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Most Transparent SS <$1000 - Page 4

post #46 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by jh4db536 View Post

My first solid state amp was a glite with dps long ago, never heard an m3. I think it is the glite was the most sterile thing I have ever heard, it wasn't dark or bright, it wasn't slow or fast...just plain boring and clean. It taught me that maybe "extreme transparency" wasn't what I really wanted and I have little reason to doubt that the gs-1 or even the gsx sounds much different.

 


You were probably just hearing what the source sounded like. Other amps will colour a lifeless source to make it sound better, but they also won't scale as much as a truly transparent amp. Pick your poison.

 

As for the GS-1/GS-X...reserve judgement until you hear them side by side with the Glite.

 

I just searched and found some comparisons by owners of both...matches my experience:

 

1) http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/475298/headamp-gilmore-lite-vs-gs-1-a-short-comparison

2) http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/278691/six-way-review-square-wave-gs-1-canamp-ec-ss-gilmore-lite-black-cube-linear

3) http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/253109/how-different-is-the-gs-1-from-the-gilmore-lite

4) http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/225178/comparison-review-gilmore-lite-dps-vs-elpac


Edited by Shahrose - 4/21/11 at 6:39pm
post #47 of 60

Interesting, I always thought my Apache was pretty neutral. Then again, I have never heard the B22 in any flavor.

However, it's a fantastic looking amp and Ray is just phenomenal with his customers.

I definitely need to upgrade my dac to either a Dac1 or Audio-gd NFB1.

post #48 of 60

@Shahrose: I'm surprised you found such a significant difference between the Gilmore Lite and the GS-1. Granted I only listened to the Glite at a meet recently but I thought they were practically the same. 

post #49 of 60

Thanks for the links Shahrose. Can anyone comment on how the M^3 fares against the GS-1?

 

Edit: Nvm, the question is somewhat addressed on page 2.


Edited by olor1n - 4/21/11 at 8:42pm
post #50 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by brasewel View Post

@Shahrose: I'm surprised you found such a significant difference between the Gilmore Lite and the GS-1. Granted I only listened to the Glite at a meet recently but I thought they were practically the same. 


The difference between the GS-1 and GLite+DPS wasn't always obvious because some tracks highlighted them more than others. Also, the more revealing the headphone, the better I could discern between the two. I don't think the differences were huge, but they were definitely noticeable with cans like the HD800, HD650, HD600, HE-5.

 

I found that if I connected them to a low-end source, both of them sounded bad. Don't expect either one to gloss over or mend the signal they're being fed. For a lot of people, I can see how going for a more forgiving amp that sounds decent out of anything can be an easier choice. But, as I said earlier, those kinds of amps also don't scale as high with source upgrades IME. The M^3 and Beta both slightly round off the leading edges of notes to blunt the attack a bit because of their MOSFET design. They're also inherently a bit dark, warm (the M^3 moreso) and open sounding, which can make even a harsh source sound pleasing a lot of times.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

Thanks for the links Shahrose. Can anyone comment on how the M^3 fares against the GS-1?

 

Edit: Nvm, the question is somewhat addressed on page 2.


I owned 3 M^3s and all of them got sold in favour of the GS-1+DACT. I thought the M^3 was better than any commercial solid-state amp I heard (and more transparent) but fell short of the GS-1 in terms of speed, resolution, layering, and accuracy/transparency. The M^3 does, however, expand the soundstage of everything it's connected to, so its SS size was more constant and often larger than the GS-1, whereas it was much more variable on the GS-1 (track to track, source to source). As mentioned earlier, the M^3 also sounds smoother and warmer so is very forgiving. With low-end sources, I preferred the M^3 because it imbued its own pleasing (tube-like) sound signature on them, but with high-end DACs/transports, the GS-1 pulled away and kept sounding better and better. That's not to say the M^3 ever sounded bad. IMO, it's by far the best amp in its price range. I like it a bit better than the stock Glite.

 

A friend (good DIY'er) on Head-Fi told me that the M^3 with the right bias and parts sounds very close to a Beta22...just something to keep in mind.

 

Just as a reference, 2 of my M^3s were from Rockhopper with Sigma-11s, and one was built by another Head-Fi'er with oversized heatsinks and a STEPS PSU. I extensively tested a lot of opamps (in profile) and found the AD8610 to be the best in all 3 slots...the ones Ti also recommends. The OPA637/627 made the sound less transparent, slower, thicker and darker, but also produced the largest soundstage and the most forgiving/sweetest sound. Other opamps were also compromises in one regard or another IMO.


Edited by Shahrose - 4/21/11 at 9:39pm
post #51 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahrose View Post




The difference between the GS-1 and GLite+DPS wasn't always obvious because some tracks highlighted them more than others. Also, the more revealing the headphone, the better I could discern between the two. I don't think the differences were huge, but they were definitely noticeable with cans like the HD800, HD650, HD600, HE-5.

 

I found that if I connected them to a low-end source, both of them sounded bad. Don't expect either one to gloss over or mend the signal they're being fed. For a lot of people, I can see how going for a more forgiving amp that sounds decent out of anything can be an easier choice. But, as I said earlier, those kinds of amps also don't scale as high with source upgrades IME. The M^3 and Beta both slightly round off the leading edges of notes to blunt the attack a bit because of their MOSFET design. They're also inherently a bit dark, warm (the M^3 moreso) and open sounding, which can make even a harsh source sound pleasing a lot of times.


 


I owned 3 M^3s and all of them got sold in favour of the GS-1+DACT. I thought the M^3 was better than any commercial solid-state amp I heard (and more transparent) but fell short of the GS-1 in terms of speed, resolution, layering, and accuracy/transparency. The M^3 does, however, expand the soundstage of everything it's connected to, so its SS size was more constant and often larger than the GS-1, whereas it was much more variable on the GS-1 (track to track, source to source). As mentioned earlier, the M^3 also sounds smoother and warmer so is very forgiving. With low-end sources, I preferred the M^3 because it imbued its own pleasing (tube-like) sound signature on them, but with high-end DACs/transports, the GS-1 pulled away and kept sounding better and better. That's not to say the M^3 ever sounded bad. IMO, it's by far the best amp in its price range. I like it a bit better than the stock Glite.

 

A friend (good DIY'er) on Head-Fi told me that the M^3 with the right bias and parts sounds very close to a Beta22...just something to keep in mind.

 

Just as a reference, 2 of my M^3s were from Rockhopper with Sigma-11s, and one was built by another Head-Fi'er with oversized heatsinks and a STEPS PSU. I extensively tested a lot of opamps (in profile) and found the AD8610 to be the best in all 3 slots...the ones Ti also recommends. The OPA637/627 made the sound less transparent, slower, thicker and darker, but also produced the largest soundstage and the most forgiving/sweetest sound. Other opamps were also compromises in one regard or another IMO.


Would you consider the Fun's WM8741 dac low-end? Would a pimped out M^3 cost less than the asking price for the GS-1? I'm pretty content with the HD650 as my final headphone (I'm not into collecting cans) and really want refinement across the board of what I'm hearing through my current gear. Wondering if I should hold off for a balanced setup for the supposed jump that entails.

 

post #52 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post


Would you consider the Fun's WM8741 dac low-end? Would a pimped out M^3 cost less than the asking price for the GS-1? I'm pretty content with the HD650 as my final headphone (I'm not into collecting cans) and really want refinement across the board of what I'm hearing through my current gear. Wondering if I should hold off for a balanced setup for the supposed jump that entails.

 

 

Sorry, I've never heard the FUN. From what I've read, I would aim for something higher personally.

 

If we compare them both single-ended, a fully-loaded M^3 should still cost less than even the stock GS-1, disregarding labour costs (which can vary ofcourse). Talk to builders like fishski13 and MisterX on Head-Fi to get the exact quotes.
 

 

post #53 of 60

Here are some of my impressions of the b22 vs the GLite:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/516980/the-beta22-sigma22-amp-has-arrived-review-added/30#post_6989269

It's not as thorough as my last review but does give a good idea of some differences. I've never heard the G1 but if the G1 is close to the GLite it might be relevant. Also, what I didn't mention in the review was the fact that the b22 is an overall warmer amp and the GLite is slightly faster.

post #54 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

Here are some of my impressions of the b22 vs the GLite:

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/516980/the-beta22-sigma22-amp-has-arrived-review-added/30#post_6989269

It's not as thorough as my last review but does give a good idea of some differences. I've never heard the G1 but if the G1 is close to the GLite it might be relevant. Also, what I didn't mention in the review was the fact that the b22 is an overall warmer amp and the GLite is slightly faster.

 

Very detailed! Thanks for posting.

 

What source were you using at the time baka?

 


Edited by Shahrose - 4/22/11 at 7:29am
post #55 of 60

Quote:Originally Posted by Shahrose 




"Very detailed! Thanks for posting.
What source were you using at the time baka?"



I was using my laptop to a DacMagic at the time. The Cary DACs being all around better and slightly warmer than the DM. I was using Blue Jeans ICs, Jellyfish power cords and a standard USB cable or the Belden.


P.S. Every time I'm called "baka" I laugh. Ask one of the Japanese Head-Fi'ers and I bet they're laughing too. Let's just say it's self deprecating on my part.

To all my Japanese friends "baka kaba chindonya" :)

post #56 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

Quote:Originally Posted by Shahrose 




"Very detailed! Thanks for posting.
What source were you using at the time baka?"



I was using my laptop to a DacMagic at the time. The Cary DACs being all around better and slightly warmer than the DM. I was using Blue Jeans ICs, Jellyfish power cords and a standard USB cable or the Belden.


P.S. Every time I'm called "baka" I laugh. Ask one of the Japanese Head-Fi'ers and I bet they're laughing too. Let's just say it's self deprecating on my part.

To all my Japanese friends "baka kaba chindonya" :)



lol yes, I know what it means in Japanese :)

post #57 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post

Quote:Originally Posted by Shahrose 




"Very detailed! Thanks for posting.
What source were you using at the time baka?"



I was using my laptop to a DacMagic at the time. The Cary DACs being all around better and slightly warmer than the DM. I was using Blue Jeans ICs, Jellyfish power cords and a standard USB cable or the Belden.


P.S. Every time I'm called "baka" I laugh. Ask one of the Japanese Head-Fi'ers and I bet they're laughing too. Let's just say it's self deprecating on my part.

To all my Japanese friends "baka kaba chindonya" :)


Haha as a huge Japanese anime fan, your name definitely caught my eye the first time I saw it.

 

post #58 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by baka1969 View Post


To all my Japanese friends "baka kaba chindonya" :)

随分古いネタを使うものだな..まあ、続きを言わなかったのはよかったけど..

 

baka won't get flu biggrin.gif
 

post #59 of 60

I own both the Burson HA-160 and the Lehmann Black Cube Linear (BCL).  The BCL is just over your limit at retail pricing, but you can occasionally find it discounted or buy it used for under $1K.  The Burson I find to be most definitely warm and strong - like a bold sumatran bean coffee.  It's right in your face, and it's lower and higher end details suffer for it.  The BCL is almost rip your face off transparent - both for good and bad.  I've had them both for several months and I listen to both nightly - through the HD800.  I still don't know which I will keep, but I'm definitely leaning toward the BCL.  Maybe look into the Lovely Cube clone of the BCL?  I'm reading lots of posts with great things to say about it.  I owned one briefly and thought the BCL was noticeably better, but that was to my ear.....to each his/her own.

 

post #60 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by khatch View Post

I own both the Burson HA-160 and the Lehmann Black Cube Linear (BCL).  The BCL is just over your limit at retail pricing, but you can occasionally find it discounted or buy it used for under $1K.  The Burson I find to be most definitely warm and strong - like a bold sumatran bean coffee.  It's right in your face, and it's lower and higher end details suffer for it.  The BCL is almost rip your face off transparent - both for good and bad.  I've had them both for several months and I listen to both nightly - through the HD800.  I still don't know which I will keep, but I'm definitely leaning toward the BCL.  Maybe look into the Lovely Cube clone of the BCL?  I'm reading lots of posts with great things to say about it.  I owned one briefly and thought the BCL was noticeably better, but that was to my ear.....to each his/her own.

 



An excerpt from the review links I posted above:

 

"Levels of Transparency

Assume input signal as 100%.

96-97% - HeadAmp GS-1
90-91% - HeadAmp Gilmore Lite
88-89% - Lehmann Black Cube Linear
--- (IMO, anything below this point is not transparent enough)
84-85% - Eddie Current EC/SS
78-79% - Heed Audio CanAmp

For reference, I rate the HeadAmp GS-X at 99-100% transparent."

 

-Asr

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