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Singlepower or Ray Samuels Raptor - Which is best for the $$$

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
Hi Folks, I am a new member and poster but have been big into audio for a while now. I am interested in purchasing a headphone amp for use with Sennheiser HD650's with Cardas cabling. The only headphone amps I've heard with these are the Earmax Pro (didn't sound that impressive to me and looked grossly overpriced) and the ASL MG OTL 32 (sounded excellent and looked like good value). I've been reading through the archives here for a week and see a lot of complimentary reviews of the Singlepower amps. Since I've got a lot of 6SN7's here the Singlepower design (or tube compliment, I suppose) appeals to me. The Ray Samuels Raptor also seems to get great reviews and is interesting to me.

Here is my question... Would $1200 be better spent on the Ray Samuels amp or spent towards a similarly priced Singlepower amp, perhaps the MPX3. I can't find current retail prices for the Singlepower amps so I am guessing here. My listening goals are to find an amplifier that creates a beautiful sound that one can get lost in, ultimate accuracy takes a lower priority to me.

I would appreciate anyone with experience with these two amps and/or companies to make some comparisons between them. I would like to stay in the $1500 or lower budget range though this is flexible to some degree. Thanks for any advice. Also, how do the amps above compare to the ASL MG OTL 32? While it sounded excellent to me I am confident there are probably better amps, it sounded very smooth but perhaps a touch boring.
post #2 of 104
I have not heard the Raptor but have heard or owned several Singlepower amps, and owned the ASL OTL32. The SP amps are of higher build quality and MUCH quieter. Dead quiet. They in general have a warm smooth sound with great bass and much better than average detail. The MPX3 with a few upgrades or an MPX3 slam would be the amps in your price range. (or maybe a demo Supra) I have spent time with an MPX3 and as far as sound comparison to the ASL OTL32 I find the sound of the SP amp to be far better. Faster, quiet, tighter deeper bass, better treble with more extention and grain free. I have not heard the PPX3 slam but have had the PPX3 (stock) hear and preferred it to the OTL32 also.
IMO any Singlepower amp would be a great improvement over the OTL32. Even without hearing the Raptor, and going by peoples reviews, I would think it also would be a big step up over the OTL32.
I enjoyed my OTL32 while it was here but not in the same league.
post #3 of 104
I've owned both the Raptor and MPX3 and they are both excellent amps. I didn't own them at the same time and even if I did, for me to tell you which is better than the other would not be fair to you. While I understand that auditions are not always available to a prospective purchaser of an amp, it is the best way to know which way to go. I believe both mfgs. offer return policies. You may want to contact Ray and Mikhail and discuss with them. They are both friendly, knowledgable and helpful. $1200 is a lot of $ to spend based upon what others tell you is their favorites. You do not have information in your profile as to where you live. You may want to see if there are any meets coming up in your area.
post #4 of 104
I will not disagree with Tyrion that hearing for yourself is always best. That said, however, I think the Singlepower MPX best fits your criterion of "a beautiful sound to get lost in" rather than ultimate accuracy.

You may wish to read reviews of both amps at www.6moons.com.

You might also consider trying some other Senn replacement cables. I had the 650/Cardas combo for some time and found the sound very 1-dimensional and boring. The Zu Mobius cable provided more depth and a more "immersive" experience.

post #5 of 104
Save yourself a few bucks and get a PPX3 Slam from Singlepower. They start at $800 and sound fantastic.
post #6 of 104
Both the MPX3 and the Raptor are articulate and dynamic. The Singlepower has a warmer sound than the Raptor, but might be a little more expensive.

BTW, Tyrion, your avatar is going to give someone a seizure
post #7 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave-the-rave
I will not disagree with Tyrion that hearing for yourself is always best. That said, however, I think the Singlepower MPX best fits your criterion of "a beautiful sound to get lost in" rather than ultimate accuracy.

You may wish to read reviews of both amps at www.6moons.com.

You might also consider trying some other Senn replacement cables. I had the 650/Cardas combo for some time and found the sound very 1-dimensional and boring. The Zu Mobius cable provided more depth and a more "immersive" experience.

While I think I understand what you are saying. I find myself lost in the music when using my Raptor, MPX3 (sold), Moth 2A3 (sold) etc. You may be right about what sound he is looking for in terms of a sound signature. However, I didn't read into that statement the same as you.

I find reviews to be nice guidelines to go by but try not to make my decisions based upon a review only. Again, I recognize that not everyone has the chance to try different gear and reviews become the only means to make a decision.
post #8 of 104
Quote:
The SP amps are of higher build quality
I would refer to some other heated threads on this with photos, but I'm pretty sure they've all long been deleted.
post #9 of 104
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies thus far. I have been trying to read between the lines and have come up with this... (please make corrections if I have miscalculated)...

The Singlepower amps are perhaps more lush than the Raptor (?) but either of these should handily trounce the ASL OTL 32. I am gathering that the Raptor may in fact be more of an "accurate" amplifier whereas the Singlepower amps may be perhaps more emotional sounding. (again ?)

Which of these will be more likely to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up due to sheer harmonic "rightness"? I know this question sounds sort of vague but it's all I could come up with. I would welcome any other suggestions for amps that would fit the bill.

What does one get in the Singlepower line when you move up to the Maestro ZR? The looks improve tremendously but are their significant component or sonic differences? Thanks again for the helpful replies.
post #10 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by markl
I would refer to some other heated threads on this with photos, but I'm pretty sure they've all long been deleted.
Doesnt matter anyway.... the build changed a long while ago.

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showt...+circuit+board
post #11 of 104
Well, I stand corrected. Let's say, that's a BIG improvement and leave it at that then. I don't want to be banned for bringing back up all that nastiness.

That said, it's impossible to fault the Samuels stuff when it comes to build quality which is impeccable.
post #12 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLH
Thanks for the replies thus far. I have been trying to read between the lines and have come up with this... (please make corrections if I have miscalculated)...

The Singlepower amps are perhaps more lush than the Raptor (?) but either of these should handily trounce the ASL OTL 32. I am gathering that the Raptor may in fact be more of an "accurate" amplifier whereas the Singlepower amps may be perhaps more emotional sounding. (again ?)

Which of these will be more likely to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up due to sheer harmonic "rightness"? I know this question sounds sort of vague but it's all I could come up with. I would welcome any other suggestions for amps that would fit the bill.

What does one get in the Singlepower line when you move up to the Maestro ZR? The looks improve tremendously but are their significant component or sonic differences? Thanks again for the helpful replies.


The Singlepowers readily respond to tube changes and you can dial in a lush or a more neutral sound with your tube choices. The Singlepower cant be characterized as inherently lush vs accurate.... IMO. Harmonic rightness is one of the Singlepower amps strengths. This is true of any amp in the Singlepower line from my many experiences.

Going up to the Maestro gets you things like a full featured preamp with multiple inputs, $300 plitron transformer upgrade standard, stepped attenuator.... and of course... the improved chassis you have already noted.
post #13 of 104
TLH, this thread is an example of why you need to try to hear the amps, if possible. Nothing inappropriate about the responses, it's just we each like what we like and that might not be what you like.
post #14 of 104
Is it safe to say that this is more a question to the tune of Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream? Which is to say that it's more subjective than some may want it to be?
post #15 of 104
Having owned an MPX3 and having auditioned a Raptor my vote would be with the Raptor - to my ears the Raptor was cleaner and more dynamic sounding than the MPX, and I also thought the Raptor was warmer and more emotionally involving.
I also agree with the suggestion that ultimately the only way to know for sure is to audition for yourself. Use this thread and the archived threads that you've researched to form an opinion on which amp's sound would more closely fit your tastes, then buy that amp. If after receiving the amp you find that you like it, then your search is over. If the amp doesn't tickle your fancy, then send it back and buy the other one. Or if your credit card can take the hit then buy them both at the same time and send back the one(s) that you don't like.
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