Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Most Transparent SS <$1000
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Most Transparent SS <$1000

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
So I'm looking to buy my first standalone amplifier to break out from the one built into my Yulong D100.

My goal is to purchase the most transparent and detailed amp I can for under $1000. Some of the options I've compiled after doing a lot of lurking around here are Yulong A100, AMB M^3, Meier Audio Corda Concerto, Burson HA-160.

I'd like to hear some opinions between these amps and if you have any suggestions of amps I have not mentioned that would be great as well. I like the idea of the active ground because I would prefer not to re-cable my headphones. I'm using the HD 650 by the way.

Here's my thoughts on each so far:

Yulong A100 - Cost is attractive and it would look nice with my D100 but I'm afraid I might not notice as much of a difference from the D100 as some of the other options I am considering. Also there isn't too much talk about the A100.

AMB M^3 - I do have some experience with electronics and would feel totally comfortable with soldering everything up and doing measurements. The thing I am not comfortable with would be dealing with how to make the case look nice or where to buy the case....just anything case related. I have considered YBM Audio as a builder but I don't want to overpay.

Meier Concerto - This is currently the most attractive option to me, bad timing though because they just recently went out of stock forever. I e-mailed Jan and he replied that a successor to the Concerto is planned but he has no details yet and it's probably at least 6 months out. I dunno if I want to wait that long so I am in the market for a used Concerto.

Burson HA-160 - This sounds like a great amp. What concerns me is that some people are saying it's neutral and transparent while others are referring to it as having a warm, powerful sound. I like everything I've seen about the Burson otherwise but I would like more info on it's sound to get more opinions about it's transparency.

Sorry for the long post, but this is a big first decision for me. Any criticizem and opinions are appreciated!smily_headphones1.gif
post #2 of 60

If you are indeed comfortable with DIY, I'd definitely chekc out the M3.  While I have only heard it and the HA-160 from your list, I find the amb offering to be the greater of the two when it comes to the "wire with gain" mentality. 

 

Keep in mind that if you can indeed DIY, you could also build a 2 (or possibly even 3) channel Beta22, provided you don't care about case work, well under your budget

post #3 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Doug View Post

If you are indeed comfortable with DIY, I'd definitely chekc out the M3.  While I have only heard it and the HA-160 from your list, I find the amb offering to be the greater of the two when it comes to the "wire with gain" mentality. 

 

Keep in mind that if you can indeed DIY, you could also build a 2 (or possibly even 3) channel Beta22, provided you don't care about case work, well under your budget


I think if I was to ever go beta 22 I would only go all the way, so I'd like to maybe leave that as a "end game" option.

If anyone has suggestions on a good case manufacturer for the M^3 I would like to hear them.
post #4 of 60

The concerto and GS-1 were very detailed and transparent to my ears. Definitely one of the best SS amps under $1k besides the DIY amps.

post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasewel View Post

The concerto and GS-1 were very detailed and transparent to my ears. Definitely one of the best SS amps under $1k besides the DIY amps.


I'll have to do some reading on the GS-1.
post #6 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasewel View Post

The concerto and GS-1 were very detailed and transparent to my ears. Definitely one of the best SS amps under $1k besides the DIY amps.


Can you offer more of a comparison between the gs-1 and concerto?
post #7 of 60

I knew you were going to ask that eventually biggrin.gif. I'l review each one individually and you be the judge. Mind you, I haven't owned the GS-1 so take my words with a grain of salt on it.

 

I thought the concerto had a very clean, highly transparent sound. The mids were cleanly rendered and had good body while being very transparent and open. Detail retrieval was excellent with a wide soundstage. Listening to the guitar in Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven brought me to my knees when I first heard it through this amp. Bass was equally impressive with good weight, control and extension. The crossfeed is a nice feature to have which gives you an "out-of-head" experience.

 

Coming over to the GS-1, the bass is big, fast, linear and well controlled. There is no smear or overhang but no leaness either. The midrange is definitely one of the amps highlights. They were clean and clear with a sense of body and richness similar to a tube amp. The mids seemed to have presence but not "in your face" sound. The sound was nicely detailed but not hyper detailed. Soundstage was big and open but not as big as the concerto. 

 

I don't think you would go wrong with either amp. 

 

I got to hear someone's Gilmore Lite with the powersupply at a recent meet and it sounded identical to the GS-1. You may want to look into that as well, would save you some money.

post #8 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasewel View Post

I knew you were going to ask that eventually biggrin.gif. I'l review each one individually and you be the judge. Mind you, I haven't owned the GS-1 so take my words with a grain of salt on it.

 

I thought the concerto had a very clean, highly transparent sound. The mids were cleanly rendered and had good body while being very transparent and open. Detail retrieval was excellent with a wide soundstage. Listening to the guitar in Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven brought me to my knees when I first heard it through this amp. Bass was equally impressive with good weight, control and extension. The crossfeed is a nice feature to have which gives you an "out-of-head" experience.

 

Coming over to the GS-1, the bass is big, fast, linear and well controlled. There is no smear or overhang but no leaness either. The midrange is definitely one of the amps highlights. They were clean and clear with a sense of body and richness similar to a tube amp. The mids seemed to have presence but not "in your face" sound. The sound was nicely detailed but not hyper detailed. Soundstage was big and open but not as big as the concerto. 

 

I don't think you would go wrong with either amp. 

 

I got to hear someone's Gilmore Lite with the powersupply at a recent meet and it sounded identical to the GS-1. You may want to look into that as well, would save you some money.


Thanks brasewel!

I imagined that the gs-1 would sound similar to the gilmore lite with the psu since the only real difference in the signal path is the pot from what I can see. There's currently a limited edition black gilmore lite with the power supply for sale as well as a concerto. The concerto being ruffly $100 more, so I'm debating between the two.
post #9 of 60

I think all advice given so far has been good advice. I enjoy the Yulong A100 and think it really is a bang for the buck option that competes with some of those others, but as your said not a lot of other people have confirmed this. Honestly I think you could try any one of the options you listed and come out happy with the results.

post #10 of 60

I would consider the Burson HA-160 as a detailed and neutral amp. 

post #11 of 60
No mention of the venerable Dynalo yet? It's completely transparent and has loads of power.

The M^3 and Beta22 are excellent options, too.
post #12 of 60

I found the Burson to be a little too bright for my tastes. When paired with the HD800 which can be a little "hot" on the treble at times it was fatiguing to MY ears. Other than that minor blip, it was a pretty good amp.

post #13 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by soundaddicted View Post

I would consider the Burson HA-160 as a detailed and neutral amp. 

Relatively speaking I've heard it is neutral but it comes down to what it is being compared to and the general concensus seems to be that compared to some of the other options I've listed it's less neutral. I was originally interested in the Burson though but then with more comments on the relative neutrality, the big leeps with the stepped attenuator, and finding out about the scheme they used to get so many reviews; I think I'm not so interested anymore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

No mention of the venerable Dynalo yet? It's completely transparent and has loads of power.

The M^3 and Beta22 are excellent options, too.
They Dynalo should just be the same as the GS-1 / Gilmore Lite, right? Or maybe I'm missing something.


So far I'm leaning towards the Meier Concerto. It's one of the few with the least negative comments from what I've seen. If anyone has any factoids to knock the Concerto I would be interested to hear them!
post #14 of 60

The stepped attenuator issue has been fixed on the newer builds.

post #15 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasewel View Post

The stepped attenuator issue has been fixed on the newer builds.


True. If you notice here..for example. It says (Gen-3) which is a new version...from what i know the 160D is a tweaked version and they have made improvements as well. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Most Transparent SS <$1000