Legitimate Headphone Amp!
Well, I returned from a week in Hawaii on friday and HAD to go by my office to pick up my new Equinoxed K1000s on saturday! The box had arrived as soon as I left, so the pent-up desire to hear these cans paired with the Moth 300B amp pretty much overwhelmed me.
The cans are beautiful and in pristine condition. The leather pads look barely used. S/N is 11200. The seller, bwarfel, had purchased a 20-foot Equinox cable (1/4 terminated) which he had installed by Vinnie at Red Wine Audio. Vinnie did a smashing job, of course. After I bought them, bwarfel shipped them directly to Stefan AudioArt for retermination with silver soldered ends and James Serdechny did a masterful job cutting back the tech-flex and creating 18-inch tail ends so I can easily use these cans on pretty much any amps, including mono-blocks (a la the Party and Neil's meet). Thanks to bwarfel and to James for going that extra mile.
So, on saturday, I cobbled together a far from ideal setup to give them an initial listen. I plugged in to my HT rig, which has an Arcam DV29 and Arcam AV8 pre/pro, which are very good pieces but not my ideal for feeding the Moth and K1000s. Still, I used the analog output on the DV29 and the stereo direct to tape out from the AV8 to minimize the mucking about with the signal. Oh, and I also listened to a couple LPs on my VPI Aries 3, also in direct mode. Here are a couple quick pics from tonight's listening session:
I have never had K1000s before, although I have heard them in many setups at meets and the like. I am still getting used to them and experimenting with the angle on my head. I am finding that different music suits different angles, although I have only a few hours with these so any comments I make now are preliminary.
After the first few hours of listening, do I think that it was worth over $3K for this amp/cans combo? You bet! The sound is glorious and will only get better after I dial in the proper setup. (I am thinking that a different source and maybe some copper cables would be a nice thing, plus the poor Moth is perched on a table and plugged into a crap power strip
) The Moth and its 300Bs do mate well with the K1000s, and the amp has that wonderful combination of being lush and fast at the same time. The K1000s sound so big and so natural. The background is not as black as I would like, but that is a sign of how resolving these cans are and why I say that this setup is not ideal. As far as range, these cans are amazing and the bass response is not HUGE but it is weighty and very controlled and, again, natural sounding. It does seem that turning them in can increase the bass slam, as many have said.
I started out playing most of the burned CD Neilvg created for the HE90/K1000 meet at his place, along with The Beatles Love which was a big hit at that meet. I thought that the XTC, Sufjan, Muddy Waters, Costello/Bacharach and Kate Rusby all sounded great. The XTC and Muddy (one of my reference pieces) in particular stood out as being incredible for different reason. The XTC has a lot of layers, and they all came through as intended and created a beautiful, rich presentation. The Muddy Waters Folk Singer cut is as clean and simple a recording as I have and the K1000s created a fabulous image for that as well.
Otherwise, I have played mostly jazz, a touch of classical, some vocals, and some more blues. The vinyl album that really showed off the bass qualities of this amp and cans was Ray Brown and Laurindo Almeida's Moonlight Serenade. Wow, that is bass monster of an album -- Ray Brown Rules! -- and the K1000 were heaven. Bowed or plucked, it was very true to life as if Ray were in the living room on the other side of this "weird looking" cans (my wife's comment).
I also read J-pak's comment somewhere today that the K1000s were his vote for best cans for prog rock, so I am currently listening to 2112 on them. Sounds pretty damn sweet and again the slam and speed are in line with a nice pair a speakers, with tight and controlled bass. Funny that just after I typed that comment the K1000s announced the following:
"Attention all planets of the solar federation. We have assumed control, we have assumed control, we have assumed control..."
I need to clean a Yes album or two and spin them tomorrow for further testing...
I'm sure I'll have more comments along the way. I am just getting to know these cans and until Mikhail gets me that SDS-XLR, I am going to have a bunch of lonely headphones lying around my house. Too bad for them, I'm liking this too much.