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what is best headphone amplifier in the world? - Page 4

post #46 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
The smilie indicates that you think accusing the DynaMight of being colored be absurd. Based on what?
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No I dont find it absurd JaZZ, i'd just like to hear what you found colored about the amp. I don't question your ability to analyze equipment as it is clear that you know what your talking about. Please share your experience
post #47 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by xand1x
No I dont find it absurd JaZZ, i'd just like to hear what you found colored about the amp. I don't question your ability to analyze equipment as it is clear that you know what your talking about. Please share your experience
My reference was the direct connection of the HD 650 to the line outs of the Bel Canto DAC2 -- whereas «direct connection» isn't exactly true: I had to switch a «passive headphone amp» in the form of a 500-ohm potentiometer into the signal path to allow for signal attenuation. I've tested its impact on the sound -- by choosing low-level passages to allow for an unattenuated signal as well as via soundcard which makes external attenuation dispensable -- and got the confirmation that its impact was negligible. The other criterion I had to test was the impact from the low load impedance: since the HD 650's ~350 ohm are far lower than the usual 10-75 kOhm the line-out stage originally was designed for. This causes much higher currents, which potentially could produce unwanted effects.

My test configuration consisted of the DAC2, equipped with two vampire splitters on its output. Connected to those were 1) the Corda Aria and 2) a cable with a ¼" headphone jack (alternatively the «passive headphone amp»). First I just listened to the music through the Aria. Then I plugged a headphone (HD 600 or HD 595) into the jack and compared if the sound was altered. In the second scenario the DAC2's output amp had to deliver a multiple of the original current. There was no alteration at all. I repeated it several times, and lately Head-Fier saint.panda has confirmed this test result. So the conclusion seems justified: A headphone as load for the line-out stage doesn't alter the output signal compared to a line in as load. Even if there were some dynamic feedback effects from the headphone's voice coil relevant for the sound characteristic, they should have been audible in this configuration, since every corresponding reaction from the amp would be output to the monitor amp as well. Final conclusion: The direct connection (in this case) allows to hear more or less the pure and unaltered original signal. -- Important to know: This test calls for a low output impedance (such as the present 20 ohm).

As to the DynaMight's colorations (for obvious reasons referred to unbalanced headphone drive): It had a less present and less colorful midrange which made for a distinct coolishness and sounded rather uninvolving and unmusical to me, although its liveliness and clarity were impressive. The treble had a different signature than the original signal, again into the cool direction: rather sleek, but still somehow reminding of accuracy. The bass was a bit leaner, but low bass was more pronounced than with the original signal, giving the impression of very good control. The soundstage appeared to be larger. All in all the sound was in some way impressive and appreared as very accurate and clean, but to my ears it was rather sterile and artificial than authentic and organic. Both the HA-2 MkII and the Aria sounded warmer and more similar to the original signal, although less refined than the DynaMight. I also should point out that my friends (Kurt and saint.panda) were more impressed by the DynaMight's undisputed qualities (thinking of its high resolution) than i was, but at least saint.panda shares my view that Aria and HA-2 MkII are closer to the original (and Kurt has sold his DynaMight because of its lacking «musicality»).
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post #48 of 78
REGA EAR...no that's the worst amp that I ever heard that was a purpose built headphone amp. Haven't heard the best yet but my little Woo 3 takes headphone listening to the next level. Doubt I will spend any more money on a head amp until I can go balanced from source to can.
post #49 of 78
Direct connection means actually that you are powering your headphones from the opamps serving as output buffer of the DAC/CDP. The only difference in between direct connection and using a decent cmoy is that you suppress one opamp from the signal path (which already counts two in the DAC2) while sacrificing the advantage of having the pot in between low and high impedance.
post #50 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00940
Direct connection means actually that you are powering your headphones from the opamps serving as output buffer of the DAC/CDP. The only difference in between direct connection and using a decent cmoy is that you suppress one opamp from the signal path (which already counts two in the DAC2) while sacrificing the advantage of having the pot in between low and high impedance.
Whatever you want to point out with your example, the DAC2's output stage with all its «opamps» is in the signal path anyway, no matter if you amplify the signal any further or not. I can't see your point if you want to state that further amplification offers objective benefit in terms of signal accuracy.
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post #51 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
Whatever you want to point out with your example, the DAC2's output stage with all its «opamps» is in the signal path anyway, no matter if you amplify the signal any further or not. I can't see your point if you want to state that further amplification offers objective benefit in terms of signal accuracy.
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Which is exactly why I love my Amp/DAC! The amplification module for the headphones IS the output buffer for the DAC. And it's nice to know that there couldn't possibly be a cleaner connection from source to amp!

edit: grammar.
post #52 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSloth
Why is exactly why I love my Amp/DAC! The amplification module for the headphones IS the output buffer for the DAC. And it's nice to know that there couldn't possibly be a cleaner connection from source to amp!
The ideal case, so to speak! But to be honest: I'm not completely averse to a slight euphonic forgivingness (e.g. towards digital artifacts) if it 1) implies additional benefit (such as volume-regulation comfort or crossfeed or higher volume reserve if needed) and/or 2) doesn't cost a fortune and a lot of space.
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post #53 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
Whatever you want to point out with your example, the DAC2's output stage with all its «opamps» is in the signal path anyway, no matter if you amplify the signal any further or not. I can't see your point if you want to state that further amplification offers objective benefit in terms of signal accuracy.
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Indeed and this output stage has been designed with particular requirements in mind.

In my experience playing with simple preamps and headphones amps, I've found little sound signature in opamps used as line driver while the differences are more easy to hear when the opamp are used as headphones amplifiers. The subjective (and technical) superiority of the opamps used only with light load explains the popularity of buffered opamps design, all the Meier designs included. If you don't use any headphones amp, your result is dominated by the sound of the opamps used in the output stage. If you use an headphones amp, the sound will probably dominated by the sound of the headphones amplifier while the influence of the output stage will be reduced.

I wouldn't say either of those results is fully "accurate". Wether or not the final results is more faithful to the source is most probably dependant on the output stage of the DAC/CDP and the headphones amp considered.
post #54 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00940
Indeed and this output stage has been designed with particular requirements in mind.

In my experience playing with simple preamps and headphones amps, I've found little sound signature in opamps used as line driver while the differences are more easy to hear when the opamp are used as headphones amplifiers. The subjective (and technical) superiority of the opamps used only with light load explains the popularity of buffered opamps design, all the Meier designs included. If you don't use any headphones amp, your result is dominated by the sound of the opamps used in the output stage. If you use an headphones amp, the sound will probably dominated by the sound of the headphones amplifier while the influence of the output stage will be reduced.

I wouldn't say either of those results is fully "accurate". Whether or not the final results is more faithful to the source is most probably dependant on the output stage of the DAC/CDP and the headphones amp considered.
O.k. However, my above-mentioned tests have shown that there was no change in sound between a 50-kOhm load and a 140- or 350-ohm load represented predominantly by the parallelly connected headphones in the latter two cases. But of course this applies just to the above configuration, thus the Bel Canto DAC2's line out. Already the requirement of a low output impedance is fulfilled by maybe just 5% of the available CDPs and DACs. I'm quite optimistic, though, that most of them are capable of driving headphones without audible distortion exceeding the alterations caused by further amplification stages, and be they of high calibers.
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post #55 of 78

Cary 300SEI

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post #56 of 78
I would speculate the headphone amp in this thing would be right up there..

http://www.halcro.com/productsDM10.asp

http://www.stereophile.com/amplifica...ews/404halcro/

But at $16000 you'd hope so. They have these at my local hifi store, I think I'll be having a listen sometime next week.
post #57 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkpowder
Does SFT Dynamight have a website? How much does it cost? Specs?
The link below SFT Audio's website:

http://www.sft-audio.idv.tw/

You may want to drop SFT a PM on the cost and specs to a Dynamight.
post #58 of 78

SO EASY--MOTH AUDIO XANA--Yet so overlooked

Stereo vacuum tube headphone amplifier, optimized for dynamic headphones. 102 lbs. of class A1 tube circuitry is directly coupled to headphones via monstrous paper and oil capacitors.

You'll probably never see one of these available for sale because those that bought are not willing to part with probably they best sounding headphone amp ever made or that they ever heard.

Mikey01's Zana Duex is kind of based off this amp. I held one of the Xana's monstrous paper and oil capacitors and it felt like it weighted nearly 35 to 40 pounds.

If you want something close, Eddie Current is supposedly considering making a small batch of the Zana Duex.
post #59 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaZZ
authentic and organic. Both the HA-2 MkII and the Aria sounded warmer and more similar to the original signal, although less refined than the DynaMight. I also should point out that my friends (Kurt and saint.panda) were more impressed by the DynaMight's undisputed qualities (thinking of its high resolution) than i was, but at least saint.panda shares my view that Aria and HA-2 MkII are closer to the original (and Kurt has sold his DynaMight because of its lacking «musicality»).
Hmmmm....this is why I stay away from tubes!

I've had the Aria and Dynamight side by side for quite sometime connected to a SA5K and obviously, a Q010.

The Aria is an good amp, and an average DAC. Using the Aria as an "all-in-one" yields a nice solid mid-range, a weaker bass, and limited treble extension (its there, its not bad, but its not nearly as extended as it should be). As an amp, the Aria has decent bass, still a limited treble range (thin?), and depending on source, a very nice mid-range (its strength is in rock music no doubt). Bass certainly improves with source (i.e. bypass the internal DAC) but again, not as impactful as it should be. For the price, as an all in one, its a great value.

One thing that is odd about the Aria is that it compresses the music alot (no breakin is not going to help). This isn't noticable on headphones like Grados where they already have a limited soundstage. But the Aria pretty much decimates the 3D like imaging of the Q010's and I can't imaging what it would do the R10's (ouch!).

The Dynamight's real strength is its high resolution no doubt. This amp has complete control of the 20-20 range. There is nothing audible to the human ears that this amp can not keep up with. Other than heat (its biggest weakness), I think this amp does lean more toward the clean-room sound than the warmer, lush sound you get with some of the high-end Singlepower amps. This may actually degenerate into a tube vs. SS discussion and their inherit strengths/weaknesses of each appraoch to amplification. I will say that the Dynamight's execution of the SS school is second to none in my opinion.

After the NJ meet, where I got to hear the ES-1/HE-90 combo, I came back to the Dynamight realizing what I was missing: a richer more fuller sound. I *think* that is what JaZZ is talking about and I agree. I certainly do not believe that Aria is going to give you that at all (other than color the music which gives you more FUZZ than true "musicality").

I've been most impressed with Mikhail's Singlepower designs as they seem to offer that rich, lush, musical sound without getting too FUZZY for my tastes. I have yet to hear the SDS-XLR/Q010 combo which from talking to some who use this setup maybe utopia for me (not that I'm in the market to buy a SDS-XLR anytime soon).
post #60 of 78
Best amp I've heard by far is my Headcode Triad. It has soundstage, transient response and resolution to die for. I'm also really looking forward to hearing Kurt's Eddie Current Black Rose. That should be another contender for best amp.
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