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Headamp Blue Hawaii Special Edition - Page 177

post #2641 of 6673

We haven't had many impressions from the Batch 2 owners, so here are some of mine, using a different approach: focusing only on the areas that I was previously concerned about. In all cases, these impressions are in comparison with my Stax SRM-007t Mk1 (kimik modified) and using O2 Mk1 phones:

 

  • Concern: The BHSE's "wire-with-gain" honesty will exacerbate poor/over bright recordings. As someone allergic to over-brightness, this one concern caused me to delay purchase for a whole year.

 

Actual: Not at all. If anything, the BHSE has removed a level of "glare" that I didn't know I had with the SRM-007t. The BHSE presents  its copious detail in a completely  un-hyped and natural manner. It tells you exactly what's wrong with a poor recording, but it doesn't rub your nose in it, just making the best of whatever it's got to work with . Note, the rest of my system has already been chosen to be natural and fatigue-free, so YMMV if you have a brighter source, phones or ancillaries.

 

  • Concern: The BHSE gets really hot.

 

Actual:  Those concerned by this have not experienced Class A power amps before. After an hour the BHSE gets slightly warm. By 4 hours it gets very warm, but still very touchable. To make this more objective, I put a stove thermometer on the hottest part (the back RHS of the power supply, where there are some internal heat sinks attached). After 4 hours it registered very roughly around 110 F  (43 C). I've positioned the power supply well below the amp, which does help disperse the heat. My energy meter said the power consumption fluctuated slightly second to second, peaking at around 180W and 205VA.

 

  • Concern: The build may be first class, but can the one-man-band aesthetics match those of bigger high end companies?

 

Actual: No issues here at all. It looks great in all black and even has WAF approval - "looks like a space station" she says, in a good way. Inside and out, it also looks and feels very purposeful - no hint of high end excess, of the type "inch thick panels, hiding a weedy transformer and lots of fresh air". Shame the tubes couldn't glow a touch brighter - the room has to get pretty dark before you can admire the tube magic. I guess tubes that burn twice as bright will burn out twice as fast. A very slight disappointment is that the RK50 doesn't feel like I expected a $1k pot to feel like. It just feels normal.

 

  • Can the BHSE be improved?

 

Actual: Of course it can - otherwise there would be no point in the existence of a DIY T2, for example. And some people prefer the LL, for example. But as I'm not parting with my BHSE any time soon,  I'm trying out 3 tweaks to make it even better: New tubes (not controversial); Power Conditioner (slightly controversial) and  fuses (enter the dark side ph34r.gif). The tubes I haven't ordered yet; the PC will be reported on in a while, as mine is out for an upgrade; and the fuse report will be coming shortly - quick, run for the hills whilst your sanity is still intact!

post #2642 of 6673
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post

  • Concern: The BHSE's "wire-with-gain" honesty will exacerbate poor/over bright recordings. As someone allergic to over-brightness, this one concern caused me to delay purchase for a whole year.

 



Actual: Not at all. If anything, the BHSE has removed a level of "glare" that I didn't know I had with the SRM-007t. The BHSE presents  its copious detail in a completely  un-hyped and natural manner. It tells you exactly what's wrong with a poor recording, but it doesn't rub your nose in it, just making the best of whatever it's got to work with . Note, the rest of my system has already been chosen to be natural and fatigue-free, so YMMV if you have a brighter source, phones or ancillaries.


That's because people still equate brightness with neutrality.

The regular BH, compared to the SRM-717, also has less hardness in the highs and is generally a bit smoother and more natural. The 717 is a warmish-sounding amp, but it also has a chalky dryness and a slight grain to it that the BH lacks, not to mention a very slight metallic character to the highs.

Of course, if your source is bright or has any glare, you will readily hear it.
post #2643 of 6673
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post


I'm trying out 3 tweaks to make it even better: New tubes (not controversial); Power Conditioner (slightly controversial) and  fuses (enter the dark side ph34r.gif ). The tubes I haven't ordered yet; the PC will be reported on in a while, as mine is out for an upgrade; and the fuse report will be coming shortly - quick, run for the hills whilst your sanity is still intact!

I can't wait...........................smily_headphones1.gif
post #2644 of 6673
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post


  • Can the BHSE be improved?

 

Actual: Of course it can - otherwise there would be no point in the existence of a DIY T2, for example. And some people prefer the LL, for example. But as I'm not parting with my BHSE any time soon,  I'm trying out 3 tweaks to make it even better: New tubes (not controversial); Power Conditioner (slightly controversial) and  fuses (enter the dark side ph34r.gif). The tubes I haven't ordered yet; the PC will be reported on in a while, as mine is out for an upgrade; and the fuse report will be coming shortly - quick, run for the hills whilst your sanity is still intact!

 

Changing the tubes works but I did get a moderate improvement by going from new stock Mullard to NOS Mullard.

 

Power conditioner can also work. I have good result with a MIT Powerbar but I have only tested it on the whole system and the digital components probably improve more of it than BHSE.

 

Fuse: don't know, please report!

post #2645 of 6673

I realise that many find this topic highly distressing, so if you're the sort that doesn't believe in all this cable nonsense, then just skip this fuse link (bottom of page) and congratulate yourself for saving $40.

 

But if you're open minded on the topic and want to make your BHSE sing a bit better, then give it  a try and maybe, just maybe, you'll come to the same conclusion as me: that compared to the SQ gains delivered by the $6,000 BHSE, then the additional $40 gives extraordinarily good VFM. In the context of a high end system, it's possibly the best VFM of all time. Ever.

post #2646 of 6673

IMO, the only sure way to know whether these changes to the BHSE made a difference, would be to have two BHSE's, one with and one without. Then provided there were two of the same headphones one plugged into both BHSE's, the differences would be made out in seconds which in turn would be more easy to hear.

 

l have a power conditioner and different tubes on my BHSE and l can't recall them making much difference from me not using my power conditioner and the tubes supplied, but that's only because l wasn't able to heard the two differences within a short time. 

 

The only obvious difference in SQ l've heard, is after my BHSE has been on power for sometime.

post #2647 of 6673

Could also be the worst VFM ever. wink.gif

post #2648 of 6673
Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post

IMO, the only sure way to know whether these changes to the BHSE made a difference, would be to have two BHSE's, one with and one without. Then provided there were two of the same headphones one plugged into both BHSE's, the differences would be made out in seconds which in turn would be more easy to hear.

 

 Or the difference can be heard instantaneously.tongue_smile.gif

That’s what I been trying to accomplish lately and have very good positive results.

 

 

I got  KRAMER VS−4X switch box, that allows you to connect up to four sources at the same time and instantly switch between sources. The cool thing about this box that it takes a fraction of a second to switch with out even slightest interruption in music. 

           

http://www.kramerelectronics.com/products/model.asp?pid=285

 

 

 

1000

 

 

1000

 

   So based on this box ability I retrofit my bias box with balanced inputs, so the headphones can be connected to the switch box and still receive  required bias voltage.

 

1000

 

 

The bias can be adjusted to use with KOSS, Stax or Sennhieser as long as they terminated with Stax plug.

 

 This set up can be used to compare any two electrostatic amplifier, tubes in identical amplifiers like BHSE or other tweaks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

1000

 

1000

 

 

 

1000

 

                               


Edited by vvs_75 - 10/29/12 at 7:12pm
post #2649 of 6673

Lloyd at Mapletree Audio makes great passive switch boxes that I can easily recommend if you need a way to switch between sources quickly.

 

Also, while I'm totally okay with being 851C bros I can tell you it's your current bottleneck. I discovered this recently and it made me sad.

post #2650 of 6673

While after reading good thing's about what the power conditioner l have would do to improve the SQ to my headphone system , l also got it to plug everything into. The two other reasons were surge protection and aesthetics.

l got the extra quad of tubes for back up but l'm using them at the moment.

 

Like I've said, I've found it hard to tell any difference but because the BHSE sounds great straight out of the box, [ and even better after it's warmed up ] I'm not sure if these changes are needed, but there's no harm in trying.


Edited by David1961 - 10/30/12 at 3:47am
post #2651 of 6673
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Also, while I'm totally okay with being 851C bros I can tell you it's your current bottleneck. I discovered this recently and it made me sad.

I hope you are right. It is actually what I was thinking to do next. It should be easy to hear if the is  difference running one amp connected to the  power plant and the other directly to the wall outlet.

post #2652 of 6673

After hearing one of Ayon's offerings and being told the PWD mkII was even better (I'll get to hear it for myself this weekend) it was pretty obvious that the 851C is what was holding me back. 

 

I've got a few upgrades I'm toying with in my head, but they're a ways off. I still think the 851 is a bargain for the price. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vvs_75 View Post

I hope you are right. It is actually what I was thinking to do next. It should be easy to hear if the is  difference running one amp connected to the  power plant and the other directly to the wall outlet.

post #2653 of 6673
Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post

While after reading good thing's about what the power conditioner l have would do to improve the SQ to my headphone system , l also got it to plug everything into. The two other reasons were surge protection and aesthetics.

l got the extra quad of tubes for back up but l'm using them at the moment.

 

Like I've said, I've found it hard to tell any difference but because the BHSE sounds great straight out of the box, [ and even better after it's warmed up ] I'm not sure if these changes are needed, but there's no harm in trying.

Hi friends,

Regarding the power theme you've been discussing, I do own a 3.000W power conditioner. It outputs a steady 120V.

Purchased it basicaly to protect my equipment and also because I had too many sensitive equipaments to unstable voltage.

Here in Brazil (São Paulo) the voltage is 127V, but at home it peaks 134V and sometime drops to 120V...very unstable for a lot of equipament (sometimes my CD player just shut down, what does not happen anymore).

At the time I bought it, I used the WES. I could then notice that the output was more stable (don't know why). Tried different tube amps like the WA2, LPJ Volkano, to see if I experienced the same improvements and also had the impression of improvement.

In the other hand, I have also tested SS amps with it, like the 727 and the LL, but I honestly can't hear any difference.

With hybrid amps like the BHSE, EHHA, LF etc I also couldn't notice (hear) any difference.

As I told before, I use it mostly to protect the A/V equipment.

Regards,

Erico


Edited by ericohgb - 10/31/12 at 8:52am
post #2654 of 6673

In my experience there are two reasons to use power conditioners. The first is for protection. This could be to protect against unusual power events (like lightning strikes) or  when living in locations with very dirty power.  I have not experienced this poor quality power in most of the US, though it does exist here and in other parts of the world. I haven't lost personal equipment to bad power, but I have lost lab and computing equipment at work when not using conditioned power. The other situation that power conditioning has made sense is when using equipment which is highly sensitive, and that doesn't have particularly good power supply, so the variance of the feed has a significant effect on what's coming out of the power supply.  In our context, this would be power condition for SQ improvement. I expect this explains why Erico has seen variance if the effect of power conditioning with different equipment.

 

I haven't listened to a BHSE with a power conditioner and without, but based on previous experience I highly doubt power conditioning would have any effect on SQ. I haven't personally examined the design of the BHSE power supply (and since it's been 25 years since I have done any real design work I am not sure I would trust my assessment)... but a number of people who have the right experience have indicated that the BH power supply is well designed, and Justin has a well deserved reputation for very high quality work.  My bet would be typical variance of the feed power wouldn't have a measurable impact on what comes out of the BHSE supply.  This would be an easy thing to measure.

 

--Mark


Edited by verber - 10/31/12 at 9:28am
post #2655 of 6673

I use one strictly for protection rather than SQ improvements. I've had many friends and family lose things to surges and since I was a kid I've always had protection and been to only one with surviving equipment.

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