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K1000 Mega Meet In San Francisco -- 5/26/07 - Page 4

post #46 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmilhan
It's a real shame that none of the budget K-1000 amps made an appearance (Trends TA-10.1, Big Joe, etc). I think you would have been thorouhgly impressed with what those mini-wonders are capable of.
You are probably right, but there is only so much you can do in a small venue in the 3-4 hours that most people were willing to spend that day. Al decided on two main themes: compare 300B amps driving K-1000 and compare different K-1000 cables. The Aleph was added to the mix as a representative of a solid-state single-ended amp, since the two glass amps are single-ended. It gave us a good point of reference.
The Dussun amps were sent by Ping of AAA Audio (a real nice guy!) and bobcn had a real interest in trying the different cables with his own Red Wine Sig 30, so this amp went on the rack too.
The splitter box could only handle 3 amps and the Aleph was connected directly to the EMM, so there were always 4 amps driven for an instant and equal comparison. Frankly, if you want to cover a variety of cables and music then even four is a bit much...
I believe that adding anything else to the mix would have been just an "overload" rather than add more fun. Now that we know the strengths of the tube amps I personally wouldn't mind running another event with the "pocket amps" vs. one of the 300B amps. This would have a different emphasis and the 300B amp would be there mainly as a reference.
post #47 of 93
Looks like 'twas an awesome meet! Interesting CD selection, going to be looking into a couple of those.

I'd like to know more about those Audio Art IC-3 interconnects, how far above their price bracket do they compete in your opinion?
post #48 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ori View Post
You are probably right, but there is only so much you can do in a small venue in the 3-4 hours that most people were willing to spend that day. Al decided on two main themes: compare 300B amps driving K-1000 and compare different K-1000 cables. The Aleph was added to the mix as a representative of a solid-state single-ended amp, since the two glass amps are single-ended. It gave us a good point of reference.
The Dussun amps were sent by Ping of AAA Audio (a real nice guy!) and bobcn had a real interest in trying the different cables with his own Red Wine Sig 30, so this amp went on the rack too.
The splitter box could only handle 3 amps and the Aleph was connected directly to the EMM, so there were always 4 amps driven for an instant and equal comparison. Frankly, if you want to cover a variety of cables and music then even four is a bit much...
I believe that adding anything else to the mix would have been just an "overload" rather than add more fun. Now that we know the strengths of the tube amps I personally wouldn't mind running another event with the "pocket amps" vs. one of the 300B amps. This would have a different emphasis and the 300B amp would be there mainly as a reference.
Actually, Voltron originally proposed that the meet be "an F1 / Sig 30 / Moth / WA5 / Zanden shootout" (see http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showpo...postcount=110). That's why I brought the Sig 30.

What took place was only a "shootout" in the very loosest sense. Each of the participants pursued his own interests and benefited from the meet in his own way. Some were only interested in the glass amps or comparing their own amp to various other amps on the rack.

I was primarily interested in comparing my Sig 30 to the Woo amp and listening to various cabling options (although I did spend some time listening to Al's Moth -- not comparing it to anything -- just enjoying it).
post #49 of 93
Thread Starter 
Well, as Neil said much earlier in the thread, impressions seem less relevant as time goes by and the passage of time makes one question the validity. In my case, I have been listening to a lot of these amps for weeks (and months in the case of the Moth) and I have wanted to try to do a more coherent summary of I have been a single dad of two for the last week and thankfully my wife returned today so I am sitting here jotting some thoughts while the house is quiet.

As a quick lead-in, I need to clarify Ori's comments about the focus of the meet. For me, the two central ideas of Saturday were to bring in as many of the strong K1000 amp options as possible and see how they fared and compared to each other, and also to compare the two available hardwired cans and the other tails to the extent possible. There was an earlier meet with Min and Neil in which we listened only to 300B amps with the K1000, with a little HE90/ES-1 thrown in as a contrast. Bruce and I also got together on Monday because he couldn't make the Saturday meet and we threw his Jungson amp in with the Woo and Moth for a little Round 3 action. Finally, throughout the time since the Int'l Meet I have been listening to the Woo5 and my Moth to see how those two stack up against each other. So, my impressions here span longer than Saturday, and in fact are kind of up to the minute . . .

Dussun V6i
I am actually listening to the same rig as the Saturday meet, through the Dussun V6i and to very nice effect. Ping and I discussed the findings from Saturday's very cursory evaluation of this amp and he challenged me to give it another try (without actually saying so). I decided that this was a good evening to do it and I have really enjoyed the sound. There is still only a small range of usable volume control (0 to 4+) until the K1000s are too loud and over-driven, but from a very quiet level up to a reasonably loud listening level the sound is very cohesive, very detailed and quite pleasant. There is not solid state glare or edge to my ears and the overall feel is pretty warm for this kind of powerful SS amp.

This experience is much more consistent with my listening at the Int'l Meet in San Jose where I thought this amp was quite successful driving the K1000. I am sure this beast can power your most challenging speakers and the fact it can scale down is a nice bonus. I just listened to the DCC Groovin On Vol 1 CD and that sounded very live and fun, and now I am listening to the Fitzwilliam String Quartet's recording of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 15 and the amp is fast and dynamic and I don't feel like I am missing anything. Nice air and sense of space and good decay as the first movement ended. I definitely want to clarify my comments from Saturday because I think this amp did not get a fair shake and several hours tonight have me believing this big fella is a K1000 contender.

Dussun DS99
I like this amp and noted some basic impressions earlier in the thread. This 100W little beauty has a good sound in a smaller package than the V6i, and allows a much greater range of volume control accordingly. The sound is clean and crisp without drawbacks of poorly rendered SS power. The amount of time spent does not allow me to make fine comparisons and detailed observations, but the fact is this amp would be a very good option with speakers and K1000s both. The sound signature, dynamics and transparency would make SS fans very happy, and the relative warmth of this amp makes it easy to listen to even for a tube-head.

Red Wine Audio Signature 30
Sticking with the solid state beginnings here, I have to say that this is a compelling little amp. The form factor is great, the battery power provides a perfectly silent operation, and the sound is much bigger than its footprint. The Sig30 sounded better to me at this meet than at any time I have heard it before, with the possible exception of JP#s very dialed-in Sig30/Omega speaker setup in Fla--super nice--and Vinnie's demo room at the HE show in NYC where he was also powering smaller Omega speakers when I was there.

I thought that on Saturday Bob's Sig30 was about as good as it can get with K1000s. The SDv2 and Equinox hardwired cans both sounded great, as did the Black Dragon tail on the stock cans. The Ori X-2s also made the sound come alive compared to the cables Bob had been using, and the EMM gear provided a beautiful source to match the smooth sound of the Sig. Where I think this amp fails to reach the highest with the K1000 is in headroom, dynamics, and body. The sound can come through a little congested in tough passages in that the extension high and low are not at the very top level of the other competitors on Saturday. If the bass could be improved--like Kent's attempts to integrate a sub--and a lot of these issues would go away. This is still one of the very best K1000 amps available, and without the comparison it would be much harder to fault this great amp. I also think that I prefer it with sensitive speakers like the Omegas because the harsh spotlight the K1000 just exposes any flaw or weakness without forgiveness (ooh, Ori's poetry is affecting me now!).

Pass Labs Aleph 30
I was so happy that Leeav made the meet and that we were able to set this amp up properly with balanced input directly from the DCC2 preamp output. If there was any advantage given by running the Aleph balanced, it was intentional because my feeling was/is that it should be heard at its best just like the other amps (upgraded tubes were used in both glass amps, for instance). The only other thing to note is that the pre-outs of the DCC2 have a slighlty different body or weight than the line out, but that is just not worth compensating for because it is a small difference and we had no other option.

If the Sig30 sounded better than prior K1000 outings, the Aleph 30 in this balanced setup was at the true top of its game. I was very impressed with the amp from many standpoints mentioned already. It is incredibly smooth for a solid state amp and the sound is so "together" that you could rock out or chill out with equal ease. The bass was great and the speed/dynamics really make it an exciting amp, but I have to say again that it does not come across as fatiguing. I have not listened to this amp for long periods but it is very compelling and I would like to do just that! I wish that the FirstWatt F1 had been present (humanflyz, what happened to you?! ) because I thought I liked that one better before but this setup would have been a great opportunity to compare them.

Jungson JA-88D
The Aleph took top solid state honors for me on Saturday, but the Jungson would have provided some stiff competition. This 80W amp also is fully balanced and Class A, and the overall sound signature was very warm and tube-like for a SS amp. Bruce and I really compared the Jungson/Woo/Moth amps in sequence pretty closely and the Jungson hung in there very well. It lost out on extension in the highs and control in the lows. The bass was noticeably flabbier than either tube amp, but still nice and rich. The Jungson's highs didn't have the same level of sparkle and quite the natural feel of the tubes.

All of these comparisons were in single-ended mode to make the comparisons easier on Ori's switchbox device. I should have thought to compare the balanced operation with my Crystal Cables, which would have made the direct comparison harder but it would have been interesting. This is a very nice amp and Bruce says he prefers it with speakers. I can imagine it handles speakers very well and will look forward to checking it out Bruce's sometime.

Moth Audio 300B Paradigm
I own this amp and love it with the K1000 and with my Klipsch Heresy speakers. There are numerous comments by others that sum up its strengths and weaknesses, but here is a quick summary from my perspective. I have listened more with the TJ Premium Mesh Plates than the Western Electric 300Bs, but I certainly prefer the WE across the board. The Moth is a tube lover's tube amp without the level of trade-offs found in lesser creations. The sound is musical, first and foremost, and the tone is on the warm/dark side without being syrupy or blurred. The high end does sparkle to me, and the TJs certainly add in more top end "energy" than the WEs. There probably is some roll-off (greater than the Woo, for example), but what is lost is minimal and allows you to enjoy the music for hour on end. The bass is great and real and visceral but it is still not as clean or controlled as the Woo's fine bass handling.

The natural sound and body are what keep me especially happy. The K1000 sounded thin and reedy and not appealing at all to me with many previous attempts to like them, but even the EAR amp didn't do it for me at all. It was after the "Party at Neil's" meet whet my appetite, and Nik's threads about mating 300B amps with the K1000 that I found this combination. I truly love the sound and highly recommend that people keep snatching up any Moth 300B creations that pop up on Audiogon like this one did.

Woo Audio WA-5
I have been spouting off about this amp ever since the Int'l Meet last month. I won't go into great detail here except to say that I still hold this amp in very high regard and think it is the most versatile amp on the market today which make it that much more valuable and exciting. The K1000 impressions are very similar to those that I have posted elsewhere, but the WA5 does much of what I love about the Moth but adds in more resolution, more bass control, and a more exciting high end. The Woo stock tube complement is nicely matched to the amp and provides excellent sound and value. Adding in the NOS Sylvania 6SN7GTs and the WE 300Bs takes the amp even higher and really knocks my socks off. I did not have the time to roll other 6SN7s or rectifier tubes, but it would be a good thing for some owners coming up to try.

I also want to comment on the issues raised on Saturday about something being off or a channel imbalance. There was an issue that Ori discovered and it was as simple as one of the Equinox's wire ends being loose on the right side. I do not believe there is an issue at all and I did not hear it and Bruce never mentioned it on Monday. It's too bad that this came up, but things happen. I think people were duly impressed with the amp anyway, and rightly so, IMHO. I will be very interested to hear what happens in Florida at the Tampa meet coming up.

Zanden Model 7000 300B
Unfortunately, Min was unable to make the mega-meet but as mentioned he brought this beautiful creation for an all-300B shootout earlier in the month. It was even better with the EMM Labs (unbroken in) than the Audio Aero CDP because that combination might actually have too much tube goodness for its own sake. Beautiful, gorgeous, lovable sound, but the EMM does good things for the Zanden.

So, anyway, the Zanden is definitely the best amp I have heard for the K1000. It has all of the warmth and body of the other 300B contenders but a startling and yet unfatiguing control, clarity and resolution that must be experienced to be understood. Natural sound is important to me, and this is almost uncannily natural as Ping pointed out at the Int'l Meet during a piano passage he played several times with more and more effusive comments: "This IS a Steinway and you can hear exactly how it sounds when played live in front of you with this amp, etc. etc." He was right, it is like being present for the performance.

I know that the list price is astronomical, but Min did us all a favor by picking up the used one that was local to boot. I still want to hear the Air Tight 300B and other amps with the K1000 sometime soon, but I have my doubts that they could touch the same places that the Zanden does.


OK, it's super late and any more comments on cables is going to have to wait. I have made a lot of comments about the SDv2 and the Equinox already in the thread and think they are two great options. I hope I can hear a Black Dragon hardwire sometime because I have the feeling that would make a great set of cans.

Happy listening K1000 lovers!
post #50 of 93
^ very nice impressions Voltron.
post #51 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post
^ very nice impressions Voltron.
Thanks Rob. Sorry that you were not able to make it. Next time hopefully.

I was just about to post up the last few pics from the Monday micro meet and the earlier stealth 300B mini-meet, but not all of them uploaded last night/this morning. Here are a few from Monday and I will add whatever else I have later.


Here is a lame pic of utep10's Jungson JA-88D integrated amp. It is really quite beautiful and had giant analog VU meters on the front that I loved.


There, that is a better image to show off its looks, even though this one has a brushed aluminum finish while Bruce's is mirror chrome.


This is Bruce's condom-wrapped Electrocompaniet DAC. No smearing on the outside or the output! The amps were not powered on at that time, so they were just a big metal stand for the DAC.


Bruce is getting into a comparison of the Electrocompaniet to the EMM Labs. Not completely fair since it is getting a digital input from my Onix CD-1 on the floor under the rack, but I still thought it sounded sweet. Not as resolving and not as powerful an image, but very pleasing.


The famous bright green audiophile 50-ft extension cord made another appearance. The Jungson was plugged into this cord directly from an outlet and Bruce swore it must be the reason his amp sounded better at my place than at his. It is true that my DeWalt drill is much more cohesive and extended when plugged into the Green Dragon, so maybe there is something to it . . .

My lovely wife returned from her trip yesterday. Shortly after getting to the house she asked me if that "big new rack" in front of Max was a permanent fixture or not. I hesitated because it would be nice to have so much room available, but I relented and said it was just temporary. I do intend to use these racks at my other house and would recommend them for their sturdiness and functionality. If you have isolation platforms or feet, I this these could be a nice solution when fine looks are not as important.
post #52 of 93
Thread Starter 
In emails with Drew yesterday about returning his many tails loaned for our meets, I mentioned that the Black Dragon tail sounded particularly good to me and to another Head-Fier (Icarium). It was interesting to learn that the BD is the primary cable Moon uses for K1000 hardwires, and Drew believes that it is particularly well suited to tube gear. I also liked it very much with the Aleph 30 but that does not have a particularly solid state kind of sound. Nice to come to the same conclusion about cable selection.

Kent chose a SDv2 for his particular tastes and his setup and I think he will really like that cable. I just got confirmation his cans were delivered to him today, so I hope to see some impressions soon.

Now I just have to find somebody with a BD hardwire to hear what that sounds like...
post #53 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alwayswantmore View Post
I ordered X2 as well. Reports were too compelling to pass up.
Just received my X2 ICs from Ori, and plugged them into my EMM Labs CDSA SE and my RWA Sig 30.

The reports are true! This is one of those upgrades that encourages me to go back and listen to my entire music collection again, just to hear the improvement in detail, transparency, soundstage and imaging. I just love that feeling where the hair stands up on the back of your neck because you are hearing something that sounds real instead of recorded.

Thanks guys for the recommendation .... and thanks, Ori for the X2s! I am even more convinced that K1000s properly sourced, cabled and amped are the headphones for me.
post #54 of 93
Ori is a great great guy to deal with and frankly he knows his stuff. I feel lucky to be local to him

I look forward to receiving my own X2s when I buy them! However :/ Sadly I have to acquire a source worthy of them first. Curse you APL! Release your DAC faster please
post #55 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmarshl View Post
Just received my X2 ICs from Ori, and plugged them into my EMM Labs CDSA SE and my RWA Sig 30.

The reports are true! This is one of those upgrades that encourages me to go back and listen to my entire music collection again, just to hear the improvement in detail, transparency, soundstage and imaging. I just love that feeling where the hair stands up on the back of your neck because you are hearing something that sounds real instead of recorded.

Thanks guys for the recommendation .... and thanks, Ori for the X2s! I am even more convinced that K1000s properly sourced, cabled and amped are the headphones for me.
Wow, great to hear. So Tom, your thoughts on Sig 30 with X-2 vs F1 balanced?

Sounds like great results out of the box. Anyone know what to expect with breakin?
post #56 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
In emails with Drew yesterday about returning his many tails loaned for our meets, I mentioned that the Black Dragon tail sounded particularly good to me and to another Head-Fier (Icarium). It was interesting to learn that the BD is the primary cable Moon uses for K1000 hardwires, and Drew believes that it is particularly well suited to tube gear. I also liked it very much with the Aleph 30 but that does not have a particularly solid state kind of sound. Nice to come to the same conclusion about cable selection.

Kent chose a SDv2 for his particular tastes and his setup and I think he will really like that cable. I just got confirmation his cans were delivered to him today, so I hope to see some impressions soon.

Now I just have to find somebody with a BD hardwire to hear what that sounds like...
I would like to get more time on the SDv2 prior to rendering detailed impressions. I also have an X-2 and ACI sub in transit, so want to hear the total package.

I've also been without my cans for a number of weeks, but initial impressions (compared to stock) are: (+) Significantly more resolution; much more bass; more air & wider soundstage (-) vocals are not as lush or liquid compared to stock
post #57 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alwayswantmore View Post
Wow, great to hear. So Tom, your thoughts on Sig 30 with X-2 vs F1 balanced?
Kent,
That may take me some time to answer fully, but the short answer is that the Sig 30/X2 unbalanced is much closer to the F1/AudioQuest balanced than before. Bear in mind that I have also had a major upgrade to my source (EMM Labs CDSA SE) so it may take me a while to sort out the details, but the improvement is dramatic.

post #58 of 93
agree completely on how great the X-2s sound!

FYI, a pair for sale
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ntr&1185984811
post #59 of 93
Nice, are those rca to rca or xlr to xlr you think? Probalby rca to rca eh.
post #60 of 93
I have greatly enjoyed reading all of the impressions youve had to make from this meet. Engrossing stuff indeed. Happy that you all had a blast too, those pizzas look pretty damn nice!
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