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Cary Audio release Nighthawk Headphone Amp May 21st - 1200 USD - Page 3

post #31 of 74
Thread Starter 

Tube pre-amp, mosfet output stage - now where have I seen that approach in a headphone amp recently ? Anyone ?

post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Tube pre-amp, mosfet output stage - now where have I seen that approach in a headphone amp recently ? Anyone ?

 

Let me take a wild guess...hmm...Schiit Lyr?

post #33 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Agreed. There is a large and vocal camp on sites like Audiokarma which measures the potential value of an amp by its 'heft' - I'll leave it to others to judge the relative merits of such an approach, but they seem to be looking for amps with chunky power supplies. That, or 90lbs of point-to-point wiring ........  eek.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

Tube pre-amp, mosfet output stage - now where have I seen that approach in a headphone amp recently ? Anyone ?

 

 

Yeah man, that's the kind of heavy metal I'm into these days cool.gif

post #34 of 74
Thread Starter 

I expect that 90lbs of copper comes awfully close to the MSRP of the Nighthawk at current prices.  eek.gif

post #35 of 74

I am astounded by how people are biased against traditional Hi-fi brands without even hearing them. Not only in this post - this seems to have become a general trend in Head-fi. While there is absolutely no problem admiring bang-for-the-buck products like the LCD2, Burson Audio, Q cables, Buffalo DAC, Lavry or Schitt, I find that there seems to be a general grudge against the more expensive products, especially traditional Hi-fi brands. I hope everyone enjoys products for value here, but it becomes increasingly disturbing to see that people are finding the more expensive stuff to be guilty without trial. Sure, being more expensive does not necessarily mean they are better (Ultrasone ED10), but taking our most familiar products, i.e. headphones as example, the better ones usually command a higher price - e.g. LCD3/SR009, BHSE, Liquid Fire. For what it's worth, the Cary SLi-80 did receive very good review here and I will be surprised if the Nighthawk would not sound better than most budget headphone amps out there (like Schitt). But until someone really hears it, all is moot.


Edited by googleli - 8/29/12 at 2:05am
post #36 of 74

There seems to be some skepticism about the value of high priced solid state headphone amps. I think that is in part because there are so many very excellent modestly priced ss amps. If you look at the circuit design and components in some of the under $1000 ss headphone amps it gives pause to wonder what more could there be? There seems to be a much more forgiving nature about high priced tube equipment, but with solid state there is a feeling that what can be done has already been done. There are only so many ways to design a power supply and a gain stage the rest is just packaging. This Nighthawk might be a wonderful sounding amp but it will have some very stiff competition at much lower price points. Still, there always seems to be room at the top for one more if it gets glowing reviews.

post #37 of 74

I am very surprised that it is not tube based.  Cary makes wonderful tube amps.

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post #38 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

I am astounded by how people are biased against traditional Hi-fi brands without even hearing them. Not only in this post - this seems to have become a general trend in Head-fi. While there is absolutely no problem admiring bang-for-the-buck products like the LCD2, Burson Audio, Q cables, Buffalo DAC, Lavry or Schitt, I find that there seems to be a general grudge against the more expensive products, especially traditional Hi-fi brands. I hope everyone enjoys products for value here, but it becomes increasingly disturbing to see that people are finding the more expensive stuff to be guilty without trial. Sure, being more expensive does not necessarily mean they are better (Ultrasone ED10), but taking our most familiar products, i.e. headphones as example, the better ones usually command a higher price - e.g. LCD3/SR009, BHSE, Liquid Fire. For what it's worth, the Cary SLi-80 did receive very good review here and I will be surprised if the Nighthawk would not sound better than most budget headphone amps out there (like Schitt). But until someone really hears it, all is moot.

 

Because a lot of traditional hifi companies are just plain ridiculous with way out of control prices out of touch with reality, how are they possibly ascribing those prices to these things.  

post #39 of 74

The prices cover dealer margins. Many of the companies we buy gear from on Head-fi sell direct.  I think the problem here is really the pressure on companies to make unique-looking or unique-featured products, as people want to feel they are buying something special when spending 4 figures on equipment.

post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

The prices cover dealer margins. Many of the companies we buy gear from on Head-fi sell direct.  I think the problem here is really the pressure on companies to make unique-looking or unique-featured products, as people want to feel they are buying something special when spending 4 figures on equipment.

Dealer margin is typically 40% of the selling price (higher in some places), add shipping cost and import taxes. This is the same problem brick and mortar stores are facing everywhere. They can only survive on service and customer convenience. You are absolutely correct that the manufacturers that are selling direct online are offering solid bargains that cut through much of that cost. Products from companies like Audio gd, Yulong or Darkvoice/LaFigaro would be double the cost if sold through those traditional channels. Some of the manufacturers like Sennheiser or Beyerdynamics try to control their pricing to maintain a world wide dealer network but that requires that you have very unique products to control your distribution. Something like solid state amplifiers have become so common from direct sources that only very highly regarded brands can survive in the dealer networks. There are not the number of retail High End shops that existed in the 80's and 90's. Many have died in this battle. 

post #41 of 74

I mean it's not hard to find speakers that seem to sell for 10x what I can imagine it costs to build the thing.  When you read a review of the Klipsch Palladium and the reviewer calls these $10,000 relatively inexpensive something's off.  No every manufacturer is like this but the line is just way too blurry.  

post #42 of 74
Thread Starter 

It comes down to whether or not people are willing to pay 10K for the speakers. They are doing that, presumably, on the back of the reputation that 10K speaker has accrued and their audition experience, which would presumably be extensive for that sort of sticker price.No question that dealer margins are substantial, but it costs money to have expensive toys sitting on the shop floor waiting for that one customer in 'x' sight-seers who is actually going to part with their hard-earned cash. Note that I'm not defending obvious profiteering like the infamous Grado headphone amp, and I certainly cant afford to stroll into a store in Akihabara or The Adelphi with a platinum card and a smile from ear to ear. cool.gif

 

Finally, I could show you the parts list for the iPhone and suggest that you build your own for a fraction of the price, but how many can actually do that ? These speakers cost considerably more than 10K, but I doubt that there are too many DiYers with the cabinetmaking skills to create replicas.  I have no idea how they sound, but as a work of sculpture they are definitely a conversation starter. 

 

post #43 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

It comes down to whether or not people are willing to pay 10K for the speakers. They are doing that, presumably, on the back of the reputation that 10K speaker has accrued and their audition experience, which would presumably be extensive for that sort of sticker price.No question that dealer margins are substantial, but it costs money to have expensive toys sitting on the shop floor waiting for that one customer in 'x' sight-seers who is actually going to part with their hard-earned cash. Note that I'm not defending obvious profiteering like the infamous Grado headphone amp, and I certainly cant afford to stroll into a store in Akihabara or The Adelphi with a platinum card and a smile from ear to ear. cool.gif

 

Finally, I could show you the parts list for the iPhone and suggest that you build your own for a fraction of the price, but how many can actually do that ? These speakers cost considerably more than 10K, but I doubt that there are too many DiYers with the cabinetmaking skills to create replicas.  I have no idea how they sound, but as a work of sculpture they are definitely a conversation starter. 

 

Those B&W ceramic monsters have the excuse of the man hours needed to make a ceramic enclosure of that size (They would need a kiln the size that F1 teams use, for one), but most speakers are in either a hardwood or MDFB cabinet.  

 

Apple charges maybe 1.5x (works out to be something like $600 without the contract) what they need to for an iPhone, you can't really compare that to the absurd prices on some of these hifi speakers.  At the end of the day it's still a wooden box with diaphragms, a few bobbin wound bits of copper wire, four or five rare earth magnets, and a crossover circuit.  I don't get it, where's the money go?

post #44 of 74

I have been using the Nighthawk with my LCD-2's for a couple months now and think it is a wonderful combination.  It doesn't seem to be overpriced at all based on the better sound quality relative to less expensive SS amps I have owned. Also it is more solidly built than the others as well and I would consider it a great value.  I have owned amps by mainstream high end companies as well as Head Fi specialists and in many cases, the amps by the small guys have had serious functional problems (singlepower-danger, ray samuels-excessive heat and audible transformer hum, eddy current-lots of audible noise) while the mainstream amps work perfectly.  Many of the big companies started out as small, basement operations and grew for a good reason.

post #45 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

I am astounded by how people are biased against traditional Hi-fi brands without even hearing them. Not only in this post - this seems to have become a general trend in Head-fi. While there is absolutely no problem admiring bang-for-the-buck products like the LCD2, Burson Audio, Q cables, Buffalo DAC, Lavry or Schitt, I find that there seems to be a general grudge against the more expensive products, especially traditional Hi-fi brands. I hope everyone enjoys products for value here, but it becomes increasingly disturbing to see that people are finding the more expensive stuff to be guilty without trial. Sure, being more expensive does not necessarily mean they are better (Ultrasone ED10), but taking our most familiar products, i.e. headphones as example, the better ones usually command a higher price - e.g. LCD3/SR009, BHSE, Liquid Fire. For what it's worth, the Cary SLi-80 did receive very good review here and I will be surprised if the Nighthawk would not sound better than most budget headphone amps out there (like Schitt). But until someone really hears it, all is moot.

Cary has very good track records and I really like the sound of their Cary 306 SACD.  Still I expect a little more in term of features from their headphones amp given that the pricetag.  For what they asking, the Bryston BHA-1 surpasses the cary on the features alone not to mention a balanced drive amplification.  How about a pre-amp output, additional headphone out, stepped attenuator volume control, and low/med/high gain setting as well as multiple source selection?  Again, I'm a big fan of Cary and used to live within 30 mins from them so I want them to do well.

 

@ donlin:  Love the "singlepower-danger" nickname there.


Edited by purk - 8/31/12 at 11:23am
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