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My Review of the Apex Pinnacle (and comparison to the 307a) - Page 3

post #31 of 96

You're not alone there. The 307A was absolutely gorgeous and very unique. Pinnacle, less of a fan.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
But I do want to say.....Many people didn't adore the looks of the 307a.  For me, that is a better looking amp even more so than the Pinnacle.
post #32 of 96

The wood panels were pretty awesome in a throwback kind of way.  But I'd assume an all metal housing like the Pinnacle would dissipate heat more evenly.  I love both.

post #33 of 96

In reference to the RSA B52 comparison, I owned that amplifier and sold it after comparing it to the 307A.  The B52 is warm and lush, but lacked the detail and clarity that the 307A provided.

 

With the Pinnacle, I found that there was more warmth than the 307A, yet all the detail was preserved.  Best of both worlds, I suppose.

 

I also liked the appearance of the 307A, and had many positive comments on it.  It certainly did look "hand built", meaning that in the best way possible.  Solid, simple, a bit industrial, and "tankish." 

 

I must also agree with DavidMahler about his priorities. Excellent quality, reliability, and customer service are extremely important.  I have found that if you have those three in a stereo component, outstanding sound quality is almost a given.

 

And Pete, thank you for chiming in on this and for making a tremendous product.

post #34 of 96

Yeah, I guess what I love about the B52 is the warmth. I think it may be a plus because a lot of top headphones today can have too much top energy (especially when coupled with most digital sources).

This seems to be the case with HD800s, T1s, and PS1000s, and even LCD-2s, which have little ringing in the upper mids if not driven with care.

The B52 seems to have a curative effect on all these phones, but I still don't feel like they are rolled off or blunted at all, and that is what I love about Ray's amp.

I guess this is a bit off topic, but I guess my feeling is that Ray's amp, long criticized for it's price, now looks like something of a bargain to me.

 

In my experience, the main determinant of detail is the digital source, less so the amp. My EMM player is extremely detailed, as opposed to my older Sony and Accuphase players,

and the detail of the EMM comes through loud and clear through the B52. In fact, the B52 is just as detailed as Rudistor's RP010B solid state amp. Maybe there can even be more detail and less coloration in other amps, but to me, that would lead to a ruthlessly revealing sound, or, for me, dreaded "accuracy."


Edited by rgs9200m - 12/9/10 at 9:45am
post #35 of 96
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rgs9200m View Post

Yeah, I guess what I love about the B52 is the warmth. I think it may be a plus because a lot of top headphones today can have too much top energy (especially when coupled with most digital sources).

This seems to be the case with HD800s, T1s, and PS1000s, and even LCD-2s, which have little ringing in the upper mids if not driven with care.

The B52 seems to have a curative effect on all these phones, but I still don't feel like they are rolled off or blunted at all, and that is what I love about Ray's amp.

I guess this is a bit off topic, but I guess my feeling is that Ray's amp, long criticized for it's price, now looks like something of a bargain to me.

 

In my experience, the main determinant of detail is the digital source, less so the amp. My EMM player is extremely detailed, as opposed to my older Sony and Accuphase players,

and the detail of the EMM comes through loud and clear through the B52. In fact, the B52 is just as detailed as Rudistor's RP010B solid state amp. Maybe there can even be more detail and less coloration in other amps, but to me, that would lead to a ruthlessly revealing sound, or, for me, dreaded "accuracy."


The B52 is certainly wonderful with the HD800 and T1.  For classic though I prefer more detail and less bass.

post #36 of 96
On a good day my collective audio gear has a value of almost 10k so I can see this happening for some of us.
post #37 of 96

I have only heard the Pinnacle, 307A, and B52 at meets, but I think the Millett amps are in a different league than the B52.  To me, the Millett amps just sound better, albeit over the limited amount of time I have spent with each of these amps

post #38 of 96

HI All,

 

A few points from me.

 

The Pinnacle was designed by Pete at my request. What I really wanted in my personal home system more than anything was to have the best headphone amp and the best preamp all wrapped up in one component (yes the power supply is in a separate enclosure). I wanted it to drive any headphone (other than electrostatic) I plugged into it AND to deliver audiophile sound via my speakers. I did not put a price restriction on Pete but told him to "go for it". And so he did!

 

The Pinnacle uses choice parts, is built in the USA, and is sold with a 30 day money back guarantee. I put my full stamp of approval on it from every aspect - from sound to looks. If it did not meet my personal expectations it would not have come to market. I was very pleased with it and still have a big grin on my face when I think of the first time I heard it.

 

I have let my personal Pinnacle out to a number of folks here at Head-Fi that were interested in the product. Now, that might not seem like a lot but I waited MY whole life to get this in MY system and for the last 3 months or more I have lived without it. And I miss it!

 

I do not expect to sell a large number of the Pinnacle. I do expect that when someone decides they want one that they will be as happy as I am with it.

 

So far everyone who has heard it has given me nothing but positive feedback.

 

And as for those of you who have voiced your opinion that the price is too high - try bringing out a top of the line product for yourself and you will quickly find that it isn't just the price of parts... which are expensive by themselves.

 

Look for reviews of the Pinnacle here at Head-Fi from members and upcoming from THE AUDIO BEAT and as a preamp from THE ABSOLUTE SOUND in the near future. And let's not forget what was said about it at CanJam in Chicago when we introduced it...   http://www.theaudiobeat.com/canjam2010/canjam2010_bos_apex.htm

 

 

Todd

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post #39 of 96

Todd and Pete, thanks for producing some great amps and supporting our hobby. is either the 307a or apex pinnacle amp quiet enough to use with super sensitive phones such as iems (for those who truly want just one dynamic can amp)? how does the apex pinnacle sound with 307a tubes, vs the px4s shown at canjam? would you recommend one over the other, or is more just a personal choice/flavor sort of thing? could you describe the differences between the 307a amp and the apex pinnacle. the 307a is a fantastic amp, and the new one costs considerably more than it's expensive predecessor. i'm sure i'm not the only one wondering what accounts for the price differential.

 

for those who would love something like this but cannot afford it you should look into the ttvj peak amp (either with or without the volcano ps). it'll give you a bunch of the performance of it's big brother at a much more affordable cost. the ttvj fet-a amp is also a terrific piece and costs half of what the peak (sans extra ps) costs. i'm not sure, but it may be upgradeable with the volcano ps. Todd and Pete could clarify that. perhaps they could also comment on the smaller amps and how they compare, in their view, with their fancier bretheren.

post #40 of 96

I'm a Peak/Volcano owner...and I find it is among the best of Headphone amps at it's price (it's my favorite). But with either the P/V or Pinnacle your not buying simply a "Headphone Amp". No, quite the contrary, you are investing in a corner-stone for all your current Audio needs and future Music journeys...your investing in stellar PRE-AMPS as well. Head-fiers focus narrowly on Headphones only...it's a big Audio World and the Pre-Amp plays a key role with critical focus!!

 

I was into typical (2) channel Audio long before headphones, this product makes sense........and in high-end terms, it punches above it's weight!

post #41 of 96

are any of the above mentioned amps (fet-a, 307a, peak, pinnacle/apex) capable of driving demanding, power hungry orthos such as the he6?

post #42 of 96

The Pinnacle and 307A both have an IEM setting on the selector switch. This allows an IEM to be plugged in and have more control of the volume - you will not reach loud levels as fast.

 

I have not tried the HE6 in any of the amps but I believe the Pinnacle and Peak can drive them with ease.

 

 

Todd

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post #43 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveDerek View Post

are any of the above mentioned amps (fet-a, 307a, peak, pinnacle/apex) capable of driving demanding, power hungry orthos such as the he6?



The 307a drives the HE-6 really really well, so I assume the Pinnacle does because I had the amp in my home.  I wouldn't know about the Peak but I'm sure Pete could confirm.

post #44 of 96

    Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
By contrast, Todd and Pete have created a very solid amp, which by the way doesn't come with a list of "upgrade possibilities".......Many honorable builders offer Upgrades for pay, but I'll tell you, even from the most honorable builder, this concept rubs me the wrong way.  For me it should be.....Build the amp one way, build it the best way or the most cost effective way and call it a day.  Don't confuse the consumer (and in some unfortunate cases like Single Power, rip the consumer off) with upgrades which should be either part of the amp's construction or just a different amp altogether.  I've calculated that in many cases, the list of upgrades is higher than the base price of the amp.  I don't like this and I am appreciative that Todd and Pete do not do this.  

I think this is the first issue I've disagreed with you own David. Let me plead the case for mods and upgrades: To me, one of the big problems of audio is synergy. You can read great reviews all day long, but those reviews don't guarantee that any equipment is going to mesh well with YOUR system. When you make components that have their own sound, you're essentially handcuffed to that sound. That's perfectly fine if you can find components that suit your tastes and needs, but it's less so if you have many needs or specific needs that aren't quite met with what's out there. What I love about the idea of mods/upgrades is the customization, the ability to build something  to perfectly suit your tastes and your system. In my system, I know that the Reimyo is on the warmer/musical side of the hi-fi spectrum, as are the L3Ks and R10s. That's why I needed the SDS-XLR to provide a lot of muscle, clarity, detail, etc. and that's what I got. All of the tuberolling options certainly help with this (the versatility of tuberolling is one aspect I love about tube amps in general).

 

But you're definitely correct in that you shouldn't invest in such things if you're dealing with someone disreputable who will charge you for the upgrades and then not even build them into the product. But when you're dealing with trustworthy people, the results can be superb. Back when I played guitar, one of the happiest I ever was was when I got a custom-wound set of pickups made by BareKnuckles, because they spent a lot of time with me on the phone going over the sound I was looking for, and I was amazed to finally try them and experience the sound I'd been hearing in my head. When you deal with a "fixed" product, it's always going to sound like itself, rather than the sound in your head. Not that that's always a bad or negative thing, and sometimes it can even surprise you and be better. But I still think there's something more satisfactory about knowing exactly what you want, and getting something to match what you want.

 

Of course, I'm in no way putting The Pinnacle down by saying this, but I do sometimes lament that there are no companies out there like Singlepower who are willing to do custom work, except do so with a trustworthy reputation. Of course, this whole point becomes moot if the Pinnacle is, indeed, the best (or amongst the best; which seems a near certainty) HP amp out there today.

post #45 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGhostWhoWalks View Post

    Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post
By contrast, Todd and Pete have created a very solid amp, which by the way doesn't come with a list of "upgrade possibilities".......Many honorable builders offer Upgrades for pay, but I'll tell you, even from the most honorable builder, this concept rubs me the wrong way.  For me it should be.....Build the amp one way, build it the best way or the most cost effective way and call it a day.  Don't confuse the consumer (and in some unfortunate cases like Single Power, rip the consumer off) with upgrades which should be either part of the amp's construction or just a different amp altogether.  I've calculated that in many cases, the list of upgrades is higher than the base price of the amp.  I don't like this and I am appreciative that Todd and Pete do not do this.  

I think this is the first issue I've disagreed with you own David. Let me plead the case for mods and upgrades: To me, one of the big problems of audio is synergy. You can read great reviews all day long, but those reviews don't guarantee that any equipment is going to mesh well with YOUR system. When you make components that have their own sound, you're essentially handcuffed to that sound. That's perfectly fine if you can find components that suit your tastes and needs, but it's less so if you have many needs or specific needs that aren't quite met with what's out there. What I love about the idea of mods/upgrades is the customization, the ability to build something  to perfectly suit your tastes and your system. In my system, I know that the Reimyo is on the warmer/musical side of the hi-fi spectrum, as are the L3Ks and R10s. That's why I needed the SDS-XLR to provide a lot of muscle, clarity, detail, etc. and that's what I got. All of the tuberolling options certainly help with this (the versatility of tuberolling is one aspect I love about tube amps in general).

 

But you're definitely correct in that you shouldn't invest in such things if you're dealing with someone disreputable who will charge you for the upgrades and then not even build them into the product. But when you're dealing with trustworthy people, the results can be superb. Back when I played guitar, one of the happiest I ever was was when I got a custom-wound set of pickups made by BareKnuckles, because they spent a lot of time with me on the phone going over the sound I was looking for, and I was amazed to finally try them and experience the sound I'd been hearing in my head. When you deal with a "fixed" product, it's always going to sound like itself, rather than the sound in your head. Not that that's always a bad or negative thing, and sometimes it can even surprise you and be better. But I still think there's something more satisfactory about knowing exactly what you want, and getting something to match what you want.

 

Of course, I'm in no way putting The Pinnacle down by saying this, but I do sometimes lament that there are no companies out there like Singlepower who are willing to do custom work, except do so with a trustworthy reputation. Of course, this whole point becomes moot if the Pinnacle is, indeed, the best (or amongst the best; which seems a near certainty) HP amp out there today.



There are many companies who do upgrade work and I'm sure most of them are ethical.  But I think it can be confusing to the consumer.  Sometimes I wish it would just be a different amp name or just an added letter to the original amp name.  I still get afraid some builders may take advantage of a customer's eagerness to have the best and willingness to pay for it by offering $5000 in upgrades which cost the builder maybe $200.  It's a concern I've had since Mikhail and while I believe the majority of the amp building community is sound, I rarely hear that upgrade prices match the upgrade from other builders.  Of course they want your business so you may need to use some discretion, but even still, upgrades are not preferable to me.  I still believe some companies who appear organized and have a solid reputation could one day convert me on this issue.  I have a feeling Woo Audio is an honorable company who offers upgrades based on what I've read.  There may be others, but it's a concern I will have until I learn from an experience which will negate the vibe which Mikhail gave me.  :-/

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