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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread - Page 239

post #3571 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendoji View Post

It looks like I'm settled on getting an HD 800. Was going to go for the LCD-3 but it's much more expensive and would have to be ordered from the US. From what I've read, my V200 should be nice with it, and I also have a Taboo MKIII coming soon, which I believe Frank said was a "revelation" with the HD 800. I'm very curious about how I'll feel about them, as I tend to like warm headphones. But I'm also really drawn to the idea of more detail and soundstage.

I had the V200 for a while with the HD800. It was a nice pairing

post #3572 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

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Nonoe of these amp are "far superior" anyway.  Subtle difference.  

 

"For me."  Tubes bring a certain distortion in the mid rage that sacrifices clarity and detail.  It seems that folks are trying to get tube amps to sound like SS amps.  With saying like "This tube amp sounds more like a SS amp"  why not just get a SS amp?

 

Where's the poll that says tube amps are generally preferred?

 

Well said.

post #3573 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

blink.gif

 

None of these amp are "far superior" anyway.  Subtle difference.  

 

"For me."  Tubes bring a certain distortion in the mid rage that sacrifices clarity and detail.  It seems that folks are trying to get tube amps to sound like SS amps.  With saying like "This tube amp sounds more like a SS amp"  why not just get a SS amp?

 

Where's the poll that says tube amps are generally preferred?

 

I like the sound tubes bring to the HD800. Agreed, it may reduce its accuracy, however I find the Lyr brings a certain "liquidity" into the mids, not to mention the extra weight in the low end. Not scientifically accurate, but enjoyable.

post #3574 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stalker81598 View Post

 

I like the sound tubes bring to the HD800. Agreed, it may reduce its accuracy, however I find the Lyr brings a certain "liquidity" into the mids, not to mention the extra weight in the low end. Not scientifically accurate, but enjoyable.

 

 

I can see that.  biggrin.gif

post #3575 of 14680

I own a v200 and Zana Deux.  Both good, Zana Deux clearer and more dynamic but the v200 is wonderful and gets a lot of time with the phones.  I don't always like to power up the tubes for short listens or if i am not really sitting down for a session.  Other amps i have liked with the HD800 are the B22(not sure of the exact configuration) and Luxman P1 but that was long ago.

post #3576 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by songmic View Post

 

I've seen a lot of people saying incredible stuff about this GS-X MKII, especially how it drives the HD800 so well despite being a solid-state amp (tube amps are generally preferred for the HD800). I own a ZDSE, which is undoubtedly the best amp I've heard with the HD800 along with Bakoon HPA-21, but I wonder if the GS-X MKII outperforms both of them by a huge margin. Of course I don't have the money to buy the GS-X MKII right now, but if it is indeed a significant improvement over my Zana Deux SE, then I may consider it in the future. Have you heard the ZDSE, and if so, do you think the GS-X is far superior to it in its ability to drive the HD800?

I have heard the HD800/ZDSE and liked it very much. I would put it on par with the Liquid Fire. That said, the GS-X had me selling my Liquid Fire a month after it arrived. It can drive the HE-6s, LCD-3s, HD800s, TH-900s, W3000s and all of my IEMs to levels that still astound me. How many headphone amps can do that?

post #3577 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

I have heard the HD800/ZDSE and liked it very much. I would put it on par with the Liquid Fire. That said, the GS-X had me selling my Liquid Fire a month after it arrived. It can drive the HE-6s, LCD-3s, HD800s, TH-900s, W3000s and all of my IEMs to levels that still astound me. How many headphone amps can do that?

 

Yes, I understand that the GS-X is a much more versatile amp. I've had very good results with my ZDSE when it came to driving both low-impedance high-sensitivity phones like TH900 and IEMs, and high-impedance cans like HD800, but not so well with orthos. I mainly use my Burson Soloist for my LCD-3, and while it's a terrific combo, I think the GS-X will do better than that given its price point.

 

I'm just asking, when it comes to HD800 alone, which is superior: ZDSE or GS-X? If their level of sonic performance is similar that it is hard to say which is overall better, could you at least tell me how different they sound, in terms of sonic signature?

 

By the way, the most impressive solid-state amp I've heard with the HD800 was Bakoon HPA-21, bar none. The HPA-21 was okay with the LCD-3 too (better than ZDSE at least), but it was also one of the best pairings with my TH900 in current drive mode.


Edited by songmic - 7/7/13 at 4:10pm
post #3578 of 14680

i would go for the ZDSE cause i like tubes. (i am planning on buying one soon for hd 800 and when i buy th-900).

post #3579 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

blink.gif

 

None of these amp are "far superior" anyway.  Subtle difference.  

 

"For me."  Tubes bring a certain distortion in the mid rage that sacrifices clarity and detail.  It seems that folks are trying to get tube amps to sound like SS amps.  With saying like "This tube amp sounds more like a SS amp"  why not just get a SS amp?

 

Where's the poll that says tube amps are generally preferred?

blink.gif

 

Simply reading the various HD800 threads will prove the concensus favors tubes. Waaay too many ss amps just sound like garbage with the Senn ime. Obviously the GSX and others are changing the tide a bit...but those are the exceptions.  Also, my ZDSE was more detailed, dynamic, spaaaaacious, bass-ious, sweeter in the treble, and *gasp* more neutral than my Dynalo. The 'tubes are distorted' and 'transistors are accurate' theory really needs to go away around here. Unfortunately, many love to regurgitate old myths without backing it up with experience imo, such is Head-fi I suppose. That said-it usually takes $$ to get the tube amps that dispel these kind of myths-yet everyone can buy an Objective 2 and gt up on a soapbox. *sighs*

 

-Daniel

post #3580 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post

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Simply reading the various HD800 threads will prove the concensus favors tubes. Waaay too many ss amps just sound like garbage with the Senn ime. Obviously the GSX and others are changing the tide a bit...but those are the exceptions.  Also, my ZDSE was more detailed, dynamic, spaaaaacious, bass-ious, sweeter in the treble, and *gasp* more neutral than my Dynalo. The 'tubes are distorted' and 'transistors are accurate' theory really needs to go away around here. Unfortunately, many love to regurgitate old myths without backing it up with experience imo, such is Head-fi I suppose. That said-it usually takes $$ to get the tube amps that dispel these kind of myths-yet everyone can buy an Objective 2 and gt up on a soapbox. *sighs*

 

-Daniel

 

 

There's no myths when it comes to "MY" ears, personal experience and preference - sorry...  O and another thing.  If you didn't know.  The only consensus is, there will never be a consensus.  On that note.  Please point me to these so called consensus - Oh where in one now. No consensus - sorry again.blink.gif

 

It's funny how long ago the saying came about.  "My tube amp sound like a SS amp"  I wonder why?

post #3581 of 14680

I agree with a lot of what you say Bourne much of the time, but not this time.

 

I think tube lovers are a vocal minority overall (although head-fi has a disproportionately large congregation), and being a tube lover/owner yourself, your attention is naturally focused on tube related comments. I have heard the HD800 with some very nice tube amps and I agree they can sound very, very good. However, I have also heard the HD800 sound very, very good with SS amps.

 

It's my opinion that tube amps are a very specialized niche and I understand the appeal of them, but I suspect that you have some bias (which we all do) and perhaps you simply haven't heard enough SS amps that sound good (to you) with the HD800. I think this may be because you don't enjoy the HD800 "naked." Nothing wrong with that - humans don't all share the same tastes. And that's why there is such a resurgence in interest in tube amps. Go beyond the nostalgia, the tube rolling fun, and the neat-o looks, and they do have a certain kind of organic vivid sound quality that is pleasing.

 

On the other hand, I think a good engineer with audio circuit experience could design and build a SS amp that sounds EXACTLY like a Zana Deux - and it will sound that way right out of the box, 5 seconds after you turn it on, and every time you listen to it for 80 years to come - with zero maintenance and zero changes. Honestly, I'm surprised someone hasn't done this yet - build a high quality SS amp with a "tube" button on the front panel to switch between "SS sound" and "Tube sound." Better yet, how about a 4 position rotary dial to choose between specific amps?

 

1. Lehmann BCL

2. GS-X II

3. Liquid Fire

4. Zana Deux

 

It would be expensive, no doubt, but it's totally doable in my opinion...


Edited by palmfish - 7/7/13 at 6:19pm
post #3582 of 14680

My tube amp sounds like a tube amp. The tone and decay is what I always hear when I attend live concerts. Here a good question and answer session on tube amps and why most musicians prefer the sound of a tube a,p and many better recordings are still done using vintage amps. I  have used both amos for over 36 years now and I always prefer a tube amplifier over solid state amps.  I can listen to solid state amps and enjoy them but my reference camps have always been tube amplifier. Why tube amps/FAQ and here is some more good reading about tube amps. I also think its about what one prefers but for me I always prefer tube amplifiers.

 

 

 

 

After decades of solid state amplifier innovations, tube amplifiers have staged a powerful comeback in the last ten years, due to their sonic merits.

Simpler, purer circuits
At Ayon Audio, we feel that tubes are the sonically superior technology for audio, as their generally simpler circuits and smaller number of components provide for a purer signal path and consequently more truthful signal handling. This is because fewer components provide for fewer elements in a circuit to degrade the signal, distort and muddle the sound. Simple circuits also provide for inherently higher reliability, since there are fewer parts which can fail. Tubes are also more tolerant of circuit drifts and deviations in component specifications, and thus can be used in simpler, purer circuits.

More benign overload and distortion behaviour
A lot of music features great dynamic signal swings, and it has been well established that in tube amplifiers the onset of clip/overload as maximum power is reached is gradual and rising distortion is of predominately low even-order harmonic nature. In comprehensive listening tests, even high levels of even-order harmonic distortion has been found to be significantly less offensive to the ear than even small levels of the harsh, odd order harmonic distortion produced by solid-state circuits when their reach their power limit and enter clipping. In transistor amplifiers, the distortion rise very quickly as the maximum power level is reached, showing almost square wave characteristics, and a high DC component, - which can destroy easily loudspeaker drivers if not stopped to do so.
 

Vacuum tubes and “Tone”
The difference in the distortion characteristics between the two technologies can be well illustrated by looking at their effects in guitar amplifier design.
Tube guitar amplifier manufacturers have traditionally designed their circuits to drive the output stages into overload distortion, using the resultant distortion to achieve their trademark “tone”. In a tube amplifier, this tone contributes to the amplifier's sound, but in a solid-state amplifier this distortion is audibly intolerable and easily destroys the speakers. 
When transistors overload (in a discrete circuit or in an OP amp), the dominant distortion product is the third harmonic. The third harmonic "produces a sound many musicians refer to as blanketed”. Instead of making the tone fuller, a strong third actually makes the tone thin and hard. On the other hand, with tubes (particularly triodes) the dominant distortion product is the second harmonic: “Musically the second is an octave above the fundamental and is almost inaudible, yet it adds body to the sound, making it fuller”. Tubes sound better because their distortion products are more musical. Tubes provide a more appropriate load to transducers. Those are the fundamental reasons why tubes simply sound better.

Vacuum tubes are the more linear and require less feedback
Tubes are voltage amplifiers as opposed to transistors which are current amplification devices. As a consequence, tubes are a more linear amplification technology, requiring less overall negative feedback to make the circuit linear. Negative feedback re-injects a sample of the amplifier’s output signal back into the input, 180 degrees out of phase, in an attempt to reduce amplifier non-linearity and distortion. In practice, negative feedback tends to slow the amplifier down and sucks the emotion and life out of the music. High feedback designs usually sound sterile, boring and lifeless, while low or zero feedback designs provide for a more immediate and natural sound. Depending on technology and type of the used output device, transistor amplifiers generally require the use of over 40dB of local loop or global negative feedback.

Superior dynamic capabilities
The higher working voltages present in tube amplifiers generally allow for wider voltage swings and better signal headroom before entering into overload territory. Higher working voltages yield higher audible energy storage* with lower value capacitors. ~ 500 volts working voltage in a tube amplifier approximate about ~ 80 volts in a transistor circuit. This is most likely why many listeners feel that tubes sound more powerful.

*Audible energy storage is voltage squared divided by 2 multiplied by capacitance


Edited by Frank I - 7/7/13 at 6:36pm
post #3583 of 14680

Very interesting read Frank, thanks.

 

I have only three issues with it...

 

1. Tube amps are electrical devices just like solid state amps. They obey the same laws of physics that SS amps must. That means anyone with the proper skills and tools can look at the signal going into a tube amp and coming out the other end and recreate that process EXACTLY using SS components. There is no magic involved in creating "tube sound."

 

2. The article makes a very strong emotional case for the appeal of tube amps. And who wrote it? Why, a company that makes and sells tube amps, or course!

 

3. Guitar amps are not headphone/speaker amps. The former creates the sound of an instrument as the artist desires - they are a PART OF the instrument. The latter are tasked with simply taking a little electrical signal and making it bigger. If it does more than this, then it isn't properly doing its job - it's adding distortion. It isn't "better" or "worse" though, it's just personal taste. Some people drive a 2013 Corvette ZR-1 Others would prefer 19'68 Stingray. Which is the "better" car?

 

Yes, there are recording studios that still use tube amps (Mapleshade comes to mind). And yes, they can sound very, very good (Mapleshade again comes to mind). But in all cases, the acoustics of the studio, the choice and placement of microphones, the recording equipment used, the engineers mixing and mastering decisions are all a part of the performance.


Edited by palmfish - 7/7/13 at 7:33pm
post #3584 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post

blink.gif

 

Simply reading the various HD800 threads will prove the concensus favors tubes. Waaay too many ss amps just sound like garbage with the Senn ime. Obviously the GSX and others are changing the tide a bit...but those are the exceptions.  Also, my ZDSE was more detailed, dynamic, spaaaaacious, bass-ious, sweeter in the treble, and *gasp* more neutral than my Dynalo. The 'tubes are distorted' and 'transistors are accurate' theory really needs to go away around here. Unfortunately, many love to regurgitate old myths without backing it up with experience imo, such is Head-fi I suppose. That said-it usually takes $$ to get the tube amps that dispel these kind of myths-yet everyone can buy an Objective 2 and gt up on a soapbox. *sighs*

 

-Daniel

 

I think we're generalizing here too much. There are great tube amps and great solid state amps (along with poor tube/ss amps). Poor amps sound bad and good amps sound good. That's how you can tell them apart. tongue.gif

 

Agreed completely on the O2. Very nice starter amp and can compete with some poorly designed mid-fi stuff...but endgame...LoL. 


Edited by MacedonianHero - 7/7/13 at 8:03pm
post #3585 of 14680
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

 

I think we're generalizing here too much. There are great tube amps and great solid state amps (along with poor tube/ss amps). Poor amps sound bad and good amps sound good. That's how you can tell them apart. tongue.gif

 

Agreed completely on the O2. Very nice starter amp and can compete with some poorly designed mid-fi stuff...but endgame...LoL. 

Could be 'endgame' for some...this goes back to the earlier discussion about how far one wants/needs to go...deadhorse.gif

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