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Review: Cavalli Liquid Lightning - Page 4

post #46 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

small weight (intern. shipping) and hopefully additional inputs (unless it drives the cost further up). I'd be totally ok giving impression from a pre-launch unit at home! ;)


Is small weight such a good thing though? That means there's not that much in the way of power supply or heatsinks, which means there's not that much voltage swing. I would have a very hard time paying $4200 for a SS amp that swings 350V. That might not matter as much with the 009, but with the O2 it makes a significant difference.

 

post #47 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Is small weight such a good thing though? That means there's not that much in the way of power supply or heatsinks, which means there's not that much voltage swing. I would have a very hard time paying $4200 for a SS amp that swings 350V. That might not matter as much with the 009, but with the O2 it makes a significant difference.

 


I think you are possibly confusing efficient design with overkill. "1300V peak to peak" and from what I am understand , high bias current too ..dB

 

post #48 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBel84 View Post


I think you are possibly confusing efficient design with overkill. "1300V peak to peak" and from what I am understand , high bias current too ..dB

 

 

1300V p2p is substantially less than a KGSSHV or BHSE. I would guess the RMS voltage swing is 400 tops.


Edited by DaveBSC - 12/9/11 at 11:14pm
post #49 of 312

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sridhar3 View Post

If you might be so kind, could you please share why you would pick the KGSSHV over the CLL without hearing both?  Please note, I'm attempting to be neither accusatory nor condescending.  I am simply gathering information on the train of thought you've used to come to your conclusions on a purchasing decision.

 


Not a problem, and no offense taken. I actually meant "I'm going with the KGSSHV over the BHSE" from my post, not "I'm going over the KGSSHV over the Liquid Lightning." I suppose I'm leaning in that direction already though, but I would like the hear the LL at some point. My plans for owning a KGSSHV predate my knowledge of the latter, as well as the Eddie Current Electra, and are informed by various factors such as my being a KGSS owner and my liking a drier more analytic sound. It will also be less expensive most likely.

 

Again, I would like to hear the LL and the Electra. If I don't get a chance to however, I'd just stick with what I know and get a KGSSHV.

 

post #50 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post


Is small weight such a good thing though? That means there's not that much in the way of power supply or heatsinks, which means there's not that much voltage swing. I would have a very hard time paying $4200 for a SS amp that swings 350V. That might not matter as much with the 009, but with the O2 it makes a significant difference.

 


This.

 

This is one of the main reasons why the Liquid Lightning isn't sounding too terribly appealing to me at the moment.

 

post #51 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

It will also be less expensive most likely.

 

Absolutely less expensive. If you use a basic chassis, you could build a KGSSHV for little more than the price of a 323S. Mine is the 500V version with seriously high-end parts ($500 Khozmo SA, $250 just in wiring) but I'm still well under $2K.
 

 

post #52 of 312
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

Not a problem, and no offense taken. I actually meant "I'm going with the KGSSHV over the BHSE" from my post, not "I'm going over the KGSSHV over the Liquid Lightning." I suppose I'm leaning in that direction already though, but I would like the hear the LL at some point. My plans for owning a KGSSHV predate my knowledge of the latter, as well as the Eddie Current Electra, and are informed by various factors such as my being a KGSS owner and my liking a drier more analytic sound. It will also be less expensive most likely.

 

Again, I would like to hear the LL and the Electra. If I don't get a chance to however, I'd just stick with what I know and get a KGSSHV.

 


Thank you for the clarification, as well as your explanation, as pertains to your preference in sound signature and value proposition.  The KGSSHV seems like the whole package, with good bang for the buck and sound quality, but I unfortunately don't have a DIY bone in my body.  I'm not of an electrical engineering background, and from what I understand, the voltages in electrostatic amplifiers are sufficient to cause mortality, so definitely not something for somebody like me to be messing around with.  My area of expertise lies elsewhere.

post #53 of 312
Given my experience with the Liquid Fire, I am sure the LL will be a great amp too. But I have ordered the BHSE today. I hope I can make it into one of the 45.

I think Esoteric K-01 -> BHSE -> 009 is the "end game rig" for me.

To me, 2011 is the year of Head-fi. I started having no full-sized headphone at all, and now I have got the stuff in my signature, plus the ED10 and T5p which I think are not worth mentioning any more. Next year I will be into a more important pursuit in life, and I hope that the BHSE can come in time to celebrate that event. biggrin.gif
post #54 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

Given my experience with the Liquid Fire, I am sure the LL will be a great amp too. But I have ordered the BHSE today. I hope I can make it into one of the 45.

I think Esoteric K-01 -> BHSE -> 009 is the "end game rig" for me.

To me, 2011 is the year of Head-fi. I started having no full-sized headphone at all, and now I have got the stuff in my signature, plus the ED10 and T5p which I think are not worth mentioning any more. Next year I will be into a more important pursuit in life, and I hope that the BHSE can come in time to celebrate that event. biggrin.gif

 

 

Hi googleli
I'm pleased to know you've placed an order for the BHSE, if you receive yours before I get mine in March, please post your thoughts on that combination.

                                                      David.

 

 

post #55 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

Given my experience with the Liquid Fire, I am sure the LL will be a great amp too. But I have ordered the BHSE today. I hope I can make it into one of the 45.
I think Esoteric K-01 -> BHSE -> 009 is the "end game rig" for me.
To me, 2011 is the year of Head-fi. I started having no full-sized headphone at all, and now I have got the stuff in my signature, plus the ED10 and T5p which I think are not worth mentioning any more. Next year I will be into a more important pursuit in life, and I hope that the BHSE can come in time to celebrate that event. biggrin.gif
 


I hope your order gets filled. With just a maybe and if not wait till late summer and then get one, this is not a game I want to play.

 

I do like the Liquid Fire's house sound very much, and from the little I know the Liquid Lightning should have a similar house sound. The BHSE is old old news, the Liquid Lightning is not even been finalized. As far as volts/power goes I like the RCore transformer that is in my LF, and after all it drives my HE6's the best of any speaker or headphone amp I have tried. So there is no reason why Alex would come out with a very good amp and then turn around and come out with junk.

 

So unless something changes, I am going to wait for the Liquid Lightning. After all I have a Liquid Fire and love it with my gear so whats the rush, and really how much better if at all will I enjoy a electrostatic amp. Yes I have heard the electrostatic amps and headphones, but never had one in my man cave that I could use with no distraction.

 

post #56 of 312

I am just going to wait to hear it for myself. I also love how everyone says BHSE is the top amp for everyone and anyone. If only life were so simple that one should fit all. It just doesn't happen in anything in our daily lives. All could possibly admire the qualities of a top performer but to suggest this is what SHOULD work for all is a fallacy. 

 

And, I don't see what the griping is all about int he first place. Prior to announcement of this amp it seemed like there was a rather unanimous call for more players in this market. 

Now you have two with Cavalli and Eddie Current. The products have nearly evolved and only a few have heard them at meets and even few in the luxury of their homes. Give some time for more reports to come out. 

 

I have no clue how the Cavalli is going to sound. But I am eager to find out. 

 

If you think you can get a different amp to suit your needs and wallet better, do it.

 

 


Edited by sachu - 12/10/11 at 9:30am
post #57 of 312

Hmmm. So many interesting comments, so little real analysis.

 

So, let’s do some physics and math so everyone can at least be on the same page.

 

Voltage Swing

 

Every amplifier is constrained by its power supply. No amplifier can make more voltage or provide more current than its power supply can make available.

 

Few amplifiers (in fact none that I know about) can swing voltage fully from rail to rail. Amps stop at some voltage less than the rails, depending on circuit and components, so that active devices don’t completely cut off.

 

So let’s say our stat amp PS is +/-400V rails. For the sake of discussion we’ll assume for the moment that the amp can get as close as 50V to each rail. This means that the amp is swinging +/-350V. Since it’s a differential amp the true output voltage is twice this, or 700V. And this leads to a peak to peak voltage of 1400V.

 

Of the schematics that I know about, including the LL, the KGSS (headwize article), BH (headwize article), and the KGSSHV (published schematics), most of these amps will get to 50V (possibly less) to the rail before the active devices may find themselves in more non-linear portions of their curves. I am not privvy to Stax schematics.

 

I don’t know what the BHSE’s rails are. The LL rails are 400V. If the BHSE rails are the same then they will make about the same peak to peak voltage swing. I have published 1300V for the LL to be conservative in what I am saying, but it will actually make 1400V. I don’t know about the Stax amps, but if they also have 400V rails, the outputs will be about the same.

 

If the amp has higher rails it can do better. For example, the KGSSHV has 450V and 500V options (based on what I know). Using the 50V approximation, this means that the KGSSHV can do 800V peak and 900V peak respectively. Which translate to 1600V and 1800V peak to peak. Perhaps a little more.

 

If you need this kind of voltage swing, I honestly recommend that you build or have someone build you a KGSSHV. Personally, I think it is a pretty cool amp, as I do the KGSS. I have said so publicly on several occasions. But, this doesn’t mean that they are the only options worthy of consideration as some of you clearly do.

 

Now, one can argue that some amps can get closer to the rails before showing higher distortion. Yes, possibly, but then we’re not talking about huge differences in peak to peak voltage swing if they can get 10 or 20V closer.

 

Someone mentioned RMS voltage. So let’s talk about this. Which RMS voltage are you talking about? The RMS of the peak to peak or the RMS of the peak?

 

For 400V rails the peak voltage is around 700V. The RMS of this is about 495V. The LL can do this, despite my conservative spec. Any of the other stat amps with 400V rails will do about the same. Those with higher rails will do more. So, if you’re going to compare, then freely compare, but compare the same thing.

 

Furthermore, as we know, most music will not drive any amp continously to its maximum voltage, only on the dynamic peaks. I rather suspect that you wouldn't notice the difference between an amp with 1400V peak to peak vs. one with 1450V peak to peak unless you specifically chose something to evidence this difference.

 

Dr. Cavalli gained notoriety with his first DIY amplifier projects. His success has blossomed into Cavalli Audio, a world leader in amplifier design.
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post #58 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by runeight View Post

If you need this kind of voltage swing, I honestly recommend that you build or have someone build you a KGSSHV. Personally, I think it is a pretty cool amp, as I do the KGSS. I have said so publicly on several occasions. But, this doesn’t mean that they are the only options worthy of consideration as some of you clearly do.

 

 


If the KGSS and KGSSHV are so excellent, and the LL is more expensive, then there should be something that's even better about the LL, which is what? Based on your post, it's not the voltage swing. That's ok, but in what way does the LL excel?

 

post #59 of 312
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBSC View Post

 

Absolutely less expensive. If you use a basic chassis, you could build a KGSSHV for little more than the price of a 323S. Mine is the 500V version with seriously high-end parts ($500 Khozmo SA, $250 just in wiring) but I'm still well under $2K.
 

 


 

This is what I was trying to elude to earlier when I said DIY is not commerce. You may not recall when Ti released his B22 and several people were asking for a commercial version of the amp and near everyone agreed that the price tag for such an animal would be $8-10K. Your boutique KGSSHV translates to an industry standard $10K ( approx 5x total cost) . I can almost guarantee that most all of the stat amps being produced have abandoned this calculation and are accepting much less of a margin to keep the product in circulation. 


Quote:
Originally Posted by visualguy View Post


If the KGSS and KGSSHV are so excellent, and the LL is more expensive...

 


timely post - see above and it would be very interesting to see what a commercial KGSS / KGSSHV would cost if produced today. ( I am sure it was a conscious decision from Justin to stop producing the KGSS - he is a really nice guy but he needs to grow his business too and selling amps for love will not do that ) 

 

..dB

 

post #60 of 312

Are there commercially available versions of those two amplifiers? When there are viable commercial versions whose pricing will support a sustainable business that can provide, not just the amplifiers, but service and support as a real commercial entity, then we can have this discussion. But, until then, it's apples and oranges.

 

Besides, I don't hear on this thread that anyone is MAKING you buy the LL. It's available for those who may chose to buy if they decide it's the right option for them. It's a new amp and as more people learn about its SQ they will decide. But you want them to decide now. Why?

 

Edit: I see that I came in after dbel.

Dr. Cavalli gained notoriety with his first DIY amplifier projects. His success has blossomed into Cavalli Audio, a world leader in amplifier design.
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