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Mini-Review: HeadAmp KGSS vs Blue Hawaii SE - Page 5

post #61 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

Hmm I always assumed the Rowland stuff was actually one of the better deals out there for component cost to amp price.  I don't think the DIYT2 even has $500 worth of chips, that's a ton.


Not so much, at least not anymore. I think years ago Rowland stuff was very well built.

 

model10-1.jpg

 

model10-2.jpg


Edited by DaveBSC - 8/31/11 at 9:01pm
post #62 of 130

Ya that looks nothing like the old Rowland stuff I've seen.  That actually looks more like a preamp though.  What model is it?  The chassis looks cool and it reminded me of some new amp the creator of Krell is now making for something like $45k.

post #63 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

Ya that looks nothing like the old Rowland stuff I've seen.  That actually looks more like a preamp though.  What model is it?  The chassis looks cool and it reminded me of some new amp the creator of Krell is now making for something like $45k.

 

Not a preamp. It's the Model 10 amplifier, built using LM3886 chips (as seen in the second photo). You usually see those chips in gainclones costing a few hundred bucks. The Model 10 sold for $7500. Rowland cases have always looked great, and I think they figured out a few years ago that they could sell on looks alone, nobody really cared what was actually inside. The Rowland Class D amps are literally mostly air inside.
 

 

post #64 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post



 

Not a preamp. It's the Model 10 amplifier, built using LM3886 chips (as seen in the second photo). You usually see those chips in gainclones costing a few hundred bucks. The Model 10 sold for $7500. Rowland cases have always looked great, and I think they figured out a few years ago that they could sell on looks alone, nobody really cared what was actually inside. The Rowland Class D amps are literally mostly air inside.
 

 


the Rowland class 'D' amps use the ICE modules.....which are prefectly fine circuits....and very cost effective for OEM use. my Evolution Acoustics MM3 speakers use the same ICE module as the Rowland #501  http://jeffrowlandgroup.com/M501.htm  for the active subwoofers. 4 years ago i purchased a pair of Chinese class 'D' monoblock amps (Murano's) which are essentially identical to the Rowland 501's but their retail was $1800 (i paid even less) compared to the 501's at $7000 with the same circuit. my son now uses them.

 

i agree that as far as 'bling,bling' Rowland Design Group has that covered.

 

ICE module based amplifiers are great for bass amplification as they are efficent, run cool, and are neutral and distortion free up to a certain frequency; but are lacking body and refinement in the upper registers.....and get exposed when compared to better conventional designs. the more vintage SOTA Rowland amplifier designs are far better as full frequency amplifiers.
 

 

post #65 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mossback View Post


ICE module based amplifiers are great for bass amplification as they are efficent, run cool, and are neutral and distortion free up to a certain frequency; but are lacking body and refinement in the upper registers.....and get exposed when compared to better conventional designs. the more vintage SOTA Rowland amplifier designs are far better as full frequency amplifiers.


Agreed - ICEpower is great for subwoofers and not much else. I've never understood the praise that the various ICE amps have gotten. In my experience the only Class D amp that's even half worth listening to is the Spectron.

post #66 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post

There is a very, very, very long list of sources which outpace anything by RWA at a far lower price. 


What are they?
post #67 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

Agreed - ICEpower is great for subwoofers and not much else. I've never understood the praise that the various ICE amps have gotten. In my experience the only Class D amp that's even half worth listening to is the Spectron.



I disagree. I moved from Class AB amps to ICEpower amps (Jeff Rowland and Bel Canto) on two out of my four speakers setups, and the ICEpower amps sound excellent to me (lows, mids, and highs). They also measure very well throughout the frequency range under different loads. See the graphs starting page 10 of:

 

http://www.icepower.bang-olufsen.com/files/solutions/icepower250asx2_datasheet_1_1.pdf 

 

 

 

post #68 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy View Post





I disagree. I moved from Class AB amps to ICEpower amps (Jeff Rowland and Bel Canto) on two out of my four speakers setups, and the ICEpower amps sound excellent to me (lows, mids, and highs). They also measure very well throughout the frequency range under different loads. See the graphs starting page 10 of:

 

http://www.icepower.bang-olufsen.com/files/solutions/icepower250asx2_datasheet_1_1.pdf 

 

 

 


i do agree that up to a certain price point, it's hard to beat the overall value proposition of the ICE module based class 'D' amps. as i said, it's a fine circuit with many positve attributes. if you are under $6k-$10k for a solid state amplifier, the ICE based amps will be in the mix at the top of the heap of overall performance.

 

but....and it's a big BUT.....over that price range many/most conventional designed solid state amplifiers will be audibly more natural and refined in the mids and upper registers. there are other class 'D' amplifiers (read more expensive) that can 'hang' with more expensive conventionally designed amps up to a point, then they too fall short. the ICE modules cost an OEM manufacturer under $500. they are phenominal at that price. but ultimately you do get what you pay for. class 'D' 'switching amps have limitations, that is just the way it is. as time goes by you see class 'D' amps reach higher and higher levels of naturalness.....and the best of them are quite expensive.

 

i own 2 sets of ICE based amps, and have heard others based on the ICE module. they cannot compete with my solid state darTZeel NHB-108 stereo amp at all in my system in full range listenability.

 

this is not to say that a system based on the ICE circuit cannot be very nice.

 

post #69 of 130
Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy View Post

I disagree. I moved from Class AB amps to ICEpower amps (Jeff Rowland and Bel Canto) on two out of my four speakers setups, and the ICEpower amps sound excellent to me (lows, mids, and highs). They also measure very well throughout the frequency range under different loads. See the graphs starting page 10 of:

 

http://www.icepower.bang-olufsen.com/files/solutions/icepower250asx2_datasheet_1_1.pdf 

 


To me they sound lousy - they make the speakers sound like someone has tossed a blanket over them. The Rowland and BC versions are also overpriced - the module is pretty much exactly the same regardless of which case its in. If you want to hear Class D done properly, listen to the Musician III Mk2, trust me. It mops the floor with the little ICEpowers and their switching supplies.

 


Edited by DaveBSC - 9/1/11 at 9:24pm
post #70 of 130

Hello,

 

I've been following that forum for quite some time but haven't posted much...

 

I was among the people who got their BHSE from the last batch. For what it's worth I'd like to state my own experience and echo what has been said a few posts earlier about the importance of the DAC paired with the BHSE.

 

Currently my system is Macbook pro firewire -> Weiss Medea Plus -> BHSE -> SR-007MK2. To put it naively I couldn't even try to imagine what a better sound would be like. It feels like all that those characteristics that are being discussed (details, transparency, imaging etc...) disappear and converge toward something that could simply be called the perfection. It feels like I am right there with the artist in the recording room, and this even with some CD format.

 

Admittedly I've had no other experience than with my past material, which includes the Weiss DAC 2, SRM 727-II, balanced HD800 and the Headroom balanced max amp / balanced max DAC.

 

In my experience my two latest upgrades (BHSE over the SRM 727-II and Weiss Medea Plus over the DAC 2) have been the most rewarding, which also shows that the diminishing return perception is personal to each one (I haven't paid the Medea the full price though).

 

To be noted, I've found that the BHSE must warm up at least three hours to give that stratospheric sound, but it may be the only commercial amp that allows you reaching such heights...

post #71 of 130
Thread Starter 

As an update from the first post, I ended up deciding to sell the KGSS (and it's now sold). The BHSE was/is just too awesome to part with, issues of cost aside. I was re-listening to the KGSS over the last couple of weeks though and on its own, the OII sounded really good on it. Maybe even too good. I'll put it this way: IMO the OII/KGSS combo easily beats the Audeze LCD-2 (r1) on the B22. The LCD-2/B22 was really good too, but IMO the OII can absolutely trounce it on just the KGSS.

 

It doesn't take a BHSE to make the OII sound awesome - the KGSS does that fairly easily. There were so many times where I just zoned out and enjoyed the music on the OII/KGSS, it was that awesome. It's just that the BHSE adds an extra dose of awesomeness for positively surreal, life-changing sound. Yeah I said life-changing - and I totally mean that too. I don't think that's too strong of a term for the BHSE - it's changed my life, surely that can't be a one-time thing!

post #72 of 130

^ I share your sentiments on that issue

 

If all I had heard was the KGSS with the O2, I'd still rave that it was one of the best headphone setups of all time.  But once you have a BHSE in the same room, and can listen to them back-to-back, there is really no comparison

post #73 of 130

I also agree with the stat comments in the last two posts.

I have the KGSSHV and it sounds very good.

The Blue Hawaii is simply in another league.

Words like "holographic" spring to mind. The amp doesnt really sound "tubey" either.

KG's implementation somehow just does things right.

post #74 of 130

Doug, you know you want to build that T2. ;) You already have that RK50 sitting around anyways. :p

post #75 of 130

I know I want to build the T2 but am a little daunted by what is involved.

At the moment I have squirreled away the most critical parts (pcbs and transistors).

Am saving up for the rest.

During the coming year I should have gathered everything to start the build.

This sucker aint cheap by no means.

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