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Headamp Blue Hawaii Special Edition - Page 301

post #4501 of 6019

By the way, I've read some people claiming that BHSE itself is a commercial version of the T2.

 

But I thought BHSE--or BH, to be exact--was originally KG's brainchild from the scratch, no? Plus, Stax has forbidden any third party from building T2's for commercial purposes, revealing its blueprint strictly for the sake of DIY. So I initially dismissed the idea, thinking it was a baseless accusation coming from jealy people who are trying to discredit KG's work.

 

But later, I realized that both T2 and BHSE share several similarities... Now I don't know much about an electrostatic amp design, but it seems more than a mere coincidence. For example, both are SOTA electrostatic amps with a separate power supply. Also, both are of a hybrid design, apparently. And both use a quad of EL34 tubes... something is fishy. Not to mention the fact that both T2 and BHSE are hailed as the best electrostatic amps in the market.

 

So here are the questions.

 

1. Is the BH really KG's original work? Or is intended it a modified version of the T2, designed by KG?

 

2. If the BH is a modified version of T2, what are the differences?

 

3. What are the differences between BH and BHSE? I assume that BHSE is superior, but in what ways?

 

4. Was BHSE also improved upon the BH by KG, or this time by Justin Wilson?

post #4502 of 6019

bh and t2 are different products

 

bh has been custom modified into the bhse, the details of which are proprietary. these modifications were performed by justin

post #4503 of 6019
Songmic according to that headwize article linked a few pages back the Bh is a hybrid design with a solid state input based on Gilmore's kgss and output power supply based on the T2. As nopants mentioned Justin moddified the design based on parts available, from what I can find reading around.
Edited by dailydoseofdaly - 12/23/13 at 7:51am
post #4504 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post
 

After months of simply enjoying my system, with  no changes or tweaks, my tranquillity has been shattered by the most unnerving thing: Yep, it's the dreaded...…UNEXPLAINED NOISE :eek:.  In around 2 decades of Stax ownership, I've never had an Unexplained Noise before (discounting the Stax fart, obviously), so I'm quite worried about it.

 

It sounds like a sharp click, like a static discharge or pulse on the line, always in one channel. Hours may go before it happens, but when it does it's most likely to repeat within seconds. It's not the source and it doesn't appear to be affected by volume control, but it hasn't happened often enough for me to be sure. There is no channel imbalance and the SQ is fantastic. There was nothing unusual about heat or humidity when this problem started.

 

So suggestions please Sherlock on the most likely culprit?

 

To my mind it must be one of: the tubes, the BHSE or the headset. As my 007 Mk1 is the only electrostatic headset I have, my swapping options are limited. Removing and shorting the 007's pins made no difference.

 

I'm hoping it's the tubes because they are the easiest to replace. And these are the Psvane PH's after all, with their suspect quality control. So last night I pulled out the PH's (very carefully) and pushed in the Treasures. Result was no clicks that evening. But to be conclusive, I should swap the PH's back in to see if the noise returns. My question is: would it be very, very unwise to put the PH's back in? I.e. is the Unexplained Noise a warning of imminent tube failure?

Hello Attorney

 

Could these clicks be caused by one of the headset's diaphragms that would contact with the polarized plates on either side of it? In their user's guide, Stax state that this may happen if the earpieces are pressed too firmly against the user's skull; I personally experiment it sometimes when putting on my SR009. Maybe, in your case, one of the ear pads got slightly out of shape... The fact that the problem doesn't persist (so far) with another set of tubes could be something totally independent. 

 

If you consider my suggestion is stupid, don't hesitate to let me know! I got used to such comments.

post #4505 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by dailydoseofdaly View Post

Songmic according to that headwize article linked a few pages back the Bh is a hybrid design with a solid state input based on Gilmore's kgss and output power supply based on the T2. As nopants mentioned Justin moddified the design based on parts available, from what I can find reading around.

 

Hey, long time no see! Last time I checked, I remember you were enjoying your LCD-3, Q-audio cable and Schiit Lyr in the Lyr tube rolling thread. I guess that was like 1-2 years ago, when I only had an LCD-2 and Lyr. Who would've thought we would move onto electrostats? Time sure flies.

 

Anyway, back to the topic.

post #4506 of 6019
Yep similar directions, and if you find a mr.d to sell you a T2 then you can reuse all those 6dj8s that we collected back in the lyr days tongue.gif
post #4507 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by macrog View Post
 

I finally gave up on waiting for the BHSE and now am the happy owner of a Cavalli Liquid Lightening 2.

 

Even if the BHSE is better it is great actually being able to listen to music through my SR009s. So far I'm loving the combination.

 

I have no regrets.

 

regards Macrog

Didn't really want to make it public but as I came across this post, kinda feel like spitting it out all of a sudden. 

 

I actually bought the LL2 several months ago, have to admit that I did have high expectation on the LL2 as it costs 4 times more than my then-current (current as well) electrostatics amp -- an all tubed, balanced design specifically for Omega II MKI. Basically it's a DIY amp, although from a well-known and much-respected engineer in the early golden age of head-fi community in China, the amp has never been commercialised and were handmade by the engineer himself within a small circle which is considered to be a group of "advanced" players at that time. The amp is called VAW 8PS and costs around $1000 back in 2006, it was discontinued around 2010 when the parts were more and more difficult to source while the engineer were getting too old to build electronics, even it was just for fun. 

 

Sorry about the long description of my current amp, but it helps to understand where my comments below are coming from. 

 

Let's come straight to the sound. To my ears, the LL2 was impressive on certain areas such as bass resolution, expansive soundstage however it was CLEARLY bettered by the 8PS in terms of richness in the mid/mid-bass, fluidity, decay, even transient speed. The 8PS just renders music in a more harmonic, holographic manner than the LL2 does. The LL2 sounds clinical, mechanical, and even a bit dull compared with the 8PS. To me, if I were to keep one of them, the 8PS is a no-brainer, and I did, without even a tiny bit of regret. 

 

Associated equipments:

CD player/Dac: Playback Design MPS-5; Powercord: Kharma Enigma Signature

Interconnects: Wireworld Platinum Eclipse 

Amp: 8PS, LL2; Powercord: Kharma Grand Reference

Headphones: STAX SR009

 

 

Disclaimer: I did make the above comments based on my personal preference on attributes of equipment which consists of but not limited to: warm, silky smooth, longer decay, and emotionally engaging and; I have to admit I prefer good quality tube equipments over SS overall save for my source. 

post #4508 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post
 

By the way, I've read some people claiming that BHSE itself is a commercial version of the T2.

 

But I thought BHSE--or BH, to be exact--was originally KG's brainchild from the scratch, no? Plus, Stax has forbidden any third party from building T2's for commercial purposes, revealing its blueprint strictly for the sake of DIY. So I initially dismissed the idea, thinking it was a baseless accusation coming from jealy people who are trying to discredit KG's work.

 

But later, I realized that both T2 and BHSE share several similarities... Now I don't know much about an electrostatic amp design, but it seems more than a mere coincidence. For example, both are SOTA electrostatic amps with a separate power supply. Also, both are of a hybrid design, apparently. And both use a quad of EL34 tubes... something is fishy. Not to mention the fact that both T2 and BHSE are hailed as the best electrostatic amps in the market.

 

So here are the questions.

 

1. Is the BH really KG's original work? Or is intended it a modified version of the T2, designed by KG?

 

2. If the BH is a modified version of T2, what are the differences?

 

3. What are the differences between BH and BHSE? I assume that BHSE is superior, but in what ways?

 

4. Was BHSE also improved upon the BH by KG, or this time by Justin Wilson?

 

This deserves a proper answer because it will lead to miss-information.

 

There is no chicken and egg problem here: the SRM-T2 came first and is an original design by Stax Japan.
 

The original Blue Hawaii (BH) is a design by Kevin Gilmore, inspired by the SRM-T2 (by that point essentially unobtanium in price and general avaliability), that he did without actually knowing much past the general details of the Stax design. 

The Blue Hawaii was released to the public domain for free on the original headphone DIY site headwize, now (unfortunately) defunct due to a number of events.

The original Blue Hawaii PCBs and commercial units were made by HeadAmp (Justin Wilson) with Kevin's permisson. 

 

The Blue Hawaii SE (or BHSE) is a complete re-envisioning by HeadAmp of the original Blue Hawaii.

Compared to the original it incorporates various component replacements and additions (better parts became available), a vastly improved power supply, a completely redesigned monolithic PCB, a redesigned "CCS" in the output stage (original parts became unobtanium), and a commercial quality case work job that is par-none.

 

So, given the origin of the Blue Hawaii it should be no surprise that both it and the SRM-T2 use a quad of el34.

However, while the general theme there is similar, the actual circuit differences are far more pronounced (naturally).

Moreover, the orginal SRM-T2 has a completely different input stage (it uses four 6922 tubes there) and a very, very innovative way of "shifting" between the stages.

 

Finally, the DIY T2 that you read about is something that came much later.

It is the result of Kevin and another couple of people being granted access to the original Stax schematic (never released) and an original unit.

It was extremely generous on the part of all involved (Stax included) to permit this redesign to be released publicly.

The redesign uses a properly done PCB, vastly improved power supply over the original, runs the tubes properly and is gigantic as a result.

The DIY T2 is, as the namesake suggests, DIY only.

 

To answer a question of yours that isn't in your quote above: yes the BH and BHSE design are both "balanced" amps by design, DC coupled from input to output, and are "balanced" drive by their nature.

There is no "energiser" (which refers to a passive amp made from a step-up transformer) in either amp, both use discrete solidstate devices together with the four el34 tubes.

Both can be driven with an unbalanced input which works perfectly well.

 

I hope this clears all that up.


Edited by nattonrice - 12/23/13 at 12:27pm
post #4509 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post

Oh wait, so the SRM-T2 melts?

Double post for emphasis.
Yes, the original SRM-T2 is a shadow of the amp it could have been.
Essentially all units have or will suffer the failure mode known as melting.

Get the BHSE.
post #4510 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by nattonrice View Post


Double post for emphasis.
Yes, the original SRM-T2 is a shadow of the amp it could have been.
Essentially all units have or will suffer the failure mode known as melting.

Get the BHSE.

This is exactly the type of black-and-white outlook that can be so detrimental to this hobby.  Sure, some (or all) Stax T2's may melt, but its always taken as a given that this is a failure.  It seems very clear to me that this was a design goal from the first, and that Stax wisely saw that some may enjoy the sound of melting.  If it doesn't float your boat that's fine, but to be so dismissive of something that is in the end subjective is ludicrous.

 

It is obvious that there is something more sinister at play here, perhaps an anti-Stax agenda, trying to paint melting in such a negative light so that the BHSE and it's non-melting nature will be more desirable by misleading contrast.

post #4511 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickif View Post
 

I actually bought the LL2 several months ago, have to admit that I did have high expectation on the LL2 as it costs 4 times more than my then-current (current as well) electrostatics amp -- an all tubed, balanced design specifically for Omega II MKI. Basically it's a DIY amp, although from a well-known and much-respected engineer in the early golden age of head-fi community in China, the amp has never been commercialised and were handmade by the engineer himself within a small circle which is considered to be a group of "advanced" players at that time. The amp is called VAW 8PS and costs around $1000 back in 2006, it was discontinued around 2010 when the parts were more and more difficult to source while the engineer were getting too old to build electronics, even it was just for fun.

 

May we see a picture of your VAW 8PS amp? I'm curious.

post #4512 of 6019
Quote:
Originally Posted by nattonrice View Post
 

This deserves a proper answer because it will lead to miss-information.

 

There is no chicken and egg problem here: the SRM-T2 came first and is an original design by Stax Japan.
 

The original Blue Hawaii (BH) is a design by Kevin Gilmore, inspired by the SRM-T2 (by that point essentially unobtanium in price and general avaliability), that he did without actually knowing much past the general details of the Stax design. 

The Blue Hawaii was released to the public domain for free on the original headphone DIY site headwize, now (unfortunately) defunct due to a number of events.

The original Blue Hawaii PCBs and commercial units were made by HeadAmp (Justin Wilson) with Kevin's permisson. 

 

The Blue Hawaii SE (or BHSE) is a complete re-envisioning by HeadAmp of the original Blue Hawaii.

Compared to the original it incorporates various component replacements and additions (better parts became available), a vastly improved power supply, a completely redesigned monolithic PCB, a redesigned "CCS" in the output stage (original parts became unobtanium), and a commercial quality case work job that is par-none.

 

So, given the origin of the Blue Hawaii it should be no surprise that both it and the SRM-T2 use a quad of el34.

However, while the general theme there is similar, the actual circuit differences are far more pronounced (naturally).

Moreover, the orginal SRM-T2 has a completely different input stage (it uses four 6922 tubes there) and a very, very innovative way of "shifting" between the stages.

 

Finally, the DIY T2 that you read about is something that came much later.

It is the result of Kevin and another couple of people being granted access to the original Stax schematic (never released) and an original unit.

It was extremely generous on the part of all involved (Stax included) to permit this redesign to be released publicly.

The redesign uses a properly done PCB, vastly improved power supply over the original, runs the tubes properly and is gigantic as a result.

The DIY T2 is, as the namesake suggests, DIY only.

 

To answer a question of yours that isn't in your quote above: yes the BH and BHSE design are both "balanced" amps by design, DC coupled from input to output, and are "balanced" drive by their nature.

There is no "energiser" (which refers to a passive amp made from a step-up transformer) in either amp, both use discrete solidstate devices together with the four el34 tubes.

Both can be driven with an unbalanced input which works perfectly well.

 

I hope this clears all that up.

 

Thanks! This clears up a lot. :D

post #4513 of 6019
Quote:
 
Quote:Radio GaGa
Originally Posted by nattonrice View Post


Double post for emphasis.
Yes, the original SRM-T2 is a shadow of the amp it could have been.
Essentially all units have or will suffer the failure mode known as melting.

Get the BHSE.

This is exactly the type of black-and-white outlook that can be so detrimental to this hobby.  Sure, some (or all) Stax T2's may melt, but its always taken as a given that this is a failure.  It seems very clear to me that this was a design goal from the first, and that Stax wisely saw that some may enjoy the sound of melting.  If it doesn't float your boat that's fine, but to be so dismissive of something that is in the end subjective is ludicrous.

 

It is obvious that there is something more sinister at play here, perhaps an anti-Stax agenda, trying to paint melting in such a negative light so that the BHSE and it's non-melting nature will be more desirable by misleading contrast.

I believe black and white to be necesssary in instances like these, as colouration only obfuscates the situation when lucidity is a necessary requirement.

The melting of the T2 in itself is a problem as the heat generated is substantially greater than that already generated in the T2's normal mode. Blisters from the volume knob, which is a normal occurence - is exacerbated when T2 is in meltdown mode.

 

Meltdown, as a concept regarding cheese is a very good prospect and considerably enhances the flavour of the bovine cultured curd.

Meltdown in electronic componentry is in the diametrically opposite camp and is a situation which has severly detrimental effects on the owner's pacificity, fiscal situation and immediate health.

 

The destruction of the amplifying device (T2) could occasion the destruction of it's surroundings such as the headphones and equipment shelf/rack/table and all in it's immediate environment, perhaps even the whole room or dwelling.

If combustion is not achieved, then health concerns over toxic fumes would be a natural concern.

There is also the problem if the household fuse melts, thus depriving the whole power circuit of pulsating electrons.

 

All in all, it is a far greater desirability if the T2 were not such a potential electrical timebomb awaiting it's demise in an incendiary display of corruscating malevolence.

 

Perhaps, worst of all is that there will no longer be the amplification of sublime dulcet tones and mellifluous melodies for the owner, and others to delight themselves in.

post #4514 of 6019

I think the original T2 does sound excellent and may even edge out the BHSE.  The problem with the T2 is that it generates way too much heat and a proper heat sink should have been used to dissipate that much heat, hence, the "melt down" and reliability issues.

post #4515 of 6019

I think the melt down functionality is very much worth while, it would make toasting my sandwiches a lot easier with the headphones on.

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