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REVIEW: The best headphone/amp combo known to man  

post #1 of 122
Thread Starter 

 

 
The source w/Burson HDAM V2 and Panasonic 0.1uf filmcap bypassing v+v- pins:
 
xfi-burson.jpg
 
Project Sunrise headphone amp with russian 6922 tube
 
sunrise1.jpg
 
Can it really be....?
 
ultra1.jpg
 
Yes! The etiopian lambskin covered $1799 Ultrasone ed 9 headphone, one of top three headphones in the world?
 
ultra2.jpg
 
But first, how does this sound with the Sennheiser HD 600? The Sennheisers often sound "closed in" and muffled with small soundstage without proper amplification. The MF X-can series has never been able to drive them properly, i have tried for many years. Though using the Matrix M-stage(Lehman clone) w/ AD797 opamps, they are driven very well. Once stated in a review on Head-fi: the M-stage drives the Sennheiser HD600 & HD800 as good as the Luxman P1. 
 
Using the Project Sunrise amp with the Sennheisers, they are equally well driven, but now the sound has proper body. The dynamics are great. The spatial positioning has never been better and gone is the flat sound, we now have real depth! The sound is as wide as it can possibly be, its fast, its detailed and the "bloat" is gone. To put it in one sentence, the Sunrise makes the HD 600 sound better than the M-stage, and never in my lifetime have these headphones sounded better.
 
So what about the Sunrise driving "the worlds best headphone", the 40ohm Ultrasone 9? What comes at you with Antonio Vivaldi - Orlando finto pazzo, Jazz at the Pawnshop, Dick Hyman, Doug MacLeod and Miles Davis makes the HD 600 seem like a old rotten sailor. It beats it in every aspects. The spatial positioning is out of this world. Perfectly balanced, the bass, the mids and highs are all there, presented on a gold and diamonds platter. Just perfectly extended and presented either way. Pure magic and seducing sound, but with details as good as with a solid stage amp! Sounds just so "nervous" compared to other tube hybrids I have heard. This all with the russian Reflector stock tube which even normally lacks the upper registers in inferior amps. This really is the champagne of audio! Compared to the Senns, the Sunrise + Ultrasones are heavenly, and that considering the Senn HD 600 really never sounded better. The sound is as organic as life. Mids are a real killer. No harshness. N shrills. No fatigue. No "boring" parts. Its magical and fun and it cannot be done better, atleast I have not heard it and I listened to a $200 000 Meridian stereo last week.
 
What happens if we swap the Reflector tube for the Mullard 6922 goldpin? Not much really, the Mullards sound a bit brighter, but without any extra details and no better spatial positioning, it actually sounds a little harsh in the highs with the Ultrasones. But the mullards spice up the HD600, though also inject some "too bright" parts in the audio.
 
Conclusion: The Sunrise HP amp is the best I have heard in my life.. ever; even using cheap Reflector 6922 tubes. It is important to understand for most Head-fi forum users: The TUBE is the weak link in any hybrid amp, and there is not anything designers can do about that. One cannot extract what is not there! This is a single tube design as well, making it cheap with replacements. It is not worth getting any other amp than this, and that is before considering the price. There is only one thing the designers of the Sunrise amp can do - industrialize the design and put it in mass production so that headphone users around the world can get to enjoy the best audio that tubes can and will ever produce.
 
Make your choice and stick with it, and this one sticks... and while your at it, why not get a pair of Ultrasone ed 10 too?
 
post #2 of 122

First, the BUTTE is the future of headphone amps

 

Now, we have the best headphone/amp combo known to man

 

You guys are getting pretty good with the headlines on these threads.


Edited by roker - 10/16/11 at 9:34am
post #3 of 122

I come in here thinking there will be some impressions of the DIY T2 > SR-009 combo.

 

I leave disappointed.

post #4 of 122

I am running my Project Sunrise with a PSVANE 12AU7, driving my  custom Beyer DT-880 Dragon V1 phones with Black Dragon cables. While clearly not in the same league as the OP's Ultrasone 9's, my 880's sound better with this amplifier than any of my others, regardless of price. 

post #5 of 122
Thread Starter 

The amp is extremly good. One does not need another tubeamp after this unless on wants to run on the hype. Its incredibly good and cant be done better. Though in my review, the weak part is the SOURCE; so using more expensive tubes might show itself better on more expensive sources. It might be the brightness of the soundcard which the mullard shows. But also sounding brighter, the Mullard is also more "laid back" than the Reflectors. The Reflectors have more attack. Its a good tube in this amp.

 

How is your tube? PSVANE?

 

post #6 of 122

I have not heard your setup but I envy you. Any man who is completely happy with his setup and has no desire to upgrade has found peace with himself.

 

Congrats.

post #7 of 122
Thread Starter 

I get your point, but the source is still an issue. But this review was regarding the sunrise amp anyways... 

post #8 of 122

I prefer my iBuds and netbook jack.

post #9 of 122
Thread Starter 

Head injury..... how are your audez? 

post #10 of 122

I like them.

post #11 of 122

wow the best thread title

post #12 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by kn19h7 View Post

wow the best thread title


I know, and it was a let down.

 

post #13 of 122
Thread Starter 

Cifani090: I think you misunderstand. You are looking for "the most expensive" gear, not the "best". This amp cant be bettered, only be different. The weak part is the tube, and never will a Zana Deux or anything else be able to correct that.

post #14 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by krisno View Post

Cifani090: I think you misunderstand. You are looking for "the most expensive" gear, not the "best". This amp cant be bettered, only be different. The weak part is the tube, and never will a Zana Deux or anything else be able to correct that.


You cant speak for me, and that is why you are wrong. Anyone looking for "the most expensive" need to get their brain evaluated. Most stuff that is over $1,000 have been handmade, engineered for years, and have sonic qualities unknown to a cheap headphone amp.

 

post #15 of 122

I just saw this amplifier on ebay a bit ago and was wondering about it. Asked about it in another thread but no response yet. Thread title is pretty funny! Lots of fancy high dollar amps out there so for the price, I doubt it is the best but looks good. The seller is sort of local to me it looks like unless it is one of those china amps being sold in the US. From the description, it does not look like it. So you think this is pretty good huh? No way I could ever afford your headphones but looking for a good first amplifier for a good price. I just have cheap headphones right now so not sure if I need this much amplifier. All I see are ebay reviews so not sure what to think. Are there any other reviews on here? Was the seller any good? Build quality looks really good too but wonder if that is just for show in the photos or what I would actually get?

 

Pirated some pictures from ebay. Looks hand built as it is through hole.

$(KGrHqR,!iIE6H)eYPzBBOn+10Nd7w~~60_3.jpg$(KGrHqN,!hkE6Z3LGVwoBOn+2BQ2lQ~~60_3.jpg$(KGrHqUOKikE6e!709-7BOn+2CUnH!~~60_3.jpg

 

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