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Sennheiser HDVA 600 headphone amp - Page 2

post #16 of 59

I'll be trying out the HDVA 600 next week, using a dcs Puccini cd player as source and HD800 'phones (balanced connection). I had tried the HDVD 800 (same dcs source - *not* the built in dac in the HDVD 800) using the phones single ended (ie, jack plug into the amp). I was comparing it to the Lehman Linear amp. At the time, I thought the Sennheiser was rather cold and clinical sounding. But when I returned to the Lehman it seemed crude compared to what I had just heard with the Sennheiser. So I was disatisfied with both!

The universal opinion on the HDVD 800 thread is that headphones connected balanced, using the 4 pin XLR socket on the amp, sound much better than single ended. This is one of the reasons I'm trying again next week with the HDVA 600.

By the way, In February I asked the UK distributer what the Lehman Special Edition is like compared to the standard amp. He didn't exactly sing its praises, he just said "different". The price increase for what appears to be a change of capacitors, and an upgrade to a few inches of internal cabling, seems excessive to me.

 

slc01
 

post #17 of 59

I could see if my boss will let me take one of the open box Black Cube Linears home... That would be nice.

 

First impressions, this is one really nice amplifier, I'm getting a fair amount more impact out of my HD650s when compared to the Glite+DPS. I was listening to Kurt Vile last night and got shivers, for lack of a better term the sound was just wonderfully electric. I really should do some A/B with the Glite, but I want to maximize my time with this bad boy!

 

I haven't tried it out with the HF2 yet either, I wonder what the Senn can do for lower impedance phones.

post #18 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by logwed View Post

I could see if my boss will let me take one of the open box Black Cube Linears home... That would be nice.

 

I'm all ears.  Hope you can.

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post #19 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFiGuy528 View Post

I'm all ears.  Hope you can.

 

Looks like it's not in the cards, we got rid of our last open box last week I guess :/

post #20 of 59

I'm trying to get my hands on the HDVA-800.  It wouldn't be a fair comparison, but at least I'll have an idea how it compares to the BCL.

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post #21 of 59

This is a duplicate posting, relevant to the Sennheiser vs Lehmann question. (I'll be selling my Lehmann Linear. I haven't heard the SE version, but it seems expensive for the apparently limited modifications that have been done. And the distributor wasn't particularly positive about the SE when I asked.)

 

I thought I'd offer my experience with the balanced vs unbalanced 'phones connection:

 

(1) When the HDVD 800 first came out I borrowed one from my local dealer, and listened
"single ended" (with the 1/4" jack). I was *not* using the built in DAC. My system is:
Equi=Tech balanced mains unit feeding dcs Puccini CD player + u-clock, connected to the HDVD 800 by Chord Sarum "Tuned Aray" cables (balanced). I have a Cardas Clear headphone cable,  and HD 800 phones. Compared to my Lehman Linear headphone amp I thought the HDVD 800 very clean, and more detailed, but rather cold, clinical, and uninvolving. I was disappointed. Going back to the Lehman, however, I felt it now seemed rather crude by comparison. So I ended up unhappy with both amps.

 

(2) I've had an HDVA 600 for a week now, and have been using it in the same system
as before but with my Cardas cable re-terminated with a balanced connector. The sound I am getting is very different - or that is what my memory tells me, as the HDVD 800 audition was months ago. It is now richer, for want of a better word, but still very detailed. The treble is less apparent, but I've come to think this isn't a lack of treble but rather a better balanced sound. I find that I listen to music at somewhat higher volume than before, but also for longer and with less fatigue. I was at a dealer event last week and listened to their HDVD 800 / HD 800 combo balanced, and driven by a Chord Electronics CD drive and DAC. The room was noisy, as is usual at shows, but I thought that the sound was similar in character to what I'm getting at home from the HDVA 600.

 
(3) I'll be buying the HDVA 600. By the way, I just tried out the Sennheiser balanced cable
for the HD 800: it seemed bright and forward compared to the Cardas in my system and, overall,
I did not like it.

post #22 of 59

SLC01, Did you have additional comments on HDVA 600 sound in balanced mode compared to similar offerings e.g. Bryston BHA-1 or Headamp GSX? It would also be great to get comments on the better single ended options like the Phonitor compared to your impressions.

 

Your setup seems to be close to what I am considering:

 

Ayre QB9 balanced out > HDVA 600 > cardas balanced > HD800 and Beyerdynamic T1.

post #23 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfski View Post

SLC01, Did you have additional comments on HDVA 600 sound in balanced mode compared to similar offerings e.g. Bryston BHA-1 or Headamp GSX? It would also be great to get comments on the better single ended options like the Phonitor compared to your impressions.

Your setup seems to be close to what I am considering:

Ayre QB9 balanced out > HDVA 600 > cardas balanced > HD800 and Beyerdynamic T1.
+1, Ive considered the HDVA600 but Im patiently waiting for a more in depth review.
post #24 of 59

Patience does seem to be the game on this product. 

post #25 of 59

Isn't this the same amp as the 800 version, just without DAC? You could glean info on the other thread i would think..

post #26 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

Isn't this the same amp as the 800 version, just without DAC? You could glean info on the other thread i would think..
I'm not 100% sure but I believe the 600-800 series amp sound very different, I don't know if the amp's build is the same.
post #27 of 59

No, the info I have read is that the amp section is the same. The 800 has a DAC, the 600 does not. 

I did not really capture great info from the other thread but hope springs eternal.

post #28 of 59

Surfski,

 

Unfortunately I haven't heard any other balanced amps with my HD800s. My local dealer has a Bryston, I think, but general opinion about it doesn't seem to be especially positive so I didn't audition it. I'd love to hear Headamp's products, such as the GSX, but that will probably only be possible at a "meet" if someone brings one along. Next year, perhaps.

 

When I auditioned the Cardas Clear cable (single ended) about a year ago, it was driven by both a Burson amp and a Cary Audio valve (tube) amp that also had a 'phones output. The source was a modest DAC whose name I forget. I preferred the Burson (due mainly to woolly bass from the Cary). I actually found it quite hard to distinguish between the Sennheiser and Cardas cables at the time, but the differences were obvious when I tried it last week in my own system, as I wrote in my post.

 

I'm quite happy with the sound I'm getting - there is none of the digital brightness and fatigue that I have encountered in the different systems I've had over the years - though sometimes I do wish for a little more top sparkle or air. That could be my age though (I'm over 50, and so are my ears!).

 

I handed over the cash for my HDVA 600 a couple of days ago, and I'm waiting for some interconnects to be made (I had to borrow some for the audition). A couple of things to end with: I think the HDVA 600 is reasonable value for money, when compared to its competitors; and I am sure that the stock Sennheiser cable doesn't bring out the best in the amp/HD800 combination. There seem to be a lot of alternative cables out there, I went by reputation with the Cardas Clear and only listened to it and not any of its competitors.

 

I like your suggested setup. I haven't heard the Ayre, but it has a great reputation.

 

slc01

post #29 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfski View Post
 

No, the info I have read is that the amp section is the same. The 800 has a DAC, the 600 does not.

I did not really capture great info from the other thread but hope springs eternal.

 

It would be great to save the extra money paid for the Dac session of HDVD800, as the Dac seems only being average.

 

Is the single end output of HDVA600 much more inferior comparing to its balanced output?

I am also a HD800 user but dont have a balanced cable yet. Still searching for a matching SS amp for it at the moment. Most of my recent tests on the amp are compared based on the single ended output.

post #30 of 59

:popcorn: 

 

These have just made it to the homepage of my favorite seller here in Japan so I am now struggling to make a $!*\%ing decision:  Luxman p-700u or hdvd600 or some balanced tube contraption. . .    I would love to hear more impressions of this Senn amp....   
I`ll also hopefully get to listen to it in the flesh tomorrow at the Tokyo show !   


Edited by Dopaminer - 10/25/13 at 1:07am
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