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Solid State Vet Wants To Try Tubes For The HD 800 and T1!!

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 

Hey Guys,

 

I am extremely happy with my phoenix and ref - 7 combo.. the SQ is out of this world.

 

My HD 800 and LCD-2 both sing like no other on it.

 

however, I am very enticed at the idea of warming up the HD 800 or adding some romance and having a good match for a potential T1. When all you have is dead neutral accuracy (to my ears) sometimes you want a little colour for a change.

 

The only thing is I am really spoiled by the phoenix... as one of the top 2 SS designs in my books (B22 being the other)... it thumps and thuds, the soundstage is huge and accuracy/tonally is perfect. It really is a phenomenal amp in every way.

 

So, I would like the tube amp to be "romantic" "lush" "organic" but not TOO much... I want to keep things hi-fi but with a bit of colouration. Enough colouration for satisfaction, but not so much it gets syrupy and annoying or very genre dependent.

 

IF the amp can do the LCD-2 and D7000 - all the better, but really I am looking for synergy with the HD 800 and T1. So transformer coupled sounds great, but really I want synergy.

 

My budget right now is probably around 1000$

 

 

I am considering the following

 

- Decware CSP-2

 

- Woo Audio 6 (SE)

 

- MAD ear HD super II

 

-Schiit Valhalla

 

I have looked at some LD and DV and LF amps but none seem to entice me. I do not need balanced for tubes, and they just are not cheap enough to have me feeling like I got a bargain... not to mention most use negative feedback and I do not want my new amp to have this as it is one of the main reasons I believe my Phoenix to sound so amazing... none of my older amps were NFB less.

 

 

 

Right now I am leaning towards the MAD EAR because I have heard it and with the DT 990 and T1 it sounded amazing... it is made locally too. Of the "high quality" ones it is the cheapest when you factor in taxes and shipping.

 

The CSP-2 looks great too and I have it on very good authority it is an excellent amp but it would not drive my D7000 and arguably my LCD-2 that well

 

For whatever reason I have a bias against woo amps. They look sexy and there are plenty happy owners out there on head-fi, but I can't help but shake the feeling more money then I would like is being spent on the chassis rather than the sonics. Don't get me wrong, I like good looks... but I am also a student and I am not in this for the luxuriousness... I am in it for the sound only. The WA6 would probably drive everything, but it is said not to have much tube romance and it does not seem that powerful as an amp...

 

The valhalla is most probably the worst of the bunch and doesn't seem to have much of the romance I am after, but it does not have negative feedback... and the price is nice :P. For an introduction it might serve well.

 

 

any other suggestions are welcome... and impressions very much so! Any help at all is appreciated!

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 102

Another option might be to feed your Phoenix a tubed Dac.

 

Since you are looking in the 1k range why not the Balanced version of the Mdht Havana.

 


Edited by Dynobot - 12/22/10 at 6:58am
post #3 of 102

Based on what I've heard with the four phones you list, I think the MAD could be your #1.  Fine sound, and IMO 12AX7/EL84 circuits are great for tube rolling.  You can pretty much dial in whatever level of lush you want, all the way from none to lots and back again.

post #4 of 102

DNA Sonett?

post #5 of 102

second hand singlepower MPX3 or Woo 2 would be my bet.

post #6 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSpenkelink View Post

DNA Sonett?



I like that suggestion actually I will have to read up on it again. From what I recall the impressions were generally extremely favourable.

 

At this point though, unless its a super deal, having it cross the border into Canada makes it all the more expensive even if there is parity between the dollars (almost).

post #7 of 102
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynobot View Post

Another option might be to feed your Phoenix a tubed Dac.

 

Since you are looking in the 1k range why not the Balanced version of the Mdht Havana.

 



thanks for the input.

 

Not a bad idea and I might just go that route but I do figure that the Ref - 7 feeding a tube amp would be the highest SQ available while still sounding tubey because the source is "pure"

 

But maybe tube dac + ss amp and tube amp + ss amp turns out to be the same thing in the end. The tube amp does offer me more flexibility with CDP to use as a secondary system though.

 

with  a tube dac I have to haul the phoenix around everywhere.

post #8 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

second hand singlepower MPX3 or Woo 2 would be my bet.



hrm well the woo2 is doo able and not a bad idea, but aren't many SP amps hand grenades in effect.

post #9 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post

Based on what I've heard with the four phones you list, I think the MAD could be your #1.  Fine sound, and IMO 12AX7/EL84 circuits are great for tube rolling.  You can pretty much dial in whatever level of lush you want, all the way from none to lots and back again.



if I can go from super tubey to not very tubey in the same amp circuit this is indeed a very big positive... TY for the input.

post #10 of 102

I´m in the same boat... Never tried any tube products, but I´m interested in what the whole "high end neutral source into tube amp harmonic distortion" is all about. My hypothesis is also that it´ll fix the flaws in dynamic headphones (the LCD-2 don´t have the same need imo), making the treble feel smooth even though the spike is still there. 

 

Added a cheap Beyerdynamic DT 880 edition 2005 to my collection recently, and would like to pair it with some tube gear as a test. 

 

By the way, this one should fit with your budget too: http://www.trafomaticaudio.com/experience_head_one.php

 

The guy I sold my Little Dot CD transport to said he had one and was really enthusiastic about it. He said it makes everything so smooth that you can raise the volume without getting the usual fatigue (sounds pretty much exactly what my hypothesis is about). It was also his first tube amp!

post #11 of 102

Another vote for the Woo WA2.  Just spectacular with the T1, and while I have not heard it with the HD800, the WA2 is one of the best tube amps for high impedance headphones that you can get at the $1K price range, for sure.  Definitely better to get a WA2 for HD800 and T1 IMHO than a WA6.  WA6/6SE become the better choice for low impedance cans.

post #12 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

Another vote for the Woo WA2.  Just spectacular with the T1, and while I have not heard it with the HD800, the WA2 is one of the best tube amps for high impedance headphones that you can get at the $1K price range, for sure.  Definitely better to get a WA2 for HD800 and T1 IMHO than a WA6.  WA6/6SE become the better choice for low impedance cans.


 

WA2 sure does look sexy.

 

Have you heard the MAD ear or did you not bother because you are not a fan of the EL84 tube?

 

Guess I will have to keep an eye on the FS forums.

post #13 of 102

I say go with the MAD and support a Canadian company biggrin.gif I'm also a really big fan of Bottlehead stuff; maybe try a upgraded S.E.X. amp. (I just upgraded my Crack amp and it is fantastic, but it wouldn't have enough power for the LCD-2).

post #14 of 102
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

I say go with the MAD and support a Canadian company biggrin.gif I'm also a really big fan of Bottlehead stuff; maybe try a upgraded S.E.X. amp. (I just upgraded my Crack amp and it is fantastic, but it wouldn't have enough power for the LCD-2).



Would love to support the fellow Canadian...

 

I also love he does not go ON AND ON about BS the way Steve Deckert does... and when emailing jack he doesn't really give much technical information (actually none) and just gave me audiophile terminology which is entirely usless. Lloyd does not seem partake in this and that alone makes me a fan.

 

Not to mention it seems like it will drive all the headphones I have... and the DT 990/ 600 and the T1 sounded absolutely magical on it...

 

I just want to try and get exactly what I want for the money because I am tried of losing money in to shipping and customs constantly swapping gear.. I would like to be able to buy a tube amp and have it stay for a while.

 

But the MAD definitely looks more and more enticing..

post #15 of 102
I was also going to recommend the Sonett. I've really enjoyed the listens I've had on that amp. I haven't tried it with a T1, but the HD-800 was great.
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