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post #106 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post
Interesting, I’ll be trying the HD800’s through a balanced beta22 and a Cambridge Audio 840c. How does the 840 sound out of your speaker rig compared to your SE tubed Ayon CD-1?
The 840 sounds pretty good through emerald physics CS2s using a solid state amp and tubed preamp. certainly much better detail than my rega planet. I did hear the 840 back to back w/ the Esoteric Dv60 and was not impressed w/ the small improvement with the DV 60.

the 840 can't compare to the Ayon though. I am crazy about the Ayon and the body/depth it gives. it really is very close and in many cases better than vinyl to my ears.
post #107 of 654
2009 Zana Deux comming next week! It'll be interesting to see how the new impedance switch makes a difference switching between the GS 1000 and the HD800. I'll be looking around for different driver tubes to try eventually. I hope there will be noticeable differences w/ different drivers. I like the idea of a little variety.
post #108 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDuke View Post
The 840 sounds pretty good through emerald physics CS2s using a solid state amp and tubed preamp. certainly much better detail than my rega planet. I did hear the 840 back to back w/ the Esoteric Dv60 and was not impressed w/ the small improvement with the DV 60.

the 840 can't compare to the Ayon though. I am crazy about the Ayon and the body/depth it gives. it really is very close and in many cases better than vinyl to my ears.
The 840c has a slight emphasis with upper treble, strings have a little digital sheen and gloss. Works really nicely with some pieces to the detriment of others. If your calling the HD800’s dead neutral, that’s what I’m hearing.
post #109 of 654
I'd agree re the hd800 being neutral. It's nice to be able to try different source / amp combinations w/ these phones. I think the 840 is still a great CDP. I only ended up w/ the Ayon b/c I picked it up used at 1/2 retail.
post #110 of 654
Any impressions with a Dynahi or preferrably a Dynamite ? An opinion on the contrast between a Dynamite and a B22 would be extremely useful but is probably too much to hope for. I'm almost finished collecting the parts for a Dynamite and curiousity about pairing with the HD800 is moving the project up on the to-do list.

So far (about 25 hours head time) about 98% of my HD800 time has been on a B22, first singled ended passive ground and then hacked stock cable balanced. Only source used is an original twisted pear Buffalo. I did try my twisted pear Opus for about 15 minutes but the Buffalo smokes it. Seems the Sabre chip synergy whips the Wolfson since the supporting electronics in these two DACs are very close to the same. Balancing is the only way to fly with the HD800. My B22 is my only HD800 friendly amp & I'm handicapped by lack of gear to contrast with. I'm really liking them so far, and barring an extreme case of new toy syndrome I think these will become my favorites. They almost match the O2 in clarity & resolution and almost match the K1000 in soundstage and PRAT, which is a neat trick.
post #111 of 654
The grace 902 / hd800 combination is really sounding nice with the crossfeed function on. I had not noticed as much difference using the GS1000. with jazz the instruments seem to be placed more correctly. for example the upright bass is not so far off in the corner at my right ear to sound unnatural on the soundstage. and there is an overall more pleasing sound. Hard to describe accurately but very nice.

I have also noticed the bass is very accurate. there is no bass deficit I have noticed. Bass has been true to the recordings.

Also the grace has a nice High/low db boost function that I keep on High for use w/ the hd800. no problem driving these phones at all.
post #112 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
So far (about 25 hours head time) about 98% of my HD800 time has been on a B22, first singled ended passive ground and then hacked stock cable balanced. Only source used is an original twisted pear Buffalo. I did try my twisted pear Opus for about 15 minutes but the Buffalo smokes it. Seems the Sabre chip synergy whips the Wolfson since the supporting electronics in these two DACs are very close to the same. Balancing is the only way to fly with the HD800. My B22 is my only HD800 friendly amp & I'm handicapped by lack of gear to contrast with. I'm really liking them so far, and barring an extreme case of new toy syndrome I think these will become my favorites. They almost match the O2 in clarity & resolution and almost match the K1000 in soundstage and PRAT, which is a neat trick.
How are you finding bass energy, I’m really interested in your set-up as the Sabre’s next on my list.
post #113 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post
How are you finding bass energy, I’m really interested in your set-up as the Sabre’s next on my list.
I've found bass energy to be something the buffalo is great a displaying and resolving.
post #114 of 654
So far my beta22 is doing fine with HD800 (and others...)
post #115 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by wnmnkh View Post
So far my beta22 is doing fine with HD800 (and others...)
My Beta is in my office but I brought it home for a weekend and the HD800's sound great out of it.
post #116 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
Any impressions with a Dynahi or preferrably a Dynamite ? An opinion on the contrast between a Dynamite and a B22 would be extremely useful but is probably too much to hope for. I'm almost finished collecting the parts for a Dynamite and curiousity about pairing with the HD800 is moving the project up on the to-do list.
I've had the HD800 for two days and curently listen single-ended from one half of my Dynamight (Dynahi). I would love to give you a comparison to B22, but I don't have one. It's on my to-do list though, however I like Kevin Gilmore's designs so I'm inclining to build a Dynafet as my next project instead.

The HD800 sound phenomenal out of my rig. The bass quantity is nearly there with HD650, but the HD800 go even lower and have better texture. I don't get the comments concerning tipped-up or sibilant highs. In my rig they are as smooth as HD650. What's surprising, the HD800 are quite warm and musical. I feared they would be more cold and analytical in this setup. The best attribute to their sound I can give - once they are on, the music just flows and I can't stop listening. Their superb resolution in the whole spectrum never detracts from the music. The common view that they need a tube amp is a nonsense IMHO.

bada bing,
could you describe the change from SE to balanced with B22? I would like to hear an honest opinion from a solid state guy before I ditch the stock cable for XLR 4-pin retermination, thanks.
post #117 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlosak View Post
bada bing,
could you describe the change from SE to balanced with B22? I would like to hear an honest opinion from a solid state guy before I ditch the stock cable for XLR 4-pin re termination, thanks.
I'm probably like you in that I didn't want to butcher the stock cable to re terminate XLR and was looking for replacement cable options. That idea lasted 4 days before curiosity overcame plans and the cable got cut-n-patched.

My Beta is 4 board wired with the choice of 2 passive ground S.E. outputs or balanced. The biggest difference between balanced and SE in the HD800 is the soundstage. I found the S.E. soundstage to be very large and distinct towards the center of the field, but the outer boundaries have a bit of less distinct location. It seemed like you could convince yourself that sound sources moved a bit if you concentrated on it. I wouldn't describe it as muddy at all, just movable. It is a different presentation than I've heard with other cans with good to great soundstaging. Usually the edges get fuzzy and less clear at the same time the location becomes muddled. S.E.'d, The HD800 retains clarity to the edge but the location can move a bit.

Going balanced glues the sound source positions in place and they become point sources from edge to edge. Balanced, the soundfield is very crisp and can come close to the 3d presentation of my K1000 on some material. I find the k1000 to be in clearly its own league with soundstaging, especially with complex material with large numbers of sound sources. The HD800 can keep up the imaging until there is a quartet or quintet playing. As more instruments are added the K1000 leaves it behind, as it does every other can.

The other change going from S.E. to balanced is a small smoothing and extension of the Bass a touch lower. It tightens the lower end of the bass up a touch. The bass is already very good, I'd have a hard time saying it has a peer in the bass range and quality with the bass quantity being just right to my ears. Balanced it is just a touch moar-betta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karlosak View Post
The common view that they need a tube amp is a nonsense IMHO.
From what I'm hearing, I have no desire to chase for the ultimate tube set to roll for the HD800. To my ears it is asking for the flattest, most transparent drive available, not to be matched with the best synergistic coloration of a set of tubes. I'm not totally anti-tube, they have some magic in some pairings. I'm betting with the HD800 though, you could chase through many expensive tube options for many hours to find the "ideal" match, Then quickly A/B with a worthy solid state to find you'd lost much more than you gained in the tube quest.

I'm hoping to have a Dynamite put together by the end of the summer so I'll have another point of reference. By then there ought to be many volumes of opinions on amp-n-HD800 as well.
post #118 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post
How are you finding bass energy, I’m really interested in your set-up as the Sabre’s next on my list.
So far, I've only compared the HD800 on my Buffalo to my older version Opus, so I only have a single point of comparison.

My buffalo is the original ES9008 version, not the new ES9018. It's definitely the best source I've owned. I have/had a modded Zhalou, an 840c, a heavily modded to balanced "zero", a twisted pear (original version) balanced opus and a gamma1 portable.

I can't hear much, if any, difference between good DAC's in detail retrieval. The difference to me is in the frequency response and in "musicality". The buffalo is flatter and more extended than other DAC's I've heard, especially on the top end. The bass is no issue and doesn't intrude to create an opinion, either positive or negative. I suppose that's the highest compliment to it's bass response ~ bass is no issue. The buffalo is also very "musical" which is an arbitrary term I guess. That is where the Wolfson powered DAC's (the older WM8740 chip) that I've heard fall behind. Wolfsons sound technically correct to me, they just sound less "alive".

I haven't heard a newer Wolfson WM8741 (like the current twisted pear opus) or the newer Sabre ES9108 (like the Buffalo32). I'm interested in the newer Buffalo32, but probably not enough to justify the expense.
post #119 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelvinz View Post
I've found bass energy to be something the buffalo is great a displaying and resolving.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
So far, I've only compared the HD800 on my Buffalo to my older version Opus, so I only have a single point of comparison.

My buffalo is the original ES9008 version, not the new ES9018. It's definitely the best source I've owned. I have/had a modded Zhalou, an 840c, a heavily modded to balanced "zero", a twisted pear (original version) balanced opus and a gamma1 portable.

I can't hear much, if any, difference between good DAC's in detail retrieval. The difference to me is in the frequency response and in "musicality". The buffalo is flatter and more extended than other DAC's I've heard, especially on the top end. The bass is no issue and doesn't intrude to create an opinion, either positive or negative. I suppose that's the highest compliment to it's bass response ~ bass is no issue. The buffalo is also very "musical" which is an arbitrary term I guess. That is where the Wolfson powered DAC's (the older WM8740 chip) that I've heard fall behind. Wolfsons sound technically correct to me, they just sound less "alive".

I haven't heard a newer Wolfson WM8741 (like the current twisted pear opus) or the newer Sabre ES9108 (like the Buffalo32). I'm interested in the newer Buffalo32, but probably not enough to justify the expense.
Thanks for the impressions, much appreciated
post #120 of 654
Quote:
Originally Posted by bada bing View Post
I'm hoping to have a Dynamite put together by the end of the summer so I'll have another point of reference. By then there ought to be many volumes of opinions on amp-n-HD800 as well.
Thanks for the detailed comparison and hope your project goes well. Dynamight is one of a neglected beast rare to find these days...
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