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DFW Meet Jan 23 2010 Impressions - Page 3  

post #31 of 52
Before I get onto the equipment impressions, I'd like to say something about [AK]Zip and APureSound. [AK]Zip is an all-around stand-up guy who has a commitment to a strong work ethic and honesty that's refreshing in today's world of second-rate cable vendors and various other people who would rather make a quick buck instead of making a good product and standing behind it. I was already impressed by [AK]Zip's integrity & work ethic before (in my history of transacting with him) but I have even more respect for him now. This guy is the real deal and he genuinely cares about the cables that he builds and the way that he does business. In the Head-Fi world of cables, there are only a few vendors that actually deliver the goods at a fair price with good customer service and I count APureSound among these; the others would be Enigma Audio and Moon Audio. It's true that cables can be bought cheaply for the literal cost of parts, and if you can build your own and can do your own re-cabling then more power to you. But for those who would rather have someone else do the work and would prefer to buy American at the same time, those are the only 3 vendors that I would recommend. I would go so far as to encourage everyone to buy from APureSound with confidence - a stand-up operation with business honesty and a dedication to quality work, what more can you ask for?

Meet Impressions

It was great to get a chance to meet the fine folks from the great state of Texas and nearby. Everyone was nice and it was fun to hang out with y'all - and with swt61 and luvdunhill at the post-meet dinner as well. The location was also a good one, I especially liked the glass panes in two of the walls so we could all watch the rain while listening to tunes. I hope to join you guys again at another Texas meet sometime too.

Equipment Impressions

- Ayre QB-9 > HeadAmp BHSE > Stax OII MKI - This is all equipment that I own of course but this was the first time I assembled this particular configuration of components - I haven't set up the QB-9 at home since I got it several months ago. So this was the first thing I listened to. This system was set up in balanced mode for the BHSE with the QB-9 on the "Listen" setting. It sounded very good indeed, no real complaints about it. But of course there's an inevitable comparison to be made with respect to my Plinius CD-101, and I think the Plinius is a better source. Not that the Plinius is perfect in every way but I think it's probably just a tad "cleaner" sounding and has more edge to the treble. It may also have a more open soundstage and a more "accelerated" feel on either fast or high-energy music. I also think the Plinius may have more dynamic range in the aspect of giving greater intensity on sudden volume changes and a more pronounced effect on subtle modulation of volume levels and holding onto high-intensity/upper-frequency volume. For example, Julia Fischer's violin on Bach Concertos swells in volume extremely well on the Plinius, and the QB-9 didn't seem to be quite as capable. I'm going off memory on this of course with a time gap of several days between the two systems, but I'll add that I've spent lots of time listening to the Plinius/BHSE system over the past several months, as often as possible (usually every day with some exceptions).

- Senn HE60 (source: Ayre QB-9 | amp: BHSE): Auditory memory is a funny thing. The last (and only) time I heard an HE60 was just over 3 years ago out of the SP Concerto ES and I distinctly remember being impressed by it back then. This time not so much. Granted a lot has happened between then and now so I'm not sure what to attribute this to. Well ok, it's not a bad headphone per se, but I just didn't enjoy these out of the BHSE. I turned up the volume in an attempt to get more mid-range presence but it was futile, to me these headphones were just missing a chunk of mid-range body that the OII has no problem with. It wouldn't have felt as bad if the treble was up to par but the HE60 disappointed me there also, as it felt like there was an upper-treble roll-off, right above where sibilance peaks out. And I did think the HE60 had a propensity towards sibilance too. So I think I would say the BHSE probably isn't the best amp for the HE60.

- pabbi1-built eXStatA w/ Stax OII MKI (source: Cambridge Audio 840C): I would describe my affinity for the OII MKI as something like "it's really damn good and can be absolutely amazing but isn't exactly one of my favorite headphones." I like how the OII sounds but would like to minimize the associated cost of the amp if possible, since I don't use it for a wide array of music. The eXStatA proved to me that it might be possible to downgrade from the BHSE - I mean, I wasn't sure how much less to expect sonically but this amp was ear-opening. Of course I don't know how much the 840C was affecting the system but the sonic omissions compared to the BHSE weren't many and I certainly didn't have any major complaints. The system did seem to have less overall resolution but the biggest difference that I noticed was that it was quite forward-sounding in the mid-range and also quite punchy in the mid-bass. My system with the BHSE is significantly more laidback. That aside, I think the eXStatA represents substantial value for money and is probably a great option for anyone who wants to get a solid stat amp for cheap.

- Balanced B22/o22 w/ K1000 (source: Original CD-2008-MKII): When I was done listening to this system I thought: "aw, crap, do I have to re-invest into a B22 for a K1000?" (I previously owned a B22.) I've never paid much attention to the K1000 before primarily due to its earspeaker design but this system had me re-considering my ways. I liked the treble and the overall level of detail which seemed to be approximately on par with the Qualia 010. I think if there's a cheaper headphone that could take the Qualia's place in my headphone collection, the K1000 is probably it. At the same time it sucks that the K1000 also has beefy amp requirements. Crap!
post #32 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I need more impressions of my amp, er, I mean Marc's FET amp creation! Who listened and what did they hear?
x2! VERY curious about the FET amp and not much else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
At the same time it sucks that the K1000 also has beefy amp requirements. Crap!
I probably won't ever want to own a K1000, but I'd really like to hear it through one of those cheap Haflers and a good source.
post #33 of 52
Better late then never, but I would like to thank everyone for coming out to the meet. As always we had a BH amp fail, but for once the repair will not lay on my shoulders.

It was great to see all the old faces and meet all of the new people. It is always nice to see different people's setup's and talk to people about audio.

-Alex-
post #34 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankCooter View Post
Al, your comments on the HE-5 were quite interesting. The HD-800 is a wonderful headphone. It's got detail, soundtage, extension, neutrality, etc. It hits all the audiophile buttons. But for me at least, it just doesn't "boogie". I find it cool, thin, and lifeless in the middle no matter how much I try to warm up to it. On the other hand, the HE-5 doesn't go particuly deep, has an average sound stage, and an unbalanced, upward tilted, presentation. But these things "boogie" like there's no tomorrow. Best presentation of guitar driven rock music I've ever heard. Same with female vocals. They scale up greatly with power. I'm driving mine with a GM70 based set amp originally intended for K-1000. You might want to think about building an amp for these. Apparently a "statement" model is in the works. My O2 fund is now on hold in anticipation.
Yep, that is what Raven is supposed to be - and I live for guitars (yes, mine, back in the day). The balanced Bijou drives them really well, which also adds back some soundstage. Since I am statted these days, the bottom just needs to be clean and tight - odd for a lifelong bass player. It also warms the hd800, but we'll see.

I do know that even if I keep the hd800, I'll have to add the HE-5. I'd transpose with hd800, and party with HE-5.
post #35 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
I've always felt similarly but would say I could live with O2 if I had a BHSE, but the only problem is HE60 doesn't exactly synergize great with BHSE, so you're looking at yet another powerful but liquid amp just for HE60.

Then there are those who claim HE60 sounds best out of HEV90(!), and who has one of those? So then one looks for similar-circuit Aristaeus, but O2 is not so hot with that.

Perhaps a super tweaked-out eXStrata with different tube complement for HE60 and O2 is the answer; at least I hope so.
Really odd, but I didn't like the hev90 very much (looks WAY better than it sounds), but like the he90 a lot. Since I didn't take my he60 to Wayne's, he only has the he90 and OII to hear with it. He probably has something nicer to listen to now anyway...
post #36 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Voltron View Post
I need more impressions of my amp, er, I mean Marc's FET amp creation! Who listened and what did they hear?
Well, with the hd800, it sounded really clean, but was missing some high end extension. I love-love-love the attenuator, but handmatching a hundred FETs just ain't my idea of a rational use of time.

Marc has a bit more work to do for the high impedence phones, though he is on the path.
post #37 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvdunhill View Post
I sort of wrote them off all together, as I thought they were very laid back in the upper treble region..
Wow! Almost makes me wonder if we're listening to the same headphone. I read your post in the "other forum" comparing them to Senn. 650's. I own a pair of HD-600's. I may have tin ears, but it would be hard for me to think of two more different headphones.

I'd really like to hear the LCD-1. Probably buy a pair if they're anything like the HE-5. Guess I'm becoming an ortho "fanboy".
post #38 of 52
What's up here? My impressions mirrored Marc's. Actually I told him he wouldn't like them, because they were too layed back, and that was the case. Could different amps be responsible for the differences we're hearing? It doesn't seem that an amp could change the character that drastically, but something is afoot.

BTW that was me that compared them to the Senn.650, but only in terms of the degree of layedbackness (new word), I agree the character is completely different.
post #39 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
Well, with the hd800, it sounded really clean, but was missing some high end extension. I love-love-love the attenuator, but handmatching a hundred FETs just ain't my idea of a rational use of time.
It's actually kind of fun and is pretty quick once the matching rig is made and the appropriate resistors have been fried.

Not sure what to make of the HE5 impressions either. Maybe they all sound different. All I know is I liked what I heard with cetoole's pair and it definitely wasn't a snorefest.
post #40 of 52
Well, just matching out 100 ixys depletion mode MOSFETs (and struggling with my test rig) was enough to cure me from matching madness. *If I can buy matched going forward, that is the way and the light. If not, well, ok.

WRT HE-5, I might mention I HATED the Jade 1.3 (iirc) that Naamanf had, but everyone kept raving about them, so, either it is me, or a build variation, which would surprise me not in the least.

Now, as THE alltime hd600 (and Senn) fanboi, c'mon - these things kick the hd6x0 all over, in every respect, and don't have that stupid bass hump. Maybe they fishtail all over the road, but they do give me lump in the throat in headphone terms. Again, it is rash to dump the hd800, but the HE-5 is a definite add, then I can take a few months to sort out the delta, IFF I can stand to give the he60 a rest.

Heck, or just forget HE-5, dump hd800, and get another he60. Now to find a pair at what I paid for these (same as the hd800, before the cable).

Decisions, decisions.... but, one nightmare area at a time. Amp first.
post #41 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
Well, just matching out 100 ixys depletion mode MOSFETs (and struggling with my test rig) was enough to cure me from matching madness. *If I can buy matched going forward, that is the way and the light. If not, well, ok.

WRT HE-5, I might mention I HATED the Jade 1.3 (iirc) that Naamanf had, but everyone kept raving about them, so, either it is me, or a build variation, which would surprise me not in the least.

Now, as THE alltime hd600 (and Senn) fanboi, c'mon - these things kick the hd6x0 all over, in every respect, and don't have that stupid bass hump. Maybe they fishtail all over the road, but they do give me lump in the throat in headphone terms. Again, it is rash to dump the hd800, but the HE-5 is a definite add, then I can take a few months to sort out the delta, IFF I can stand to give the he60 a rest.

Heck, or just forget HE-5, dump hd800, and get another he60. Now to find a pair at what I paid for these (same as the hd800, before the cable).

Decisions, decisions.... but, one nightmare area at a time. Amp first.
My re-cabled HD800 on the ZDT amp are pretty close to the HE60 on the Woo WES amp, but the HD800 still have a bigger soundstage. You once said you'd work on a better amp for HD800, and I think that and a cable would be a good idea. I have two different HD800 cables I could loan you for a short time, to see what you think.

To me, the Jade are closer to a mix between the O2 Mk2 and HE60. They have the forward mids and midbass hump of the O2 Mk2 with the treble sparkle of the HE60, but a flatter soundstage. So, HE60 fans may not like the Jade. I just have the ability to adjust to the different sound signatures more than others, so I can enjoy the Jade in my bedroom rig and leave the HE60 and O2 Mk1 in my WES rig in the basement man-cave.

Definitely get the HE-5, regardless.
post #42 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
Well, just matching out 100 ixys depletion mode MOSFETs (and struggling with my test rig) was enough to cure me from matching madness. *If I can buy matched going forward, that is the way and the light. If not, well, ok.
If it can be verified that my matching isn't completely wrong, I'd be happy to match them for you. Happier if I buy my own bench power supply first.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1
Now, as THE alltime hd600 (and Senn) fanboi, c'mon - these things kick the hd6x0 all over, in every respect, and don't have that stupid bass hump. Maybe they fishtail all over the road, but they do give me lump in the throat in headphone terms. Again, it is rash to dump the hd800, but the HE-5 is a definite add, then I can take a few months to sort out the delta, IFF I can stand to give the he60 a rest.
I haven't yet heard the HD800 but the HE5 I heard was pretty damn good, and it'd take a lot in the HD800 to beat it, outside of soundstage. I might prefer some of the Lambdas, though, but anyone who knows me knows I'm a 'stat fanboy through and through. Seems you are as well, at least with the HE60. I gotta hear one again sometime. Good luck with fixing amps, and sorry to hear about your BH.
post #43 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
Marc has a bit more work to do for the high impedence phones, though he is on the path.
actually, a correction here. That would be low impedance, hard to drive phones. I haven't had time to post my impressions, but my favorite can was with the new amp was the AD2000 that I got to listen to briefly. Last time I heard the AD200 I was very confused, and just wrote that can off all together. Now, I'll plan on grabbing one for an extended audition once that other FET amp gets built.

Voltron: We need to work a way to get single ended cans a chance on this amp. I joked about using a 5-pin XLR, but the more I think about it, I really like the idea. The reason being, there isn't a good way to go from balanced to single-ended cans with a 4-pin connector (or even two 3-pin connectors). If you only can have a single connector on the amp and want the option to go either way, you need one more pin, or a way to tie ground to the shell (which might not even work due to needing to isolate the shell from the case itself).

Team 5-pin FTW?
post #44 of 52
Hd800 low impedence? If so, I am Wrongway Romney again.

My hd800 have an APS v3, so that ain't the issue, and Raven is coming along, though it looks like Bijou is finding a new home. We'll see (some day) how it behaves with the HE-5, especially since Alex is close, and keeps them in stock, but I am concerned about gain with Raven, where that was not ever an issue with the differential Bijou - it would even drive k1000.

Boy, I would have _GIVEN_ you the pair of ad2000 I had. Just not for me.

As for the Woo, I didn't care for the he60 with it either, but BH, KGSS or eXStata make it a happy camper. But, nothing is really lost with the old BH, as the 6s4a derivative should step into the void.
post #45 of 52


The HD800 looks to be a very hard headphone to drive, because that impedance hump is out of this world (or just off the graph).
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