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Pro-Ject Headbox SEII - Page 2

post #16 of 35
I'm still considering getting one but I haven't heard many amps to compare it to. I have a Cute Beyond and a Cmoy and I have previously owned a Creek OBH11. I think I need to hear a Musical Fidelity XCan V3 before I go any further though. Your praise for it is very encouraging though.
post #17 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well I got a second opinion on it from my dad (with the dCS stuff) and he was really impressed by it. He is now considering a headphone setup for himself after hearing it. We both agree it is terrific bang for the buck. I just have a hard time believing the X-Can V3 could be much better, but I haven't heard it. Subjectively, some people might prefer the X-Can because it is tube and that offer a more forgiving sound with the HD600s, which tend to be bright.

But this amp has serious high-end potential. That doesn't mean you'll like it with your stuff but with CD upsampled to DSD it definitely sounds like the real deal to me and you would probably have to spend thousands on better sources and headphone before you maxed it out.

The only real disclaimer I have is that I have a feeling I would have to go up to the HD650s to really hear what this amp is capable of with respect to refinement and smoothness. The HD600 have a little too much upper midrange and this amp brings that out but only in some recordings. I am sort of sorry I did not get the HD650s now but I tested the headphones in store with the old Headbox SE and not this one. The HD650s would probably be an even better match for this amp with their more laidback presentation.

In some recordings things like female voices can be a little harsh at higher volumes but that is an issue with the HD600s that I hear in all sources. I suspect this amp would be even better with the HD650s.

But in a lot of ways this amp is just knocking it out of the park. For example I played this one Willie Nelson album with some really elaborate Nashville-studio type twangy electric guitar work (Across the Borderline) on one track and it just has this instrument separation, resolution and sparkle that is hard to get in a speaker setup. And it has great bass.

I actually think this amp deserves better headphones than the HD600s.
post #18 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackstoneJD View Post
I just have a hard time believing the X-Can V3 could be much better, but I haven't heard it. Subjectively, some people might prefer the X-Can because it is tube and that offer a more forgiving sound with the HD600s, which tend to be bright.
I heard a stock XCan V3 earlier this week and was blown away. Fantastically warm and smooth but still very detailed. I was looking for the harshness I have always heard in other headphone amplifiers but I couldn't hear any at all even over extended listening. It's superb - especially on violins and cymbals - I've never heard them more realistic.

The solid state Perreax I heard next to it was superb as well - a real eye opener. It was actually even smoother than the XCan V3 but did not quite have the tactile 3D depth, warmth and instrument seperation I heard with the XCan V3.
post #19 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackstoneJD View Post
The HD600 have a little too much upper midrange and this amp brings that out but only in some recordings. I actually think this amp deserves better headphones than the HD600s.
Clearly you and I hear in a similar way. I know the majoirty here would never use words such as aggressive and bright when it comes to HD580 / 600, but I could only listen to mine for short periods. And that was after notch filtering them at around - 3.5 dB between 3 khz and 5 khz (not doing that made them even more aggresive sounding). The strengths of the HD580 /600 is in smoothness, damping and lack of grain, but I agree that they come across quite aggresively and bright in the upper mids none the less.
post #20 of 35
Thread Starter 
Well the XCan is supposed to be one of the better units. I'd like to hear it myself because my dad is going to get an amp sooner or later and I really should hear it.

Smooth is not really the first word that comes to mind with the Headbox SEII. It isn't bright but it has that clean, solid state sort of sound.

Just so you know, if you look on the Musical Fidelity website, it seems like the XCan V3 is being replaced with the XCan V8, a new model that also includes a USB input. They claim it sounds better too. So you may want to seek that one out as well.

I wouldn't go as far as to say that you should seek the headbox out before getting the XCan because it isn't magic bullet type of product. If I had a bigger budget I would have auditioned a wider range of units but this happened to be within my budget and it performs.
post #21 of 35
I did look into the V8, but it going to be far more expensive than the V3 in Australia. Sadly, we aren't getting a great import deal on these it would seem. The V3 can be had brand new for $550 if you ask nicely, but the V8 is going to hit the shores at a hefty $900 so I am told. That's just too much IMHO for a headphone amplifier that - to be perfectly frank, is in all likelihood going to be a very solid middle class unit but not a high end one.

The new features are nice, but then again I have not heard opinions from someone whom I trust and has heard both units side by side.

The problem is that by the time the V8 is here to audition, the V3 may no longer around, as the importer has already bought the last of them. And even if I like the V8, I don't feel I am prepared to fork out $900 for it. And if I did not like it, well, it might be to late to acquire a V3 by then. Especially as sticker shock might set in and people - who were holding out with aspirations of acquiring a V8 - now think twice about spending the best part of $1000 on a headphone amplifier.
post #22 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I did look into the V8, but it going to be far more expensive than the V3 in Australia. Sadly, we aren't getting a great import deal on these it would seem. The V3 can be had brand new for $550 if you ask nicely, but the V8 is going to hit the shores at a hefty $900 so I am told. That's just too much IMHO for a headphone amplifier that - to be perfectly frank, is in all likelihood going to be a very solid middle class unit but not a high end one.

The new features are nice, but then again I have not heard opinions from someone whom I trust and has heard both units side by side.

The problem is that by the time the V8 is here to audition, the V3 may no longer around, as the importer has already bought the last of them. And even if I like the V8, I don't feel I am prepared to fork out $900 for it. And if I did not like it, well, it might be to late to acquire a V3 by then. Especially as sticker shock might set in and people - who were holding out with aspirations of acquiring a V8 - now think twice about spending the best part of $1000 on a headphone amplifier.
I agree. $900 is a lot for a headphone amp to begin with and then you have to wonder about how much of that money is going toward the USB interface and other things you don't really need. Looks like they are trying to cash in on USB mania.
post #23 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
Clearly you and I hear in a similar way. I know the majoirty here would never use words such as aggressive and bright when it comes to HD580 / 600, but I could only listen to mine for short periods. And that was after notch filtering them at around - 3.5 dB between 3 khz and 5 khz (not doing that made them even more aggresive sounding). The strengths of the HD580 /600 is in smoothness, damping and lack of grain, but I agree that they come across quite aggresively and bright in the upper mids none the less.
Totally agree with this assessment. I've been insisting on the headphone forum for years (to deaf ears) that not only the 580 and 600 but--though to a much lesser degree--even the 650 are rather glarey in the upper mids. This was the first thing I noticed with the 600; I too couldn't listen for more than a few minutes. Oddly, the 595 doesn't have that trait at all; if anything it's slightly recessed in the upper mids, though livelier in the treble--a different signature but still very recognisably Sennheiser. (It's this no doubt which makes the 595 more suitable for second rank equipment and earns them so many kudos from users outside HeadFi. And perhaps would make them suitable for audiophiles with inordinate upper-mid sensitivity). I'm just discovering since getting a dedicated HP amp (Cute Beyond, which I can hardly praise highly enough for the price , plus a Marantz CD17 MKII for source) that the 650 can be pleasurable on MOST CDs as opposed to merely SOME, and I'm hoping eventually to make them pleasurable on ALL CDs (well, other than the totally crap ones anyway). Could take a while though.
post #24 of 35
I was thinking about buying one of these and they seem to have just one pair of phono inputs at the back.

Can you connect two CD players to this?

Thanks.
post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stvn758 View Post
I was thinking about buying one of these and they seem to have just one pair of phono inputs at the back.

Can you connect two CD players to this?

Thanks.
One pair of phono inputs. One pair of phono outputs.

BUT NOTE: The older and now defunct, Headbox SE had three pairs of inputs, but it didn't sound nearly as good, in my opinion.
post #26 of 35
Maplin > Phono Plug to Twin Phono Socket Adapter

What would happen if I used these adaptors, I could then connect the two left and two right leads into the amp's two and listen to both CD players - although not at the same time obviously.


Bound to be some scientific reason it's doomed, right?
post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stvn758 View Post
Maplin > Phono Plug to Twin Phono Socket Adapter

What would happen if I used these adaptors, I could then connect the two left and two right leads into the amp's two and listen to both CD players - although not at the same time obviously.


Bound to be some scientific reason it's doomed, right?

You could do it I suppose, but I would expect sound quality to suffer somewhat. You would have to test it.
post #28 of 35
There always seems to be a weak link in the chain.

I read in some of the write-ups they can be connected to the line out/tape loop of a standard amp, does that degrade the sound quality as well?

This makes for a better sound than the crappy headphone sockets on the integrated amps they were quick to state.
post #29 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stvn758 View Post
There always seems to be a weak link in the chain.

I read in some of the write-ups they can be connected to the line out/tape loop of a standard amp, does that degrade the sound quality as well?

This makes for a better sound than the crappy headphone sockets on the integrated amps they were quick to state.
You have to test it. Common "audiophile" sense says you would be better off not going through another amp, if the other amp is not at the same level of quality as your front end source and your headphone amp. The idea is that you are sending the signal through another component and thus creating another opportunity to color the sound. Theoretically the same principle applies to the Y cable adapter you were talking about as well. The amp's line out is either going to color the sound or it isn't--depending on how good a pass through it is. You can't draw broad strokes because it depends on the amp.

I would trust a quality preamplifier or integrated amplifier to feed this thing using its line/out or tape loop or whatever and more or less give a straight pass through. A reciever's tape loop out or line out into this thing would probably be a lot better than the reciever's built in headphone jack, but not as good as going straight into the headphone amp from the CD player.
post #30 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADD View Post
I did look into the V8, but it going to be far more expensive than the V3 in Australia. Sadly, we aren't getting a great import deal on these it would seem. The V3 can be had brand new for $550 if you ask nicely, but the V8 is going to hit the shores at a hefty $900 so I am told. That's just too much IMHO for a headphone amplifier that - to be perfectly frank, is in all likelihood going to be a very solid middle class unit but not a high end one.

The new features are nice, but then again I have not heard opinions from someone whom I trust and has heard both units side by side.

The problem is that by the time the V8 is here to audition, the V3 may no longer around, as the importer has already bought the last of them. And even if I like the V8, I don't feel I am prepared to fork out $900 for it. And if I did not like it, well, it might be to late to acquire a V3 by then. Especially as sticker shock might set in and people - who were holding out with aspirations of acquiring a V8 - now think twice about spending the best part of $1000 on a headphone amplifier.
The V3 has mod kits and a new dedicated PSU module for it that takes the V3 to considerable heights. Just head off to this link and check it out...

Headphone amp Hobby Page, Head amp, Headphone amplifier, headphone amplifier kit, headphone amp UK, DIY headphone amplifier UK, X-Can V2, X-can V2 mods, B-tech 928, White noise audio headphone amplifier, Graham slee solo, X-psu, Chiarra andante, head

I have a X-10 V3 and X-PSU, installed the diode and cap upgrade and was blown away by the improvement in SQ. The MF X-Can V3 headphone amp's mods and the new little pinkie PSU make a huge difference in the end product. Just something for you to chew on if you decide on a V3.

Sorry about taking the thread into a different direction....the project SE II is indeed a vast improvement over the previous iteration. Nice amp for the money

Peete.
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