Originally Posted by klo
I currently have an Argon HA1 (Pretty much the same as Firestone Cute Beyond as far as I know), do you think it will do a decent job?
If HeadRoom's backorder would ever end, I could let you know, as I have a Cute Beyond v2. But, what I can offer is my own idle speculation on amps for the HE-500 from a few days ago in the main thread:
Originally Posted by Nepenthe
I picked up a Gilmore Lite (version 1) just for interim use until I decide if I want to keep these HE-500s and then until I decide what amp I want to pair them with. My Cute Beyond is a great little pure class A "currenty" amp with nearly "0" output impedance and ideal for my M50Ss and D1001s, but it doesn't really have the numbers down low for low efficiency / low impedance loads, so the more robust GL should be able to push about 800 mW through the HE-500.
I was impressed with the GL before (version 2) and was lucky to find another. If it doesn't work out with the HE-500 then at least I have good solid state power for home and can leave the Cute Beyond at work instead of transporting it each day.
I'm well aware the GL probably isn't going to be the best pairing with the HE-500:
- bright pads (new velours)
- bright cable (silver)
- bright amp (GL)
Hell my source (Marantz CD Player) is probably bright too, along with my power and cables and my music. But I'll bear all that in mind while I'm auditioning. I don't tend to listen at very high volume, so that should help tame the highs (see loudness contours / human hearing) and make up for the fact that the GL only pushes less than a watt.
According to Tyll's Innerfidelity measurements, the HE-500 needs 2.04 mW to produce 90 dB at ear distance (technically an efficiency of 87 dB/mW). That means 800 mW should be able to produce 116 dB peaks. Since I listen in the 75 dB continuous range, maybe 84 at the absolute most (so the numbers come out), and giving a wide 16 dB dynamic range swing (my music usually doesn't come close to that), 20 mW should be all the GL is asked to send through the HE-500 by me, which gives *another* 16 dB or 780 mW of headroom. The Cute Beyond would probably do okay but the GL is just a torquier, revvier engine. It's a Porsche inline-six vs. the Cute Beyond's leaner 2 liter four-cylinder.
Numbers-wise, the Cute Beyond pushes in the 300 range of mW at the HE-500's impedance, which should actually be plenty, as it should be able to produce peaks of 111 dB. You oughta be able to listen at 85 dB continuous with dynamic peaks 15 dB above that and still be only using less than one-tenth the CB's peak power capability.
But it's not as easy as just the numbers -- how will the Cute Beyond hold up at these power levels and this load, will it sound strained or compressed?
Then there's the subjective question of sound quality -- even if the CB (or GL for that matter) takes the electrical loads, current demands, voltage swings etc. in stride, is a pure class A single-ended solid state amp with extremely low output impedance, fast attack and decay, and virtually no frequency response or distortion colorations really the ideal way to push music through HE-500s? We'll see...
Edited by Nepenthe - 12/15/11 at 10:42am