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Amp recommendations for Audeze LCD-3 - Page 54

post #796 of 947
Quote:
Originally Posted by nigeljames View Post

I hope to find out myself one day but the LCD2.2's still sound so good I have other priorities  biggrin.gif

 

Har, same feeling here. I am getting a bit annoyed by lack of soundstage and a few other things, yet, they still sound so good to me I am having trouble getting myself to spend the $ and make the upgrade, using my money for other things instead. atsmile.gif

post #797 of 947

I've been very happy with the Peak/Volcano combo sold by TTVJ. Haven't heard a wide range of other options in the same price range, but the ones I have tried don't measure up.

post #798 of 947
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahhabb View Post

I've been very happy with the Peak/Volcano combo sold by TTVJ. Haven't heard a wide range of other options in the same price range, but the ones I have tried don't measure up.

What other amps have you heard?

post #799 of 947

Peak is my number 2 favourite amp behind the GS-X mk2.  Just awesome with a Hytron 5692 or Sylvania 6SN7A.  Not so hot with the Sylvania Bad Boy or Shuguang Treasure but still better than most.

post #800 of 947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Peak is my number 2 favourite amp behind the GS-X mk2.  Just awesome with a Hytron 5692 or Sylvania 6SN7A.  Not so hot with the Sylvania Bad Boy or Shuguang Treasure but still better than most.

There's a Peak/Volcano for a great price on sale in the F/S forum. If I didn't have a GS-X MKII, I'd be all over it.

post #801 of 947

Folks:

 

Over on the “Speaker-Amps-for-Headphones” thread I recently directly compared several speaker and HP amps with my LCD-3s (source was the Emotiva XDA-1 DAC, fed FLAC files via optical from my PC).  For those who haven’t followed the discussion over there, and would be interested in reading my totally jaded opinions, here are the links to the reviews of each amp, in order of my preference, from least preferred to loved the best:

 

Emotiva Mini-X A-100 (Speaker amp, $220):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/360#post_9592686 (Post 363)

 

Schiit Mjolnir:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/360#post_9592686 (Post 364)

 

Burson Soloist (Conductor):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/360#post_9595932 (Post 372)

 

TBI Millenia (Speaker amp, $600 including resistor box (required)):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/495#post_9674922 (Post 499)

 

Odyssey Cyclops (Speaker amp, $1295):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/600#post_9694245  (Post 608)

 

For those not interested in reading all of that, in the end I used some TV analogies to summarize each of the amps in the comparison test: 

  • The Emotiva is like a cheap 1960s color TV.  Bright and over saturated in some places, muddy in others, harsh and glaring throughout. 
  • The Mjolnir is like a 2D 1080P (or maybe even 4K) HDTV that only reproduces black and white (and to be fair, shades of gray) in 2D.  The details are there, but lifeless, cold, unreal. 
  • The Burson is like watching on a 2" screen, or on a 40" screen from 30 feet away.  Fine for background, but not at all involving. 
  • The Millenia like is a high quality 1080P or 4K set, with basic 3D capability.  It isn't quite like being there, but it is pretty damn good for an electronic reproduction. 
  • The Cyclops is like being there.  Period. 

 

Of course, these are all just my opinions, so feel free to dismiss them, ignore them or argue with me… otherwise this board becomes a bored. 

 

Oh, and anybody who thinks the LCD-3s are lacking treble, or are overly mid-centric, have too small a sound stage, etc., hasn't heard the latest drivers with the right amp.  With the Cyclops, these cans are unbelievably good, one of the best high-fidelity music reproductions I have heard in 40 years of listening to audiophile equipment.

post #802 of 947

Wow how aggressive is the Cyclops that it rendered the too aggressive, high attack Mjolnir lifeless?  And the Soloist distant?  Me thinks perhaps you have a source problem to be getting such wild swings from what these two normally get described as.

post #803 of 947

I don't think the source is the problem, since the Millenia and Cyclops sound great.  To my brain, the MJ is lifeless and cold like a vampire or a zombie, and those things can still attack...  But thinking about the words, I believe "colorless" and "harsh" are better words to describe the MJ.  The detail is aggressively presented, but it doesn't sound real.

 

It could be that the Emotiva DAC is not a good match with the MJ or the Soloist, but I also tried Burson's DAC in the Conductor with both, and I didn't think that fixed the problem with either amp, in fact I didn't like that DAC at all.

 

But it could be that my brain is just different... Not the first time I've been accused of that...

post #804 of 947
Gary,,what DAC and interconnects are you using with the cyclops??





Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post

Folks:

Over on the “Speaker-Amps-for-Headphones” thread I recently directly compared several speaker and HP amps with my LCD-3s (source was the Emotiva XDA-1 DAC, fed FLAC files via optical from my PC).  For those who haven’t followed the discussion over there, and would be interested in reading my totally jaded opinions, here are the links to the reviews of each amp, in order of my preference, from least preferred to loved the best:

Emotiva Mini-X A-100 (Speaker amp, $220):
http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/360#post_9592686 (Post 363)

Schiit Mjolnir:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/360#post_9592686 (Post 364)

Burson Soloist (Conductor):
http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/360#post_9595932 (Post 372)

TBI Millenia (Speaker amp, $600 including resistor box (required)):
http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/495#post_9674922 (Post 499)

Odyssey Cyclops (Speaker amp, $1295):
http://www.head-fi.org/t/649107/speaker-amps-for-headphones/600#post_9694245  (Post 608)

For those not interested in reading all of that, in the end I used some TV analogies to summarize each of the amps in the comparison test: 
  • The Emotiva is like a cheap 1960s color TV.  Bright and over saturated in some places, muddy in others, harsh and glaring throughout. 
  • The Mjolnir is like a 2D 1080P (or maybe even 4K) HDTV that only reproduces black and white (and to be fair, shades of gray) in 2D.  The details are there, but lifeless, cold, unreal. 
  • The Burson is like watching on a 2" screen, or on a 40" screen from 30 feet away.  Fine for background, but not at all involving. 
  • The Millenia like is a high quality 1080P or 4K set, with basic 3D capability.  It isn't quite like being there, but it is pretty damn good for an electronic reproduction. 
  • The Cyclops is like being there.  Period. 

Of course, these are all just my opinions, so feel free to dismiss them, ignore them or argue with me… otherwise this board becomes a bored. 

Oh, and anybody who thinks the LCD-3s are lacking treble, or are overly mid-centric, have too small a sound stage, etc., hasn't heard the latest drivers with the right amp.  With the Cyclops, these cans are unbelievably good, one of the best high-fidelity music reproductions I have heard in 40 years of listening to audiophile equipment.
post #805 of 947

The DAC is the Emotiva XDA-1.  It sounds great with the Odyssey, but I am looking to do another comparison next summer of DACs... since by then I'll be ready for some more not-so-cheap, but at least clean and legal, entertainment. 

 

Note that I also tried the DAC in the Burson Conductor, since the Cable Co sent me the combined unit -- the amp section is the same as the Soloist and the Cable Co just uses the Conductor for demos of both the amp and the combined unit to reduce the size of their library.  I did not like the Burson DAC at all with the Burson amp, and liked it even less with the other amps.  It seemed to me like they designed the DAC to compensate for the faults of the Soloist by making it punchy, but it just didn't mesh well at all with any of the amps I was testing.  Note that I also did some listening with my Carver tube CD changer, but mostly used the Emotiva, which was fed FLAC rips of CDs via optical.

 

For most of the comparison testing I was using cheap AV interconnects that I happened to have laying around.  I used the same cheap interconnects to compare all of the amps, so it was all perfectly fair. 

 

However, I'm currently using a pair of ancient Monster interconnects created by the Romans in 53 BC... Okay, more like created by Monster in the late1980s AD, but close enough.  I went to the Monsters after the comparison testing was mostly done because one night I was troubleshooting a noise issue with the Millenia by swapping between the DAC and my CD changer (which the Monsters had been connecting to my Adcom Pre-amp) to try to see if the noise was in the CD, in  the FLAC transfer, or in the computer's CD transport.  It turned out to be in the resistor box I was using with the Millenia at the time (since replaced by TBI at no charge except return shipping of a box that weighs less than a pound).  After multiple connections and reconnections during the troubleshooting, I just decided to keep the Monster interconnects attached to the DAC and amps.  Note that I don't hear any significant difference between the Monster connections and the cheap AV ones:  the better amps sounded better with whatever cable was connecting them.

post #806 of 947

Gary, so what do I need with the LCD-3s to put me on the same cloud as you??

What DAC, and interconnects should I get with the Cyclops??

post #807 of 947

I wouldn't worry about the interconnects at all.  Pretty much any set of shielded RCA cables will do fine.  For the demo I was literally using left-over audio connectors (the kind with red, white and yellow jacks that come with any new piece of AV equipment... and I've bought a lot of AV equipment), and only went to the Monsters because I had them and they were shorter and didn't have the 3rd cable, which I didn't need, so they created less visual clutter.  Others around here will argue with me, but I don't believe in magic cables.  We're talking about a low-voltage signal being pushed a few feet.  The performance difference will not be audible as long as the cables are made out of conducting material and are reasonably shielded (i.e., string won't work, but anything made of copper with sheilding around it will).
 

As for a DAC... I'm far from an expert, but I would start with whatever you already own.  That's what I did, and my Emotiva works fine -- as I said above, I liked it better than the Sabre DAC in the Burson Conductor.  The Emotiva XDA-1 isn't available new any more, but its successor, the XDA-2, is basically the same DAC with a few more bells/whistles, and is available for $400.  That's a cheap enough price that even if it isn't the greatest thing ever, it will hold you over until you figure out what might work better.  As I said above, I intend to do an in-home demo of DACs next year, and if I find something better I'll let folks know, but until then, my XDA-1 meets my needs.

 

If you currently don't have any DACs you'd want to use and don't think the Emotiva is good enough, Klaus from Odyssey recommended trying the DAC-1.  I looked into it, and like everything else on the audio market, there are lovers and haters and everything in between.  So I've decided to wait until next year and then try/compare a bunch of DACs (just like I tried a bunch of headphones last year, and a bunch of amps this year).  I'm fairly certain that I'll have an opinion on a variety of DACs once I've done that, but until then, my advice is to try whatever you want.  Just look for something that offers a decent free trial period, in case you don't like it.  Note that the Emotiva and Odyssey hardware we've been discussing is available with 30-day free trials -- no restocking fees.  The most you would be out is return shipping.  So try it... if you like it, keep it, if not send it back. 

post #808 of 947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post
 

I've not heard one but Kevin is pretty high on the design putting it right up there beside the GS-X.  I'd love to hear one but they are rare on the For Sale.

 

 

Bakoon is at the top end of amps which use the circuitry Kevin was commenting on and after all, this is the "High-End Forum". I pair the LCD-3 with the SS integrated Bakoon Amp 11-R and achieve musical nirvana. Their new headphone only amp is the HPA-21 which is the one I imagine Kevin listened to prior to giving the circuitry his seemingly highest recommendation along with his own GS-X of course. HeadAmps seem to be the favorite choice of most HF'rs which means few have listened to a Bakoon. Perhaps nobody but Kevin is in a position to provide a comparison at this point although I believe one or two of the most respected members of Head-Fi will be providing reviews of the HPA-21 in the near future. Meanwhile, those of us that listen to our LCD-3 powered by a Bakoon will go on our merry way.

 

Bakoon amps are of Japanese design but the brand is marketed world-wide out of South Korea. Has anyone noticed that the Japanese tend to design and manufacture some of the very best sounding audio gear? Their SHM CD's and SACD's usually blow their American competition out of the water as well, although there are a few niche American companies releasing excellent SACD's.

 

I have accumulated quite a bit if hi-end audio and Home Theatre gear over the years and the only American made products I use now are made by Aesthetix, BAT, Theta, PS Audio, and Audeze. The rest is of either Japanese, Chinese (HE-6) or of UK or Swiss origin (cables).


Edited by Dr. Roberts - 9/8/13 at 10:22am
post #809 of 947

Kevin and I were talking about the Audio-GD Master series not Bakoon.  He may have talked to someone else about them but not me.

post #810 of 947
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post
 

Kevin and I were talking about the Audio-GD Master series not Bakoon.  He may have talked to someone else about them but not me.

 

Next time you talk to him, ask him. His commentary on Head-Fi regarding Audio-GD circuitry was preceded by the brand name Bakoon, since they are of similar design.

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