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Canjam SoCal Headphone and Audio Show 2019 Part 2

VintageFlanker

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#41
I started with the Classic 99 units which looked nice but I did not walk away with a memorable experience:
God, I LOVE the 99 Classics! Not neutral in any way, but very enjoyable warmish, mid-bass forward signature to my tatses. And decent soundstage from closed back cans, I'd say.
 
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#42
As you may have noticed from my comments on day 1 at SoCoal CanJam, the first day was busy so I could not talk to many industry people. For some reason I thought today would be worse but it was the exact opposite. There were maybe 30% of the number of people on day one. This made the day hugely more fruitful for me in networking, chatting with companies, etc. Some will be reflected in the trip report. Others will reveal themselves in the future. :)

Anyway, my initial mission was to hit the suites that were too busy the first day. And that started with Woo Audio's table, starting with this GES Electrostatic tube amplifier:

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It sounded good but like my Stax tube headphone amp, can't play super loud.

The next product was the WA11 Topaz which is a portable DAC and headphone amplifier:
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It sounded good until I just checked its price: US $1,399! Oh, please.

These SONY IEMs sounded good. Anyone can ID the model?

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For the third-time, I saw someone leaving the last played music as Adele:

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She is an amazing singer. But his recordings are horrible. Her live videos actually sound better. Why on earth some would play them to test headphones is beyond me.

Next was the mysphere 3 headphones:
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At first I thought they go on like Raal headphones and go on backward. Then a guy came over and tapped on my shoulder saying I had them on backward. Alas, they didn't sound that good to me either way. The Raal is a much better "speaker hanging from your ear" emulation. Considering that these go for US $4,000, I am not sure who is in the market for them.

Headphone maker Meze was sharing the same room and had these Cayin portable players as source. They had a super matte display which was hard to see if my memory is right:

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You can see the fuzziness in the picture above.

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I started with the Classic 99 units which looked nice but I did not walk away with a memorable experience:

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They had this science-fiction looking WA33 on a table by itself:

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It goes for a cool US $8,000. How does it sound? Well, a very helpful young person was sitting next to me at the table and told me how great the headphones I was holding sounded. Alas, he was monopolizing the touch-screen player on the right and despite me sitting there spinning my wheels for 5+ minutes, never offered to let me hear something! Grrrr....

These were the massive headphones that I was going to use with them: Abyss AB-1266 PHI TC

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They were super heavy and uncomfortable for me.

This was the other headphone there that I could not hear:

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Those Sony IEM's are their flagship model at $1,999 called the Sony IER-Z1R.
 
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#44
Interesting. Could this be why i felt stax s009s became harsher at higher volumes and sounded better on lower volume. The unit i tried was bundled with a stax energizer (don't know which).
 

solderdude

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#45

March Audio

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#46
The next panel was a Q/A with Jude from head-fi, Rob Watts (consultant to Chord), Dr. Sean Olive and someone Dan Clark from Mr. Speaker.

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The most amazing thing I heard was Rob Watts saying (again after yesterday's session) that he can measure and hear distortions at 300 dB down. Let me say that again, he is saying he can easily identify differences that are 300 dB lower than reference. That is 50 dB of dynamic range!!! Not 24, not 32, but 50 bits. He says this is impossible but that he hears it. Right.....
What a wanker. Doesn't he realise that saying stuff like that totally destroys any credibility?
 

Sal1950

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#48
Some in the audience including Steve Levry questioned fidelity of a streaming file versus local playback. The panel did not help with their answers, leaving some doubt as to differences. The question also got muddy as sometimes what they stream is not what they offer for download.
A bit OT, but Qobuz being a lossless and sometimes hi-def supplier, the question is why would either not be a bit perfect stream of the source?
 

RayDunzl

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#50

maxxevv

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#53
These are the Focal Utopia (open headphone $ 4k) excellent sounding as well. ;)

EDIT: just noticed pwjazz mentioned the same.
Interesting, I'm curious what's your opinion of the Utopia as compared to the Hifiman Arya ?
I have auditioned both and the Utopia far more extensively compared to the Arya.
 

solderdude

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#54
I haven't measured nor heard the Arya (nor Stellia) yet.
Still planning to do this in the coming 2 months.

The Utopia sounds well balanced to me. It just has some weirdness in the upper treble.
very high pitched sounds have a 'metallic sheen' over it and are accentuated.
Tambourines for example pop out a bit too much as well as cymbal hits.
At first I thought ... wow nice details and accents but once I heard it and realized it was unnatural it irritated me.
The Clear is better in that regard but not totally free of it.
 

Nango

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#55
@solderdude Glad to read even such expensive phones sometimes tend to reproduce a metallic-shine, I sometimes think this when listening to HD 800 as well. I understand now that spending again wont be the solution to that :) .......
 

Nango

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#56
Absolutely a great review. Good content plus just the right level of snark (when appropriate)
+1. He is one of few people on this planet Earth who can tell things by its name .... and tell names.
 

solderdude

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#57
The HD800 really needs some EQ in the treble. That 'cures' the emphasis and takes some getting used to the corrected signature.
When one 'switches in' the EQ it sounds 'dull' in comparison. After a while it becomes clear that the 'hyper detail' is replaced by a natural sound not fatiguing and super smooth and detailed.
 

Nango

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#58
Is it area 6khz-8khz down by 3dB ? The VolumIo suite has such a parametric EQ but it is a real hassle as you need to remove and re-start the RPI everytime you change the DAC or the phone.
 

solderdude

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#59
For HD800 I use the following EQ (its a hardware filter so cannot give bands, Q's etc.



At first it seems too 'dark' but give it a few minutes, get used to it and when you switch it 'off' again you can hear the 'hyper accentuation' it has.
Some like it, I don't. Some fear one looses details but once used to the presentation the 'magic' is still there.. just not over the top.
 

flipflop

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#60
The HD800 really needs some EQ in the treble.
Not unlike any other headphone.
Is it area 6khz-8khz down by 3dB ? The VolumIo suite has such a parametric EQ but it is a real hassle as you need to remove and re-start the RPI everytime you change the DAC or the phone.
Try -4 dB, Q=5 @ 6200 Hz.
You might also want to bring up the lacking sub-bass.
 
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