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Speaker amps for headphones - Page 88

post #1306 of 3116

Thanks for the tip, Gary. Klaus was very keen on plugging directly into the wall, but I didn't know of the potential pitfall you mentioned.

 

Prepo: I've got a Forssell MDAC-2a coming from a (non-HR) Diverter. I like it very much; and should have the chance of comparing to my friend's 777 in the not-too-distant future. I think the AMR would be extremely stiff competition. Sounds like the perfect DAC.

post #1307 of 3116
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckman View Post
 

 

 Forssell MDAC-2a

Duck,

 

Shoot me a link to this..  

 

:beerchug:

post #1308 of 3116
post #1309 of 3116

Mr. DIY Wanna-be, here!  :cool:

 

My Sennheiser HD600 arrived today - sounds pretty amazing with the stock SE cable from my CEntrance DACmini CX, but I'm not able to attach it to the MG3 yet, because....

 

... I am incapable of attaching banana plugs to the four conductors that I've uncovered by cutting off the 6.3mm TRS plug of a Sennheiser factory replacement cable I ordered for that purpose, and stripping away the outer PVC!  

 

When I removed the insulation from one channel of the cable, expecting to find two insulated conductors within, what I found was two un-insulated wires - tiny, stranded, copper wires, with no insulation other than the outer PVC cable that's molded with a septum to keep the two conductors separated!

 

Each of these conductors is something like 30 AWG with maybe 8 strands each, but no insulation!  This makes it impossible to attach banana plugs for fear of the two wires shorting against each other in the short distance back to where they've been exposed and no longer segregated by the septum-equipped PVC.  And even if I were to find some really small diameter heat shrink with which to sheath the exposed conductors, all you have to do is apply some torque to the cable and there's no way to prevent them from twisting into each other right at the point where they enter the unstripped PVC cable.  Dang!

 

So, that $20 worth of cable is in the trash already and I'm now shopping for a custom Sennheiser HD580/600/650 balanced cable to banana plugs...  Spend the money!

 

Mr. DIY Wanna-be, over and out...

 

:rolleyes:

post #1310 of 3116

^ Aww that sucks man, I hate throwing money in trash too. I hope you find a good replacement.

post #1311 of 3116
 
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
  Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Hey FlySweep!

 

I can't keep up with you!  My Sennhesier HD600 is due to arrive today and now you're singing about the HE-500!  

 

Note to self:  Remove FlySweep from #27 on my list of 100 people I will allow to live at the end of the world.  :mad:  Moo-haha!  

 

LOL

 

No, from what I've read elsewhere, you're giving the HE-500 exactly what they need, but that's what I love about the LCD-2, when it's given a neutral and transparent signal, it adds exactly the colors I want, where I want them.

 

I know well the advantages of a tube pre-amp, and although I found it undesirable into the MG3 to LCD-2, I have no doubt it would be just the ticket with the somewhat dry HE-500.

 

I just yesterday shipped out a Decware ZSTAGE (triode pre-amp) that I sold via the Decware forum.  There's a twelve-week wait for a new version from Steve Deckert, so I didn't have much trouble selling it used. 

 

With a choice of five 12AU7 and one 12AT7 (three of them NOS), I was forever rolling, but I can say this with certainty - none of those tubes offered enough transparency to suit my affections.  When used with the Emotiva Mini-X a-100, the ZSTAGE did a wonderful job of taming the too bright and harsh treble - into my LCD-2, which is known to have shelved highs, in the first place (that's how bad the Mini-X was.)

 

 

 

But these improvements came with a loss of transparency, some tubes being worse than others, but none of them lacked an unmistakable, yet faint, resolution-degrading "veil."  And I'm not talking about the even order harmonics one can "enjoy" when clipping with a tube (where the grid current increases, causing a "desirable" distortion as the wave forms are clipped asymmetrically when overdriven vs. the undesirable symmetrical clipping one gets when op-amps or discrete component solid state amps are clipped.)  

 

Well short of clipping, I, personally, have never heard a tube that wasn't adding at least a little bit of distortion, all the time.  Keep in mind that my only experience with tubes is that had with the Decware ZSTAGE, but I find my observations to be consistent with a consensus of more experienced Head-Fi and HiFi enthusiasts.

 

Without question, every tube was a sonic adventure, injecting their individual personalities into the signal, with each of them offering varying degrees of warmth and color that were very appealing, but all with that slight degradation of transparency.  And keep in mind that the LCD-2 is not known for being a highly resolving headphone.  

 

Prior to selling my Beyerdynamics T1 - for which I had never found a proper amp (the Burson Soloist came close) - the ZSTAGE, when equipped with a made-for-3M-Wollensak, 1956 NOS Mullard 12AT7 did wonders for the T1, but I had to apply 6 dB inline attenuators at the ZSTAGE inputs because the 12AT7 is a "high mu" triode, offering about twice the gain of the 12AU7's.  This worked very well at giving the T1 a signature I liked, but... it threw a fine gauze over the T1's spectacular resolution.  Arrrgh!  Everything's a compromise!

 

DACmini CX > Decware ZSTAGE > Burson Soloist > Beyerdynamic T1

 

DACmini CX > Decware ZSTAGE > Burson Soloist > Beyerdynamic T1

 

Ironically, given the T1's resolving power, a majority of folks in the T1 fan club recommend tube amps for the T1.  So, somewhere, there must be a tube or two that are truly transparent, but I haven't heard them.

 

Lastly, the rolling of tubes drives me crazy, anyway - as does the rolling of op-amps!   And by the way, I'm such a transparency hound, that I run my iBasso PB2 portable amp with dummy buffers - they're just shunts (nothing active in the output gain stage), using only LME49990s in the input voltage gain stage, because I have YET to find a sufficiently transparent op-amp for use as a buffer (the HA5002 comes close, however.)  

 

I love me some transparency!  

 

And THAT is what I am getting with the Resonessence Concero > MG3 (made especially evident by my highly-resolving Definitive Technology SM45 near-field monitors).

 

Mike

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

It seems I'll have to follow FlySweep's advice to build myself a Crack.  There goes another $279 and I haven't even started building my scarab beetle robot!   

 

But, thanks to Sonido, I'm putting FlySweep back on my list of 100 people I will allow to live at the end of the world - at #99.  I'd put you at the bottom, but the #100 position is permanently held by my wife!

 

Mike

 

HAHA.. great to hear, Mike.. there's not a lot of guarantees in this hobby, but I can tell you a (speedballed) BH Crack + HD600 is a heavenly combo.  You know, I was chatting with another friend of mine.. one who's owned a ton of gear (all the way through TOTL Stax and whatnot).. and while he's loved the journey (and the obscenely nice rig he has now), he admitted that if he could do it all over again and just hang onto one rig, it would be the HD600+Crack.  Regarding your desires for transparency.. I can tell you the speedballed Crack is a tube that decidedly leans to the more neutral, detailed, clear side of things.. rather than the lush, syrupy, thick, warm side (the kind of sound that's stereotypically associated with tube pre/amps/DACs).

 

Re: the HE-500.. take the HD600 signature and give it all the advantages of what a planar magnetic driver offers (speed, bass, effortless dynamics, detail, and bandwidth).  It's no mistake many say the HE-500 is the natural choice for those that want the HD600 signature.. but with even better technicalities.  Thing is, a Crack+HD600 offers just as much enjoyment as the HE-500 driven off the Millenia.  The latter combo may be more technically capable, but in terms of sheer enjoyment.. it's tough to choose between the two.  Now feeding the Crack+Millenia to the HE-500 is borderline sinful, IMO.. but even there.. the HD600/Crack combo doesn't back down.  There's something about the tonal correctness and spaciousness the Crack seems to bring out in the HD600.  Through a lot of the ss amps I ran w/ the HD600, it tends to sound a bit soft in the bass, dry through the mids, and treble rolls off somewhat prematurely.. I find the HD600 an entirely different beast with the speedballed Crack.

 

Looking forward to your impressions after you've spent some time with them.. especially after you've got the Crack built.. I might have a nice tube or two to send your way, too :wink_face: .

 

Now.. when can we start the countdown to you getting an HE-500?  LOL.

post #1312 of 3116
Sheesh! Why do I find you so compellingly credible? LOL :-)

More seriously, what does "speedballed" mean?

Thanks!

Mike
post #1313 of 3116
 
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

More seriously, what does "speedballed" mean?

 

Here you go, Mike.  It's widely considered to be the best/most significant 'upgrade' (that impacts SQ) to the Crack.. considering your desire for clarity, transparency, etc., I think it's a must do!

post #1314 of 3116

FlySweep,

 

Arrrgh!  I got really excited reading the description of that upgrade and the testimonies, but then it hits me - I'll be back to rolling tubes!   Maybe if I just solder the pins of every tube right into the sockets!!  

 

And I'm still intimidated by whether or not I'm capable of actually doing the build.   I'll spare you the picture of the chicken!  

 

I'm going to just enjoy my MG3 for a while, but thanks so much for the encouragement!  It sure sounds like a whole lot of audio for the money.

 

Mike

post #1315 of 3116

The Speedball is definitely a worthy upgrade to the Crack. I've built two or three of them myself!

 

p.s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedball_%28drug%29

post #1316 of 3116
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrikolsen View Post
 

 

Ready for soldering now. Trying to not get too tangled up in long wires :)

 

What do I do with the braided shielding of my acquired 4-wire stereo microphone cable, on either end of amp to headphone adapter being made?

 

On the amp end it could be attached to the chassis somehow. On the headphone end, there seems to be an option for attaching it to a shell pin besides the regular 4 pin connectors in the NC-FXX Nuetrik XLR connector. Please advice. Thanks.

 

The Cyclops and Emotiva XDA-2 DAC is here. Yeah! Only just hooked it up a couple of hours ago. It sounds good so far :) Initial thought is I would like more low end fill. Love the Denon AD-H5000 there.

 

But I have an annoying hum/buzz in the LCD-3s, when there should be silence. I've tried to put power cord directly in wall plug as has been recommended by Klaus and other headfi'ers, but no change. It's present with input connected or not, volume pot high or low (slightly higher when cranked up).

 

Wiring is above mentioned 4-wire Cordial CSF 450 microphone cable, home made as speaker amp to 4-pin XLR connector, hooking up with stock balanced cable from Audeze. I asked earlier whether I should use the braided shielding in the microphone wire for anything? I currently haven't used it in either end. Should I?

 

I also notice some imbalance issues with the volume pot, having a clear bias to the right channel on low volume. The left joins later. Had not expected that to be an issue.

 

Back to more listening, crossing my fingers the hum can go away, as Gary said his setup was completely silent (or he really is going deaf, as he jokes about ;).


Edited by henrikolsen - 11/7/13 at 2:12pm
post #1317 of 3116
Quote:
Originally Posted by henrikolsen View Post
 

 

The Cyclops and Emotiva XDA-2 DAC is here. Yeah! Only just hooked it up a couple of hours ago. It sounds good so far :)

 

But I have an annoying hum/buzz in the LCD-3s, when there should be silence. I've tried to put power cord directly in wall plug as has been recommended by Klaus and other headfi'ers, but no change. It's present with input connected or not, volume pot high or low (slightly higher when cranked up).

 

Wiring is above mentioned 4-wire Cordial CSF 450 microphone cable, home made as speaker amp to 4-pin XLR connector, hooking up with stock balanced cable from Audeze. I asked earlier whether I should use the braided shielding in the microphone wire for anything? I currently haven't used it in either end. Should I?

 

I also notice some imbalance issues with the volume pot, having a clear bias to the right channel on low volume. At the start of the range it seems only right channel is playing. Then the left joins later. Had not expected that to be an issue.

You need a voltage divider to kill off some of the power going into your cans and your problem will be solved.

post #1318 of 3116

Is the buzz in the headphones or in the amp?  I had a periodic transformer buzz in the amp when I had a power strip with lots of stuff on it plugged into the same outlet box.  Is that the problem you are experiencing?  I moved the power strip to a different outlet box and the buzz went away completely. 

 

If the buzz is in the headphones, not the amp, it could be a grounding issue, or some other issue with how you have it wired, probably in your speaker tap.. 

 

As to the L/R imbalance at low volumes, I don't remember having a problem, but I haven't had the volume down low in a really long time.  I just leave it between 7 and 8:30 on the dial, depending on the source/recording.  Note that the capacitors on the amp are very large and take a while to fully charge.  It could be that the caps on one side have not fully charged, creating the imbalance.  You need to let them charge completely -- and that takes hours.  If the imbalance doesn't go away after a day or two of having the amp powered on, and it intrudes into the sound levels you listen at, you should contact Klaus.  He'll make it right.

post #1319 of 3116
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

You need a voltage divider to kill off some of the power going into your cans and your problem will be solved.


I don't use anything between my LCD-3s and the Cyclops and have no buzz or noise of any kind (other than the music I listen to... but that's another issue...).  Even the transformer buzz was not audible through the cans.  To me it sounds like he has a grounding issue, whether inside the amp where there shouldn't be one, or in his external wiring.  If it's the former, he should contact Klaus.  If it's the latter, he should recheck his wiring, particularly the home-made speaker tap.

post #1320 of 3116

Henrik:

 

Do you have another speaker amp of any kind, even a HT receiver?  If so, try plugging the speaker tap/LCD-3 combo into that amp's speaker outs.  If you get the same buzz, the problem is in the speaker tap/HP cabling.  If you don't get a buzz, it is likely in the Odyssey amp, or in the interface between your speaker tap and the amp.

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