irvine CA
    This was an awesome meet. I only had a few hours, but I tried to make the best of the time I had. Like some, I come to some of these meets more for the folks than for the gear. In fact, instead of bringing any audio stuff, I brought the Alaskan Ale (horrid pic below):

    IMG_7503_small.jpg

    Our host @ChaChaRealSmooth was awesome. I believe it is the first time we meet in person. In fact, with perhaps the exception of @insidious meme and @Clemmaster , it was the first time I meet all other folks. The food was fantastic. I had enough time to sample some:

    IMG_7508_small.jpg

    As @JK47 said, amazing crispy wings, rice balls, Asian (learned they are Korean) pears, and grapes. The grapes tasted like honey. I don't think I have tried grapes that sweet. First time I had Korean pears ever. The chicken wings were Korean BBQ me-thinks. Picture below says it all:

    IMG_7507_small.jpg

    Turns out @I_want_all_the_tacos is a Signal Processing + Perception geek and @JK47 is indeed a Beer Monster. @JK47 brought same really great jerky:

    IMG_7504_small.jpg

    Further noteworthy things:

    @ChaChaRealSmooth "laptop":
    IMG_7493_small.jpg

    and Klipsch Heresy "bookshelfs":
    IMG_7498_small.jpg

    We'll move to the rigs briefly next.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
    Don Miller, BillOhio, fp627 and 16 others like this.
  6. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF Gearmaster

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2018
    Likes Received:
    3,071
    Dislikes Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    La Mirada, CA
    I said this in my profile post, but worth saying again; thank you all for coming out! I enjoyed hosting and had a blast. Loved meeting some members for the first time, and also seeing familiar faces. Shoutout to @I_want_all_the_tacos for getting this initially started, and @zach915m for the shirts, VC hybrid pads, and blessings.

    20191110_174311.jpg
    20191110_121551.jpg
    20191110_121541.jpg
    20191110_121455.jpg

    Random thoughts on the meet (for audio gear impressions and thoughts scroll down):
    • I'm glad that the food agreed with everyone. You all destroyed that chicken. And fruit. And everything else that was brought.
    • @netforce needs to have a blog here or something where he tells us stories. Great entertainment.
    • I severely underestimated the amount of gear we all would bring. Noted for next time I have an event (and yes, I do plan on having a next time).
    • The jerky that @JK47 brought is the real deal. I could eat that shit all day.
    • Fuck my laptop for not cooperating with me. Buying a new one has moved very far up the priority list now because I do NOT want to drag my desktop around.
    • I really do seem to be a little more of a quiet listener (@insidious meme scared the bejeezus out of me when I tried his setup first). Also, I loved hearing the different analogies that everyone uses to describe sound.
    • I love looking at what people like to listen to (my lossless collection is tiny). You all have great taste.
    • Seeing @I_want_all_the_tacos bringing all those ZMFs was kind of funny. All them ZMFs in one spot! Also, they synergized pretty well with everything.
    • I'm apparently far from the only victim of "my family loves my headphone, so it gets stolen." @neogeosnk's wife steals his Verite (good choice btw), and my mom has stolen my Clear.
    • That power cable that @netforce brought for the Jot R was some kind of anaconda that was thick enough to comfortably use to hang people with...multiple times.
    Audio Impressions (no particular order):
    • The Raal Requisite SR1a is freaking legit (especially with that Jot R), but is emphathetically not for everyone. It has a particular sound where it sounds like the fundamentals of each note is quite loud and the harmonics are subdued. The transients, decay, resolve, and details are phenomenal, with the only real complaint being the lack of subbass response (some headphones aren't any better here). However, it does have a relentless character where it feels hyper-focused, something that can make it get fatiguing quickly. Personally, I liked it enough to put it on my list of "things I'd like to buy....eventually." Also, @BillOhio had the best suggestion; add a chin strap (I think Bill, @JK47, and I laughed for a solid minute at this).
    • While I've never heard one of the venerated LFF Code-X headphones, @E_Schaaf did some fantastic work with his Hifimans. I particularly liked the HE-4 he had; some of the best mids on any planar I've heard. I might eventually ask him if he'd mod either my HE560 (obviously paid for his time + materials), or if I pick up some other classic Hifiman (if this happens, it's in the distant future).
    • The 3F vs Black Widow was fun to compare (also, me derping and not realizing the Black Widow wasn't even turned on was hilarious). They do share a similar house sound. The 3F is more neutral (brighter than Black Widow), and has a more athletic, dynamic presentation. The Black Widow is a little smoother sounding and is more rounded and relaxed. I'd need to spend more time with both in a quieter environment with my own gear to see if one is really "better" than the other, but both of those amps easily occupy the echelons of the very best SS amps created.
    • Speaking of 3F, the synergy with Focals definitely is there. With Utopia, highs did not bother me, and the dynamics were super athletic with good nuance. Not particularly fatiguing, but if you don't like the tonality, the 3F doesn't do jack to fix it. Very good, but I still like the Utopia with the Starlett better.
    • The DNA Stellaris is still the best headphone amp for dynamics in my opinion (@Donald North just does fantastic work and if you have the money you should make him more busy, assuming you like the presentation). However, the Starlett and EC Af aren't far behind. The Af has a drier presentation and isn't as "gentle" as the DNA amps, and has a bit of the "larger than life" presentation. Ultimately, the choice between the EC stuff and DNA stuff will come down to the listener (I do prefer the DNA, but others did like the Af more).
    • The difference that wood makes on ZMF headphones is definitely there. It's an audible difference, but somehow I think it's both overhyped and underappreciated at the same time. Yes, the denser wood does make for a slightly snappier sound, and the cocobolo Verite I have was a bit darker than the silk ones, but ultimately you should choose a ZMF wood because you like the way it looks and your own wood grows bigger when you look at it.
    • The Verite's coloration is super obvious in both tonality and timbre. But no other headphone there could reproduce the sheer layering that the Verite can. Its nuance and details are fantastic, and it really does deserve its place among the TOTL stuff. It's just not easy to recommend because its sound is unique in ways that don't sit well with everyone. This also applies to Verite Closed, which I'm more convinced now than before that it's a lot easier to describe how similar it is to its open sibling versus the differences, which are not huge.
    • Not necessarily sound-related, but I've noticed the Focals leak a LOT more sound than any of the ZMF stuff, the Hifimans, and basically anything not the SR1a. With SR1a, you basically play what you're listening to for everyone around you. With Focals, it's not to that extent, but people still know what you're listening to. Essentially, if you want to watch your "adult material" in peace, don't use those.
    Also, someone left a heavy little remote here. Not sure who it belongs to; if it's yours PM me and I'll get it back to you. Owner found.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    Don Miller, Vtory, fp627 and 23 others like this.
  7. DigMe

    DigMe Needs a baby bottle

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2016
    Likes Received:
    6,498
    Dislikes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aja
    @ultrabike The korean pears (also called chinese pears, japanese pears, etc.. and literally translated as “sand pears” here in China) are one of my favorite fruits. Sooo sweet and crispy. Also, I never knew why grape flavored candy and bubblegum tasted like it does until I had those big-ass grapes in Asia. Tastes just like it.
     
  8. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,767
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Irvine CA
    Raal SR1a

    Probably the rig most sought after in the meet. It was compared to the AKG K1000 given the driver configuration. But there are a few differences. The Raal is a ribbon driver. The K1000 I believe use a dynamic driver. The SR1a ribbon driver seems to be rectangular. The K1000 dynamic resembles a tweeter.

    I heard a few times that the SR1a is a power monster. In the meet, a Schiit Jotunheim was driving them just fine (I think 12 o'clock was plenty loud). The sound was open, and in that sense tending towards the analytic. However, with the material at hand I wouldn't call it bright. In some ways it reminds me of the "bass heavy" K1000. I liked them as close as possible to my ears, for bass. But a more open configuration still works fine. I did not like it when my ears touched the headphones much. But adjustments could be made to mitigate that.

    For comparison purposes there was a random Mr. Speakers Ether 2.154841 next to them. The Ether was much darker and was far back in resolution (and that is an understatement). I believe @Clemmaster put the Ethers on for like 2 full seconds after listening the SR1a for like 10 minutes. He stood up, mutter something that sounded like "piece of shit", and moved on.

    The Raals were driven by a Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro MQA + Schiit Jotunheim. It would seem like this combo would be a bit analytic. And indeed it was a little. But the SR1a managed fine.

    IMG_7500_small.jpg

    Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro MQA

    It was lucky to source the Raals.

    IMG_7494_small.jpg

    HE6SE + Tube Amp

    I liked the HE6SE. I think the Tube Amp there managed to power them fine. I have a feeling the tube amp there might be a hybrid. However, at least with the material, the rig sounded a little hazy. Balance seemed fine. But I didn't try any reference tracks or stuff.

    IMG_7502_small.jpg

    ZMF Cans

    There was an insane amount of ZMF cans. They are works of art. I listened to @insidious meme rig. I really liked his simple ZMF with velour pads. I did not like much the more elegant ZMFs next to them. Too cupped compared to his ZMFs (IMO). The bass on both was of good quality. @insidious meme drives his ZMFs with his cellphone rig consisting of a Schiit Gungnir + Eddie Current Black Widow:

    IMG_7501_small.jpg

    In the above pic, @insidious meme awesome sauce ZMFs are above the Crunchyroll bag above, while the non-so-awesome but beautiful ZMFs are on top of the Cavali gear.

    Most of the headphones were heavy. Among them was an extremely light AudioTechnica that seemed to have lost it's way. When I had them in my hand and in my head I was reminded of how comfy a light headphone feels:

    IMG_7509_small.jpg

    Here are some more random pics from my Nikon/Cannon wanna-be Apple SE, which as many things, is probably obsolete:

    The Full Frontal Setup

    IMG_7499_small.jpg

    The Backdoor Setup

    IMG_7505_small.jpg

    Batman

    IMG_7497_small.jpg

    I forgot to mention. @ChaChaRealSmooth has the crazyest collection of whiskey I've ever seen. You are sick man, get some help. And thanks for sharing with us. I was sincerely very happy to be one of your guests :)

    @zach915m, thanks for the shirts and for sharing as well. Those ZMF velour cans that @insidious meme has are very special.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
    Vtory, fp627, netforce and 19 others like this.
  9. PTS

    PTS Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2016
    Likes Received:
    819
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    It's safe to say that a good time was had by all today. Thanks again to @ChaChaRealSmooth and his wonderful family for hosting and feeding us. Also, thanks to @ultrabike and @JK47 for supplying additional beers and snacks.

    I was most interested in hearing both the SR1a via the Jot R, and Verite via the 3F. I hate to say it, but was honestly a little disappointed by both.

    I'm one of the few people who found the SR1a comfortable, but had an issue with how they sound. Super detailed, but bright and directional into the sides of your head. I couldn't get a central image (listening to Santana, not hard panned jazz) so there was no forgetting that you're listening to headphones.

    Less to say about the 3F - it was decent but ultimately not very engaging.

    @insidious meme's EC Black Widow was a better amp for my tastes, and I may have to keep my eye out for one. I was expecting to be indifferent, but it's possibly the best solid state headamp I've heard.

    @fp627 nailed it when he described ZMF Verites as having a W-shaped frequency response. I think Zach produces the best headphones for bass texture and well balanced treble, I just find the mids to be scooped in a strange way. I desperately want to love them, but this prevents me from doing so.

    It's always nice to get a chance to listen to @BillOhio's EC Af, which he was kind enough to let me borrow.

    The Stellaris is probably still the crown jewel of headamps, and magical to listen to. The most musically engaging amp bar none. It seems to take all dynamics like a champ, I only wish it was more affordable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  10. I_want_all_the_tacos

    I_want_all_the_tacos Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2017
    Likes Received:
    418
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Another thanks to @ChaChaRealSmooth, his family, and his dog for letting us take over his house for the better part of a day. This was my first SBAF meet and it did not disappoint. The level of gear there was top notch though I think most of us spent more time socializing than listening. I'll start with some pics:

    Thanks to @zach915m for allowing me an ungodly amount of time hanging onto these review units that became the reason for starting this event. The ZMF swag was also much appreciated!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Highlights for me:
    -As seen in this last pic we were able to literally do side-by-side comparisons of @insidious meme's EC Black Widow and @tommytakis's ECP 3F, both running off a Gungnir Multibit A2. I'm not particularly versed in high end solid states but I will echo what has been said so far and what the general theme of previous impressions of each have agreed on. BW is a beast in low end slam, full stop. That was the first time I've heard my own personal HD800 SDR absolutely rattle in macrodynamic bass. And BW is a bit rolled off up top so it complements bright headphones like HD800 quite well. It is not particularly fast in transients or sharp in attack like the recent trend of "well measuring" type of amps tend to go for these days. But it is very smooth and musical with a really full sound. I really think it is the best ss pairing with HD800 I have heard. I felt the 3F just tilts the balance more toward neutral, but keeping that emphasis on a warm and full sound while keeping a more extended top end. It was more detailed oriented than BW and quite resolving, but probably a little less musical than BW because of that. I really like the design, form factor, and build of the 3F and I can understand all the praise it gets. I recently reviewed an SPL Phonitor XE that I really liked and I would be curious to compare that with the 3F.

    -The other solid state standout for me was @netforce's Cayin iHA-6. That's an amp I have been wanting to hear for a while now even though it never gained a huge following. But for that $500ish price range I think it is excellent and probably the most likely candidate of what I would add to my RME ADI-2 DAC if I were to add a better ss headamp. It seemed tuned similar to the 3F in having that really full and lively sound, but not as technically capable as the 3F. I liked it more than the Asgard 3. Also, Alan's HA-1A tube amp is gorgeous and great in its own right in that under $1k tube amp territory. It wasn't quite as technically proficient as the other tube amps there, but I thought it also paired well with my HD800 given its more laid back nature and smooth and easy going sound. That's an amp I wish I had more time to compare to my EC ZDT Jr. for comparison.

    -Also on that big table was the @BillOhio's EC AF vs @fp627's DNA Stellaris. Both are exceptional. For me, the main difference was that AF was more dynamic, lively, and crisp. The Stellaris was more wet, full, and lush. Really different takes on tubes, and I think synergy pairing is the deciding factor. I liked my HD800 on Stellaris, but I liked a lot of the ZMFs on AF. I'm not sure I'll ever quite go up to that level of tube amps myself, at least for now, but I think both should be considered by anyone that wants a big boy tube amp.

    -I was also really impressed with @ChaChaRealSmooth's DNA Starlett. It really was a mini Stellaris both in size/looks and sound capabilities. I agree that compared to Stellaris it gets edged out just a bit, but personally the difference wasn't enough such that I would still opt for the Starlett over Stellaris give then price difference. I also really like that Startlett uses smaller/cheaper tubes than its big brother, helping eliminate the tube rolling nervosa. This is a very high contender for my next tube amp purchase.

    -RAAL SR1a is the real deal. I agree with all the praise it is getting. By far the most speaker-like sounding headphone I have heard. It really did sound and feel like having 2 mini speakers next to my head. The bass performance with the Jot R was quite capable, especially for not having a seal around the ears. I've heard all the modern Stax Lambdas as well as the modern Omegas including 009S and I would take SR1a over any of those. It has the same type of speed, transients, and microdetail that make estats stand out, but it provides more realistic timbre, better bass response, smoother treble, and bigger/wider soundstage. The only thing it still can't do is beat out really good dynamics (e.g. Utopia, Verite) or planars (e.g. HE-500, HE-6) in macrodynamics. If you crave that really punchy, visceral slam it won't satisfy in that dept. But otherwise it is superb in just about every other category. This is also one I can see myself eventually owning.

    Other random thoughts:
    -This was my first time hearing HE-6 and I really liked it. I have an HE-500 and HE-6 really is just "moar" of everything.
    -I thought the Rosson RAD-0 sounded pretty good, but I just don't think the price tag is warranted. For high end planars, I would personally rather have an HE-6, especially given the adorama HE6se $700 deal going on.
    -The chicken and fruit were as good as everyone else has noted. Always pleased to eat good asian food. And @JK47's jerky was delicious as well.
     
    Don Miller, Vtory, fp627 and 21 others like this.
  11. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    602
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    India
    @ultrabike , if I am not wrong, the unit driving the SR1A was a Jot R, and not a regular Jot. Jot R is a direct drive prototype that Schiit designed specifically for the SR1A.
     
  12. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,293
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    I believe this is accurate.
    I was listening to a track with a bass intro, which the Ether 2 did VERY well, even next to the SR1 (which I didn’t find lacked bass, at all). Then it happened: midrange. It’s so fucked up I was quite sad. Not for me, or bad pairing.

    Highlights of the show for me was @ChaChaRealSmooth and his wonderful family. They housed us, fed us and, most importantly, let us leave with all our gear! :p

    Always good to see peeps, even thought I was trying to listen to as many setups as possible, instead of socializing :rolleyes:

    As far as gears go, the SR1 more than lived up to the hype for me, except maybe the soundstage that I didn’t find particularly “in front of me”, like speakers do.
    Could be the chain (integrated Multibit DAC card can only get you so far). Could be the ambiant noise.
    I would definitely consider it if they figured out a way to make it usable in bed. Until then, I’ll continue enjoying normal headphones.

    Second highlight: pretty much every ZMF headphones! I had never heard one until then, for lack of curiosity and close-mindedness perhaps? The Auteur and Vérité are spectacular headphones!

    taking off now. I’ll finish up later...
     
    JK47, ultrabike, fp627 and 10 others like this.
  13. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,128
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Wanted to jump in and thank Tacos for initiating a ZMFestivus of sorts and ChaCha for hosting and making all the communications happen!

    I wanted to jump in on one thought that was shared about the Verite being W shaped. I agree that the Verite can have that effect because of the presentation of the Universe pads. Here's some info on it I posted a while back. If a more classic headphone presentation is what anyone would want, suede or verite suede pads are always the way to go, it's just makes everything more diffuse and even, although you lose a touch of the transient attack. Sorry for not sending those!

     
  14. sacredgates

    sacredgates Audio-Technica's high priest

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2015
    Likes Received:
    378
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Black Forest Germany
    Home Page:
    Wow!
    Every word of this thread has been such an enjoyable read. It was like plenty pieces of delicious cake after a hard working day. So many precious impressions condensed within a few posts.
    Thanks that such events arise from within this rather mad community! Thank you all participants and organizers for sharing and letting us take part wherever we are... It makes me proud to be a SBAF member and at the same time a little sad because I ´m living somewhere in the outbacks of Europe...

    O.K. I might be a bit emotional maybe after having one of my favorite Belgian (my mother country...) monastery beers (Westmalle Tripel).
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  15. Magnetostatic_Tubephile

    Magnetostatic_Tubephile Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2017
    Likes Received:
    650
    Dislikes Received:
    44
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    GoogleChrome, EU
    I would also like to give my thanks to all who provided their impressions of the meet here, very interesting read!

    A bit surprised very little was said about Rosson Audio Rad-0. (That probably indicates something on its own...)
     
    JK47 dislikes this.
  16. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,099
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Probably one of the best meets ever for me. @ChaChaRealSmooth 's family, food and the space was awesome. Always great to see everyone and talk about non-headphone stuff and just seeing everyone in person. In keeping with my short form reviews.

    **Zmf Verite Closed** best closed back on the market period. Compared to Focal Stellia/Elegia & Sennheiser HD820; VC has more resolution and less weird frequency response than the HD820. The Focal Stellia is too bassy and the Elegia has less resolution than all of the mentioned headphones. They have been pre-ordered.
    • SR1a - good but not great for me. A ton of resolution but not very engaging, think they're slightly overhyped.
    • @insidious meme's EC Black Widow and @tommytakis's ECP 3F - Black Widow has some serious slam but loses to 3F in resolution and refinement. Compared to my Spl Phonitor X has the characteristics of both resolution and slam. Would rate Phonitor >3F>Black Widow. But @insidious meme 's Black Widow is fun as hell.
    • Ether 2 - the pair that @netforce had sounded way better than the ones I had but still just middle of the road.
    • @ChaChaRealSmooth's DNA Starlett - wow this is good. I'd say about 95% of a Stellaris. This is the set it and forget it tube amp. Should be endgame for a lot of people. Probably buy this next if I have room.
    • Rosson RAD-0 - These are some fun but not very neutral headphones. Would be a must buy at $1500 but not $2500. Best for electronic music and pop.
    • @E_Schaaf mods - everything that I demoed was very good, even managed to make Audio Technica sound good.
    • @netforce stories - this dude needs a blog, his 120k speakers powered by $200 denon amp story was great
    Only bad thing from meet was that somehow my pristine ZMF Verite headphones got scratched... not sure how that happened but going to reach out to @zach915m to see if could get them repaired.

    P.S. see you next Saturday @JK47 !
     
    Koth Ganesh, obsiCO, Lyander and 16 others like this.
  17. E_Schaaf

    E_Schaaf MOT: Upscale Audio (Thread Judge Code-6 District)

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,790
    Dislikes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Home Page:
    Shoutout to @Clemmaster for having enough power outlets, interconnects, and digital outputs to power the TWO complete headphone systems I brought. That Metrum transport was excellent - clearly a step up from what I'm used to hearing out of my Eitr. I was humored by using that Campfire MMCX cable for the modded ADX5000 - weird, but I'm happy to know this actually works.

    The EAD DSP 9000 III was feeding the EC Af, and the Monarchy M22B feeding the Saga into the F7 for the HFMs.

    Happy to hear the good impressions on the modded HFMs (all of which were literally re-tuned the same morning) and RAD0. The RAD is going on tour and there will be a signup thread soon. I'm MOT with RAD even though I don't have a badge so I'll limit my thoughts, but in general these put out a glare-free planar presentation that's easy to enjoy and actually synergizes quite well with OPT amps and other designs that aren't normally planar-suitable. Pretty unique in that regard.

    Don't have much to add to the impressions above, but did learn that the RAAL is definitely not for me - even though it's remarkably smooth and transparent, I'm used to that pressurizing 'kick in the face' feeling that my HE6 and other pressure-sealed pad-coupled headphones give me. Not to mention I simply could not get a comfortable, stable fit with the RAALs despite tinkering quite a bit. Subtle channel imbalances as a result of fit issues bother the shit out of me. Same issue I take with the AB-1266. Great potential, but I don't have the patience to deal with that even a little bit. Just a matter of different priorities.

    The ZMFs sounded great as usual, and despite various amps synergizing in different ways, that ZMF midrange character always imparts itself with a heavy hand - it's addictive with some content, but I could never own a ZMF as my only headphone. They do complement each other quite well though - I can see why so many friends have multiple pairs. ECP 3F definitely pulls out unprecedented microdynamics and microdetails with them - it's a unique experience to hear a presentation that is both highly technical and colorful at the same time.

    Overall it was a great meet - didn't stay for the whole thing but great food, vibes, and stories. Thanks @ChaChaRealSmooth for hosting.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
    RobS, Lyander, JK47 and 15 others like this.
  18. zach915m

    zach915m MOT: ZMF Headphones

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,128
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Yeah send me a message and a pic to my email - I can help out no problem!
     
    Jerry, Jinxy245, sacredgates and 8 others like this.
  19. BillOhio

    BillOhio Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,377
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Glendale CA
    Home Page:
    So as you can see from my inclusion in the photos from the event, I was Very Very popular.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    On gear, I'm not a critical listener but by now I've heard a fair amount of gear.

    I really only tried out Auteur, Verite Open and Closed. I had owned Auteurs for a couple months paired with Af and Yggdrasil2 and at the time found the bass to be fantastic, textured with separation between notes. At the time though I was also hearing the treble as bit brassy hard edged. On Sunday the bass was still great and I wasn't hearing that aspect of the treble that had bothered me before. I found the sound on all three to be 'airy' even on the closed which I liked a lot.

    I also tried out Evan's modded HiFiMan's and thought that they were really solid, competitive with Much more expensive sets.

    I didn't try the Starlett this time but had heard it at Marv's and that thing is really really nice.

    Star of the show, to me, was probably ChaCha's Mom. She's genuinely funny. Very cool to see everyone as always and big thanks to all who contributed to organizing, hosting. and picking me up to drive me down there.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    Don Miller, PTS, Artasia and 16 others like this.
  20. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,099
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2019

Share This Page