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São Paulo – Brazil August Meet

Leonardo Drummond

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There's a group of Brazilian hobbyists on Facebook that we sometimes actually call the "Brazilian Head-Case" because it's a small and closed group of actual friends who are more experienced in the hobby and some of the traits that we find here (irreverence and occasionally some hostility :P ) are also found there. It's a place we really treasure. Recently we decided to get together in a meet and this is the result! The pictures are not mine, they're courtesy of Matias.


Impossible not to start with Hugo's Orpheus set (although that's not his DAC), always a fantastic joy to listen to.




















































^ The whole point of it all!


And now, to some brief impressions:


Sennheiser HD800

I never liked it, but recently got a pair, understood it and I'm a convert. I get fantastic results with the GS-X, but it's undeniably rather cold so I guess I like it a lot mostly because it has a role to play in a more complete system. I wouldn't be able to live with it as my only headphones with the HeadAmp, but I thought both the DNA Stratus and the Leben CS300XS made it a lot more musical.


HiFiMAN HE560 and HE6

The HE560 was a nice surprise mostly because of the upgrade in its physical qualities. Fit and finish is a lot better but the biggest improvement is the weight. It's really light and a lot more comfortable than the other models. Soundwise it seems more correct than the HE500 (although not as fun) but still clearly a step behind the HE6 in authority, resolution and transparency.


JVC DX1000

Nice headphone, but IMO not worth the price tag.


Audio-Technica W3000ANV

I always thought that pairing it with a more musical amp would be too much of a good thing but I was wrong. I reckoned the result with the DNA Stratus was utterly incredible.


AKG K1000

Again a surprise with Felipe's set – DNA Stratus and Yulong DAC. It really made it sing. It was never this good in my system.


Unique Melody Demos (Merlin, Miracle and Mentor)

Curiously I prefered the Merlin to the Miracle because it had smoother mids, but while I liked them, the treble was a bit pearcing for me after becoming accustomed to the Roxanne. The Mentor, however, is in a class of its own compared to the other two. Still no Roxanne, but to me it's a JH13 (pre-freq) beater.


Grado SR200 w/ Black Star HP1000 Drivers

Somehow it sounds a lot different than an actual HP1000 (which was present but didn't make it to the pictures). There's a lot less body, but there's also a lot more transparency.


Audez'e LCD-XC

After testing it with the Leben I thought it wasn't all that (still sounded like a closed headphone with somewhat sucked mids and piercing treble), but the Stratus changed that. I much prefer it to the LCD2, which I never liked.


Audez'e LCD-X

Even better! This I like.


Ultrasone Edition 8

Sounds good, although a bit too energetic and I think it's weirdly positioned in the market. Too expensive and in the territory of much more capable headphones.


Parrot Zyk

Big surprise! It's obviously not an audiophile headphone, but it sounds good enough for portable use, it's supremely comfortable, wireless and massively convenient.


DNA Stratus

As you can probably tell from what I already said about other equipment, this to me (and to most other people there) was the surprise of the show. I know they don't get much love around here but I thought it was an extremely musical and engaging amplifier. I'm usually a SS guy, but I really could see myself living with it. Plus, that blue paint is bloody incredible.


Calyx M Portable Player

In the past I've had a HiFiMAN HM-801, an iBasso DX100 and a Sony ZX-1. I sold all of these because to me they just weren't worth the extra over an iPod in sound quality terms, especially since the former two offered big compromises in terms of UI. Well, the Calyx is the exception and I thought if offered a pretty substantial upgrade in SQ, IMO well worth the money.



Already posted a review, so I guess some of you already know what I think. Great DAC, not so great headphone amp (even though it's technically a no-amp).


Schiit Magni

How on earth can something so small and cheap sound this good?

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Did you like that enormous POS which is the Leben?

You know what Antonio, that was really surprising for some of us, but the amount of people who didn't like it wasn't small and I had high expectations for this amp. Didn't know it was considered a POS around here, but now I'm not surprised.

Me and Hugo especially didn't like it. While it did soften the HD800, the mids were somehow distant and the total balance was weird. The result with the HD650 was especially wrong, it had so much bass! Also, I first heard the LCD-XC with it and didn't like it because it sounded too harsh in the treble and the mids were sucked out. The DNA solved the issue to a large extent.

I think the fact that I forgot to say what I thought about it says much...

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It was LOADS of fun!


Most and more important, even then Orpheus, is to be able to see a lot of friends, meet new friends and talk a lot about music and our passion, music. I know it sounds corny, but I guess we all love to see our friends, that´s what a meet is all about.


I, as opposed to Leo, liked A LOT the Leben sound paired with the HD800, listened to Midnight in Harlem from Tedesky Trucks Band, twice, and loved the sweet and bold presentation.


Also loved the UM Mentor, even as universal, at a point to seriously consider it to a near future.


But the star of the show was the DNA, because it drove all the phones with poise and finesse.


Bummer to wait another year to group this gang together, hopefully with new gears, since Stax was ill represented there.

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LOTS of FUN !!!

Great friends, big place, trash and serious talks.

Heavy gears, many rooms, nice food and drinks.

Some crazy people. Others, not so crazy, but almost there.

Heaven on earth...

My Wall of Fame:

BMC PureDAC and Luxman DSD DAC - great units/great sound.

DNA Stratus - best amp on the show.

Lovely Cube - best "bang for the bucks" amp.

Magni + Hifimediy Sabre DAC - like a "hi-end killer" combo.

UM Mentor - make me change my mind about IEMs.

LCD-X - Like it. But i dont feel such a great improvement over my LCD2.2 to make me rush and buy one (please dont take my money!!!)

HE560 and HE400 MOD with BTG Cable and J$ Pads.

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It was a fantastic time indeed! Mário and Faithless spoke well! Also about the Leben – while I didn't like it, some did and it was in meet conditions, so maybe I would think of it a bit differently. But I have to say that I didn't really like what I heard there.


Which speaks a lot of how they perform compared to modern standards  >:D


I'd have to agree ::)

Edited by Leonardo Drummond
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks a lot, guys! tin ear, I was amazed with how large (and beautiful) it is in person.


Ed, you'd be more than welcome, let us know before you come! Lately we've been trying to organize a meet once a year. About the Leben, I guess it's just like Mario said: some people did like it, but I didn't! In any case, it was in meet conditions, so who knows!


Emooze, it's Fabio's credit. He really was an incredible host!

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I too thought the Leben was a POS very colored and sounded like what people would quantify a tube amp to be, soft top and bottom end fuzzy warm midrange with soft transients. I'd rather by a used Fisher integrated amp and have it refurbed for the $$$. 


Godd to hear about the Caylx I really want to hear one of these

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DNA Stratus?  It's firmly on the the "what idiot threw this together" scale....




I know I am hearing impaired, because of shooting practice. I know I don´t have too much experience on top notch, first class, "audiophile" amps. I know a lot of "auiophiles" don´t like 2A3 for being too mellow, too soft, and all kind of stuff. I know a valve amp is as good as the iron, and You had told that the irons on DNA amps are el cheapo as it gets.


But, there were some skilled and seasoned friends down there at the meet that liked the presentation of that amp. With a lot of different hp, like HD800, HE-6 and AKG-1000.


So, if You don´t mind in answering this, what is the problem, sound quality wise, with this amp?



Great looking meet guys.  I used to host a meet.  It was the friendship that stood out.  I've forgotten about a lot of the gear we had.


We will try to have a meeting like this at least once a year. And, indeed, is the friendship that drives us to the meet, not the gear.


But, having a Orpheus to listen helps a lot. :)

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