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Burson, Meier or SPL Phonitor

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
No one answered me on the Headphone Amp Forum. I am new to these forums. I am impressed with the knowledge and experience here and need help with a decision. I am planning on buying Sennsheiser HD 800 Headphones. I have had 650's in the past with a Grace 901 with satisfactory results. I cannot decide among the Burson 160, the Meier Audio Concerto and the SPL Phonitor. I do not need a DAC and prefer solid state. I admire the build quality and discrete circuitry of the Burson while the veratility and volume control of the Meier impresses me as well as the flexibility and balanced circuitry of the Phonitor. The limited steps of the Burson level control, the IC's and construction (relative to the Burson) in the Meier and the Alps Potentiometer of the SPL are negatives for me. I am not able to hear and of these and the prices of the Burson and Meier are comparable. The Phonitor is pricey but on a par with my front end. In your opinion, which do you feel would be the best match for the 800's? Also, who would be the most reliable and customer service oriented dealer for any of these if you are permitted to say? Thank you in advance.
post #2 of 29
I've heard both the Burson and the SPL Phonitor, the SPL is very out of class when compared,definitely one of the best SS amps out there.
post #3 of 29
This should not be in the High-end forum.
post #4 of 29
"I've heard both the Burson and the SPL Phonitor, the SPL is very out of class when compared,definitely one of the best SS amps out there."

Does this mean the Burson is a better amp than the SPL Phonitor? Sorry its the wording made me want to ask.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycalgary View Post
"I've heard both the Burson and the SPL Phonitor, the SPL is very out of class when compared,definitely one of the best SS amps out there."

Does this mean the Burson is a better amp than the SPL Phonitor? Sorry its the wording made me want to ask.
No, I think he means the Phonitor is heaps better, and it should if it retails for 2500AUD in Australia compared to 625AUD for the Burson.
post #6 of 29
In the short time I owned the hd800's I tried them with several 1k-2k amps and the Phonitor was the one I liked more for them.
post #7 of 29
Phonitor's only worth it if you want all those adjustment controls anyways. Auditor is the better bet if you don't.
post #8 of 29
I second Ypoknons; you pay for flexibility with the Phonitor, so only buy if you need it.

How about a well made B22?
post #9 of 29
For the Senn HD800 I would get the Luxman P1 and be done.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ypoknons View Post
Phonitor's only worth it if you want all those adjustment controls anyways. Auditor is the better bet if you don't.
The sonic differense between these two is like night and day! Phonitor is much much better! I've compared both side by side with Edition 8 (which I hate but they're good enough to feel the huge difference between the SPLs).
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by brat View Post
The sonic differense between these two is like night and day! Phonitor is much much better! I've compared both side by side with Edition 8 (which I hate but they're good enough to feel the huge difference between the SPLs).
Placebo, especially since you wrote "huge difference". Actually the SPL Auditor is better. Since the release i've yet owned 2 Auditor and 3 Phonitor (yes i'm crazy), now down to 1 each so i've compared them more than one time. My last comparison with the HD800 clearly showed the Auditor offers a tiny bit less colored sound and better defined headstage. Both are easily explained by the construction and it's measurements compared to the phonitor (auditor has less OPA for the signal to go through and much better crosstalk). Some wrote the Phonitor has a "wider" soundstage but in fact the L center and R just sound a little bit more disconnected between each other due to low crosstalk (needed for the M/S circuit).

Also the Auditor has something what i call the "tube mode"... turn the Volume to "0" and change volume before it hits the auditor (digital or analog) otherwise it will be earcrushing loud. This way the Auditor sounds smoother with slightly softened transients similar to tubes. Curiously this doesnt work on the Phonitor.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by BuffaloBob View Post
No one answered me on the Headphone Amp Forum. I am new to these forums. I am impressed with the knowledge and experience here and need help with a decision. I am planning on buying Sennsheiser HD 800 Headphones. I have had 650's in the past with a Grace 901 with satisfactory results. I cannot decide among the Burson 160, the Meier Audio Concerto and the SPL Phonitor. I do not need a DAC and prefer solid state. I admire the build quality and discrete circuitry of the Burson while the veratility and volume control of the Meier impresses me as well as the flexibility and balanced circuitry of the Phonitor. The limited steps of the Burson level control, the IC's and construction (relative to the Burson) in the Meier and the Alps Potentiometer of the SPL are negatives for me. I am not able to hear and of these and the prices of the Burson and Meier are comparable. The Phonitor is pricey but on a par with my front end. In your opinion, which do you feel would be the best match for the 800's? Also, who would be the most reliable and customer service oriented dealer for any of these if you are permitted to say? Thank you in advance.
From the amps you mention I do not know (have not auditioned) Burston.
Phonitor is fine with HD 800 but has its own sound character.
If you prefer transparent, true to life reproduction (no colouring) I highly recommend Violectric V100 or V200(has USB DAC as well).
IMO so far I think Violectric amps were the only SS that could drive HD 800 properly.
Look here (I have V100 - the front plate is black - the photo on their web site is not updated yet)
Violectric by Lake People
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by waterlogic View Post
IMO so far I think Violectric amps were the only SS that could drive HD 800 properly.
Do you work for Violectric or did you just fell for the hype? The Violectric amps were so hyped in germany so i was very looking forward to hearing them too. When i finally compared them to the SPLs and a ß22 i found them a bit more colored/euphonic as these 2. Nice for someone who is into that kind of thing. Otherwise meh.. there's a dozen of other amps that do what they do: amp..
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizkid View Post
Placebo, especially since you wrote "huge difference". Actually the SPL Auditor is better. Since the release i've yet owned 2 Auditor and 3 Phonitor (yes i'm crazy), now down to 1 each so i've compared them more than one time. My last comparison with the HD800 clearly showed the Auditor offers a tiny bit less colored sound and better defined headstage. Both are easily explained by the construction and it's measurements compared to the phonitor (auditor has less OPA for the signal to go through and much better crosstalk). Some wrote the Phonitor has a "wider" soundstage but in fact the L center and R just sound a little bit more disconnected between each other due to low crosstalk (needed for the M/S circuit).

Also the Auditor has something what i call the "tube mode"... turn the Volume to "0" and change volume before it hits the auditor (digital or analog) otherwise it will be earcrushing loud. This way the Auditor sounds smoother with slightly softened transients similar to tubes. Curiously this doesnt work on the Phonitor.
The only time I've listened to these amps (a 15-20min. session) it was clearly noticeable that the phonitor have had much wider soundstage, better instrument separation and more control over all frequencies. I'm absolutely shure what I've heard. Maybe it's a question of personal preferences and system synergy.
It's very useful to read forums - so many different tastes... everyone must find his own truth
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizkid View Post
Do you work for Violectric or did you just fell for the hype? The Violectric amps were so hyped in germany so i was very looking forward to hearing them too. When i finally compared them to the SPLs and a ß22 i found them a bit more colored/euphonic as these 2. Nice for someone who is into that kind of thing. Otherwise meh.. there's a dozen of other amps that do what they do: amp..
Interesting. I decided to buy V100 only because I felt that it does not colour the music in any way. To my ears Phonitor kind of veils the mids. But is good as I said. Lehmann BCL was ok too, but I found V100 more true to what i expect an amp should do - i.e. nothing if possible just properly feeding enough power to the drivers not letting them down to choke on difficult passages.
I do not know about V100 hype - on the contrary I discovered that Lehman BCL is hyped in Germany and here in Austria - I learned about Lake People by accident, actually.

I do not work for Violectric/Lake people, but it is my pleasure to say that the day I approached them to buy V100 they were prompt and friendly in their response. The only "link" to the Audio Business I have is my school friend from primary school who is in the audio business for 40 years (and he does not sell Violectric or any Lake people products, btw!), which was helpful
allowing me to audition cca dozen amps before I decided to buy V100.

Have not tried B22 (it looks it is much more expensive) . I never said that there is not a better amp outthere, I said from those I auditioned for me V100 is a clear winner.

And also, IMO I feel generally no tube amp can drive HD 800 to my liking - for they need a lot of juice right on time, but again by "generally" I allow the possibility that there is some tube design that does it too, afterall.
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