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On Amplifier pairings of the GS-1000 persuasion

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
It has always puzzled me as to what would a good first post be, since I never really do introductions half the time on most forums I go to.

With that being said, Greetings and Good morning (It's 1 am here) - I have been a lurker on Head-Fi for some time, and I thought today would be a good day to sign up.

As the topic suggests, I am seeking advice and/or suggestions with regards to choosing a desktop amp to pair with my Grado GS-1000i. For mainly availability (and financial) reasons, my GS has been driven by my RSA Hornet for the past year or so. Since Grados in general are low-impedance phones, making her sing was not a problem - it was a matter of making her sing well.

With that said, I took it upon myself to do as much research, reading-up, and testing as possible before approaching a forum of any sort for assistance, and after about three months of searching I have more or less given up.

Although I have *read* various reviews and done quite a bit of reading, I have unfortunately only managed to test the Yamamoto HA-02, and honestly speaking I was not really blown away, although I did notice the detail increase, and better staging. As such, I have come appealing to the folk at head-fi for their suggestions and input.

However, I am aware that my question of "So, what's good for the GS1k? is extremely vague - And hence I have, with the help of some friends and reviews, narrowed down my selection (or rather, scope of interest) to the following brands and makes. They are listed below in no particular order:

Eddie Current

Zana Deux


Yamamoto

HA-02


Darkvoice

337 SE
3322


Woo Audio

(I do not know much about their models...)

Mapletree

(I have only heard of their models, and that people like to mod them)


With that listed, I am indeed looking for a higher-end non-balanced (not quite ready to go there yet) tube amp, as I generally dislike solid-state signatures. However, I do not know much about tube-rolling, and find it very much complicated.

As I do not like to use CD-player sources due to the fact that most of my songs are *not* on CD, my general setup looks something like this:

Macbook > Vulcan DAC > IC > Amp > Headphones

I will be upgrading my DAC and recabling my GS in the near future, but for now I would like to first find a proper amp to fill an empty spot on my workstation. My budget is about 2000 usd, assuming that covers both tube and amp.

It would be very much appreciated if any feedback can be given with regards to how the amps/makers above fare when matched with the GS1k in general, or if anyone has any recommendations that are not in the above list to make.

I look forward to your advice and suggestions.

Thank you for your time.
post #2 of 11
Which amps do they stock at jaben?

I'm fairly sure they have the ha-02 which you may be able to go out and check.

Unless you frequent there quite often, I'd say that should be your first stop.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
The HA-02 was tested at Jaben, actually. Three came in recently, although they've all been sold off already. For now there are no other tube amps available... And yes, I frequent quite often, but there's been nothing (of the tube amp persuasion, at least) recently. Hence my question.
post #4 of 11
The Zana Deux is pretty much the best tube amp on that list. It is OTL though, and may not work so good with 32ohms Grados. Get the ZDT instead.
post #5 of 11
WooAudio WA6 SE. I'm using that with my GS1000 and they sound terrific. My GS1000s have the Black Dragon cable, but the WA6 is a superb amp and drives the GS1000s very well indeed.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I did some reading up on the WA6SE, I must say the initial impressions leave me quite, well, impressed. By "Maxxed", do you mean that all the premium parts upgrades were taken?

I'm looking for a more PS-1 "liquid bass" sound. Does the WA6SE have such a signature? I was actually thinking more towards the line of attaching the silver dragon to my GS. How are the bass and general highs on your setup, sclamb?
post #7 of 11
Yes I had the premium parts - I figured as I was getting it shipped to the UK I may as well go for broke. I didn't get the stepped attenuator though.

I spoke to Drew at Moon Audio and we discussed the best cable to give the GS1000 a more balanced sound and he suggested the Black Dragon. On the WA6 SE the bass is full and rounded and the highs are much less sibilant and generally the overall presentation is nicely balanced. Easily blew away my K701s and I am enjoying this combination as much as I ever remember enjoying the HD650 and Stax O2.
post #8 of 11
I must say.... I'm extremely satisfied with Cary Audio Xciter amp. its a bit expensive though

post #9 of 11
How about the Isabellina HPA? It will fit in your budget and has a DAC in it. You can try it out at Raindrop Audio.

Products > Isabellina HPA - Red Wine Audio
Raindrop Audio | Hi-Fi & Music
post #10 of 11
Mignonne, congrats on your first post!

If you haven't ruled out SS amps, you might want to do a search on the GS1K and Grace m902 posts. Many of those who have the combo swear by it. I haven't heard the GS1Ki, but if it's similar to the GS1K, it's at least worth a listen before you decide.

For me, the m902 overcomes what I'd characterize as a lack of detail in the GS1K's bass when teamed with other amps. It's a problem you don't notice until you actually hear the same bass when it's well-defined.

On another note -- DC5Zilla, that's a nice setup.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your input/feedback.

I eventually settled on a:

USB > Havana DAC w/ Raytheon Windmill getter > Van Den Hul "The Second" > Darkvoice 3322 w/ Ulyanovsks and Mullard EF95's.

I think I'll eventually upgrade the amp if I ever get tired of the 3322.

And yes, the GS1000's bass is kind of... Expanded by the soundstage, but as a result the detail disappears a bit. I really prefer the PS-1's bass though. Am considering a moon audio black dragon recable for my GS soon.

Once again, thanks for the info.
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