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SF Bay Area 2/27/10


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supposedly it is actually at the assemblers being made right now...he promised that the final version was the one at the meet.

he said it should be in a couple of weeks for shipment.

will leave it to others to talk about impressions as i only spent a few minutes listening to it.

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I invariably attend meets more for the people than the gear and in that aspect, this meet was yet another smashing time. Lots of HC folks that also included Pliny the Younger and Older from FL. ;) 'Twas great to catch up with the NorCal crew since the last meet, and there were lots of newbies too. I did listen to some gear but not too much - there's really not that much gear I'm interested in hearing anymore since I've gone through a lot of it myself. I spent a lot more time going around and talking to people and taking pics than anything else. Even trying to just sit down and listen to music wasn't enjoyable due to the meet noise and I just gave up. Not that I'm complaining per se, but having to turn up the volume because of meet noise killed my enjoyment factor, so I didn't try to listen much for that reason either.

The post-meet stuff at Al's hideout in Mayberry was definitely the highlight for me. Really cool place and I enjoyed downing the available forms of liquor. The pizza was really good too, including the one with the corn-based crust.

Grahame videotaped some interviews with some key people during the meet that included Al, Matt, Gene, Peter (Iron_Dreamer) (and a couple other folks too that also included fresh newbies) and we watched the raw footage at Al's hideout, and the footage turned out to be way more hilarious than intended. I can't wait to watch what Grahame puts out for us later, hopefully we also get the unedited video because it was honestly ultra-hilarious and I could NOT stop laughing at it and the roasting that everyone was ribbing at each other while we were watching.

I'm now really looking forward to this coming weekend for the follow-up Beerfest & schmoozing in Tampa. :)

Both gear impressions and pics to come tomorrow.

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Well, the meet weekend started at around 3pm Thursday and lasted until I dropped off Gene and Matt at the airport. Here's a synopsis of events:

1. Thursday, 3pm. Converged at Toronado with Gene and Matt who had flown in from Florida, Ken who drove up from Santa Barbara and Peter who came in from the Sierra foothills. Gene was on his fourth beer when I arrived less than an hour after they did. I managed to get a couple of beers while the rest kept up the pace.

2. Thursday evening. Dropped gear in Mayberry, added Grahame to the merry band, continued with Pliny the Younger (thankfully the growlers I bought on the black market were not filled with man piss as JP had speculated jealously from afar) and some whisk(e)y from the Whisky Cart I had set up, had dinner at Iron Springs brew pub, and watched Peter stumble around and laugh. MikeyMad met us there, and then we retired back to Mayberry for some serious late night drinking and whisk(e)y tasting. Mikey and Grahame went home and the rest of us bunked down in Mayberry.

3. Friday morning. Pain. And general sluggishness. Luckily it was raining and the crew was up for a slow day at the house recovering and getting ready for the evening. It turned out to be a nice mellow day listening to music and bullshitting, as we always do. Recovered from hangover slowly but surely. FrankCooter showed up, Grahame returned and started talking head interviews for his short film on the meet, and we hung out more.

4. Friday evening. Realized that it was time to get going to SF to pick up gear delivered to my office and then to meet up with my wife to have dinner and see Joshua Redman. After getting the gear, we hustled over to City Beer for a quick pint (or two), but also bought some more beer to take back to the house. We met Claire and then had a nice dinner at a Chinese restaurant and managed another beer or two. Met up with Ric blessingx just in time for Joshua Redman at Grace Cathedral. The concert was fantastic, and he really explored the space walken.jpg -- playing while walking all around the entire cathedral space. Amazing acoustics and natural reverb, etc. Back to Mayberry with all but Claire and then we ended up staying up very late again but with far less alcohol consumption, much to Ric's chagrin.

5. Saturday morning/afternoon. Got up early and packed the cars and had some of the egg brick Matt baked up (not a souffle because that is not manly enough). Got on the road to the meet and made pretty good time getting to the meet. Unpacked, set up all kinds of gear. Marveled at the engineering genius and thought that goes into the Woo Audio WES shipping crates/foams/packing lists/instructions/etc. Class act, Woo is. Did the meet thing, had In-N-Out with much of the crew plus Justin, Dan C, atothex, and others. Went back for more meet, listened very little, got filmed more by Grahame, opened the adult beverage area by MikeyMad's rig (much to his chagrin but thankfully without any gear being fried) and then broke down the meet between 6 - 7. Grahame drove home, and we picked up MikeyMad, Filburt and Asr for the trip back to Mayberry.

6. Saturday night. Picked up 4 pies from the Pizza Nazi who fed the crown at MOA I and got moar beer for the masses. Drank, listened to music, watched Grahame's raw video at laughed at each other. Drank some more waiting for Steve to be drunk like he said he was going to be, argued about Mac vs. PC and had people mock my printer, and generally had tons more fun. Ric and Steve decided to leave and Filburt decided to stay, and Ric graciously drove Steve back to the hotel. Not as late a night as the last two but plenty of fun.

7. Sunday. Frank took off in the morning and the rest of us went for brunch to the sister Thai Buddhist temple to the one down Matt's street in Tampa. They have a Sunday brunch open to the public and we met Grahame and his wife there for some tasty Thai food and good Karma. Ken took off for home, and the rest of us went for a toursity drive through Berkeley and a walk on the campus. We had a beer at Blakes on Telegraph and watched some USA/Canada hockey. Filburt and Grahame & Joann went their separate ways, and we were down to Matt, Gene and Peter back at Mayberry. We cleaned up a bit, packed up the van again, and headed for SF. Claire made dinner, we hung out with my kids and then Peter drove off and I took Matt and Gene to the airport, the official end to the meet.

Good times, and a nice warm-up for MOA II in the Fall. Be there or be an :asshat:


Edited by Voltron
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Craig was pretty adamant that the phono stages are being built now and that the one at the meet was a production unit that was the sample used by the build house (or whoever it is). He said that the MM only version is $900 and the MM/MC with the Cinemag something or other transformers is $1200. He also said that he plans to offer two versions -- maybe later on? -- one with 6SL7s like the current one and one with 12AX7s as an alternative. Anyway, it sounded really quite nice. It has a deep black background with effectively no noise (I couldn't hear any) and a very nice sound even from a pretty economical old TT. Good stuff and a definite possibility for me.

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Stax 4070 & SR-Omega, revisited (source: Voltron's Amarra setup | amp: Woo WES)

I really wanted to check out the 4070 again, to find out if it might be worth buying to try out, and my conclusion was that I might very well buy one eventually. The closed design helped muffle the meet noise a bit when it seemed to be at a fever pitch, which was nice. The 4070 hit a bunch of right spots for me - it had a fair amount of treble but just enough bass at the same time. I actually listened to the 4070 twice, once early in the day and then again much later, which was interesting because the first session actually bothered my ears (the upper mid-range distracted a bit with some extra "bronzy" effect) but the later session went just fine and I noticed no unpleasant aspects. Aspects of the 4070 that I liked included its speed, the amount of treble, and an appreciably large soundstage that almost seemed to "reverb" at times - not sure if this was part of the recording or not though.

The SR-Omega was more of a different flavor with less treble and more mid-range in comparison, but it too sounded very good. It sort of reminded me of the OII but with a little more tilt towards the treble. I haven't listened to my OII very recently though so that might also be inaccurate. (Been listening more to my dynamic setup lately.) I think I might want to also buy an SR-Omega at some point...maybe.

Beyerdynamic T1

This has definitely been big on my radar ever since someone on Head-Fi proclaimed that it had a similarity to the Grado HP1000.

Well, I'm going to call a "yeah, right" on that. I heard these first on Al's Luxman P-1 and then later on, on my Ayre QB-9 & SPL Auditor combo. I wanted to try them on my own music and apparently the SPL should be a technically proficient amp for it too with the 120V circuit technology (whatever that means) and 1.7W at 600 Ohms. Because I ran these off my laptop PC, I was able to quickly run through a wide array of music ranging from Baroque classical (Julia Fischer's Bach Concertos) to metal (Megadeth, Symphony X, Beyond Twilight) to classic rock (Led Zeppelin, The Eagles) to jazz/blues (Anne Bisson, Eva Cassidy, Sonny Clark) to electronica (The Crystal Method, The Prodigy) to my favorite bluegrass (Alison Krauss & Union Station). (I also went through my 24/88 of Rebecca Pidgeon's The Raven and 24/96 of Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' Raising Sand.)

Ok maybe I should start by saying that I thought the T1 was actually pretty good. It's not like it was terrible and sounded like ass or anything like that. It had good separation between instruments, a relatively clear mid-range (and not too much mid-range either), both treble and bass (though it didn't sound too bass-heavy and it certainly wasn't bright), and it was also moderately fast (though I'm not sure how fast it is, since I didn't bring any of my headphones other than the HE-5 which I'm still learning about).

But while the T1 sounded good, there wasn't a single aspect that stood out about it and some that distinctly underwhelmed me. I immediately wanted more & faster bass on my electronica music, more power drive & mid-bass on metal music, more liquid presence to female vocals & full-range instruments, and finally, MOAR TREBLE!!! :P

All that said, I still intend to buy the T1 though, because I thought it was interesting and worth checking out for an intensive listen.

I can also say that the T1 didn't really sound like any other headphones that I've heard and it left me grasping at straws trying to think of its closest sonic relative(s).

I did not listen to any other gear. I did say in post #11 above that I didn't listen to much. ;)

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Head-Fi pics have been posted here: Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio - View Single Post - NorCal - SF Bay Area Feb 27 Meet Impressions

HC exclusive pics: (can click for larger)

guzziguy's Nugget Audio MenaceTC Lite


Grahame, with Al and George (puffkuh) behind


The small Qualia actually fits on Peter's head! :P


The liquor awaiting us at the lair in Mayberry


Matt & Peter


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Here's what I posted over on hf - very sanitized. moar to come for hc eyes only ...

Another great NorCal meet! Thanks, Al for all the hard work of organizing after jp had to bail to the east coast for job move, and even more thanks for hosting the Florida travel team over a fun filled weekend.

First off, here is the hands down, no argument best of show. Frank Cooter and his exquisite hand built amp. Just incredible from any angle - workmanship, aesthetics, or sound from the HE-5s or K1000.







Some other impressive rigs, in no particular order, and the people behind them …

Craig Uthus (talking with Grahame) and the beautiful Eddie Current gear




MikeyMad and the versatile Woo 5 that drove everything, including K1000 and Stax OIIs (via SRD 7).




Ironbutts great tape rig that always is a show stopper



Ti's (AMB) table that was over the top as usual


The AMB Gamma vs DAC1 dac-off






linuxworks pron


FallenAngel (Pavel) had amazing diy gear, and single handedly made the raffle a success by donating two beautiful amps




he has good taste in purchased gear, too


BigGuy and family


Voltron was insane as usual with the Mac mini Amarra rig feeding the Luxman P-1 and beautiful new Woo Audio electrostatic rig. NightWoundsTime and I can attest to the meticulous build quality and attention to detail that the Woo family put into their gear, because we unpacked the 2 big wooden shipping crates the beast was shipped in - custom foam padding, and each piece down to single screws bagged and labeled - impressive.




More to follow ...

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