Headroom 2017 was everything I hoped it could be. Metropolis Studios provided a truly iconic setting that was jaw dropping around every corner. Big enough to matter but intimate enough to create a family atmosphere in every room. Smiles were the order of the day and a glorious Spring Day it was.
Many a bucket list was dented over this weekend thanks to Sennheiser and their exclusive 15 minute sessions with the Orpheus successor, the HE-1. I won’t elaborate on the secrets this mystical system has in store for you, just remember that 15 minutes goes very quickly so choose your music fast and choose wisely
Was Headroom simply a showcase for Sennheiser and their 50K signature piece? A very resounding no from your headfier and audioprimate at large.
HiFiMan know a thing or two about electrostats. Their Shangri-La system was conspicuous beauty in every curve. I also had the indescribable opportunity of 10 precious minutes with this build statement to the audio world. Indescribable because you must hear it. However you do it, do it soon.
Prism Audio unveiled their first consumer dacamp, the Callia, and mated it with the Audeze X. They played The Great Gig in the Sky to me; fitting as it was remastered right here in these studios.
MrSpeakers, courtesy of the legendary Mark Dolbear of Electromod had some incredible products on audition. I got 15 minutes with a MrSpeakers Electrostat, a King Sound Amp and some gear that was really good Schitt. I’m not telling you what it was like (I was transfixed and rooted to the spot) go see the man as soon as you can.
Two of my heroes Phil Wannell and Mr. oBravo, David Teng were next door to Mark Dolbear. Phil graciously introduced us and Mr. Teng and I spent an unforgettable 30 minutes listening to his range of hybrid planar /dynamic and air motion IEMs. This was a chance for me to hear what can be done with a small shell and no budgetary limit. I listened to the most expensive in ears in the world and some due to eclipse even that very soon.
My journey took me to Dragon’s Den Snugs empresario Paul Jobin who has come on leaps and bounds with his earsleeves.
I also visited ACS who have changed their range to some gorgeous consumer friendly looks.
I listened to a binaural suite being replayed on DSD through yet more electrostats, this time the SR-009s from Stax. And the person pressing the buttons? The producer himself Mike Valentine….Where else could this happen?
Talking of new technology, AKG showpieced a self calibrating full size amplified headphone, the N90Z. Winner of a European Audio Award this took 10 seconds to take a recording of your inner ear and then adjusted it’s responses to tailor to the unique landscape of your very own lugholes.
My good friend from SCV distribution, Matt Esau, had something even more intriguing in store. A successful crowdfunder has made it onto Matt’s stable of Meze, Fostex & Questyle. Enter Even Headphones into a hotly contested full size marketplace. These had a DAC/amp and DSP built into their cable. It took 8 frequency measures for each ear and dished out a precisely matched soundstage based on your ear’s response. The results were a fitting finale to a very special day indeed.
So we all wend our way to our distant parts of this great country we are lucky enough to live in. And with a parting salute to you Phil Wannell of Audio Sanctuary for putting yourself though hell this weekend. I can assure you it was worth every notch you had to use of your belt that held up your trousers.
More to see!