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I want to have faith in Ray Samuels Audio... but I just don't - Page 2

post #16 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post
ZephyrSapphire, it was a sarcasm.

I knew it was sarcasm! Don't get me wrong. My post was a sarcastic reply as well. Didn't you see the smiley!?


Oh this thread will live on.. Definitely. Not being sarcastic here.
post #17 of 267
I have owned two Ray Samuels Audio amplifiers, and been very pleased with both of them.
But I have also read a lot of negative posts about his amplifiers, or more specific his amplifier design. Which are claimed to be copies of old designs, of "mediocre" quality. Don't know the truth behind this though...
post #18 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Covenant View Post
Am I spinning moonbeams out of one bad experience and a few faulty units, or is there a genuine issue with RSA amps?
I read your Raptor thread very carefully, and my answers to your questions are "yes" and "no", respectfully.
post #19 of 267
I think that it's silly to assume that this thread will be removed or altered in any way by the mods, unless someone drags it down into personal attacks, so let's hope that doesn't happen.

Ray Samuels, the man, is a very, very personable, intelligent, likable guy. I have listened to almost every amp he has made in the last 2 years, and he even loaned me an Apache to review. I have a lot of respect for him personally, and his work.

But he is human. He is going to make some amps that don't work perfectly.

Moreover, there is no such thing as a 100% silent tube amp. If you want 100% silent, you need a very, very good SS amp. I have (as everyone knows) tested 40 portable amps, and they all have some level of hiss, and the RSA amps were quieter than most, but not completely silent.

Ray can be a little prone to waxing poetic about his products on his website. But again, no more so than other manufacturers. Singlepower, whose amps I enjoy greatly, is just as prone to marketing hyperbole, and let's not even start to compare RSA and Singlepower as businesses.

I guess my point is this - what is the point of this thread, exactly? Is Ray Samuels Audio perfect? No. Does he have a 100% perfect product? No. Is there some conspiracy in head-fi to try to claim either of these things? No. Is there a company, or a man, who tries HARDER than Ray Samuels to make good products and support them with a good business model? From what I can tell, no.

Before any conspiracy theorists start to flame me, be sure to read BOTH my entire post carefully, AND read my sig - I own ZERO products from Ray Samuels Audio. I have nothing to "protect". Just calling it like I see it.
post #20 of 267
I have to go with Orcin and Skylab here. Seems like much hoopla about nothing. To have a few products have problems is to be expected with anything that is manufactured. I believe it is more telling what happens when things go bad.

I had a recent experience with a new travel trailer where someone at the factory didn't tighten the fittings on the hot water heater by-pass. One of the lines blew and filled the underbelly of the trailer with water. Not the most pleasant thing to come back to after being gone all day. BUT the manufacturer not only paid for a mobile repair facility to repair the problem and button me up so I could finish the trip, they also paid to completely remove and replace the underbelly and insulation under the trailer as well. This says alot about the manufacturer.

So too with Ray. I can personally attest that he stands behind his products. He repaired the jacks on my Tommy under warranty without question.

I can't speak for the OP, but I am personally less concerned over problems with a few units than I am with how those problems are handled. I don't believe the OP ever implied that RSA amps were inherently defective. If there was a pattern of bad products then I doubt Mr Samuels would be welcome here on head.fi.
post #21 of 267
Are old designs less desirable ?
post #22 of 267
I don't see the problem ..
if you do not like it/them return them ..

it's no secret that amps are designed with a design project , hears , and a little piece of heart alltogheter .

btw some of my favorite amps are quite "old design" . I am referring to sound , have not interest in schematics .
post #23 of 267

I Have No Dog...

"I have no dog in this fight"... but...

... it seems to me... that no amp is designed to match well with all set ups and all phones, in all combinations. Just too many variables for that to happen with almost any amp.

So... it's very likely that with some combination of components all amps are not going to sound perfect, or up to their potential, as they do with the right matching components.

I think its unrealistic to expect otherwise - which is why we should carefully read all the relevant posts on such topics, as well as attempt to listen before we buy. And... of course that's why many vendors provide the "trial period."

And... of course... there's always the possibility you've can have a problem with any amp, that requires repair.

It seems... wholly inappropriate to "indict" a vendor... unless... the vendor fails to repair an amp, or accept it return. Or... fails to deliver the amp... when promised. Those are vaild criticisms of the vendor.

Of course... its always appropriate to provide your opinion of the performance of any particular component with your specific set up - after all... that's the mission of the forums.

But... criticisms of any vendor... should be limited to an actual failure by such a vendor. In this instance - that doesn't appear to be the case.
post #24 of 267
Since we are here , Ray do you mind if I ask you here .. do you think your amps change sound still and in a sensible way after 1000hr or so burn in ?
post #25 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
I think that it's silly to assume that this thread will be removed or altered in any way by the mods, unless someone drags it down into personal attacks, so let's hope that doesn't happen.

Ray Samuels, the man, is a very, very personable, intelligent, likable guy. I have listened to almost every amp he has made in the last 2 years, and he even loaned me an Apache to review. I have a lot of respect for him personally, and his work.

But he is human. He is going to make some amps that don't work perfectly.

Moreover, there is no such thing as a 100% silent tube amp. If you want 100% silent, you need a very, very good SS amp. I have (as everyone knows) tested 40 portable amps, and they all have some level of hiss, and the RSA amps were quieter than most, but not completely silent.

Ray can be a little prone to waxing poetic about his products on his website. But again, no more so than other manufacturers. Singlepower, whose amps I enjoy greatly, is just as prone to marketing hyperbole, and let's not even start to compare RSA and Singlepower as businesses.

I guess my point is this - what is the point of this thread, exactly? Is Ray Samuels Audio perfect? No. Does he have a 100% perfect product? No. Is there some conspiracy in head-fi to try to claim either of these things? No. Is there a company, or a man, who tries HARDER than Ray Samuels to make good products and support them with a good business model? From what I can tell, no.
Actually, my reading of the OP's posts and themarchingmule's posts greatly differ.

To the OP's point, I read the story as a story where he bought something based reviews and when he got it, it did not meet his expectations, he tried to correct it, couldnt and returned it. I did not read it as that there was an issue with Ray Samuel the person or the businessman.

I think the focus on the last sentence from MarchingMule's point kind of displaces and overshadows a very good point about this forum and this community. I did not take it as a "conspiracy" but rather an issue with human nature.

For example the point can be made that in general, there are alot more topics on how good a product(any) is compared to topics on issues with a product(any).

And i think the point is apt that because this is a specialized community, it is alot easier to get along with people who share similar interests then to raise a topic/issue because posts that laud a product are mostly lauded themselves. Topics that dispute a product draw the ire of some people, which seems to be starting here, it happens and I think it is natural

This becomes an issue with users who do not try out the products before purchasing due to the overwhelming amount of positive posts in regards to a product then to a negative one. And even that is natural because no one really wants to say "I bought a product that I really do not like".

So to the OP, my recommendation is that from now on try the product before purchasing and do not just depend on the reviews here, not matter how overflowing they are.

And the point about this forum being more conducive to general acceptance of products then disputing, I think it is true but it is nature.
post #26 of 267
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zerachiel View Post
Actually, my reading of the OP's posts and themarchingmule's posts greatly differ.

To the OP's point, I read the story as a story where he bought something based reviews and when he got it, it did not meet his expectations, he tried to correct it, couldnt and returned it. I did not read it as that there was an issue with Ray Samuel the person or the businessman.

I think the focus on the last sentence from MarchingMule's point kind of displaces and overshadows a very good point about this forum and this community. I did not take it as a "conspiracy" but rather an issue with human nature.

For example the point can be made that in general, there are alot more topics on how good a product(any) is compared to topics on issues with a product(any).

And i think the point is apt that because this is a specialized community, it is alot easier to get along with people who share similar interests then to raise a topic/issue because posts that laud a product are mostly lauded themselves. Topics that dispute a product draw the ire of some people, which seems to be starting here, it happens and I think it is natural

This becomes an issue with users who do not try out the products before purchasing due to the overwhelming amount of positive posts in regards to a product then to a negative one. And even that is natural because no one really wants to say "I bought a product that I really do not like".

So to the OP, my recommendation is that from now on try the product before purchasing and do not just depend on the reviews here, not matter how overflowing they are.

And the point about this forum being more conducive to general acceptance of products then disputing, I think it is true but it is nature.
I agree with almost everything you posted except that trying a product before purchasing is almost impossible to do. Most of us don't have a chance to try a product and have to buy based solely on reviews. I don't doubt that most of us bought something without even trying it out but basing our purchase on other people's opinions.

What I'd like to say is not directed to the OP, but to people planning to do reviews on products. Be honest, 100% honest, whether it be a minor flaw which you think might not be of any concern to yourself but it might be to others.
post #27 of 267
Having just orderd a Raptor 2 days ago, I read this with interest. I read just about everything I could on this amp, including the mentioned reviews and combed through them to try to find what would be the truth for me.

Not having ever heard the amp, I am going on the assumption that this amp sounds good and is a good product. Some of this from reading and some from my dealings with Ray on another amp.

The only actual thing that I am buying at this time is Ray's good customer service based on his reputation and my past dealings with him.

The sound and quality of the amp is merely an educated guess at this time.
post #28 of 267

That's Right...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevtt View Post
Having just orderd a Raptor 2 days ago, I read this with interest. I read just about everything I could on this amp, including the mentioned reviews and combed through them to try to find what would be the truth for me.

Not having ever heard the amp, I am going on the assumption that this amp sounds good and is a good product. Some of this from reading and some from my dealings with Ray on another amp.

The only actual thing that I am buying at this time is Ray's good customer service based on his reputation and my past dealings with him.

The sound and quality of the amp is merely an educated guess at this time.
That's right... from what I've read about the amp, and the experiences of others with RSA... you'll be very pleased!

Of course... that's not to say... you may not find another set up that you like better - such is always the possibility.

But... most importantly... the vendor is reliable and stands behind their products and policies - what more can you ask?
post #29 of 267
There are a lot of variables that affect whether you hear hiss on the output. When I experience hiss, I try to break down what is the culprit, and if ultimately it impedes against musical enjoyment.

1) The source

Your source can contribute a lot of hiss. This is very easy to test out. Just disconnect your source, listen to the amp, turn it all the way up, and 7/10 the hiss is gone. Digital players can contribute a decent amount of thermal noise that presents itself as hiss, but IME you only hear this when it is maxed out.

2) Headphones

Lower impedance cans capture hiss much more than high impedance cans. So with a tube amp like a raptor, if you hear hiss with the low impedance sony or grado, you most likely will not hear any with a sennheiser 600/650. Some amps exploit this fact. The cary 300sei has a resistor on the output i think 120 ohms, which takes out the hiss on low impedance, but then you suffer from the reduced damping factor and your bass sounds like mud, so pick your poison.

3) Amp

There can be definite issues with an amp that can contribute to hiss. IME with the amp in question and others, I have found that usually it is because the gain is simply too high. With a very high gain (which IMO is inappropriate for headphone amps, as most cans require only millivolts of voltage swing), any digital noise from the DAC or thermal noise in your digital source is going to be amplified at the top of the volume pot. But this brings you back to the fact that if you are listening to said amp at that volume, you will go deaf in seconds.

the biggest issue with tube amps for me is not necessarily hiss, but hum. Hum is usually related to the AC line and you can hear it at 60 hz, which if you have a keyboard by your rig (which I do and highly recommend you do as well), equates itself to a slightly sharp "B" two octaves below middle C. Hum usually is present at ALL volume levels, and is a result of poor grounding, transformer being too close to the output tubes or transformers, poor shielding, etc. I have never heard an amp where hiss was always present in the volume pot, only at its maximum or at a volume where it would be deafening (like the RSA raptor). The difference between the two is one actually impedes musical enjoyment as it is always present, one only exists when amplified to an outrageous point.

Final thoughts - I only know of one manufacturer who is so fanatical about having no hiss whatsoever, and that is Justin from headamp. With his gear you should be able to take some IEM's, plug it in with the highest gain setting, pump up the volume, with no source connected, and it will be dead silent. But if your source has a lot of inherent thermal noise which a lot of digital players do, justin's perfectionism won't really help, and you still might get the tiniest bit of hiss at the very top level.

One thing I have learned is that if you are listening for hiss, trust me, you can find it. There comes a point where you are actuall listening for hiss rather than listening to music. There have been times when I first received my shiny new amp, and instead of popping some tunes, I max out the volume pot and see if there is any "hiss" present. Then I get all pissed, try to change tubes, change outlets, use cheater plugs, pray to shiva, mow the lawn, and I still cannot remove the "hiss." I could have been listening to pretty good music during those hours, but I chose to focus on something that doesn't impede on musical enjoyment or the normal listening operation of the unit in question.

I have owned 2 RSA amps and reviewed one. The only one not to exhibit hiss at the insane volume was the SR-71. Even though the raptor and HR-2 did have some hiss at the very top of volume, during normal volume it was completely silent, and more importantly, at the time I enjoyed some pretty decent music, that didn't have any background hum. My current amp the Eddie Current Zana Deux is completely silent, but I do have a tube or two that has some slight hiss at the very top of the volume. I am willing to let it slide because the music that plays from it is pretty killer
post #30 of 267
I was about this close {-} to clicking the trigger finger and sending payment for my Raptor about a week ago and held back.

I won't expand on this unless necessary.
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