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SPL Phonitor Roll Call & Appreciation Thread

post #1 of 679
Thread Starter 

I guess I'll be the one to start this thread on the SPL Phonitor model 2730. (Including Auditor model 2910.) From discussions on this amp, I think quite a few of us own or are planning to own it. Please share your serial number, your setup, what you're learning about it, questions & answers, and anything else you feel like.

My info:

Serial number: 93002**

Setup: computer > S/PDIF > DL3 (stock) > Silver Serpent II XLR balanced > Phonitor > HD800

I'm learning that USB isn't very good, but it may be because of the interconnect, which is an el-cheapo. I'll need to get a Kimber USB cable from HeadRoom.

This is only my third day with it, but I've already cleared my desk of the rack full of small footprint amps/DACs. I'll still be using my other stuff, but for now, this is it. I'm totally impressed.

[photos added 8.1.09]
http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.p...izmm1y&thumb=5
http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.p...nxwonj&thumb=5

************************************************** ******
(Moved here from permalink #106 on 28 Oct. 2009)
PHONITOR/AUDITOR ROUNDUP

01. crypt: SN In the 8[series]
Setup: iRIVER iHP-140 w/ Rockbox <Optical> Cambridge Azure 840C <XLR> SPL Phonitor ATH-W5000/ER-4S
Mostly playing FLAC; 840C up-samples to 24bit/384, dither on; Phonitor sets to 75 deg, 4 cross feed, centre -1.2.


02. ical: 93002** (very close to yours feifan) [SOLD]
Setup: Oyaide R1 > Clearer Audio Copper-line Alpha > CSE RK-100 > Acrolink 6N-P4030 > Cambridge Azur 740C > Van Den Hul Orchid w/Cardas RCA-XLR > Oyaide Tunami GPX-R > SPL Phonitor > Ultrasone Edition 8 / Sennheiser HD800 / Grado PS1000
My usual setting based on different recordng:
Crossfeed} 2/3/4, Speaker Angle} 55/75, Centre} Off/-1.4/-1.2
I do off the Cros/Spk at times for some live rock concert to maintain the noisy and wide atmosphere.

03. kidult: 93002** (one digit different from yours feifan)
Setup: Oyaide R1 > Blacksand Violet Z1 > Cambridge Azur 740C > Valgrind Audio w/Neutrik RCA-XLR adapter > Oyaide Tunami GPX-R > SPL Phonitor > Ultrasone Edition 9
I still toying with setting, usually the below, depends on recording and preference,
C-2, S-55, CT- -1.2
C-4, S-30, CT- -1.2

04. feifan: #93002**
Setup: computer > S/PDIF > DL3 (stock) > Silver Serpent II XLR balanced > Phonitor > HD800

05. EugeneK: Auditor
Home: PC >> Coaxial S/Pdif >> Lavry DA10 >> SPL Auditor >> HD800 with APS V3 / AKG K340

06. Dinan: #93002**
Settings: CF=3, Angle=30*, Center= -0.3
System: Electrocompaniet ECD1A DAC/MacBook Pro or MBL 1621/1611, TARA Labs Vector Balanced interconnects and Prism Reference AC cords.
Phones: Grado GS1000 for now.

07. woodcans: Phonitor
pc>Berkeley>Phonitor>HD800 rig. I have about 150 hours on it and so far find it incredibly detailed w/ a very natural soundstage. I really like the speaker angle/crossfeed effect . . .

08. John_H88: #83001xx
CF 2
Angle 40
Center -0.9

09. SteveM324: Phonitor
Rega > Saturn Cardas Neutral Reference > Phonitor > HD800, K340
Improved dynamics and a warmer and more full body sound. Now I'm surprised how well the Phonitor drives my K340.

10. argentum: Auditor
Auditor is great sounding amp too. I use this adapter: Neutrik - Audio - Circular Adapters - NA2MPMF

11. alcyst: Phonitor
Setup is; Wadia 170 - EMU 0404USB - Phonitor. Headphones are HD800s and ATH-W5000. And its all pretty wonderful.
I havn't spent time with the crossfeed.

12. suikodenii: Phonitor
Stock PS Audio DL3 balanced into the Phonitor and with my 300 Ohm HD800 I have usually set the Phonitor to -40 dB (~8'clock). I have my AG701 in the office unfortunately but when I had them at home I don't think I went beyond 9 o'clock in the above combination. Now people hear different but 1 o'clock sounds really high to me with the DL3 connected via balanced - as the DL3 outputs a really high level that on some CDs even lets the input LED on the Phonitor flash (on which SPL told me by the way not to worry as the input stage of the Phonitor would not be overloaded easily anyway). So actually sometimes I switch the 20 dB switch in order to have a bit more dial.

13. AmanGeorge: Auditor
Straight out of the box, the Auditor is extremely transparent, count me impressed at how detailed and uncolored the signal is. The only thing that has surprised me is that the amp is not quite as high gain as I was hoping/expecting - my normal listening levels are between 12 or 1 o'clock on it with my AKG K701. The challenge will be to see how it does with the HE-5, hopefully sometime soon...

14. MikeLa: Auditor

15. Sceptre: Phonitor
This one doesn't have a serial number. It came from Germany and apparently is one of the first three pre production units. Metal 'handles', flashing sig lights etc. Everything about the amp is as expected except for a slight mains hum. I shall play with earth loops over the weekend. Noticeable even with the inputs disconnected. Any better thoughts? This amp really tames the Ed9 and couples well with JH13s too. A birthday present for myself and a real performer. The c/f circuitry will obviously make some purists wince, but the effect and pleasure it brings is magnificent. I'm currently enjoying settings of cf 3, 55 degrees, -0.6 centre. Can this amp melt welding rods too?

Update 5.18.10: iRiver H140 to Sonosax SX DA-2 DAC using balanced out to Phonitor.

16. MarkyMark: Auditor, S/N is 9101044
It's primarily linked to a Benchmark DAC1 via LAT IC-300 Signature XLR interconnects. Btw, I have also used the Cardas RCA to XLR adapters with unbalanced interconnects and find those work excellently. The Auditor sounds best driving the HD800's. It's just "OK" with the K701's (sorry Acix ). I actually prefer to listen to the K701's from a Heed Canamp in my home office as they have nice synergy. I don't listen much to my Markl D5000's nowadays but I found the bass to be a bit overpowering from the Auditor, albeit very well controlled. The Sugden Headmaster is a better match ime - it drives low impedance loads well and is a bit bass-light. Cheers

17. omigawsh_lollercoaster: Phonitor
When I listened SE to both, I listened to Phonitor sometimes and wondered why I even had another amp, but I still liked both. Now I have balanced HP cables for tube listening and it's way better than SE but I still LOVE the Phonitor even on SE.

18. Markj: Phonitor
I had hum with Edition9 on my Phonitor also. Spl service check it and said it is design for 600Ohm. With T1 is totaly quiet, with Edition8 it is same as E9 with PRO900 is little better. I even have Furman ballanced power and it does not help. Since then I found that lots of headphone amps are noisy with low OHM headphones. I am looking for best cheap amp for Edition8.

19. tohenk2: SPL Phonitor nr. 9300339

20. CaféNoir: SPL Auditor
I had bought a SPL Auditor which presented some noise, whether the inputs were connected or not. It was not a hum, though, but rather a buzz, which was noticeable at both low volume and high volume, bur strangely desappeared with the volume knob set at around 3 o'clock. It was hardly audible through the hd-650, but very noticeable with lower impedance phones (say, 50ohms). I contacted someone that had the same problem. It turned out it was the same unit (he returned it to Thomann, they resold it, and I bought it back!). He told me that now his new unit is dead quiet. I sent back mine, and I am waiting for a new one, hoping it will be quiet too. I think the assumption we can make is there might be some defective units presenting this buzzing issue. If you have the same symptoms as I described, you probably have a flawed amp. I will tell you more as soon as I receive my new unit.

21. abyrvalg: Phonitor + Edition 8

 

22. AppleheadMay: Phonitor 2730B with SN 9310032
Looks like a beauty to me and with all the switches a real toy for boys! Since it hasn't been burned in yet I won't talk about how it sounds. Anyway I have only heard it for half an hour.
[Added later:] The effect of the crossfeed settings is really subtle, don't expect anything like what you can accomplish with an equalizer. That's actually a good thing, you can't ruin the sound with it. But I haven't tinkered with it long enough to say more and there is quite a lot of more useful info in this thread and on the forum about the controls.
 

23. .Sup: Auditor
Onkyo ND-S1 → CA DacMagic → SPL Auditor/LD MK IV SE → balanced KRK RP10s/5

 

24. oqvist: Auditor 91010114
It certainly is huuge... At least 3x a Heed Canamp which also have internal power. headphones see sig plus T1 and soon LCD-2.
 

25. vvanrij: Phonitor Serial = 8300138
I still love the phonitor, after I got it I stopped upgrading, finally found what I was looking for. My SPL Phonitor + AKG K1000 are still a dream come true, and will probably stay with me for the rest of my life.
I love the fact that combined with the k1000 I really really forget I'm listening to headphones after about 10mins. My settings on it are: Crossfeed 3, Speaker Angle 40, Center Level -0,9

 

26. St3ve: Phonitor (2730B) is SN 9310032

My source is a Lavry DA11 and my cans are Senn HD800s. Oh, and I tend to set my volume at somewhere between -24 and -19 depending on how loud the music is mastered. I absolutely love it. It really does make my HD800's shine, and the crossfeed system is fantastic. I have only had it just under a week or so, but I have been totally floored by the sound - everything sounds 'just right' to my ears. The crossfeed settings I am using are CF:4, SA: 75 and CL -1.2, and the imaging is superb.

 

27. Lord Mike: Phonitor SN:9310028
Mac Mini > DAC202--Furutech FP601/602/FA-220 XLR > SPL Phonitor/Burson OpAmp > HD25
Had the Phonitor for a year now, but now with the Burson OpAmp transplant, it's really worth writing about. The headphone out from the DAc202 is very good in its own right, but the 'Burnitor' takes the music to another league. Awaiting a pair of LCD-2s...

28. metalsonata: Phonitor SN 11.2731.00176 (Model 2730b)
I do suspect that my DAC (HeadRoom Mico DAC) is bottle-necking it somewhat--I wasn't honestly planning on getting a Phonitor, but a deal came up that I couldn't refuse, and I had the cash for it, so I went for it. I'll be upgrading the DAC sometime down the road a ways. Initial impressions are still very positive though--especially the sound-stage and the bass control/detail retrieval.

 

29. Zombie_X: SPL Auditor

Man oh man it's really good! Beats my Roc to a pulp and my WA3+ as well. The sound is so smooth and effortless. Really a nice sounding amp.

 

30. Arctia: Phonitor
Initial thought with HD800: Imaging is absolutely amazing. Holy grail of monitoring, perhaps? I also played around with the crossfeed, but couldn't find a good configuration with HD800. I feel that HD800 is a brilliant imaging headphone on its own, any attempt to alter the imaging will simply ruin the sound. This is where I found the quality of the crossfeed to be outstanding. Even though I couldn't find a good crossfeed setting (will try more tonight), having crossfeed on did not ruin imaging like all my previous attempts with various crossfeed DSPs. The crossfeed simply works in the background without you realizing.

31. MuppetFace: Phonitor
I use the Phonitor with the W5000, and there is a humming as you describe, but it's faint enough to my ears to where it doesn't bother too much, and I'm usually pretty sensitive (read: obsessive) about background noise. I agree that it's a really great combo... surprisingly so.

 

32. slwiser: "AppleheadMay: Phonitor 2730B with SN 9310032"
Computer FIles -> Squeezebox Touch -> Lavry DA10 ->  SPL Phonitor
I am powering my HD-800 with it.   I have to say it has to be the best amp headphone combination I have owned.

33. Acix: Phonitor
The transparency level of the Phonitor is the best so far!  My first session was 6-7 hours with no ear fatigue...the Phonitor is definitely a new definition for studio Solid Stage hps amp.
I find interesting they use almost the same specs of the Auditor and the Phonitor ...and yet the Phonitor use a nine SUPRA OP amps that made and developed by SPL. The same tehnology use in the SPL MMC 1 @ 8K mastering console, and the SPL PQ 2050 mastering edition EQ @ 15K.

34. daniel_hokkaido: Auditor

 

35. Jamiee: Phonitor

 

36. TWIFOSP: Phonitor

37. Timmyw: Phonitor

38. madbull: Phonitor --My Phonitor has arrived and is making the LCD-2 really sing. I don't even miss my Orpheus with that combo!! Makes me wanna upgrade to the LCD-3. I'm listening to some Haydn symphonies through Phonitor and HD800 and everything is great, imaging is next to perfection with the Xfeed on. It really feels like I'm the theater, sitting at third row. Really amazing.
 

39. rxs0: Phonitor

 

40. Parula: Phonitor

 

41. dukeskd: Phonitor - the crossfeed really makes the music more realistic in so many ways. I also love to listen to acoustic albums, Jimmy Page - David Coverdale, etc.

 

42.  teddytejero - Ordered an Auditor and M1 DAC today [11.28.12]!

 

43. kawee: Phonitor - I tried several different amp but really like how it sounds.  First time, I tried Phonitor and I really feel that sounds out from Phonitor is what I am looking for.  Everything is very clear to me. It is very nice to see this thread and looking forward to understanding how to make use of the crossfeed and Center function.
 


Edited by feifan - 12/3/12 at 6:09pm
post #2 of 679
SN: In the 8[series]
Setup: iRIVER iHP-140 w/ Rockbox <Optical> Cambridge Azure 840C <XLR> SPL Phonitor ATH-W5000/ER-4S

Mostly playing FLAC; 840C up-samples to 24bit/384, dither on; Phonitor sets to 75 deg, 4 cross feed, centre -1.2.

I no longer feel fatigue after spending much of the working day plugged in, as I do when using SuperMacro IV. I'm rediscovering my 4yrs old ER-4S. Low frequency is now deep and full.

I have spent some time comparing Lehmann Black Cube Linear with the Phonitor. I find the differentiator is how each resolves classical tracks. With Phonitor music flows effortlessly out and with better image, wider sound stage.
post #3 of 679
Thread Starter 
Crypt, do you find that you need to continually futz with the crossfeed, speaker angle, and center level with every change in the lineup or with different kinds of recordings? Or do you leave the settings at a constant? I ask because it's an area I'm still learning about.

Is there like a general setting that works with all music? Or is it all personal preference.

My guess is that part of the wow factor for this amp is the way it creates a sound space (as opposed to sound stage) that does amazing things for recordings that we thought we knew well. The complete blackness of the background, the sense of almost infinite air and space around instruments and voices, and instruments that seem to come in from far beyond the normal parameters of 'phones. I'm not sure how much of this is due to the HD800, but I have a feeling the Phonitor plays a key role.

I'm still very curious about how the Phonitor will sound with the PS1000. I have the GS1K and have been impressed with the mids and highs when used with the Phonitor, but the bass was a disappointment. I'll have to give it another test.
post #4 of 679
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
Crypt, do you find that you need to continually futz with the crossfeed, speaker angle, and center level with every change in the lineup or with different kinds of recordings? Or do you leave the settings at a constant?
I did for a while. If there are switches to be toggled, they must be toggled! But I have now settled on the settings I posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
Is there like a general setting that works with all music? Or is it all personal preference.
I initiated a conversation with Paul Lentzen of SPL, as as per the manual, he suggested 30 deg is a good place to start with. Audio is very much a subjective experience, it is difficult to pick a setting for everyone.

I find in particular these settings affect the presentation in classical, jazz recording more so than others. With chill-out, trip, electronic, hip-hop and the likes it is less prominent and sometimes make no perceivable difference. I guess these recording are not mixed with soundstage, image in mind.
post #5 of 679
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
I'm learning that USB isn't very good, but it may be because of the interconnect, which is an el-cheapo. I'll need to get a Kimber USB cable from HeadRoom.
Don't waste your money on the USB cable. It's just not as good an interface as S/PDIF. You're much better off getting a Squeezebox Duet.
post #6 of 679
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypt@ View Post
I did for a while. If there are switches to be toggled, they must be toggled! But I have now settled on the settings I posted.
I'll try yours and see how it goes: 75 DEG, 4 XF, 1.2 CL

Quote:
I initiated a conversation with Paul Lentzen of SPL, as as per the manual, he suggested 30 deg is a good place to start with. Audio is very much a subjective experience, it is difficult to pick a setting for everyone.
That has to be the best way to get a feel for the amp -- talk with someone from SPL. I started with the manual's suggested 30-3-1.2, didn't seem to hear a huge "difference" so just tried some random settings. I'm realizing that, as many have been saying, the differences are subtle and you really have to listen for them. I tend to hear a big difference at the beginning then don't hear it after a while. But I do notice a significant difference when I switch to one of my other amps. They now seem flat somehow, one dimensional. I never thought I'd say this.

Quote:
I find in particular these settings affect the presentation in classical, jazz recording more so than others. With chill-out, trip, electronic, hip-hop and the likes it is less prominent and sometimes make no perceivable difference. I guess these recording are not mixed with soundstage, image in mind.
This is a good rule to remember -- the biggest differences will be found in recordings where soundstage has been a factor in the recording.

Thanks, Crypt. Saves me a lot of random fumbling.
post #7 of 679
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IPodPJ View Post
Don't waste your money on the USB cable. It's just not as good an interface as S/PDIF. You're much better off getting a Squeezebox Duet.
I've been reading posts that mention this, went to the manufacturer's site, but couldn't believe that sound could be reliably transmitted this way. It sounds too good to be true. I always thought hardwire was the best. If SQ remains just as good -- this is THE answer!

I seem to be in sync with a lot of what you say so I'll be reading up on it. I'm already thinking of my emerging DL3-SS2-Phonitor-HD800 setup as the "IPodDJ" (DJ=dynamic jam).

Thanks, IPodPJ.
post #8 of 679
75 deg & 4 cf (i.e. 60 deg in Phonitor Manual) setting is to simulate a 2 channels setup where the distance between left and right speakers is approximately the same distance as they are from the listener - I.e. 60 deg

Centre is the hardest to judge, for me -1.2db is closer to a flat stage, but others may like a "concave/convex" lineup.
post #9 of 679
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypt@ View Post
75 deg & 4 cf (i.e. 60 deg in Phonitor Manual) setting is to simulate a 2 channels setup where the distance between left and right speakers is approximately the same distance as they are from the listener - I.e. 60 deg

Centre is the hardest to judge, for me -1.2db is closer to a flat stage, but others may like a "concave/convex" lineup.
Thanks for the clarification. I see the 60 deg in the spkr angle result column when the switch is at 75 deg and the cf is at 4. I can see getting interesting results with "concave/convex" settings, but I'd probably settle for the more natural flat. Having this much control over something that's been, up until now, a given is mindblowing. Thanks!
post #10 of 679
Serial number: 93002** (very close to yours feifan)

Setup: Oyaide R1 > Clearer Audio Copper-line Alpha > CSE RK-100 > Acrolink 6N-P4030 > Cambridge Azur 740C > Van Den Hul Orchid w/Cardas RCA-XLR > Oyaide Tunami GPX-R > SPL Phonitor > Ultrasone Edition 8 / Sennheiser HD800 / Grado PS1000

My usual setting based on different recordng:
Crossfeed} 2/3/4, Speaker Angle} 55/75, Centre} Off/-1.4/-1.2

I do off the Cros/Spk at times for some live rock concert to maintain the noisy and wide atmosphere.

What I like most about this amp is it enable me to control the presentation according to my preference without promising quality. Especially for those bad or old recording which I can fine tune to make it sound better. Best of all, it has plenty of power to drive most cans with ease.

To make this thread more interesting, we should post pic as well. It tells a thousand words. I'll start first then.

post #11 of 679
Does an Auditor count? XD
post #12 of 679
Serial number: 93002** (one digit different from yours feifan)

Setup: Oyaide R1 > Blacksand Violet Z1 > Cambridge Azur 740C > Valgrind Audio w/Neutrik RCA-XLR adapter > Oyaide Tunami GPX-R > SPL Phonitor > Ultrasone Edition 9

I still toying with setting, usually the below, depends on recording and preference,
C-2, S-55, CT- -1.2
C-4, S-30, CT- -1.2

The fun part is, one can set the soundstage either to front field or back field. just like playing with a real pair of speakers placement. of cus, my headphone will never sound or come close like a real pair of speakers

post #13 of 679
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EugeneK View Post
Does an Auditor count? XD
Yes, I should've added the Auditor. It's nearly identical to the Phonitor. A lot of people don't need or want the speaker angle features, and the Auditor/Phonitor's amp, on its own, is justification enough for the purchase. Thanks!
post #14 of 679
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ical View Post
Serial number: 93002** (very close to yours feifan)
Ical, I wonder if I should mask part of my S/N, too. Possible harm from posting it?

Quote:
Setup: Oyaide R1 > Clearer Audio Copper-line Alpha > CSE RK-100 > Acrolink 6N-P4030 > Cambridge Azur 740C > Van Den Hul Orchid w/Cardas RCA-XLR > Oyaide Tunami GPX-R > SPL Phonitor > Ultrasone Edition 8 / Sennheiser HD800 / Grado PS1000

My usual setting based on different recordng:
Crossfeed} 2/3/4, Speaker Angle} 55/75, Centre} Off/-1.4/-1.2

I do off the Cros/Spk at times for some live rock concert to maintain the noisy and wide atmosphere.
I'm going to take my time and check out your different setting and read up on your equipment. You have an amazing lineup!

Quote:
What I like most about this amp is it enable me to control the presentation according to my preference without promising quality. Especially for those bad or old recording which I can fine tune to make it sound better. Best of all, it has plenty of power to drive most cans with ease.
I'm finding that tweaking the presentation like this makes a qualitative difference. If the recording is good to begin with but not very interesting, tweaking the angles changes the presentation and makes them different, fun. But this takes time and patience. I guess with experience the process will become more natural, easier, like not having to think went moving up and down the gears on a motorcycle.

Quote:
To make this thread more interesting, we should post pic as well. It tells a thousand words. I'll start first then.

Good idea. I'll add mine as an edit in the next hour or so. [edit: see the op for links to photos]

BTW, I'd like to get a PS1000, too -- someday when I can afford it. With the Phonitor, how is it in comparison to the HD800?
post #15 of 679
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidult View Post
Serial number: 93002** (one digit different from yours feifan)
Wow, that's cool, Kidult. We must've ordered about the same time. But you're way ahead of me in figuring out the different angle settings.

Quote:
Setup: Oyaide R1 > Blacksand Violet Z1 > Cambridge Azur 740C > Valgrind Audio w/Neutrik RCA-XLR adapter > Oyaide Tunami GPX-R > SPL Phonitor > Ultrasone Edition 9

I still toying with setting, usually the below, depends on recording and preference,
C-2, S-55, CT- -1.2
C-4, S-30, CT- -1.2
That's quite an impressive lineup of equipment! I'll be spending some time reading up on them. I'm not familiar with most of it. I'll also have to try your different settings. I'd like to get my preferences down to two, too, then gradually add more.

Quote:
The fun part is, one can set the soundstage either to front field or back field. just like playing with a real pair of speakers placement. of cus, my headphone will never sound or come close like a real pair of speakers
I'm still startled when I mess with the settings and hear isolated instruments coming from over my shoulder or above me, beyond the 'phone's soundspace so that it sounds as though my computer speakers are behind me and turned on. Times like this, I reflexively turn toward the sound, although I know the computer speakers are above my desk, in front of me, and turned off.

Quote:
Man, I love those equipment stands! What kind of wood? They look like a matching pair.
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