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burson new soloist headphone amp - Page 60

post #886 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Can't say I would ever buy an amp with a fan.  Just asking for background noise.

I think you should try this onewink_face.gif

post #887 of 1165
Yep. Third session. This is really impressing me. Bite size summary because I can't be arsed stringing a sentence together;) spacious, tight bass, great PRAT, very little harshness, none with great recordings, got Sonic Youth spinning at 33 and a third:)
post #888 of 1165

This is a really nice amp imo.  I only really have the 160D to compare it to, but with the LCD2's and the T1's I notice a definite improvement in presentation.

 

I think a decent analogy would be like comparing the Westone W3 and W4.  The 106D playing the role of the W3 in this case, where I felt it made the LCD2's favor the bass/treble a lot more.  The Soloist playing the role of the W4's where the presentation felt more neutral (?), less of a low end and more of a midrange focus, and subsequently  b/c of this change the LCD's end up feeling not quite as closed in soundstage-wise.

 

I know I've just mixed a comparison of 2 iem's and 2 amps, but I hope my point was useful.

post #889 of 1165

Well, I've been testing out the Soloist SL for a while now (thanks to their fantastic loaner program -- thank you Burson!!!) and I have some thoughts on it that might need to be taken with a grain of salt as my gear setup will likely not be comparable to that of some of the more veteran head-fi-ers. I haven't read any of the other reviews of this in an attempt to keep my mind open. Anyway, here goes:

 

As I have yet to even venture into the realm of DACs, I used my Technics SL-J2 turntable as my main testing source going through my bare-bones Behringer PP-400 preamp and the freeware 'upsampling' app called Play on my iMac using Lossless and FLAC files. The only "dedicated" headphone amp I have to do a solid comparison with is my 18V 4556 op amp cmoy.

First of all, I've never heard so much detail in music in my life. Right out of the box, it was staggeringly detailed, albeit fairly up-front sounding and condensed soundstage-wise. It has been steadily improving in both detail and soundstage as it's been burning in, however. It's just absolutely the most smooth and clear sound I can imagine.

I will say however, at the risk of being berated, that my little cmoy seems to have a slight edge in soundstage / transparency over the SL. Maybe it's just that the SL is TOO detailed and clear and makes it difficult to experience different sounds in different spaces or maybe the SL hasn't fully burned in yet but the cmoy provides a head sensation that things are moving all around you. I HAVE been using this cmoy for about 8 hours a day for over a year now, so it could just be burned into a sweet spot. I don't know. It just seems that, with the ridiculous clarity of the SL, you can focus and imagine the different spaces that each sound inhabits while sounds seem to be more obviously laid-back and separated in a more casual listen when using the cmoy. This difference somehow becomes less apparent when using the audio out of my iMac (as opposed to vinyl) and even less so when listening to more complex, textured stuff like Amon Tobin or Squarepusher where being able to appreciate all those finely crafted individual noises are a large part of the experience.

This is a bit of a big deal for me though. I love to be able to make out all the different timbres of a snare, all the vibrato of a violin, and every gurgle of Tom Waits' throat as he growls out his intensity. But, personally, more of my enjoyment of music comes from the spatial qualities, and being able to hear everything that's going on at once, even if I can't hear all the subtle nuances of each sound. The energy and atmosphere of music seems to have more of a reality-displacing effect on me.

The SL, of course, has a significant advantage in detail (it's simply breath-taking) and silky smoothness and DOES have an impressive soundstage of its own. And the design of the unit, itself, is great. The dual input is nice, especially since I switch between my computer and turntable a lot. The large, smooth attenuator is fantastic for fine-tuned volume setting. Small box and clean, minimal design is lovely. It does take a short (about 30-45 minutes) time to warm up and really start cooking each time it's turned back on which could be a problem if you really need the best sound possible right away, for some reason.

Being someone who has never spent more than $100 on any one piece of audio gear, I would find it difficult to make the SL my next gear upgrade. But if you have the budget, and need detail -- possibly above all else -- and maybe make or listen to more complex compositions with a lot of mixed detailed textures like Amon Tobin, I think the SL would be an excellent choice. I hope the next person in the program has an easier time letting this go than I did. :)

Testing Music:
Al Di Meola "Electric Rendezvous"
Frank Zappa "Orchestral Favorites"
Genesis "Invisible Touch"
Lorn "Nothing Else"
Tom Waits "Small Change"
Shellac "1000 Hurts"
*Victor Wooten "What Did He Say?"
*Amon Tobin "Foley Room"
*Mahler "Symphony #1 in D, Titan"
(*Digital)

post #890 of 1165

I've been burning mine for two days now (I guess not the magic 100 hours?). Concero as source, y-splitted to both G109 and Solost, level matched direct A/B plugging in and out. Still zero differences. I guess it's pointless to compare two neutral transparent ss-amps.

post #891 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post

I've been burning mine for two days now (I guess not the magic 100 hours?). Concero as source, y-splitted to both G109 and Solost, level matched direct A/B plugging in and out. Still zero differences. I guess it's pointless to compare two neutral transparent ss-amps.

That's interesting.  I listened to the Soloist SL and the V200 and found a noticeable difference between the two on my HD800.  I was using my Concero as a USB converter to PS Audio Nuwave at the time, though I recently sold the Nuwave to buy the full size Soloist.  My Soloist should have been delivered today but UPS attempted delivery while I was at work.  I'm going tonight to pick it up from their customer center.

 

So like yourself, my end system will now be Concero > Soloist > HD800.

post #892 of 1165

Finally got it smily_headphones1.gif  Looks much better in person than in the pictures.

 

 

post #893 of 1165

Just how low is the output of the DAC that you are at 3 o'clock oh high gain?

post #894 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Just how low is the output of the DAC that you are at 3 o'clock on high gain?

1.2v.  I'm actually listening about 2 or 3 clicks lower now.  I'm really surprised though, since high gain is supposed to be 15db right?  My SA-31 at 10db was about 55/79 for the same perceived volume.  I didn't think I'd be able to go past noon on high gain.  Maybe something is wonky in my player settings.

post #895 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWahl View Post

Finally got it smily_headphones1.gif
  Looks much better in person than in the pictures.




Hey! Congrats! I know how excited you must be right now. Do you think it's much different than the SL?
post #896 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by RastaDolphin View Post


Hey! Congrats! I know how excited you must be right now. Do you think it's much different than the SL?

Thanks! So far I can certainly tell the family resemblance in sound.  And thankfully the same soundstage coherence that I liked from the SL.  Way heavier duty build than SL also.  I'm also noticing a little better instrument separation than I remember from the SL, though I'm probably losing some of the raw detail from no longer having the Nuwave DAC.  I really like it so far, only downside I can think of is it makes me want to further upgrade my source now biggrin.gif

 

Since I can't really afford a huge DAC upgrade right now and will only get about $400 from selling my SA-31, I'm considering a Bifrost Uber to pair with my Concero.  I could sell the Concero also, but I really like the features and what it did to the Nuwave so we'll if the effect is similar with the Bifrost Uber.


Edited by JWahl - 5/9/13 at 6:36pm
post #897 of 1165

Don't sell the Concero for the Bifrost.  Many have put the Concero in the same conversation as much more expensive DACs.  I'd be afraid the Bifrost would only be a downgrade.

 

As for Soloist v SL, speed and staging makes sense since the only change amp side is doubling of output devices so a bias and slew rate increase electrically.

post #898 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Don't sell the Concero for the Bifrost.  Many have put the Concero in the same conversation as much more expensive DACs.  I'd be afraid the Bifrost would only be a downgrade.

 

As for Soloist v SL, speed and staging makes sense since the only change amp side is doubling of output devices so a bias and slew rate increase electrically.

Oh, heck no blink.gif.  I was referring to using the Concero as a USB/SPDIF converter to a non-usb Bifrost with the new upgraded analog boards.  I was previously doing that with the Nuwave with good results.  I liked to think that throwing the Concero's linear phase apodizing filter in front gave me a poor mans PWD, so to speak.  

 

The Concero does amazing things with it's FPGA chip and clocks and what not but it doesn't change the fact that it's analog outputs are still integrated into the DAC chip itself.  Adding a DAC with a decent analog stage should "in theory" be an improvement, assuming there is no serious hardware bottleneck between the converter and DAC chip and USB power supplied.  Worst case, I'm sure I could resell the Bifrost without too much loss.  I'm just curious of those new analog boards.  If I didn't like it, I'd probably just save up for a Nuwave again.  

 

And to stay on topic, one thing is for sure, the Soloist is certainly more transparent than I expected (In a good way).  Especially now that it's fully warmed up.  I think the volume constriction was due to warm up.  I've backed down to medium gain about a click past 3 o' clock.


Edited by JWahl - 5/9/13 at 8:03pm
post #899 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by JWahl View Post

That's interesting.  I listened to the Soloist SL and the V200 and found a noticeable difference between the two on my HD800.  I was using my Concero as a USB converter to PS Audio Nuwave at the time, though I recently sold the Nuwave to buy the full size Soloist.  My Soloist should have been delivered today but UPS attempted delivery while I was at work.  I'm going tonight to pick it up from their customer center.

 

So like yourself, my end system will now be Concero > Soloist > HD800.

 

Well, mine will still be Concero > G109 > HD800 for now. wink.gif Anyway I don't like the pot and lack of ground lift (or whatever bad design makes it buzz).

 

Did you do direct level matched A/B with SL and V200? I did compare G109 and V200 some time ago but also found no real difference. I refuse to be sorry for my wallet..

 

edit: Final impressions.. hours and hours of comparing, if I had to say something, Soloist might have had a smidgen more soundstage depth, dynamics, subbass oomph. But frankly that's just talking out of my a** since A/B'ing back and forth it's very unclear. Sometimes it felt G109 had more dynamics/in your face.


Edited by hekeli - 5/14/13 at 11:18am
post #900 of 1165
Quote:
Originally Posted by hekeli View Post

 

Well, mine will still be Concero > G109 > HD800 for now. wink.gif Anyway I don't like the pot and lack of ground lift (or whatever bad design makes it buzz).

 

Did you do direct level matched A/B with SL and V200? I did compare G109 and V200 some time ago but also found no real difference. I refuse to be sorry for my wallet..

Nothing wrong with that.  If you're happy with what you have and are saving money then even better.  I didn't do a formal level matched comparison.  I know this goes against the grain but I find level matching impractical for personal comparisons at least.  I usually judge at the volume level I feel is optimal for the individual signature and music being played.  

 

Depending on the signature of the gear (bright, warm, etc.), when level matched, I feel one piece of gear may not be in it's optimal volume range for best sound.  With the HD800, for me at least, it takes a certain reasonable volume level to really bring out the impact and bass of the headphones.   But of course too much, and it's overfull and aggressive.  Of course, that's the downside with the stepped attenuator is the fine level tuning.  I'll have a chance next month to compare my new Soloist to the V200 once again.

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