Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › HD800 and T1 musings...
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HD800 and T1 musings... - Page 59

post #871 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naim.F.C View Post
 

 

You know, I disappeared off these forums for a long while, and there was a story behind it. I didn't want to step on the toes of people who had been kind to me. I had countless notes full of so much writing I had prepped for all these reviews of all these different products I had planned, all these loans and all the rest.

 

The reality of it all...

 

One of my planned threads was a gigantic O2 vs V200 (and a few other expensive amps) comparison thread. The results of so many comparisons kind of shocked me.

 

I'm a logical personal, and I consider myself frugal and fairly technologically and financially savvy. I also have very good hearing and eye sight (Thank God). There was no way I was going to let placebo or hype get in the way of my impressions, nor would I let financial or product interests get in the way either, and that's why for my reviews I did outright blind tests, where other people would swap things around whilst I was blind folded and I'd A/B thousands of times, in-fact, I'd do blind tests on others too. Over the course of these reviews, because the results were so perplexing and oft controversial, I had to listen to hundreds of hours of music just to re--confirm my opinions.

 

 

The entire audiophile industry is a sworded one. Perhaps the most reckless and unjustifiably excessive of any technology based hobby out there.

 

Maybe one day I will care to write out some of my comparisons and reviews, but in the mean time I'll just say this.

If you want a strictly neutral amp, with no colour, that will power any of your high end headphones (bar electrostatic cans such as the Stax, as I have not tested with them and cannot confirm that), the cheap little O2 will be more than sufficient, and you will not get any better quality in a perfect flat, un-coloured amplification, moving to any other amp. The frequency response is straight flat, and the noise floor impossibly low, the power plenty. T1's, HD800's, LCD-2's, which I all tested on them, and compared with other amps, not an iota of difference in terms of power delivery or overall quality.

 

I will however add….

 

But there is a difference

 

Different amps, DAC's etc, DO sound different. Sometimes insignificantly different, sometimes noticeably so. For example, the V200 probably sounds around 10% different to the O2 if I had to put a percentage on it. However, that difference is NOT an objective difference in better sonic quality, only a subjective difference in sonic preference.

 

What I mean by that is, the O2 offers a perfect, pure flat response, with no issues in power delivery what-so-ever. The V200 only sounds different not because it's better quality in any way (though you may prefer the way it sounds), but because it colours the sound ever so slightly. It adds some added sub bass and peaks the low-mid range, and that's why it sounds so good with the T1's (and HD800's) etc. The T1's benefit a good degree from these minor colourisations, because these are areas of it's frequency range that it is lacking. It's the same reason many tube amps sound good with these headphones too. They essentially add colour to the sub bass and tame the higher frequencies, and some people like that, but you have to realise the amp is essentially changing the way your headphone was designed to sound, if it were powered ideally, and completely un-coloured.

 

Everything comes at a cost

 

However…..by adding extra colour to the sub bass and lower mid range, you automatically affect other areas of the sound signature. And no amp, irrespective of the price, will change that. Because it is a flat frequency and signal. It's not like an actual headphone that can change sonic delivery even in it's physical design, size and form (size of the drivers, ergonomics etc), the amp only has a set signal and frequency to work with. Changing one part of it WILL affect your perception of the others.

 

In this instance, with the V200 adding sub bass (etc), it very slightly clouds the highs and sound stage. Sound stage in this respect being a change in the sonic dynamic dictated by the bumped up bass, clouding the rest of the signature, which gives the false perception of a smaller sound stage. because of this, as much as the V200 makes certain elements of the T1's sound better, the O2 is actually still cleaner and more detailed sounding, and more importantly, un-coloured.

 

Did I prefer the sonic delivery of the T1's paired with the V200? Yes. But there was no way I was going to pay hundreds of pounds on an amp for just a smidgen of added colourisation in a few areas of the sonic range. The basic premise of an amp is to be absolutely colourless, and simply power your headphones whilst remaining so. And the O2 does exactly that, flawlessly in-fact.

 

The higher end amps I tested were not powering the headphones any better. Nor were they any cleaner sounding (as mentioned, the noise floor on the O2 is inaudibly low). All a few of them were doing is offering a slight colour to the sonic signature. Think of it almost like adding a forced, ultra clean EQ to your cans. If that's worth the extra to you because of the specific colourisation or changes offered, then more power to you. But if you just want a completely un-coloured, perfectly sufficient, flat amplification, the O2 amp is going to hang with the best of them, irrespective of what others on here tell you.

 

 

*Awaits a slew of posters telling him he's wrong*

I agree with most of what you say (own the O2 as well as the V200 so I do think I can at least claim to know how they compare to me).  The O2 is dead on neutral and you won't find better price/quality anywhere.  The sound of the V200 is to my ears better but I agree that it's for the reasons you quote.  But the O2 has its limitations, more specifically when listening on higher impedance dynamic cans and if you listen to music either at high volume or that has a huge dynamic range.  I fall in the latter category, listening to classical music.  There the O2 simply can't keep up with the Vio (and I suppose with other high-powered ss amps).  I suppose it has to do with the power requirements and the impedance variation across the frequency range:  it starts distorting and dialling in extra gain doesn't seem to change a lot imho.  If you want to hear what I mean, just listen to e.g. Stravinsky's 'Rite of spring'.  It's not just me saying this, btw, take a look at newavguy's distortion's graphs.  It's not a criticism, as I said it represents terrific value.  Also, try driving a HE-6 (admittedly an extreme example) on the O2, there it's not frequency related impedance changes that come into play (ruler flat curve across the band) but raw power.  I'm on the fence about it for my HE-500.  That being said, the HE-6 is not the absolute power monster many people make it out to be, I'm currently listening to some Rameau with the HE-6 connected to my dark voice 337 dual mono OTL tube amp.  At lower volumes it sounds absolutely great even though I can't imagine that amp delivering anything near the power most people would say is the minimum required.

 

In the end it's about sound preference and especially the music, an aspect one tends to overlook when hanging around these forums for too long.

post #872 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post
 

Great read, Naim. I'm not an objectivist and I don't have any desire to turn a hobby I love into a science experiment...but that mirrors very closely to what my ears have experienced over the years, as well - again, mainly with home audio. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheDuke990 View Post
 

@Naim: Thank you. You are absolute right 

Amps and DACs sound different. That's true but I compared only "neutral" amps and got the same results as you got -> no differences.

For example I was not able to hear a difference between O2, Bryston and BCL because all of them are very neutral but I compared my audio-gd Fun (bright), Aune mini (dark) and my O2 (neutral) as well and there were audible differences for sure.

 

Cheers guys. I was expecting a venomous response, it's nice to know there are people have have tested these things as I have, and come to the same conclusions. It's a good job I am fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy and compare these things, otherwise I'd have lived in a constant state of curiosity, with people oft over selling these things, and those with less spare expenditure being none-the-wiser.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
 

I agree with most of what you say (own the O2 as well as the V200 so I do think I can at least claim to know how they compare to me).  The O2 is dead on neutral and you won't find better price/quality anywhere.  The sound of the V200 is to my ears better but I agree that it's for the reasons you quote.  But the O2 has its limitations, more specifically when listening on higher impedance dynamic cans and if you listen to music either at high volume or that has a huge dynamic range.  I fall in the latter category, listening to classical music.  There the O2 simply can't keep up with the Vio (and I suppose with other high-powered ss amps).  I suppose it has to do with the power requirements and the impedance variation across the frequency range:  it starts distorting and dialling in extra gain doesn't seem to change a lot imho.  If you want to hear what I mean, just listen to e.g. Stravinsky's 'Rite of spring'.  It's not just me saying this, btw, take a look at newavguy's distortion's graphs.  It's not a criticism, as I said it represents terrific value.  Also, try driving a HE-6 (admittedly an extreme example) on the O2, there it's not frequency related impedance changes that come into play (ruler flat curve across the band) but raw power.  I'm on the fence about it for my HE-500.  That being said, the HE-6 is not the absolute power monster many people make it out to be, I'm currently listening to some Rameau with the HE-6 connected to my dark voice 337 dual mono OTL tube amp.  At lower volumes it sounds absolutely great even though I can't imagine that amp delivering anything near the power most people would say is the minimum required.

 

In the end it's about sound preference and especially the music, an aspect one tends to overlook when hanging around these forums for too long.

 

 

I will admit, I did not test the O2 with the HE-500's or HE-6's, nor the Electrostats like the Stax SR-009, as I noted in my post, so I honestly can't comment on that and it would be unfair of me to do so. I would be surprised if the O2 had trouble powering the former two, but who knows.

 

I know NwAvGuy has designed the amp to work with all dynamic headphones of all impedance levels, and I personally have tested it with the T1's, HD800's, LCD-2's, D5000's, Fostex T50RP's (modded), SE530's, SE535's, W4's, SE846, TF10's etc etc, and found that it powered them all perfectly, irrespective of the volume, though admittedly I don't listen very loudly (I have extremely sensitive ears). I did also carry out my comparisons listening to all genre's of music, and one large portion of that was classical music, FLAC, high bit rate, low bit rate etc alike, just to be doubly sure. Again, I can't comment on the HiFi man range, but people told me the HD800's and LCD-2's were difficult to power, and I did not find that to be the case at all, in the sense that the O2 powered them as well as any of the other amps I tested, amps that were order of magnitude more expensive and a few that are very highly regarded. 


Edited by Naim.F.C - 1/19/14 at 10:14am
post #873 of 939

Can you provide a list of the amps you compared to the O2

post #874 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

Can you provide a list of the amps you compared to the O2

What does it matter The O2 is dead on neutral, so...everything otherwise different is simply colored,

that's the only difference.. I mean, to Naim, anyways..

post #875 of 939

How do these Nwav minions arrive at the 'O2 dead neutral' assertion anyways?  All amps basically measure dead flat from 20-20khz with levels of distortion below threshold of hearing.

post #876 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

Can you provide a list of the amps you compared to the O2

 

I have not compared all these amps directly to the O2, as I have not owned or used all these in conjunction with, or simultaneous to each other (I don't have that much spare expenditure), but I have tested the following amps in some form or another. The Burson HA-160, Meier Concerto, Woo Audio WA2 and the Violectric V200. As well as a few portable amplifiers (Alo Continental, Pico, CMOYBB etc). There might even be a few I'm forgetting. It's been a while.

post #877 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

How do these Nwav minions arrive at the 'O2 dead neutral' assertion anyways?  All amps basically measure dead flat from 20-20khz with levels of distortion below threshold of hearing.

I guess, o master, that we set a benchmark using the same scientific methodology which you so aptly describe in your Shiit/O2 review:

 

"All songs were level matched by ear with a Hifiman HE-400 before comparison.  Switching between the two source combos takes approximately 5 seconds." to subsequently declare that both sound too close to call.  I couldn't tell, never heard a Shiit product, they're not very 'in' in continental Europe.  But I happen to know that not all amp manufacturers do a complete frequency range sweep or if they do, they don't publish details and some of the stuff they post is basically meaningless.  I'm not on newavguy's payroll and as I said, the O2 certainly has its limitations but I credit the man for being on the level and providing lots of independently validated data.  On the site of a well known mid-high end ss amp manufacturer I recently read 'Technical details will follow' when clicking on a link to learn more.   Stereophile magazine  opened up the case of a quite pricey monoblock tube amp and published a picture:  the insides looked like they had been assembled by a drunkard:  tangle of wires, components bent to make them fit the chassis, sloppy soldering...I won't name the company but if you want to see the pic:  december 2013 issue, page 119.  --> I'm wary about tall claims that are not backed by verifiable data and at least there, newavguy delivers.

post #878 of 939
Thread Starter 

Ok folks, let's not let this thread devolve into another O2 thread. Please let's stay on topic.

post #879 of 939
Does anyone know if a tube amp with the tubes tailored for HD800 would suit T1 as well?
post #880 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62ohm View Post


Works for me. LF339 with Tungsol 7236 & Telefunken EF800. Both 'phones do nicely and very musical. (With Audiomeca front end.) Listening to Melissa Manchester (T1) make magic as I type. Hated the T1 until I found this combo. The 800 sounds good with 339 and everything else I've used.
Edited by Mambosenior - 1/20/14 at 6:02pm
post #881 of 939
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62ohm View Post
 

Depends on your budget. 

post #882 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mambosenior View Post


Works for me. LF339 with Tungsol 7236 & Telefunken EF800. Both 'phones do nicely and very musical. (With Audiomeca front end.) Listening to Melissa Manchester (T1) make magic as I type. Hated the T1 until I found this combo. The 800 sounds good with 339 and everything else I've used.

 

Tung Sol 7236 seems like an absolute must with these cans.. Everyone seems to be recommending them lol

post #883 of 939
A small edit to post above: For large, classical orchestral recordings, I prefer a SS speaker amp with the 800.
post #884 of 939
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62ohm View Post

Tung Sol 7236 seems like an absolute must with these cans.. Everyone seems to be recommending them lol

Some prefer the 5998 claiming a difference. I couldn't tell.
post #885 of 939

For a nice all around solid state DAC/AMP combo the Daccord/Corda Classic is great bang for the buck.

 

Made in Germany for those German HP's :beerchug:

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › HD800 and T1 musings...