Hi Guys, It's time to give more impressions after a month. I wrote it in another thread so I paste it here:
I pair My Sonett 2 with a Metrum Octave MKI and my HD800. The result is perfectly good . I could say outstandingly good but I'm not so experienced so I cant' really compare to the best offers on the market. I hope to compare soon my rig against the Eddie Current Balancing Act + Totaldac I speak about above but I hadn't the opportunity yet.
The amp seems solid , simple & reliable. I've opted for the TKS potentiometer and setting the volume on the sonett 2 is very smooth and precise. No channel imbalance at all even at very low volume. I use only low gain and low impedance settings for my HD800 even at loud levels for Classical. My average volume settings for serious listenings is around 5 ( 10 is the max) , when I want to have serious listenings of classical music, i set the volume to 7. So I think the amp have all the needed power. I've only uses the SE output until now
The first point I really appreciate is the fact that the Sonett keeps all the dynamics at different volumes. from the lowest to the loudest, the music seems to sound exactly the same : balanced , bodied , dynamic.
When i discovered the amp, two point impressed me : First of all, the authority: My HD800 seems perfectly under control . I've always found the HD800 had impressive bass ( tight , fast , precise) but with the Sonett 2 Authority, my HD800 gained some more slam and body in the bass departement. Overally the authority and control the Sonnet provides an obviously clean sound. Think "Solid State". no wooly bass and wet mids or loose treble here. Clean power and authority.
The second point is the soundstage. We all know that the soundstage of the HD800 is impressive but can lack a bit of depth. with the Sonnet 2 it seems the depth increases seriously but moreover it seems i could now see more clearly the background of the soundstage. the effect is a clear upgrade in layering . Width stays impressive too .
The oeverall result of Bass and Sub bass slam and soundstage depth increase is that the HD800 produce a better, more realistic image . HD800 imaging capabilities are always very good but with the Sonett it's even better and it reminds me my first try with the Balancing Act from which my HD800 gave me the better sound I've ever heard. I tried the Abyss and consider it provides the best image I heard. But well amped, the HD800 comes close, very close IMO.
Since I received my Sonett 2 , I listened to 50 or 60 hours of music. Before i have the Sonett 2 I always had difficulties to listen to some of my music because of some harshness on average recording. For example this album
I discovered these Last weeks with the Sonnet 2 that this music became perfectly enjoyable without any trouble. Overally, it seems the HD800 became more forgiving.
The first day I listened to the Sonett 2, I was even a bit disappointed because I thought my HD800 was a bit denatured and sounded suddenly too smooth lol. Indeed, I found the Combo gained a lot for Electro/Funk/Jazz-Rock/Fusion but lost something for Classical. Metrum + Sonett seemed to sound a bit too dark & thick. Then I swapped the Stock JJ GZ34 rectifier tube for a NOS Mullard one... It seems everything is perfect for my ears now. I have both slam, body and Impact and I recovered the clarity and refinement i really need. Maybe the Mullard brings a pinch of Euphony too. I need to do some serious comparison during next weeks to be sure but right now I don't want to unplug the Mullard.
You can notice I don't talk about HD800 trebles at all. Maybe I'm habituated now but since I have the Metrum Octave , HD800 treble didn't bother me anymore. The Metrum Dac brings something special to the overall tone. Sound didn't became meaty or juicy. Metrum offers a more "solid" sound. Thick but dry IMO. The word "earthy" comes to my mind. not muddy at all. Besides that, The Sonnett 2 adds both authority & smoothness/liquidity.
The complete combo Dac+Amp does marvels with my Senn and right now I'm happy with the Result but I'm still in the first time with the combo ( Honeymoon bias) . The most impressive upgrade is that I feel my complete rig sounds now "right" for my tastes an the music I listen to . But time will tell me if i'm autobiased or if I'm done for my single ended HD800 Rig . The truth is that I've the worst difficulties to stop to listen to Music when I have my headphone on my head
Oh . and I like the Donald's blue