Big Sound 2015 Roy (Romaz) Nails It!
I'd been communicating back and forth with Roy a bit about his visit. He's a fairly long term headphone enthusiast and has had quite a bit of gear flow through his listening world. Pretty wise about his purchases, he mostly buys second hand and re-sells without a loss. Level headed and soft spoken, he certainly doesn't come across as someone who is nervously looking for something better all the time, rather, it seems to me he has an idea in his head of what a great headphone system should sound like for himself, and is meticulously hunting for it.
We started out the day as usual with an introduction to blind listening and some tips. He mentioned doing some blind tests in the past with AC Power cables and interconnects, and found himself disappointed to not be able to tell the differences. I told him not to worry; I don't think I could blind test out cable differences.
We set to the task of identifying the Bakoon, TTVJ Teton, and Simaudio 430HA with the Sennheiser HD 800. I set the levels and then handed him the headphones identifying which amp was which on the switch so he could familiarize himself with the sound. After about three minutes Roy said he was ready. I told him this would be a trial run so not to worry. I swapped the cables and he began to listen. Within a minute he identified first the Bakoon and then the Teton, leaving the Moon as the remaining amthree for three first shot. Sheesh. Let's make that one count and see how you do. He missed one on the next trial, and then aced three in a row. Basically, a 14/15 score.
I then switched to the HE-1000, which has a flat impedance curve and would interact much less with the amps making it a significantly harder test. Again, I set the levels, told him which amp was on which switch position and asked him to familiarise himself. After a minute he took the headphones off and agreed: this would be harder. Three minutes later he was ready to start. The first four trials he nailed perfectly; when we got to the very last one he missed one. I think fatigue was starting to set in. But, wow, 28/30 correct guesses! Outstanding!
Of course, now I was really interested to hear what conclusions Roy would come to on the gear presentand I wasn't disappointed. But for the hour we spent over lunch, Roy intently evaluated gear for about four solid hours. Not only did he have detailed comments about the headphones themselves, but also had quite a few notes on parings with the various amps. Don't miss the video below for the details, but his basic conclusions follow. His four favorite cans followed by his three favorite amps to drive them:
- HiFiMAN HE-1000 - HeadAmp GS-X; TTVJ Teton; Eddy Current Black Widow
- Enigmacoustics Dharma - Woo WA234; HeadAmp GS-X; Simaudio 430HA/Black Widow toss-up
- Mr. Speakers Ether - Woo WA234; Black Widow/GS-X toss-up; Simaudio 430HA
- HD 800 - Bakoon; Teton; Woo WA234/Black Widow toss-up
Don't miss his detailed comments in the video below! Good stuff.
Click here if you can't see the video.