[snip] A trick for most electrostats is using a source with variable output. As I said the problem is usually in the amp and not in the can so an attenuated source with medium amplification will make electrostats sing at low volumes (quality can take a bit of a dent though).
I just tried this and it works!! THANK YOU! I am listenting to O2 Mk 1's now on Kerry's BHSE, and with the BHSE volume up and the signal attenuated by the digital "volume" control on my Wadia CDP, the sound is better than with the Wadia set to 100 and the BHSE turned down. No loss of anything, just a tad more detail and sharper transients (at least this is my impression) with the higher vol stting on the BHSE.
Who would have thought?? I was always "taught" to max the volume on the source. The Wadia manual says "no loss of SQ when using its digital attenuator on the output of its DAC", so there you have it. (I am using the Wadia only as a DAC. feeding it SPDIF from FB2K with ASIO4ALL under XP, using a USB-to-SPDIF bridge, playing 24x96 hi res FLAC files ripped from DVD-A's).