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Team HD800 challenge!

post #1 of 185
Thread Starter 

Team HD800... what is the go to, can't fail, going to love the HD800, amp under $2500 new or used these days for alternative/punk/metal?

 

My past kicks at the can were the HD800 with a B22 and Stello DA220, then years later with a Peak and W4S DAC-2.  I didn't hate either, just felt it tonally light, suitable for jazz, but not engaging with rock types.  Now I have the PWD2 so... which amp for one last kick at the can?

post #2 of 185
DNA Stratus. I listen to about 80% rock and metal and its sublime.
post #3 of 185

Violectric V200, go to amp for $1000! 

post #4 of 185

WA6-SE

post #5 of 185
Thread Starter 

WA6SE over the WA2... huh.  Please expand on that DG.

post #6 of 185

Eddie Current 2A3. Why waste your money?

post #7 of 185
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post

DNA Stratus. I listen to about 80% rock and metal and its sublime.

 

Seeing a trend here :D  What amp did the Stratus kick to the curb?  I was about this close to getting the EC 2A3 a few months back but didn't.  I am surprised though that the Stratus is out selling it hand over fist.  Interesting.

 

A few others I'll add to the discussion reading this afternoon... EC ZDSE, Luxman P1, AMB B22.

post #8 of 185
I was using the m903 output. I auditioned the S7 and BA before getting the Stratus. Some of the Stratus owners are past or present owners of other TOTL tube amps. So more impressions are in the Stratus thread.
post #9 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

 

Seeing a trend here :D  What amp did the Stratus kick to the curb?  I was about this close to getting the EC 2A3 a few months back but didn't.  I am surprised though that the Stratus is out selling it hand over fist.  Interesting.

 

A few others I'll add to the discussion reading this afternoon... EC ZDSE, Luxman P1, AMB B22.

 

Here's the deal (just my opinions) and I'll be honest:

 

EC ZDSE

Has the warmth, but has the slightest hint of treble etch (relative to other tube amps.) Some like this. Other do not. I was fine with it given the nature of the ZDSE. Many have successfully paired the HD800 with the ZDSE, but only with cables to take the edge off. If you are coming from the Peak (which you know, I've owned and did not like with the HD800), the treble shouldn't be a problem. The ZDSE is cap coupled and certainly has that euphonic luxurious sound.

 

Luxman P1

Sounds like a inferior solid state (less resolving and flatter sounding) version of the ZDSE. I'd love to buy this amp for $700 for a euphonic sounding SS amp.

 

B22

There's better stuff out there now in terms of transparency and clarity. A good match for the HD800. Warm with smooth treble. Slightly flat sounding and on the polite side, but not too bad in this regard. Has a lot of drive. I like the Dynahi better tho.

 

EC 2A3

These tubes in general tend to have silky treble and massive depth and openness, which gels well with the HD800's characteristics. Highly dynamic with slam, even more so than the ZDSE, yet still remains neutral sounding. Get the right tubes and you will be all set with the HD800. I've heard that a high-frequency heater may be incorporated in the future at the same $2500 price point.

 

Stratus

An excellent match with the HD800. More tubey than the EC 2A3. More "intimate" where the EC is more open and "grand". Dynamic with bite, yet has an inner warmth. Bass is not as tight ore precise as the EC 2A3 or S7, although the EMLs help in this regard.

 

Phonitor

Good soundstage and detail extraction for solid-state. (Peak, Stratus, EC are still better at extraction of low level information.) Slightly dry and unengaging (flat) with a hint of treble glare with HD800. Not bad amp. Just being super-critical in terms of usage with HD800. One needs to be careful what is fed when german toilets are used.

 

WA6SE

It's pretty decent with the HD800. Not in the same class as Stratus or EC. (You get what you pay for in this case.) Seems to lack low-end balls and drive in comparison. Good tube rolling options. The question is if you have $2500, why bother?

 

V200

Good with the HD800. Refined and polite in a good way - not in "a-sex-with-a-dead-corpse" kind of way like with the Burson. Good for its price. Do not expect to get anywhere near the HD800's resolving capabilities. The question is if you have $2500, why bother?

 

WA2

Suicide would be a better option. 


Edited by purrin - 12/31/12 at 1:53pm
post #10 of 185

Phonitor

post #11 of 185
Thread Starter 

Craig and I talked about that and it would be more though less than a BA and change out the speaker posts for XLR out to monitors.  At which point... its a BA but less costly frankenstein of its original self /facepalm

post #12 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

WA6SE over the WA2... huh.  Please expand on that DG.

 

 

you said you found the other amps light and not very engaging, so i don't think the WA2 would be a good choice for you, it lacks the energy and dynamics the WA6-SE has. the WA2 would be the opposite of what you're looking for. 

post #13 of 185
Thread Starter 

I should be clearer.  

 

Light as in tonally balanced like a flat line that is tilted up.  So bass instruments sound a good 3dB lower than cymbals for instance. So the overall feel is light with no weight to the music.  

 

Make sense?

post #14 of 185
For high energy music I would think something smooth yet aggressive might be the best route. Most amps like this are solid state. Check out the headamp GS-X or Bryston BHA-1. I have the BHA-1 and HD800 and it sounds great with those genres. I have not heard the headamp but will in march. The forthcoming Schiit statement in full ss form might be another. Both of these are amps I'm looking at upgrading to if they are indeed better.
post #15 of 185
Thread Starter 

I technically have both the B22 and the GS-X incoming once built :D  The BHA-1 is one of those amps I'm eventually going to cave on and try... eventually.  The Statement amp should be a pleaser.  About the only thing I would change on the Mjolnir is whee bit less drive and more bottom end.  The hybrid will let me tune that in.  Just hope its 6SN7 and not 6922 ;)

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