Source A/V Event in Torrance, CA

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by velvetx, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
  2. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

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    Just saw this now. I think I can make it out there. I'll at least recognize a couple of Head Fi people at least...
     
  3. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Awesome man I hope you can. It would be interesting to meet some more SBAFs and after my flame post on HF about the LCD-4 I might need some backup from the fanbois.
     
  4. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

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    I should be there. I really don't worry about who I should avoid or what not, and alot of that fanboi behavior is "internet tough guy" crap anyway. You'll be fine. Not like you're going to announce your presence and restate that post to everyone there.

    Besides, what would you expect from folk who do up their reviews on HF using the words "sounds excellent" and "musical" as the basis for their review.
     
  5. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Haha. I was kidding but yah I should be landing in LAX at 10:05am so by the time I get a rental I will hopefully be there by 11am. Then I am flying out at 7pm.

    See you there.
     
  6. burnspbesq

    burnspbesq Friend

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    Interesting. Might be a good opportunity to check out the Noble Savant. And to see whether Questyle has cleaned up the UI issues that made me run away from their table at Can Jam at the Westin in March.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Who is Jason Lord?
     
  8. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Jason Lord is the owner of Source A/V
     
  9. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    I'll be there with the short blonde wife. Wanna checkout the dharma and the savants.
     
  10. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Awesome see you there.
     
  11. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Should be there. I'm curious to AB LCD4 and Dharma against HD800
     
  12. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Awesome man SBAF's definitely going to be representing at this meet. I land at LAX around 10:05 and will grab my rental then head down to Torrance so hopefully I will try to get there around 11:15-11:30. I'll send out a message on Friday to everyone with my information if you guys want to meet up either at the beginning or later in the day.

    I will have to cut out a little early though since my return flight is at 6:55pm
     
  13. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    Figured I would say a little something since this meet was pretty awesome. Listening to a little Miles Davis on my flight back to the Bay while writing this which always put me in a good mood.

    Let's start with the best part of the meet being able to meet and talk with everyone (hung out with insidious, Ojneg neogeosnk, and a surprise guest). Since I had heard most of the gear at this meet and since it was much smaller I was able to really focus on conversing with fellow members of the community. However, at this meet I was once again enlightened by two people who really know their stuff. I feel like a complete noob at times (yes I admit this freely) when writing and definitely try my best to articulate impressions in a way that everyone can easily understand and follow. I don't always use the correct terminology or say the correct things but feel like I can reach some at least on a subjective level (which for me is what I focus on). Anyway, Oj and Mike (suprise guest) definitely know their stuff and when I heard them talk about gear it was on a completely different level. These two definitely know a lot about headphones, amps, and dacs to a point where they can not only subjectively but objectively tell what they are hearing (I think they do a great job of weaving both in together). I really kind of felt out of place at times because I just wanted to know more (one thing I regret was not spending the extra money to stay the night). Mike said that I popped my cherry and I kind of feel like I did there and will be looking for different things in the gear I listen to in future events. Please keep in mind I will not stray from my subjective nature but I will add more objectivity in a way that noobs like even me can understand (or definitely try haha).

    Impressions:

    Enigmacoustics Dharma - My first impression when I listened to it today was not good. I felt that the sound was too lean, no bass, but detailed. The tone was good but this headphone was completely different than what I heard at RMAF. I was like WTF. This time though the Dharma rep was there and listened to what I had to say then asked me to take out my DAP and give it a listen (which today I used my HTC M9 phone with dbpoweramp). I did and everything that I loved about the Dharma after listening to it the first time was present. The speed, the tonal balance, detailed vocals, and bass were present in full force. I thought it was strange at first but then I looked at what was driving the Dharma and it was the Questyle 800r in monoblock setup. I don't know what happened but I remember what Hifiman said to me about the HEX being driven by the Vi DAC (too much power for the HEX). I am certain that is not the truth but I was disappointed with the pairing of the Questyle 800r and the Dharma.

    Audeze LCD 4 - Nothing new here still sounded pretty bad. Good details, mids, and vocals but no bass. I listened to this both from the Moon Neo 430HA and it either wasn't able to drive the LCD 4 or it was just a bad pairing. The Moon with the LCD 4 soundstage was constricted reminding me of a typical closed back headphone. The music suffered as a result of this pairing to a degree where it made the LCD 4 even more unlistenable. However, with with the Questyle 800r (non monoblock) it returned to the dull and lifeless headphone I heard at RMAF. Not going to get into too much further but once again will say DO NOT BUY THIS HEADPHONE FOR WHATEVER REASON WITHOUT LISTENING TO IT.

    Mr Speakers Ether - I like this headphone but the pairing with the Questyle 800r sucked the life out of it. It became dull and lifeless and I can only attribute this to the Questyle 800r because on the Ragnarok at RMAF it sounded fantastic. Maybe because the Ether is slightly leaner the combination with the Questyle amp just wasn't a good fit.

    Kimber Cables - Interesting enough Kimber had a $700 cable that they wanted me to try with the Sony Z7 which I hadn't listened to before (thank god) today. So Kimber's argument is that if you have a nice set of cans why skimp on the stock cable. I told them if I pay for a nice set of cans I shouldn't need to spend an additional $700 on a cable. Anyway long story short I told them that yes the cable made a positive impact on the Z7 however if you figure this headphone is $500 and you get a $700 cable for it that makes no sense. I rather just buy a better headphone. So we tested this theory with the LCD X. The results were more what I thought. When you get into higher end headphones the need for an overly expensive cable greatly lessens. The LCD X did gain a more detailed bass (tighter) however at what cost? The LCD X I listened to sounded good enough without the extra $700. I don't want to offend anyone who spends money on expensive cables but to me subjectively it didn't make the impact I would expect $700 to do.

    Just a few other highlights was talking to Mike Mercer and calling him out about when he's going to come out and tell the truth about the LCD 4. He claims he will write a straight up truth article but I will believe it when I see it. Warren from HF was also there and again really nice guy if you haven't had the chance to talk with him you should. He tells it like it is though in a more PC manner on HF but if you talk to him at a meet he will say straight up his thoughts. The $800k McIntosh movie room (per one of the Lord brothers) was awesome and just wow watching a movie in that room was probably one of the best home theater experiences I have had.

    Oh yah I picked up a Questyle QP1R while I was there so I look forward to having people listen to it at future meets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2016
  14. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Best to integrate impressions into this thread as I don't suppose we're going to have that many

    Headphone stuff

    EnigmaAcoustics Dharma


    For anyone keeping track there have been a few different variants of the Dharma for folks to demo. At CanJam Socal 2015 many of us heard it first, and I am told that was the "pre-pre production" version. This is where I first heard the Dharma. Then there was the version at THE Show Irvine which was the "pre-production". I never heard this. The version I heard today was production, which is the same version that was at Big Sound with Tyll as well as other bigtime reviewers I am told. I'll lay things out simply

    + Great soundstage depth and width. I think these guys definitely took some cues from the HD800's cup design to achieve this
    + Reasonably neutral. Not the smoothest headphone in the treble and upper mids but it's well balanced
    + Good cohesiveness. This was my biggest complaint when I heard it at CanJam. Things have improved incredibly since then in this area. I remember listening to "Get Lucky" and noting how the bass seemed like it was a good 0.5s behind the tweeter. That problem is gone. It's still not perfectly seemless but I'm not sure if it can even get any better for a 2-way headphone

    - The dynamic driver. Simply put the woofer is not as clean and capable as what I would expect. It's not on the same level as the electret element. This hurts overall resolution and clarity. I wish they could put something awesome like a TH900 driver in there
    - Vocals. Not quite right to me. Like added syrup and euphonic components. Possibly an amp problem but it might be that woofer's lack of refinement slowing things down

    Hard for me to give this an unreserved recommendation because they're competing with HD800, etc. but I think this is a solid headphone and I hope it sells well. I can only hope for more cool stuff from these guys.

    Audeze LCD-4

    So four of us got to sit down and AB the LCD-4 next to my modded HD800 for a good amount of time. Both Questyle mono block amp and SimAudio were used. Not going to go into that as they're both mediocre amps but I think the Sim was more than good enough for the purpose of the comparisons. Really no surprises here for those that can already guess. Same Audeze house sound. HD800 destroys the LCD4 in clarity, ease, speed, resolution, etc. etc. I was getting LCD3F-esque flashbacks of epic fail.

    +Phat bass brah

    - Lack of control and precision
    - Seeping warmth
    - Lack of top-end

    The topic of LCD4 vs. HE1000 came up after, which is probably a more fair and appropriate comparison at the end of the day. Nick (velvet) mentioned he'd prefer the HE1000. I wasn't sure, but I might give it to the LCD4 because at least it's got some bigger balls as opposed to the softer Chinese sound. Would be interesting to do a direct comparison.

    Noble Savant

    + Decent tone and integration

    - Not particularly dynamic or resolving for price. Warmer sounding that I remember the K10 or 4 being.

    I checked the Head-Fi reviews because this is a bit of an odd-one to place in their product line (Noble's product line doesn't make sense to me in the first place as I don't believe in side-grades or mid-fi purgatorial masturbation). People saying all sort of weird shit like there's no bass (I thought the bass had a fairly warm, bloomy quality to it i.e. not bass-lite) and/or great detail/resolution (I thought resolving and transparent qualities were behind my reference IEMs) so take my impressions for what you will. I still think folks are better off with Tenores or DBA02 clones. To Noble's credit, their multi-way stuff is pretty cohesive and well integrated.

    Questyle QP1(R) DAP


    Questyle gear was everywhere today as this event was sponsored by them. (Big thanks if you guys are reading this). After hearing everything they have to offer in various rigs, I feel safe saying that their DAP is their best offering. At CanJam I took the time to compare the 1 and 1R models. I came to conclusion that the 1R was actually a bit warmer and less to my liking than the 1. Today I came away with the impression that the two were more similar sounding than I remember. I was later told that the 1R was tweaked since I last heard it which might explain things. Regardless I think the DAP is good stuff sonically. I'd definitely put it as less bright than say...an AK Jr....but not as forgiving and soft as something like the Pono. The UI makes sense to me and the price isn't outrageous. It's going to be on my watch list as I still need to find a suitable DAP to replace my Zune.

    Stax Booth (Questyle D/A -> Questyle Pre -> SRM-007tii -> SR009)

    No. Just no. Even n3rdling won't defend this shit.

    McIntosh Headamp dealio + McIntosh branded Beyer

    My HD800 plugged into this bad boy was the best sound I heard today. McIntosh seems to get a lot of shit from audiophiles probably because their aesthetic is hate/love or because they've become "mainstream" but I've never thought their amps were bad sounding. This amp is a pretty damn good match with the HD800 and the selectable autoformer windings offer some good flexibility for different headphone loads. This system had some real dynamics and life to it.

    As far as the Beyer-in-a-new-dress goes, same ol' stuff. Treble peakiness is still there. Not on same level of refinement compared to HD800.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  15. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Speaker stuff

    [​IMG]
    Pearl Evolution Linea Victor


    These didn't stack up. Funny sounding midrange distracts you. Imaging is poor.

    Out of curiousity we plugged the HD800 directly into the McIntosh pre and things improved drastically. Some minor nitpicks with the turntable + cartridge (we suspect) but an order of magnitude below the speakers
    [​IMG]
    MBL 116


    I had been turned off to MBL by randoms who told me they were earsheeringly bright. But I was flabbergasted when I heard these for real. Very neutral, spot on tonality. Woah. Great inviting midrange presentation. Woah. Great articulation on strings and space between notes. Woah Microdynamics supreme. True transparency. Woah. BOOOM!............WTF! These had a really bad spotlit bass mode somewhere down there. Fortunately it didn't impose on the rest of the signature. There's something to this omni thing. Hearing this has me thinking of building an omni speaker as my next project. But I also have to wonder how much of what I'm hearing is coming from the naturally excellent tweeter thingy, or the omni polar dispersion pattern.

    BTW if you play poorly mastered pop crap it will be revealed for what it is.....crap. Proof below. Note fancy pants CD clamp.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Focal Utopia

    Sorry for bad lighting. These win points for being pretty damn neutral. Unfortunately they lacked the air and articulation we had just experienced with the MBLs. It did seem to me that the bass was more in control with better heft and refinement. Not a bad speaker, but I think the speaker might actually be too big for its own good and hurting imaging and other qualities.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  16. Judeus

    Judeus Facebook Friend

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    OJneg, I like you.
     
  17. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Can never complain about free food and booze, especially when it's with friends. This meet had a really cool vibe since it was so much smaller than CanJam stuff. Not a ton of new stuff to check out but plenty of time to parse through everything and share thoughts.

    Great seeing/talking to others....iMeme, velvet, n3rdling, burns, abernardi, burns, and everyone else I forgot. :bird:
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2015
  18. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    What types of music do you normally listen to? Just kind of curious because you mentioned the LCD-4 had "phat bass." The type of bass I like is something tight and with a bit of slam I expect but I didn't really think that when comparing the slam of my LCD 2.2 to the LCD 4 I just felt it was extremely lacking.

    I felt the slam of the HD-800 both modded and unmodded was better than the LCD-4.
     
  19. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Don't worry, we can fix that. :Violin:

    I listen to everything from gangsta rap to traditional sitar compositions. I believe for the purpose of that comparison we had "Get Lucky", "Dreams" (Fleetwood Mac), and "Tears In Heaven" (Clapton Live). LCD4 had phat bass in the sense that it was so messy and uncontrolled like it was just resonating everywhere. Didn't know when to stop. In terms of impactful slam there are a few who feel the HD800 does that better than the Audezes.

    Also, impressions updated.
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    So how does "fleshy" work its way in with the LCD4?
     

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