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post #6781 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

If you get an opportunity to audition a tube or hybrid amp, it may be wise to do so.  It can be very difficult to picture the sound without hearing it.  The primary difference in tubes is the addition of second order harmonic distortion, which can be euphonically pleasing. By nature of being analog, they can also accent or smooth the mids, they can reduce treble, and generally "warm the signature", but that can depend on the tubes.  Tube amps, and especially hybrids can still be exceptionally clear.   SS is more "stark" in presentation.  It has sharp detail and fast transients.  Tubes/hybrids will adjust that a little, but for many it is still highly detailed with more of an organic tone.  Tube pending.

 

If you want a purely neutral SS amp in all its analytical glory, and don't mind dealing with 1/8" jacks and a mid-tier volume pot, a JDS assembled O2 would set you back a whopping $150 or so and would give you all the SS neutrality you could dream off.  If you want even more perfect analytical glory, you could go big with something meant for studio use like SPL gear (Phonitor, Auditor.)  If you want to go mid-way, $1k-1.6k, a Benchmark DAC1 will give you a pretty much top-tier neutral DAC and a headphone amp approximately the same or slightly better than the O2. 

 

If you want something not flat and neutral, then you can look into exotics, colored equipment, and things with tubes.  Tubes are more expensive over the long haul because you get into tube purchases, and if you really like it exotic, as I'm learning, some of that stuff costs some serious money for a consumable item.  But even the cheap stuff can be pleasing.  

 

My advice would be, if you've got $1k to play with for an amp, either dump it on a DAC1 and be done with it, you'll have something you know measures well in both areas.  If you want to experiment, buy an O2.  It's cheap and gives you a taste of neutral. From there you can choose your direction based on desired coloration.

 

I've read about how the DAC1 is just old news, like something like the Lavry DA11 or something was its replacement or something like that, but I'll look into it. How good can an amp be for $150? Is it simply the lower production cost (DIY) etc. or is it just a mediocre quality amp? I'm aware of the rule about discussing "it" so I'll post and research "it" elsewhere but I'll look around on here too. Or is that rule gone? We can take it to PM..

post #6782 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by bleudeciel16 View Post

 

Wow! Thanks for taking the time to do such a detailed responce!

 

The only issue I have with getting the Lyr is that it's nearly double the price of the asgard, and the fact that I would end up needing to deal with tubes.  But if you think the asgard will be suitable, I think I'm going to make the purchase today.  Thanks for the help!

 

Asgard is perfectly suitable for HD650, certainly.  It's colored slightly warm for an SS, so it will give you a slightly more tube-type tone than a colder SS.  It has been said that it and Valhalla (OTL tube amp) have a somewhat similar voicing.)   And if one doesn't want to mess with tubes the options narrow.  Some dislike Asgard because it has a warmer sound versus more neutral SS amps, but if you perefer a warmer sound it should be great.  It's hard to go wrong with it for the money!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtaylor991 View Post

 

I've read about how the DAC1 is just old news, like something like the Lavry DA11 or something was its replacement or something like that, but I'll look into it. How good can an amp be for $150? Is it simply the lower production cost (DIY) etc. or is it just a mediocre quality amp? I'm aware of the rule about discussing "it" so I'll post and research "it" elsewhere but I'll look around on here too. Or is that rule gone? We can take it to PM..

 

DAC1 is old news.  HD650 is old news.  In a sense LCD-2 is old news.  It doesn't mean it isn't worth owning just because it's not the FOTM. The DAC1 is pro-audio gear.  It comes with rack-mount brackets (or can be bought without them for a few bucks less.)  The DAC portion of it is still the standard by which all DACs are judged, it is famed for dead-neutral, highly accurate performance.  While the amp portion was never a "standard setting" amp compared to higher end studio oriented gear like Phonitor, it is still a very good-to-excellent headphone amp.  One would be hard pressed to find a better DAC, and one would have to spend a lot more to get a better measuring dead-perfect amp.  SPL would be the place to look for that.  If you want neutral, you want studio gear.  Anything else leans toward colored.  Anything sold as "audiophile" is colored by definition.  Audiophiles try to bend the sound to make it sound live, to produce virtual room treatment, to suit their tastes etc.  Studios need perfect; without coloration.

 

The O2 amp?  There's threads on it in the amps forum.  No idea if anyone's allowed to talk about the guy who made it yet, which would be sad, but the amp itself is fare game.  O2, ODA, ODAC are all discussed in the source forums frequently.  For $150 it's a heck of an amp.  I prefer my Lyr more, however, I prefer my Lyr more precisely because it's not a dead-neutral amp.  The O2 sounds much more expensive than it is, if analytical amps are your thing. 

 

It's $150 (assembled) for a few reasons.  The designer of it isn't getting paid, and nobody intends to actually turn a profit from the design.  It was designed mostly in spite and given away for free (no R&D to pay for, no one trying to pay the bills based on designing it.)  Its performance is stellar, as has been measured.  It's a dead-flat amp, measures close to the amp in the DAC1, but isn't perfect, at least not SPL perfect.  All the parts are off the shelf with nothing exotic or proprietary. The build leaves something to be desired (keeping it cheap without sacrificing sound was the design goal.)  As a result, two 1/8" TRS jacks replace RCA jacks and 1/4" jacks.  The jacks feel a bit weaker than one would prefer.  The power switch is rather rickety.  The volume pot is an Alps, but it's not as slick or smooth as something like the Blue Velvets used by Schiit, and there's a lot of channel imbalance at the very bottom of the knob, if you have a high output source (Squeezebox at 100%) and sensitive headphones (Denon.)  It uses a half wave wall wart power supply instead of a nice slick internal power supply.  Those are compromises to keep it both cheap and portable.  It doesn't feel as smooth and pretty as Schiit and beyond, and it won't win any design awards.  But it sounds great.

 

The ODA will be basically the same thing, but with rear-mounted RCA jacks, no batteries, rear-insert power supply cord (unfortunately still a wall wart, but an upgraded one), and a Nutrik 1/4" jack.  There are slight advantages to 1/4" jacks and RCA jacks, but overall it'll be more about feeling more substantial and being table friendly than really sounding that much better. 

 

Do I like my Lyr more?  Yes.  Do I like my Lyr a lot more?  Yes.  But I'm not a fan of neutral analytical amps, you are, so it would probably suit you better than Lyr if that's the case.  You'd be hard pressed to find something that measures more neutral, though you could find something like the DAC1 that has a much nicer rack-mount build. It's a cheap way to find out if you like the cold analytical sound before plunging into the deep end and finding out you may have preferred something else.  If you don't like O2, the problem isn't O2, it's that you didn't like neutral amps to begin with.

post #6783 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

Asgard is perfectly suitable for HD650, certainly.  It's colored slightly warm for an SS, so it will give you a slightly more tube-type tone than a colder SS.  It has been said that it and Valhalla (OTL tube amp) have a somewhat similar voicing.)   And if one doesn't want to mess with tubes the options narrow.  Some dislike Asgard because it has a warmer sound versus more neutral SS amps, but if you perefer a warmer sound it should be great.  It's hard to go wrong with it for the money!


DAC1 is old news.  HD650 is old news.  In a sense LCD-2 is old news.  It doesn't mean it isn't worth owning just because it's not the FOTM. The DAC1 is pro-audio gear.  It comes with rack-mount brackets (or can be bought without them for a few bucks less.)  The DAC portion of it is still the standard by which all DACs are judged, it is famed for dead-neutral, highly accurate performance.  While the amp portion was never a "standard setting" amp compared to higher end studio oriented gear like Phonitor, it is still a very good-to-excellent headphone amp.  One would be hard pressed to find a better DAC, and one would have to spend a lot more to get a better measuring dead-perfect amp.  SPL would be the place to look for that.  If you want neutral, you want studio gear.  Anything else leans toward colored.  Anything sold as "audiophile" is colored by definition.  Audiophiles try to bend the sound to make it sound live, to produce virtual room treatment, to suit their tastes etc.  Studios need perfect; without coloration.

The O2 amp?  There's threads on it in the amps forum.  No idea if anyone's allowed to talk about the guy who made it yet, which would be sad, but the amp itself is fare game.  O2, ODA, ODAC are all discussed in the source forums frequently.  For $150 it's a heck of an amp.  I prefer my Lyr more, however, I prefer my Lyr more precisely because it's not a dead-neutral amp.  The O2 sounds much more expensive than it is, if analytical amps are your thing. 

It's $150 (assembled) for a few reasons.  The designer of it isn't getting paid, and nobody intends to actually turn a profit from the design.  It was designed mostly in spite and given away for free (no R&D to pay for, no one trying to pay the bills based on designing it.)  Its performance is stellar, as has been measured.  It's a dead-flat amp, measures close to the amp in the DAC1, but isn't perfect, at least not SPL perfect.  All the parts are off the shelf with nothing exotic or proprietary. The build leaves something to be desired (keeping it cheap without sacrificing sound was the design goal.)  As a result, two 1/8" TRS jacks replace RCA jacks and 1/4" jacks.  The jacks feel a bit weaker than one would prefer.  The power switch is rather rickety.  The volume pot is an Alps, but it's not as slick or smooth as something like the Blue Velvets used by Schiit, and there's a lot of channel imbalance at the very bottom of the knob, if you have a high output source (Squeezebox at 100%) and sensitive headphones (Denon.)  It uses a half wave wall wart power supply instead of a nice slick internal power supply.  Those are compromises to keep it both cheap and portable.  It doesn't feel as smooth and pretty as Schiit and beyond, and it won't win any design awards.  But it sounds great.

The ODA will be basically the same thing, but with rear-mounted RCA jacks, no batteries, rear-insert power supply cord (unfortunately still a wall wart, but an upgraded one), and a Nutrik 1/4" jack.  There are slight advantages to 1/4" jacks and RCA jacks, but overall it'll be more about feeling more substantial and being table friendly than really sounding that much better. 

Do I like my Lyr more?  Yes.  Do I like my Lyr a lot more?  Yes.  But I'm not a fan of neutral analytical amps, you are, so it would probably suit you better than Lyr if that's the case.  You'd be hard pressed to find something that measures more neutral, though you could find something like the DAC1 that has a much nicer rack-mount build. It's a cheap way to find out if you like the cold analytical sound before plunging into the deep end and finding out you may have preferred something else.  If you don't like O2, the problem isn't O2, it's that you didn't like neutral amps to begin with.

Is the asgard warmer than the lyr?

Also, let's say I decide to spend the extra mony on the lyr, would it be fine with the stock tubes?
post #6784 of 36822

Thanks! And I've found that the amp itself is allowed to be discussed on here BTW (you can discuss banned member's stuff but not the user themself now apparently). And I mean old news like it had been succeeded by something that' s just overall better but nonetheless I'll look into the DAC1. But, isn't there better overall sound quality to be had over the O2, like the SPL Auditor? Like wouldn't that be the same totally flat SS since it's studio gear, and still be better in the sense that it has more detail, accuracy, soundstage etc? Better jacks, power supply, and I read a review where someone noticed some sibilance (at lower volumes I think, but if I'm wrong whatever it's still sibilance) that they read would go away slowly with burn in.

Would an SPL Auditor be a good successor to the O2, or maybe something from Violetric?

post #6785 of 36822

Triple Schiit  <--- Here is a nice article from Headfonia comparing three Schiit amps if you haven't read it already.

 

This is a question from the comments area of the same article.

 

Question: Hey, Mike, I'm going to be purchasing a Schiit amp in the next two weeks (payday!). The problem is... I don't know which one to choose! I have a HD650, and from the content of this site, I'd say your preference of sound is sorta like mine. 

At first, I was thinking of getting the Lyr because I was of the mindset that bigger is better. But then I keep reading on how well the Valhalla does with the HD650, and I know you like the Asgard. So, if you were stuck on an island and given an HD650 with the choice of these three amps, which would you choose?

Answer: If it was me, I would go for the Asgard. However some people feel that the HD650 needs a little boost in the treble, and the Valhalla would be better for that.

post #6786 of 36822

This is the first review where I started questioning Headphonia reviews. It' pretty much goes against everything that I have read and heard about the Schiit trio of amps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokenthumb View Post

Triple Schiit  <--- Here is a nice article from Headfonia comparing three Schiit amps if you haven't read it already.

 

 

post #6787 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyVee View Post

This is the first review where I started questioning Headphonia reviews. It' pretty much goes against everything that I have read and heard about the Schiit trio of amps.
Which is why I stopped reading Headfonia quite some time ago.
I simply cannot agree with their reviewing methods. To me, the mood they're in seems more important than actual sound quality.
post #6788 of 36822

I've got the monster Furutech on my HD650 Black Dragon cable and tat will be perfect for the Lyr.  I'm finding that I'm using the HE400 mostly with my MacBook Air >> FiiO E17 >> HE400 or even directly out of my iPod Classic so a small, light weight classy looking plug works on them.  I have a Moon/BD & Senn 1/4-1/8 adaptor cable but either would add bulk.

 

My HP system DAC is the Matrix Mini-i and Enigma is awesome for the DAC/AMP combo. I'll be using it as a standalone DAC when the Lyr comes in.  Enigma is just incredible on my main system.. OPPO BDP-83 or MacBook Air >> PS Audio DLIII DAC >> Rotel 1560 >> Martin Logan Vista mains & Grotto-i sub.. heavenly.. detailed.. you can hear some of the subtle pings coming out of mid air.

 

Congrats on your 500th post!! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post

ViaBlue?  And what's so wrong with the Furutech on your Black? biggrin.gif   They may be huge, but Lyr has face space to spare, and the Furutech plug looks great plugged in.  It's a bit of bling, but I happen to love the humungous plug.  It feels great in hand plugging and unplugging to, you never don't have an easy grip on it (which is the point.)  I also love the insulated interior, it's the only plug that doesn't heat up and doesn't warm the cable behind it when it's been plugged in Lyr for hours.  The only problem is the way Moon does the strain relief with the heat-shrink the thing hangs a good 4 inches out of the front of the amp, taking up half the 5' cord length tongue.gif

 

What DAC are you using?  For Enigma especially, few things reveal your DAC more.   I used to love Enigma stuff on speakers.  When I started listening to it on IEMs I started doubting the recording quality.  When I pulled out the 650's and tried it when I got Lyr (using the Pure I20 iPod dock as a DAC) I was convinced the recording quality was bad and stopped listening.  When I got the Bifrost and tried it again, I was amazed.  The recording quality is excellent, it just somehow has all the wrong frequencies that will play on a poor DAC's flaws. I think they just assumed everyone listening to it would have good hi-fi gear.  They're German, after all.... bigsmile_face.gif

 

Norah Jones sounds great on anything, but HD650 is the king for female vocals, IMO.  HE-400 just doesn't have the same presence for it. 

 

 

post #6789 of 36822

Well my head-fi friends, I took the plunge.  I have some HD650's, Asgard, and Bifrost coming in the mail.  Woo woo!

 

Will the Bifrost come with an optical spdif cable or will I have to go buy one?

 

Oh, and another question... what cables should I use to go between the bifrost and the asgard.  something tells me that going to radio shack and buying cheap rca cables is a no-no.


Edited by bleudeciel16 - 5/24/12 at 7:28pm
post #6790 of 36822

I just had an opportunity to listen to the Sennheiser 650 today.

All I can say is WOW! :o

I actually went in to purchase the ATH-M50 and they had the 650 in so I decided to give it a go. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to hear. Simply stunning all the way around. Yes, I agree they they are "dark" sounding, but (for me) that translates into smooth and non-fatiguing. 8-) No sibilance at all that I could detect from my brief time with them.

I was listening to some random tracks from the owners ipod, but I saw that he had Soundgarden on there (something I am very familiar with) and I put on "fell on black days". When the bass line came in, my jaw dropped. It was full and deep. Most impressive, though, was how natural and real it sounded. It didn't sound like bass pumping through the 'phones, but like a real bass being played in the room.

When the guitar solo came on, it was the same thing all over again. It was natural, and very real sounding, like a guitar being played in the room with me. VERY, VERY impressive indeed. 8-)

Just to test the bass (hey, I like low end too ;)) I put on 50 Cent "In the Club" While this bass line isn't natural at all (it wasn't recorded that way) it was full, textured, and deep. Something I had yet to really experience on headphones.

IMO the Senn 650s sound more like a traditional loudspeaker than the other cans I have had an opportunity to listen to. I decided to not buy the Audio Technica, and instead, save up to buy the Senn 650s.

As I posted earlier on this forum, I have bought the Skullcandy Supreme Sound Aviators, and then Grado SR80is. While I liked both of them, they just sounded like "headphones" to me. Nothing to really write home to mom about (no offense to their fans, I like them, but they do not "wow" me) but not terrible sound either.

I did listen to several other models, as well, but none of them were as lifelike and realistic sounding as the Senn 650s. I did like the AKG Quincy Jones model as well...it would have been my #2 pick behind the Senns, but once again, it just didn't really grab me like the 650 did.

I wish I had the cash to get them today, but in the meantime, I will use (and enjoy) the two sets of cans I have now...and continue to research headphone amps.

Now that I have a particular model in mind, I think it will be easier to narrow down the selection.

Thanks for reading. :)

 


Edited by painted klown - 5/25/12 at 1:14am
post #6791 of 36822
@painted klown, cool that you loved them. What amp were you listening through? Can improve even more with as amplification improves.
post #6792 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by captouch View Post

@painted klown, cool that you loved them. What amp were you listening through? Can improve even more with as amplification improves.


It was an ipod touch ran into a Headroom Micro Amp. I played around a bit with the gain switch and found that on medium gain (switch to the bottom position) that I could turn it all the way up with no immediately noticeable SQ issues. With the switch on the lowest gain (in the middle) I could hardly hear anything. When I set it to the highest gain (top position), the 650s seemed to "open up" a bit more, but I could turn the amp up to past audible distortion before I hit my personal "its too loud" threshold.

 

In fact, It seems that way with every headphone I listen to. I am not sure quite why. With large (power wise) home audio amps, I can easily make my ears hurt before the amp runs out of steam or begins clipping the signal.

 

For some reason, I just feel that headphone listening cannot quite hit that level of massive headroom, dynamics, and sheer volume. Perhaps this is because I have only heard the Headroom amps, my laptop, and my two ipods as sources. confused_face_2.gif

 

I am hoping that once I get the 650s, that I can find an amp that will drive them to ear bleeding levels, while not distorting, or "losing it's composure".

 

Either way (even with the Micro Amp) the quality, and natural sound of the headphone was quite apparent...it just couldn't get to a really high volume level without breaking up. frown.gif

 

EDIT: Please do not think my above comments are aimed at the 650s. As stated, I feel these headphones are the only cans I have heard that actually sound like listening to a pair of full range tower speakers. I think the limitation I found (clipping at higher volume) was more a limitation of the amp, and not the Senns.


Edited by painted klown - 5/25/12 at 8:09am
post #6793 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by painted klown View Post

I just had an opportunity to listen to the Sennheiser 650 today.

All I can say is WOW! :o

I actually went in to purchase the ATH-M50 and they had the 650 in so I decided to give it a go. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to hear. Simply stunning all the way around. Yes, I agree they they are "dark" sounding, but (for me) that translates into smooth and non-fatiguing. 8-) No sibilance at all that I could detect from my brief time with them.

I was listening to some random tracks from the owners ipod, but I saw that he had Soundgarden on there (something I am very familiar with) and I put on "fell on black days". When the bass line came in, my jaw dropped. It was full and deep. Most impressive, though, was how natural and real it sounded. It didn't sound like bass pumping through the 'phones, but like a real bass being played in the room.

When the guitar solo came on, it was the same thing all over again. It was natural, and very real sounding, like a guitar being played in the room with me. VERY, VERY impressive indeed. 8-)

 

 

I think this is the same sentiment I had after the SR225i's. Although the Grado was nice, when I put on the HD650s for the first time, wowowowow. I'm still enamored with the HD650s, being my office headphones now. Now that you've mentioned Soundgarden (I haven't listened to them in a while), will have to whip out my old CDs and give them a listen!

post #6794 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by twizzleraddict View Post

 

I think this is the same sentiment I had after the SR225i's. Although the Grado was nice, when I put on the HD650s for the first time, wowowowow. I'm still enamored with the HD650s, being my office headphones now. Now that you've mentioned Soundgarden (I haven't listened to them in a while), will have to whip out my old CDs and give them a listen!


I highly recommend pulling out Superunknown, and giving "Fell on Black Days" a spin. Listen intently, and tell me that isn't magic when the bass line comes in, and during the guitar solo. I could have sworn that if I closed my eyes, I would have been standing in the studio with them. smily_headphones1.gif

post #6795 of 36822
Quote:
Originally Posted by painted klown View Post


I highly recommend pulling out Superunknown, and giving "Fell on Black Days" a spin. Listen intently, and tell me that isn't magic when the bass line comes in, and during the guitar solo. I could have sworn that if I closed my eyes, I would have been standing in the studio with them. smily_headphones1.gif

 

I was hooked on them when I first heard "Hands All Over" (I think they were playing that video on MTV over and over and over again). With "Badmotorfinger", "Jesus Christ Pose" has that bass riff that dominates this song which is pretty rhythmic and makes you want to tear the walls down from your home! I think this is going to be a Soundgarden weekend... in between changing diapers. L3000.gif

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