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Just how much would a better amp improve my HD 650s? - Page 9

post #121 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by KT66 View Post

a well designed amp should not change the sound at all , it should be as Peter Walker said, a straight wire with a volume switch.

 

the most effecient way to improve or change the sound is starting with the source, and even the masterings of the music you buy,.

 

 

Well umm.  I don't know about that.

 

Woo Wa22 = well designed amp - correct?

 

GS-1 = well designed amp - correct?

 

The HD650's will give you 2 totally different sounds coming out these two amps with the same source.

post #122 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by KT66 View Post

a well designed amp should not change the sound at all , it should be as Peter Walker said, a straight wire with a volume switch.

 

the most effecient way to improve or change the sound is starting with the source, and even the masterings of the music you buy,.

 

 

That is true, nothing affects the sound quality as much as the recordings themselves.  The best DAC's and amps which are designed to be as transparent and true to life as possible, will still sound just as good as the recording itself.

post #123 of 156

I don't want to seem pedantic or moronic by saying what follows but here we are talking about amp in the 300$-1000$ range. At the bottom end, most of the manufacturing cost is sinking into the company fixed cost (rent and wages), design, case work, workmanship time and very little is left to part cost, which is most likely in the budget area. Going upward the price range will in my opinion let more money share go to the cost of quality parts and workmanship expertise. It is true that most of the sonic characteristic is achieved through the circuit design, but the quality of the parts used are none the less important, as is the human control of quality.
 

post #124 of 156

KT66, just in case people are reading me as saying the amp will change the sound quality, that isn't what I am saying. I am saying the sound quality will change as a perceived sum of the chain due to the fact that a good amplifier will help the speakers, or headphones in this case reach closer to their design limits. So in that sense, you do get a sound quality benefit from proper amplification. Just wanted to be clear.

post #125 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

 

Well umm.  I don't know about that.

 

Woo Wa22 = well designed amp - correct?

 

GS-1 = well designed amp - correct?

 

The HD650's will give you 2 totally different sounds coming out these two amps with the same source.

x2! Saying anything otherwise is stupid.

post #126 of 156

you would probably have to add noise, series output Z to the GS-2 to get it to audibly match the WA22

 

for the low current needed by the 300 Ohm Senn I doubt the WA22 tube distortion would be audible with music - but that can be modeled, used to degrade the GS-1 for better matching if desired too

 

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge

 

the take away for me is that it is highly likely the GS-1 can be modded to sound indistinguishable from the WA22 - by mods that many would consider being in the class of "adding defects"

post #127 of 156
Quote:

Wow...I'm not any further along than I was when I started this thread!  What I really want when I upgrade is the HD650 bass and space with more clarity and 'engagement' - but I need something that will get me there WHILE improving the HD650s.

 

In my experience, no amp has ever significantly changed the characteristic of a headphone. True to say that, disregarding your recordings, the amp is has the second biggest effect on the sound of your setup next to the headphones themselves, but it is unrealistic to expect a night and day difference. When you think about it, the sound of a headphone is, above all, determined by the design of the driver. Given a perfectly neutral amp, that is it has perfect dynamics, a perfectly flat frequency response, and can supply infinite power, the headphone would give you its intrinsic sound. Whatever amp the manufacturer use to test and create the headphone is probably the closest an amp will get to what this. People here love to say a better amp will help you unlock the full potential of your headphone. To me that sounds like it means an amp should strive as much as possible to be the amp mentioned above. Under that definition, a bad amp must be one that is in all aspects, deviated from this perfect amp.

 

If you're expecting a new amp to completely rewrite what an HD 650 sounds like, exactly how much does it have to be messing with the signal. I wouldn't call an amp that changes the signal that much a good amp at all. Be weary of what some people here would tell you is a "better" amp. To say an amp colours the sound is to say that the amp does not have an ideal frequency response. If this is your idea of "improving" the HD 650 it means you do not like the intrinsic sound of the HD 650 and you would be better served by using an equalizer or buying a different headphone. If what you want to change is the dynamics of the HD 650, such as timbre, detail separation, or space, a closer to ideal amp may help. Most people would call an amp like this neutral. 

 

My experience with the HD 650 follows the second path. Most, at least the ones I've liked, more expensive amps have only incrementally improved the dynamics. No amp I have ever tried has significantly made it sound "like a different animal". I do not doubt amps have different frequency responses, I only doubt people's ability to accurately describe the magnitude of those differences.

post #128 of 156

Quote:
Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

Wow...I'm not any further along than I was when I started this thread!  What I really want when I upgrade is the HD650 bass and space with more clarity and 'engagement' - but I need something that will get me there WHILE improving the HD650s.

 

Much perplexed.

 

Do I misread you? You have gotten a lot of good recommendations on how to improve your HD650's performance. And a lot of people saying that nothing matters.... but those ar not going to help you on this one. 

 

 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KT66 View Post

a well designed amp should not change the sound at all , it should be as Peter Walker said, a straight wire with a volume switch.

 

the most effecient way to improve or change the sound is starting with the source, and even the masterings of the music you buy,.

 

I really think that is an absurd statement. Who has ever listened to a recording without an amplifier??

 

- Nobody. You NEED and amplifier to listen to the stuff you record.

 

The producer/technicians in the studio listen to the stuff they record with a specific source, a specific amplifier and a set of speakers/phones. What theoretically is onthe actual recording is just an abstract idea. What was played/sung in the studio itself - the live performance - does of course exist. But in the process of getting taped, the sound has to be transformed to electrical variables by a microphone, a microphone amplifier, a mixing board etc. etc. etc. 

 

The idea of neutral, transparent audio gear that "only plays what is on the recording" is just an abstract idea. Nobody ever heard what the recording sould sound like, because they need audio gear to listen to it. 

 

Of course the source matters, but it is not an argument against amplifiers. They all matter. But I have heard a lot of dacs and a amps and speakers/phones - and I really think that the amp-speaker/phone synergy is more important. Just as long as the source is abovea certain level of quality (which of course will vary with the setup). Briefly put, i'm saying amplifiers/phones matterswith regards to sound signature/coloration. A better source will add resolution. And - oh yes - in case I did not make myself clear:

 

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS UNCOLORED SOUND


Edited by ardilla - 7/10/12 at 2:19pm
post #129 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post

you would probably have to add noise, series output Z to the GS-2 to get it to audibly match the WA22

 

for the low current needed by the 300 Ohm Senn I doubt the WA22 tube distortion would be audible with music - but that can be modeled, used to degrade the GS-1 for better matching if desired too

 

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge

 

the take away for me is that it is highly likely the GS-1 can be modded to sound indistinguishable from the WA22 - by mods that many would consider being in the class of "adding defects"


You say defects others would say improvements. What this article proves is that no amplifier sounds the same. And taste is greatly varying depending on personality and infinity of parameters, Stick to what you like it is my motto in audio related matters!

post #130 of 156

I see how you're confused DM.  You're just going to have to do it the hard way.  Buy an amp or two.  Attend a meet.  

post #131 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by telecaster View Post


You say defects others would say improvements. What this article proves is that no amplifier sounds the same. And taste is greatly varying depending on personality and infinity of parameters, Stick to what you like it is my motto in audio related matters!

 

 

 

Did you actually read the article?

post #132 of 156
Quote:

What this article proves is that no amplifier sounds the same.

some look at it a little differently: Carver modded his $600 SS amp to sound like Stereophile's "Golden Ears" choice of "highly regarded tube amp" - overnite, in his Motel room, with parts from RadioShack

 

to the point that using their own listening room, speakers, music, the professional "Golden Ears" at Stereophile couldn't hear the difference

 

makes the idea of spending 5-10x more for a esoteric, "specially voiced", "designer" amps rather less appealing to people who just want to get on with listening to music - get over your "connoisseurism", magical thinking, "naive subjectivism"  and  just EQ a decent, cheap SS amp "to taste"

 

particularly in headphone audio where even Class A output bias SS is cheap


Edited by jcx - 7/10/12 at 4:53pm
post #133 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

 

Did you actually read the article?

 

The debate here is that all amplifiers sound the same, and this article show that no the carver amp and the tube amp didn't sound the same. Yeah I read it thanks for challenging my reading skills. Carver who is certainly a genius in his field modded it not overnight but in many days of tweaking that wasn't easy I guess.


Yes a 700$ modded SS carver amp will take you on top, but a 300$ not created nor modded by carver won't...
 

post #134 of 156
Thread Starter 
The improvements I'm talking about are for an upgraded headphone - not to change completely the HD650. I want my next upgrade to present as previously described and an amp that can fit both - or really MOST headphones. At worst, I want something that gets the most out of the HD650 and won't diminish most likely upgrades (LCD-2, HD800, or something else).

I'm only baffled because of the plethora of choices offered, not because I feel the input thus far has been useless or bad.
post #135 of 156

Back to your original question (and hopefully away from the religious discussion).

 

I've owned both the HD600s and HD650s. I found that, possibly due to the capabilities of various amps when it comes to providing good voltage swing, that the perceived soundstage increased as the quality of amp I used them from increased. I have one live track that, through cheaper amps, sounded as if you were standing at the back of the audience, with everything in front. With better amplification, the perception became that one was standing in the middle of the audience, with people around.  Similarly with studio recordings, better amplification increased my impression of each instrument as an individual entity compared to the "wall of sound" effect from cheaper amps.  I'm sure I've seen measurements of amps which showed a decreased amount of stereo crosstalk when measured with HD650s connected.

 

As well, the perceived soundstage with better amps doesn't collapse as soon as the music becomes complex as it does with cheaper ones. This is what you pay for when you buy a good amp. Choosing an amp...well, that's a bit tough. They all sound subtly different, depending on the designer's intentions and ideas. I had to go through a few amps and learn the hard way about what mates well together, but I didn't end up spending a great deal to get very enjoyable results with the HD-600s. I suggest going to a meet if possible and trying out different combinations. I don't have enough experience with the HD-650s with a variety of equipment to suggest more than one amp and it isn't one that existed when I had HD-650s.

 

I can't remember if someone talked about electrostats at all. They require special amplification which is completely incompatible with normal headphone amps. However, there has been some mention of the Koss 'stats with driver (amp) going for as little as $650, which is definitely worth considering.

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