2015 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest Impressions

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by velvetx, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. audiofrk

    audiofrk Guest

    bixby how is it vs the he560?
     
  2. money4me247

    money4me247 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    82
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    bit more warmth than the he-560, did not detect any prominent peak in the lower treble like the he-560. a ton easier to drive. definitely black finish, not purple.

    only demoed shortly with my smartphone so ymmv.

    basically the main thing I learned today was that it is insanely difficult to get really precise critical impressions in meet/show conditions without your main rig & all your other headphones for rapid A-B swapping. I like to test with some poor source tracks as well to see how forgiving things are, but only high-resolution stuff really available. Most everything at a show will sound decently nice hahah. wouldn't take any impressions too seriously until we get some home auditions.

    cheers!
     
  3. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,092
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I'm going to get some dinner then I will post up some impressions. As a teaser I got to listen to the LCD-4 and Hifiman X Edition.

    Tyll actually might have found the surprisingly one of the most underrated products of the show that is actually a winner (think budget-fi).

    EDIT: Tyll showed Hands then Hands showed me haha.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  4. audiofrk

    audiofrk Guest

    yeah makes sense thanks.
     
  5. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

    Staff Member Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,918
    Dislikes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Colorado
    Home Page:
    Tyll pointed this out to me. T50RP MK3. A show highlight for me. Not shitting you. More to come, probably tomorrow.
     
  6. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend JK47
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,932
    Dislikes Received:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    CO
    The guys have made good comments on Edition X, and I'm too tired to write much tonight so in summary:

    Edition X is like a birth between 75% HE1000 + 25% HE-400i/s.
    On Friday paired it with GOV2+Inf and a custom silver coated copper cable and the treble air,space and detail was raised to better levels.
    Mids and vocals were a tad forward in some tracks, but that could be track/recording dependent.

    Price will be under $2000. How much? They are not sure but not $1500 low-ish....

    It certainly was one of the better and welcome surprises at the show for certain!
     
    velvetx likes this.
  7. Judeus

    Judeus Almost "Made"

    Executed
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    213
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    summit-fi purgatory
    lcd 4 and edition x impressions pls
     
  8. DrForBin

    DrForBin Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    380
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    The Great NorthWet
    hello,

    please do!
     
  9. Tyll Hertsens

    Tyll Hertsens Grandpappy of the hobby - Special Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,809
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Bozeman Montana
    Home Page:
    Yup, those T50RPs were shockingly good today.

    Can't wait to get them home.
     
    velvetx likes this.
  10. Judeus

    Judeus Almost "Made"

    Executed
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    213
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    summit-fi purgatory
    tyll did you here the lcd 4 edition x's and production dharams? thoughts pls
     
  11. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,092
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Day Two Impressions:

    I got to the show around 8:00am because I wanted to get to listen to some gear that people had formed lines to hear. Unfortunately when I got there the CanJam room was not yet open so I wandered around a little and found a few things to try out.

    My first stop ended up being the Sony booth where I listened to the ZX2. I spoke with one of the sales guys and the engineers while I was there. Very friendly and first off I will say this. Sony has been around for a long time and I believe that the sound signature each product carries is very similar (to me it's the bass signature they have). The ZX2 had good bass but something is definitely lacking and I believe it was not only the soundstage but also the details it pulls from music. The mids and highs were difficult to find and the lows were too overpowering in the music. I felt a lot of the tracks the sound stage wasn't precise and really was the instruments were too close to the singer. My preference for the AK Jr really helped in figuring this out and I will start a thread about reference tracks in another post. To me this just doesn't stand in the same arena as AK but definitely outclasses the Fiio. One thing to mention is that I liked their UI and it wasn't filled with bloatware. Price is $1,199.

    Luckbad I have something for you that maybe you might be interested in because I was thinking of you when I went here and you will find out why as you read. Darin Fong Audio was my next stop I met with Darin and he was really nice. What Darin does is he creates what I call speaker emulation software for headphones. So imagine you are an audiophile but you love to watch movies but feel that your cans don't cut it or you miss what you hear from a speaker setup. What Darin does through emulation is create a speaker like 7.1 soundstage with your current headphones. He has presets (presets are for $10,000+ sound systems) and the best part is the trial software comes with them all so you can test them out yourself. For I think it's $129 you get the software with one preset and each additional preset is $25 (the trial comes with all 22). Anyway onto Luckbad specifically. I spoke with Darin and I was like hey Darin this would be a great implementation for video games. Guess what Luck it's in beta.

    Finally Can Jam opened and thankfully no one except the reps were at the Hifiman booth so I picked up the X-Edition (for short I will call them HEX). I listened and was really impressed with how good they sounded. I could easily detect the HEX's ability to pick up details in songs and create a similar soundstage to the HE1K. The other thing I liked was the tight punchy bass that was neither too overpowering or too underwhelming. I actually thought the balance of bass on the HEX was superior to the HE1K. I felt this headphone was the best at the Hifiman booth. I really liked the HE1K like I mentioned in day one but I actually felt that I could listen do a wider variety of music with the HEX. The rep mentioned that there was no price as of yet she at first mentioned around $2k then said probably around $1,500.

    I listened to a few IEMs because I feel that I needed a better pair (sorry t-peos definitely after this show you are going bye bye). I am going to just lump all the IEMs together. I am a huge fan of comply tips as they create a great seal in my ear which is the reason why I don't think I need CIEMs. With that said I first started my trip at the Noble booth. There was a gentleman there from Head-Fi who was helping out and was really informative when it came to the Noble line. I started with the Noble 6 ($999.99) and felt that with the type of music I listen to it performed extremely well. With very detailed lows and mids. Controlled highs and great bass I felt these were the best Noble's I listened at the booth. I listened to the Kaiser 10 driver model and felt that there was too much going on and not enough details being put into the music. I actually thought the Savant and Kaiser 10u sounded very similar. The Noble 6 though was able to pull out music details and had great imaging. Next was Ultimate Ears. I was a big fan of the Triple-Fi but ended up getting rid of them (big mistake). Since then they have come out with the UE-900 which I honestly don't like at all. However and this is the not only disappointing fact but the trip is that the CIEM from Ultimate Ears have a very similar sound signature to the Triple-Fi's. Was this a marketing play? If it was I'm pretty pist because those CIEMs were pretty darn expensive ($950 show price I believe that model is normally $1,050 but I am unsure). My next IEM company I listened to was Jerry Harvey. I have to say that I felt the Layla and Angie were just not my cup of tea as they were too neutral for me. The Roxette however was much more in my wheel house. I felt the Roxette was good but the details I felt were a little lacking and the sound stage was too close together. I just thought back to the Noble 6 and had a much better experience with Noble than I had with the Jerry Harvey's ($1,549 for the Roxette). Yes I played with the dials on the Roxette but still not an experience where I would plop down money and buy them. My next stop at IEM central was Westone. I listened to the Westone W40,50, and 60. None of them which I liked. Straight out much too neutral sounding. I told them I listened to Rock and Roll this isn't the IEM for that in my mind. However, they did pull out the UM-20 which I found to have the fun bass, detailed sound stage, and sound signature that I am used to. Not the best but definitely not the worst. I thought the UM-20 actually had more bass and detailed sound stage than the Roxette. UM-20 is $379. Last stop was Unique Melody I didn't like thier 12 driver model at all (they were hard to understand a little because they didn't speak much english). I felt that the sound was way too bunched together (the singer and instruments). To me this creates confusion of what music to my ears should sound like. Luckily they showed me their 10 driver model which I felt was a huge improvement and definitely matched the detail I was looking for. Unfortunately I didn't get the price of these but if I had to guess somewhere between $800-1200. My favorite of all the IEMs I heard was the Noble 6. I felt that the bass, instrument detail, mids, lows, and highs were darn near perfect for me. The imaging and soundstage were on point and I honestly couldn't wait for the bass to kick in the songs I listened to. For $1,000 bucks I know they are expensive but they are less than some of the customs I've seen.

    Yesterday I made a comment about the Pioneer DAP. I just want to say that it was indeed late in the day and I made a mistake saying what I did. After listening to it again the DAP was indeed not neutral but had good bass (perhaps a little too much). The one caviat I didn't like about this DAP was that the soundstage was still too constricted. This DAP actually reminded me most of the Sony ZX2 sound signature I had heard earlier in the day. I felt it was plagued by the exact same sound signature and doesn't really open up like the AK or Questyle. The details of the highs and mids are plagued by so much lows. But at $700 for this DAP it will definitely be a contender if you like that kind of sound signature. The UI on the Pioneer is also in my opinion very next gen. In saying that it has full android implementation rather than modified android. Is that good or bad? At this time I don't really know. The android app store to me has one thing that I like when it comes to music and that is dbamp.

    Alright the moment you all have been waiting for (or not). I got a chance next to listen to the LCD-4. What do you get for $4,000 do you ask? To me complete junk. ADVISORY: DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER UNTIL YOU PERSONALLY LISTEN TO IT. For my taste it is far too neutral but not only that the HD800s bass on a cruddy amp sounds more noticable than on the LCD-4. It was just a very flat and boring headphone to me. I like rock, I like bass, I like instruments that sound like instruments. I found nothing but a desolate wasteland of bore. I tried I listened to it for 20 mins trying to understand what they were thinking. I spoke to a guy in a lab coat. He said well this is going to sound completely different than anything you ever heard. He was right and it wasn't good. The highs seemed constricted on the vocals the lows were nowhere to be found. The mids were readily available but it was like the music had no substance. Hands can give you his impressions and maybe I was just too harsh. I told the guy in the lab coat that there was no bass. Hands tried it and told him the same thing maybe an hour later and mr lab coat said no one has said that before. I was like OMG. Honestly I don't want to deter anyone away from buying these or not being PC in my statements but this is one of those things where you really had to be there and listen. I don't care about the price subjectively this in my mind was the biggest loser of the whole show as I don't think I heard anything as disappointing as this headphone (this was #1 worst). Again I will advise: DO NOT BUY THIS HEADPHONE UNTIL YOU LISTEN TO IT FIRST HAND.

    I will not get into too much detail as I both myself and Hands agreed on how great the Fostex T50RP MK3 so you will have to wait for his impressions. I will say this much for $170 this was my budget-fi must buy at the show. The imaging and details that come out of this can I honestly think will impress you. It impressed me and I thought it was even better than the Mr Speakers Original Mad Dog. Don't get me wrong I think the bass slam on the Mad Dogs is better but the overall experience of this new headphone with the same driver was off the charts for that price point.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
    purr1n, Smitty, Jeff and 2 others like this.
  12. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,092
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Took a break to meet with the some of the members from the SBAF community for lunch and I must say it was a real pleasure to meet with everyone. We all sat down and had a lot of great conversation about the show, the industry, and our thoughts. Thanks again it was really a great experience finding out that our community is filled with intellegent, subjective, and objectists that listen to what you have to say and bring up great ideas. I look forward to meeting more of our community and having just as much fun.

    Next is Kennerton Audio who makes both the Magister and the Odin. I thought the design of the Odin and Magister were cool since they had good wood cups too bad the sound wasn't as cool as the wood cups. The Magister has things backwards on this one the instruments and bass were too high and you couldn't hear any mids. The Odin is the opposite as well as being I think the heaviest headphone I have ever felt. The Odin vocals were too loud while the instruments were too soft. I am going to relisten and maybe take them to another amp/dac combo but I don't think I am going to hear a difference tomorrow. The Odin gets #2 worst and Magister #3. The saving grace on the Magister at least was the fact that instruments sounded great whereas the Odin I wasn't really impressed with the vocals.

    Almost there guys because here is what I thought was another real winner. I stopped by the Audio Zenith booth and listened to the PMx2. This headphone was neutral similar to the HD-800 but had bass added. The details of the mids, highs, and bass were great. I listened to it through the Rag Yggdrasil combo (my favorite) then the custom combo that was provided. I just felt that this was a great all around headphone. I don't remember the price I think it was between $1200-1300 which to me was what I felt a little overpriced for a modded headphone but the sound signature I felt was perfect and could coexsist if I were to pick up an HEX. The other big part about it was how comfortable it was. If I had to choose whether to listen to this or the Dharma I think I would pick up the Audio Zenith. I am going to listen to the Dharma again as well as the unmodded Oppo's and see if I have the same opinion tomorrow. Hands also listened to them and can give you his impressions but to me they sounded amazing for a neutral headphone. The vocals the instrumental detail and tight punchy bass was just amazing. For a modded headphone Audio Zenith did a great job.

    My last stop and this will be the fun to talk about as some of you may be able to relate to this story. I went to the Audioquest booth and listened to the Nighthawk. I don't know what they were thinking but to me the lows and bass were way too forward sounding. They almost dominate the sound stage and makes the headphone to me unlistenable. That is not the fun part. I listened to two setups and both sounded the same. I plugged them into my DAP and it sounded much better but you could still hear that there were issues. I felt the details were not there but there was more of actual instruments being let into the sound than before and vocals you were actually able to hear. Now the fun part. I told Audioquest what I thought. Their response was that other headphones sound good because of distortion and that Audioquest claims that there is no distortion of thier sound (true sound I guess?). I don't know what planet they are from or what crack they have been smoking but this comment was said multiple times. The old man (sorry I don't remember his name) did have good taste in music but his assessment of headphones was way off mark. They had a lady there that tried to convince me they were for the mainstream market. I said what mainstream market are you referring to? Since Beats controls the mainstream with their fashion phones how can you say at $599 you are targeting the mainstream who gets Beats for $200? I haven't seen anyone come to me with a pair of Nighthawks around their necks and say hey listen to this. They even tried to tell me that everyone in their office likes these headphones. They said the engineering guys made a headphone specifically for what we like to hear and it was our favorite. Anyway I digress the Nighthawks I thought were bad but the entertainment from hearing them speak about them was pretty funny.

    Anyway that was day two. I will be trying to get there early tomorrow for some final listens and to see if there was anything I missed. I doubt I will stay the whole day but tomorrow after day three I will post my final impressions and what I felt deserved to be recognized. Thanks again for reading and I am looking forward to reading about other people's impressions tomorrow. Just want to add the disclaimer that I feel I know music from a subjectivist standpoint and am pretty noob but I do hope this helps the community and sorry you couldn't be there.
     
    JK47, kapanak and SeaBupter like this.
  13. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    2,347
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Sector 8023 of the Third Quadrant
    All Luckbad has to do is hit up the San Diego meet on November 7, and Darin will gladly show him around.
     
  14. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    309
    Dislikes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    63
    @velvetx I just wanted to say, great coverage man! Well done :D
     
  15. Judeus

    Judeus Almost "Made"

    Executed
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    213
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    summit-fi purgatory
    just a heads up about the lcd4s

    a friend of who went to RMAF told me that they were unwearable. in his words:

    "you thought the lcd3f was heavy? these are like having two sacks of potatos strapped to your head"
     
  16. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,092
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I did not mention that but yes they were pretty heavy. I should bring a scale and see which is heavier the Kennerton Odins or the LCD-4.
     
  17. bixby

    bixby Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,482
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Regards the Edition X, I think the impressions above are spot on and yes my son and I (not knowing about Tyl, hands, or other blessings) picked the new T-50 as one of the best sounding cans in a room full of very expensive cans that are a step better at crazy money increases.

    And if anyone is still listening on Sunday. Check out the King Sound electrostatics room 433, you will be surprised. Some pics of the amp on digitalaudiodirections.blogspot.com .
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2015
  18. Maxvla

    Maxvla Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    123
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    OKC
    Surprising that you couldn't find many CIEMs to like considering you seem to be a bit of a basshead. Most of those have too much bass for me, especially JH Audio products.
     
  19. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,092
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I had the opportunity to listen to a few more but the issue for me is cost. That and comply tips have a great seal for me. So for me why fix something that isn't broke.
     
  20. audiofrk

    audiofrk Guest

    did anyone tryout the soekris portable?
     

Share This Page