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SoCal @ Hilton LAX 10/18/08


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Meet Impressions

'Twas another great meet to add to the history books. Quality listening enhanced by a group of great people. Lots of new faces too, was great to meet everyone. Big thanks to 909 for organizing and pulling it off without a hitch. Great location also, will make for another great National Meet next year, and I can see this hotel will work out great for quieter listening in more isolated environments. The only issue that will need to be worked on will be the A/C. ;)

And as I've said before on the other site, these meets are always a great experience. Not only for the gear but for the people who come - I continue to be impressed by the quality of people in this hobby. Half the fun of a meet is hanging out with new people and in that aspect this meet was a blast from pre-setup to the goings-on at dinner. :P

Equipment Impressions

- Luxman P-1 w/ Marantz CD5000 CDP and MHDT Paradisea DAC: I listened to this with my AKG K701 w/ SAA Equinox and Audio-Technica AD2000 w/ APureSound V3. Overall a very good amp - nothing really wrong that I heard in a semi-critical listen, and in fact a few things stood out about it. The treble was clean & clear, mid-range was nicely fleshed out, and it had strong deep bass - excellent bass response in fact, very extended and very weighty. The sound was also very fast and full of PRAT. Sonically, a great match for the AD2000 - good enough that I would absolutely recommend it for the AD2000. Though it also sounded good with the K701, it was definitely better for the AD2K - it took nothing away from the speed of the headphones and kept right up with it. On the other hand, the amp is $2.4K, which is pretty steep particularly for a solid state amp that's not balanced from input to output. It would be worth buying if it was maybe $1K less, but $2.4K is really just too expensive for an amp that's not balanced all the way through and essentially feature-less (except for the three headphone jacks of course). On sound alone, I didn't feel the $2.4K price tag is worth it, but if I was able to spend more time with it in my own setup, that could change.

I read some impressions of this amp over at HF in the Marin meet impressions that criticized its mid-range & bass - I'd guess that's probably due to source, as the source at this meet was a DAC with a tube output, which I presume would explain the full mid-range & bass that I heard. I can only assume then that the amp may be relatively transparent and will show a source for what it is.

- DigiPete's 4-channel balanced Dynahi (Dynamite) w/ SACDMods-Denon 2910: I listened to this setup in balanced mode with my K701. It was very open-sounding, but almost none of the sound was really to personal preference. Given the sonic transparency of the Dynahi that I know it has, I attribute the sound to the CDP. There wasn't close to enough treble energy that made it clean or clear (it was actually somewhat grainy), and not enough clear "focus" on individual layers. And there was some mid-range emphasis that detracted from the treble and bass. On the plus side, I could tell the amp had no trouble driving the K701 - the sound was fast and full of energy. DigiPete's build was also very nice-looking and looked slick with the compact dual-chassis and labels.

- Singlepower SDS XLR w/ Audio Note DAC 5 Signature & WAV files on computer: Gave this a good semi-critical listen with my K701 in balanced mode. It sounded good but I wasn't really impressed by anything about it - not that it means it was bad, it just didn't seem to do anything special. I was expecting to be impressed by such a high-value amp but it left me wondering what exactly was great about it. Maybe it pairs better with other headphones, I don't know.

- Sony MDR-R10 w/ SDS XLR: I was mildly curious about the R10 again when I saw it, so I checked out blubliss' balanced model briefly. This was my 3rd time listening to the R10 (always in meet conditions at that), and again I was still vastly underwhelmed (with music that I know, I might add). I mean, it sounds ok, but I've heard a lot of headphones in my time and don't get the R10 raving - it didn't seem like it was particularly great at anything. To each their own I guess. The only discontinued high-end headphones that I actually like the sound of are the Qualia 010 and PS-1, for different reasons. I really don't get the R10 and probably never will.

- Singlepower ES-2 w/ Stax OII MKI: This setup also sounded good, though I wouldn't say it blew me away. I sat down to listen primarily to find out if it might be worth switching my MKII for an MKI and came away thinking that it may very well be worth it. I couldn't really find anything to complain about it - assuming the amp didn't add much coloration, I'd say the MKI has less mid-bass bloat and an overall lighter touch than the MKII (and incidentally, the computer acting as the transport actually had some of my reference CD tracks).

- Eddie Current Zana Deux w/ Marantz SA8001: On this system, I listened to my own K701, along with Uncle Erik's HD650, HD600 w/ Cardas, K501, K240DF, and Beyerdynamic DT48. The HD600 was better than I remembered when I last owned one in 2006 - very natural tone and hard to fault anything about it. The HD650, not so much, just too much distracting mid-bass and mid-range. The K501 was nice to revisit (having previously owned a bass-light one) and sounded good with the amp. The K240DF was also pretty good but not my thing, kinda hollow in the mid-range but it was nicely clear and detailed. The DT48 I was disappointed by, given recent threads on Head-Fi about it. It had a relatively flat response, but it had a ton of clamping force (very uncomfortable), lacked some mid-range, and was very closed-in sounding. I was most impressed by my own K701 on this setup. The amp & CDP gave a sound that was very immediate and very liquid - smooth with a high sense of the music just flowing around in the drivers. It was also very bold & dynamic, lots of power to especially high-volume surges - it made music very exciting to listen to. I was convinced the amp is probably an excellent one for the K701.

- Eddie Current HD2 w/ Reimyo CDP-777: This setup was a lot more subtle-sounding than the previous one, as in less immediate & less punchy as far as the dynamics go. It did "quiet" and "loud" with better contrast, and was also more low-key at quiet parts. I got a sense of it being more laidback and refined than the previous ZD setup. And it was definitely more detailed as far as separating layers from each other - for the first time ever I heard clear delineation between the background "ghost" vocals & Steven Wilson's vocals on Porcupine Tree's "Blackest Eyes" which was a revelation.

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Meet Pics

Iron_Dreamer's pics on HF: Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio - View Single Post - LAX Hilton Can Meet 10/18/2008 Impressions

zippy2001's pics on HF: Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio - View Single Post - LAX Hilton Can Meet 10/18/2008 Impressions, http://www.head-fi.org/forums/4882497-post34.html, Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio - View Single Post - LAX Hilton Can Meet 10/18/2008 Impressions

blubliss' Singlepower ES-2 and SDS XLR

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DigiPete's Dynamite (4-channel balanced Dynahi) w/ SACDMods Denon 2910

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ldj325's Rudistor RPX-100 sourced by Naim CD5i

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Luxman P-1

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Marantz CD5000 transport & MHDT Paradisea DAC (feeding Luxman P-1)

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909's Reimyo CDP-777 and Eddie Current HD2

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DarkVoice THA 337

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Iron_Dreamer and jp11801 (shot with one of Iron_Dreamer's lenses)

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Eddie Current Aficianado, front

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Eddie Current Aficianado, back

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Eddie Current Lunch Box Pro

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Uncle Erik's table featuring K240DF, K501, K701, 2003 DT880, DT48, K1000, HP1000, HD600 w/ Cardas, & HD650 from Zana Deux and SA8001

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Beyerdynamic DT48

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Rotel RCD-1072 and Singlepower MPX3

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Edwood's Grace M902 w/ K1000

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Ferbose's Oppo DVDP & Benchmark DAC1 to Cayin HA-1A and K701/K1000

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Smyth SVS Realiser A8 surround sound processor

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909's Reimyo CDP-777

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Disc spinning inside CDP-777

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RSA P-51 Mustang, front

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RSA P-51 Mustang, back

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RSA P-51 Mustang, top

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RSA P-51 Mustang size comparison with Tomahawk (bottom amp)

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Audio Note DAC5 Signature, back

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Inside Audio Note DAC5 Signature

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Iron_Dreamer's and Edwood's Toshiba laptops

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Group shot taken by Iron_Dreamer - Uncle Erik, Ray Samuels, Jasper994, unknown guy #1, Edwood, LFF, unknown guy #2, Asr, DouglasQuaid (I accidentally deleted a perfectly ok non-flash pic Peter took before this, argh! So here's the with-flash pic converted to grayscale)

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No I wasn't thinking of any pics specifically, you can decide which ones to post at HF. If you have access to any hosting space though, I think it might be a better idea to re-host the ones you pick so you can rename the files and Head-Fiers won't guess the URLs for "missing" pics in the series...

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ASR,

Thanks for the nice pics and your impressions.

Just to point out a few corrections:

- DigiPete's 4-channel balanced Dynahi (Dynamite)

w/ SACDMods-Denon 3930CI

Also, given that ASR remarked to me that he likes a source with a tipped up treble balance, I can see why he thinks the treble from the 3930CI is not to his liking. But eveyone hears differently and has different preferences.

I find it quite clear and balanced with respect to the mids and lows, and not grainy at all.

Maybe it was his headphones with the equinox cord causing issues?

Cheers

Pete

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Just to point out a few corrections:

- DigiPete's 4-channel balanced Dynahi (Dynamite)

w/ SACDMods-Denon 3930CI

Also, given that ASR remarked to me that he likes a source with a tipped up treble balance, I can see why he thinks the treble from the 3930CI is not to his liking. But eveyone hears differently and has different preferences.

I find it quite clear and balanced with respect to the mids and lows, and not grainy at all.

Maybe it was his headphones with the equinox cord causing issues?

I figured I'd probably gotten your source wrong, thx for that correction. I didn't start writing down notes until everyone was packing up and by the time I got pen & paper, your stuff was already gone. :palm: As for how I heard your setup, well I guess we'll just chalk that up to different ears & K701 cables, since our serial numbers are both from the first batch. ;)

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The Aficiando did not have a power supply present so it was not hooked up. The question of which is a better sounding amp has yet to be decided. Also he does not expect to get the transformers for the Aficionado for a few more weeks. It will be priced at 4k.

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My guess is better components and/or better PSU. Maybe different tube compliment as I can't pick those out. It's already made in latvia, so costs are cheap and there is no need to get China involved. No info on the Eddie Current website yet.

Anyone have any impressions on the DT48s? I've been strongly considering those for the last little while.

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Thank you to everyone that participated and supported our event, which not only made it a reality, but made it a success on many, many levels.

Craig (aka Eddie Current) was the first vendor to get a table. Two of the guys from Smyth Research flew in from the UK. Ray and Mikhail flew out too. Andy (aka blubliss) bought two more tickets than needed to support the event at the early stages. Additionally, he along with FrankCooter and Smyth all brought a load of gear on their own pallet unlike anything I’ve seen before at a local meet. Zippy2001 supplied the free CDs to every eticket attendee and the cool CD and vinyl boxset door prizes plus printed out the nametags with avatars. Edwood handled directions and the floor map. Velogreg put together the gear list. And after the meet Iron_Dreamer took pics of the hotel for CJ09. If I forgot anyone, I apologize, and thanks again to everyone. oh, ASR flew out as well and Grover Huffman donated his newest RCA cables, which will ship to a lucky winner shortly.

I didn’t get to do a ton of listening, but here is the first thing I heard and a few more things as the meet was winding down.

P-51 Mustang –

This thing is just a little larger than a wooden stick matchbox. As a gadget geek I totally appreciated the small coolness factor. It sounded pretty good considering it was an ultra-tiny portable amp, though, the 508.24 source and R10 headphones didn’t hurt.

Smyth Research –

WOW! This is some sick new technology. It really replicates that movie listening experience and the home theater 5.1 surround sound. I still have a hard time believing what I was hearing wasn’t actually speakers, but headphones.

SinglePower –

I didn’t get an opportunity to listen to the ES-2 again as I had wanted, but thought the SDS XLR sounded really great and the MPX3 sounded very nice. It certainly helped to have those quality sources feeding it (APL 3.0 and the Audio 5 Signature). I am not a huge R10 fan, but I have to admit on blubliss’ SDS XLR with music that generally isn’t my cup of tea they still sounded awfully good and that speaks a lot about the greatness of his system.

FrankCooter –

I am still pissed we couldn’t resolve that hum. Even now, I wish I would have thought/suggested that we move you into the Marina room to see if that would have done the trick. Given what most surmised to be a ground loop issue, I’d have to say that still I could hear the greatness. Not only does your stuff look absolutely stunning, but sounds every bit as nice.

I hope everyone had a good time and don’t forget CJ09 is only SEVEN months away!

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Craig is talking about a transformer coupled "Zana Deux T" I forget what the T stands for but basically it'll sound much like the Nautilus which is a balanced transformer coupled 6c33 amp. He said he just got word about Electra Print partial silver transformers which he will be using with it. Amp will be 2500 and can theoretically be converted to use any of the tubes that the Balancing Act can use.

Sounds like this will be a regular line. Very exciting.

"Give Min a call and ask him if you can borrow the Nautilus for awhile. That amp will sound almost exactly the same as the new ZDT, which is the balanced transformer coupled version of the Zana Deux. I am running them now for $2500.00 which includes the tubes, and wooden shipping crate."

Rather:

"I just got off the phone with Jack from Electra-Print. He can make me a partial silver output transformer that would work on the ZD chassis with the same choice of output tubes as the BA. I could build this amp for $2500.00, so all is not lost if you miss out on this run of BA's. This is my model ZDT and I am running them with this run of ZD's."

Totally no idea what I want.. but probably the Balancing Act unless somehow the AD1 shows it will just smoke the 307A.

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Craig is talking about a transformer coupled "Zana Deux T" I forget what the T stands for but basically it'll sound much like the Nautilus which is a balanced transformer coupled 6c33 amp. He said he just got word about Electra Print partial silver transformers which he will be using with it. Amp will be 2500 and can theoretically be converted to use any of the tubes that the Balancing Act can use.

Hmmm, could it be Transformer?!

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