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November NYC meet impressions


The Monkey
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Whoops, hit reply and didn't mean to do so w/o posting pics...

Tom's Krell Rig - sounded quite nice, as expected

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Bunch of Woo Gear

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Nikongod's toaster Supra - this is a heck of a setup, and his collection of old-school Grados is just awesome.

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Ng's source for the meet, surprisingly good for a budget rig

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I am now convinced that this is as real as trose gets...

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The Monkey's HR gear, I still really enjoy the balanced desktop

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Upstateguy's rig

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Headdirect (Fang) had lots of new stuff to show

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Hey, Jahn made it afterall

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NYC needs to start booking bigger rooms! :)

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lan doing his usual video thing

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The Pico, holy cow the thing is tiny

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Obigatory "I'm smaller than the hornet and have a DAC too" picture

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Yet again, one of Ray's power supplies blew a fuse and luckily I had my jumpers with me :)

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He doesn't look like a monkey...

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Potential next headphone?

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Brief impressions, I didn't listen to all that much gear, which seems to be a trend with me and meets.

First up, Nikongod's HP's. I've never heard these cans before and I didn't know what to expect. I came away very impressed and these are the first Grados that I'd heard with flats that I really enjoyed. Great balance, tone and accuracy, it's easy to see why folks rave about these cans and pay the prices that they do. If I had $1200 to spend on a headphone I'd certainly go this way rather than something like the Edition 9's. And Ari's Supra sounded pretty damn good with everything that I threw at it.

Speaking of the 9's, even on Tom's rig I simply couldn't get over the overpowering bass. He said that I should give them time and get used to them so I listened for a while and then switched to something else. My impression remains the same, huge bass that destroys the rest of the listening experience. I bet these headphones would be killer for listening to movies, but for music, no thanks.

The only other headphone that I made a real effort at listening to were the W5000s. The pair at the meet were recabled by some Enigma Audio company for balanced operation :). I'm currently in negotiations for a stock pair and figured that I should try and spend at least a bit of time with them and see what I might be getting myself into. I spent a bit of time with them on my meager balanced rig and well, was seriously unimpressed. I kept turning up the volume to try and get the lower mids and low frequency information to sound right, but that made the upper mids and highs just plain piercing. Listening to Joanna Newsom was a good way to highlight this. I then switched over to Ian's Millett rig since it was right next to mine and things got better so clearly synergy is something that will have to be carefully considered. The mini32 is no giant killer or world beater amp but it was sourced well and can sounded pretty darn good so it wasn't like I was feeding them crap and getting crap back. I would have really like to try the 5000's on Ari's Supra but it was busy when I had the 5's and I didn't want to hog someone elses headphones.

I also got a bit of time with Headdirect's new IEM's and clip ons. At that point of the meet it was pretty hard to make any meaningful impressions (LOUD) but what I did hear was pretty encouraging. Mostly I'll be keeping an eye on the G-1s (I think that's what they're called) as they're a clip on style headphone like the Koss 35's that I use at work right now and I wouldn't mind having another pair of decent sounding work headphones. The IEMs, which aren't named yet and still just prototypes produced a pretty amazing amount of bass for such a little thing. I was having fitment issues and the seal kept letting go so I didn't get very far in my impressions but one thing is for sure, they're hard as hell to drive. Fang had a 4G ipod and running them directly out of the headphone jack I as running the pods volume around 70% to get a normal listening level. And I tend to listen very quietly compared to other folks.

That's it for now.

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Some pics. Still figuring out the damn white balance. :(

My setup of the HR Balanced Desktop, HR Millet(t) Hybrid, and Desktop PS. I also had my balanced HD 650 and HF-1 there.

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Singlepower's Transparency Preamp.

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Ian's excellent sounding HF-1.

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Nate's balanced setup.

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Ari's Toaster. This amp looks so much better in person.

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RSA's power supply goes topless with audiophile-grade alligator clips.

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HE-90 coming out of this. I've learned not to start the day listening here.

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Woo amps.

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Not sure whose iPod docks these were.

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RSA's Apache.

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RSA's Predator.

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Singlepower Extreme.

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So at this point I definitely thought I was losing my mind, so I tracked down someone's later RS-1. I could not keep them on my head for more than 10 seconds... Everything I've ever hated about them was there. Harsh, sibilant highs, peaky mids, and an overall sound signature that, even on my warm-ish rig, sounded was so grating that I was worried I was going to break them trying to get them off my head so quickly!

Did you compare them with the same pads on the same rig with the same music?

I finally had a chance to hear the Denon D5000 and came away pleasantly surprised. They strike me as a fairly well-balanced headphone, with a pretty even response across the board. They seem to have a little trouble with faster, more complex music, but they sounded quite good accurately reproducing texture and atmosphere in darker, moodier pieces that had lots of layers of distorted and acoustic guitars, effects, vocals and drums. I'd almost consider these a poor-man's L3000, with a similar presentation, but not as technically proficient. If I ever need closed headphones for home use I'd consider these, knowing I'd still be relying on the HF-1 for faster, more complex music.

Hmmm your impressions of the d5000's pretty much mirror mine vs. grados. Hey wait a minute...

Biggie.

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Did you compare them with the same pads on the same rig with the same music?

I did. I had spent quite a bit of time with the old RS-1 on my rig, comparing it to my HF-1. I felt I knew what the old ones did well, and where they improved on aspects of the HF-1. After tracking down the 2nd pair later in the day, I went back and forth between the two RS-1s a few times and my strong reaction towards both remained. Both were with bowls, both out of the same rig, mine, and music, which were albums I know well. I really loved the old ones... I could hear all of the things people say are great about them. I'm not sure sure it would be worth the big investment to go from the $230 I'm into my HF-1s (Original purchase price, raw materials for woody mod) to whatever it would take to track down a vintage RS-1, but for the first time I can hear the things that people have said they do well. And I really couldn't stand the new ones at all... I don't think I can state my dislike for strongly enough. They really border on unlistenable to my ears, on my setup and every other setup I've heard them with. They were grating and there didn't seem musical at all. And I want to say that it's the 3rd for 4th pair of newer ones I've tried, and until I tried the vintage ones, I was starting to think my ears were broken, though they may still be :D

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oh and I won a pair of Senn PX250s for $15. Theyre pretty damn good for listening on a bus. Get rid of a lot of outside noise without screwing up the sound that much.

and K1000 + Woo 5 = amazing. Definitely the best rig I heard at the meet. One problem I had was that the highs were a little peaky but it wasnt that noticible in most songs. and the ES-1 + HE90 = awesome. Last meet I thought they were really boring, but this time, since I guess my ears got better, they portrayed the most realistic sound that I've heard coming from a headphone.

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The only photo felt like I needed to take.

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The IEM's are from Nankai (of Head-Direct), the same ones where the PK1 come from. These were prototypes of their IEM's which function quite like ER-4P/S.

The ugly contraption in the middle that looks like a couple of resistors wrapped in heatshrink is exactly what it looks like. :kitty:

It is an impedance adapter. I listened with and without adapter and felt they sounded like isolating PK1's with higher quality bass. Nothing like the ER-4 in sound, only in function. They were very hard to drive, but the pico handled them very well.

The music was full and did not exhibit any kind of blatant faults. The soundstage was more realistic than the ety's, and overall felt more dynamic. As fulfilling as the er4s lows and midrange was with the pico, this ugly thing one-up's it. Resolution was fine, but there could be more air and nuance. The only thing that I don't like about it besides the fit (more on that later) was that the lack of extension in the highest highs.

The fit sucked for me. They would fall out no matter what. I was provided alternate tips which fit better, but eventually unseated and would fall out after a few minutes anyway. I was informed they would be inserted maybe as deep as universal UE iems, or even less deep.

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flats flats flats flats flats

I honestly don't think the vintage RS-1s could've sounded any better. They absolutely rocked out of my little Millett, they sounded amazing single-ended out of the toaster Supra and they sounded great balanced out of Nate's rig. I'd really like to hear them out of a Beta22 at some point. They had a very well-balanced presentation with just the right balance of fun and refinement. I've heard newer RS-1s with bowls and flats before, and I didn't think care for it with either. The flats fix some of the problems I have with them, but they create others. I find them unlistenable with the bowls and just disappointingly muddy and congested with flats. My goal wasn't to get the most out of the RS-1 I didn't like... I was just looking for confirmation that my memories of newer RS-1s was correct after the vintage RS-1 love took me by complete surprise.

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well, the older RS-1s are definitely better than the newer ones, i can't argue with you there. ;) my biggest problem is that, while they are great for a small section of the music i listen to, they suck for so much else, vintage or modern.

Pffft, like I'm going to listen to a speaker guy about what headphones sound good. :P
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These are Warrior05's wooden docks. He does the wood work and he also made the stand next to them. Him and swt51 do some work together. They do not have V-Caps in them. He uses a Teflon cap (not sure which brand). He also uses a USB input powered by an AC>DC adapter with either RCA or 1/8" outputs (hence the 2 different docks). He's pretty cool people.

Anyone have a picture of the Dared MP-5 > TR2 > H2 setup?

BTW- They sounded dark and cavernous because they have new thicker prototype pads on them that causes the bass to get wooly and the midrange to recess. The H2's with the original pads sound a lot better, but they fall off of your head if you move. A meet is not the proper place to demo these as with the K1000's.

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Also, in the back of the pic you can spy a Trekstor Vibez 12 gig DAP. I didn't get to hear it, but it fits nicely in one hand, has a great interface and one of the nicest and smallest HD mp3 players I've seen. That version is expensive compared to a 80 gig Ipod though...$249. I want one, but there are lots of things I want.

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