Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › HD-800 amp discussion
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HD-800 amp discussion

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 

I figured I should start a new thread for discussing amp options for the HD-800s, more for everyone else's benefit than mine.  

 

I've had the fortune to be able to try the HD-800s with a few different amps: The Audio-gd Phoenix, which has been my main amp for a while now, the Audiovalve RKV Mark II tube amp, the Luxman P-1 and a couple of others.  What most impressed me was how nicely the HD-800s go with the latter amps, being that they are slightly more coloured, the Audiovalve being warm-of-neutral (it did have, in its weird circuit, OPA627s, however, which were probably responsible for that) and the Luxman being a bit closer to neutral, though with a punch bass and overall clarity that makes most headphones sound very good.  The cheaper Elekit kit amp was similar in this manner.  I had taken a guess from the start that a big tube amp would be the go with the HD-800s and am happy to say I once I got around to owning or testing with tube amps I felt I was right.  This is not to say I didn't enjoy them with the Phoenix, as my balanced rig really has a tremendously wide headstage (and soundstage used with speakers, even using the single-ended pre-amp outputs) and is absolutely smooth without having to resort to a rolled-off treble to do it, and for maximum resolution, I haven't bested it, so far, but dead-neutral is probably not to everyone's tastes with them.

 

There were some very positive impressions from the Canjam 2010 thread about the Apex Peak (and Volcano) and Pinnacle, the former of which would have tempted me had it been balanced and not just single-ended.

post #2 of 94

So far it is working very well with the HA-160; then again, I haven't tried the notorious CS300X, P-1µ or ZDT, which I think would be the best options to move to from the point I am at now.

post #3 of 94

I have them with the DHC Complement cable and using them with the Rudistor RP010B MkII in balanced mode and with the WA5-LE in single ended mode. They sound terrific with both amplifiers. To me the HD800 are the best ones emulating the sound of speakers with headphones. They might not have the impactful bass of the T1 in the WA5-LE (which might be the best match) but the bass is there and very deep. The sound with the RP010B is faster, precise and dynamic while with the WA5-LE is more musical and airy.

Both are aswome and obviusly can live with either one.

post #4 of 94

RSA Apache balanced to my HD800s via Twisted Cables.  Very open soundstage, very neutral across the spectrum.

post #5 of 94

At the moment I am using my HD800's with a Cary SLI-80 Signature F1 Triode only version and they sound amazing...

post #6 of 94

Talking about tube amps, has anyone compared the DNA Sonett with the Zana Deux with the 800? I'm asking because I'm considering purchasing a tube setup, and I've seen those two options being highly recommended for the 800, but the DNA is significantly "cheaper", but the Zana's fame is undeniable.


Edited by Roger Strummer - 9/21/10 at 7:54pm
post #7 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Strummer View Post

Talking about tube amps, has anyone compared the DNA Sonett with the Zana Deux with the 800? I'm asking because I'm considering purchasing a tube setup, and I've seen those two options being highly recommended for the 800, but the DNA is significantly "cheaper", but the Zana's fame is undeniable.


 

Sure.  I have raised the level of my Sonett with cryo'd 6H30-DR and Mullard 5AR4 tubes, and it sounds pretty fantastic.  Real natural timbre, excellent imaging and pace, and presence, something that's hard to find - by that I mean when I close my eyes, I can feel and see the performers of acoustic chamber and vocal music right in front of me.  My Rudistor RP010BmkII has amazing presence, and with the LA7000s I love it -- I get lots of magical moments where the music just hits me emotionally. With the HD800s using a Moon Audio Silver Dragon V3 balanced cable, I hear the same natural balance and almost as much presence from the cryo'd Sonett as I do from the RP010B.

 

But using either cans, and in back-to-back comparisons or running for days trials, the ZD SE just doesn't do it for me.  No presence.  Clear, transparent, detail, black bottom, incredible dynamics, but it never feels like I'm there.  That requires microdetail, yes, but most importantly, IMHO, a completely natural timbre so that my mind can transport me there without any effort.  To my ears, the ZD doesn't do that.  Not with the HD800s or with the LA7000s, T1s, DT880/600s, HD600s, and so on.

 

My two cents.  The cryo'd Sonett is pretty remarkable, IMHO.

 


 

post #8 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post




 

Sure.  I have raised the level of my Sonett with cryo'd 6H30-DR and Mullard 5AR4 tubes, and it sounds pretty fantastic.  Real natural timbre, excellent imaging and pace, and presence, something that's hard to find - by that I mean when I close my eyes, I can feel and see the performers of acoustic chamber and vocal music right in front of me.  My Rudistor RP010BmkII has amazing presence, and with the LA7000s I love it -- I get lots of magical moments where the music just hits me emotionally. With the HD800s using a Moon Audio Silver Dragon V3 balanced cable, I hear the same natural balance and almost as much presence from the cryo'd Sonett as I do from the RP010B.

 

But using either cans, and in back-to-back comparisons or running for days trials, the ZD SE just doesn't do it for me.  No presence.  Clear, transparent, detail, black bottom, incredible dynamics, but it never feels like I'm there.  That requires microdetail, yes, but most importantly, IMHO, a completely natural timbre so that my mind can transport me there without any effort.  To my ears, the ZD doesn't do that.  Not with the HD800s or with the LA7000s, T1s, DT880/600s, HD600s, and so on.

 

My two cents.  The cryo'd Sonett is pretty remarkable, IMHO.

 


 


Thanks a lot, considering how I love blue things... that Sonett gets more tempting every minute!

post #9 of 94

I hope you can find some of the upgrade tubes for it if you do decide to get one for your HD800s.


Edited by budx3385 - 9/24/10 at 7:08pm
post #10 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Strummer View Post




Thanks a lot, considering how I love blue things... that Sonett gets more tempting every minute!





Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post




 

Sure.  I have raised the level of my Sonett with cryo'd 6H30-DR and Mullard 5AR4 tubes, and it sounds pretty fantastic.  Real natural timbre, excellent imaging and pace, and presence, something that's hard to find - by that I mean when I close my eyes, I can feel and see the performers of acoustic chamber and vocal music right in front of me.  My Rudistor RP010BmkII has amazing presence, and with the LA7000s I love it -- I get lots of magical moments where the music just hits me emotionally. With the HD800s using a Moon Audio Silver Dragon V3 balanced cable, I hear the same natural balance and almost as much presence from the cryo'd Sonett as I do from the RP010B.

 

But using either cans, and in back-to-back comparisons or running for days trials, the ZD SE just doesn't do it for me.  No presence.  Clear, transparent, detail, black bottom, incredible dynamics, but it never feels like I'm there.  That requires microdetail, yes, but most importantly, IMHO, a completely natural timbre so that my mind can transport me there without any effort.  To my ears, the ZD doesn't do that.  Not with the HD800s or with the LA7000s, T1s, DT880/600s, HD600s, and so on.

 

My two cents.  The cryo'd Sonett is pretty remarkable, IMHO.

 


 


 Go for the Sonett,Roger, it blew my Singlepower Supra out of the water(imho) with the HD800 for the reason that budx describes. The microdetail that just makes me forget that I'm listening to a recording and a completely natural timbre just makes it hard to beat. I've had a few amps over the years and none have touched the soul of the music like the Sonett HD800 combo, and the price,$1200 for paradise, pretty cheap. Oh yeah, and its  blue. 

Currently, I'm using a Mullard GZ34 from 1965 and a stock 6h30.
 

post #11 of 94
As I wrote in another thread, an amp in the same class as the WA5 and Leben300 mentioned here but less known here on HF would be the Luxman SQ-N100. It's my amp of choice for listening classical with the HD800.


Here's a nice review: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/luxman3/100.html


I have the P1-u as well and though I agree it matches nicely with the HD800 the SQ-N100 is an improvement to it for amping the HD800.
Edited by AppleheadMay - 9/25/10 at 6:52am
post #12 of 94

the RSA B-52 and HR Balanced Max are probably still the best i have heard the HD800.

post #13 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by vcoheda View Post

the RSA B-52 and HR Balanced Max are probably still the best i have heard the HD800.


OFF TOPIC

But...

How's the LCD-2 on you HR rig?

post #14 of 94


Really? Is it a matter of synergy or just better period (as in dynamic range, sounstage etc.)? I hope it's not the latter.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleheadMay View Post

I have the P1-u as well and though I agree it matches nicely with the HD800 the SQ-N100 is an improvement to it for amping the HD800.
post #15 of 94


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by budx3385 View Post

I hope you can find some of the upgrade tubes for it if you do decide to get one for your HD800s.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by P+D-MI View Post


 Go for the Sonett,Roger, it blew my Singlepower Supra out of the water(imho) with the HD800 for the reason that budx describes. The microdetail that just makes me forget that I'm listening to a recording and a completely natural timbre just makes it hard to beat. I've had a few amps over the years and none have touched the soul of the music like the Sonett HD800 combo, and the price,$1200 for paradise, pretty cheap. Oh yeah, and its  blue. 

Currently, I'm using a Mullard GZ34 from 1965 and a stock 6h30.
 


Thanks for the suggestion, I've pretty much made my mind and will get a Sonett as soon as I can (which unfortunately won't be this year ). It seems like a very good value (considering we are already talking about high end gear), since the price difference between it and the Zana goes a long way towards a Beta22, so I might end up with both a great SS and great tube dynamic rigs!

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 › HD-800 amp discussion