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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread - Page 125

post #1861 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by moses1258 View Post

Greeting Fellow Head-fi'ers!

 

I am looking for a new amp for my HD800's and have narrowed it down to about two choices with a couple of outside contenders.  Currently I'm running my Oppo BDP-105 into a Woo Audio 3 to my Senn's.

 

After much deliberation I've narrowed it down to the Woo Audio WA2 and the Decware CSP2+.

 

My criteria include the following:

1, Tube/OTL topology

2. Preamp functionality.

3. Price somewhere between $1k and $1.5 K

4. Aesthetically pleasing

 

The pros and cons of each amp:

 

Woo Audio WA2

Pros

*I like my WA3 and feel like it would be a significant upgrade to go to the WA2

*Very good looking

*Tube sound to roll off some of the upper end brittleness of the HD800's

*Good price, but the tube rolling may push this amp to the upper end of my price range

Cons

*Not as detailed as some of the upper end amps (I love detail)

*I've never heard the amp, but am familiar with the Woo house sound with the WA3

*Maybe too warm?

 

Decware CSP2+

Pros

*Very competitive price

*On paper looks very compelling

*Seems like excellent preamp functionality

Cons

*Have not heard it although Steve has a 30-day money back guarantee

*Not as good looking as the Woo

*Will the top-mounted everything but a strain on my interconnects?

 

Also, two other contenders are the Eddie Current Super 7 and the Decware Taboo.  My major problem with the Super 7 is how it looks.  Just a black box with tubes sticking out.  Not very good looking at all, in my opinion.  With the Taboo, I'm worried that since Steve has a picture of the Taboo with planar magnetics, that amp may sound too "solid-state".  It's been my experience that the LCD's and the Hifiman's sound better with SS amps, but the 800's respond better to tubes.

 

So, there you have it--my current conundrum.  I'd love to hear from anybody that has heard these amps.  I went to Canjam last year, but none of the Eddie Current or Decware offerings were available to listen to.

 

Any help you could give would be appreciated.

 

Over and out.

Before doing any of that I would consider putting out a classified for a Zana Deux, which historically have gone for about $1500 or a little more (I got mine for $1200 with an Mullard ECC35 and have seen others go for below $1500). The Decware Taboo MKII was designed for lower impedances, particularly planars and you will have gain issues with the HD800, unless you add the CSP2+ as preamp (as a result moving past your budget). The Taboo MKIII, which is far more versatile will also run beyond your budget. I'm a big fan of the CSP2+ and its variable inputs/outputs are surprisingly useful (think HE6 > speaker amp), but I don't find it equals the Zana Deux if SQ is the sole criterion. The Zana is just such so anomalous for a tube amp (in some ways like the unfortunate Singlepowers of old), in that it plaits together the midrange goodness and ambiance recreation of a nice tube amp with the speed and tactility of a good solid state (though not so free of grain). 

 

While I own the Taboo and CSP2+ I have not heard the Super 7 and so no comment there. The WA2, which I nearly sprung for a year ago I recall being on a similar plane with my T1's, which is to say it and the CSP2+ are the best I've heard the Beyers. I remember thinking I preferred the preamp of the CSP2+ and it's more restrained midrange, but it's been too long for any definite remarks.

 

Eddie Current is among my favorite amp designers, and having owned the ECSS and Zana Deux, I have learned that when you buy from him you receive as an supplement an individual who stops short of nothing to help you, warranty or otherwise (though Decware's lifetime warranty is impossible to beat). The Zana also features a terrific preamp and multiple inputs, something seldom mentioned when talking about this amp. The only other amps which I have heard that improve on the Zana with the HD800 is the Balancing Act, GSX (v2.) or my chosen combination of Zana Deux > Beta 22.

 

If I were in your shoes I would consider the other headphones you will be using with the amp you eventually decide upon. The HD650, AD2000 and TH900 are, for me, perfectly synergistic with the Zana Deux. My Beyer T1 is considerably better on the CSP2+ (in fact nothing sounds any less than good out of the CSP2+, but it doesn't invoke that "end game" titillation you get with the Zana). I think when you factor in the competition and your budget you have nothing to lose by checking if someone has an interest in selling one. 


Edited by ericfarrell85 - 4/12/13 at 10:56pm
post #1862 of 24297

I second that.  I have listened to a lot of amps and few come close to the Zana Deux.  When i had the amps i wanted narrowed down, at a meet i literally ran back and forth comparing them and ones next to them and it was just no contest.  I have owned it for over four years now and it is the star of my system.  I am listening to it now still in total awe.  Unluckily when buying mine new the price had just jumped to $2200. and then i had to pay tax too since i am also in CA.....ouch.  I was also the first on the list for the next batch which ended up taking from Sept 08-Jan/Feb 09.  At least i was able to pick it up myself.  If you can find one used for under $1500. without a wait, I would jump on it.


Edited by dallan - 4/12/13 at 11:58pm
post #1863 of 24297

How come there is such a big difference in the FR of balanced and unbalanced HD 800?


Edited by pila405 - 4/13/13 at 3:57am
post #1864 of 24297

Might be a case of the amp used. Amps sound different through different outputs. But I wouldn't have thought that balanced would have produced less peaks?

 

Dunno confused_face_2.gif 

post #1865 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by pila405 View Post

How come there is such a big difference in the FR of balanced and unbalanced HD 800?

 

Two different headphones, at two different times.  The original HD800 curve looked like the red curve but with slightly more bass if memory serves.

post #1866 of 24297

Memory was a little fuzzy apparently...

 

post #1867 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by pila405 View Post

How come there is such a big difference in the FR of balanced and unbalanced HD 800?

 

Or they just want to encourage the selling by presenting two different curve.

I assume that  each curve is the averaging of multiple headphone position.

post #1868 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

Memory was a little fuzzy apparently...

 

So the early HD800s had less high-mids\treble than the later produced ones? :\

post #1869 of 24297
Thread Starter 

nevermind...


Edited by ValentinHogea - 4/13/13 at 10:41am
post #1870 of 24297

Don't sweat it, just get it.   - The HD800 that is.

post #1871 of 24297

Thanks EricFarrell85.  I've heard from several people that the Zana Deux is pretty much an end game amp for the HD800's.  Even Dubstep Girl, who seems to love her WA2 and WA6-SE, said the ZD would be the top of the line for the HD800's.  And boy, it definitely fits the bill when it comes to looks!  Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

 

One thing, I've heard that the EC amps sound a bit solid state.  Is there still enough tubiness to roll off the edge of the HD800's?

post #1872 of 24297
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moses1258 View Post

Thanks EricFarrell85.  I've heard from several people that the Zana Deux is pretty much an end game amp for the HD800's.  Even Dubstep Girl, who seems to love her WA2 and WA6-SE, said the ZD would be the top of the line for the HD800's.  And boy, it definitely fits the bill when it comes to looks!  Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

 

One thing, I've heard that the EC amps sound a bit solid state.  Is there still enough tubiness to roll off the edge of the HD800's?

Why would one wish to roll off all the details hidden in the HD800? ;)

 

Better dampen the cups. Best 10 USD-investment you'll ever make.

post #1873 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by moses1258 View Post

Thanks EricFarrell85.  I've heard from several people that the Zana Deux is pretty much an end game amp for the HD800's.  Even Dubstep Girl, who seems to love her WA2 and WA6-SE, said the ZD would be the top of the line for the HD800's.  And boy, it definitely fits the bill when it comes to looks!  Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

 

One thing, I've heard that the EC amps sound a bit solid state.  Is there still enough tubiness to roll off the edge of the HD800's?

 

I've heard that about the Zana Deux (somewhat dry/analytical character) but not the Balancing Act.

 

Rats. It's another $1000. :p

post #1874 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by moses1258 View Post

One thing, I've heard that the EC amps sound a bit solid state.  Is there still enough tubiness to roll off the edge of the HD800's?

 

I haven't listened to the HD800 with my Zana Deux SE yet (I soon will), but I don't agree that EC amps sound a bit solid state. What I can say is that they don't have the typical characteristic sound of tube amps in general. Woo Audio amps are known to sound tubey, which is either liked or disliked depending on what you listen to. Sure, people may look for lush and warm sounding tube amps to mellow out the harshness of the HD800. However, compared to true solid-state amps such as Burson Soloist, my ZDSE definitely smoothens sibilance in treble-hot music and makes listening more enjoyable and less fatiguing.

 

I'm actually curious about the pairing of HD800 and ZDSE, which is why I decided to audition one soon. I've listened the HD800 with many other amps before but it didn't sound that particularly amazing. Of course the HD800 is a picky headphone and requires the right kind of amplification, and many have cited the Zana Deux SE as one of the best amps for it. In my opinion the ZDSE is the best single-ended headphone amp for low-impedance and high-sensitivity closed-back headphones, like my TH900. I heard that the HD800 scales even higher with balanced headphone amps, so I'm still a bit skeptical about how my much my ZDSE can harness the HD800's potential.

post #1875 of 24297
Quote:
Originally Posted by ValentinHogea View Post

Why would one wish to roll off all the details hidden in the HD800? ;)

 

Better dampen the cups. Best 10 USD-investment you'll ever make.

I really don't want to lose any details.  I like my Woo WA3, but feel I can move up the chain and get more focus.  It's just that I've tried several SS amps (Bryston, Musical Fidelity, Burson) and just thought the 800's were a little brittle with all those amps.

 

I guess the term "lush" worries me a bit because it sounds like you're losing details.

 

Also, I really don't want to mod my 800's.  'Fraid I don't want to cut these stellar headphones.

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