Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by Marvey, Oct 21, 2015.
funny you say that bill already modded them prior to even asking. Haha.
This meet was so great for the people, space, quality, gear, surprises.
Damn it. Bill has sent me impressions/graphs of the his mods to TH-X00 and they are tempting me. I KNOW that I do not need any more headphones.
Well, IMO (personally), it's quite hard to express your own measurement about the differences between gears to others, but I'll try
ESP950 has some problems which kinda push me forward:
1. Sound stage is wide enough, but depth...if there is any...
2. The sound is transparent, detailed, and fast, but it's everywhere, you might need a GPS to locate the source...
I've heard from my friends that it's the amp that's holding the whole setup back, but stax amps are not on my list, so here it goes.
To this point, 950 probably can beat pretty much everything at its price range (~450 second handed, and it comes with an amp!). For comparison, Th900 (previously owned) and Dharma are more resolving, with more resolution, deeper base but little slower, well shaped soundstage, however, they have their own issues. So we gotta ask ourselves: do we wanna throw in ~600 for headphone upgrade plus another ~1k for the amp? Haven't got my own answers yet...
BTW, anyone have compared the Vi dac (as dac) with gumby or ygg...? Really wanna know...
Maye next year we will hear Yggy+Studio+Schiit Manhattan.
For all of you who have the SuperBAF (formerly BTA) mod, put your dust covers back in AFTER you snap the pads back on. It is a slight improvement.
Any impressions on the modded YH100?
I understand that these dont look much and that being vintage one would care less, but Guru's modded yh100 was at least as good/bad as the LCD2.
People say it's a mod but really, all I did was change the ear pads. Stock pads suck in terms of comfort IMO. Something else more comfortable seems quite possible, and then the sound also changes accordingly.
But yeah, TH-X00 is awesome. I didn't mean to swap pads on it without asking but the comfort just killed me! Will post more details soon-ish, after I've figured out which pads work best
Great meet, Nick was awesome in hosting this event for both days, very very generous of him and he provided a great space for us to hang out in. Big thanks to Ravi for getting all of us pizza, and to CeeTee for taking care of the beverages. There was a lot of great gear there, thanks to Marv for bringing up the Studio and to Adam for lugging his vinyl rig out there.
I've been really enjoying the BTA HD-800 mod that Ravi made for us, gotta say that this place is pretty amazing.
The angled HM5 pads might work.
The stock pads are shallow and on the stiffer side. I didn't find them really comfortable either.
The AT pads you tried aren't exactly cheap.
A few headphones showed up to the meet:
SBAF board room meeting
What goes into a Bill mod:
My other amps:
The under $1500 comparo:
@TMoney doing an EC listening comparison on this "simple" rig.
That feeling when you discover you really should own a vinyl rig:
Damn, is that gigantic squarish looking box on the right of the last picture the PS for the studio?
Some quick reviews.
Amps in order of goodness (I'm probably biased):
Eddie Current Studio T (mine)
Um, what can I say, it's the best headphone amp anywhere in resolution and clarity. Every headphone we plugged into it sounded the best it's ever sounded. A monumental achievement that is currently entertaining my ears. Such a pure delight. Everyone but Marv agreed it was the best headphone amp they'd ever heard. Marv'd rather have the Studio M, but I'm sure this ranks as a close second. It's amazing to have every note hit with such accuracy, but not with the incorrect amount of punch to each note. It's like a good macaron you put in your mouth and just savor it's delicateness. Fantastic micro and macro dynamics and accurate tone. It doesn't get much better than this.
Eddie Current ZD
Doesn't resolve as well as the Studio or play as well with every headphone out there, but there's a sweetness to it that's just divine. I recommend plugging in Bill's modded HD580s and leaning back and enjoying.
Eddie Current Black Widow (mine)
Still the best solid state amp I've heard. Resolves well and has a bit of a tube sound to it. Pairs incredibly well with orthos and sounds great with dynamics as well. Outperforms the Schiit Rag and isn't as thin. This also pairs incredibly well with the LHLabs Vi DAC. It seems this amp does well with D-S DACs.
Torpedo III (mine)
Doesn't resolve as well as some of the others, but it does pair well with dynamic headphones. It has that rich tubey sound without being overly so. The sound stage isn't perfect, but I wonder if that's because it's a hybrid amp. I'll roll transistors on this later. Putting in Amprex tubes really killed the treble fatigue I was facing.
SuSy Dynalo mk2
I wasn't that impressed with this amp. It was fine sounding, but it really didn't seem to have anything special. Resolution was ok, but not great. Was mostly full-sounding, but overall, I just found it kinda boring. I quickly began ignoring it when comparing it against similarly priced amps.
Vi DAC (amp section)
I don't really know, I promptly switched back to the BW.
Bottlehead Crack 2
Next time I'm bringing a bag of bagels for all the smear this amp dished out. It was like dropping water on a painting. Great if your into impressionism, but not really my thing. The best wet tubey sound maybe? I really struggled to find things I liked about this amp. Sorry TMoney.
Headphones in order of goodness (I own less here, so less biased?)
Sennheiser HD800 + SBAF mod
Wow does this mod really make this headphone listenable. The mod raises the mids without sacrificing anything. The dust cover kills some of the treble peak. Overall, the combo is one of the best headphones I've heard. Did Ravi mentioned he completely tuned this mod by ear? And that Marv's cutout shape is an exact fit? Incredible. This mod is a gift and a long time coming.
Bill's modded Sennheiser HD580
This is a close second to the HD800+SBAF. Doesn't resolve quite as well, isn't quite as spacious but the tone is perfect. Nothing feels flabby about this headphone like the originals. Bill did an incredible job with this one. I think for many people, this would be their favorite headphone. If we could get this mod into every HD600/HD650, I'd just tell everyone this is the last headphone they need to consider.
Another close second to the HD800+SBAF. Hands down the best ortho I've ever heard. Fantastic tone and just the right amount of warmth. I put this headphone on and uttered a verbal wow. Resolves rather well, but not as well as the HD800. You kinda stop caring about that though.
I was really surprised by this headphone. I definitely heard the W-shape everyone talks about, but I didn't mind. Resolves rather well. Unfortunately it doesn't seal very well or else this would be my work headphone.
One of the best sounding HEK I've heard, resolving and quick. Unfortunately, I still don't like the lack of attack.
Fantastic tone and great texture on these. Would be my closed headphone of choice if I could find it easily.
Don-modded Grado HP-1000
Uncomfortable earpads (welcome to the wonderful world of Grado ownership!), but easily the best Grado I've ever heard. Has a great organic sound. A gem that was unfortunately never repeated by Grado.
Unfortunately, I don't remember much, but this was a solid contender for one of the greats.
Tone and space and richness are fantastic. Doesn't resolve very well, but it's a good work headphone if you don't mind the bigness. Wish that it came with a better driver.
I liked these less than the TH-X00. Too v-shaped and too expensive for less-good-sounding headphones.
Who brought these in? Weird sound signature.
Sources in order of goodness (Very biased):
VPI Classic 3 turntable + SoundSmith Zephyr cart + VPI SDS + Zesto Andros 1.2 phonostage (mine)
Did I mention I've almost entirely stopped listening to digital at home? Like I don't even think about it and feel sad about the size of my music collection.
Schiit MB DACs
This is just for comparison
Best D-S DAC I've heard. I still prefer a multi-bit DAC from Schiit, but if this was my DAC, I'd be a very happy person.
Yup! And those air vents at the top are for some tubes.
What!? You didn't think the Crack 2 and Dynalo were the best thing since sliced bread, @drfindley ? I think your ears must be broken!
In all seriousness though, you probably have the single most impressive dynamic headphone setup in the Bay Area, full stop. The VPI playing in to the Studio is an absolute delight.
Also, thanks for the vinyl tutorial.
LOL. My favourite picture of the entire thread. That look is priceless.
Not that his setup likely doesn't sound amazing, but there are some seriously killer rigs in NorCal. Voltron has the Millett Unnecessarily Complex 300b amp with an array of HPs, foo_me has the infamous Zanden 7000 300b amp/K1000 rig, Icarium has his Spectral SDR2000 -> ECBA -> Qualia/K1000, etc etc. Once you include stats there are even more TOTL rigs up there. NorCal might be the Mecca for top HP systems.
Regardless, excited to hear it if it makes its way to the upcoming SoCal meet.
NorCal people = higher IQ + more income + more discerning = better shit. Hey, don't look at me, I'm a SoCal retard. The thing I hate about these meets is that they always drive me to spend more money. I need an SDS thingy for my VPI now.
Oh, for sure there are some other great dynamic rigs but I think this one might top the others. Especially when you hear it with his vinyl front end.
Stat rigs are a different story entirely, as you mentioned.
Separate names with a comma.