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post #16 of 405
Vcoheda,

Glad to hear you are loving the Apache. I love mine, too. The wait may not have been that long, but it certainly seemed long enough.

To answer one question posed above, one advantage the Apache has over the B-52 is that you can listen to it with IEMs. According to Ray, it is impossible to design a tube amplifier which will not produce problems with IEMs due to their low impedance. I in fact listen to my Apache with UE-10s, using the gain on the Apache set at low, and the combination is sensational. The resolution is incredible, and musical instruments and voices sound very natural.

I have yet to listen to the Apache balanced, because I am still waiting for RAL balanced cables for an HD 600, which are supposed to arrive any day. I will be interested to learn how the balanced HD 600 compares to the UE-10s single-ended.

Ctemkin
post #17 of 405
Hrm i wasn't aware that it was impossible to design a tube amplifier that could work with IEMs.
post #18 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ctemkin View Post
Vcoheda,

Glad to hear you are loving the Apache. I love mine, too. The wait may not have been that long, but it certainly seemed long enough.

To answer one question posed above, one advantage the Apache has over the B-52 is that you can listen to it with IEMs. According to Ray, it is impossible to design a tube amplifier which will not produce problems with IEMs due to their low impedance. I in fact listen to my Apache with UE-10s, using the gain on the Apache set at low, and the combination is sensational. The resolution is incredible, and musical instruments and voices sound very natural.

I have yet to listen to the Apache balanced, because I am still waiting for RAL balanced cables for an HD 600, which are supposed to arrive any day. I will be interested to learn how the balanced HD 600 compares to the UE-10s single-ended.

Ctemkin
thanks for adding to the thread. your comments are most welcome. maybe a few others will chime in as well. the more the merrier.
post #19 of 405
i'm really happy you like the Apache vcoheda. all of us that preordered and kept up with the Members of the Trade thread know how exited you have been, plus the anxiety we all felt in waiting

i have been meaning to create another thread with more impressions but im having trouble finding the time to really give it long listening sessions as it deserves. do you have any thoughts about the synergy with the Meridian G08? also what balanced ICs are you using?
post #20 of 405
I'll cut'n'paste my MOT post with a few edits having lived with the Apache a few more days hence...

I bought my Apache for use primarily as a preamp to control nearfield monitors. The world-class headphone amp that came with it was a bonus.

I'm still putting the Apache through its paces and will judge it on the basis of 80% preamp & 20% headphone amp. So far, the Apache sounds warm with great detail in addition to creating a large sonic image. Hearing this preamp through a pair of Spendors is as musical as I have heard in my system.

And this is wholly attributed to the Apache because I just had to A-B test the Apache versus a Krell KRC-3. Amps with very different sound signatures but I wanted to hear the extremes. So I swapped the amps back and forth - I run everything balanced so all I had to do was switch XLR source inputs and XLR outputs to the power amp - easy and quick to do but not DBT (so sue me ). The Apache is no slouch as a preamp and its soundstage is much more expansive than the Krell. There are some things the Krell does well and there are some things the Apache does well but ultimately the musicality of the Apache was very addicting.

Running balanced HD600s through this amp is an experience maybe best expressed by a Keanu Reeves-like "Whoa". The soundstage and bass heard through the cans is huge. Played the track "Take a Chance With Me" from Roxy Music's Avalon CD a number of times just to hear the percussion used in the intro of the song. Cannon-like drums, woodwinds that emerge from nothingness and float in air. Lots of weight with imaging across, up, down and front to back. For a speaker guy like me, wearing cans fed by Apache is another fantasic way to get close to the music (maybe this headphone stuff is onto something...).

The build quality of this amp is exceptional, as classy looking a piece of gear as anything out there. Using an amp of this caliber is very special. Ray is the man!
post #21 of 405
I read the fine print and didn't see the L3000. I just thought it was overlooked and being a Japanese HP fanboy, I just had to ask. thx though.
post #22 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by euclid View Post
i'm really happy you like the Apache vcoheda. all of us that preordered and kept up with the Members of the Trade thread know how exited you have been, plus the anxiety we all felt in waiting
yes. i had a lot of fun in that thread, waiting and hearing about people's plans for their apache - the equipment they would use and so forth. all of us made the decision and commitment to buy an apache long ago. and for most of us, it was a "blind" purchase - having only possibly B52 and other RSA product impressions as well as ray's overall stellar reputation in the head-fi community to guide us. along with my G08, i have never spent so much money on a piece of audio equipment - not even close, as my prior amp was an LD2++. although i have been into audio and headphones for some time, i am probably one of the least experienced persons when it comes to having owned high-end equipment, and maybe for this reason i was very anxious and nervous and of course very excited about the entire process. but i feel quite relieved and happy that the apache has thus far lived up to my expectations. i suppose though that without much to compare it with, it was certain to do that anyway. hard to say.

Quote:
i have been meaning to create another thread with more impressions but im having trouble finding the time to really give it long listening sessions as it deserves. do you have any thoughts about the synergy with the Meridian G08? also what balanced ICs are you using?
i think it sounds great with my G08. i know that meridians tend to have a warm sound signature, so i am using silver ICs to improve clarity. one thing i did notice is that ray said in the apache thread that a narrow power cord will lead to a slightly thinner yet more detailed sound and a thicker one would add bass and fullness. i experimented with some of my power cords and in my setup preferred a narrower one, which was also a stock power cord - although one of decent quality. other than that, i look forward to the impressions of others.

also, thank you CarbonTi for your contribution. i am sure many are curious about the apache's pre-amp capabilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wower View Post
I read the fine print and didn't see the L3000. I just thought it was overlooked and being a Japanese HP fanboy, I just had to ask. thx though.
no problum.
post #23 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
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.
Three balanced headphones might be a good number. Two is definitely too few, so go for at least 3 - the HD650, DT880, and K701.

If I get my balanced amp before the NYC November meet (wishful thinking probably but it might happen), I'm gonna try and bring my entire system so we can do a comparison between our HD650s and K701s, so don't sell those!
post #24 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
it's really beyond night and day.
You had to say that.. I heard the DAC1 balanced & the mini balanced are pretty similar sound wise, so this is very depressing..
post #25 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
Three balanced headphones might be a good number. Two is definitely too few, so go for at least 3 - the HD650, DT880, and K701.

If I get my balanced amp before the NYC November meet (wishful thinking probably but it might happen), I'm gonna try and bring my entire system so we can do a comparison between our HD650s and K701s, so don't sell those!
3 is the sweet spot, at least for me.. I listen to all my balanced phones. They each give me a unique listening experience. I doubt I'd sell them..
post #26 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice View Post
You had to say that.. I heard the DAC1 balanced & the mini balanced are pretty similar sound wise, so this is very depressing..
i was very happy with my mini dac. but eventually you just have to decide whether you are serious about going balanced. and i know you are. it doesn't mean apache/b52 or bust. but i think if you want to get the full benefit and experience of balanced headphones, then you need a dedicated balanced amp. so i guess my advice is to sell what you don't need/use (1/3 of my apache was paid for that way) and save for the rest. it will be well worth it in the end.
post #27 of 405
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
i was very happy with my mini dac. but eventually you just have to decide whether you are serious about going balanced. and i know you are. it doesn't mean apache/b52 or bust. but i think if you want to get the full benefit and experience of balanced headphones, then you need a dedicated balanced amp. so i guess my advice is to sell what you don't need/use (1/3 of my apache was paid for that way) and save for the rest. it will be well worth it in the end.
Yes. I realize the DAC1 isn't made for balanced headphones, but with good recordings I'm very pleased with the sound. I will get a real balanced amp when I can afford it. Most likely the X33.. 3,000 is way too much for me, especially with my current job. That could change if I actually heard it though, but would literally have to floor me. & truthfully the only thing I could sell would be my Toshiba HD DVD player, HD DVDs, & my 360.. My audio gear is off limits..
post #28 of 405
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!
My reasoning; I was ready to spring for a B52 but a quick look around my room revealed 6 tubed amps and pre-amps, another one would just be too much. I can only echo vcoheda and others in praising Ray's craftsmanship on the Apache, it is one beautiful amplifier.
Both the L3000 and the Apache are too new and unfamiliar territory in my system to be making absolute judgements just yet. Later this week I will switch to a HD650, a headphone I have used for years.
post #29 of 405
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Afrikane View Post
My reasoning; I was ready to spring for a B52 but a quick look around my room revealed 6 tubed amps and pre-amps, another one would just be too much. I can only echo vcoheda and others in praising Ray's craftsmanship on the Apache, it is one beautiful amplifier.
Both the L3000 and the Apache are too new and unfamiliar territory in my system to be making absolute judgements just yet. Later this week I will switch to a HD650, a headphone I have used for years.
the man with the magic lense makes an appearance. i hope you don't mind too much that i used that pic for display. was just trying to show some eye candy to attract an audience, but i now feel that i should have asked you first, especially since there was some confusion over whose setup it was. sorry about that.
post #30 of 405
Firsrt impressions of my new Apache
(copied from the long "the Apache" thread).


Maybe Ray should have called it the Can Opener.
It creates a vividly open sound area with whatever cans
I try it with (Senn 650s, AKG 701s, Grado GS1000s).
In short, the sound is un-headphone-like. (Uncanny?)
The Apache produces a very compelling listening experience that I have never had
with headphones before.
Tonality is excellent, striking a perfect balance between detail and smoothness.
It rivals what I have heard in
audio shows and dealerships with some extreme high-end speakers.
(The Apache also functions as a Preamp. I have not used it in this mode.)

All of my listening is from my McIntosh C46 preamp into the Apache.
I have a CD-only system. My previous headphone amplifier was a 1999 Headroom
Max (updated with a newer reference module in 2004). I still have the Max.

I have had the Apache for only a week, so I may be
updating this. Consider these initial impressions.

The sound is quite speaker-like, especially with the Grados.
The Grados are natively tipped up and bright, so I use the
tone controls on the McIntosh preamp (which has an 8-band equalizer)
to roll-off the highs somewhat.
With the AKGs or Sennheisers, no equalization is necessary.

(I like using the McIntosh preamp to feed my headphone amp becuase
I sit some distance away from my system and use the McIntosh
remote to adjust the volume. Actually, I wish headphone amps had a
remote volume control. I also appreciate the Mac's tone controls--blasphemy I know...)

Listening to the Capitol Beatles CD set, other classic rock or popular music
(which is what I mainly listen to on headphones), with the Apache
I feel like I am in the studio, with the voices and instruments spread out,
fleshed out and distinct in a 3-dimensional space much larger than I have
ever heard with headphones.
The musical components, if not life-size, are far from the miniaturized images
that, to my ears, are common with headphones. The Apache somehow creates some
sort of ether-field with honest-to-goodness 3D images, each with its own
size and shape. This effect is more prominent with the Grados,
but still quite evident with the other phones. The Senn 650s seem
especially helped by the Apache--really coming out of their shell.
The vauge claustrophopic or compressed feeling I always had with the
650s (and predecessors) has just about disappeared.

The images have real body and density but are not heavy or hard-edged or super-pinpointed.
They blend just enough into the recording venue to sound naturally placed.
And, thankfully, nothing shouts or sounds pushy.

In comparison with my Headroom Max
everything sounds de-congested. Many of these old CDs of 60's and 70's
recordings sound raspy and rough through the Max.
Somehow, the Apache separates all
the pieces and smooths out the rough edges just enough to produce a natural sound.
The spatial cues are there but the harsh abrasion is gone.
The sound is still vivid but no longer annoying.
I really feel as if I am among the performers.

The vocals are liquid and rounded and have just enough grit to sound
genuine without being mechanical,
grainy or telephone-like. I have always felt that vocals were always
the ultimate truth-test for a system. Sometimes even when instruments
sound fine, a vocal comes along and sounds artificial, raspy, buzzy, and
nothing like a real voice. With the Apache, I can listen deep into a voice,
and I hear a continuous, smooth sound that is just extremely satisfying.

Percussion is precise and fast without being assaultive. Wind instruments
are airy and have just the right density. (I think the famous flute solo on
California Dreamin' is as pure as I have ever heard it.) Strings are silky
and never scream or make me wince.

The Apache's bass is a real joy. It is "just-there," with no subwoofery/boombox
feel. I love the way the bass is attached to the the object creating it,
rather than just part of a pervasive
bass-fog. I am reminded of the bass from well-set-up Wilson speakers.

At first I thought the highs were more spotlighted than with the Headroom Max,
but then I realized I lately had been using the Max's high-frequency filter (a useful
feature by the way), and concluded that, In A-B'ing the two amps, that
the Apache is no more aggressive or less warm than the Max with its filter off.

To sum up, I think that
the great thing about the Apache is that it is revealing, but not ruthlessly revealing.
Details are well evident, but just recessed enough to produce an inviting, relaxing sound
that is still live and involving, along with a wonderfully plausible sense of space.

Associated equipment:
EMM DCC2 SE DAC and CDSD SE Transport,
McIntosh C46 Preamp,
Stealth Indra RCA IC from DAC to Preamp,
Kubala-Sosna Balanced IC from Preamp to Apache,
Shunyata Anaconda Power Cables on all components except Apache,
Kimber PK-10 Palladium Power Cable on Apache,
All equipment plugged into Shunyata Hydra 8.
Headphones: Grado RS1000s with Moon Audio Black Dragon cable (single ended).
Sennheiser 650s with Zu Mobius (single ended).
AKG K701 with Moon Audio Black Dragon balanced.
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