I'm going to post this article here and on my headphone thread.
This is a local shop in Winston Salem, NC that I have wandered through a few times. Chris Livengood is an excellent chap - extremely knowledgable and passionate about audio. I have subjected him to my Car a couple times, and he has given me excellent feedback. I would love to get a day with him to point out all of the nuances that he hears in the system - maybe one day when we aren't so busy.
I really want to attend one of these vinyl events - even though I have no vinyl to share.
I thought this was a great article, and I thought some of you might enjoy it.
I haven't posted here for awhile - not much has changed - just enjoying!
I did attend a mini-meet yesterday in Raleigh - just the 4 of us and our gear. Some really top notch stuff here for sure! Incredible sounding rigs
The fun thing about headphone meets.....you can plug your headphones into everyone's amps - I took my FiiO X5ii with a coax cable and plugged directly into their DAC - so I could listen to whatever I wanted from my source. You can even swap amps / DACs to see if there is a better synergy than what you may have. This part can get expensive!
Jay's Cavalli Liquid Gold - extremely good solid state amp
Tom's Marantz CD Transport, Aqua La Scala DAC (about $7k retail), Chinese tube amp, Senn HD800's with Norne audio Draug 2 cable
My set up
I still love the look of the ZDS!
DNA Stratus tube amp (top of the line!), HiFiMAN HE1000 headphones + Senn HD800's, Eddie Current ZD
One of our hosts......Otis......
We ended the meet at a very good Sushi place near Vernon's - great time with the group.
Best part for me......I was able to drive over to John's new home in Raleigh and give a quick demo of the BRZ and get a tour of the house. It was Fantastic seeing John and Lu again!
Well...I still have the Sennheiser HD650 that many out there regard as one of the finest mid-fi headphones in existence.....I'm hoping to have a new Norne audio Draug 2c cable to mate to them as well You should give them a listen during the meet in April
The Trafomatic Head 2 amplifier was received yesterday at my wife's work. I 'un-crated' it this morning and put it in my rack. Man! it is a lot bigger that I was lead to believe by looking at the FS photo! The crate was 45 pounds.....a guy at my wife's office had to take it down the stairs, and I had to get it out of the Car last night when I got home from Florida.
It is stunning! At first - looking at the photo.....I wasn't too sure about this shiny red thing........It is magnificent! I let it warm up for awhile as I listened to this Bach album with my ZDS and HD650's:
Mid track....I paused.....switched the RCAs coming out of the Vega.....into the Trafomatic.....and WOW! my first impression was gaping mouth......don't take that necessarily to mean that the Trafomatic amp is 1000% better than the ZDS.....but soundstage, details, bass presence - all a bit expanded.....now, again, I don't have these level matched very well, etc. Just very quick impressions. I'm not even taking advantage of balanced inputs and balanced headphone connection. I have to admit.....I'm a bit jealous I told John- that I was considering crating it as soon as I sent him the text with a pic. I seriously don't want to 'fall in love' with this amp.
Anyway.....It will likely be at my house for some time. John said he was going out of town for a couple weeks (that is why he had it sent to my wife's work - so it could be signed for). John is going to come over at some point to do a big demo with everything and take it home to Raleigh. Who knows.....he may keep it here until after the Caraudio meet that I will be having on April 8th.
Here are some pics of this beauty.
A bit of an update.....I was switching back and forth between the Eddie Current Zana Deux Super and the Trafo amp....I eventually quit and turned off the Trafo amp.....most of the highs, mids, staging was similar, but there seemed to be a bit more bass presence with the Trafo amp......so I turned it off. I still love my ZDS, but wow! The big red box is something special!
I've been reading about Focal's foray into the Headphone game - they made a big splash in 2016 with two amazing units - a Flagship / TOTL pair, and what many consider as the best value in the headphone world (relatively speaking).
The Focal Utopia and Elear. A friend got a pair of the Elears on a demo program......didn't like them at first with the tube set up he prefers with his Sennheiser HD800's. He changed tubes, it got better.......changed again and, WOW! He was very impressed......well, that meant a lot to me because I view him as very established ears......and his preferences and mine typically align.
That recommendation enticed me to set up a demo at Moon audio in Cary, NC. I spent about 1.5 hours between the Focal Utopia and Elear and Fostex TH900. Well, the Fostex didn't cut it compared to the Focals. I put them up for sale, and they sold more quickly than what I expected.....for less $ than I hoped for.
At that point.....I was going to do 1 of 2 things.....either pull everything out of the Car and sell it to get the $'s to buy the Utopia or 'save up' for about a year or so to get them. Getting the Elear + a good cable was a very viable option.....but my psychosis is......I would always wonder......would what I'm hearing sound much better on the Utopia's.
Fortunately an epiphany came to me (doesn't happen often).....I could pay myself a bonus......I was the 'CEO' of my own company last year.....could be the only time that happens.....and felt that it was 'reasonable' to pay my self a bonus.....after working the details out with my wife......this became a reality.
I contacted Drew and chose an RCA cable, headphones cables, and the Utopia. I picked them up last Friday, and I have been completing the 'burn in' every night since then. These take about 300 hours to really open up....so it has been an iPod at night - just getting the moving parts to move slightly.
Pics of the un-boxing:
RCA and Headphone Cable - Drew's Black Dragon
This is the 'carrying case' for these.
RCAs DAC side
RCAs Amp side
DAC / Amp / Headphones
I rearranged the room to de-clutter - mainly moved the speakers out to the living room - typically didn't listen to them.....plan to be listening to the Utopias a bit I had the rolling desk in the middle of the room beside the rack so I could adjust volume with the amp volume pot.
New set up - rolling desk in the corner with the two windows, and the chair in the opposite corner.
Anyone that comes on Friday night to the NCSQ meet in April is free to get a demo of the system
What's up with these teeny little pictures? Must be a new thing
I have been enjoying the FiiO X5ii for awhile now - especially on all of my traveling - and more recently, in my Car connected via coax to the Helix processor. Well, when the new FiiO X5iii was announced - I was sucked in as soon as I saw the pics and the specs on it. It hadn't been released yet - was released to the Asian market first to start working out the bugs, and then recently released to the US market.
I received mine a few weeks ago, and it is terrific. I love the sound quality and the GUI. I have two 256GB micro SD cards in conjunction with the 32GB internal memory.
I also ordered the Draug 2c cable for my Senn HD650's which is a very time-consuming cable to produce. Through all of the ups and downs of the 1-man operation's business / personal life stuff.....I eventually canceled the Draug order and received the Therium this past Friday. This a beautiful looking and sounding cable.