I know the John Darko's review of Isabellina. From this review I've taken the idea of changing my source from Squeezebox Touch to JK HiFace. I am very please with the change.
I use a solid state amp (Audio-Technica HA5000) that is a dedicated headphone amp for my AT W5000 headphones. As far as I know it is very good. However I haven't had a chance to compare it to too many others, so I don't really know how it fares in terms of speed and aggresiveness.
For the time being I am going to upgrade my digital interconnect and replace the stock tube to a more lively one (maybe the Dario Miniwatt or Siemen CCa - which one would you recommend for me?) I am happy with my system already, however I still feel I can squeeze a bit more performance out of it.
Regarding the Denon phones, I have D2000 which is of course not up to the level of D7000, but in general I have never considered Denons to be too speedy or aggresive cans. For me they have very pleasurable and smooth sound with big bass. My opinion is based mainly on D2000 and short auditions of D5000 and D7000.
Never listened to LCD headphones myself, but from reading a few reviews and impressions I got a general idea of it as also smooth sounding headphone. The headphone that sounds really lively to me is Grado PS1000. It is colorful, powerful, spacious, speedy, aggresive. However because of the comfort and durability of this Grado headphone, I wouldn't like to own it. But it sounds good to me. Audio-Technica W5000 - my main headphone now, is a more delicate and subtle sounding headphone in comparison. It is a great headphone, but I must confess that after upgrading my whole system toward it I am also starting to think that my headphones might be the weakest link!:) Will this upgraditis ever end?!;)
Originally Posted by tuberock
Oh this makes sense. I read this review http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/index.php/audio-reviews/digital-source-reviews/item/156-red-wine-audio-isabellina-lfp-v-edition and he mentioned the same thing. The isabellina DAC was too polite. I found the HPA isabellina LFP-V to be a great balance of intimate and aggressive. The HPA has a good solid state amp after the DAC. Which amp are you using? Maybe something like a Burson 160 would have good synergy. They are priced decent and they have a lot of impact and drive. I bet they would complement each other well
This would be my second upgrade, after a good nos tube.(Cheaper) This would bring a big change to the system.
I could get more mids with a different tube however I REALLY like the Miniwatts, Pinched Waist Ameprex and 50's CC's as my favorite tubes I have tried. They just do every thing so well, not just boost mid's. The LCD 2 IMO are just better. They are balanced across the spectrum highs, mids, and lows compared to the Denon 7000. The treble is not as bright and the bass has less impact. But they have more detail and have a better sound stage. From what I have read and heard is the LCD 3 refine what the 2 does even more. I originally got the denons because of the closed backs so I could listen while my wife is asleep. Now I would like a no compromise headphone for most of my sessions. It seems I have invested WAY more then I originally planned and feel my weakest link is my headphones. So I am VERY happy for now but it gives me something to look forward to save for. That rounds out a great system for years of enjoyment.
Edited by korzena - 1/21/12 at 1:36am