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Amp and DAC for HD800 - Page 5

post #61 of 74

Agreed, waiting for the new GS-X myself along with the Pico Power.  

post #62 of 74

Edit: Nothing particularly interesting here, just a balanced amp and dac. Sexy simulation though 


Edited by firev1 - 9/28/12 at 9:09pm
post #63 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

 

I can see this.  I found the same with the GS-1 as well.  The B22 is just a more fun listen.  However, the M^3 with the HD800s is funner not better technically but sounds fuller more akin to a tube amp - but not..   When I had the GS-1 everything was a tad bit clearer but not as fun to listen to.  That said the GS-1 was one of the best technically sounding amps I've heard.

 

Can't wait to get the new GS-X.

Imagine the GS-1 with more even/smoother treble and even more transparency/dynamics (if you can believe it) and you'll have the glory that is the GS-X (and throw in a dash of better imaging). smile.gif

post #64 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

Imagine the GS-1 with more even/smoother treble and even more transparency/dynamics (if you can believe it) and you'll have the glory that is the GS-X (and throw in a dash of better imaging). smile.gif

 

 

Sound like a really good recipe for dish called "Sonic Bliss".

post #65 of 74

Really looking forward to know more details of this amp, in particular the 800 model that has DAC

post #66 of 74
I'm really wanting to give my HD 800's the best, so a cable upgrade and a warm tube amp would seem to fit my needs very well at this point. Woo Audio sounds like a great company for the tube amp and the burson soloist sl has really caught my interest for an Stand alone amp. smily_headphones1.gif wish me luck in my hunt to give my hd's all that they deserve. smily_headphones1.gif
post #67 of 74
Updates on the HD800

The HD800 is one of the hardest headphones for me to work with--the other two being the Grado PS1000 with a tendency toward harshness and the HE-6 with a ridiculous appetite for power. With the wrong cable and amp, the HD800 can sound sibilant and strident (espeicially with a female voice--try Allison Krauss in Now that I Found You SACD) and deep but over-taut bass . Overall, the sonic balance is slightly tilted up toward the high frequencies (but not U shape like the PS1000). The right cable and amp can correct these shortcomings without interfering with the positive attributes.

Cables—the HD800 is allergic to silver. I found that silver or silver-coated cables did not work well with the HD800 as they reinforce both the positives and negatives: the sound became lightning fast, with over-etched inner details; the bass was deep but overly taut with diminished impact. I found that OCC cables with a touch of gold, especially the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables, were the best companion for the HD800, de-emphasizing the sibilance and adding more bloom to the bass without affecting the huge soundstage.

Amplifiers—Most "affordable" solid-state (SS) amplifiers I tried with of the HD800 reinforced the trouble with the treble–sorry Star Trek fans—though the bass impact clearly improved. The Vioelectric V200 was one of the few happy exceptions. Its ultra-smooth midrange served the HD800 well though I still detected a hint of edginess in the sound. When the HD800 re-cabled with the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables (OCC Ohno copper, rectangular wires with cryogenic treatment) with4-pin XLR connector was hooked up to the Red Wine Audio Corvina (balanced tube-hybrid) , what I got was magic. The sibilance and harshness all but evaporated; the bass, still fast and taut, became fuller, with significantly more impact. The huge soundstage, the best of all headphones I know, was preserved. As of six month ago, the discontinued RWA Corvina can still be purchased with a large discount, a true bargain!

Other Amp Considerations—The HD800 is not power-hungry at all so other high-quality tube/hybrid amps work as well. Among the SS amps, the GS-X Mk2 was one of the few capable of extracting truly exceptional sound from the HD800: silky smooth details, relaxed and yet dynamic sound. The Bakoon HA-21 (current-option output) was also a remarkably good match for the HD800, revealing all its amazing details but adding surprising warmth for a SS design. The bloom in the bass is also a welcomed addition to the HD800 sound, though I could use a little better bass impact, another surprise for a SS amp. (Note: even at the low-gain setting, the Bakoon has too much gain for the HD800 so you need to reduce the gain from your source to minimize sound leak and achieve good volume control). Among tube/hybrid amps, the Bellina (Corvina's big and more expensive sister) works exceptionally well with the HD800. I got very musical sound from the HD800 with the Cavalli Liquid Fire, though a trace of stridency remains. The combination HD800 and Woo WA5-LE produced very powerful and musical sound and a thunderous bass, but at a price (Over $4500 with upgraded parts anhd tubes). My favorite tube amp for the HD800 is the EAR HP-4 ($5,000): liquid midrange tyipical of tube-design but with plenty of silky details and an impressive bass, not quite the equal of the Woo WA5 in terms of impact but with more air and bloom.

NOte: I made the "Anaxilus" modification to the inside of the HD800 cups—damping material on the periphery of the drivers—that reduced the sibilance tendencies with only a mild shrinking of the soundstage.
post #68 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

Updates on the HD800

The HD800 is one of the hardest headphones for me to work with--the other two being the Grado PS1000 with a tendency toward harshness and the HE-6 with a ridiculous appetite for power. With the wrong cable and amp, the HD800 can sound sibilant and strident (espeicially with a female voice--try Allison Krauss in Now that I Found You SACD) and deep but over-taut bass . Overall, the sonic balance is slightly tilted up toward the high frequencies (but not U shape like the PS1000). The right cable and amp can correct these shortcomings without interfering with the positive attributes.

Cables—the HD800 is allergic to silver. I found that silver or silver-coated cables did not work well with the HD800 as they reinforce both the positives and negatives: the sound became lightning fast, with over-etched inner details; the bass was deep but overly taut with diminished impact. I found that OCC cables with a touch of gold, especially the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables, were the best companion for the HD800, de-emphasizing the sibilance and adding more bloom to the bass without affecting the huge soundstage.

Amplifiers—Most "affordable" solid-state (SS) amplifiers I tried with of the HD800 reinforced the trouble with the treble–sorry Star Trek fans—though the bass impact clearly improved. The Vioelectric V200 was one of the few happy exceptions. Its ultra-smooth midrange served the HD800 well though I still detected a hint of edginess in the sound. When the HD800 re-cabled with the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables (OCC Ohno copper, rectangular wires with cryogenic treatment) with4-pin XLR connector was hooked up to the Red Wine Audio Corvina (balanced tube-hybrid) , what I got was magic. The sibilance and harshness all but evaporated; the bass, still fast and taut, became fuller, with significantly more impact. The huge soundstage, the best of all headphones I know, was preserved. As of six month ago, the discontinued RWA Corvina can still be purchased with a large discount, a true bargain!

Other Amp Considerations—The HD800 is not power-hungry at all so other high-quality tube/hybrid amps work as well. Among the SS amps, the GS-X Mk2 was one of the few capable of extracting truly exceptional sound from the HD800: silky smooth details, relaxed and yet dynamic sound. The Bakoon HA-21 (current-option output) was also a remarkably good match for the HD800, revealing all its amazing details but adding surprising warmth for a SS design. The bloom in the bass is also a welcomed addition to the HD800 sound, though I could use a little better bass impact, another surprise for a SS amp. (Note: even at the low-gain setting, the Bakoon has too much gain for the HD800 so you need to reduce the gain from your source to minimize sound leak and achieve good volume control). Among tube/hybrid amps, the Bellina (Corvina's big and more expensive sister) works exceptionally well with the HD800. I got very musical sound from the HD800 with the Cavalli Liquid Fire, though a trace of stridency remains. The combination HD800 and Woo WA5-LE produced very powerful and musical sound and a thunderous bass, but at a price (Over $4500 with upgraded parts anhd tubes). My favorite tube amp for the HD800 is the EAR HP-4 ($5,000): liquid midrange tyipical of tube-design but with plenty of silky details and an impressive bass, not quite the equal of the Woo WA5 in terms of impact but with more air and bloom.

NOte: I made the "Anaxilus" modification to the inside of the HD800 cups—damping material on the periphery of the drivers—that reduced the sibilance tendencies with only a mild shrinking of the soundstage.

What a wonderful, boat load of information here. Thanks so much.
My task and goal right now is to limit of the HD's syballus and weighty
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

Updates on the HD800

The HD800 is one of the hardest headphones for me to work with--the other two being the Grado PS1000 with a tendency toward harshness and the HE-6 with a ridiculous appetite for power. With the wrong cable and amp, the HD800 can sound sibilant and strident (espeicially with a female voice--try Allison Krauss in Now that I Found You SACD) and deep but over-taut bass . Overall, the sonic balance is slightly tilted up toward the high frequencies (but not U shape like the PS1000). The right cable and amp can correct these shortcomings without interfering with the positive attributes.

Cables—the HD800 is allergic to silver. I found that silver or silver-coated cables did not work well with the HD800 as they reinforce both the positives and negatives: the sound became lightning fast, with over-etched inner details; the bass was deep but overly taut with diminished impact. I found that OCC cables with a touch of gold, especially the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables, were the best companion for the HD800, de-emphasizing the sibilance and adding more bloom to the bass without affecting the huge soundstage.

Amplifiers—Most "affordable" solid-state (SS) amplifiers I tried with of the HD800 reinforced the trouble with the treble–sorry Star Trek fans—though the bass impact clearly improved. The Vioelectric V200 was one of the few happy exceptions. Its ultra-smooth midrange served the HD800 well though I still detected a hint of edginess in the sound. When the HD800 re-cabled with the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables (OCC Ohno copper, rectangular wires with cryogenic treatment) with4-pin XLR connector was hooked up to the Red Wine Audio Corvina (balanced tube-hybrid) , what I got was magic. The sibilance and harshness all but evaporated; the bass, still fast and taut, became fuller, with significantly more impact. The huge soundstage, the best of all headphones I know, was preserved. As of six month ago, the discontinued RWA Corvina can still be purchased with a large discount, a true bargain!

Other Amp Considerations—The HD800 is not power-hungry at all so other high-quality tube/hybrid amps work as well. Among the SS amps, the GS-X Mk2 was one of the few capable of extracting truly exceptional sound from the HD800: silky smooth details, relaxed and yet dynamic sound. The Bakoon HA-21 (current-option output) was also a remarkably good match for the HD800, revealing all its amazing details but adding surprising warmth for a SS design. The bloom in the bass is also a welcomed addition to the HD800 sound, though I could use a little better bass impact, another surprise for a SS amp. (Note: even at the low-gain setting, the Bakoon has too much gain for the HD800 so you need to reduce the gain from your source to minimize sound leak and achieve good volume control). Among tube/hybrid amps, the Bellina (Corvina's big and more expensive sister) works exceptionally well with the HD800. I got very musical sound from the HD800 with the Cavalli Liquid Fire, though a trace of stridency remains. The combination HD800 and Woo WA5-LE produced very powerful and musical sound and a thunderous bass, but at a price (Over $4500 with upgraded parts anhd tubes). My favorite tube amp for the HD800 is the EAR HP-4 ($5,000): liquid midrange tyipical of tube-design but with plenty of silky details and an impressive bass, not quite the equal of the Woo WA5 in terms of impact but with more air and bloom.

NOte: I made the "Anaxilus" modification to the inside of the HD800 cups—damping material on the periphery of the drivers—that reduced the sibilance tendencies with only a mild shrinking of the soundstage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

Updates on the HD800

The HD800 is one of the hardest headphones for me to work with--the other two being the Grado PS1000 with a tendency toward harshness and the HE-6 with a ridiculous appetite for power. With the wrong cable and amp, the HD800 can sound sibilant and strident (espeicially with a female voice--try Allison Krauss in Now that I Found You SACD) and deep but over-taut bass . Overall, the sonic balance is slightly tilted up toward the high frequencies (but not U shape like the PS1000). The right cable and amp can correct these shortcomings without interfering with the positive attributes.

Cables—the HD800 is allergic to silver. I found that silver or silver-coated cables did not work well with the HD800 as they reinforce both the positives and negatives: the sound became lightning fast, with over-etched inner details; the bass was deep but overly taut with diminished impact. I found that OCC cables with a touch of gold, especially the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables, were the best companion for the HD800, de-emphasizing the sibilance and adding more bloom to the bass without affecting the huge soundstage.

Amplifiers—Most "affordable" solid-state (SS) amplifiers I tried with of the HD800 reinforced the trouble with the treble–sorry Star Trek fans—though the bass impact clearly improved. The Vioelectric V200 was one of the few happy exceptions. Its ultra-smooth midrange served the HD800 well though I still detected a hint of edginess in the sound. When the HD800 re-cabled with the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables (OCC Ohno copper, rectangular wires with cryogenic treatment) with4-pin XLR connector was hooked up to the Red Wine Audio Corvina (balanced tube-hybrid) , what I got was magic. The sibilance and harshness all but evaporated; the bass, still fast and taut, became fuller, with significantly more impact. The huge soundstage, the best of all headphones I know, was preserved. As of six month ago, the discontinued RWA Corvina can still be purchased with a large discount, a true bargain!

Other Amp Considerations—The HD800 is not power-hungry at all so other high-quality tube/hybrid amps work as well. Among the SS amps, the GS-X Mk2 was one of the few capable of extracting truly exceptional sound from the HD800: silky smooth details, relaxed and yet dynamic sound. The Bakoon HA-21 (current-option output) was also a remarkably good match for the HD800, revealing all its amazing details but adding surprising warmth for a SS design. The bloom in the bass is also a welcomed addition to the HD800 sound, though I could use a little better bass impact, another surprise for a SS amp. (Note: even at the low-gain setting, the Bakoon has too much gain for the HD800 so you need to reduce the gain from your source to minimize sound leak and achieve good volume control). Among tube/hybrid amps, the Bellina (Corvina's big and more expensive sister) works exceptionally well with the HD800. I got very musical sound from the HD800 with the Cavalli Liquid Fire, though a trace of stridency remains. The combination HD800 and Woo WA5-LE produced very powerful and musical sound and a thunderous bass, but at a price (Over $4500 with upgraded parts anhd tubes). My favorite tube amp for the HD800 is the EAR HP-4 ($5,000): liquid midrange tyipical of tube-design but with plenty of silky details and an impressive bass, not quite the equal of the Woo WA5 in terms of impact but with more air and bloom.

NOte: I made the "Anaxilus" modification to the inside of the HD800 cups—damping material on the periphery of the drivers—that reduced the sibilance tendencies with only a mild shrinking of the soundstage.
What a wonderful boat load of quality info here. Thank you so much.
As of now, my goal and task is to try and limit the weighty treble the HD 800 's carry along with their maxed up sibilants in the 's' pronunciation in the vocals. I feel a WOO AUDIO WA6E warm tube amp will limit this alone while not taking away from the 800's amazing dynamics.

I also feel that the standard HD cable that comes with the unit is in no need for an upgrade. It is of very high quality and just pairing it with the right tube amp (warm) will achieve maximum results.
If you don't mind telling me why the standard HD 800 cable is inferior to say the TOXIC 7 please let me know why. wink.gif
Overall. Thank you again for this info.
post #69 of 74
Agreed. The amp choice plays the biggest role in reducing the sibilance and stridency in the sounfd of the HD800 but it will not yield the best results without the help of a good cable.

The stock cable for the HD800 probably uses OFC wires with very high copper purity. While this is fine for most cases,my experience showed that with the stock cable in place, I failed to reduces the sibilance and stridency to a vanishing level.

It is not just a matter of higher quality or higher price. As a counter example, OCC silver/silver-coated OCC copper cables with very high quality and a price tag to match made many of my favoriterecordings sound like they were done in Parsel tongue. Way too much snake-hissing for my taste.

OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) copper is a more appropritae choice for HD800 cables, and among them, the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables (OCC copper; rectangular cross-section wires; special surface treatment with gold; cryogenic treatment) was the best I found at making up for the deficiencies of the HD800 (sibilance; hardness) while still preserving all of its positive attribute (e.g. the soundstage) , and even enhancing some critical areas (e.g. added bass volume and impact).
post #70 of 74
Hey
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

Agreed. The amp choice plays the biggest role in reducing the sibilance and stridency in the sounfd of the HD800 but it will not yield the best results without the help of a good cable.

The stock cable for the HD800 probably uses OFC wires with very high copper purity. While this is fine for most cases,my experience showed that with the stock cable in place, I failed to reduces the sibilance and stridency to a vanishing level.

It is not just a matter of higher quality or higher price. As a counter example, OCC silver/silver-coated OCC copper cables with very high quality and a price tag to match made many of my favoriterecordings sound like they were done in Parsel tongue. Way too much snake-hissing for my taste.

OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) copper is a more appropritae choice for HD800 cables, and among them, the Copper Venom from Toxic Cables (OCC copper; rectangular cross-section wires; special surface treatment with gold; cryogenic treatment) was the best I found at making up for the deficiencies of the HD800 (sibilance; hardness) while still preserving all of its positive attribute (e.g. the soundstage) , and even enhancing some critical areas (e.g. added bass volume and impact).

Hey. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of your insight here. This really does help encourage me to grab the COPPER VENOM cable. I will do so. wink.gif
Now Justin, you seem quite knowledgable and I need a bit of help.
I have an amazing DAC made by ARCAM paired with my 800's, however I am using a Harmon Kardon Avr 130 reciever/Op-Amp and that amp seems to do a magnificent job in powering my HD's eventhough it's a single Operational AMP. My question is to you would I really Benefit in getting a dedicated SS amp like say, the Burson soloist? I don't think I want a warm tube amp, for that may colour the HD's dynamics and hollow them out. If you could give me your insight into this matter I'd be so grateful. My thoughts are that I only need a cable upgrade right now and that's all. smily_headphones1.gif
post #71 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by nephilim32 View Post

Hey

Hey. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of your insight here. This really does help encourage me to grab the COPPER VENOM cable. I will do so. wink.gif

Now Justin, you seem quite knowledgable and I need a bit of help.

I have an amazing DAC made by ARCAM paired with my 800's, however I am using a Harmon Kardon Avr 130 reciever/Op-Amp and that amp seems to do a magnificent job in powering my HD's eventhough it's a single Operational AMP. My question is to you would I really Benefit in getting a dedicated SS amp like say, the Burson soloist? I don't think I want a warm tube amp, for that may colour the HD's dynamics and hollow them out. If you could give me your insight into this matter I'd be so grateful. My thoughts are that I only need a cable upgrade right now and that's all. smily_headphones1.gif

 



You can get a good OCC cable from many domestic and well-respected vendors for less money and pretty good results. The Cpper Venom is the best one I found but the wait now could be a few months--It comes from England..

But a new amp will make a bigger difference that a new set of cables.

SS amp that mates well with the HD800, however, is actually very hard to find.

With all due respect to the Soloist fans--and there are many of you out there--it is not a good match for the HD800. It has a solid bass impact but emphasizes the sibilance, over-etched details and make the HD800 positively sizzle.

If you insist on a SS amp, an affordable one is the Vioelectric V200. The HD800 does not need a lot of power--as a matter of fact, it may be the most sensitive high-end headphones out there. The sound is very clean, detailed and very dynamic (tremendous bass impact) with just a trace of sibilance remaining. The more expensive Bryston is a good pairing with the HD800 but the midrange lacks a little presence. The best SS amp for the HD800 may be the GS-X Mark 2, if money is no object.

The affordable RWA Corvina is a hybrid so you would not get any of the typical tube shortcomings and the low-power tubes will last almost forever. The midrange is very detailed but also very musical, not the analytical, sterile sound that the HD tends to produce with many SS amps. The Corvina adds just the right amount of bloom to the HD800 taut bass resulting in more impactful sound than you can get with the SS V200 or Bryston--surprise, surprise. The combination HD800/Corvina has a very musical and three-dimensional sound with plenty of details and impact. Plus the Corvina can be operated on battery to yield one of the quietest and cleanest sounds you can imagine.

Just check my profile for questions about specific amps/cables I am familiar with.
post #72 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by nephilim32 View Post

Hey

Hey. I can't tell you how appreciative I am of your insight here. This really does help encourage me to grab the COPPER VENOM cable. I will do so. wink.gif

Now Justin, you seem quite knowledgable and I need a bit of help.

I have an amazing DAC made by ARCAM paired with my 800's, however I am using a Harmon Kardon Avr 130 reciever/Op-Amp and that amp seems to do a magnificent job in powering my HD's eventhough it's a single Operational AMP. My question is to you would I really Benefit in getting a dedicated SS amp like say, the Burson soloist? I don't think I want a warm tube amp, for that may colour the HD's dynamics and hollow them out. If you could give me your insight into this matter I'd be so grateful. My thoughts are that I only need a cable upgrade right now and that's all. smily_headphones1.gif

 



You can get a good OCC cable from many domestic and well-respected vendors for less money and pretty good results. The Cpper Venom is the best one I found but the wait now could be a few months--It comes from England..

But a new amp will make a bigger difference that a new set of cables.

SS amp that mates well with the HD800, however, is actually very hard to find.

With all due respect to the Soloist fans--and there are many of you out there--it is not a good match for the HD800. It has a solid bass impact but emphasizes the sibilance, over-etched details and make the HD800 positively sizzle.

If you insist on a SS amp, an affordable one is the Vioelectric V200. The HD800 does not need a lot of power--as a matter of fact, it may be the most sensitive high-end headphones out there. The sound is very clean, detailed and very dynamic (tremendous bass impact) with just a trace of sibilance remaining. The more expensive Bryston is a good pairing with the HD800 but the midrange lacks a little presence. The best SS amp for the HD800 may be the GS-X Mark 2, if money is no object.

The affordable RWA Corvina is a hybrid so you would not get any of the typical tube shortcomings and the low-power tubes will last almost forever. The midrange is very detailed but also very musical, not the analytical, sterile sound that the HD tends to produce with many SS amps. The Corvina adds just the right amount of bloom to the HD800 taut bass resulting in more impactful sound than you can get with the SS V200 or Bryston--surprise, surprise. The combination HD800/Corvina has a very musical and three-dimensional sound with plenty of details and impact. Plus the Corvina can be operated on battery to yield one of the quietest and cleanest sounds you can imagine.

Just check my profile for questions about specific amps/cables I am familiar with.

What the soloist and SL does is what my Harman Kardon does. I think it's pretty clear that getting a different cable like the VENOM(I know there is a wait wink.gif will be for good measure to experiment with my ARCAM and HD 800 pairing. Once again, thank you so much and I also want to say that I find HYBRID amps so incredibly fascinating. You really get the best of both worlds and as you said, negate the short comings of most tube amplifiers and in our Case don't degrade or color the HD 800's dynamics. That is most important. Above all, I actually do really enjoy the 800's big, weighty dynamic sound with the massive punchy bass where by you can feel your cheeks vibrate against the cup/drivers....or salad bowls if you will. Lol!

Thanks again.
post #73 of 74

you could also look at Questyle CMA800R.

I have a pair of them in mono bloc balanced format and I thought it sounded better than the ALO studio 6 and HDVD800

post #74 of 74

I can only speak to what works for me.  Mac Mini -> Gungnir -> Cary SLP05 (Tung Sol VT231, RCA VT231) -> Mjolnir. From the Gungnir forward all connections are balanced Kimber Hero cables.  By adjusting the gain between the Cary and the Mjolnir I can add or subtract the warmth of the VT231s. The downside is I have a longer signal path but the SLP05 and Mjolnir are both exceptionally quite so it seems to work out.  For the HD800s I use more Cary gain than I use with LCD3s.  I use ALO Salty Pepper balanced cables with the 800s and have been pleased with the results. I have not noticed the silver issue experienced by others but I may be compensating by adding more tube warmth.  Hard to beat the top flight customer support you get  from ALO.  I have made the Anaxilus modification with a double thickness of foam. On balance I am happy enough with the results to sell my HD650s.  I now just switch back and forth between the HD800s and the LCD3s. A little more detail from the 800s, a  little more smoothness from the LCD3s but both provide a vivid, almost there, experience.  Very happy with both sets of phones. Both work well with my set up and each provides a unique perspective on the music.

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