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# Amp recommendations for Audeze LCD-2 - Page 415

Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon

Power/current does not equal gain.

Right

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DefQon

40watts @ 8ohms. Is that enough for the LCD2's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OPR8R

[snip]

That (40 w @ 8 ohms) sounds like an awful lot of juice. How much is that @ 50 ohms?

[snip]

We can't assume that all amps handle different impedances proportionately, so this is just a rough estimate (using inverse proportions, because power goes down as impedance goes up):

For an amp rated at 40 Watts into 8 Ohms, how many Watts will we get into 50 Ohms (LCD-2 rev.1)?

x Watts / 40 Watts = 8 Ohms / 50 Ohms

Solving for x, we get 8 * 40 / 50 = 6.4 Watts (into 50 Ohms)

---

For an amp rated at 40 Watts into 8 Ohms, how many Watts will we get into 60 Ohms (current LCD-2)?

x Watts / 40 Watts = 8 Ohms / 60 Ohms

Solving for x, we get 8 * 40 / 60 = 5.33 Watts (into 60 Ohms)

Quote:
Originally Posted by thegrobe

[snip]

The Audio-GD SA-31 puts out 10 watts @ 40 ohm (so what is that at the LCD's 50 ohm?) I don't know. Maybe 9 watts? Plenty, anyway.

[snip]

For an amp rated at 10 Watts into 40 Ohms, how many Watts will we get into 50 Ohms (LCD-2 rev.1)?

x Watts / 10 Watts = 40 Ohms / 50 Ohms

Solving for x, we get 40 * 10 / 50 = 8 Watts (into 50 Ohms)

---

For an amp rated at 10 Watts into 40 Ohms, how many Watts will we get into 60 Ohms (current LCD-2)?

x Watts / 10 Watts = 40 Ohms / 60 Ohms

Solving for x, we get 40 * 10 / 60 = 6.67 Watts (into 60 Ohms)

Audeze specifications say that the LCD-2 can handle up to 15 Watts, so amps rated any higher than 94 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms should be avoided for the earlier 50-Ohm LCD-2, and any amps rated higher than 113 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms should be avoided for the newer 60-Ohm LCD-2.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md

Audeze specifications say that the LCD-2 can handle up to 15 Watts, so amps rated any higher than 94 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms should be avoided for the earlier 50-Ohm LCD-2, and any amps rated higher than 113 Watts per channel into 8 Ohms should be avoided for the newer 60-Ohm LCD-2.

Mike

Cool..Thanks for sharing this useful information!

Hi thegrobe,

thegrobe's impressions of the Adio-GD SA31 with LCD-2 (vs. DACmini CX) (Click to show)

Quote:
Originally Posted by thegrobe

I have had the Audio-GD SA-31 here for a week, using the DACmini CX (1ohm) > SA-31 > LCD-2.2. I am pretty satisfied with this setup. The DACmini/LCD-2 combo is supposedly nearly a perfect match (from what I've read from several on here) so I was not really expecting to get any kind of improvement. My expectations were low. Before you read on, be aware that I have not used any other amps with the LCD so I don't have any comparisons with the names that always pop up on this thread. Just my portable amp, Leckerton UHA 6S-MKII, and the DACmini all-in-one.

With the DACmini feeding the LCD, the sound is really good. However I couldn't help but feel that I wanted to try an amp with some more wattage behind it to see if I could bring a bit more out of the LCD. Direct out of the DACmini, my issue is wishing for a bit more bass presence. And I also feel the sound of the combo is the best when the headphones are driven at a bit higher volume, and when you go just a bit past that I can feel the amp section is straining just a bit. Bass gets a bit looser, highs a little more harsh. (very very minor amounts) So my sweet spot with that setup is just near the cusp of pushing the amp sections ability. Probably a little room for improvement.

The Audio-GD SA-31 puts out 10 watts @ 40 ohm (so what is that at the LCD's 50 ohm?) I don't know. Maybe 9 watts? Plenty, anyway. Diamond differential design. There are 3 adjustable "warmth" settings that can be set with internal jumpers. "0", "Warm 1" and "Warm 2". This amp, while having the description of "musical flavor" and "warmth settings"...well, don't let that fool you into thinking it will be a muddy mess with the LCD. Quite the opposite.

This amp pumps out gobs of clear goodness and the warmth seems to be affecting harmonics and space more so than primary notes. Compared to direct out of the DACmini, it is actually cleaner and more detailed. Adding the jumpers to the "warm 1" setting gives more depth to the space and a wonderful lifelike sensation while not affecting the clarity whatsoever. I hate to use this term, buuuuuttt..."3D" works here. That's the difference. "warm 2" is just on the cusp of affecting details a bit. Bass/ headspace gets bigger and deeper...still perfectly suitable for the LCD. I settled on "warm 1" for now. Best of both worlds. I have read on some posts describing the Audio-GD amps darkness or warmth as "Kingwa dark". Whatever that guy is doing, he is doing it right. My biggest fear was that this amp would be too dark or warm for the LCD. Not an issue.

Drawbacks? I wish it had a volume knob rather than buttons. But it was a design choice for sound quality reasons. Also, I need to now invest in some good RCA interconnects, since it's not one box anymore . (I'm using kind of cruddy ones now) Also the blue display lights are way too bright, but a touch of window tint fixed that. My wife says it's ugly. But she says that about everything audio related.

Anyway, just initial impressions. This amp gives you all juice you need for the LCD-2 without breaking a sweat. The real surprise here is the added warmth and soundstage without affecting clarity at all. This reminds me of some of my favorite gear, Heir Audio 8.A and the LCD-2. They can be warm, and fun, but serving up details as well. Speaking of which, the amp has no issue driving sensitive custom IEM's as well. Switch it to low gain and you're good. The DACmini is just too strong for my Heir 4.A's (the 8.A's are okay). I had to run the DACMini to my UHA amp to use it with the 4.A's. I can plug those right into the SA-31 and get good results.

Is it worth adding a \$500 amp to the DACmini for the improvement? well that's up to you. Everybody has done stupider things! ha ha. I really would love to be able to try some other amps in this price range or some of the other gear discussed on this thread to see how the SA-31 compares.

And yes, I agree with the comments about the LCD-2 being able to be enjoyed from just about any source. I have tried the LCD-2 direct from an iPod touch 5G, Clip Zip, and Ipod classic 7G and it's not the worst thing in the world! (prepare for some funny looks if you have a clip zip dangling off the end of your LCD cable) LOL. However, upping the sources and amping brings more out of the cans for sure.

I very much enjoyed reading your post regarding the SA-31, and I've just finished reading Audio-GD's page.  Very tempting.  I for one, don't want to go any darker than what I hear with the DACmini CX (1-Ohm) to LCD-2 rev.1, but I would very much like more to hear the LCD-2 with more power.

Here's an equally compelling testimony you might find interesting - yet another way to spend \$500:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/629352/he-500-lcd2-d5000-dt770-sr80-on-a-speaker-amp-emotiva-mini-x-a-100-project/1005#post_9328545

Mike

@zilch

Repped post. Cheers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman

What's that??

Sorry, misspelling!

It's the Gilmore GS-X Mk2, an upgrade from the well, known, well-loved but alas discontinued GS model by Headamp.

Cheers,

ST
Quote:
Originally Posted by AManAnd88Keys

I don't want to go off topic, but the Silver Poison and Silver Widow are both Silver+Gold cables.

True, but the difference in the gauge of the wires and more important, the construction--the Litz has much higher surface areas for each wire and a geometric arrangement of the wire (the twisting) to give each tiny wire the same time on the inside and outside of the bundle--changes the balance of high- to low-frequencies and perhaps other thing as well. The Silver Poison and Silver Widow sound noticeably different.

ST
Quote:

I somewhat agree with this point of view, however, the LCD-2 won't put back what isn't there.  So a bright amp that's starved for harmonic texture won't sound all that great.

While I agree with you that a bright amp will sound bright with the LCD-2 and that the LCD-2 cannot reproduce what wasn't there to begin with, I would suggest that the LCD-2 itself is not a neutral transducer, far from it. While their colorations are euphonic to many (not all) Head-Fiers, other find them far from being neutral.

So if the objective is to have a sound as free from colorations as possible, the challenge is then to select cables and amps that will minimize the LCD-2 colorations (dark sound, restricted soundstage, dominant mid-bass...) while retaining the LCD-2 strength.

My preference has always been toward musical and also neutral (though not sterile) sound. With the LCD-2 (and to a less extend the LCD-3), that is usually a lot of work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time

While I agree with you that a bright amp will sound bright with the LCD-2 and that the LCD-2 cannot reproduce what wasn't there to begin with, I would suggest that the LCD-2 itself is not a neutral transducer, far from it. While their colorations are euphonic to many (not all) Head-Fiers, other find them far from being neutral.

So if the objective is to have a sound as free from colorations as possible, the challenge is then to select cables and amps that will minimize the LCD-2 colorations (dark sound, restricted soundstage, dominant mid-bass...) while retaining the LCD-2 strength.

My preference has always been toward musical and also neutral (though not sterile) sound. With the LCD-2 (and to a less extend the LCD-3), that is usually a lot of work.

I'm fascinated by your post, Justin, as I'm one of those people who loves the way the LCD-2 rev.1 sounds when connected to a very neutral DAC and amp (the DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod) in combination with Toxic Cables' Silver Poison.  To my ears, my tastes, the colorations of the LCD-2 are "perfect," but I'm willing to admit that I've probably just adapted my hearing to crave this sound - that I could, in time, reform my tastes, were I forced to do so.

Meanwhile, your talk of how hard it is to make the LCD-2 more neutral, is inversely analogous to what I've been trying to achieve for about six months now - making my Beyerdynamic T1 sound more like my LCD-2 rev.1.  And yes, it's "a lot of work."  I've been moving slowly, but I'm currently using a Decware ZSTAGE (single-tube gain stage) inserted ahead of a Burson Soloist - which adds a wee bit of warmth on its own, but which is actually less dynamic and more laid back (as in fourth-row seating) than the DACmini CX 1-Ohm version, believe it or not.

I'm rolling tubes in the amazingly transparent ZSTAGE, but as yet, I've not found a 12AU7 or 12AT7 that can give the T1 the warm mids and bass signature of the LCD-2.  I would dearly love to achieve that with the T1, while retaining the T1's transparency, speed, resolution and sound stage.  Attempts at using digital EQ to reshape the T1 have been very unappealing.  I think I'm going to end up going to a tube amp, if I don't throw in the towel and sell the T1, first.

Until then, when I'm not experimenting, I use the DACmini CX (1-Ohm mod) > Silver Poison > LCD-2 rev.1 as my favorite combination for just enjoying my music.  For the LCD-2 rev.1, I prefer the more forward, punchy, more neutral, and ever so slightly etched DACmini CX 1-Ohm over the Burson Soloist.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md

Meanwhile, your talk of how hard it is to make the LCD-2 more neutral, is inversely analogous to what I've been trying to achieve for about six months now - making my Beyerdynamic T1 sound more like my LCD-2 rev.1.  And yes, it's "a lot of work."  I've been moving slowly, but I'm currently using a Decware ZSTAGE (single-tube gain stage) inserted ahead of a Burson Soloist - which adds a wee bit of warmth on its own, but which is actually less dynamic and more laid back (as in fourth-row seating) than the DACmini CX 1-Ohm version, believe it or not.

Mike

Oh, making the T1 to sound like the LCD-2 is very difficult.

My guess is that you should look for am amp with good upper bass, lush but in you face midrange and somewhat rolled-off treble: tube! Not tube hybrid but tube. You have 7 tubes to roll!!!

I think the Eddie Current Super 7 may just do the job. You can use a Sylvania GTB for driver tube. For other tube, you could use a pair of KR for enhanced mid bass, a pair VT231 for lush midrange and then try a pair of other tube for final shaping.

The RWA Corvina, Cavalli LF and Peak Volvaco have too much treble energy for the T1 to sou=nd like the LCD-2.

Just a thought.

ST

PS: I sold my T1 so I cannot try these combo for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md

Hi thegrobe,

I very much enjoyed reading your post regarding the SA-31, and I've just finished reading Audio-GD's page.  Very tempting.  I for one, don't want to go any darker than what I hear with the DACmini CX (1-Ohm) to LCD-2 rev.1, but I would very much like more to hear the LCD-2 with more power.

Here's an equally compelling testimony you might find interesting - yet another way to spend \$500:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/629352/he-500-lcd2-d5000-dt770-sr80-on-a-speaker-amp-emotiva-mini-x-a-100-project/1005#post_9328545

Mike

Hi Mike,

I have read with interest that thread about the Mini-X A-100, and was considering the A-100 for this "brute power" experiment of mine. Somehow I missed the post regarding the Millenia (maybe I glossed over some of the 70-odd pages Ha ha) That does seem like another interesting way to go about things. I actually decided against the A-100/speaker amp direction for the following reasons: ..1) Lack of ability to use with CIEM's..(and just not as versatile overall) 2) Need to make/invest in cable which drives the price up/value down. and 3) While I'm sure it's a great solution, I had nagging feeling that maybe this wouldn't be the greatest SQ, I heard some users mention hiss. And that is a no-go for me. Let's face it the price is almost too good to be true something was scaring me off. But that's probably just me being dumb so let's scratch that last one.

But anyway, the Millenia may be a better overall quality unit so actually if I went the speaker amp route that would knock out my #3 worries. As long as hiss/hum wasn't an issue  So in the end I decided to just spend a bit more and pick up the SA-31. I wanted finesse and brute juice. I'm glad I did.

Back to the SA-31. ..The way I have my setup, the DACmini on it's own is actually darker than the DACmini>SA-31 "warm 1" so if that eases any worries about things getting darker. Let me give you my thoughts on what i'm going for so you know where I'm coming from.

I am not trying hard for any kind of neutral or "reference" sound or whatever anyone may wish to call it. What I am trying to get is something that just sounds natural and engaging to me. So if that's warmer or not "correct" I'm not too worried. But my preference is pretty even and balanced (no boosted treble, bass, etc) just a little warmth I guess. Maybe not exactly the same thing you are shooting for. Also I note you are using the rev.1 so I'm not sure how all this translates. But I'm sure most of it does.

With that said, I do use a bit of EQ on the LCD-2, and it is basically just to even out the little peaks and dips that can be found on the included graph. A couple db up or down, precisely targeted just to give that 1k and higher range a smooth response. I also add about 2.5 db low shelf at 45 db because my LCD graph has a dip there. So my EQ'ing is basically to get a very flat response. Edit : I've learned later int his thread that EQ can harm my sound, so now I'm experimenting without EQ. There are benefits to using it, and not using it, I suppose. I also use TB Isone as a crossfeed. I find this gives me a more natural, non-fatiguing experience and I have the settings to where I'm not losing any appreciable detail or affecting the tone.

So there you go, I'm all for a bit of EQ and crossfeed to make things cohesive. So shoot me.

Aaaaaaaand back to the SA-31...(sorry I go on tangents) The SA-31 is actually less dark than the DACmini. It won't be darker than you hear. In the next couple days, I will switch to the "warm 2" settings and give it a few days listen again. And compare to the DACmini. But as things stand, with "warm 1" engaged. The difference is more space "headspace, soundstage?" and more sparkle and air to the whole feeling. Really nice the way there is more clarity than the DACmini amp section, and as I said, the warmth is more of a harmonic and space sensation that is completely natural. I'm trying to be as objective as possible  - but really I had no expectation for improvement but this is an improvement (to me) I really don't find a whole lot of change in the bass presence in "warm 1" but better control. I briefly had "warm 2" when I first got the amp and I recall it adding a bit more bass presence - I'll double check that in a few days. I suspect maybe the DACmini DAC section itself is a bit thin in bass? Perhaps that is why I don't find a huge change in that regard with a different amp? EDIT: and of course, I want to add, that these differences I notice are of course, the last 5-10% difference that we are always shooting for. Not night-n-day stuff.

Unfortunately I'm now interested in trying the matching SA-1 or SA-2 DAC!

Enough from me for now.

There are a couple SA-31 for sale in the classifieds.....

Edited by thegrobe - 5/30/13 at 9:20am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time

While I agree with you that a bright amp will sound bright with the LCD-2 and that the LCD-2 cannot reproduce what wasn't there to begin with, I would suggest that the LCD-2 itself is not a neutral transducer, far from it. While their colorations are euphonic to many (not all) Head-Fiers, other find them far from being neutral.

So if the objective is to have a sound as free from colorations as possible, the challenge is then to select cables and amps that will minimize the LCD-2 colorations (dark sound, restricted soundstage, dominant mid-bass...) while retaining the LCD-2 strength.

My preference has always been toward musical and also neutral (though not sterile) sound. With the LCD-2 (and to a less extend the LCD-3), that is usually a lot of work.

I'm not sure that I agree that the objective is to have sound as free from colorations as possible either.  I think the objective is to recreate a musical event inside your head.  Your ears are interpreting a wave of sonic information, and your brain is filling in the blanks.  So much of what happens is idiosyncratic to the individual.  You are building an illusion, but the "reality" of that illusion can be enhanced by absence of noise, reduced distortion, a broader set of frequencies at their correct respective levels, and full harmonic dimensionality delivered on time.

Some of these things can be measured, but the correlation between measurement and interpretation is pretty rough.  Nevertheless, at the end of the day it is all still an illusion.  Listening to live events, and then listening via headphones to the recording of that same event (even when such recordings are done with outstanding precision) shows us how far from "real" we still are.  The absolute best technology we have today is still a long way from perfect.  And it's hard to say for sure what is "best" when so much of what's going on is based on internal processing by the brain.

So we're in the world of building illusions.  An example.  My sister is a concert flutist.  She played first flute for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, was piccolo and flute player at the Metropolitan Opera, and has played in a variety of other orchestras.  She can listen to an absolutely crap recording on poor equipment and get full enjoyment of a musical piece, because she is exceptionally good at recreating the musical event in her head.  She listens to scratchy mono recordings of concert performances of the 1930's and 1940's, long before high-fidelity was beginning to be achieved (in terms of measured performance).  We were sharing a recording of Bizet's L'Arlesienne suite from 1951.  I found it thin and a bit boring, but she was captivated.  She was hearing deep into the recording and listening to the interpretation of the score.  She had the full orchestra playing in here head, while I had noise in mine.

I do know that I feel the LCD-2 gets cello's right.  I listen to a lot of cello music.  Frankly, I've never heard HD-800's deliver as convincing illusion of a cello concerto as I have with the LCD-2.  But that's based on how my brain processes the aural signals I get through my recording chain.  Perhaps my brain could be re-trained to do the same thing with a different set of cans.  But the LCD-2's get it right for me, and give me terrific enjoyment.  It doesn't mean they are perfect, by any means.  But NOTHING is perfect.  Fiddling with cables, parametric equalizers or balancing the sound signature with complementary products might improve your ability to be drawn into the music, and give you more enjoyment.  But if you can't use the resulting sound to build the illusion of the event in your head, it's not worth doing any of this stuff.  It's like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

I'm not at all sure whether neutral helps or hurts the ability to create the illusion of real music.  I know it's very hard to achieve, and many people spend wild sums to do so.  But for me, it's all about the music, so when I get that working I lose interest in fussing around with equipment.

Just my \$.02

Thanks for the very specific recommendation ST, including which tubes to try!   I appreciate your input.

I can't help but notice that the highlighted traits, below, describe the LCD-2 perfectly!     That's indeed what I need for the T1.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time

Oh, making the T1 to sound like the LCD-2 is very difficult.

My guess is that you should look for am amp with good upper bass, lush but in you face midrange and somewhat rolled-off treble: tube!  Not tube hybrid but tube. You have 7 tubes to roll!!!

I think the Eddie Current Super 7 may just do the job. You can use a Sylvania GTB for driver tube. For other tube, you could use a pair of KR for enhanced mid bass, a pair VT231 for lush midrange and then try a pair of other tube for final shaping.

The RWA Corvina, Cavalli LF and Peak Volvaco have too much treble energy for the T1 to sou=nd like the LCD-2.

Just a thought.

ST

PS: I sold my T1 so I cannot try these combo for you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DemonFox

That makes me hopeful. I have a Burson HA-160DS that will be here hopefully by weeks end or early next week. Basically its just a smaller 160D without the pre-amp and extra inputs that I have zero use for anyway. So far I've read that the amp section is quite good and pack all kinds of punch but the DAC is still above average but not on par with the amp section. Either way both will be huge upgrades to what I have right now. So I'm smiling either way :)

Having the 160D, I can confirm that you're right on the money, the DAC section isn't as good as the amp section (sounds a bit thin in comparison)...

Congrats on getting the 160DS, I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do :D

Has anyone here ever tried pairing LCD-2 with hifiman HM-801 using balanced amp module?

How does that portable setup fare with the current desktop offering?

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