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RSA Apache Impressions (with nice pic) - Page 9

post #121 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post
OK, here are some pictures (at flickr.com). There not the greatest pictures; I need to redo them later...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14884942@N07/

impressive stuff. what are you driving Kharma with?
post #122 of 405
rgs9200m,

Are you using Kubala Sosnas?

I've been contemplating between those and Stealth Indras, which will probably be the IC for my next amp......probably the B52.

If they are the Kubala, how do you like them??

Thank you for your impressions in advance.

~G
post #123 of 405
Yes, I have both the KS emotions and Indras. Oddly, with all my headphone amps (Apache, Headroom Max, and Stax), the Kubalas are superior, with tighter bass and a more even, natural response, and more rounded images. The Indras are better that the K-Ss with my speakers (somewhat softer highs and deeper bass). Both are much better than my former cables that
I used for years, Cardas Golden Ref and Golden Cross, which left some
level of grain and some muddy bass compared to the KS and Indras.
post #124 of 405
Perfect!! I feel very fortunate that I heard the opinion of a person who has had both ICs. I was heavily leaning towards the Kubala Sosna Emotions over the Stealth Indras and your feedback helped me decide where I want to go next.

Balanced Kubala Sosna Emotions it is.....

I think I'm pretty much set on the B-52. Just getting the funds together and will probably purchase in the next month or two.

Thanx so much!

~G
post #125 of 405

My equipment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
impressive stuff. what are you driving Kharma with?
I have an Edge NL-12.1 amp.
By the way, I am thinking of moving on from my Kharmas
(probably to a ribbon or other panel speaker like Quads--something that
sound like my Staxes). So if any Headfier in the NY area wants a
good deal on them (I don't want to ship them), please PM me.
post #126 of 405

Apache just arrived

Had to chime in here. Just got my Apache a few hours ago, and even though I'm listening to it single-ended (my balanced Alex v.3 Qualia cables haven't come in yet) and without any breaking-in I must say that I'm deeply impressed. I'm not an irrational kneejerk RSA fanboy (though I do love Ray's customer service and the professional build quality of his products), as sometimes I find them great (SR71) and sometimes merely good (Stealth), but the Apache truly is the real deal. The sound quality is as gorgeous as the amp's aesthetics, and it should only get better with time. Can't wait!

P.S. I must give Ray additional props for his fantastic customer relations. I bought the Apache lightly used a week ago, and Ray found out about it and volunteered free of charge to replace a top panel (slight cosmetic irregularity) and get it up to the latest specs (including the latest op-amps, perfect for the Qualias). Ray is a true gentleman, and I am one profoundly satisfied customer!
post #127 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by electrathecat View Post
Apache just arrived
Congratulations!
Excellent service from Ray to replace the case part and update the amplifier as well.

The Apache is one great looking, and I am sure sounding, amplifier.
post #128 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Congratulations!
Excellent service from Ray to replace the case part and update the amplifier as well.

The Apache is one great looking, and I am sure sounding, amplifier.

Amazing Ray! Great job as always!

Congrats on the amp! Gorgeous piece of equipment!
post #129 of 405
I also am not surprised at Ray's service. Ray is smart about looking at any problem and turning it into an opportunity to shine. The Apache and B-52 are outstanding standards of the best SS and Tube preamp/headamps available today but nothing is perfect and I think Ray is always looking out for ways to improve his designs.

There is nothing wrong with being a fan of a company with such good service and integrity. Of course, Ray is smart to do this in an industry where great service is not always easy to find and pressures to turn out new products is so strong.

david
post #130 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by electrathecat View Post
Had to chime in here. Just got my Apache a few hours ago, and even though I'm listening to it single-ended (my balanced Alex v.3 Qualia cables haven't come in yet) and without any breaking-in I must say that I'm deeply impressed.
congrats on the Apache acquisition. it is as you say an impressive piece of equipment - both in terms of sound and construction.

enjoy.
post #131 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by electrathecat View Post
Had to chime in here. Just got my Apache a few hours ago, and even though I'm listening to it single-ended (my balanced Alex v.3 Qualia cables haven't come in yet) and without any breaking-in I must say that I'm deeply impressed.
Congratulations on your acquisition. I did see one for sale a week or two ago, which surprised me. Look forward to your impression when your balaneced cables come in.
post #132 of 405

Apache with latest National Semi Op-Amp mod.

Well, I just got my Apache back with the new National Semi op-amp mod
and made some quick listening tests.
(I will try to do some more extensive evaluation later.)
In short, I unequivocally recommend the NSM mod.
It was a big improvement with all of my phones
(Senn 650s/Zu Mobius2, Grado GS1000s/Moon Black Dragon, and AKG 701s/Moon Black Dragon).
While the type of improvement varies with the phones,
with all there is much more of an overall sense of ease,
and better bass integration and solidity, and sweeter but still extended highs.
There is just a more relaxing sound, and individual musical components
blend together into a nice, silky sound field.

Somehow, the latest Apache manages to ameliorate (cure to a major degree)
the colorations or shortcomings of the phones.
The Senn 650s are less veiled with better image body.

The Grados sometimes high-pitched sound on lesser recordings is still sparkly but
is no longer very painful or abusive.

The AKG's sometimes lumpy bass that was really annoying in controlled,
and the occasional "GLUMP" sound in the upper bass that would drive me crazy is gone.

The Senns gained more roundness in vocals and instruments and
had better bass definition. The Grados still have tipped up
highs compared to the Senns, but somehow the highs are much sweeter
and far less searing and much more listenable,
even on a CD that itself was raw and screechy.

Overall, the Senns were the winner for a totally relaxing and warm but still
exciting sound with lots of fine detail, but with much less grain
or distortion than I use to get with my older Headroom Max. There
is less distortion also than with the original op-amps in the Apache,
and a more open sound, with more fleshed out images.

But the Grados hold there own with the Apache, while less relaxing,
there is much better defined, tight bass, and the extended highs
sound liquid and inviting, less dry and piercing than with the
original Apache or even the Max amp.

The AKG 701 with the Apache also has it's charms. It stands between the
Senns and Grados in terms of high-frequency emphasis, and in that sense
is better balanced than the others. And the bass is now real and
evident, with a quality I never heard with the Max amp--a nice fundamental
bass, but not as tight or satisfying as the Grado bass. It is also not
as warm or relaxing as the Sennheisers. But voices and instruments
are pure, palpable, and realistic, and I can see how many could really
enjoy the 701s (I enjoy them too, but I think I will gravitate the the other
2 phones long-term).

In summary, the Apache with the new op-amp really seems to elevate all
these phones to a new level, and I hope others get to hear it.
(And I would be interested to hear impressions of the newest version
vs. the B52.)

Thanks for reading.
post #133 of 405
I just wanted to make clear that I am driving the Apache directly from the EMM DCC2 DAC (via the preamp outputs).
post #134 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post
In summary, the Apache with the new op-amp really seems to elevate all these phones to a new level, and I hope others get to hear it. (And I would be interested to hear impressions of the newest version vs. the B52.)

Thanks for reading.
wow!

thanks for writing all that. i definitely want to hear the new op-amp + mod. i am already so impressed by the Apache. it's scary to imagine that the sound could get any better. i just replaced my XLR interconnects with a pair of AudioQuest Jaguars. they are semi-entry cables for that brand but easily best my Silver Resolutions. i am very impressed by them and now want to try something even farther up the line.

i wrote Ray an email about the mod, but haven't heard back yet. i may need to call. i hope to hear the new op-amped Apache at the NY meet and decide then if i want to have the same done to mine.
post #135 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
wow!

thanks for writing all that. i definitely want to hear the new op-amp + mod. i am already so impressed by the Apache. it's scary to imagine that the sound could get any better. i just replaced my XLR interconnects with a pair of AudioQuest Jaguars. they are semi-entry cables for that brand but easily best my Silver Resolutions. i am very impressed by them and now want to try something even farther up the line.

i wrote Ray an email about the mod, but haven't heard back yet. i may need to call. i hope to hear the new op-amped Apache at the NY meet and decide then if i want to have the same done to mine.
Mine should have got to him today for the mod. It was nice to read impressions as it makes the pain of loss easier. Hopefully it will return within a week and I'll finally post some impressions! I've been using mine as a balanced preamp more than a headphone amp and have sold off a few cans because of it! This mod should add the 5% I'm missing in the current set up. Ray and I spoke for quite a while on which opamp would work best for my system give my cables and listening preferences. The man is much to busy for email but is always near a phone, give him a call. As most of us know (but it can't be said enough) his customer service can't be beat, and if it can, let me know by whom! He goes the extra mile for a customer and that speaks volumes in any business.
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