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RSA Apache Impressions (with nice pic)

post #1 of 405
Thread Starter 
i posted these impressions in the Apache thread in the MOT forum, but i know that the traffic there is kind of limited and wanted to post these for a wider audience and more importantly to hopefully get some more impressions from other Apache others. i know there are about 20+ Apaches out there and i have only heard from maybe 3-4 other owners, so hopefully this thread will bring a few of them out. first, here is a pic. it's a stock photo, but mine looks just like this one, except i have black screws instead of gold.



day 1 i got it!!! just set it up. first song. track 14 (untitled) of the album Happenstance by Rachael Yamagata. the song is pure vocals. almost no instruments. i looked at a huge pile of CDs but my eye caught this one. listening SE with my RS1 with gain on low. very impressed so far. first thing i noticed was a huge sense of space, articulation, very resolving (little details come out here and there), no congestion in the music. great scaling. and that's SE. a good start. there is a huge difference between low and medium gain. medium gain is so much LOUDER. the bass is incredible. thumping. you can feel it.

also, the packaging was first rate. there was one large box and within, there were two very sturdy boxes, one holding the power supply and the other the amp. when you open the individual boxes, the component is wrapped tightly and securely in layers and layers of bubble wrap. i also noticed that styrofoam was placed on all sides of the volume knob for extra protection of that part. and each still point was placed in a separate small envelope with the four bases in one as well.

overall, very happy so far. can't wait to cycle through some CDs/headphones and go balanced once my cables burn in some.

day 2 more impressions. the unit is dead quiet. i tried various headphones of both high and low impedance. no sound, hiss, or anything even with the volume turned way up. just a dead black background. i believe it also helps that i have the unit connected to a brickwall surge filter. after some back and forth, i think medium gain is the best setting for single ended use. low gain is pretty low on the volume. have yet to try balanced so can't comment there. i listen at 9-11 and have had no problems finding an appropriate level. the volume knob moves very easily from one level to another. i wish there was more of a hard click in between steps so i knew when to stop, but i'm sure this is something that once you get used to, you never think about it. the input selector buttons have a nice feel to them. the mute function is a nice little feature too. i wanted to burn in my cables last night while i slept, so i put the player on repeat, hit "mute" on the apache and went to bed. yes i could have turned the volume way down but mute was easier. the unit also looks amazing (i have a silver one). one of the nicest looking, most elegant amps i have ever seen. one thing i noticed was that the front screws on mine are black not gold as in the pics shown in this thread. i actually liked the look of the gold but the black is good too.

for my setup, i have my G08 (also silver) on a wooden desk, then a thin piece of oak wood on top on the player, then the apache power supply and then the amp portion. all three stacked together. i'm using the spikes that came with the apache on both parts. the spikes on the power supply are larger than the ones on the amp. i don't use the bases on the power supply and instead tried to get the points to stick a bit into the wood for better traction. the amp portion is very light and when you change headphones you need to grab it securely; otherwise it will move around some. i wouldn't have minded if the amp portion were a bit heavier (a minor quibble though). as to sound, the apache continues to impress me with its huge sound stage, great scaling, powerful bass response, and the overall texture and weight in its presentation of the music. and i expect things to improve a bit more through balanced operation.

another little thing that i just noticed, because it is quite dark in my apartment right now, is that the volume knob is right between the play/mute and headphone/preamp lights and that the lights form a convenient guide post so that you can always find the volume knob and make whatever adjustments are necessary, even in the dark. intentional? probably not. but it works nonetheless.

day 4 tried balanced for the first time today. my cables still are not fully burned in (not even close really) but curiosity got the better of me. i tried the HD650 with zu mobius first. wow! the bass on the HD650 really is the some of the deepest i have ever heard. there was so much weight and texture to the music with no trace of the famous sennheiser veil. they are still laid back and a bit mellow, but the music - if well recorded of course - is clear as day. the senns won't show themselves until they have some real power behind them, but once they do, they are quite remarkable. next i tried my K701 with black dragon. another great listening experience. a bit brighter than the HD650 - nothing irritating though - but this adds a nice brilliance to the highs. the scaling is not on par with the HD650 nor does it have that full bodied feel to it; but the music is crystal clear, the detail is better, and the bass is tight and focused. it sounds just like the near perfectly balanced headphone that it is. on both headphones i used the medium gain with the volume between 9-11. i have no problem finding a comfortable sound level so low gain did not seem necessary.

a quibble or two. one is that i wish the balanced outputs had locking mechanisms on them. when i plug in my HD650 or K701, it doesn't feel that secure, as though if i accidentally tugged on it the connectors would come out and i feel that they would (or may). i haven't tried it. another thing that happened today is that when i was switching between balanced and SE inputs, the light stayed lit on both. when i pressed either one, nothing happened. they both stayed lit. i had to press a third input to clear things up. i have switched inputs a few times though and it has not happened again. probably nothing. other than that, things with the Apache are going well and i have been very impressed with the sound - both SE and balanced.

another thing worth mentioning is really how quickly ray got all of these amps out. when compared to some other manufacturers, the turn around - especially when one considers how much work goes into making one of these and how many he produced - was quite fast. plus i have looked over the amp top to bottom and back to front very carefully and the workmanship is just impeccable. it is such a nice looking amp. really closer to art than audio.

that's all i got.


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Other Threads on the Apache

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/rev...preamp-239564/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/com...apache-245302/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/com...p-gs-x-246110/

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/ray...apache-237092/ (pics and impressions from 2007 Int'l Meet)

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f38/apache-239183/ (official Apache thread in the MOT forum)

Vcoheda on Vimeo (video of my apache from the Nov 10, 2007 NY meet)
post #2 of 405
I am crying reading your post. That's just freaking beautiful and the sound must be out of this world in balanced mode. That is one system that's within my "affordable" range if I beg forgiveness to my wife for 6 months and if I give up eating for another 6 month. Hmm...I can use a good diet anyway

Did I mention that's sweet....just pure sweet amp you got there...weep..weep.
post #3 of 405
congrats on the new amp and that source! that thing just looks spectacular. And, yea, I'm amazed by how fast he can build these.

try balancing the K701 with the equinox cable.... i have never heard a better K701. It's brilliantly clear, deep, warm, confident, controlled and alive; it really can get as good as the 650 balanced.
post #4 of 405
Damn, now I want one.

So much to buy, so little money...

Nice impressions though. Hope to hear more about it.
post #5 of 405
Thanks for the cross-posted impressions. "Listening at 9-11"....did a double-take when I read that, given what date it is tomorrow, heh heh. Don't believe the lies! Ahem.

After reading your impressions, I'm even less keen on the spikes now than before.

By all means let us know if the HD650s change/improve after the requisite burn-in period. I want to see if the G08 and Apache combination produces all together too much lushness and warmth, or whether the Apache gives more of what the G08 excels at. Seems promising so far.

I'm also considering some other balanced amps, but will probably lean towards a higher-end solution to avoid the inevitable upgraditis.
post #6 of 405
Ah, that amps looks killer! My Hornet and my Tomahawk have gone hiding under the bed in fear



PS: Track 14 of Happenstance is called "Ode to..."
post #7 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhymesgalore View Post
Ah, that amps looks killer! My Hornet and my Tomahawk have gone hiding under the bed in fear



PS: Track 14 of Happenstance is called "Ode to..."
thanks for the compliment. it is a very nice amp. sometimes you worry about making a big purchase; that you will be disappointed, but with the apache it has been the exact opposite. it really has lived up to and exceeded my expectations so far. of course the real test is how it compares to other balanced amps. that i don't know.

also, how do you know what the title of track 14 is? did i miss something in the booklet. i love that song. i listen to it way too much, but it is so good.
post #8 of 405
So how does it compare to your Mini balanced DAC? How much better? Noticeable? Lots? Night & day?
post #9 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
also, how do you know what the title of track 14 is? did i miss something in the booklet. i love that song. i listen to it way too much, but it is so good.

It's not written in the booklet, as far as i know.
I first read the title when i ripped my CD, using freedb to tag the songs:
http://www.freedb.org/freedb/misc/d40e2b0e

It also shows up on the wiki entry of Happenstance:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Happens...agata_album%29
post #10 of 405
I just wanted to stop by and say: FRIGGN' NICE PIC MAN!!!

Thanks for posting here I don't watch the mot threads. Where are your impressions of the L3000? Also, if you can indulge me, in regards to these high end purchases, why did you go with the Apch. over the B52?? Do you prefer the SS sound? The ease of SS amps? Don't want to fiddle with tubes? I'd be very interested to know what went into your decision. Glad to hear you're happy with it. ah.. and you have the G08... just perfect!
post #11 of 405
Very NICE indeed ! I gotta stop drooling...........................
post #12 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice View Post
So how does it compare to your Mini balanced DAC? How much better? Noticeable? Lots? Night & day?
it's really beyond night and day.
post #13 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wower View Post
I just wanted to stop by and say: FRIGGN' NICE PIC MAN!!!

Thanks for posting here I don't watch the mot threads. Where are your impressions of the L3000? Also, if you can indulge me, in regards to these high end purchases, why did you go with the Apch. over the B52?? Do you prefer the SS sound? The ease of SS amps? Don't want to fiddle with tubes? I'd be very interested to know what went into your decision. Glad to hear you're happy with it. ah.. and you have the G08... just perfect!
the L3000 isn't mine. you have to read the fine print of my post. i wish i had an L3000. maybe one day. why the Apache over the B52. not much thought went into that decision other than price. the Apache is more affordable. if their prices were closer, i suppose i would have preferred tubes. although having an all soild state amp is really hassle free and user friendly.
post #14 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
the L3000 isn't mine. you have to read the fine print of my post. i wish i had an L3000. maybe one day. why the Apache over the B52. not much thought went into that decision other than price. the Apache is more affordable. if their prices were closer, i suppose i would have preferred tubes. although having an all soild state amp is really hassle free and user friendly.
I didn't think as highly of the L3000 as some here, although I did enjoy the sound, so I have no interest in purchasing the pair currently on the "for sale" forum and your wallet has already taken a hit - Why not finish the job

I love the sound of the Apache. Even if it sounded bad though, It would be worth the price just in looks alone... well sort of. Anyway, Ray makes some awesome looking and sounding amps.
post #15 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post
I didn't think as highly of the L3000 as some here, although I did enjoy the sound, so I have no interest in purchasing the pair currently on the "for sale" forum and your wallet has already taken a hit - Why not finish the job
yeah. i was sort of eyeing those. but spending $2500 on one pair of headphones is still kind of mind blowing. but then again my amp and player each cost that much. somehow it seems different, but maybe it's not. i think i would need to come across a really good deal (unlikely) or spend a lot more time with them (also not that easy) before i decide whether or not to purchase. plus i have a lot of headphones already. i am actually thinking about selling off a few, but can't seem to figure out which ones i like best. they all sound pretty good.

Quote:
I love the sound of the Apache. Even if it sounded bad though, It would be worth the price just in looks alone... well sort of. Anyway, Ray makes some awesome looking and sounding amps.
it doesn't sound bad to me either so i get the best of both worlds - sound and looks. it's like a good looking girl who also has the great personality.
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