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Trafomatic Experience Head One

post #1 of 182
Thread Starter 
It has been a long time since this amp was in the picture and I don't seem to be able to find the old thread any more so I made a new one.
I promissed some people a more comprehensive review of the Trafomatic Experience Head One headphone amp a couple of months ago.
It took a lot of effort (and some help from monvmentvm) to get it here from Servia, but I finally got it two months ago.
It looks absolutely stunning, so I'll start with some pictures to get you going.











the pictures don't do it any justice. It looks and feels absolutely beautiful.

To get to my sound impressions I had to do some preliminary burn-in.
A LOT it turned out.
At first I was not over enthousiastic: too massive, boomy bass, a bit grainy, very forward, but I decided to give it some time.

Am I glad I did.
After 100 hours it was already a different amp: much better detail, better controled bass. Still very massive and forward though.
I was happy. Good amp.

Then I did some more burn-in and it got better and better.....
Differences were not night-and-day, but considerable:
More detail, especially in the midrange.
Much better control and detail in the bass.
More extension in the highs.
More clarity overall.

Main characteristics:
Forward: it packs a massive punch.
Powerfull: sound is full bodied and massive.

After about 500 hours it stopped changing, at least I didn't detect any change any more.

I mainly compared it with Corda Prehead and X-CAN v8 and used my computer as source (JOB 48 NOS DAC) and a couple of thousand different albums of all genres.
I also compared it with the Earmax Pro, but only for use with the HD650.

Long story short: after 500 hours it beat them all, for all phones I plugged in.

Just a few of my checkpoints:

Does it do the JVC DX100 well?
Very important: the DX1000 are my favourite phones.
It does. It controls the bass as well as the Cord Prehead, (which was my main reason for keeping the Prehead, which is very dry and deadly neutral) and still pumps a lot more life in these phones than the Prehead.

Does it do the K340 well?
You bet. The X-CAN v8 does this really well, but the Head One gives them more body.

HD650?
Is it as good as the Earmax Pro with the HD650? Yes. Not better though, but everything as good. Senns can rock like you wouldn't believe.....
I haven't used my balanced HD650 and my RPX-100 in quite a while any more.

GS1000?
At first it was not the best combination, but in the end they matched wonderfully. The forwardness of this amp is perfect for the midrange of the GS1000. Bass is full but controlled. Highs are clear and detailed, but never harsh.

ATH W10VTG?
Voices never sounded better.

Kenwood KH-K1000?
At first: too dark and wooly bass. In the end: perfect (but I like full and dark sound signature better than light and airy). I never seem to be able to take these phones off.....

Conclusion for me: This amp is a winner. If you like your music full bodied, and with lots of impact in every sense of the word: this is the perfect amp.

I did a lot of listening and comparing, but I didn't write it all down. If you have any special requests, just ask away, I'll try to oblige whenever I can.
LL
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post #2 of 182
Thank you very much for the impressions, Kees.

Look like this is a extraordinary good value amp - for the sound and wide compatibility of different phones.

F. Lo
post #3 of 182
Kees you like DX1000 more than Omega II and previously owned HE60 !? Meh I'm going to murder my wallet again . And though I love my HD650 and Earmax SE combo I have to get the Trafomatic too and I need better source. Next year seems a bit grim money wise .
post #4 of 182
Good to hear burn-in improvement... I have clocked around 100 hours already on mine. I think... don't keep track very precisely.

I got the wood trim version, though... did you ask specifically for the gloss black?

Not so good to hear it sounds great with the DX1000... I was set to buy a new lens, or at least some nice cables, but I guess I have to get me a closed headphone.

BTW... if anyone wants me to, I can post some photos of the internals - although not different than the photo over at 6moons.

Oh, and one more note - Kees, did you receive yours with an EZ81 rectifier? I thought that EZ80 was standard issue, but Sasha delivered mine with an EZ81, and I see yours sports one as well...

...just pondering whether swapping the rectifier would do any good.
post #5 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by argentum View Post
Kees you like DX1000 more than Omega II and previously owned HE60 !? Meh I'm going to murder my wallet again . And though I love my HD650 and Earmax SE combo I have to get the Trafomatic too and I need better source. Next year seems a bit grim money wise .
The DX1000 are more fun. The Omega II are definitely technically better.
I have a main rig in the living, with an Omega II and AKG K1000 setup, and a couple of setups in my study. . That is where I actually do most of my listening, behind the computer.
post #6 of 182
Interested! Have got a Gold Lion EZ81. This amp may be a good home for it. What is the driver tubre though?
post #7 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by edisonwu View Post
Interested! Have got a Gold Lion EZ81. This amp may be a good home for it. What is the driver tubre though?
6S45P (=WE437).
post #8 of 182
Hi Kees!
I am beginning to think this is the amp I want!
I bought the x-can v8 a week ago to drive my ATH-w1000. While it drives them with autority, has a great open window to the music and is never harsh (important) it seems a little too cold and lacks bass with the w1000.
I could upgrade with psu and mullard tubes, but velogreg recomended me the trafomatic half a year ago for the w1000 and I think I am now willing to spend the money.

So one last question before I do - Is it ever harsh with the w1000?

Forward and massive is ok. I loved the tonality of the Heed canamp (just werent good with low impedance phones). So massive and forward is ok - as long as it is not harsh in the treble.

Cant wait
post #9 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
Hi Kees!
I am beginning to think this is the amp I want!
I bought the x-can v8 a week ago to drive my ATH-w1000. While it drives them with autority, has a great open window to the music and is never harsh (important) it seems a little too cold and lacks bass with the w1000.
I could upgrade with psu and mullard tubes, but velogreg recomended me the trafomatic half a year ago for the w1000 and I think I am now willing to spend the money.

So one last question before I do - Is it ever harsh with the w1000?

Forward and massive is ok. I loved the tonality of the Heed canamp (just werent good with low impedance phones). So massive and forward is ok - as long as it is not harsh in the treble.

Cant wait
No harshness. It needed some burn-in, but now even the highs of the GS1000 are very good indeed. They are still the GS1000 highs, but musical, not sharp.
The W10VTG are also really good from this amp. Where they can sound a bit thin and sterile on some amps the Head One adds lots of body and makes them sound lifelike (like a really good tube amp should).
I still really like the X-CAN v8 too, I think it is a ridiculous bargain and with the right tubes for your phones it can be a killer amp.
post #10 of 182
Hi Kees!

Just to be sure. You still find the head one to be better than the v8 with the ATH´s or how?

Cheers
Kasper
post #11 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post
Hi Kees!

Just to be sure. You still find the head one to be better than the v8 with the ATH´s or how?

Cheers
Kasper
Yes, I prefer the Head One, no doubt.
I am realising that my Prehead and the v8 might have become obsolete...
post #12 of 182
do you use the different impedance settings or just leave it at 100?
post #13 of 182
Thanks for that follow up Kees !!! Nice pics too !!

Great job !!

Peete.
post #14 of 182
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
do you use the different impedance settings or just leave it at 100?
I use different impedance settings when switching from the HD-650 to the K-701.

Also, I've found that sometimes, with some sources [think Edirol UA-25] I prefer the HD-650 at the 100ohm setting.

YMMV, of course.
post #15 of 182
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post
do you use the different impedance settings or just leave it at 100?
I definitely use the impedance settings. For some phones it makes more difference than others, but the HD650 and K340 absolutely like the 300 Ohm setting a lot, and my PS-1 likes the 30 Ohm setting very much.
Some 40 Ohm phones fare better with the 100 Ohm setting though (like the DX1000 and the KH-K1000).
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