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SR-007 Omega II vs K1000 vs Qualia detail wise and for low volume listening?? - Page 2

post #16 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nomad View Post

[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).

 

 

post #17 of 30

Nomad...nice to show up finally and thanks for your input on electrostatics.

post #18 of 30

Interesting... I guess that goes with all sources and the BHSE?  I always thought you were supposed to max out the volume in your music software and source, and then use the amp to control the volume.

 

Why is this the case for electrostats?

post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

Quote:

 

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).

 

 


Oh wow. This is very interesting. I'm going to give this a try too.

 

post #20 of 30

Don't think it makes a difference...the amp isn't suddenly unable to drive a headphone just because you put the pot on a lower setting.

post #21 of 30

I think it depends on the exact situation. It may sound better, worse or the same. Maybe Wavoman's high end Wadia has a particularly clever digital volume control that doesn't just "cut off" the bits of information. I've certainly experienced the situation where maxing the source volume is better.

 

Anyway, my point here is that be careful when maxing out the volume of your amp. Apart from letting more noise through (usually), you are at risk of blowing up your headphones on any sudden spikes, like when you switch inputs, or switch the amp on or off. Some amps handle this more gracefully than  others.

post #22 of 30

Some questions are just "ill formed" - there is no reason to believe they have useful "transferable" answers that mean anything

 

except for the Koss E/90 all electrostatic headphone amps I've seen the schematic for are Class A - there is no "loss of detail" at low levels from Class A amplification - direct drive OTL avoids possible (cheap) transformer grain oriented silicon steel lamination low level nonlinearity

 

S/N and system gain structure, affect the conclusion - but differ more in the amps, source - headphone's sensitivity is required to match up with the rest but headphones themselves are not audibly noisy as transducers

 

the rest sounds to me like the usual flailing about trying to construct a "consensus" from dubiously reliable subjective impressions without any sense of controls, perceptual anchors - minimum psychoacoustic knowledge to have a opinion that is worth anything to another person - Fletcher-Munson anyone?

 

define "low level" - in dB SPL, with what weighting curve? - noise color? - matching levels for subjective comparison between such diverse equipment as ES headphones and dynamics, different amps, source and moderate vs insane low sensitivity K1000 dynamic headphones requires a coupler and microphone - probably a full "head" like Tyll, Headroom uses for the K1000

 

no headphone can "preserve" perceived frequency response balance as you listen to it at markedly different SPL - and any built in headphone frequency response curve can at best be a "reasonable" compromise for one specific ratio of level reduction from a specific live source event loudness

 

if you want to listen a very different levels than the live event then your listening session is going to have perceptual frequency response errors - Loudness Curve EQ can help but isn't at all a complete solution

 

 

- a 1/2 dozen Internet comments even from people that really did own, listen to all 3 within a short time span may still "legitimately" disagree - even with experienced, "reliable" reporting of perceived differences if you don't know lots more than has been said so far in this thread

post #23 of 30

Glad to hear you found this trick useful, wavoman. I bumped into it after some experimentation and it has been a lifesaver sometimes.

 

Purk! Still in here? I see you still keep those R10s. Looking forward to read from you again. I've always been fond of your knowledgeable posts.

 

Guys, a lot of amps out there (specially electrostats) struggle a bit at very (very) low volumes, creating small channel imbalances or just not providing enough drive. In these situations a proper performance of the amp can massively outweigh the sound quality lost in the source (just due S/N signal and on digital or analog domain depending on the kind of attenuation at the source). It all depends on the situation but in many cases it is worth it at very low volumes.

 

jcx, the different level of performance at low volumes for these 3 models is staggeringly obvious. Really. This is one of the less subjective questions I ever faced in here. There is a massive consensus for a reason, with a few exceptions that you are always going to get. Having said that, I hearty applaud your scepticism. A healthy dose of it is definitely needed in these forums.

post #24 of 30

KGSS(&HV) use 1 nV input noise fets, source degen is 400 Ohms, gain 1000x, noise should be < ~ 600uVrms broadband 20-20kHz on the output, combining with Stax spec of 100 dB @ 100 Vrms sensitivity for the SR007, the amp + headphone audio noise should be ~  -3 dB SPL 

 

that's pretty much at the estimates of human hearing noise floor after many minutes of accommodation in a Anechoic chamber - when you can hear your blood flow - the noise floor in circumaural headphones is >10 dB worse (higher) because they convert muscle micro tremor, pulse into sound

 

really good listening domestic room noise is often +20 dB SPL

 

maybe tube input amps are much worse, maybe Dr Gilmore didn't use enough feedback, or 2nd stage noise is bigger than it should be - but there's good reason to believe that at least the KGSS + SR007 needn't be audibly worse than any other circumaural headphone on noise floor

 

 

in a world where flagship monolithic audio DACs are edging over 120 dB S/N (130 dB for ESS Sabre) on their outputs I do think given reasonable gain structure that many amp's pots are best left at max and digital gain control with 24 bit res should be used instead

 


Edited by jcx - 9/5/11 at 8:19pm
post #25 of 30

I am using my SR009 through the SRM727II but with the volume of the SRM727II bypassed. Volume is controlled on the Esoteric K-01's attenuator and I find the sound is similar at all volume levels.

post #26 of 30

Yeah, KGSS and 717 are fine (don't own a 727).

I have issues with some tube amps and/or volume knobs.

In those occasions the trick is very useful.

I must warn that at night sometimes listen at ridiculously low levels. YMMV.

post #27 of 30

Thanks, Nomad.

In those cases, do you still prefer your Qualia? Which amp are you driving it with?

Regards,

Erico

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post

Yeah, KGSS and 717 are fine (don't own a 727).

I have issues with some tube amps and/or volume knobs.

In those occasions the trick is very useful.

I must warn that at night sometimes listen at ridiculously low levels. YMMV.



 

post #28 of 30

Not sure how to answer this... I don't like the Qualias much. I usually don't get the seal right unless I press the cups against my head so the sound is a bit thin and hollow, even in his own awesomeness (detail, imaging, soundstaging, PRaT...)

 

Still, I had to answer the original question about which headphone retains the sound signature/performance even at ridiculous low levels: That's the Qualia regardless of amp and regardless of the fact that doesn't work quite well for me due to the fit.

 

I must confess (ashamed) that I haven't use any of my phones for years. Last weekend I used the Orpheus and the SR-Omegas for first time in like 2-3 years. The only exception has been the DHA3000-L3000 combo in the bedroom for convenience and comfort and just like once every 1-2 months. I need to get back on the horse.

post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post

Not sure how to answer this... I don't like the Qualias much. I usually don't get the seal right unless I press the cups against my head so the sound is a bit thin and hollow, even in his own awesomeness (detail, imaging, soundstaging, PRaT...)

 

Still, I had to answer the original question about which headphone retains the sound signature/performance even at ridiculous low levels: That's the Qualia regardless of amp and regardless of the fact that doesn't work quite well for me due to the fit.

 

I must confess (ashamed) that I haven't use any of my phones for years. Last weekend I used the Orpheus and the SR-Omegas for first time in like 2-3 years. The only exception has been the DHA3000-L3000 combo in the bedroom for convenience and comfort and just like once every 1-2 months. I need to get back on the horse.


Shame on you for doing that to your precious!! (j/k).  wink_face.gif  Similarly, I have not used my Orpheus system for more than 2 months now.  However, I'm one of a lucky few who has a perfect fit with the Qualia.  Mine is a small headband and I can get a perfect fit every time.  When the you have the right fit, it is truly an awesome headphones with sound that rivals or best even my R10 in many genres.  I'm using my Qualia daily at work now with DHA3000 and maxed out PPA with Mdht Havana DAC.  My L3000 has not get much use either as I much preferred the R10 & Qualia to the leather head.

 

post #30 of 30

Haha! Lucky you. I get a good fit sometimes but still the sound tends to be a bit thin. I can see that they are amazing so I still keep them. They do rival or best even my R10s too sometimes.

 

Finally after years I had mega-sessions these days with some of my cans. I can't understand how every time I prepare the Orpheus I end listening way (way) more the SR-Omegas, even from a humble 717. The Orpheus is amazing but after several hours you get a bit tired of perhaps a bit too euphonic sound (even if it is not fatiguing at all). On the other hand, the SR-Omegas are absolutely perfect (to me) but ear-fatiguing after several hours. Several hours meaning 8 to 16.

 

The L3000s sometimes get some beating around here but I find them extremely pleasant at low volumes from a good amp that won't make that delicious speaker-like bass sloppy. But as soon as you go up a bit the mids will start to get "honky". I don't get to that point so I don't mind.

 

PS: I have a big head and the Qualias medium size at minimum length is a bit too big... I can't imagine the big size at maximum length! Was that for elephants?

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