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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread - Page 669

post #10021 of 18337
Just attended the Charlotte meet yesterday. Here's some brief impressions I had:

With HD800:
CMA800R ≈ GSX MK2

Mrspeakers setup up of aurlic Vega + cavalli liquid glass was something else. Far superior than gsx or Questyle. Far superior details and soundstaging. You could hear like a bungee level of detail pare off and become distinct. It was a very shocking moment for me to hear this much improvement from HD800. To me it made normal recordings sound binaural in the way the new details were imaged.

Oh yeah that setup was a large step up from SR-009 and BHSE to me. The 009 sounded closer to the HD800 with gsx than it from HD800 with cavalli liquid glass.

Also not sure if it's the DAc amp combo, but I got to try my Questyle with the Vega dac and to me there was not as much a difference so I think it was the amp.
post #10022 of 18337

Looks like the Liquid Glass/HD800 is a good combo. Any idea which tubes were used?

post #10023 of 18337
Some $40 ones. Didn't get the but he explained not many amps use the tubes so there all pretty cheap. It used the vertical tube ports.

Edit: CBS Hytron 12SN7GT
Edited by Sonido - 4/20/14 at 7:09pm
post #10024 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post

Also not sure if it's the DAc amp combo, but I got to try my Questyle with the Vega dac and to me there was not as much a difference so I think it was the amp.

 

I am bit confused your line here, so you are saying,

 

Vega DAC -> Questyle -> HD800 is same as Vega DAC -> GS MKII -> HD800 ?

 

but 

 

Vega DAC -> Liquid Glass > Questyle/GS MKII ?

post #10025 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadian411 View Post

I am bit confused your line here, so you are saying,

Vega DAC -> Questyle -> HD800 is same as Vega DAC -> GS MKII -> HD800 ?

but 

Vega DAC -> Liquid Glass > Questyle/GS MKII ?
I dont know the dac used with gsx but any dac with Questyle and gsx was relatively similar as in nothing jumped out at me. But the Vega and liquid glass did something else. I tried the Vega with my Questyle and it didn't have the same effect so I assume it's the amp.
post #10026 of 18337

I bought the HD800 some time ago I run them through either Schiit Vali or Bottlehead Crack. However I am considering buying the Questyle CMA800R. For those who have heard either of these two and the CMA800R is there a big difference? It is quite a lot of money to invest in a amp so it better be good. 

 

To me the HD800 sounds great out of the Vali and I'm very happy with my purchase, however I can't shake the feeling of "what if...."... I guess you know what I mean!

post #10027 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post
 

 

 

To me the HD800 sounds great out of the Vali and I'm very happy with my purchase, however I can't shake the feeling of "what if...."... I guess you know what I mean!

 

Do you prefer the Vali to the Crack?

post #10028 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvergun View Post
 

 

Do you prefer the Vali to the Crack?

As of now I don't know which of the two I prefer the most. The sound is a bit more forward with the Vali and more relaxed with the Crack. But in the end I guess my vote would go the the Crack...

post #10029 of 18337

Now that I'm back home and not on the phone trying to make a coherent post, I can clarify some things. Given it was a meet environment, I only had about 10 minutes with most setups. The most important thing I tried to do was play my own music on the various setups to truly compare with something I'm very familiar with. Luckily, I got to this will most setups that has a USB DAC option.

 

Here are some notable pairings for the context of this thread and I'll try to put in chronological order to show what I experience and my thought process throughout:

 

Obviously started with my Questyle and my Emotiva DC-1 DAC.

 

Went over to mrspeakers' table to try out my HD800 with his setup of Cavalli Liquid Glass and Auralic Vega. Mind blown. Completely different presentation from anything I've heard before, other than perhaps the K1000 later. Not only were the subtle details more audible, but the seemed to be given their own space in a new area of the soundstage I never knew existed. The best way I can describe it is that normal recordings sounded binaural. The subtle details seemed to have their own speakers to produce just those background sounds.

 

After this, I went back to my gear to make sure I wasn't hearing things, and it was apparent there was something special about mrspeakers' setup.

 

Not sure whether it was the DAC or amp, someone else offered to let me use try their $3000 DAC out (forgot name of DAC) with my Questyle. Honestly, at this point I was not focusing on the subtle differences like small details or tonality changes, but really looking to see if I could hear that binaural effect with anything else. With the $3000 DAC, it was not there with the Questyle.

 

At this point I briefly tried the HD800 with the WA22. I don't know if it was my source or his chain, but there was some weird rattling the whole time and it took away from the experience. Oddly enough, I wasn't quite sure if I was getting a similar effect to the Liquid Glass because the rattling could have been creating that sense of extra sounds. Either way, even if it was the amp and not the rattling, the effect was nowhere as profound as the Liquid Glass.

 

Next I went over the HeadAmp's table where they had the GSX mk2 and the Stax SR-009 with BHSE. When I listened to the HD800 through the GSX, I found it strikingly similar to my Questyle. Now I didn't spend the time to compare the small differences in detail; I only cared if it could have the details jump out at me in a holographic fashion the way the Liquid Glass did. It did not. I moved on to the SR-009. I did notice that immediately after listening to the HD800 + GSX, the SR-009 + BHSE seemed to have a more natural tonality and sounded softer. However, when listening for the effect the HD800 + Liquid Glass had on subtle details seemingly having their own channel, the SR-009 did not have that effect either.

 

Before the end of the meet, I got the opportunity to use mrspeakers' Vega DAC with my Questyle. Unfortunately it did not have that binaural effect. Thus, I conclude something about that Liquid Glass amp is doing that.

post #10030 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
 

Now that I'm back home and not on the phone trying to make a coherent post, I can clarify some things. Given it was a meet environment, I only had about 10 minutes with most setups. The most important thing I tried to do was play my own music on the various setups to truly compare with something I'm very familiar with. Luckily, I got to this will most setups that has a USB DAC option.

 

Here are some notable pairings for the context of this thread and I'll try to put in chronological order to show what I experience and my thought process throughout:

 

Obviously started with my Questyle and my Emotiva DC-1 DAC.

 

Went over to mrspeakers' table to try out my HD800 with his setup of Cavalli Liquid Glass and Auralic Vega. Mind blown. Completely different presentation from anything I've heard before, other than perhaps the K1000 later. Not only were the subtle details more audible, but the seemed to be given their own space in a new area of the soundstage I never knew existed. The best way I can describe it is that normal recordings sounded binaural. The subtle details seemed to have their own speakers to produce just those background sounds.

 

After this, I went back to my gear to make sure I wasn't hearing things, and it was apparent there was something special about mrspeakers' setup.

 

Not sure whether it was the DAC or amp, someone else offered to let me use try their $3000 DAC out (forgot name of DAC) with my Questyle. Honestly, at this point I was not focusing on the subtle differences like small details or tonality changes, but really looking to see if I could hear that binaural effect with anything else. With the $3000 DAC, it was not there with the Questyle.

 

At this point I briefly tried the HD800 with the WA22. I don't know if it was my source or his chain, but there was some weird rattling the whole time and it took away from the experience. Oddly enough, I wasn't quite sure if I was getting a similar effect to the Liquid Glass because the rattling could have been creating that sense of extra sounds. Either way, even if it was the amp and not the rattling, the effect was nowhere as profound as the Liquid Glass.

 

Next I went over the HeadAmp's table where they had the GSX mk2 and the Stax SR-009 with BHSE. When I listened to the HD800 through the GSX, I found it strikingly similar to my Questyle. Now I didn't spend the time to compare the small differences in detail; I only cared if it could have the details jump out at me in a holographic fashion the way the Liquid Glass did. It did not. I moved on to the SR-009. I did notice that immediately after listening to the HD800 + GSX, the SR-009 + BHSE seemed to have a more natural tonality and sounded softer. However, when listening for the effect the HD800 + Liquid Glass had on subtle details seemingly having their own channel, the SR-009 did not have that effect either.

 

Before the end of the meet, I got the opportunity to use mrspeakers' Vega DAC with my Questyle. Unfortunately it did not have that binaural effect. Thus, I conclude something about that Liquid Glass amp is doing that.

 

So...does this mean you are selling your Questyle and buying a Liquid Glass?

post #10031 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by elvergun View Post
 

 

So...does this mean you are selling your Questyle and buying a Liquid Glass?


Probably not in that order. I would like to have more time to compare the two in depth, rather than just fall for the wow factor in the initial impressions.

post #10032 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feynman View Post
 

To me the HD800 sounds great out of the Vali and I'm very happy with my purchase, however I can't shake the feeling of "what if...."... I guess you know what I mean!

 

What if you change your dac? I believe amps are important part of the chain but if you're happy with what you've got I would suggest changing your source first. 

post #10033 of 18337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post


Probably not in that order. I would like to have more time to compare the two in depth, rather than just fall for the wow factor in the initial impressions.
Have you tried many tube amps with the HD800? There seems to be a decent number of Head-Fiers that prefer tubes with the HD800. It does seem that the Liquid Glass is known for being very reactive to the choice of tubes so maybe you stumbled upon a system that capitalises on the harmonics created by tubes?

It is good to read that the tubes were so reasonably priced as it is often the more extreme "cryo-ed NOS" that give audiophilic satisfaction.
Edited by Audio Jester - 4/21/14 at 7:53am
post #10034 of 18337
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonido View Post
Went over to mrspeakers' table to try out my HD800 with his setup of Cavalli Liquid Glass and Auralic Vega. Mind blown. Completely different presentation from anything I've heard before, other than perhaps the K1000 later. Not only were the subtle details more audible, but the seemed to be given their own space in a new area of the soundstage I never knew existed. The best way I can describe it is that normal recordings sounded binaural. The subtle details seemed to have their own speakers to produce just those background sounds.

 

After this, I went back to my gear to make sure I wasn't hearing things, and it was apparent there was something special about mrspeakers' setup.

 

Not sure whether it was the DAC or amp, someone else offered to let me use try their $3000 DAC out (forgot name of DAC) with my Questyle. Honestly, at this point I was not focusing on the subtle differences like small details or tonality changes, but really looking to see if I could hear that binaural effect with anything else. With the $3000 DAC, it was not there with the Questyle.

 

At this point I briefly tried the HD800 with the WA22. I don't know if it was my source or his chain, but there was some weird rattling the whole time and it took away from the experience. Oddly enough, I wasn't quite sure if I was getting a similar effect to the Liquid Glass because the rattling could have been creating that sense of extra sounds. Either way, even if it was the amp and not the rattling, the effect was nowhere as profound as the Liquid Glass.

 

Next I went over the HeadAmp's table where they had the GSX mk2 and the Stax SR-009 with BHSE. When I listened to the HD800 through the GSX, I found it strikingly similar to my Questyle. Now I didn't spend the time to compare the small differences in detail; I only cared if it could have the details jump out at me in a holographic fashion the way the Liquid Glass did. It did not. I moved on to the SR-009. I did notice that immediately after listening to the HD800 + GSX, the SR-009 + BHSE seemed to have a more natural tonality and sounded softer. However, when listening for the effect the HD800 + Liquid Glass had on subtle details seemingly having their own channel, the SR-009 did not have that effect either.

 

Before the end of the meet, I got the opportunity to use mrspeakers' Vega DAC with my Questyle. Unfortunately it did not have that binaural effect. Thus, I conclude something about that Liquid Glass amp is doing that.

 

Did you hear or have ever heard the HD 800 on the Stratus or ECBA ? Just curious how these compare to the Cavalli.

Edited by punit - 4/21/14 at 1:44am
post #10035 of 18337

having my first listen with the HD800. currently running out of yulong A28 single-ended with a ifi nano iDSD as a source. yes, not ideal. but waiting on more equipment arriving in the next few months.

 

first impressions? good and bad. great detail, terrific soundstage, and actually really good bass. all the things most people say about it. bad? very bright. very sibilant. some tracks i have are simply unlistenable because of the sibilance and piercing highs. even some of my DSD tracks are a bit harsh.

 

coming up: building a balanced cable and hoping to try it out with some old ASL wave tube monoblocks. might tame the highs a bit and mellow out the sound. cable's done, just waiting for the HD800 connectors.

 

down the road: geek pulse x and ifi micro iDSD as sources. strongly leaning toward auralic taurus mk.ii for amp. waiting to see how the schiit ragnarok turns out before making this decision. i know people are saying TUBES TUBES...but i'm set on SS these days.

 

great first listen...have an HE-500 coming later this week...and finishing up a grado woody project. fun times ahead. 

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