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ES2 Stack [Stacky McStacka'licious]

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 
Well, it has been a long time in the making. And those of you who have been following its progress know exactly how long. All things eventually come to an end (even waiting!), and happily, I can now say that I finally have within my reach (I would say hands, but I would likely contract a hernia holding it) my long awaited Singlepower ES2. This system completes my Singlepower / EMM Labs / PS Audio / Virtual Dynamics / HE90 Rig - or in other words, the ES2 Stack.

Here is a link to another similar feeling day - let these pic's be a lesson to you all. The journey never ends! You may think it does... you may be in the stratosphere... but there is still quite a ways until you hit outer space. I feel I may be close, the air is very thin around here

For updated pics:


So now, here are some pictures of the latest incarnation. Please note, these pic's are incredibly bad. Shamefully bad. I took them with my iPhone. Blasphemous for sure, but, my camera charger is lost and so in the meantime, this is what you get (until a real photographer can give this setup justice). Without further ado:

SP Crate Arrives

Very packed box within the crate

Bam! ES2 Stack - I know, it's blurry, I'm sad too

How about an overhead view - Perty tubes in a circle

A little closer up perhaps?

It's ALivE!!!!! My current evolution in cable madness


So how does it sound? Well there is one thing left to do which Mikhail, bless is heart, is actually coming to my place TODAY [Sep 8 '07] to fix. However, regardless of this relatively minor issue which likely occurred in shipping, this amp sounds... AMAZING!

If the HEV90 is lucscious, delicate, like a lovely ballerina prancing over the notes, the ES2 is a star athlete who has simultaeously trained in ultimate fighting and won a beauty contest or two in the process. This thing is a beast! Where the HEV90 is smooth and rounded, this thing is chunky and full of texture. Deep weighty bass, did I say texture? Massive texture and the best part - this ultimate fighter can do ballet too! The way the upper treble transients are handled, I have never heard sibilants handled with this much refinement out of the HE90, or even ever out of a headphone really. It has to be heard to be believed.

The classic Singlepower house sound is here in spades - I can only describe this as an almost overdriving of the headphone. Not to distortion mind you, but you feel the power, the grip this amp has over the membrane. The level of control and detail is astounding, but it does it in a very sensuous manor. Yes, that is the word, sensuous. Forget words like transparency, euphony, etc... blah blah blah. These things are there, but the most important aspect? The sound is inviting, and fun. I can play it louder and incur less fatigue than the HEV90. THe headstage is huge and more focused than with the HEV. With what little tube swapping I have already done, I can say that the tubes make a considerable impact on the sound for sure. I'll report further as time goes by.


ES2 Features - Completely Max'd out amplifier. Custom (obviously) faceplates and chassis. Bias voltage display along with bias'ing controls built in. Connections for HE90, HE60 & 2 Stax. Volume trim pot on the back for matching headphones of different sensitivities. Carbon fiber feet (no spikes!). Front panel is blood wood (a nice match to the HE90 wood), brushed over in a satin-type finish. Lights and panel to match look and color of EMM Labs gear. Font and styling laser engraved onto the wood. The writing is very fine and beautiful, it will take a nice camera to capture it.

post #2 of 78
Wow such a gorgeous setup you have there. Enjoy your new toy
post #3 of 78
Oh my god...that is mildly terrifying. When was that meet involving your ES-2 being held?
post #4 of 78
Awesome.....simply awesome.....So when are you going to bite the vinyl bullet ?
post #5 of 78
Congrats Neil! You've been the Saint of Patience!
Hope you don't make me regret getting rid of mine!
post #6 of 78
Pfftt neil doesnt need silly things like vinyl with his up coming flag ship APL hifi NWO 3.0 GO (Game Over, haha pretty arrogant but we'll see tomorrow if its merited).
post #7 of 78

Congratulations on the beautiful amp. I had a chance to hear your HEV90 at the International meet, and it sounded wonderful with the HE90s. Then at the recent NorCal meet, I listened to Icarium's fine, fine ES-1--while staring at your (not hooked up to a source) ES-2. It's got to be the most beautiful amp I've ever seen. And imaging that it must sound equal to or better than the ES-1, then it must be an amazing sounding amp as well.
post #8 of 78
Congrats, Neil! I hope you find your camera charger soon.
post #9 of 78
Fabulous Neil! And congrats!!!

Mikhail's wizardy has soared to a new level. At the next meet, everyone will beat a path to your SP altar.
post #10 of 78
I'm hoping to have similar case work on my new super SDS-XLR
post #11 of 78
Will the Particular shelve hold that monster? It must weigh over 50pounds?
Checked on that rack before and was told each shelve can only manage 40pounds. So, they must be wrong.... beautiful beast Neilvg.
post #12 of 78

I love the wood crate.


post #13 of 78
I feel like shipping a camera and charger to you right away to get the job done properly. Congrats on an awesome piece of gear. Would love to know what tubes you are using.
post #14 of 78
Just WOW!!! You must be single I hope you left some money to pay the rent and some food

Enjoy that awesome beauty.
post #15 of 78
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jigster View Post
Will the Particular shelve hold that monster? It must weigh over 50pounds?
Checked on that rack before and was told each shelve can only manage 40pounds. So, they must be wrong.... beautiful beast Neilvg.
I am a little worried. The amp / PS section together likely weigh in at around 80-90 lbs. The brackets can hold this weight I am quite sure, however, the wood is a different story. I don't want to incur any warping or bending of the wood which would happen over the course of time. We'll see what I'll do. I like it stacked since it frees up room, and while it looks enormous and imposing in the pic, it fits at the right level when I sit in my rocking chair.

If I end up swapping in my upcoming NWO 3.0GO (yes that is the newest revision for those keeping up on this other little thing...) then I will have enough space to stack them each on their own rack space.


Mikhail is in town currently renting a car and on his way. Unbelievable customer support. But as usual, the timing of things will be a little tough. I'm off to an Indian classical performance tonight and he needs to come pick it up before I leave which is in roughly 45 minutes! <tick tick tick tick tick>... we'll see what we'll see.

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