Damn, I registered on here in 2005 I should have written a review.. I am sorry
Well here we go, now the headphones have been used for a while now well around 2 years! So has the amp.
Amp: Pro-ject headbox
CD Player: PC Realtek 882M output
Compared to Rotel RA02 / RCD02
Icky Thump – White stripes (CD)
Tavener – FLAC
LCD Sound System – Sound of silver (CD)
Kanye West – Konvicted (CD)
Dizzee Rascal – Maths & English (CD)
Portishead – Live in New York (CD)
Carl Orf – DDD Remaster Phillips (CD)
First of all I did the normal thing of listening to the Sennheiser via the stock headphone socket in the RA02, and it was pretty damn awesome. The weight of the music and the bass in songs like Smack that
were stunning. However the headphones began to struggle when the screaming highs of the white stripes were introduced. After 3 listens to each track, I identified areas of each song I wanted to compare. First of all I connected the headbox to the RCD and straight away I felt very disappointed at the lack of weight that the headbox was outputting. For some reason it sounded rather flat and horrid. The orchestral part of Only you
lacked pace and timing. I was very annoyed at this point.
In my desperation, I tried hooking the headbox to a variety of sources, including an old Akai tape, but to no avail.. Finally I took my 2.5-phono connector and hooked the headbox to the PC and fired up Itunes, however.. being the pedantic idiot that I am, I didn’t play anything, since I really wanted to know what the Realtek output sounded like without the aid of the headbox. The sound whilst not as refined as the raw output of the RA-02 it was weighty and good. However it lacked definition the guitar whaling in Icky thump
was beyond the ability of the PC output.
So finally after a couple of hours of listening again, I connected my headbox up, and I used the Icky thump
single again, from the outset the sound is so different. The sound quality had immediately improved. The opening guitar riffs were clearly separated the sound was far more dynamic, the headphones were responding to the weight of the drums with effortless ease. I was expecting the headphones to fall flat with the classical, but damn I was surprised again. The harsh vocals of Dizzee rascal were handled without any confusion, it was even easy to hear his breathing whilst rapping. Coming to portishead I felt like I was being serenaded by a binary princess. The headphones thrive in electronic music too, Lcd Sound Systems’ music was perfect suited to the response of the headphones making the listening experience a pleasurable one. The nuances in the shift in music were easily picked up by the headphones. Ece Gratum
was about to come next and I was anticipating failure of the headphones. The intense vocal shifts are hard enough for very expensive loudspeakers, as such I wasn’t expecting much from the headphones.
To my surprise the headphone handled the tonality of the singers with utter ease. The sound was clean and crisp and the overlaying of vocals was not beyond the ability of the headphone / amp combo to discern. I was getting more and more excited about the headbox, I chucked in a few more CDs before retiring for the night. After a few months of play the headbox certainly sounds a bit “warmer”
I cannot recommend this amp more, its just a winner if you have desktop PC and some decent cables. I am sure that most of you will have a better CD/DAC pick up than I did for this test, as such you might come across things that I have not heard. The Amp helps in clearing up the murky noise often output through PC outputs. The clarity and definition are the main points on which I’d recommend this amplifier. I am getting a new CD player soon, as soon as that happens I will post an update.
PS: Are there any decent PCI soundcards out there? I want something good to go with my Naim amplifier which is coming soon.