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burson new soloist headphone amp - Page 34

post #496 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwess View Post

I read somewhere that the 160D makes a better match with the LCD-2, while the soloist loves the LCD-3. 

Never expected it to sound great with the T1's. 

 

The Soloist bests the HA-160 series everywhere.  And the HA-160 being a weak 2V amp doesn't help matters.  That's ~70mW into the LCD series by the way /facepalm

post #497 of 1226

Spec-wise probably not ideal guys, but still have a pleasing sound smily_headphones1.gif

a head-fi'er wrote a review but he was using aftermarket cables. No doubts the Musicians series are best by far. 

post #498 of 1226

I had the HA-160D for over a year... the Soloist is better ;)

post #499 of 1226

I have been using my Soloist with my Beyer T1's for almost a week now and I can safely say it is the best sound I have ever heard from a headphone setup.  The Soloist really is a step-up from my Matrix m-stage.  Actually, more like a leap up  :) .  I didn't think it was possible to get this much detail, speed and transparency from headphone setup with little to no sibiliance or harshness.  It truly is something special, it's like these two are made for each other.  The T1 strengths match perfectly with the Soloist's strengths and the result is audio bliss.  

 

I was in the market for a new amp, but not really a $1000 one.  However, the sound quality I am now getting from this setup gives me no buyer's remorse whatsoever.  

post #500 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZheadcase View Post

Hi guys. I currently have the the LCD2 and I'm seriously considering the T1 and soloist. However, I'm hearing that people are also loving the mjolnir with the lcd 2. What would be the better value? Mjolnir and balanced cables for the lcd 2 or having the lcd2 and t1 with the soloist?
Also, will the t1 sound good on the mjolnir if it is recabled as balanced?
I hope im not derailing the thread.

 

Hello there!! 

 

I saw you post over the in T1 thread, and I remembered your post, but saw no one answered, so I'll try my best to help. Look back one page in this thread for comments on the LCD-2. Overall, they can sound a little bit darker, which in my opinion is true to the sound of the LCD-2. The Mjolnir is brighter and faster which will help the darker character of the LCD-2.

 

The T1s on the other hand, I would think would sound a little bright on the Mjolnir. Of course, I haven't heard this combination, so I can't speak to it. The T1s on the soloist are a really sweet clear combination that is tough to beat. So, I think you sit in a pickle. Of course, either amp will sound good with either headphone, its just one amp I think would better compliment each one of those. 

post #501 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by elwappo99 View Post

Hello there!! 

I saw you post over the in T1 thread, and I remembered your post, but saw no one answered, so I'll try my best to help. Look back one page in this thread for comments on the LCD-2. Overall, they can sound a little bit darker, which in my opinion is true to the sound of the LCD-2. The Mjolnir is brighter and faster which will help the darker character of the LCD-2.

The T1s on the other hand, I would think would sound a little bright on the Mjolnir. Of course, I haven't heard this combination, so I can't speak to it. The T1s on the soloist are a really sweet clear combination that is tough to beat. So, I think you sit in a pickle. Of course, either amp will sound good with either headphone, its just one amp I think would better compliment each one of those. 

Thanks elwappo. You're right. I'm in a pickle. Thanks for your input. I do have more time to think about it as I wont be in a position to purchase for another couple of months. Hope to revisit this thread at the time to help make an informed decision.

Havn't yet found a place to audition stuff here in NZ. The best i could do was audition an hd598 and hd600 at a computer store no less. Not finding many kiwis on head fi yet though i dont doubt there are.
post #502 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZheadcase View Post


Thanks elwappo. You're right. I'm in a pickle. Thanks for your input. I do have more time to think about it as I wont be in a position to purchase for another couple of months. Hope to revisit this thread at the time to help make an informed decision.
Havn't yet found a place to audition stuff here in NZ. The best i could do was audition an hd598 and hd600 at a computer store no less. Not finding many kiwis on head fi yet though i dont doubt there are.

 

Well don't think the US is much better. The closest place to me is a few thousand miles! Luckily there ware a few of us around to have meets though :) 

 

Both the amps are fairly new, so hopefully someone will manage to audition both headphones and both amps! 

post #503 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by NZheadcase View Post


Thanks elwappo. You're right. I'm in a pickle. Thanks for your input. I do have more time to think about it as I wont be in a position to purchase for another couple of months. Hope to revisit this thread at the time to help make an informed decision.
Havn't yet found a place to audition stuff here in NZ. The best i could do was audition an hd598 and hd600 at a computer store no less. Not finding many kiwis on head fi yet though i dont doubt there are.

Drop a note to AiDee....he is a Kiwi....

post #504 of 1226

Yesterday, I decided to do a serious DACmini CX vs. Soloist comparison with the Beyerdynamic T1 (which is much higher resolving than my LCD-2 rev. 1).  All I've concentrated on thus far is paying very close attention to any differences in detail.  

 

Surprise!  The DACmini CX offers more detail into the Beyerdynamic T1 than does the Soloist.  

 

Using the DACmini CX' DAC section, I've got the DACmini's pre-amp output cabled to an input on the Soloist.  When the headphones are plugged into the DACmini CX, its relay routes the DACmini's amp to the headphones on the DACmini's jack.  To switch to the Soloist, all I have to do is move the headphones from the DACmini CX jack to the Soloist jack.  No other cables or switches have to be touched. 

 

I've also got the volume controls white-noise-matched to 85.7 dB, using an SPL meter iPhone app by JL Audio, with a lapel mic sandwiched between the T1 earpads.  I matched the volume control of the DACmini CX to that of the Soloist when it is set to Hi gain, positioning the stepped attenuator at 10 steps up from 0.

 

Playing tracks with acoustical guitar solos against black backgrounds has been the most revealing, with finger squeaks (when skin slides along a string) being a contest-winning challenge that puts the DACmini CX ahead of the Soloist.  With the DACmini CX, I can distinctly hear very low level echos of finger squeaks in my 44/16 Michael Hedges' Aerial Boundaries album, as well as in my 96/24 single of A Trace of Grace, from Michael Goddard and Steve Swallows' Sommelier du Son album.  These echos are priceless for communicating a sense of reality.  Switching to the LCD-2 briefly, moving them between the two amps, I can't hear this subtle difference in detail.  It's beyond the ability of the LCD-2 to render. 

 

But with the Beyerdynamic T1, it's not just the echos of finger squeaks that are getting every so slightly smoothed over by the Soloist - it's also smoothing away some of the timbre of sustained guitar notes - especially in the higher octaves - more loss of reality.

 

In my current favorite classical album, my 44/16 of Leos Janacek's Sinfonietta, toward the end of the the third of five movements, there's a very powerful, aggressive, and energetic swirling of multiple flutes amid an ensemble of spectacularly textured brass and violins - all of it very busy, very complex, and fast-paced as the piece ascends like an inverted cascade to a massive crescendo.  It's extremely moving - even for a guy like me, who hardly listens to classical at all.  The DACmini CX > Beyerdynamic T1 handles the complexity and speed of this piece no better than the Soloist, except in one trait - resolution of detail into the T1.  From even the wind through the flutes, to the more textured violins, to the brass that's much coarser, everything has acuity with the DACmini CX > T1, where the Soloist smooths it all just a wee bit - in addition to darkening it and warming it - which is an absolute must with the T1, unfortunately, as overall, I really can't stand the T1 with the DACmini CX, now that I've heard it with the Soloist.  The Soloist > T1 is much more palatable, all traits considered, than the DACmin CX > T1 - which is just too bright for the T1.   (Keep in mind that my DACmini CX has the 1-Ohm output impedance mod, which is known to more neutral and less dark than the factory default DACmini CX, which has a 10-Ohm output impedance.)  

 

But for detail, the DACmini CX outperforms the Soloist, when volume-matched, using the same source.  It makes me wonder if the heavy-gauge, copper RCA patch cables that ship with the Soloist are losing out to the fact that the DACmini CX amp is integrated with the DACmini CX DAC.  

 

Lastly, let me say that even though I believe I could pick out this difference in detail in a blind test (which I've not yet attempted for lack of an assistant), the smoothing imposed by the Soloist is still very subtle.  Consider the fact that I didn't even suspect the DACmini CX was superior until I set out to answer the question yesterday by testing and listening for differences in detail, selecting tracks that could best reveal  such differences. I was literally surprised at my discovery that the DACmini CX yields more resolution, because one of the advertised strengths of the Soloist is the detail and transparency that it's supposed to deliver thanks to its short signal path and absolute minimum number of high quality, discrete components.  Well, it's very, very good in that regard, but the DACMini CX is better - by ever so little - with that trait, at least. 

 

Overall, I still prefer the T1 with the Soloist, because it needs a bit of "smoothing" and the slightly darker treble and warmer mids offered by the Soloist.  I suspect the HD800 would be well-served by the Soloist, too - but I've not heard that combination.  The LCD-2 rev.1, on the other hand, needs the brightness of the DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod.  It just sounds too dark, for my tastes - with very little sparkle in the highs, when used with the Soloist.  I suspect that the LCD-3 (which I've never heard), might be bright enough, intrinsically, to make a better pairing with the (relative to my DACmini)  dark and warm Soloist than does the LCD-2 rev.1.  Lastly, the less efficient Beyerdynamic T1 seems to enjoy a greater improvement in dyanamics with the extra power afforded by the Soloist, than does the more efficient LCD-2 rev.1, which sounds nearly as good, in terms of dynamics, with the DACmini CX, despite receiving only 0.48 Wpc into 50-Ohms, vs. 1.28 Wpc with the Soloist.

 

All that said, if I keep both headphones and both amps, I'll be using the Soloist > T1 with classical music, vocals, and electronica, but I'll be reaching for the DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod > LCD-2 for nearly everything else - especially when I want to enjoy tracks that have a lot of bass content.

 

----------------------------------------

 

On the subject of LCD-2 rev.1 bass roll-off vs. Beyerdynamic T1 bass roll-off (using a DACport LX into the Soloist), white-noise volume matching the LCD-2 to the T1, I discovered that the T1 suffers a greater than 3 dB attenuation of bass energy (a loss of more than half the volume) in the mid-bass region, between 44 Hz and 80 Hz.  Have a look at these curves I charted, after taking measurements using Bink Audio test files and the JL Audio SPL meter (iPhone app):

 

 

1000

 

Notice that, ironically, below 44 Hz, I'm measuring about 2 dB higher SPLs with the Beyerdynamic T1 than I do with the LCD-2, but there's a LOT more music out there with signals above 44 Hz, than below 44 Hz.   The LCD-2 rev. 1 offers as much as a 4.6 dB advantage (roughly 2.5 times as much energy) at 70 Hz.  

 

Mike

post #505 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Overall, I still prefer the T1 with the Soloist, because it needs a bit of "smoothing" and the slightly darker treble and warmer mids offered by the Soloist.  I suspect the HD800 would be well-served by the Soloist, too - but I've not heard that combination.

 

From the way my Soloist partners with my different phones, I'd like to hear that combination as well

Cheers

post #506 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

 

But for detail, the DACmini CX outperforms the Soloist, when volume-matched, using the same source.  It makes me wonder if the heavy-gauge, copper RCA patch cables that ship with the Soloist are losing out to the fact that the DACmini CX amp is integrated with the DACmini CX DAC.  

 

 

Thanks for the detailed comparison, but this also came to mind. 

Its a matter of synergy between equipment. I remember comparing the Dacmini vs 160D (both have integrated dacs) and the differences were minimal.

post #507 of 1226

I hear you - there are so many uncounted variables.  redface.gif

post #508 of 1226

Considering that this amp has variable output, I'm surprised it doesn't seem to be used for anything around but orthos around here.  Has anyone tried the soloist with Sennheiser hd600 or hd650's?  I know some people have been really happy with Soloist/K702 pairing.   

post #509 of 1226

I'm actually using the Soloist with the HD650 and it's a wonderful pairing. It's smooth, with an airy and detailed presentation, good soundstage.

The HA-160D is a bit more raw and forward in it's presentation, with the soloist, you take severals steps back and you smooth the sound with a bigger soundstage and details. It is a bit darker than the HA-160D, for example the HE-400 that can have some strong treble (even can be sibilant on some tracks), it is slightly reduced which I really appreciate.

post #510 of 1226
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishbone View Post

I'm actually using the Soloist with the HD650 and it's a wonderful pairing. It's smooth, with an airy and detailed presentation, good soundstage.

The HA-160D is a bit more raw and forward in it's presentation, with the soloist, you take severals steps back and you smooth the sound with a bigger soundstage and details. It is a bit darker than the HA-160D, for example the HE-400 that can have some strong treble (even can be sibilant on some tracks), it is slightly reduced which I really appreciate.

Thanks a lot for your input.  Really looking forward to hearing how my HD600 sounds with the Soloist.  FYI, I'll be using a V-Dac as a source....hope this combination is also a winner.  Bought my soloist online for a great deal without listening to it, so I'm a bit nervous.  But with all the wonderful reviews, I don't think I can really go wrong, especially considering I'll also be using it as a preamp in the future.  I also don't think I'll be too picky in that the best amp I currently have is an RSA Hornet, lol!  I should be easy to please!  

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