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Electrostatic & Dynamic amplifier

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I would like to ask if you know any other amplifier currently on the market -I know Malvalve Amp Three can do it - which can work with electrostatic and dynamic headphones?
If possible maybe I would raise the idea of selling my Woo Audio 2 OTL and have only an amplifier
Thank you

Edited by Sahara - 9/27/12 at 6:22pm
post #2 of 13

Keep in mind that any amp that can power both dynamic and electrostatic headphones is pretty much two separate amplifiers in a single box - there's really no practical way for them to share much of any circuit, except input selection.  While I can understand your desire for less clutter, that is the only advantage - in every other way, you're looking at simply purchasing two substandard amps for a substantial price. 

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your answer El_Doug. You're very kind. I had thought about the possibility of minimize the audio system components, having a competent amplifier to both in a single device, but you're right and perhaps the price of having something special is quite expensive.
Two very competent amplifiers can be purchased for the price of the Malvalve.
Do you know any model of similar benefits to the Malvalve anyway?
post #4 of 13

At my main residence, use  Manley neo 300b preamplifier as preamp/headphone amp/Stax amp.  it has more than enough juice for standard Lambdas.  007 might be dicey, have never tried them with Manley Neo 300b. At the headphone show, HE60s seemed underpowered with the neo 300b, but don't know if it was a good HE60 sample.


I use a banana jack adapter into the speaker leads of a Stax SRD transformer box.  Supposedly the headphone jack puts out about 675v rail to rail on the 100 ohm setting with a 25:1 voltage step up from the trannies.


That makes the Manley neo 300b preamp a three-way the way I use it.  Sounds wonderful with Stax Lambda, dynamic headsets and as preamp. Not a cheap component, but occasionally can be found used for 3K neighborhood.

Edited by cjfrbw - 9/28/12 at 11:34am
post #5 of 13

The problem with any one size fits all solution are the compromises just get bigger so it's the master of nothing. 

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your contribution.


Yes. The size is indeed an inconvenience for the new place where will be placed the audio components. I really like the Malvalve.. .but unfortunately it size is too large. I'm sure AudioNote DAC 3.1x & Malvalve Amp Three combo could be an impressive set for anything that sound...

I had thought to call and ask them to make something personalized  -custom- with 2 '' less, but looking the pictures of inside I do not see where they can reduce space, although they may have a smaller chassis.

It seems an impossible mission.... and my wife said that the new cabinet is untouchable for audio equipment modifications


I have the impression to be quite blocked with the amplification for the SR-009..confused_face.gif
I thought about the choice of Wee and SRD, but I really like the idea of a dedicated amplifier

Edited by Sahara - 9/28/12 at 10:06pm
post #7 of 13

Technically you can just get a speaker amp and run everything from the speaker outs, I think (note I'm anything but an expert in electrical circuits).  Stax definitely yes since you've got the WEE.  Dynamics you're going to need a converter box thing that makes sure the amp sees an 8ohm load or something like that.  Hifiman has such a box for their HE6... I believe (note I have no idea about electrical circuits) if you just increase one of the default resistors they put in that box, you'll get more usable volume range for a normal headphone vs a super insensitive one like the HE6.  All presupposing that you're running the dynamics balanced to keep the -VE apart from each other unless your amp can handle that, I think.


I plan on doing the above with my large SET speaker monoblocks.  I'll definitely be able to do a Stax w/ the WEE, as well as HE6 from the hifiman box, though I'll have to check really quick if that hifiman box is suitable for running dynamics in general without getting too loud too quickly.

post #8 of 13
An interesting DIY solution would be a 2 or 3 stage transformer based amp. First stage would essentially be a garden variety "spud" amp using a high mu/high gm type tube driving something like a 5k:32 transformer. Dynamic phones are driven directly from the 32 ohm outputs. For electrostatics, the signal is taken off the primary of the first stage transformer and coupled via a capacitor to a large power tube like an EL34, the EL 34 is loaded with a large phase-splitting transformer which produces an electrostatic level voltage swing. Probably not small, certainly not cheap, but if done correctly, not necessarily compromised.
post #9 of 13

That could be done but a far cheaper way would be something like the RSA B-52/A-10 SRPP circuit.  They are essentially the same so just use a lower B+ and a large output cap for dynamics and then double the B+ and a smaller cap for electrostatics.  It will sound very poor indeed but aside from the high voltage switching gear it would be very, very cheap to build. 


There is a way to do this properly though so take a very robust SS amp (say Dynalo) for use with dynamics and then switch it to high gain and feed it into the back end of a KGSS for electrostatics.  The true challenge with any of this though is the high voltage switching as normal relays will not work. 

post #10 of 13
Another thought, that isn't a single amp, is just a relatively compact stack. Like the CEC HD-53 and the WEE. You'd have one volume control and input section, just different outputs. A standard stereo receiver + transformer for the 'stats would also work.
post #11 of 13

You could purchase something like the Antelope Zodiac DAC, which includes a dedicated headphone amp for dynamic HP's. You could use the DAC as a source to an electrostatic amp.

post #12 of 13

is there a post or wiki anywhere that explains how they differ?

post #13 of 13
Originally Posted by mab1376 View Post

is there a post or wiki anywhere that explains how they differ?

How what differ?
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