Chennai mini meet March 11, 2018

Discussion in 'The Meeting Place' started by Koth Ganesh, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    This was put together at very short notice. Thanks to @uniqusrname,@Arun Kumar and @Thad E Ginathom for coming. At the previous meet in January, we agreed to meet if there was "enough" new equipment to listen to. Hence for this meet,
    @uniqusrname brought a DIY Sapphire solid-state amp (he made it for me), his modded ADCOM GDA 700 DAC, a GOV2 Infinity DAC/amp, an Allo Digi-One streamer, and for HPs, he brought his recently acquired HD 800S, a Senn HD 540 Reference and the Symphones Magnum v4. Arun had his modded HE 560 (with Jergpads) and his HD 600. I had the RME ADI-2 DAC, the Gungnir Multibit with Eitr, the Jotunheim (amp only), the BW (with separate PSU), the Project Ember and a bunch of HPs - the LCD2C, HE-6 (this was an act of futility for obvious reasons), the LFF Slants, the Creative Aurvana Live modded by SBAF member @gurubhai, the Senns HD 600 (stock), the 650 and 800 (both modded).

    The objectives were primarily to listen/compare the Sapphire, the BW and the Jotunheim with the various HPs, and to evaluate the DACs (especially the RME, as a DAC and an AIO). In addition, we were listening to the HD800s, the HD 540 and the Magnum for the first time. In terms of music, we had our MacBook laptops and soon decided on Fleetwood Mac rumors and Dire Straits Love over Gold as the reference albums.

    My brief impressions are as follows: The Sapphire easily stole the show. @uniqusrname had brough an earlier version to the January meet. I was interested enough to ask him to build me one. This version was much more linear with very good extension on both ends. It is a neutral amp with great clarity, does not add any color, and hits hard with ample sub-bass. I will let him describe the technical details. It paired very well with all 3 DACs and had very good synergy with the Senns (more with the 800S relative to the 800), the Slants and indeed the rest of the HPs. The Magnum did sound Beyerish though. It was a very interesting comparison with the BW. There is absolutely little to separate the two. The BW does have a little more warmth and is bit more veiled. It has good synergy with the above HPs, especially the 800 (as opposed to the 800S). Even the Magnums were more tolerable on the BW compared to the Sapphire. The Jot did well with the planars and the HD 650. I did not like it with the 600, 800 and the 800S, or the HD 540 and Magnums.

    I've already offered my impressions of the RME in its thread. Nothing more to add. It is a superb value not only as a DAC but also as an AIO. Yes, the amp is a bit of a let-down compared to the amps we had for impact. As a DAC, it continues to impress and the guys all had the same question after first listen " Is this really delta-sigma?"

    I hear the stock HD 800S for the first time. Its low end and warmth (compared to the 800) were obvious as was the slightly smaller head stage. This HP had its dust covers on so dunno.... I can see this being preferred by some to the 800 (even modded).

    Finally, I'm posting pictures of the meet including the awesome lunch we had (I'm looking at you @jexby). And a wave to @FlySweep .....our home city has now had two meets after several years of none!!
     

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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  2. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    More pics.... I will be posting hopefully more detailed impressions of the Sapphire amp and the Creative Aurvana Live (modded) in their respective threads soon
     

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  3. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    Wow, I'd have come just for the food!
     
  4. Arun Kumar

    Arun Kumar Friend

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    [EDIT] Well, I realized my post was pretty much about Sapphire v4 impression and am moving this post to a new thread.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  5. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    I only went for the food.
     
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  6. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Seriously....

    A long-time RME fanboy, it was necessary for me to prostrate myself and offer namascarams to the ADI-2 DAC (Not sure how well that joke crosses oceans. Which, if it is truly orthodox it should not be doing) and

    <Get on with it man! Just post the photos, OK?>

    Well, ok... But the ADI-2 DAC was the first thing I set eyes on and, well, it's small, dark and cute. And anybody who knows me can tell that I am smitten already. The eyes... Oh, those eyes! No, OK, I am talking about the display, which (and I only saw one window) was the nicest display I have seen on any audio kit.

    <We've seen the pictures. Enough, already!>

    The pictures don't do it justice. I have drooled through the manual of the PRO, but didn't take in the dimensions: it is really compact. Travel with this thing would be so easy. Well, as long as one took the Audiophile Pole (portable) along to power it.

    <Did you by any chance listen to this thing?>

    Yes, but if you saw my audiogram you would ask me talk about how it looks.

    Anyway. The next thing to assault my eyes in the nicest possible way was something that looked like an HD800, but black. Which really suits it. And everybody knows what I'm talking about!

    So, the ADI2-DAC was sitting on top of the Sapphire, and I plugged the HD800s into it. This might have been an HD800, but not as we know it. Considerably richer, more lush, less of the intense treble. Maybe less of the amazing detail in the bass that, (apart from it helping out my serious HF hearing loss) was the first thing that grabbed me by the ears when I first put on a pair of HD800, a decade or two later than most of you guys). It was a beautiful sound. Like they realised that they had meant to add in something from the HD6nn, and forgot with the HD800. Whoa! Pass me an HD800 for comparison.

    There was the clarity. There was the treble. And if that treble hurts some ears I guess I can understand that, but, did I mention my hearing? Often enough to get boring. The fact is that I'm almost as much looking for hearing aids as headphones here, and for me, the HD800 fits the bill. This is a modded set, so it has been tamed a little.
     
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  7. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    So next I plugged them into the ADI-2's headphone socket, and the display immediately changes to reflect that. A DAC's displays are the windows to its soul: who knew!

    It's cool. Very, very cool. Somewhat dry. None of this in a bad way. I think that, now, I prefer a lusher sound, whereas once, I sought out the flat, cool, dry. But, if anyone is thinking of what to get me for Christmas... Sure I could live with it as a single box.

    The thing is, though: When it comes to sitting back and bringing a smile to the face: that's where the Sapphire won.
     
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  8. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    <So post the damned pictures, man!>

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    Happy now?

    <Nope. so far all you did was schill for RME and Sapphire... Nothing else?>
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  9. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Right... The was the shoot-out between the VW and the Sapphire. Err... BW. That's what this damned hearing loss does.

    And, guess which I preferred?

    Well, actually, it depends on the headphones! So I'll leave this to people who use words like synergy. Because, yes, they're right.

    But, on the whole, I really enjoyed the detail from the Sapphire. It gave a special quality to male vocals, for instance, and I think it would do even more for female singers.

    I'd like to do this comparison again, with more time and more complex and demanding music. But it was getting late, and people had trains to catch, places to go.

    Oh, People! Right! we had four of them, and extensive testing proved that they (well, at least three of them) were all really good to listen t, regardless of what 'phones they had in their hands. The conversation was all good. And it was great to get together with these guys.

    Thanks, all, for a great day!
     
  10. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    damm aint that the REAL truth! would have come to eat and savor, ignore the headphone rigs.
    @Koth Ganesh you guys are truly epic!
     
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  11. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Jex, I am trying to get you to come on down...hopefully, a few more pics will do the trick...of the food, I mean :)
     
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  12. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    LOL ... I initially read the OP on my phone during morning ablutions and thought that spread was just for you guys (and that it was a bit excessive). I see now it was the post meet feed at a nearby buffet. Still, looks yummy. I love paneer!
     
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  13. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    We'll give you a month's notice....so make your plans !
     
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