post #106 of 160
1/27/07 at 6:59am
For all the doubters of cables out there, I have setup a simple test. At the meet I had two HEV90's and two HE90's. I set up one with a quail power cord and cardas cables, one with virtual dynamics masters series power cords and interconnects.
A friend of mine who doesn't know much about headphones listened to both and thought that one of them was a totally different headphone. The differences were awesome and really interesting.
Orpheus versus speakers is a tricky question, the answer to which may depend on the kinds of speakers and the kinds of music. I recently heard a very expensive set of large and expensive floor standing speakers, in a well designed listening room. These speakers (which were augmented by two subs) sounded great when playing rock, pop, and some jazz. But, they sounded horrible when playing classical orchestral music. Here their sound was terribly bloated, and unresolved. Thus, for playing classical orchestral music, Orpheus headphones would be great, but this supposedly great speaker system was horrible for playing classical orchestral music. Comparison with stat speakers, such as Quads, may however yield different results.
I have found this to be very true (and very expensive). Cables and power cords can make a huge difference. They are generally referred to as "tweaks" which implies subtle differences, but I have found them to be dramatic. This was a big surprise to me that ICs, cabling and power could make such a difference. It is also daunting to consider the hundreds and hundreds of combinations one would need to evaluate to get it "right".
There has got to be a better way to sort through these variables without everyone having to buy and try many many different expensive interconnects, headphone cables and power cords. That is one of the great assets of head-fi, the ability to learn from other's experiences (and mistakes).
Nik has done an excellent job of relating his pursuit of perfection in K1000 land, and has come up with what he considers to be the "perfect" system for him. (see his signature for the components)
Neil, perhaps if you and others could do the same, relating your experiences on how you came to the system components and cables that you did, and the level of music reproduction perfection that you have achieved through this effort. That would be a great help!
For the moment, I am fixated on getting the very most out of my K1000s, and would welcome thoughts on achieving my goals.
I've seen that Tesla Sports Car. Lotus is manufacturing them. Awesome! But seeeeriously, Al is totally MIA, and my DAC is back, but it looks like the internals have been switched with the Zhalou!
I have for 5 times the K1000, the first one was on eof the firts produced, I always sold them afetr some amps tested (BAT hybrid with 6h30 integrated, Electrocomaniet, Copland, McCormak, and others). One of latest times I had the K1000 with a Leben CS-600, a 30 watt class A with 6sl6gc a push pull amp that was very, very good. But I have sold the K1000 the same...
At the end I have bought one more K1000 and the beautiful Cary with some special tubes for it... I used this setup for a "long" time, respect to the precedents times... The Cary helped me to understand that the SET 300B was the answer for the K1000 (IMHO). So I was decided to invest a lot of money to have the very best SET 300B amp, I think that this is the Air Tight, someone told me that this amp is even better than AudioNote or AudioTekne... you know?
Good, I had the possibility to listen the Air Tight and I was amazed with it... Then I had a long time to "tune" the amp for my cans: cables, tubes, especially. I have worked a lot and for some mounts just to find "the perfection", I was ready to invest all my energy to do this. After the tubes (many, many tubes selected), the IC was the problem. The new top of the line Acrolink solved this "problem" and gave me all what I was researching.
Good, the sound of this power amp is unconventional if you think to other of the same SET 300B as the very good Cary, for example. The Air Tight has twice the fast, dynamic an tight (as his name tells). The bass is mucth better than the Cary, details and trasparence is also outstanding. It was too dynamic for my ears, and I have decided to have less dynamic with the control of the gain selector in a low position (a bit of feedback added).
The Air Tight is a very minimalist concept amp, this is a power amp, not an integrated, so you have jut one only in (RCA) and two volume pots on the in. The output transformers are made by Tamura, look and construction are the best I have seen untill today. Weight is aorund 25 kg ! The boottom is pure cooper (heavy coopper).
The tubes are WE300B, Mullard 12au7 long plate 1955 cryo, Mullard 5as4 and RCA 12bh7a, an incredile set. If you know the sound of the WE 300b think this sound at the highest level listened with a K1000, so the most romantic sound matched with the dynamic and the power of the K1000, hard to describe. You know the K1000 surely it is not the most "romantic" cans... and just for this they need that kind of amp...(IMHO), but do not think a typical tubey sound, think to a very strong performances united to a incredible heart...
I hope you will understand my low english... but I'm so enthusiast for this sound...
I Think that the Orpheus as a perfect match between the cans and the amp, I would like to adfirm that the K1000 now has his big companion called Air Tight ATM-300... this is my experience.
But all the components (from to power cables to my ears) are tuned specifically for the K1000, this is also very important in this experience.
All my friends (headfiers of Italy) who have listend to this setup, and they knew all my setups, said that this is surely the very best one, I'm also of the same opinion... better of any Qualia, Omega II, L3000, PS1, RS1, R10 and many others... One of these guys has the big Avalon speakers in his house !!!
Just my two (or 3 ) cents...
We’ve just completed our K1000 amplifier rematch. Here’s my description of the meet and some of my observations:
The meet was hosted by Humanflyz. We compared the K1000 on two different amps -- the FirstWatt F1 and the Red Wine Audio Signature 30.
Our previous K1000 meet (held at Neilvg’s place) was interesting but inconclusive, due to variations introduced by the cables we were using with the headphones. This time we tried to minimize the equipment variables as much as possible. We wanted as accurate an amp comparison as we could get.
Once again we decided to use Neilvg’s excellent EMM Labs equipment as our source. The FirstWatt and Sig 30 were both hooked up to it and the K1000s were attached to the amps. This is when we encountered our first problem.
As soon as the FirstWatt was powered up the room temperature rose to over 120 degrees. When we turned on the air conditioner the room lights started to dim and flicker. Apparently we were putting an excessive strain on the Berkeley power grid. Since we were worried that our power conditioning equipment was being over-taxed, we needed another power source.
Fortunately, Utep10 had come to the meet in his brand new Tesla all-electric sports car. And, of course, Neilvg had the 80 foot long Shunyata Anaconda power cable that he always carries around with him. We plugged one end of the Anaconda into our equipment and dropped the other end out of the window. On the street below, Voltron grabbed the end of the power cable and plugged it into the Tesla. We now had all of the pure power we needed, and didn’t have to worry about interference from the power grid. We were almost ready to go.
As I mentioned before, at this meet we wanted to minimize the effect that cables could have on our comparison. Unfortunately, we still didn’t have two K1000 extensions of the same type. Since we had run into problems when mixing cables in our previous A-B tests, we needed a different approach.
I realized that I had brought the solution to our problem with me. I had brought my Dictaphone!
Since the K1000 is an open design, the sound spills out when the listener is playing it. I suggested that all we had to do was record the sound escaping from the K1000 using the Dictaphone. Then we could move the K1000 over to the other amp, play it, and compare the sound we were hearing with what we had recorded (while using the exact same cable!).
When I suggested this solution, the entire group became quiet. Their eyes widened, their mouths fell open, and their brows furrowed. It was apparent to me that they were impressed with the elegance of my plan, and envious that they hadn’t thought of it themselves.
We were now ready to begin the comparison. Humanflyz went over to the window and shouted ‘Punch it’ down to Voltron (who was sitting in the Tesla).
Voltron stomped down on the Tesla’s acceleration attenuator (formerly known as a gas pedal). The air above the FirstWatt began to shimmer as the heat waves rose above it. I dropped my prized copy of “Little Richard Sings Pat Boone’s Greatest Hits” (Remastered - SACD) into the EMM Labs transport, and began to perform the amp comparison.
The comparison was conducted as follows:
1.Hook up the K1000 to the FirstWatt.
2.Record the sound coming from it into the Dictaphone
3.Move the K1000 over to the Sig 30
4.A-B the sound coming from the K1000 with the sound (captured by the Dictaphone) that had been produced by the FirstWatt.
I had never heard the Sig 30 sound so good. Clearly, the purity of the power generated by the Tesla was superior to the PS Audio conditioned power that I usually use to charge my Sig 30’s batteries. The Dictaphone recording of the FirstWatt’s performance paled by comparison.
Result: The Sig 30 sounds better than the FirstWatt.
I was ready to quit and go home at this point. Humanflyz, however, suggested that I should reverse my testing procedure. Although this seemed rather pointless, I decided to humor him. This time I performed the test as follows:
1.Hook up the K1000 to the Sig 30.
2.Record the sound coming from it into the Dictaphone
3.Move the K1000 to the FirstWatt
4.Compare the sound coming from the K1000 with the recording of the Sig 30.
Much to my surprise, this time the FirstWatt sounded better than the Sig 30. A lot better.
I was just beginning to investigate this unexpected turn of events when we ran into another problem. Down on the street in the Tesla, Voltron was leaning over the center console, trying to get his Sony Walkman to fit into the Tesla's iPod dock. Unfortunately, he bumped the shift knob and the Tesla (which was floored at the time) took off. As he disappeared into the distance, we heard him screaming something about being ‘shpongled’. We haven’t seen him since.
Rematch conclusion: Inconclusive. We may need another meet.
BTW – If anyone sees Voltron, please let us know. We may have to delay the National Head-Fi meet if we can’t find him. Also, Neilvg wants his EMM Dac back. It’s still hooked up to the Tesla.