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Any final advice before I pull the trigger? Should I go for the broke - Opera?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
Good evening everyone.

I have ALMOST convinced myself to get a MAD Ear+, but before I pull the trigger, (to spare myself from the inevitable upgraditis) can I ask for your kind advice as to whether the amp is more suitable for sweet 'audiophile' vocals or does it have good PRAT? I hope it's the latter cause I think it's more ... hmmm...dynamic? and thus suitable for a wider range of music.

I will be using her to drive 32ohmers DT880 and MS2i. Likely to invest in a "final" pair of K701 in the forseeable future.

p.s. how does the MAD compare with the Lehmann Audio Black Cube Linear?
post #2 of 36
I would say, my MADs acclaim is in its smoothness whereas my S.S. is much more dynamic and clear while doing so. Bass is deep but more rounded and less articulated when compared.Although, the MAD was prefered here to the Canamp. So, I believe you must compare within class/cost then I believe this would be a typical tube vs S.S. presentation. Perhaps if you were to go to the highest tier tube amps and tubes chosen, then perhaps as great or better dynamic swings may be better presented...

Having said that, I know I greatly prefered the MAD and so will you with the cans you similarly posses such as my 990s & RS-2 I had when the MAD was my primary amp.

The MAD is a wonderful piece, but as always that judgement remains only until side by side something else is heard to be better.

I have not heard the LABCL, but from what I read its a well regarded amp for some time here. Hopefully one of its proponents or your research, would reveal its comparison to the MAD.

To bad you cannot get to hear them both, unless you go thru the used F/S subforum for extended audition, which has been my path at times...

Good luck~

P.S. I would chose the presentation of the analog Opera to the MAD, obviously...
post #3 of 36
Have you asked Dr. Lloyd if he has sold one of his amps to someone close to you. If yes then he could act as an intermediary for you to listen to it.
post #4 of 36
You could try contacting Ososcan over at Headphonehaven if an audition is possible.

His interesting review of the amp should provide some answers to your questions.
post #5 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your reply.

Hi-Finthen... WHY ARE YOU TEMPTING ME WITH THE OPERA!!! Haha. I understand that the Meiers are excellent with the Beyers. How does it synergise with the Alessandros and the K701?
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by warsurferX View Post
Thank you for your reply.

Hi-Finthen... WHY ARE YOU TEMPTING ME WITH THE OPERA!!! Haha. I understand that the Meiers are excellent with the Beyers. How does it synergise with the Alessandros and the K701?
You know, I really did like my k701s played thru the MAD (as well as the Grados which I sold the RS-2s before auditioning the Opera), more than I do now thru the Opera. Thats because I now find the 990s and Denons to be more dynamic, whereas the AKGs are more smooth but not as an exciting presentation but it too shares enjoyable playtime but it just lost top ranking as my favorite.

The Beyer synergies hyper well with the Opera, which I only got a hint of their potential with the MAD/MHDT Labs DAC which was good, but now I hear them at what must be their full potential, beautiful really!

I think you would find the seperation between instruments more distinct and layering of the music becomes moreso obvious with the Opera whereas the MAD doesn't present these qualities as well, which is its beauty also. So, you must become more aware of which you prefer to experience which again, depends not only upon the phone of choice but the recordings / miking etc...

Clear as mud, eh...
post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
Thx for the advice.

I just heard the stock X-Can V3 with my Beyers. Was quite disappointed because it sounded really bland and unengaging. Is that the case with the other amps? I was quite suprised as the X-Can's a tubeamp... or is it more characteristic of an SS?

Will try to listen to the MAD before final decision. Going to listen to the Lehmann later tonight =)
post #8 of 36
Great, enjoy your audition with the LABCL!!! There is nothing like experience or as I say trying the used route for audition or even local meets!

The MAD is a good step up from the stock Xcan3 and its choice of tubes becomes hyper important with either! However what you are terming this word "bland" maybe a combination of reasons part of which is that is somewhat the more analog softness of tubes(at this price point) vs S.S. which should bring more aggressiveness, attack and impact to the presentation in general. Now many do find this to be not as desirable vs the tubey sound.

Next, you do need to look to your source and this will dictate which may be preferable thru your phones of choice as a total system!!!

Good luck~
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by warsurferX View Post
Thx for the advice.

I just heard the stock X-Can V3 with my Beyers. Was quite disappointed because it sounded really bland and unengaging. Is that the case with the other amps? I was quite suprised as the X-Can's a tubeamp... or is it more characteristic of an SS?

Will try to listen to the MAD before final decision. Going to listen to the Lehmann later tonight =)

As good as the Musical Fidelity X-Can V3 may be, it still can be improved upon with the various tweaks available. Please keep in mine NOT to compare this with an out and out valve/tube headphone amp as the X-Can is a hybrid
( tubes and FETs ).

I may seem a little biased, but having built 3 of the MAD Ear + purist's over the last 4 years for myself and friends, it's still the one headphone amp that I prefer and it always brings a smile to my face everytime I sit down to
listen !
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi-Finthen: This is the first time i heard that there is a different level of tubiness at different price points. Could you pls share from which point onwards will the "desirable" smoothness be obtained? Will the sound of SS differ as well at diff price levels?

Loweart: It's interesting to hear tht your amp-of-choice's the Ear+. There have been loads of praise heaped upon the 336i as well. How do you think they compare? Naturally the Ear+ should be better as it's cost twice as much. but I'm curious bout the bang-for-the-buck factor.

Tbln: Thx for the suggestion!! Will audition it soon =)
post #11 of 36
The MAD doesnt lack PRaT. It's just that it is not as punchy as an SS. I think Hi-Finthen nailed it when he said that MAD's acclaim is in smoothness whereas an SS is more dynamic. You already have an SS. It's time to experience some tube smoothness
post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hi

Just got back from auditioning the Black Cube. Brought along my DT880s.. listened to some jazz (Fourplay) Symphonic (John Williams), Groban's 'You Raise Me Up' and some Rock/Pop musicals.

Impressions.. the bass was just too BOOMY with the DT880. was a lot more engaging than the X-Can I heard earlier in the day but not quite my cup of tea. That was until I tried it together with a HD600. (they just sold the HD650) Listened to 'Summon The Heroes' and a couple of other John Williams track, the soundstage was really wide. Everything just sounded so .. full. Jazz was pretty good too. Rock.. nah.The Senn's definitely the perfect match for the BC.

Heard from the Lavry DAC headphones out with the DT880. Was really good too. Music reproduction was more accurate than the Black Cube.

One more stop.. the MAD Ear+ HD2.

Hmm... anyone any idea if there's a Heed in Singapore for audition? Hehe
post #13 of 36
Nothing like hearing for yourself what we each prefer when combined consistently with the same source and music we chose . Again, 'total system" sonic signature and synergy is to be thought of as a whole, even as we search for singular components.

I would not bother trying to listen to a Heed(having owned one), as it doesn't stack up in terms of sound quality or build, IMO...
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by warsurferX View Post

Loweart: It's interesting to hear tht your amp-of-choice's the Ear+. There have been loads of praise heaped upon the 336i as well. How do you think they compare? Naturally the Ear+ should be better as it's cost twice as much. but I'm curious bout the bang-for-the-buck factor.
Hi WarsurferX,

I don't know whether that you noticed that I too own a Darkvoice 336i as stated in my signature block and this is my second rig next to the MAD Ear + purist.

In my honest opinion, both these amps are great and perform beyond their respective price points, the Darkvoice moreso. That said, if all you have have
heard so far in the way of auditioning tube headphone amps have left you thinking they lack drive, punch and verve - the Darkvoice will make you reconsider that opinion, even more so with the "right tube compliment". The Darkvoice 336 has very good bass extension without becomming "loose & wooly like many amps".

I think for most people who have heard what a "poor" sounding tube headphone amps sounds like and then discover the Darkvoice 336i, the search becomes pretty much over as the difference/improvement is generally
vast and conclusive enough for most to say, "I'll have it" !

The MAD Ear + purist is the amp you upgrade to when you have become accustomed to the 336i and start itching for that something extra. You'll have no problems telling them apart upon first listen, but the difference here
doesn't make you think the 336i is a bad amp, just that the Ear gives the same and then some.

I agree with Osocan's comments that the Ear doesn't lack PRat, just that many solid state amps tend to be "quicker" and in some cases "harsher" sounding. You should hear John Cougar Mellencamp sing "R.O.C.K. in the USA" through the MAD Ear+ purist. I've previously owned solid state headphone amps, but for me. They all induced listener fatigue too early and none that I have tried so far can seduce you into listening more even when you know you're tired, that plus a great toe tapping factor. Yup, the MAD does it for me
post #15 of 36
Hi Hi-Finthen,

I'm very interested to hear of your comparative comments with the Corda Opera you're now using verses the MAD Ear you were previously using. Probably needs a different thread or you can PM me directly. Thanks in advance.
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Any final advice before I pull the trigger? Should I go for the broke - Opera?