DC Area Head-Fi Meet 4/15/2017

Thanks everyone for coming out, was another excellent DC Area Meet.  A special thanks to @Hirsch for coming out and bringing a mind-blowing collection of headphones, and apparently that wasn’t all of it either (I can’t wait to hear those Jecklin Floats).


Sound Impressions

Sony MDR-R10

Really fortunate to be able to hear this one again, and amazed that there were actually two pairs of these at the meet.  Amazing treble clarity and imaging are what stand to me the most about this headphone.  The overall tuning is a little bright and bass light, with an upper mid emphasis that drops in the lower treble and then has a few spikes in the mid-treble area.  Lots of air, great sense of front-center imaging.  One thing the R10 seems to do that really impresses me is how it actually presents music like its on a stage, out in front and a little above you, its a really neat effect.  Bass is certainly not the star of the show here, which is surprising considering what we’re used to hearing from bio-cellulose drivers, but what little there is seems fairly fast and tight.  One thing I feel Sony has always had issues with in their headphone is dynamics and the ability to convey texture, I think the R10 is better in this regard than most other Sony headphones I’ve heard, but still doesn’t quite hit the mark compared some more modern headphones that really lead in that area.

Sennheiser Orpheus

This was probably the biggest surprise of the meet, hooked up to a Stax amp i don’t remember the model designation for, but I’m pretty sure it was a tube stax amplifier.  The Orpheus is very impressive, taking the technicalities of something like the SR009, giving it a more pleasing (to my ears) signature that reminds me more of the HD6X0 series headphones with better bass extension.  The Orpheus does have some of that ethereality to it that Stax demonstrate that make sounds seem weightless, but not to the degree of Stax and so was more enjoyable to me in that respect, producing more impact and texture rather than a very smoothed over sound.  Staging, imaging and clarity are all things this headphone does extremely well and I’m told it improves further on a better amp, which I can’t wait to hear.

Eddie Current Zana Deux Super

I was looking forward to hearing this amplifier and taking on the single ended dac shootout that @sheldaze setup with it.  Using my Eikon’s on the ZDS, it was immediately easy to point out the differences between the two dacs and to my somewhat surprised, I felt the Grace M9XX dac came out sounding better vs the Bifrost Multibit in that setup.  While I felt that the bass on the ZDS was a big soft and lacked control, overall I thought it was more held back by the DACs tested with it.  I’ll need another session with a DAC I’m more familiar with on the Zana Deux to really say a lot more about the amp, but the fact that I was so easily able to tell the two DACs apart and identify which was which so quickly is certainly a testament to how clean it is.

Audeze iSine 20

I tried these briefly out of my DX80 DAP and was pleasantly surprised at how these sounded.  I felt they take the tonality of the LCD2 and miniaturize it.  I didn’t think it was quite as smooth as the LCD2 overall and had a slight graininess to the sound, but still managed to capture a lot of the sound of a full size headphone which in itself is impressive.  I also felt the tonality was a bit darker than my LCD2 (which is probably brighter than the average LCD2).

Campfire Audio Vega

I also got to try the Vega briefly and came away very impressed.  Tonality seemed generally even and well behaved, albeit a bit dark for my taste.  The IEM seemed very detailed and dynamic, it also had great imaging and soundstage.  I do feel that dynamics were a bit restrained on the Vega, but it was still able to convey impacts and texture with great precision.  If the tonality were just a bit more balanced and had some additional treble extension I think I would be after a pair myself.

Schiit Mjolnir 2

Second time hearing this amp, but first time I was able to get a bit more time with it.  Overall, my impressions of this amp have not changed from the first time I heard it, this amp has really big macrodynamics and slam.  Impacts are big and come off a bit blunt.  I find this amp struggles a bit with lower level details, but that may have been because of the tubes being used.  Tonality of the amp was a bit warm and didn’t have the low level texture and impact I normally expect when listening to string instruments.  Seems to be a great amp for laid back listening, not so much for dissecting the music.