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Amp and DAC for HD800 - Page 3

post #31 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by reeltime View Post

As promised, I have some initial reports on the HD 800's combined with the Burson 160D and Woo WA6.

 

The cleanest DAC I have available out of my MacBook Pro is USB to the Burson (I also have an Apogee Duet at my disposal-- that's another review), then either the Burson Amp or the WA 6 to drive the headphones.  The source is FLAC files through Fidelia, using Dire Straits Communique as reference material here.

 

The Burson D/A is not the greatest in the world, but it's certainly not the worst, either.  It got a horrible write-up on CNET, but those guys are rarely reliable for high end audio reviews.  Headfonia puts the 160D in the mid-fi range, and Mike actually prefers it to the DACmini. 

 

I use the Burson because it has pre-amp outs to drive my Genelecs and WA6, too.  I will eventually upgrade, but for now, I gotta roll with what I got, and it's a decent multi-purpose audio tool.  This rig is exceptional for the HD 650s.  Will it do wonders on the HD 800s?  

 

Yes.  And no.  The solid state amp is fine for the HD 800s from a power standpoint.  It drives them, drives them with plenty of power to spare (using the low output still pushes my hearing threshold).  And I don't feel like I'm lacking straight off the Burson.  

 

The sound is fairly tight, good to very good bass extension, trending a little into sibilance on the highs at the extreme upper frequencies.  Imaging is exceptional, but soundstage is not exceptionally wide, but not poor either.  Decay in the reverb is only good, and part of the reason the soundstage may lack a bit in width.

 

As a do-it-all-in-one unit, I'd say it's a reasonable unit for the money.  Now comes that big BUT.

 

The problem is-- I have a WA6 sitting right next to it.  And it's not exactly stock.  I'm running a 1957 Mullard GZ34 metal base rectifier tube, and 6SN7 matched drivers.  Oh my.  

 

Plug in and the base dives instantly deeper with a LOT of punch.  It's the kind of bottom end that gets drool worthy, and makes me wish I had a pair of LCD-3s to compare.  The soundstage gains about a foot.  The sibilance that is ever so slight on the Burson is gone through the WA6.  Decay goes on forever and opens the sound up.  In short, it's not even close.  I can tell instantly things have changed for the better.  Imaging is brilliant.

 

Is the Burson bad?  No.  Absolutely not.  If I didn't have my hot rod WA6 sitting next to it, I may be singing a different story.  And there's the little voice in my head that's nagging-- if things are THIS good on the WA6-- What would the WA5-LE sound like?  My wallet doesn't want to know, but my ears sure do!

 

A quick word on the driver tubes on the WA6-- the HD 650's yielded a near indistinguishable difference in drivers between the 6DE7 tubes and 6SN7s.  On the HD 800s, the 6SN7 driver difference is a clear change, the 6SN7 throws a lot more bass punch into the sound.  The 6DE7 tubes which sounded great with the 650's are thin on the HD 800s.  

 

That's what I got for ya.... 

 

 

thanks for your impressions. ever consider the WA6-SE?

post #32 of 74

Considered it, but I'm guessing it's only a marginal change in quality-- you're just moving the power stage off unit.  I'm sure it's better, but I doubt that it's a huge gain.  The WA5 is supposed to be quite impressive.

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

Considered it, but I'm guessing it's only a marginal change in quality-- you're just moving the power stage off unit.  I'm sure it's better, but I doubt that it's a huge gain.  The WA5 is supposed to be quite impressive.

 

 

 

 

from what i've heard, its supposed to be a pretty big jump WA6 to WA6-SE, with the WA6-SE having much more gain, a bigger soundstage, and a brighter presentation than the darker sound of the WA6. its supposed to be a big difference. and the WA5 is an even bigger jump still, especially with good tubes + caps upgrade

post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubstep Girl View Post


from what i've heard, its supposed to be a pretty big jump WA6 to WA6-SE, with the WA6-SE having much more gain, a bigger soundstage, and a brighter presentation than the darker sound of the WA6. its supposed to be a big difference. and the WA5 is an even bigger jump still, especially with good tubes + caps upgrade

These companies are out to break us....
post #35 of 74

I owned both for a short period of time and have to say with the HD800's in particular, the WA6SE really made a noticeable difference. Much bigger headroom, extension and weight to the sound. WA6 sounded thin in comparison and always thought it was only merely average with the HD800's...

post #36 of 74

For the OP.  If your set on a SS amp I would take a look at the GS-1 paired with any tube DAC.  Any tube DAC with the GS-1 will kill any harshness with the HD800

 

I was on the same path.  I'm going with the Havana.   The Havana / GS-1 / HD800 is really a great match.

 

You can take a look at any of these.

 

http://www.morningstaraudio.com/shop/item.asp?itemid=13&catid=6

 

or

 

http://dhost.info/mhdtlab/havana.htm

 

or if you like DIY:  http://www.kandkaudio.com/digitalaudio.html

 

or even this:

 

http://www.mav-audio.com/base/product/tubemagic_d2

post #37 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by K_19 View Post

I owned both for a short period of time and have to say with the HD800's in particular, the WA6SE really made a noticeable difference. Much bigger headroom, extension and weight to the sound. WA6 sounded thin in comparison and always thought it was only merely average with the HD800's...

There's a Cavelli Liquid Fire amp up for sale... Pretty darn tempting.

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

 

You should be able to Google for comparisons of the Neko Audio D100 Mk2 to the Benchmark DAC1 to answer your first question regarding the difference in sound. I know there are many people who have compared the two. There is also a loaner program and free trial period for the Neko. HTH.

Thanks a lot on your reply . I guess I am goona save up a little bit and went for RS Dark Star Balance Amp next~~~~~ Even a lot of ppl says that tube amp will help HD800's bright sound a lot, I still do not think tube is goona last long. I guess I will get a very powerful amp, and then loan some other headphones like LCD2, HE6 or T1 see which one will give me the satisfaction on rock and pops~~~

post #39 of 74

I'm running a V200 on my HD800's and it is a very nice combination. 

 

I also own a tube amp, the Sound Quest SQ84 V2.  I haven't done any direct compares, but I suspect the Sound Quest is better.  Reason I haven't bothered to compare directly yet is the V200 sounds so darn good on the HD800's.  I'm just enjoying it.  

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

I'm running a V200 on my HD800's and it is a very nice combination. 

 

I also own a tube amp, the Sound Quest SQ84 V2.  I haven't done any direct compares, but I suspect the Sound Quest is better.  Reason I haven't bothered to compare directly yet is the V200 sounds so darn good on the HD800's.  I'm just enjoying it.

Did you try any rock and pop music on it? Even Rap or electrical?

 

For most of the pop music right now, even if you buy it in CD format, they sound......very bright. It seems that they are using Beat Solo or other "main stream pro audio headphone(Dr. Dre)" to do the re-mixing:P

 

You really cannot tell the difference between the CD and mp3 files. Maybe they just dump those mp3 files into the CD~~~

 

I never have problem with my HD800 on my RPX-35 for all the properly remastered recorded by real hifi company such as L2 and Chesky. However, I do also listen to E&E and Linkin Park, which require a more forgiving system. If only the tube can roll off the high and gives more punch in the low, I guess I will give it a try.
 


Edited by AlanHell - 6/18/12 at 10:41am
post #41 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHell View Post

Did you try any rock and pop music on it? Even Rap or electrical?

 

For most of the pop music right now, even if you buy it in CD format, they sound......very bright. It seems that they are using Beat Solo or other "main stream pro audio headphone(Dr. Dre)" to do the re-mixing:P

 

You really cannot tell the difference between the CD and mp3 files. Maybe they just dump those mp3 files into the CD~~~

 

I never have problem with my HD800 on my RPX-35 for all the properly remastered recorded by real hifi company such as L2 and Chesky. However, I do also listen to E&E and Linkin Park, which require a more forgiving system. If only the tube can roll off the high and gives more punch in the low, I guess I will give it a try.
 

 

Yes, they can.  That is why I prefer WA22 over the beta2 with HD800.

post #42 of 74

I have the Burson HA160DS and also find the high a bit harsh at loud passages, but it does bring more impact on the bass.  I prefer my Graham Slee Solo with it which gives a smoother sound (but with a really receded bass).  Can't wait to try a tube amp with it.

post #43 of 74

Thanks for your excellent reply regarding amp-pairings for the HD 800s.

Listening to the 800s on SS amps can get rather trying.  Tubes certainly change the listening experience and will

provide endless hours of soundscaping possibilities.

Monitoring (through SS electronics only) on the HD 800s is absolutely amazing, however.  It is a fantastic diagnostic tool for listening and mastering.

post #44 of 74
The V200 takes away any harshness and listener fatigue I got with my HD800.
post #45 of 74
I am looking for an amp that mates well with the HD800 that neither warms or brightens the phones. I want the amp to send through a transparent and uncolored signal. Any suggestions? Right now I have my eye on the new Bryston and the new Schiit balanced amp.
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