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Party at Neil's Orpheus/K1000 Meet Impressions - Page 6

post #76 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
Just got back from the meet, so I'll post my impressions while they are still fresh.

Aside from meeting all the awesome Bay-Area Head-Fiers, I came into this meet with one objective: to find out how much the K1000s can scale up with equipment. And the answer is that it goes as high as your source goes.

This is the setup that really blew my mind:

EMM Labs CDSD Transport-->EMM Labs DCC2 DAC/Pre-amp-->First Watt F1-->K1000s (stock cable).

This is a fully balanced setup, and the K1000s have never sounded any better. The EMM Labs transport/DAC combo really showed me what my FirstWatt/K1000 setup is capable of, and I have never heard bass on my K1000s sound as good as they did with this setup. To my ears, there was not a single harsh note to be found. So if you are skeptical of the K1000's transparency, you should really try them out on a top-end source, because they are only going to be as good as the source, provided that they get the right amplification.

Now the important question: is the K1000 setup I've just described better or equal to an HE90/HEV90 setup using the same source? The answer is a bit more complicated. The Orpheus/HEV90 setup definitely had greater bass extension, but that is to be expected. The midrange is comparable on the two setups to my ears, although the Orpheus was a tiny bit smoother. They also have comparable highs, although the K1000's highs are just a tiny bit more emphasized. This isn't a problem with the EMM Labs source. Overall I think the HE90 setup is a better setup, but the K1000s are right behind it. But I wouldn't trade in my K1000 setup for an Orpheus setup myself.

A slight aside: the K1000s sounded awesome on Neil's state-of-the-art MBL monoblocks, but it's a little bit too extreme to run the K1000s out of a pair of $15,000 monoblocks

I also came into the meet wanting to compare the Red Wine Audio Signature 30 against the FirstWatt. I personally prefered the F1, because it just has so much control over the K1000s, and it is actually surprisingly smoother than the Signature 30. I heard some slight sibilance on the Signature 30, but nothing really glaring. Plus it is more versatile than the F1. But the power of the F1, it just calls out to me, because it just grips the K1000s in a vice and refuses to let go of the drivers. And at heart, I'm a power guy, and I think that there is no such thing as too much power.

At the end of the day, I was just happy that I got to listen to some of the best setups I've ever heard. And I know once and for all that I am completely happy with my K1000s setup. Sure, the Orpheus is technically better, but even going back to the K1000s setup, I did not feel the slightest urge to upgrade.

The only thing left for me to do is to upgrade the source, because the K1000 is so transparent that it is only as good as the source that is feeding it. I was blown away by how incredibly good it sounded out of the EMM Labs digital front-end; it eats my Lavry for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. I have now, more than I have ever before, a believer in source-first.

So I can say that this meet was freaking awesome, it really showed me how much more potential I can unlock out of my current setup. I'll just have to start saving my pennies and plan for a source upgrade.
can you compare the mbl monoblock+ k1000 vs red wine/first watt? =)
post #77 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konig View Post
can you compare the mbl monoblock+ k1000 vs red wine/first watt? =)
Not enough listening time to make any kind of comparison, but the K1000s sounded really nice out of the MBL monoblocks.
post #78 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by humanflyz View Post
Not enough listening time to make any kind of comparison, but the K1000s sounded really nice out of the MBL monoblocks.
sorry for asking a noob question, but i thought the red wine and first watt has XLR pins while u have to use spades for the mbl monoblock. Does it mean that u need to change cables?
post #79 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Konig View Post
sorry for asking a noob question, but i thought the red wine and first watt has XLR pins while u have to use spades for the mbl monoblock. Does it mean that u need to change cables?
Speaker terminals are NOT the same thing as input connections.
post #80 of 160
Very informative thread.
So Orpheus kills the K1000? And just when i thought that my future k1000 rig would be a killer in headphone world...

And one more question, just curious, can you compare the sound of HE90 with any good speaker system that you have heard? At what price level can you say that a certain speaker setup sounds better then he90?
post #81 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Ghost View Post
Very informative thread.
So Orpheus kills the K1000? And just when i thought that my future k1000 rig would be a killer in headphone world...
While I did not attend the meet I would not say the Orpheus rigs kills the k1000. I have heard both in my home for extended periods and I actually prefer the k1000. The best I have heard the HE90 sound is with the Arastatous (sp) and while top notch it's not my cuppa tea. They are just two very different but extremely great view of the headphone listening. I am probably in the minority here though.
post #82 of 160
The Orpheus is better than the K1000, but I wouldn't say that it "kills" it on a good setup. But then again, the Orpheus beats everything else I've heard in the top-tier like the R10s and the L3000s and the Omega IIs.
post #83 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Ghost View Post
Very informative thread.
So Orpheus kills the K1000? And just when i thought that my future k1000 rig would be a killer in headphone world...

And one more question, just curious, can you compare the sound of HE90 with any good speaker system that you have heard? At what price level can you say that a certain speaker setup sounds better then he90?
Well actually comparing headphones to speaker listening is tough. Remember, most music is actually mixed for speaker. Headphones, along with our ears/brains do something of a translation job.

Having said that, the Orpheus has the detail, speed, transient response, ability to crescendo/produce micro and macro dynamics (when called for) that all the high-end speakers are touted as having. However, since it is in fact a headphone, it has a limited headstage comparatively and it has a more extreme spatialization. Obviously this difference will be there since we are talking headphones v.s. speakers. I personally prefer headphones at this point, but this is largely because I have been listening to them for years and I love the intimate sound that lets me sink into my own world. Speakers however are inherently more social.

===

Also on another point, while I also think the Orpheus is the best headphone out there, and my particular system really brings out the best in them, I do think the K1000 can be likewise optimised. Will it be just as good or better than the Orpheus? Likely not, but it is important to take into mind, beyond the technical ability of a headphone (where the Orpheus shines), there is also the individual presentation of the phone which is subject to a given listeners taste. Some people will just like the K1000 better no matter what. There's nothing wrong with that! They sound great!

Neil
post #84 of 160
I have no doubt that the K1000 can be at the very top of the headphone world. When I owned the K1000 w/ the RKV MKII about 2 years back, I thought it was very impressive.
post #85 of 160
Nobody will convice me that the Orpheus setup is better than K1000 + ???, until that person do not compare the two setups at the same level... I'm speaking of the amp !!!

The HE90 has a very good amp, built for them, unfortunately, the K1000 do not have. I believe that this K1000's partener is a SET 300B amp, but at the highest class, absolutely TOP class...

In these conditions I'd accept any comparison...
post #86 of 160
Nik -

Tell us some more about this amp. What does it do to the K1000's that other amps seem to fall short?

Neil
post #87 of 160
Nik, did you listen to FistWatt F1 or Sig30?
post #88 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvg View Post
Nik -

Tell us some more about this amp. What does it do to the K1000's that other amps seem to fall short?

Neil
Hi Neil,

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...

Best regards!
post #89 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Ghost View Post
Nik, did you listen to FistWatt F1 or Sig30?
I can't find those amps here in Italy, but I'm planning to test a Sig 30 one day...

I have compared the BAT with super 6h30 tubes tha is an excellent integrated, just to say one... 150 watts !
post #90 of 160
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nik View Post
Hi Neil,

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.

Just my two (or 3 ) cents...

Best regards!
Very interesting. Any estimate on retail price to replace your "ideal" rig (less source and phones)?
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