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New listening impressions of Stax C32 prototype and Shipping SR-009 - Page 48

post #706 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Well, indeed and resistance is futile! I have now reserved 1 unit and will be picking it up tomorrow... Japanese economy is in serious need of activity so this is for the good cause ;).



Hey Arnaud!  Congrats on your new baby... the 'economy excuse' always works!  biggrin.gif  It's great reading about how your purchasing decision unfolded and how you slowly caved in.  I'm also glad that you seemed to have the same impressions of the 007 vs 009 at Yodobashi as I did- no doubt listening to the exact same set-up.  Wow... with two headphones like that, living in Tokyo... you're one of the luckiest guys I know.  Take care and hope to see you in the fall!   -Mike

post #707 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

Thanks for the info Dave. Right now on the other side of the globe these are the more popular high end interconnect cables - how would you rate these against those you mentioned?

Tara Labs The Zero, The 0.8 and The One LE
Kharma Enigma Signature
Siltech Empress or Princess
Audio Note Sogon II
Kondo LPZ


If I remember correctly, Michael Fremer uses TOTL Tara in his system. I'd like to hear their Zero Gold series as their vacuum dielectric is as good as it gets. Any type of insulator, even the very best foam Teflon can't compete with nothing at all. Kharma's cables are made by Siltech are they not? I would assume the sound is similar to Siltech Royal cables: gorgeous, but with a bit of rose coloring that may not be for all systems. Purist Audio Design cables are similar, definitely not neutral.

 

Unfortunately I have no experience with the last two so I can't comment there. I use K-S Emotion cables in my system (one step down from Elation), and I've found them to crush everything else in their price range that I've heard. Elation cables are very expensive at $6K/pr, but their rivals other than Indra have to put a 1 in front of that figure, and frankly I'd rather put that extra $10K somewhere else.

 

post #708 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

The MIT Oracle - amazing. I think on Planet Earth as we know it, only the Nordost Odin cable could put up a fight with your interconnect. I am using Taralabs The One interconnect at the moment. Have you upgraded your power cords yet? They make a very big difference too. I am currently using the Siltech Ruby Hill II (this cable is of the same price as my Leben) and it is worth every penny of it.


The Nordost cables in general do tend to be on the pricey side even among exotic high-end cables.  I'm going to just leave it at that.  I got this Oracle V1.1 for a steal--but it's one of those things I would pay full price if I had the money now that I had the time to evaluate what it can do--but the Oracle MA-X digital ICs are a marvel as well.  Now, there is a new cable company just starting up with a new line of Rhodium cables, their premium line is the BlackFrost.  I have evaluated one of their prototype RCAs and was floored of the balanced sound quality.  I took it to the Chicago meet and it had gained many other followers as well.  I have one of their power cables being sent to me for evaluation.  But you may want to contact them, because you may save a bundle and end up with a better cable.  I'm saying this without having even seen the production version with the new custom rhodium terminated connectors (mine had Furutech RCAs, which weren't fully optimized to the cable attributes).  Go to the website, read their mission statement and you'll get the idea.  BTW, I'm not affiliated with them in any way, just for the record.

 

http://www.frost-audio.com/

 

The designer, Dev Avidon is a member here on HF as well.  Very knowledgeable, nice guy and I honestly think he has a good thing going.

 

post #709 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by K3cT View Post


It's probably something like upgrading from a good DAC to a great one.


That's kind of what I'm afraid of... It's REALLY hard to tell those apart. For example, the Benchmark DAC1 HDR is a good DAC, but not perceived as a "great" DAC by many. The DAC in the Marantz SA-7S1 is supposed to be better, and in my experience it is indeed better, but only very slightly so. After much A/B testing, I found very few cases where I can tell for sure that it sounds a tiny bit better. However, these tiny differences are way below the threshold of something that you would notice unless you were specifically looking for it during A/B testing. For all practical purposes, these DACs sound the same. I can say the same thing about the DAC1 vs. the Bel Canto DAC 2.5. The DAC 2.5 sounds very slightly better in some cases, but the difference is so minute that it's way below the threshold of what I would obsess about (even though I tend to be a perfectionist).

 

Similarly, I haven't been bothered by any differences between the 323S and the KGSS so far. In this case, I haven't done side-by-side testing, but after listening to the KGSS for 4 years, I don't notice any deficiencies now that I listen to the same familiar music on the 323S. The KGSS may be technically superior (in terms of amp design), but I don't hear this superiority reflected in the actual sound it produces with the SR-007.

 

On the other hand, the deficiencies of the unmodded 727 and the 007t are noticeable to me, and these are above the threshold of what I would consider to be significant.

 

I guess I need to listen to the BHSE to figure out if the advantage it provides over the KGSS is like the advantage of the SA-7S1 over the DAC1 or the KGSS over the 323S (which are insignificant to me), or like the advantage of the KGSS over the unmodded 727 or 007t which I find significant-enough to care about.

 

post #710 of 1512

That's the rub, really, what level of difference do you think is enough to warrant the price.  For me the price has no bearing on anything, in terms of rating audio gear it is as if you rate the quality of beer by its alcohol content.  Higher % must be better, right?  Clearly not the case...  The only way is to sit down and listen to it in a critical mindset, leaving aside how the component looks, its price and what ever other BS is attached to it.  If you can't hear a difference then more power to you, go spend the money on more music. 

 

As for the difference these high power amps make, I've long ago graduated from the usual audiophile hyperbole about the difference in gear.  People claiming massive changes due to some piece of wire when it is clearly just BS.  Real changes such as better quality components (caps, resistors potentiometers resulting in less distortion), more linear circuits which remain flat into the required load, better quality power supplies which don't fluctuate no matter the demands is what I look for.  I used to be a paid-in-full member of the cable club with Stealth Indra's but now I just make my own.  I clearly can afford the best but why waste money on something which has no benefits?

 

Now a 5K$ amp which is properly designed will only give a marginal improvement over a lesser priced amp which is also sufficiently well designed.  That is to be expected since you are just throwing money at chasing smaller and smaller improvements.  Moving from basic filter PSU's to regulated units gives and easy improvement but the increase in cost is also pretty big.  That's why Stax have only once used a regulated PSU in their amps, they simply don't see it as cost efficient.  To put this into context lets compare the BHSE vs. our DIY version of the Stax SRM-T2.  The T2 is clearly better but if it were a retail product it wouldn't sell for less than 15k$ (probably closer to 20K$) so is it 3-4 times better?  Nope but the superiority of the T2 is clear from the first few minutes of listening to it. 

post #711 of 1512

 

Price can be a consideration for some, but not others depending on their financial situation. Putting that aside, there are other issues with using an amp such as the BHSE. It requires a lot of space which means that it isn't easy to place or convenient to use. It generates a lot of heat which can be problematic. Also, it uses tubes which can be easy to break and a pain to replace (including having to re-bias the amp).

 

Basically, I would prefer the KGSS or 323S to the BHSE even if the BHSE was inexpensive - assuming the sound quality was very close, of course. If the BHSE sounded significantly better then the price and hassle would be worth it to me.

 

I understand the attraction of well-designed high-quality electronics, and it's definitely valid to be interested in owning such electronics even if their superior design and quality don't translate to superior sound, and even if they are more expensive and less convenient to use. I personally don't typically like purchasing that type of equipment unless I feel that there's enough of a difference in sound that my enjoyment of the music would increase.

 

The SR-007 sound so good to me out of the KGSS and 323S that I've been having a hard time imagining how the BHSE can make them sound significantly better. There just isn't an obvious weakness to address (like with the 007t and unmodded 727).

 

Anyway,  I'll have to look for an opportunity to listen to the BHSE with the SR-007 and SR-009.

 

post #712 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
People claiming massive changes due to some piece of wire when it is clearly just BS.  Real changes such as better quality components (caps, resistors potentiometers resulting in less distortion), more linear circuits which remain flat into the required load, better quality power supplies which don't fluctuate no matter the demands is what I look for.  I used to be a paid-in-full member of the cable club with Stealth Indra's but now I just make my own.  I clearly can afford the best but why waste money on something which has no benefits?


Thank you for returning the conversation to sanity.  I can afford the high-end cables too and have owned them, but I am very happy with my DIY Mogami now.  Do yourselves a favor and do a simple blind test, very easy with cables and 2 people.  I did.  Take the money you save on cables and put it into better gear.

 

More 009 impressions please.  Waiting patiently for mine to arrive.

 

post #713 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

That's the rub, really, what level of difference do you think is enough to warrant the price.  For me the price has no bearing on anything, in terms of rating audio gear it is as if you rate the quality of beer by its alcohol content.  Higher % must be better, right?  Clearly not the case...  The only way is to sit down and listen to it in a critical mindset, leaving aside how the component looks, its price and what ever other BS is attached to it.  If you can't hear a difference then more power to you, go spend the money on more music. 

 

As for the difference these high power amps make, I've long ago graduated from the usual audiophile hyperbole about the difference in gear.  People claiming massive changes due to some piece of wire when it is clearly just BS.  Real changes such as better quality components (caps, resistors potentiometers resulting in less distortion), more linear circuits which remain flat into the required load, better quality power supplies which don't fluctuate no matter the demands is what I look for.  I used to be a paid-in-full member of the cable club with Stealth Indra's but now I just make my own.  I clearly can afford the best but why waste money on something which has no benefits?

 

Now a 5K$ amp which is properly designed will only give a marginal improvement over a lesser priced amp which is also sufficiently well designed.  That is to be expected since you are just throwing money at chasing smaller and smaller improvements.  Moving from basic filter PSU's to regulated units gives and easy improvement but the increase in cost is also pretty big.  That's why Stax have only once used a regulated PSU in their amps, they simply don't see it as cost efficient.  To put this into context lets compare the BHSE vs. our DIY version of the Stax SRM-T2.  The T2 is clearly better but if it were a retail product it wouldn't sell for less than 15k$ (probably closer to 20K$) so is it 3-4 times better?  Nope but the superiority of the T2 is clear from the first few minutes of listening to it. 


I agree with most of this, but why is it so hard to accept that there are interconnects out there capable of making what I consider quite noticeable improvements of how a system performs sonically determined by critical listening.  I do not recall ever using the word "massive" but these are all relative terms.

 

I salute your expertise, BTW, for being capable of producing equivalent or better interconnects that perform at the level of Stealth Indra's.  I have no such expertise, and lamp wire doesn't do it for me, so I have to do my research and auditioning to separate various cable products that advertise superior capabilities without any perceivable performance increase vs. those that do.  Out of those that do, find the ones that do that for the best price/performance ratio while matching my system.  And I do my best never to buy them new to minimize costs and maximize resale value should I choose to upgrade them later for whatever reason.  Some of them hold  their value quite well, while the same can't be said for most DYI products, with a few notable exceptions.  I don't care about packaging, labeling or shiny stickers (take that back, I do like shiny stickers), as long as they provide the synergy I'm looking for out of them.

 

This process became much harder and easier the since my source gear upgrade.  There is too much emphasis on Head-Fi on headphones (understandably so given the theme of the forum) and amps vs. quality sources and other important components that make up a system as whole.  Same goes for the source material, i.e, recordings. I'm in the process of replacing most of my older CDs with SHM-SACDs and SHM-CDs reissues at considerable cost.  About 95% of them do offer, dare I say, massive improvements over the original recordings.  I'll be sure to enjoy my SR-009s--whenever my order is fulfilled--to their fullest potential.

 

post #714 of 1512

And back to fairy dust land again.

post #715 of 1512
Quote:
Originally Posted by blubliss View Post




Thank you for returning the conversation to sanity.  I can afford the high-end cables too and have owned them, but I am very happy with my DIY Mogami now.  Do yourselves a favor and do a simple blind test, very easy with cables and 2 people.  I did.  Take the money you save on cables and put it into better gear.

 

More 009 impressions please.  Waiting patiently for mine to arrive.

 


I take it one step further than Andy and still use Monoprice :)

 

warp, I'd actually say there isn't enough emphasis on how much more important the headphone is than the other stuff.  Put it this way - if I were to close my eyes and you put my different headphones on my head I'd be able to tell you which one I'm listening to.  Doing the same with sources and most amps (depends a lot on the HP load) I can almost guarantee most people wouldn't be able to pick correctly on a consistent basis.  I'd actually love to see something like this done at a meet just to see all the excuses afterwards. wink.gif

 


Edited by n3rdling - 5/24/11 at 3:14pm
post #716 of 1512


I fully agree with you Milos!  Headphones make the biggest difference in the sound of something.  I too went down the stupid path of trying to upgrade cables in order to find the perfect sound out of my HD800 + WA5 combo last year, but looking back it was a really stupid move and got rid of it all.  I tried multi thousand dollar cables and to be honest with you, most of them are a huge waste of money.  I understand people hearing differences..but in my experience all these cables do is EQ the sound in one direction or another...not necessarily making the sound "better".  I don't really trust anybody doing A/B tests because they are inherently biased towards wanting to hear a difference and the mind plays tricks on you.

 

Same thing applies to power cables...except there the difference is even more subtle. So when I hear people say that a $3000 power cable is worth every penny they spend on it...I'm just baffled since that money would be better spent on just about anything else. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post




I take it one step further than Andy and still use Monoprice :)

 

warp, I'd actually say there isn't enough emphasis on how much more important the headphone is than the other stuff.  Put it this way - if I were to close my eyes and you put my different headphones on my head I'd be able to tell you which one I'm listening to.  Doing the same with sources and most amps (depends a lot on the HP load) I can almost guarantee most people wouldn't be able to pick correctly on a consistent basis.  I'd actually love to see something like this done at a meet just to see all the excuses afterwards. wink.gif

 



 

post #717 of 1512
Thread Starter 
Birgir, you still don't have an ETA on your sr009? I am very interesting in hearing your comments about the pairings with your collection of amps.

Additionally, I am thinking of getting a 2nd amp at some point for my AV system. I was thinking of getting another 727 (used) and modding one of them. But I get also get a 323S new for less than a used 727. Which road do you recommend assuming I'll be using a sr-007mk2 or sr-009? I am quite interested in having both modded and stock 727 at the same time for comparisons though wink.gif.
post #718 of 1512

This has to be one of the enjoyable discussions I've ever read here on head-fi!

 

I won't say I'm a cable disbeliever, but to me the point is, as monsieurgurzel stated, cables might give different presentations which are not necessarily better. To me, if I can't tell the difference between two components without A/Bing, then there is no point in upgrading. I also see no point in investing on things that you have to make an effort to tell the difference.

 

Some cases are almost laughable, there's a guy I know that uses a Cambridge pre power combination with cables (just between them, that is, one interconnect and two power cables) that cost the same as the amps. How come? So, in effect, he's saying that four pieces of wire give him a larger improvement than improved electronics altogether, because he could have a pre power combo that costs twice as the ones he has with normal wires but he doesn't. To me, it's just absurd.

post #719 of 1512

Cables do give different colors and buying a more expensive cable does not necessarily mean better sound. Usually better in one area and less so in another. The higher end cables you move to, however, you will notice that the improvements to be more "all across"  rather than improvement in just one area. They do spectacularlly well in some areas e.g. soundstage transparency yet at the same time ALSO improves other areas e.g. bass etc.  Yes - still colored, but definitely better.

 

 


Edited by googleli - 5/24/11 at 8:28pm
post #720 of 1512

Amen, brother. Honestly though... this is probably a discussion best had elsewhere. Let's try and keep this thread focused on the SR009s.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

People claiming massive changes due to some piece of wire when it is clearly just BS.

 

Real changes such as better quality components (caps, resistors potentiometers resulting in less distortion), more linear circuits which remain flat into the required load, better quality power supplies which don't fluctuate no matter the demands is what I look for. 

 

I used to be a paid-in-full member of the cable club... but why waste money on something which has no benefits?


Edited by TMoney - 5/24/11 at 8:38pm
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