- 3,865 Posts. Joined 7/2011
- Location: NYC
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tried the v200 today. omg the shrinkage in the soundstage completely cripples it as a good amp in the $1k price range IMO. my $200 LD MK III destroys it driving my hd800s IMO. sure the v200 is a tad bit smoother, but the soundstage is pathetic in comparison, and completely nullifies one of the biggest strengths of the hd800. did not notice significant differences elsewhere. absolutely disappointed with the v200. i tried it on the he500 as well, and the soundstage of the he500 was already not as good as the hd800, and on the v200 it completely disappeared. i have generally in the past not noticed too big of a difference between amps, but this time it was so drastic that i felt the need to warn ppl thinking about the v200: don't (well read what i said and if you don't care about soundstage and wants the slightly smoother signature for 5x the price then sure go for it, but otherwise don't).
I did tons of research before buying my Violectric rig, and have been really happy with it. To my ears the V200 sounds fantastic with both my HE-500 and HD 800, but as I haven't heard any other high-end rigs I don't have any other frame of reference. As I generally prefer darkish to brightish, I suspect that the V200 is a good choice for me with the HD 800. There's plenty of space and soundstage, to my ears, and a satisfying sense of power and low-end oomph when playing heavy music. Maybe one day I'll feel differently if/when I get to hear other high-end gear.
It's always interesting to see such divergent opinions. I bought the V200 on the basis of glowing recommendations from head-fi folks who I greatly respect. But I know that some people have never gotten on with it, citing the limited soundstage as a key drawback. I even saw one thread where someone said it was muddy and had a 'v-shaped' signature.
Anyway, will be very interesting to compare with the Taboo once it arrives.
I enjoyed my V200 for the time I had it. Yes it is a warm amplifier, but it's also very musical, soothing and relaxing. Sometimes that can be too much of a good thing, I agree. But it's a decent amplifier if priced right. The Taboo is several classes above. It's a beast and gets a lot more out of both the LCD-3s and HD800s. If you get some good NOS tubes to fine tune it, the agility, soundstage and dynamics of the LCD-3s are on yet another level. I would however tune the Taboo differently for the HD800s than for the LCD-3s, obviously, as they sound so differently. The stock tubes are a very good compromise for both.
For the HD800s + Taboo MK3 I recommend the following tubes: Amperex EL84s, Amperex Golden Globes 6DJ8 and the GEC U52 rectifier for the HD800s. You will have unbelievable mids, strong tight bass, no treble sharpness and just the right amount of tube sound with body, musicality and liquidity. That's my tastes but it makes the HD800s more euphonic and retains their strengths.
Well, imo the biggest thing that sets the EC stuff apart is...musical involvement. Engagement-just like their site says. For me a lot of it comes down to the massive soundstaging, microdynamics, micro details, transparency, texture...sounds cliché I know, but these higher end amps really do set themselves apart, once you grasp their nuances. I'm sure you've experienced a lot of that with the GSX...? Anyway, here's hoping the MJ can pull some of that off-but yeah, so far...well I'll give it some more burn in. I agree this may be better suited for darker cans-but a lot of us knew that already lol. We'll see what happens...
Hard to claim brain in when I don't listen to it while it burns in. That's why I like listening to something very short term to get a better perspective of any changes after it's settled a couple hundred hours-OTOH I've had numerous headphones and amps that didn't seem to change much at all. IME.
Have to agree with Maxvla, had the O2 + ODAC combo driving my HD 800s for a short period of time. If you're just planning on saving up piecemeal as you complete your system, it's an acceptable pairing to tide you over. I'm not sure I'd bother with the HD 800s if you're planning to just stick with the O2 + ODAC though. I thought it sounded acceptable in my previous chain, but it wasn't until I heard them out of better (and for me, warmer) gear that I had that "Oh" moment where I finally understood why people liked it so much.
I had an opportunity to listen to my HD800 with the GS-X at a local audio store for about 30 minutes. I'd really like to sit down with it at home for a week to get a proper listening session but I'll take what I can get. I normally run my HD800 with the Lyr and Amperex Orange Globes. In comparison, the GS-X had a noticeably larger amount of micro-details and clarity but I wouldn't say it was a "night and day" difference. Highs were a little crisper and slightly more prevalent. I found the midrange a bit dry compared to the Lyr. Bass seemed to have a little less weight than the Lyr as well.
Overall I prefer the Lyr for the HD800. If you are all about maximizing detail and clarity, I can see how the GS-X would be a top contender. I'd still like to spend a little more time with it to make a better comparison in a more ideal environment.
So different from the "unbearable", "not musical" impression I got from someone that wanted to upgrade directly from his razer tiamat headphones to the hd800, using the O2+ ODAC as source.
My think is that the hd800 are not so polyvalent , or that they have a particular sound signature not for everyone. All these plays with different sources , to hide the original sound signature of hd800,
and make it "more polyvalent".
True that some people will probably not enjoy the HD800 out of any source, but in my experience, I have found that the HD800's sound does change to a larger degree with different source gear than most of the other headphones I've used. This makes it very versatile and allows the listener to tune it specifically how they want to hear it while still taking advantage of its inherent strengths (soundstage, detail).
It was the mk2
Also forgot to mention, I was listening single-ended, not balanced.
I've been fooling around with the HD800s for 4 years and a bunch of amps both tube ones and solid state ones, and I have found that I only enjoy these phones with tube amps.
I think if ever a phone needed tubes in the chain, the HD800s are it.
So far I agree 100% but...
...I haven't heard the GSX, and my Mjolnir is still burning in.