Sonoma Acoustics - New player?

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by AllanMarcus, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    4,920
    Dislikes Received:
    24
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Pasig, Philippines
    Only ever heard the Utopia very briefly out of an iFi Pro stack, the other summit-fi cans are strangers to me unless older HiFiMan flagships count. Been wanting to demo the Empyrean for ages but poop keeps getting in the way/I'm just too tired. Curious what the upstream gear was when you heard each, since sometimes those vastly improve the overall experience via synergy (I hate that word to DEATH but it gets the point across); just saying X is better than Y without context is, and I mean no insult, kinda useless.

    There's a whole glossary of terms on here to help describe sound and what you perceive, would be interesting to hear how the Sonoma stuff compares to other big deal cans point-by-point:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ology-subjective-terms-used-on-superbaf.3400/

    Also, no idea how to go about with the MOT thing. Ask a mod?
     
  2. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    53,364
    Dislikes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I wouldn't doubt it if APERIO sounded fantastic. But every time I hear things like transcendent experience, skies opened up to reveal angels, etc. I roll my eyes.

    Not because I doubt these experiences, but because the long time SBAF members have already experienced such before:
    • We were noobs, and had never heard such a well dialed setup, therefore we experienced something transcendental.
    • We were noobs, and never heard of a different type of tech (tubes, SET, stats, thin-member isodynamics, etc.), therefore we experienced something transcendental.
    • A combination of the above.
    To illustrate, at a meet nine years ago, @n3rdling brought his Blue Hawaii and an assortment of STAX. The SR007mk1 and the original Omega. That truly opened up the world for a lot of newer people as they had never heard a good stat headphone setup before. In addition, this guy called Frank Cooler brought a DIY SET stat amp with glowly nercury vapor rectifiers to power his meager Lambdas. That was my first BIG meet and quite the most fantastic experience many members and I had. Huge changes were in store for many after that meet.

    Over time, things started to settle down. Some people, enthralled with the stat sound went down that direction (and added vinyl too); others considered that direction, but eventually ended with endgame planars (HE6 + big amp); I went down the deep end of stats with T2 DIY, but reversed course when I suddenly realized that I preferred traditional dynamic cans with SET power.

    The point is that ALL audio shit has been done before in the 1950s and there is nothing transcendental. I can tell you stories of my own transcendental experiences using wide-banders, back loaded horns, front loaded horns, or bigger and bigger woofers from 12s to 15s and and now 18s (we are not talking subs here, but 35-350Hz woofers). Yes, there is new tech like ceramic drivers, diamond drivers, plasma drivers. All this shit just really just sounds different at the end of the day. Better in some ways, worse in others. Some like plasma tweeters just sound like shit. And of course there are the better and lesser implementations, and most importantly user dial-in.**

    Finally, $20000 doesn't mean anything. There isn't a $20k speaker on the market that I would take over my DIY OB/Oris or the JBL 4698Bs that I got at a garage sale price. And I can easily afford $20k speakers too.

    As for endgame, match the Focal Utopia with a DNA Stellaris, DSHA 3F (nickel core OPT), EC Studio Jr. with a top notch source. None of the big brands will get you anywhere near TOTL with the Utopia.

    *I lament the extinction of the BIG member driven meets of the past, because that where all the really GREAT systems where heard - members sharing their dialed-in systems to show fellow members what is possible).

    **One of the best sounding systems I've ever heard at a meet was this HD650 setup with a Bottlehead Crack, Jolida phonostage, and modest TT. The sum of which was MUCH greater than its parts. This was brought by a kid who couldn't drive yet. Now, that was fucking transcendental.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2019
  3. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Likes Received:
    412
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    NJ
    Home Page:
    Great stuff, purr1n. Thanks for sharing all that. FWIW, I typed the word "transcendent" without giving it much thought. Almost as if I just took a bite of a very high quality steak and used that word off the cuff. I am relatively new to audio (less than 5 years), but I've heard, and have, a lot of good equipment. And by good, I don't just mean popular or expensive, I mean...sounds (to me!) freaking good. So after only ever having up to "hey, this sounds really nice!" experiences at audio shows, demoing the APERIO for an hour was really special for me. But again, a lot of that had to do with the experience in general (the Warwick guys were really cool to hangout with, the room was quiet and comfy, etc).

    My go to references are a Modi Multibit stack, iFi Pro stack, and Hugo 2. My currently daily drivers are Empy, Stellia, and Ether 2. And the level clarity, detail, and ENJOYMENT that I got from APERIO "felt" like a huge step up to me during the hour that I had with it. Just my two cents!
     
    LetMeBeFrank and purr1n like this.
  4. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,663
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Montgomery, New York
    1st order of business would be to read & introduce yourself here:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/new-members-introduce-yourself.17/

    They have a bunch of recommended things to do & read, one of which is:
    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/what-is-sbaf-10-articles-for-behavior.5555/

    Here's what's been added last year:

    ADD 7/3/2018 Vendor / MOT rules:
    1. Vendors or MOTs (manufacturers of the trade) may initiate posts concerning their products only in the vendor announcements or dedicated vendor sub-forums, and not in any of the main or gear sub-forum areas. This rule is intended to prevent 1372 random vendors flooding the main forum sections with their XMOS / ESS Sabre DACs.
    2. Please do not "game" the above rule by having shills or sockpuppets post on your behalf. We will know. Just be happy that at least you have a place to post on SBAF without someone asking you for money.
    3. MOTs may answer forum members' questions on their gear in any area of the site. In fact, this is encouraged.
    4. MOTs should refrain from making negative comments or constructive criticism of other MOTs' gear. MOTs should also refrain from making statements that put themselves or their gear in a better light relative to other MOTs. MOTs should avoid posting measurements of other MOTs products. These actions are just bad form. And I also do not want MOTs at each other necks like what happens on Computer Audiophile on occasion.
    5. Please be aware that SBAF admins and moderators have the right to make the final call, however capricious it may seem to you. Ultimately, just use good judgment.
     
    Lyander and Bloom like this.
  5. Bloom

    Bloom MOT: Bloom Audio

    Joined:
    May 5, 2019
    Likes Received:
    412
    Dislikes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    NJ
    Home Page:
    Thanks so much, Jinxy. Very helpful!
     
    Jinxy245 likes this.
  6. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    627
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Between SF and Sac
    I remember the Frank Cooter blue tube amp! It was at a meet up in SF a bunch of years ago. I can’t remember if I heard @n3rdling ‘s stax set up - or maybe you are talking about a different meet. Ah reminiscences.....
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    53,364
    Dislikes Received:
    89
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    I believe that was 2010 at the Mariott near SFO. @CEE TEE organized it. @n3rdling was in one room. Frank was in the other. All stations were occupied. There was a crowd around @n3rdling's table so difficult to know what was there. I miss those days. I believe Schiit brought their Asgard and Lyr or maybe that was the following year - which was awesome too. Small vendors, DIY projects, high-end CD transports, etc.

    We need to do another vendor supported community meet, but it seems hard to get members to show off their stuff these days. Last few commercial oriented meets, @n3rdling brought his gear, but a lot of people would ignore his table and head toward the Chord table. It's sad.
     
    n3rdling, Jerry, Bloom and 4 others like this.
  8. aamefford

    aamefford Nothing like chamberpot coffee

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    627
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Between SF and Sac
    Yup, that was the meet. I miss those days. The last meet to which I brought gear, I no longer felt comfortable leaving it unattended while I wandered around a bit. Kind of a bummer to feel that way. It was one of the last meets at huddle or whatever the old Hf platform was. Anyway, we stray from the thread subject....
     
  9. n3rdling

    n3rdling Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    835
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hahaha...sorry for bumping an old thread but I just read this one for the first time. I really miss those old meets, where member rigs were the showcase and vendors were peppered in. IIRC you and @CEETEE organized some pretty killer such meets. Over the next few years the tides completely turned as meets became 50% member/50% vendor, then 1 member room and the rest vendor rooms, then all vendors.

    The meets also got way worse: vendors packed into every square foot, so the rooms got super loud; much less personal communication; worse sounding rigs as these were no longer fine tuned or were simply crap to sell in the first place; more expensive to attend, which always bugged me because I like to see young people show up and they typically don't have funds for these things. I really don't see how somebody can go to some of these events and actually believe they had an audition worth anything given the noise levels/controlled listening sessions.

    At the last CJ I brought my stuff to, it was pretty crazy to me how most randoms really didn't even care about listening to the 6-8 member rigs that were setup. When I was new, I couldn't wait to listen to blubliss' rig or Voltron's stuff; I didn't give a crap about any of the stuff vendors were selling aside from the Smyth Realiser or something. It seemed like most people at the last few big meets I've been to are simply there to confirm they should spend money, whereas before most people went to hear what was possible with a given HP they had/wanted or just talk about the hobby.

    I'll never forget bringing my R10 to that CJ a couple years ago, thinking a bunch of people would be excited to hear the rare beast. I'd say about 50% of that crowd didn't even know what it was - lots of people completely ignored it, some people asked me what site they could buy one from, some even asked if it was an old school MDR-Z7. Frank Cooter's work of art collected dust in the corner while people piled on each other to hear a $3k ipod with a junky UI and a decent $4 DAC chip.

    If you guys decide to have another such meet I'm always game to bring stuff.



    Regarding the thread topic, I do think Warwick has some cool ideas and think their products through well. At the same time, I thought you guys were joking when you said this latest HP system is $20k. Their driver is a physically very limited design, all they've done is given it good compensation in the box. Get a Lambda and learn how to EQ or apply something like Darin Fong's processing and you can get the same sound signature with a driver that actually has some excursion.
     
    Carlos CPA, 9suns, JimL and 8 others like this.

Share This Page