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Amp recommendations for Audeze LCD-3 - Page 43

post #631 of 1047
^ Good to hear. Congrats on the nice result with the Soloist.
post #632 of 1047

Where you are on the pot is not based on power but gain and sweep curve.

post #633 of 1047
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Where you are on the pot is not based on power but gain and sweep curve.

I realized this last night in playing with the gain and pot. I also realized that due to the position of the knob, 12 o'clock isn't halfway.

I have it dialled in now so that the middle gain position and 18 clicks is absolutely perfect. Thanks for all the great info in this thread Solude, as they were a big part of the reason I decided on the Soloist!
post #634 of 1047

Folks:

 

I know that Preproman has tried the Emotiva mini-x 50-wpc speaker amp with his LCD-3s via speaker taps and he liked it about as much as the MJ.  Has anybody else tried that setup with LCD-3s, or tried any other Emotiva amp with speaker taps?  Or any speaker amp with taps? 

 

I'm interested in the speaker amp options for a couple of reasons.  First is that you can get the mini-x for about $200, and two other 125-150- wpc Emotiva amps (UPA-200, XPA-200) are $500 or less, significantly less if they have another 4th of July sale (likely to happen, if history is a guide).  Emo has a solid reputation for building really good stuff for low cost... So if I can get excellent performance for $500 or less, and I have the space for the amp, doesn't it make sense to look into it?

 

Second, I have been looking into Stax headphones, and the biggest weakness with them is that the amps are either crappy, DIY (or in my case, Can't DIY), or really expensive (like nearly $6,000 for a Blue Hawaii).  But you can buy an energizer from Woo for $500, and while it isn't all that great according to some very authoritative Stax experts, others say it works well enough and scales with the amp... so if I can get an Emo and combine it with the Woo box... I might have a decent combo to drive some earspeakers.  Or not, depending on who you ask.  But it certainly has me thinking.  Waaaay too much.

 

Finally, Emo has a new DAC, the XDA-2, that they claim has a high-quality headphone amp in it. Has anybody tried that option? 

 

I have their XDA-1 DAC and I like it, though I have nothing to compare it to except the crappy sound board of my PC.  But both the XDA-1 and XDA-2 are fully balanced, push-pull DACs (they also use the same AD1955 DAC), and if I use either one to feed the $500 XPA-200 which is also balanced, I end up with a fully balanced system for under $1K.  Note that in addition to not having a headphone jack, my XDA-1 version has one serious limitation that would cause me to trade up to the -2 if I decide to go with a speaker amp:  the -1 has a digital volume control, so unless I use it full volume, and use my Adcom pre-amp to control volume, I lose bits.  But using the Adcom means losing the fully balanced system.  The -2 does not use digital volume controls... and it does have that headphone amp...  all for $400, without the savings from the sale-that-might-be.

 

As always, so many choices, so much ignorance on my part...  Any experiences that anyone could share to help un-confuse me would be appreciated. 

post #635 of 1047

I tried the LCD-2, might still have been the LCD-3, with the First Watt F3.  It was ok, nothing special, clean but merely ok.  About on par with a $500 headphone amp.  The Soloist just smashed it for headphone duty.  The F3 is an amazing speaker amps so anecdotally... I dont think a speaker amp is an auto win for headphones just because it's a great speaker amp.

post #636 of 1047
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post

Folks:

 

I know that Preproman has tried the Emotiva mini-x 50-wpc speaker amp with his LCD-3s via speaker taps and he liked it about as much as the MJ.  Has anybody else tried that setup with LCD-3s, or tried any other Emotiva amp with speaker taps?  Or any speaker amp with taps? 

 

I'm interested in the speaker amp options for a couple of reasons.  First is that you can get the mini-x for about $200, and two other 125-150- wpc Emotiva amps (UPA-200, XPA-200) are $500 or less, significantly less if they have another 4th of July sale (likely to happen, if history is a guide).  Emo has a solid reputation for building really good stuff for low cost... So if I can get excellent performance for $500 or less, and I have the space for the amp, doesn't it make sense to look into it?

 

Second, I have been looking into Stax headphones, and the biggest weakness with them is that the amps are either crappy, DIY (or in my case, Can't DIY), or really expensive (like nearly $6,000 for a Blue Hawaii).  But you can buy an energizer from Woo for $500, and while it isn't all that great according to some very authoritative Stax experts, others say it works well enough and scales with the amp... so if I can get an Emo and combine it with the Woo box... I might have a decent combo to drive some earspeakers.  Or not, depending on who you ask.  But it certainly has me thinking.  Waaaay too much.

 

Finally, Emo has a new DAC, the XDA-2, that they claim has a high-quality headphone amp in it. Has anybody tried that option? 

 

I have their XDA-1 DAC and I like it, though I have nothing to compare it to except the crappy sound board of my PC.  But both the XDA-1 and XDA-2 are fully balanced, push-pull DACs (they also use the same AD1955 DAC), and if I use either one to feed the $500 XPA-200 which is also balanced, I end up with a fully balanced system for under $1K.  Note that in addition to not having a headphone jack, my XDA-1 version has one serious limitation that would cause me to trade up to the -2 if I decide to go with a speaker amp:  the -1 has a digital volume control, so unless I use it full volume, and use my Adcom pre-amp to control volume, I lose bits.  But using the Adcom means losing the fully balanced system.  The -2 does not use digital volume controls... and it does have that headphone amp...  all for $400, without the savings from the sale-that-might-be.

 

As always, so many choices, so much ignorance on my part...  Any experiences that anyone could share to help un-confuse me would be appreciated. 

 

 

The issue is your setting this up for the LCD-3 not the HE-6.  So the LCD-3 will sound about it's best on any quality speaker or headphone amp.  So getting say a Mojo in this case may be less in cost and less in hassle overall.

 

Now if you plan to move over to the HE-6.  

 

My First Watt crushed every headphone amp that came it's way.  It's just not a question, "for me" anyway.  

 

So in this case, if you have the space.  I would go with the Emo monos plus the XDA-2 (better v-control over the XDA-1)  The headphone out might do well for other headphones not named HE-6 - the LCD-3 you would have to try out for your self on that one - I say it's a good gamble on a sale day.  

post #637 of 1047

Audeze, I and others recommend HPA-21 for LCD-3!

 

Audeze Partners with Bakoon and Klutz Design

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/664097/bakoon-hpa-21-headphone-amplifier-one-of-the-best/15#post_9489141

 

post #638 of 1047

That's similar to my experience, the HE6 really responded to my balanced speaker amp, the LCD2 (and HD800) not so much.

post #639 of 1047

Folks:

 

As I indicated in the speaker amp thread, my current thinking, subject to instantaneous change, is that I am considering trying to do a side-by-side comparison test of the TBI Millenia, the Emotiva Mini-x and maybe the Emo XPA-200, to represent what a higher powered, but still reasonable cost, amp can do.  I am assuming that I will need some sort of "magic box" for at least the XPA, and maybe the others as well, if only to match impedances.  I might even need a different custom box for each of them, in which case my thinking will almost certainly change about the viability of this plan, though that might depend on how much each magic box costs, and whether I think I could sell the ones for the amps I don't end up keeping.

 

Prepro:  If I do test the XPA-200, I'll get the XDA-2 to go with it, just so I can see for myself what difference the fully balanced chain makes.  I also have my Adcom pre-amp and the XDA-1 which uses the same DAC chip as the -2, so swapping those in/out of the chain should be a pretty good test of whether I think fully balanced is better or not. 

 

As to the Emo monos, they are pretty pricey, and the whole point of this exercise is to see if (to my ears anyway) speaker amps can best mid-range headphone amps for less money.  The Emo 1L, which is the one many of us are looking at, is $700, so by the time I get 2 of them and a magic box, I am clearly in Shiit Statement amp range, and that is a different comparison... Maybe next year... biggrin.gif.

 

CanDude:  The Bakoon is also (way) out of the price range, as are likely all low-power tube speaker amps, though I'd consider one if it was $500 or less and they offered it with a 30-day return policy.

 

Solude:  I hear you, and I think I need a headphone amp in this comparison.  I'm considering having the Cable Co. send me a soloist out of the lending library.  It  won't cost much (~$50 + shipping) and should be a very good representative of a headphone amp just above the price range of the higher end of the speaker amps I'd be comparing it to. 

 

If I get all of this hardware, I would be able to compare 3 very different speaker amps, a well-regarded headphone amp, and the headphone jacks of the XDA-2 and my Adcom pre-amp.  That ought to keep me busy for a little while, anyway. 

 

My out-of-pocket costs will depend heavily on how many magic boxes I need, but there is a chance that I could walk away from all of the hardware, keeping just my Adcom pre-amp as my amp, for a few hundred bucks or less.  Not too bad.  Of course, if I end up liking the most expensive option (the Soloist), buying it plus paying the other costs would raise the total to more like $1200-1400, so there is an incentive to think everything sounds just like the Adcom... However, some of you might remember last summer I did a comparison of 6 headphones, and I was really hoping I'd like the HE-500, which was the cheapest.  I ended up with the LCD-3s, which were the most expensive.  So I will go with what my ears tell me I like the best.

 

Any constructive thoughts on this idea would be appreciated.  I still have time to think about it (i.e., walk back from the edge of the precipice) before Emotiva's potential July 4 sale.

 

Thanks, as always, for your help, and I promise to bore you with excruciatingly verbose write-ups of my findings if I do proceed with this.

 

Gary


Edited by Gary in MD - 6/1/13 at 6:12pm
post #640 of 1047

Well, for one the speaker amps that we're looking at IMO is not high end.. ie.. Krell, Pass Labs,  SimAudio and the like.  These are more like "mid end" I guess.blink.gif

 

I may have missed it - but what's the magic box?

 

I haven't heard the Soloist yet.  So that being said, I say just go for the Mojo, if it's just for the LCD-3s...

post #641 of 1047

Prepro:

 

My intent is to compare mid-fi speaker amps <$500, to mid-fi headphone amps ~$750-1000.  I'd like to know if Head-fiers are getting something for the extra bucks paid for headphone amps.  If so, great, I'll likely fork over the extra bucks myself.  If not, I'll buy a speaker amp and save some dollars.  And if my Adcom pre-amp sounds as good to me as any of the amps I'll stick with it and consider the investment in the comparison test equipment to be my entertainment costs for the month of July.  And maybe August.  And perhaps September if I have to buy 3 different magic boxes.

 

And what is a magic box, you ask?  A magic box is a custom set of resistors to match impedances between each amp and the LCDs, and to limit the power going to the headphones so that I don't blow them up.  The latter is only a problem with the XPA-200, but there is a chance that all of the speaker amps will need some sort of adjustment to impedance to sound their best.  I plan to discuss this with TBI and Emotiva over the next couple of days, to see what they recommend.  If they recommend a special design, I need to know whether they will build a box to implement it, and of course what it will cost.  If they don't want to build it, but will provide a schematic and parts list, I might try to build it myself, though more likely I will try to get somebody who actually knows how to build electronics to do it for me for a modest fee.  I have never built anything electronic in my life, and I'm not sure that my first project should be something that could blow up my LCDs and hundreds of dollars in amps, so I would prefer that somebody else build the box.

 

I would love to include a Mjolnir in the comparison, though Schiit's return window is only 15 days, which might be cutting it a bit close.  And it is another ~$50 bucks minimum, but hey, who's counting (wait... I am...). Oh well, what the hell...  They're in -- assuming they can guarantee shipping so that the MJ gets here when the other stuff is here.  The more stuff I try to coordinate, the more likely something is going to miss the comparison, which is why 15 days might not really be a long enough window.  On the other hand, I know that at least the Adcom pre-amp will be here!

 

Man are my credit card companies gonna love me this summer...

post #642 of 1047
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post

Prepro:

 

My intent is to compare mid-fi speaker amps <$500, to mid-fi headphone amps ~$750-1000.  I'd like to know if Head-fiers are getting something for the extra bucks paid for headphone amps.  If so, great, I'll likely fork over the extra bucks myself.  If not, I'll buy a speaker amp and save some dollars.  And if my Adcom pre-amp sounds as good to me as any of the amps I'll stick with it and consider the investment in the comparison test equipment to be my entertainment costs for the month of July.  And maybe August.  And perhaps September if I have to buy 3 different magic boxes.

 

And what is a magic box, you ask?  A magic box is a custom set of resistors to match impedances between each amp and the LCDs, and to limit the power going to the headphones so that I don't blow them up.  The latter is only a problem with the XPA-200, but there is a chance that all of the speaker amps will need some sort of adjustment to impedance to sound their best.  I plan to discuss this with TBI and Emotiva over the next couple of days, to see what they recommend.  If they recommend a special design, I need to know whether they will build a box to implement it, and of course what it will cost.  If they don't want to build it, but will provide a schematic and parts list, I might try to build it myself, though more likely I will try to get somebody who actually knows how to build electronics to do it for me for a modest fee.  I have never built anything electronic in my life, and I'm not sure that my first project should be something that could blow up my LCDs and hundreds of dollars in amps, so I would prefer that somebody else build the box.

 

I would love to include a Mjolnir in the comparison, though Schiit's return window is only 15 days, which might be cutting it a bit close.  And it is another ~$50 bucks minimum, but hey, who's counting (wait... I am...). Oh well, what the hell...  They're in -- assuming they can guarantee shipping so that the MJ gets here when the other stuff is here.  The more stuff I try to coordinate, the more likely something is going to miss the comparison, which is why 15 days might not really be a long enough window.  On the other hand, I know that at least the Adcom pre-amp will be here!

 

Man are my credit card companies gonna love me this summer...

 

 

Ha ha ha  this sounds like fun..  What's the date and location.   If you have space, might try to make a mini meet out of it L3000.gif

post #643 of 1047

The date is probably sometime in July, depending on when I can get all of the hardware together.  The location is just outside Jefferson, MD, which is outside of Frederick, MD, which is pretty far outside of Washington, DC.  It takes about an hour (non-rush hour) to get here from either DC or Baltimore.  That can double or triple during rush hour, which is why I try not to be on the roads then!

 

I do have the space, so folks would be welcome, with or without added hardware.

post #644 of 1047

oops

post #645 of 1047

Breaking in my LCD3 with a DACmini and loving it.

 

The only thing I've found with the DACmini is the volume knob quickly jumps from "so soft the db matching between left and right is off" and "a little loud for long term listening" in a very short turn of the knob.

 

Sometimes I end up turning the volume in Amarra down a little so I can raise the DACmini knob up higher and push more juice.

 

 

It did the same thing with my HD650's though so not worried about it.  May check out a Soloist or Mjolnir next time I have an excuse to buy something. 

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