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Tube amp for Sennheiser HD800s: deciding between some SE & balanced options - Page 2

post #16 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post



I also have the HD800, m903, and the amazing KH120 monitors. Am also in the market for a tube amp and I was able to recently audition both the Super 7 and BA with the m903. IMO, both tube amps clearly better the m903's headphone amp, which is no slouch. There is more bass extension, more soundstage, more presence, just simply more musical and more enjoyable. The difference between the S7 and BA for me was less pronounced. The BA just does everything slightly better, maybe 5%-10% pretty sure the law of diminishing returns kicks in strong here. I don't think you can go wrong either way but I'm waiting to set up an audition of the Stratus before I make a final decision on which way to go.

Thanks
post #17 of 33

I am very satisfied with my WA2 OTL for the HD800. This OTL amp -output Transformer-Less- takes advantage of high impedance from tubes and it's a very good candidate for the high impedance headphones like HD800.

post #18 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hi,

After much research here on HeadFi (many, many posts), some PMs with some extremely generous members with firsthand experience and some e-mail discussions with some builders, I have narrowed my search down to three amplifiers:

 

-          Donald North Audio, Sonett 2 ($1,300)

-          Eddie Current Zana Deux SE ($2,200 - $2,720)

-          Woo Audio WA22 ($1,900 - $2,480)

 

The latter two (along with the Sonett, Sonett 2 is not released yet) seem to be favorites among many experienced HeadFi members.  Opinions differ based on personal preference; but such is the nature of Audiophilia Nervosa.  So, I am struggling with how to decide between these.  I can really make an argument for any of them.  The table below outlines on a high level the differences between them:

 

http://i1238.photobucket.com/albums/ff495/iim7v7im7/AmpComparison_Tubes_zps55592aad.png?t=1348507086

 

So what say you? If you were in my shoes, which would you pick keeping in mind what I have today (Grace m903) and why?

 

Appreciated,

 

Bob

post #19 of 33

I personally would keep the m903, it's technically superior to all three of those amps. But then I'm not really a tube fan. If high-fidelity is your thing a tube amplifier is not appropriate (IMO, flamesuit on etc.)

 

Balanced may have benefits in reducing noise, increasing power, slew rate etc. (depending on design) but many very good amps are unbalanced, I wouldn't have your heart set on it.

 

If I was you I'd audition the options before choosing one. If this isn't possible, you'll have to go on others opinions, but very few (if any) will have heard them head to head. Also, gear in this price range is largely about aesthetics, so make sure you like the look of it, you'll be paying for it smily_headphones1.gif

post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyjojo View Post

I personally would keep the m903, it's technically superior to all three of those amps. But then I'm not really a tube fan. If high-fidelity is your thing a tube amplifier is not appropriate (IMO, flamesuit on etc.)

 

Balanced may have benefits in reducing noise, increasing power, slew rate etc. (depending on design) but many very good amps are unbalanced, I wouldn't have your heart set on it.

 

If I was you I'd audition the options before choosing one. If this isn't possible, you'll have to go on others opinions, but very few (if any) will have heard them head to head. Also, gear in this price range is largely about aesthetics, so make sure you like the look of it, you'll be paying for it smily_headphones1.gif

Joeyjojo,

 

Thanks for expressing your opinion (no flame here).  

 

Fortunately, this community is amazingly diverse and actually there are at least two people that I have spoken to who are also m903 owners that have compared them to some of the amps that I am considering and have found them audibley superior (perhaps not technically as you speak).  Two of the three amps that I am considering are single-ended designs.  One is single-ended with balanced outs.  One is a balanced design. Two are transformer coupled and one is OTL.  So I am not really married to a topology.

 

:-)


Bob

post #21 of 33

Sweet, sorry I can't be of more help then beerchug.gif

post #22 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeyjojo View Post

Sweet, sorry I can't be of more help then beerchug.gif

You were helpful...

 

It is always important to remember that specifications mean something and to measure twice before you cut once!

 

Cheers,

 

beerchug.gif

post #23 of 33

I've heard the Eddie Current Super 7 recently, and for the HD 800's, I think it's better than the WA22. From what I remember anyways. Those are the only two in your selection that I've heard, so I won't mention anything else. ( well there's also the wa2, but if you're willing to put 2000$, I'd pass over the wa2).

 

Dan

post #24 of 33

I think that if you choose the WA-22 it makes a profound difference if you plan to use a balanced source.  It definitely has a "Tubey" sound to it.  If you like the tube sound, then it is a great combo.  I bought the WA-22 specifically to hear the "tube" sound as I had never experienced it before.  I find it quite nice, but I think my Bryston BHA-1 is a more accurate amplifier.  For certain music I prefer the tubes, for other stuff, I like the more accurate BHA-1.  Personally, I think you will probably like whichever one you choose out of your choices...the only problem is you will want to hear them all.

 

BTW, I cannot tell any difference between the "balanced" output vs single ended on the WA-22, so I think that buying a balanced cable is kind of a waste.  I compared a Cardas with balanced and SE adaptor and there was no difference.  I think I could hear a difference between the stock and Cardas, and I think I actually prefer the stock cable by a *tiny* margin.

post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dleblanc343 View Post

I've heard the Eddie Current Super 7 recently, and for the HD 800's, I think it's better than the WA22. From what I remember anyways. Those are the only two in your selection that I've heard, so I won't mention anything else. ( well there's also the wa2, but if you're willing to put 2000$, I'd pass over the wa2).

 

Dan

dleblanc343,

 

I have actually ruled out a WA22 and the Super 7 at this point in my selection process.  I would imagine the sound of the Super 7 would be closer to some of your SS amps (Mjolnir, BHA-1).

 

Thanks,

 

Bob

post #26 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Senn-Fi View Post

I think that if you choose the WA-22 it makes a profound difference if you plan to use a balanced source.  It definitely has a "Tubey" sound to it.  If you like the tube sound, then it is a great combo.  I bought the WA-22 specifically to hear the "tube" sound as I had never experienced it before.  I find it quite nice, but I think my Bryston BHA-1 is a more accurate amplifier.  For certain music I prefer the tubes, for other stuff, I like the more accurate BHA-1.  Personally, I think you will probably like whichever one you choose out of your choices...the only problem is you will want to hear them all.

 

BTW, I cannot tell any difference between the "balanced" output vs single ended on the WA-22, so I think that buying a balanced cable is kind of a waste.  I compared a Cardas with balanced and SE adaptor and there was no difference.  I think I could hear a difference between the stock and Cardas, and I think I actually prefer the stock cable by a *tiny* margin.

 

Senn-Fi,

 

Among tube amps, I have narrowed my sights to a DNA Stratus 2A3.  It is a unbalanced input, single-ended, transformer coupled tube amp with balanced outputs. As I understand it from others, of falls between a Transparency of a Eddie Current Zana Deux SE and the tube coloration of a Woo Audio WA22.  By tube rolling I can likely tweak it both directions.

 

Thanks,


Bob

post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Deleted post
Edited by iim7V7IM7 - 10/5/12 at 2:58pm
post #28 of 33

I'd vote for the Woo WA 22 with 50 Years Treasure driver tubes (assuming you can find them). That's what I have and it works very well with my HD800's.
 

post #29 of 33

Little Dot MK VIII SE or VI. Has both SE and a single Balanced 4-pin XLR and balanced inputs. One of the users from the thread that owned the WA22 and the LD said the LD was cheaper and better.

post #30 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I am the OP on this thread.  While I appreciate people's suggestions, I have already made my decision and ordered a DNA Stratus 2A3.

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