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Graham Slee Solo initial impressions

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
My Solo shipped out 1/28 and I received it 2/1, pretty impressive from across the pond to the midwest I'd say, I wasn't expecting it for at least another week.
It's very well built, nicely constructed and solid feeling.

My setup is as follows.... AuzenTech X-Plosion w/ rolled Burr-Brown opamps, forget which ones > stock rca splitter for 2 channel into stock rca IC's > Solo > HD580's.

It came appropriately packaged for such a journey, even took me a minute or two to figure out where to cut the tape to open the box. Smaller then I expected, it's roughly the size of two harddrives, give or take a little here and there. A little longer then a hd and a little narrower, but not quiet as tall as two hd's sitting on top of each other.

I was really surrpised with the way this thing sounds right out of the box, jaw dropping surprised. I was expecting some rough edges at least, which, over time I am sure I will look back and notice them. But I gotta tell you, I've been listening to this little jewel for over 2 1/2 hours now and the sound this soon is amazing. Right off the bat it had everything and lacking nothing. The first thing I did when I hooked it up was to check for noise without any music playing. I had to crank the vol up to the 3 o'clock position before I heard the slightest bit of hiss ( 7 o'clock is vol all the way down ).

In hindsight, after the first hour, through 1 1/2 hours my ears got a bit fatigued. Some of which may of been to me getting into the music to loudly right off the bat while getting caught up in posting in Graham's forum (
GSPAudio Support Community ( in case any one is interested in his forum ) )
about my thoughts out of the box. And I'm also sure due to the newness and it wasn't noticeable at the time. Like it was so subtle it snuck up on me.

This is my first serious headphone amp, and yes, from the way this little beast performs right out of the box, I would call it serious. To think that it has this amount of detail and clearity this soon amazes me. Not to mention evertything is there even at this early stage. Highs, Mids, bass and soundstage. I devirginized it with some Grateful Dead, and right off the bat I could distinguish the two different drummers completely. I never thought the soundstage would be so good so soon. I'm sure those that have heard high end gear before would recongnize whatever it is that I thought I'd hear but don't. I mean it's gotta be there, right?

Right now I'm giving it a serious dose of drums vie The Royal Drummers of Burundi, Mickey Harts Global Drum Project. I can literally hear the reverberation of the skins of those monster kettle drums.

I can't wait for it to burn in and I can feed it the fuel that it clearly can handle ( meaning IC's and a quality DAC ). To think it's only going to get better. Me very happy
post #2 of 81
Congrats, did you get the Pre-2008 version?
Solo is a great amps, Mr.Slee built it based on Sennheiser headphones as the references.
post #3 of 81
Congrats on a fine purchase. I love the Solo for its truly fine sound and also for the neatly compact size (size is not everything indeed). It is the one amp that has made me re-discover the K601 which I initially disliked and which, I very much suspect, presented subsequent headphones I purchased in a way that made it hard to dislike any of them.

What listening volume are you at? With my DAC's hefty output level from the XLR jacks, I never need to go beyond 9 o'clock with the inefficient K340 and certainly never beyond 8 o'clock with the rest of my phones.

Cheers and enjoy the tunes!
post #4 of 81
Congrats on the purchase. The Graham Slee Solo is definitely a worthy amp to own.

I once owned a 2006 Solo w PSU1 and am still stunned by its capability in dynamics - ultra fast amp and impactful music without loosing the balance.

F. Lo
post #5 of 81
Well enjoy yourself Sir. Your first amp is a Good one. Start low with the volume and increase slowly. And stop when you achieve a good Musical balance. You can listen longer without the fatigue. You want to have the hearing left to enjoy those Audio purchases.
post #6 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capunk View Post
Congrats, did you get the Pre-2008 version?
Solo is a great amps, Mr.Slee built it based on Sennheiser headphones as the references.
No, mine was built after '08. Me's lovin it . I've busted my butt trying to find a flaw and as of yet haven't. I never would of thought it would sound so good right out of the gate. Next headphones are down the road a bit, but it will be interesting to see, even these ancient 580's sound fantastic and the Solo isn't even broken in yet.
post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by charley phogg View Post
No, mine was built after '08. Me's lovin it . I've busted my butt trying to find a flaw and as of yet haven't. I never would of thought it would sound so good right out of the gate. Next headphones are down the road a bit, but it will be interesting to see, even these ancient 580's sound fantastic and the Solo isn't even broken in yet.
I've also recently taken a delivery of a Solo green '08 (I'm dwfait on the GSP forums) and I am also loving it
post #8 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorander View Post
Congrats on a fine purchase. I love the Solo for its truly fine sound and also for the neatly compact size (size is not everything indeed). It is the one amp that has made me re-discover the K601 which I initially disliked and which, I very much suspect, presented subsequent headphones I purchased in a way that made it hard to dislike any of them.

What listening volume are you at? With my DAC's hefty output level from the XLR jacks, I never need to go beyond 9 o'clock with the inefficient K340 and certainly never beyond 8 o'clock with the rest of my phones.

Cheers and enjoy the tunes!

Thank you. Being this early into the burn in, I don't doubt it would make any can sound good. So far, to me, it seems that the amp does it's job and gets out of the way and leaves all else up to everyting else. Which I think is the best compliment one could give an amp. I have fed it some hard stuff to drive and cranked it up to 12-1230ish, but not for long. I want to play it with my vol pot over 9 and trying to adjust my pc vol down so I can adjust accordinlgy. That first hour or so I;m sure was from harshness, and some to loud maybe. This thing is deceptive, I guess thats becasue its not burned in?

XLR is twice the power. I've had thought about the 601's. Would be nicwe to hear what other cans you've had/experienced for some insight.

Enjoy
post #9 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fkclo View Post
Congrats on the purchase. The Graham Slee Solo is definitely a worthy amp to own.

I once owned a 2006 Solo w PSU1 and am still stunned by its capability in dynamics - ultra fast amp and impactful music without loosing the balance.

F. Lo
Thanks man, That's what amazes me so much right off the bat, who'da thunk this early into such a young life would be so amazing? I'm really amazed I can't hear any flaw from not being burnt in, and I've tried to find one. It makes me wonder if it's just that transparent and my IC's are hiding them. I'm sure as it prgresses that they'll poke their lil head up and laugh at me, but I will have the last laugh
post #10 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by achristilaw View Post
Well enjoy yourself Sir. Your first amp is a Good one. Start low with the volume and increase slowly. And stop when you achieve a good Musical balance. You can listen longer without the fatigue. You want to have the hearing left to enjoy those Audio purchases.
Indeed, thank you for the kind words, but I gotta tell ya, I never had to put my hand on the wall to get the added vibes
post #11 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gingerbread Man View Post
I've also recently taken a delivery of a Solo green '08 (I'm dwfait on the GSP forums) and I am also loving it
Nice to meet you and good to hear. All hail Graham! Man, is he a magician or what? How was urs on initial startup?
post #12 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by charley phogg View Post
Nice to meet you and good to hear. All hail Graham! Man, is he a magician or what? How was urs on initial startup?
Same as your experience - flawless. Although I wouldn't exactly call myself an experienced audiophile, I've only heard my 650's on my Beresford TC-7510 headphone out and my Denon receiver. I've been listening almost non-stop since I set it up too
post #13 of 81
Congratulations.
I find the Graham Slee Solo to be one of the very best (bar none) solid state amps around.
Enjoy it!
post #14 of 81
Mr Slee will be offering diy kits soon, in the form of a new headphone amp called teh duette. Sounds pretty cool.
post #15 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SenjStevo View Post
Mr Slee will be offering diy kits soon, in the form of a new headphone amp called teh duette. Sounds pretty cool.
Indeed, should be very interesting.
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