All this talk of uncoloured bass with the HD800 got me thinking, including the remark about the DM Source.
As I said I'm currently using a Univeral Audio Apollo Twin Duo for my audio interface, it's a pro studio piece of kit but in a smaller form factor with 2 pre's in and an additional SPIDF stereo in or 8 ADAT ins. A dedicated headphone out, balanced monitor out and another balance line out. The Apollo is known for it's UAD2 plugins that are mostly null test passed emulation of classic studio hardware, from what I know the UAD2 platform is one of 3 companies that do null test passed plugins. Null test plugins are as good as it gets when it comes to measuring emulated hardware against the real thing for accuracy. Additionally these plugins run on dedicated hardware processors on board, the big charm is that it's hardware monitoring at 1.1ms for live tracking. This is great for a number of reasons I won't get into now.
Ne'ways to get back on point, the reason I put all that down is that there's a whole plethora of plugins with UAD2 that are in use on regular production at pro studios of all grades and available to us at a fraction of the cost of the hardware, infact most studios prefer to use the UAD2 versions as it's a hell of a lot more versatile and simpler, not to mention the ability to run them in parallel without having multiple hardware units each with their quirks.
For example I just mucked around with the Dangerous Audio BAX EQ Master Mix in Audrivana+. With the HD800 plugged into the Apollo Twin I have full and fine control over any and all frequencies without adding any mud. It's incredible to have this kind of sophisticated control at the consumer level. I added a bit of surgical boost on the kick drum to anywhere from subtle to a wider sweep, the results are very satisfactory. The HD800 retained all the definition with out any undesirable low end mud and other affects leaving the mids and high frequencies unscathed.
In any case I'm very satisfied to know I'm spoilt for choice between the Pultec and DM BAX EQs. I don't know how well this kind of approach will go down with purists but I do think these are exciting times to have best of both worlds. I haven't noticed a reduction of soundstage, or any other effects with the EQs deployed.
I did finally get a good deal on a Lehmann BCL standard, ideally I'd have gone for the PRO version with the balanced XLR in, would have been perfect with this setup but didn't want' to put down full scratch, 330 GBP for the used Lehmann was a good deal as opposed to 750 GBP for a new pro model. Can't wait for it to arrive mid next month. Hope it's in good working order. Picked it up from a fellow member here at the used buy and sell section.
I do like the idea of the HD800 being relatively neutral, having an arsenal of quality master mix EQs at hand gives me a lot of peace knowing I can choose to colour or not. Can the HD800 be driven to distortion with over emphasising, absolutely, what I can't wait to figure out is how differently the Lehmann BLC will handle it compared to the Apollo HP out, it'll give me an idea of how much of that distortion is DSP, amplifier and mechanical bourn.
Of course I'm not trying to blow the HD800s or my ears, I'm doing these tests at mostly moderate levels, and even lower levels when I'm over emphasising frequencies, but it would be nice to know they can get warmer on demand ;)
edit: done a ton of edits for typos.. just like to add that my HD800 sound fantastic with or without any EQ via the apollo, really want to know how the BCL will help it upscale, may throw this eq theory out of the water if I hear the dedicated amp doing something the eq's can't for tone shaping, as far as speed/transients etc I suppose thats a very amp thing. I'm assuming the amp will have a lot more headroom than the Apollo's build in HP amp. Hmm... I should plug these into my old Audiolab 8000A for a quick comparison at this scale of integrated onboard HP amps.
Edited by Twangsta - 6/28/14 at 12:38pm