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The Best of Head-Fi - Page 3

post #31 of 55

HEY, I resemble that remark.


If I was more incensed, I would represent it.........


Old habits die hard..

post #32 of 55
Thread Starter 

From the Shure SE846 thread:



Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

One poster made an intelligent remark a few pages back about the phase shift occured by a few inches long duct relative the several meters long acoustic wavelength at that frequency. It's marginal.

A better image of what the low pass filter does is more like an additional mass, spring and damper between the driver and the ear canal. You effectively get a bandpass acoustic filter. It's been over 15 years since I looked into subwoofers so memory fades but, as I recall, the issue here isn't the phase but the transient response. In particular, You don't want to get too much overshoot at the main resonance frequency as it's been related to perceived "uncontrolled / wolly" bass.

From my short audition with the 846, it was more the quantity of bass than the texture I had an issue with while using straight from the iphone 5. It appeared all cleared using the pico power. Now that demos are getting into the stores, I will spend more time to revisit this.

For the comments from the mook festival about it being much worse than all other iems such as jh13, I am at a bit of a loss to understand it. I don't recall such experience from the tokyo show and I was rather partial to start with since I heard the 846, jh13fp, and other westone (top model ciem, can't remember the name) for the first time on that day. At least, compared to the 535, there were very substantial improvements (immediately noticeable on an A/B listen) in terms of cohesiveness and lack of compression / distortion. If it wasn't for the bass excess from the iphone. I'd own one by now I think.
post #33 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by doublea71 View Post

If not having the perfect dap is literally making anybody feel sad, you're looking for joy in the wrong place. Consumption does not lead to contentedness. Didn't anybody learn anything from Fight Club?

post #34 of 55
Thread Starter 

From Mercer's Gloves Off thread:



Originally Posted by Argyris View Post
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post

And "...true to life" is the 'absolute sound' objective.


And time for a personal opinion:

This cannot be understood with 'synthetic' or electronic music. For where is the benchmark / reference?

It may be enjoyable, it may sound 'good', but how it compares to 'true to life' is anyone's guess.


I would say that you'd have to rely on how well the headphone renders more acoustically-driven genres (especially live or minimally-processed/multitracked performances thereof), or else how wide its general genre coverage is, and extrapolate from there. You're absolutely right, though. What would you base your judgment on for music which only really exists as a final mix? For that matter, what does a heavily multitracked studio recording really sound like, when everything was recorded in isolation, then mixed together at the whim of an engineer?


Generally (and this is just a big fat generalization on my part), neutralish (whatever that even means) headphones tend to have wider genre coverage than headphones with obvious coloration, at least insofar as I've gathered from my own (humble) experience and from reading many, many recommendation threads. When somebody is looking for a good all-rounder, generally the recommendations lean toward such a neutral balance. I'd say that if a headphone doesn't sound obviously wrong with any genre thrown at it (e.g. bloated midbass or shouty upper midrange or lack of upper extension), the way it renders any specific genre is probably fairly accurate. Now whether you like that sound for that genre is an entirely different matter.


There don't seem to be many absolutes in this hobby. That's why if I'm enjoying what I hear, I just try to shut the rest of the stuff out.

post #35 of 55
Thread Starter 

From the Grado modders' thread: Experiments with the "tape mod":


Originally Posted by GermanGuy View Post

seems to be posting time - so i post some information about what i did last year to make custom bowls.


after buying my first grado (SR225i) last year or the year before i tried to improve bass and comfort by making my own bowls to improve the sound without modding the sr225i itself.


after reading a lot of articles here i thought

- that socks are a must

- the tape mod is nice as basis but should be thought to an end

- i was also inspired by tyll hertsens post on innerfidelity about standard grado and modded grado bowls


so i had the idea


- to put something around standard bowls

- to build something to put around the bowls to extend them in size

- to use socks to cover whatever i put around


after a lot of testing and listening here are the results - my custom grado bowl extension set:



it consists of different rings for the extension of the bowls, the sound tuning rings,  the i call them "sound tuning chips" (that were inspired by tyll hertsens article on innerfidelity and his measurement and implication of bass response and size, i,e. diameter and circumference of the bowls):



i also tested different socks (very thin, normal, thick), in general the thicker the socks, the more bass, but this is achieved by absorbing the highs and loosing detail, precision and overall sound quality, so as result i only used very thin socks (thin socks size 39-42).


to explain the different parts, here are some samples:


as replacement for the tape mod the sound tuning rings can be used by just putting them around a standard bowl:



left - the first ring is made out of felt 2mm thick - very homogenous sounding, adds some warmth to the sound, so for example slightly more bass, less harsh highs


right - the second ring is made out of two layers of strong tape - improves the bass but as there is no glue between bowl and ring slightly less effective than tape directly glued to the bowl.


This is a bowl i made especially for the SR225i:



the bowl is extended by a bowl extension ring made out of felt 6mm thick, linear shape and 4 sound tuning ships between bowl and extension ring, a sock wrapped around the extension ring:


Extension Ring:


here the extension ring is made out of felt 6mm thick. the thicker the felt here, the more the bass is improved. to make the ring i cutted a piece of fitting length, 5mm higher than the bowl. i then cut a piece of felt starting at the height of the bowl on the inner side of the felt ring so that as result there is a linear shape, the inner side of the extension ring so gets wider with the height.


Shape of the Extension RIng::


- if you just use the felt ring as it is (no shape), the higher the extension ring, the more the bass, bass gets boomy and you start to get bass resonances

- a linear shape, as you see (sorry for my limited english to exactly descibe what i want to say) prevents the bass from getting boomy and resonant, the resulting extended bowl also sounds very grado-like

- i also tried a parabolic shape, this shape of the inner side of the extension ring gives you the best soundstage but more sounding like a standard headphone, not a grado. also the extension ring gets very thin with a parabolic shape, so the socks applied will result in a deformation of the extension ring


Sound tuning chips:


inspired by the article on innerfidelity were tyll hertsens had the idea, that resonance frequencies were related to the diameter and so the circumference of the bowl, i had the idea


- to put small plastic pieces at constant distances, symetrically

- or different distances, not symetrically

- to have areas of different reflection in the grado bowl

- and so different ares of acustic behaviour and absorbtion

- and so killing resonances circulating inside the bowls


and this really works

- the hole sound gets cleaner, the chips especially kill resonances of the higher frequencies, the highs get cleaner, more resonant free and not that harsh but without getting a warmer sound

- due the sound tuning chips also the bass gets cleaner but also the chips very slightly limit the lowest possible bass resonance frequency the bowl can transmit, but together with an bowl extension ring this is absolutely no problem as the effect is very small compared to the bass improvement due to the bowl extension ring.


This is a bowl i made especially for the SR325is:



it consists of a grado bowl, a felt sound tuning ring, 4 sound tuning chips (symetrically), a bowl extension ring 1cm higher than the bowl 8mm thick with parabolic shape, and an i call it "soundstage ring".


in the case of the sr325 the sound tuning ring made out of felt 2mm thick acustically couples the bowl with the extension ring, the felt sound tuning ring here also tunes the sound to the warmer, homogenous side as the sr325is highs are more pronounced than the sr225i (this ring was not nessesary for the sr225i bowl posted before).


i already explained the function of the sound tuning chips, here they are used because of the same reason.


the bwol extension ring here is 8mm thick so that the bass is more improved than with 6mm and also the parabolic shape is more effective.


the "sound stage ring" prevents the extension ring from beeing deformed when you put the socks around, so the ring takes care that the soundstage benefit because of the parabolic shape will not be eliminated by the socks deforming the extension ring.


also the soundstage ring works like an additional "tape mod" ring so further improving bass depth.


in this case i put socks separately around the bowl extension ring and the soundstage ring.



something about wrapping socks around the rings:


i tried a lot of different ways to put the socks around the rings or the hole extended bowl, aslo i tried the original grado bowl with socks (not worth to mention or to listen to), but after all the tests there are only two ways i used the socks:



different kinds of using the socks:



putting the socks around the bowl extension ring and/or the soundstage ring:


- the resulting extended bowls are grado-like sounding, preferable for smaller heights of the bowl extension ring, much better sound stage width and slightly better soundstage depth, much more comfortable


putting the socks around the complete extended bowl so that the socks partly close the bowl on the ears side:


- the resulting extended bowls are more like a non-grado headphone sounding, but with good soundstage wide and depth, nice imaging and extended bass response. my idea here was that applying the socks this way the socks form a chamber for the ear and also a defined volume and room for reflections and this really works.


btw i was amazed that the new AKG K812 has the same style of "bowls".


How to test and build:


In general i put all parts together for initial listening


- when i tought a specific extended bowl would be worth listening i put the parts together using small needles

- when i had decided to finally build a specific extended bowl i used superglue to  glue grado bowl, sound tuning chips and sound tuning ring together (only superglue on both sides of the sound tuning ships)

- to glue sound tuning ring, bowl extension ring and soundstage ring together, i used a special glue based on rubber and made to repair clothes, keeps flexible, is heat resistant up to 120 degree celsius, the hole bowl can be washed.


for my next post i will prepare some drawings how to build this closed grado version i mentioned before.

post #36 of 55
Thread Starter 

From the DX90 thread:



Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
Originally Posted by Levanter View Post

Yes I want them to spend more on marketing. As a business I want to see them grow and earn more. And marketing is the best way to do it as what AK demonstrated. With growth their funds for r&d will increase and better quality products will be funded.
Even if they do produce best bang for buck, I'm curious to see what they will produce given a hefty budget.

This reminds me of a story:
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Greek village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.
The American complimented the Greek on the quality of his fish and asked, “How long does it take to catch them?” The Greek replied: “Only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Greek said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Greek fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play cards with my friends, I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.
You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Athens, then London and eventually New York where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Greek fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?” To which the American replied, “15-25 years.”
“But what then?” The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”
“Millions … Then what?” The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play cards with your friends.”

Now can we PLEASE get back on topic and let Ibasso, Iriver, Fiio and Stax run their businesses as they see fit?
post #37 of 55
Thread Starter 

In answer to a question from a member who doesn't understand headphone resistance:


Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Impedance and resistance aren't the exact same thing, and for headphones specifically, impedance is what is measured. In any case, it really depends on the amp design. On speakers, it's more straightforward - the impedance range is between 4ohm to 8ohm in most hi-fi applications, with the exception of car subwoofers that may have 2ohms, so generally lower impedance means higher output. Go too low however and your amp might be producing a lot of nominal power, but might not have enough reserve juice for dynamic passages. Since the rated impedance is nominal - depending on the design of the drivers, and it can also be affected by the crossover - many don't realize that depending on the frequencies playing impedance may change, so at any given point in the playback, your 8ohm speaker might be dipping a bit lower or higher, and this can be a bigger problem with 4ohm speakers since dipping lower means the amp driving it will hit its limits however briefly. This is why, between two speaker amps that measure the same way on a test tone, the one with the huge power supply that doubles its output when the impedance is halved might usually sound better than an amp that only produces less than 50% more power (when the impedance is halved). This is why not all Class D amps are as tiny as the Sonic Impact, or even if the circuit board and heatsink are tiny, the power supply is considerably bigger.


With headphones it's a bit trickier because of the much, much, much wider range of impedance from 16ohm to 600ohm, and as such some amps are designed to deliver more voltage to produce more power for high impedance headphones, while some are current drive amplifiers designed to deliver more power at lower impedance. It's not unusual for example to find a headphone amp that produces more power at 300ohm while another produces most of its power at 32ohm, although very generally  given they are both powerful enough to get two headphones to a proper listening volume it is likely for the 300ohm headphone to perform well with both while the lower sensitivity, current-hungry headphone will sound less dynamic with the voltage-driven amp. There are different advantages and disadvantages to either design that affects headphones more than speakers (such as hiss on too low impedance headphones with the wrong amp) so it really depends on which ones the manufacturer would rather deal with for a given application.

post #38 of 55
Thread Starter 

From the O2 and ODAC thread, some good discussion came up about measurements vs. what we hear:


Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
Originally Posted by skeptic View Post


A good question indeed.  Even though distortion measurements started off, and then were reduced further, below the what is often considered the threshold of audibility, my understanding is that different "measurement first" designs and topologies are still often (if not usually) perceived as sounding different [for reasons beyond my understanding and pay grade].  For example, I've read a lot of posts here and elsewhere regarding both the O2 and the Wire.  It could be the product of confirmation bias, but I have yet to see a single post here or on diyaudio where someone suggests these two ultra low noise/distortion amps sound indistinguishable.    


My sense is that perceived differences may have a few different sources:


(i) Different active devices (e.g. op amps, to say nothing of tubes) do seem impart subtle differences to sound quality, and I imagine this is further complicated by the fact some of these semi-conductors have fet vs. bipolar inputs.  Think about the fact that certain diy amps (e.g. the dynahi/dynafet and differing fet vs. bjt revisions of the ehh rev. A) were created based on this theory - that these transistor types have different flavors.  So by replacing my output chips with the booster board circuit, and also my gain stage chip with dual LME49990's, I think it is unsurprising that I would hear subtle but discernible differences - although I still do intend to build another stock o2 to compare back to back.  Making matters even more interesting, agdr's bom offers up several different chips that can be used in place of the OPA140's on the booster.  Some are fet inputs, and some are bjt's, and they all have differing impacts on noise, distortion and dc offset.  So there's also the potential to build and compare different versions of the booster circuit and see if we can hear any differences.


(ii) The serious reduction in dc offset on the headphone jack may also play in.  I used to think of dc offset simply in terms of not damaging the headphones, but as tangent and others explain it, minor dc on your jack also reduces dynamic range and possibly causes its own distortion.  The booster is a 150x reduction in dc offset from stock.


(iii) Some argue slew is inaudible above and beyond what the stock O2 can swing.  Others claim to love the 4 channel B22 because of its gargantuan ~170 something V/us slew rate, if memory serves.  Raising slew from the stock 3V/us to 20V/us with the LME49990's can't hurt.


(iv) Doubling current output on peaks compared to the stock O2 can only benefit transient response. 


All in all, to the best of my understanding, the booster is pretty awesome on paper, and my ears seem to like it a lot as well.  That said, if I'm off on any of the above - please jump in and correct me!

Thanks for a well considered reply, it made for interesting reading.  Fwiw, I'm no electronics specialist by a long shot but I do agree with your observations about differently sounding OPA's and the complex -and mostly unpredictable- result of many small variances interacting.  Very interesting remarks about the slew rate, a couple of months ago I observed (don't recall if in this or another thread) that the slew rates the O2 could handle were imo marginal and almost got crucified for it :p.


My main point all along has been that perhaps there's more between heaven and earth than what's readily measurable.  I tend to shy away from both the absolute subjectivists -who tend to be good at burning other people's cash- as well as scope wielding objectivists for whom there's only 1 path to follow and where any deviation from the true religion is considered a capital offence.  Fanatics on both sides......


The booster board as well as agdr's overhauled and assembled product look very interesting, I'm sorely tempted to give one of them a try and compare with the ODAC/O2 sitting on my desk and feeding my HE-500 right now.  But don't want to be stuck soldering a bagful of tiny components and at the price of the finished product I'd be about halfway down a B22-build or 2/3 down a F5-clone.  But it sure takes up less desk space and (especially compared to the F5) one can run it without heating up the entire office.

post #39 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ableza View Post

One of the biggest problems with early product announcements is forums like this one.  Too many people demand instant gratification (whether they actually purchase the product or not) and the vast majority of average enthusiasts do not understand the product development process, so when specs and estimated milestone dates slip or change, and they always do, the manufacturer gets castigated for "lying," "making promises they couldn't keep," "biting off more than they can chew," "failing," and generally getting called out for not knowing what they are doing.  When in fact it's the critics who often do not know what they are talking about due to having unrealistically high expectations.  So rather than deal with all the speculation and fall out, it's often best to say nothing until the box is ready to mail. 


We forum dwellers did this to ourselves.

post #40 of 55
If you want to blame unreasonable expectations, start with every thread whose title ends with an exclamation point.
post #41 of 55

Some clarification of the mess and confusion that is the older Sony MDR lineup with rough timelines.



Originally Posted by noiseboy57 View Post



New to the forum as a poster, but I've been lurking for a while.  Here's what I know about the history and chronology of the "V6 series."  Feel free to dispute; this is just based on what I remember and from Sony spec sheets, Japanese catalogues, and service manuals...


The Japan-only MDR-CD700 and original MDR-CD900 were released in late 1985; the CD700s were a non-folding, straight-cabled variant with a gold diaphragm (it was my first pair of really good headphones I bought in Japan when I was in junior high; sadly I threw them out only a couple of years ago after I discovered that the drivers died); the CD900s were the direct cousin to the V6: foldable, coiled cord, with a CCAW voice coil and samarium cobalt magnet; the part number for the driver varies between the CD900s and the original V6s but they're definitely in the same family.  The MDR-V6 was released at almost the same time as the CD900, but it was an "export only" product and not released in Japan.  In 1987 Sony released the moderately rare MDR-V7, which used an amorphous sapphire diaphragm (non-folding, straight cord), which was also "export only" and seemed to be more popular in Europe than anywhere else.  The MDR-7506 was released a few years later as the "professional" version of the V6, but with a neodymium magnet, gold-plated plug, and better warranty.  Like most Sony headphones, up until the late nineties, these were all MADE IN JAPAN.  At some point in the 2000s, Sony moved headphone manufacturing- first to China, and then to Thailand, and although the original drivers from the 7506 and V6 were slightly different, now they share the same part number.  As someone who has gone through countless pairs of 7506s, I still prefer my old Japanese 7506, V6, and especially the V7.  From my experience, the Chinese batch of 7506s sounded more brittle in the high-mids and there was less consistency between 'phones; not sure if they manufactured any V6s in China.  With the move to Thailand, things seem to have evened out, and my recent Thai 7506 and V6 pairs sound identical (barring small variances in production).  [None of these are to be confused with the actual FAKE models which are all over ebay.]


I should also point out that there were two versions of the MDR-CD900: the original type (folding, coiled cord, shiny, gorgeous), and then a revised Japan-only version that became the MDR-CD900ST, but still called the MDR-CD900 (otherwise identified by being non-folding, with a straight cord to 1/4" plug).  The MDR-CD900ST was co-developed by Sony Music Entertainment in Japan and are as ubiquitous as the MDR-7506 is in America in studios and professional applications.  The current CD900ST has a different driver than the 7506/V6 (according to part numbers) and earpads with less padding.  The MDR-CD700, original CD900, V6, V7, and 7506 all share the same flake-prone earpads; I've tried the Beyer DT250 pads and they're comfy but I still went back to the original Sony earpads. :-)


Like someone else said, I found the MDR-V600 (MDR-Z600 in Japan) an awful replacement for the V6s, which is probably why Sony reintroduced the V6.  I'm also not a huge fan of the V900 (Z900) but they're definitely better than the "HD" version that came out a few years after that.  There were also the sub-series, like the CD777, CD999, CD750, etc., etc., etc., and I'm gathering more info on those.


My listening tests have been purely subjective thus far but of the pairs I own, I rank them this way:


MDR-V7 top! (the high end is, in my opinion, more even than the 7506/V6, and there is a bit more punch in the < 100Hz range; I feel like these are the headphones I could wear and switch over to my studio monitors and whatever I'm listening to would sound the same).

MDR-7506 Japan / MDR-V6 Japan (they *can* be a bit brittle at times in the 5/6kHz range, but this is more due to age and production lot variances; I have two pairs of 7506s that I like, and two pairs that I hate- just a function of time and chance)

MDR-7506 Thai / MDR-V6 Thai (I find them a little like the "disco EQ curve" of the 70s, with a little more ~120Hz and a little more ~8kHz, but still listen-to-able)

MDR-CD900ST (super, super, flat; not as punchy in the lows but they're very accurate; however, with their less-padded earpads, they make my ears hurt a lot faster).

MDR-CD999 (50mm driver, not bad, but still a little "toppy")

MDR-1R (the new ones; 50mm driver, definitely a peak around 200Hz that makes them muddy to my ears, but flatter in the highs- almost boring, but REALLY comfy)

MDR-CD777 (40mm amorphous sapphire diaphragm driver, still a little more high end than I prefer)

MDR-V900 (non-HD)




Okay that's enough blathering for tonight.  Thanks for reading-



Originally Posted by noiseboy57 View Post

Yeah, and one thing I forgot to mention in my first long-winded post is that I feel that since driver manufacturing moved to China and then to Thailand, the tolerances between different driver lots (and thus manufacturing dates) varies a great deal more than they did with the Japanese-made drivers.  I mean, everyone has manufacturing tolerances, and we're talking about headphones that have been manufactured since 1986 or 1990 so there's bound to be some "drift," so I think the differences account for a lot of the different opinions, or people who say that one pair of V6s sound different from one pair of 7506s.  I have one pair of Japanese 7506s that is almost unusable because it's so bright, but two other pairs that are delightful...


As for the CD900 vs V7, I could be wrong about the amorphous sapphire driver in the V7; I don't remember where I first heard that- can you confirm it? I have a box for the V7 that only says "titanium evaporated driver," while an old Sony catalog from Japan says the CD900 had an "amorphous diamond" driver.  The part numbers might be a clue: CD900 driver was 1-505-076-21, V7 was 1-505-076-01.  (V6 was 1-505-076-11).


And to the discussion about "monitoring" versus "mixing," a good engineer will mix on studio monitors, but also give it a listen on cans, on earbuds, as an mp3, as a cassette in the car, etc., etc.  I liken the 7506s to the headphone equivalent of the Yamaha NS-10M studio monitors, or a Shure SM-57 microphone: ubiquitous, imperfect, but totally valid, so long as you know the limitations.  I've known some recording engineers- especially those who do remote work for classical music- who don't always use studio monitor loudspeakers, and even I rely on my 7506s for critical work- mixing, building sound effects, but I've learned what to trust and what not to trust-

Edited by nick n - 9/21/14 at 2:28am
post #42 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Ableza View Post

One of the biggest problems with early product announcements is forums like this one.  Too many people demand instant gratification (whether they actually purchase the product or not) and the vast majority of average enthusiasts do not understand the product development process, so when specs and estimated milestone dates slip or change, and they always do, the manufacturer gets castigated for "lying," "making promises they couldn't keep," "biting off more than they can chew," "failing," and generally getting called out for not knowing what they are doing.  When in fact it's the critics who often do not know what they are talking about due to having unrealistically high expectations.  So rather than deal with all the speculation and fall out, it's often best to say nothing until the box is ready to mail. 


We forum dwellers did this to ourselves.

post #43 of 55
Thread Starter 

From the WA5 thread, a comparison of 5 of the TOTL headphone amps with the HE6:


Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post
Originally Posted by lojay View Post

Thanks! I'll be quite happy if the WA5 can compete with these other amps. Before you've posted I have read your comparison of these amps in driving the HE-6, which is insightful. What would you say might be the WA5's flaws or areas needing improvement? Am I right to say, comparing the WA5 and GSX, the WA5 has more impact but less soundstage, and less smoth transients (ie translating into less detail)? Which has a more lush or smooth midrange? What do you mean by an impressive "focus" with the WA5? Also what tubes are you using?

Sorry for the deluge of questions but I haven't found a person on this forum who is still active and who has lived with the WA5 long enough with other amps to give impressions. Of course I do appreciate that we have different ears, different tubes and cables, but one's opinion is a nice starting point to get to the next stop in the journey smily_headphones1.gif


I had planned on comparing these amps paired with the HE-6. Here is a rough draft:


The GS-X Mark2 produced a smooth and well-articulated sound with silky transients and plenty of inner details with nary a trace of sibilance, hardness or glare. The feathery light and silky smooth transients of the GS-X Mk2 must be heard to be believed. The focus and imaging is very natural (neither forward nor recessed) and the soundstage was the largest I ever heard from the HD800 and HE-6 endowing the sound with the presence, air and layers of live music. The bass was tight and solid with tremendous impact. The greatest strength of the GS-X Mk2 is its ability to perform well with all kinds of headphones and all kinds of music.

With the Bakoon HA-21, the HE-6 sounded remarkably free as well of the hardness and glare often heard with other amps. There was plenty of bass with the HE-6 for Jazz and classical music, but I wished for a tad more impact here with rock music—this was a real surprise for a solid-state design; perhaps a bigger power supply is needed here but that may be quibbling. Where the Bakoon truly excelled was in the warm but also vividly detailed midrange. This is an uncanny sound quality that I have not heard from any other amps. If you like to hear warm vocals with vivid and rich details and smooth transients (guitars, violins…), this amp is ideal for you. The excellent way the Bakoon rendered female voices in particular is entrancing.

The Woo WA5 delivered a smooth midrange with outstanding presence thanks to a forward imaging and very tight focus. This sound was remarkably free of the hardness or glare usually associated with the HE-6. The bass, at once tight and weighty, a rare combination, was delivered with an authority that will rock your socks off. This was truly a match made in heaven for rock. Jazz- and Chamber-Music lovers will have much to like about the HE-6/Woo WA5 pairing as well. (upgraded parts + $1500 for Upgraded Royal Princess 300B tube and Princess 274B rectifier Tubes)

With the EAR HP-4, the HE-6 also produced a musical sound free of hardness and glare. The focus of the HE-6, typically a little fuzzy, became pin-point sharp here; the center image was also pushed a little forward to give a greater presence to vocals, similar to the beautiful results with the Woo WA5. In general, there was also increased air around the instruments and enlarged soundstage to improve the 3-D illusion. Surprisingly for tube design, while the bass was well controlled (read tight), very dynamic and perfect for classical music, it was not ideal for rock where a bid less control and perhaps more weight (mid-bass bloom) is desirable. Overall, the sound was detailed and dynamic, but also so open and relaxed that I frequently forgot to focus on it and was simply enjoyed the music. That’s the ultimate compliment I can give for an audio gear.


That's about as far as I got.

post #44 of 55
Thread Starter 

Very good, IMO, thoughts on DSD:



Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

Here's my two cents. I think DSD material sounds good, but the format itself doesn't matter as long as the recording and mastering (if any) are all done in DSD.

The big flame war is on the playback format itself and I don't think the playback format itself manifests any benefits. What I HAVE found is that native DSD material often sounds better to me exactly because working with DSD is so limited. With native DSD recordings, you get a very raw, unedited kind of sound and I really like that. The producer has to place much more effort into getting the DSD recording just right because he/she knows that you can't really "patch things up" in a DAW like you can with multi-bit Delta-Sigma or PCM recordings.

As for support in a DAC, I think having the ability to playback these recordings is nice. The vast majority of material is PCM on the other hand and very few people actually have native DSD files if they even have DSD material. DSD to PCM, edited, mixed, and mastered in PCM, and converted back to DSD absolutely destroys the the sound quality in my opinion because you've manipulated the audio in a DAW just like any other PCM track out there, and the added effects and stuff change how the track ultimately sounds, which you can't really do in a pure DSD track. That would be like making a binaural recording and completely negating the benefits of the binaural effects by adding-in a whole bunch of other non-binaural stuff to a track; what was the point of even having the binaural recording in the first place if you're just going to "patch it up" with other sounds?
post #45 of 55
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard View Post

Okay, as a writer...


1. If English isn't your native language, it's very easy to come off as mean, shouty, or just plain irrational with very few word substitutions. Unfortunately, there's not much I can do about this, except counsel our staff that non-native speakers may not actually be saying what they seem to be saying (and remind them that their language skills beyond English are nil--at least non-native writers are trying.)


2. By the same token, it's easy to look rather simple-minded when you're not a native English writer. It's dangerous to assume this is true, however--a language barrier does not accurately reflect the intelligence of the writer. Keep this in mind. Imagine what you'd sound like, if you tried to put together a paragraph in Spanish...or Japanese.


3. For native English speakers, however, I will go back to the no-holds-barred deconstruction of my English professors, when confronted with the poorly formatted, grammatically incorrect copy from the first generation to be taught that "feeling is everything, express yourself, don't let it hurt your self-esteem crowd." To elaborate:


"Yeah, that's great, but let me know how you do with editors, who are looking for an excuse--any excuse--to throw your manuscript in the trash can. If writing is what you want to do, you have to treat it as a job. Know the rules inside and out, and follow them unless you have a damn good reason not to. Impress your audience with your knowledge in your chosen field, rather than relying on them to translate your illegible gibberish into 'feelings' and 'meaning.'"


Fact: two spaces after the end of a sentence is from the typewriter age. Not necessary now.

Fact: spacing after punctuation would have you laughed out of any English class in the USA. It has never been a thing.

Fact: capitalizing nouns is a German thing, not English. Again, never a thing here. Nor in the UK, as far as I know.

Fact: the Oxford comma goes in and out of fashion; I was taught it, others were not.

Fact: spacing between paragraphs is correct for online formatting, as indents are not necessarily always workable--and it keeps people from going completely insane when reading your stuff

Fact: I know this isn't a writing class, and that I make plenty of grammatical errors myself. 

Fact: Get a Chicago Manual of Style and follow its rules, if you give a crap about looking like a sane, well-spoken native English speaker...and know when to break the rules from time to time.


Happy writing!



Note: I think he meant "spacing before punctuation".

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