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Graham Slee Solo SRG (with PSU1) Impressions - Page 2

post #16 of 118
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by panda View Post
have you heard a naim headline? it would make for an interesting comparison.
Funny you should ask that - I was actually deciding between the Naim Headline 2 (with the NAPSC) and the SRG.

Yes, I've heard the Headline 2 with the NAPSC. Listened to it critically twice - for over an hour each time at the shop.

Not sure I can give you a useful comparison for these reasons:-

1. The environment wasn't ideal. The shop wasn't exactly the quietest place to pick up subtle variations;

2. Tested it with the shop's K701, SR325i and HD650 but not with the RS1;

3. The CDP and cables were different from mine.

But, FWIW, I'll give you my impressions anyway. What grabbed me immediately was the bass - the Headline 2 that I tried was a bass monster. It had the weightiest bass of any amp I've heard. With the Naim, the K701 sounded the best all-round, the SR325i was sublime for rock, and the HD650 was unbearable. For some reason or other, the mid-bass from that HD650 through that amp was treacle thick, slow and heavy - I removed the HD650 from my head after just 10 minutes.

A number of consequences followed:-

1. I bought the K702 (because it was a new model and I could always change the cable myself without sending it half-way round the world to have it modded);

2. I bought the RS1 (well, I reasoned then that if I liked the 325i, might as well go all the way and get its big brother); and

3. The HD650 is yet to be in my stable of cans. Before I get flamed, I must say that I do want to audition it again (preferably on my set-up), but that opportunity has yet to come by.

That Headline 2 had the PRaT of the SRG - it was toe-tappingly (couldn't head-bang in the shop) enjoyable. Headstage was narrower than the SRG's, but separation and clarity were excellent. I also seem to recall it being a little colder than the SRG. But the bass, oh the bass...

I thought at first that it could be the CDP that gave the Naim THAT bass. Looking at the review below however, it would seem that that particular CDP was not particularly bass heavy.

6moons audio reviews: C.E.C. TL51XR

Well, there you go. YMMV
post #17 of 118
Hello Kds5000, I agree the Solo works very well with the AKG`s
post #18 of 118
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post
Which have the largest and/or most "3d soundstage". I have a pair of 701s, and pro 900 and 650/JVC HX1000 on it´s way. I know the Solo is supposed to do well with the 650 and sounds like it does well with some low impedance headphones as well .

Anyway overall is it a good complement to the Canamp or do they replace eachother?
I'll try my best to answer your questions. Do bear in mind that my SRG only has about 36hrs of use, whilst my CanAmp had about 500hrs. Here goes.


I'll use the K702 to compare since that's most relevant to you (and I don't have the other phones you've mentioned).

Soundstage width is about the same. But with the SRG, there's more air around the instruments and generally a greater sense of space i.e. like you're in a room with a higher ceiling.

So much for height and width. What made the CanAmp special is that it had depth - the "layers" and "3D effect" so many have experienced, especially with classical music and electronica/trance. Didn't understand this "layers" analogy until I got my CanAmp. It really immersed you in the music. Some say it's unnatural etc, but I like it. Try playing "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits (at a slightly higher volume than normal) through your CanAmp with your K701 or DT770.. you'll be floored.

The SRG certainly has promise as regards this depth - it just doesn't have as much as the CanAmp...yet. I'm sure, with time, the depth and "layering" will increase.

Do they replace each other?

Tough one.

The SRG certainly replaced my CanAmp, but that's more because I was looking for a great SS amp to drive my Grados/Alessandros than anything else. To me, the CanAmp wasn't ideal for the RS1 - I could detect a roughness/graininess to the vocals/mid-range that was quite fatiguing. Since I really like the Grado signature, the CanAmp had to go.

That said, the CanAmp drove the K702 and DT990 beautifully, and costs considerably less than the SRG. If you're happy with your CanAmp and don't intend to listen to Grados through it in the near future, you really have no reason to change. Also, many have reported in Head-Fi that they love their CanAmp/Grado combo, so maybe it's just me...

Originally Posted by oqvist View Post
Don´t forget the soundstage comparison with the Canamp . It sounds like it have less bass emphasis then the Heed am I right?
Yes. Especially in the mid-bass e.g. bass guitar.

Don't forget that my SRG is still developing, so my opinions above may very well change in a couple of weeks...
post #19 of 118
Thanks a lot

I have played money for nothing multiple times (private investigations album) but brothers in arms a THOUSAND times on the Canamp so I know exactly what you mean. I am puking on it by now but it´s a good reference song lol

I have a Pimeta amp and I do enjoy it since it has a bit less bass but more punch and feels faster as a result. Will definiatly keep an eye open for this thread.
post #20 of 118
I can surely confirm that the GS-Solo will improve greatly after an extended period of burning. But it DOES take a long while. Mine took 250 - 300 hours to settle in completely. But with mine, i'll be careful to mention, the differences weren't that it turned into a whole different amp - the signature was essentially the same but the inner resolution, the top end, intrument separation all increased pleasantly but more importantly, in a natural way.

You'll be happy with this for a long while - that's for sure.

What I am truly interested is, when at last your SRG has settled, how will your AKGs sound - I'm getting a little interested in those cans.
post #21 of 118
Thanks for the impressions. I'm looking to buy this amp (With the PSU1) for my Senn HD650s in the coming months (Wallet needs to recoup! ) and I'm glad to hear that it's already sounding great (even with no burn in time! )
post #22 of 118
i don't find the headline bass heavy at all unless the recording is EQed that way which speaks for its transparency. however, the impact is just phenomenal and better delineated than anything else.

if you like the pratty aspect, you have no reason to try hd650 in your rig, it's a goober.

you really ought to take a naha home for a demo. i would try the srg if i got the chance, but i'm having such a great time with the naim that i don't think i'll even bother with anything else besides maybe a power supply upgrade.
post #23 of 118
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post
Nice impressions. I have the 2007 Solo with Cyrus CD8se as a source and I am very pleased with it. I don`t think there is much difference between 2007 and SRG versions apart from the fact that the SRG is supposed to drive low impedence headphones better, although my Solo drives my K701 extremely well
Nice to here your thoughts on the comparison with your Little Dot. I am thinking of picking up a cheap tube amp, having never heard one, out of curiosity. I listen to rock/metal and I am dubious about a tube amp with those genres. Was looking at the LD Mk4 or Mk3. Please let us know how you get on with the solo and any more thoughts on the comparison with the LD would be appreciated. If the SRG is anything like previous Solo`s expect a big improvement over the next 2 weeks and do not swith it off
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post
Hello Kds5000, I agree the Solo works very well with the AKG`s
Thanks Nigeljames. Don't know if you've noticed, but there's a link ("The Graham Slee Solo is here") at the end of my impressions where Graham explains the design of the SRG. I'm communicating with Graham at the moment on the Solo's/SRG's ability to drive low-impedence phones and will post his replies here when I get them. The SRG/K702 simulates a simply amazing headstage and "space" - makes you forget that you're wearing headphones...well, almost

I'll endeavour to give a comparison between my LD MKIV SE and the SRG when I can, but it won't be so soon - I'll be overseas almost the whole of April. Suffice to say at this stage, I enjoy rock/metal on my MKIV SE as well - the mid-range warmth tubes are known for makes full-blown electric guitar riffs sound breathtakingly sweet and full-bodied. Try auditioning your favourite rock CD on a tube-amp with your K701 - you may just find yourself hunting for a good tube amp to complement your Solo...

My SRG won't be switched off - it's on full-time nicely burning-in when I'm at work, and ready to rock when I'm back!
post #24 of 118
KDS5000. You got to be kidding me.
You have the exact same Little Dot as I have and I am thinking about getting a Solo SRG. PLEASE compare them for me. Doesn't need to be a complete review. A small comparison will do just fine.
Also do you think the PSU1 is a worthwhile upgrade? Thanks in advance!
post #25 of 118
I tried the headline2 also but with D5K mod. Warm sound and very deep deep bass. The bass really shine with headline2. Yet also tested in super noisy environment.
Another issue that hold me from Naim is the wired RCA connector.

K702 not too forward and bright with Solo? Since I not satisfy the bass (After audition headline 2 and RPX33), so I dont think it will really make miracle in K702 for the bass.
post #26 of 118
Canamp is probably the way to go for the K702. Though I feel it´s actually overdoing the K702 soundstage... It gives such deep soundstages the songers get so far away they are hard to hear on live recordings lol
post #27 of 118
Cool! Have fun.
post #28 of 118
Thread Starter 
For those interested in whether the Solo / SRG can drive low-impedance phones, here's the exchange I had with Graham on his forum. Graham really takes the time to explain his products and design concepts to his customers. And he reverts within a couple of hours...

Graham's replies may be a bit technical, but I'm sure some of you will find his technical descriptions useful. If you don't get the technical bits, just read the part underlined and in bold...



"Thanks Graham for taking the time to explain my queries in such great detail. I really appreciate it. It's not always that a manufacturer takes such pains to explain his products to his customers."


"I've always tried to make myself available to the guys who put food on my table. I found I couldn't answer the phone anymore and still get my work done so I put this "community" online in a bid to address that."


"I'm really enjoying the Solo SRG with my RS1 and MS-Pro. These phones really shine when driven by the SRG. However, there seems to be a perception that the Solos before the SRG were not ideal for driving low impedence phones like the Grados. If it's not too much to ask, was there a conscious effort to make the Solo more "Grado friendly" when you designed the SRG? I haven't heard the earlier versions of the Solo, but the SRG drives my RS1 so well that I can't imagine that the earlier Solos weren't ideal for low-impedence phones."


"The original Solo was designed when I had no money, using a pair of SR60's which are 32 Ohms. I invested some of what I made back into the development budget at which point I bought the high impedance Sennheiser HD's...

We have been making the original resistively coupled output Solo right up to the "2007". There were a number of changes in its development but it always had the same output resistor. Nearly all the "rave" reviews the Solo had were by reviewers using low impedance headphones like the Grado RS1. Phil Gold (ejtm) reviewed it using K701's...

The SRG was a development of the "green Solo experiment": the "green" used a 33 Ohm output resistor which, by the way, some famous headphone amps also do.

The SRG also uses a 33 Ohm resistor but it's inside a negative feedback loop (a second negative feedback loop in fact) which effectively reduces its impedance to 5 or 6 Ohms throughout the audio band and way beyond. I liked the idea so much I included the second negative feedback loop idea in the Novo I was also working on at the time - that just beat 4 similarly priced amps in a What Hi-Fi head to head - I think it works?

PS. the 33 Ohm resistor is to enable it to continue using the original "fast" small signal transistor output stage: the 2nd NFB makes it "almost direct", but a short circuit puts it immediately back to 33 Ohms, protecting the transistors."
post #29 of 118
hmmm ah okay mmmm... Went over my head lol
post #30 of 118
Yeah I didn't get all of it as well.
How about MKIV SE vs. SRG?
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