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The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread - Page 365

post #5461 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

I posted some time ago how well my two Pioneer AVRs do powering my HD800. My first exposure, by accident, was when my friend brought his Violectric stack (V800 and V200) over for me to listen to. Towards the end of the day, I asked him if we could bring them down to my basement and compare them to my home theater receiver (Pioneer Elite SC-25) just for grins. Using my Squeezebox Touch as a "transport" we volume-matched as closely as we could with my RS meter and then started listening.

Now my friend is a professional recording engineer who is much more critical than I am, and he swears that with certain parts of the frequency, he could hear a subtle difference between them. But he admitted that he was shocked by how close they were - so close that he admitted that if he were blindfolded, he didn't know if he could reliably identify one from the other. As for me, they sounded identical to me.

This led me on a quest to find a new receiver for my 2-channel system with a good built-in headphone stage. I believe it was here that I got advice about high output impedance acting as a voltage divider, so over the next couple of weeks, I visited a number of audio stores with my Denon D7000's and Sennheiser HD800's to use their relative output volume as a rough guide to finding an amp with low output impedance.

Long story short, after sampling numerous receiver and integrated amps (Pioneer, Yamaha, Sony, Rotel, NAD, Marantz, Onkyo, etc.), I discovered that only the Pioneer receivers had a low output impedance. I picked up a Pioneer VSX-1122 after these trials and am very impressed with it's headphone output. At low to medium volumes (where I do all of my listening), these Pioneers sound exactly the same as any well designed SS headphone amp I have heard. They are not lush, warm, or wet-sounding by any means. Actually, they really don't have any signature at all - they are remarkable only in that they are completely unremarkable.

I'm certain that they have a basic opamp headphone stage and are probably power-limited with high impedance headphones like the HD800, but this isn't a problem for me as I don't listen at high volumes. I have listened to some high dynamic range recordings with my VSX and so far have not detected any clipping or harshness with transients. Overall, I would say that these Pioneers are easily comparable to basic no-frills headphone amps like the Objective2 or Schiit Magni.
It's interesting you mentioned that they don't have a sound signature because that's exactly how I'd describe it. Not warm, not thin, just huge sound with phenomenal dynamics. The receiver has some really bad channel balance so I actually had to turn the "balance" knob more towards the right side to get it even. The few reasons I refuse to settle with the receiver is the lack of airiness and extension in the higher freq. and the lack of inputs like a coaxial input, nonetheless it still is a really amazing match, very enjoyable. As I've mentioned, it turns the HD800 into a power house and provides musicality.
post #5462 of 13971

So I am the fortunate owner of a net pair of HD800. The dealer knocked $100 off and that was all it took. SN is 24xxx so very new it seems.

 

Well. These are indeed very different than what I am used to.

 

They are fresh out of the box and I've only had an hour to listen but I am not sure if it is love at first sight. At first I found the enhanced soundstage to be almost dizzying/disorienting but I think I am becoming used to it now. One thing I feel I am hearing is a little bit of a lack of coherency in the lower mids due to the stretching effect. The upper mids and treble are wildly resolving and clean though. But there seems to be something slightly off with realism and instrument timbre and a heightened awareness I am listening to a recording. Maybe something that one needs to become used to.

 

Piano seems to sound really good. I have the Chesky CD of Artur Pizzaro Beethoven and this is the best I have heard it. I also have a few DSD and DXD piano recordings and they sound very present, although the bottom resonances are a little thin. These phones seem to favor hi-res very much, I listened to some lower res MP3 files and you can certainly tell the difference in quality and hear the grain.

 

Going to be very interesting to see where this goes. Certainly something very different from the HE-500. I'm putting on my break in loop and will listen again in the morning.

post #5463 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

It's interesting you mentioned that they don't have a sound signature because that's exactly how I'd describe it. Not warm, not thin, just huge sound with phenomenal dynamics. The receiver has some really bad channel balance so I actually had to turn the "balance" knob more towards the right side to get it even. The few reasons I refuse to settle with the receiver is the lack of airiness and extension in the higher freq. and the lack of inputs like a coaxial input, nonetheless it still is a really amazing match, very enjoyable. As I've mentioned, it turns the HD800 into a power house and provides musicality.

Theres no lack of "air" or "extension" with mine. On the other hand, "powerhouse" and "huge sound" are not words I would use to describe mine either...lol.

Your channel imbalance is of some concern. Yours is a 15 year-old amp and may not be working properly.
post #5464 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

It's interesting you mentioned that they don't have a sound signature because that's exactly how I'd describe it. Not warm, not thin, just huge sound with phenomenal dynamics. The receiver has some really bad channel balance so I actually had to turn the "balance" knob more towards the right side to get it even. The few reasons I refuse to settle with the receiver is the lack of airiness and extension in the higher freq. and the lack of inputs like a coaxial input, nonetheless it still is a really amazing match, very enjoyable. As I've mentioned, it turns the HD800 into a power house and provides musicality.

Theres no lack of "air" or "extension" with mine. On the other hand, "powerhouse" and "huge sound" are not words I would use to describe mine either...lol.

Your channel imbalance is of some concern. Yours is a 15 year-old amp and may not be working properly.
Lol, youre probably right, like I said--I have the "balance" knob turned more towards the right side. Your vsx is a much newer model I assume? The air and extensions are there but I was comparing to other higher end headphone amps, and in comparison it falls short.
Edited by DarKen23 - 9/7/13 at 9:43pm
post #5465 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

Lol, youre probably right, like I said--I have the "balance" knob turned more towards the right side. Your vsx is a much newer model I assume? The air and extensions are there but I was comparing to other higher end headphone amps, and in comparison it falls short.

Yes, mine was a new model last year. It was a store demo model I picked up for $200. It has more analog and digital inputs than I could ever use, built-in DAC and MCACC auto room EQ. I assume the headamp built-in is a simple discrete opamp job.

The mid-90's is a bit tougher. I don't know much about them so Im wondering if your headphone section is discrete or tapped off the main amp. It's got DSP so im thinking discrete opamp for headphone stage on yours too.
post #5466 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post


Lol, youre probably right, like I said--I have the "balance" knob turned more towards the right side. Your vsx is a much newer model I assume? The air and extensions are there but I was comparing to other higher end headphone amps, and in comparison it falls short.

Might just need a quick clean. Open it up and spray some Deoxit on the balance pot. In fact spray all the pots while doing it. As amps get old, oxide forms and pots don't work as good. 

post #5467 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

 

No your not.  But of course, being the salesperson Peter is.  He's saying to get the best out the DAC his software will work best.

 

The 6moons review I believe also suggested utilising the software with that particular DAC for best results..

post #5468 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post


Lol, youre probably right, like I said--I have the "balance" knob turned more towards the right side. Your vsx is a much newer model I assume? The air and extensions are there but I was comparing to other higher end headphone amps, and in comparison it falls short.

 

Could be a whole slew of issues - might be worth seeing if you can get the 15 year old refurbished...

post #5469 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

Lol, youre probably right, like I said--I have the "balance" knob turned more towards the right side. Your vsx is a much newer model I assume? The air and extensions are there but I was comparing to other higher end headphone amps, and in comparison it falls short.
Might just need a quick clean. Open it up and spray some Deoxit on the balance pot. In fact spray all the pots while doing it. As amps get old, oxide forms and pots don't work as good. 
All I've got is WD-40. Here we go tongue.gif
post #5470 of 13971

Better to use methylated spirits. Otherwise the oil in the WD40 could gunk things up.

post #5471 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by nk77 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

Lol, youre probably right, like I said--I have the "balance" knob turned more towards the right side. Your vsx is a much newer model I assume? The air and extensions are there but I was comparing to other higher end headphone amps, and in comparison it falls short.

Could be a whole slew of issues - might be worth seeing if you can get the 15 year old refurbished...
Yea I'm sure the receiver has all sorts of other issues. I'm just using it while I wait for my other amp to arrive.
post #5472 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by wink View Post

Better to use methylated spirits. Otherwise the oil in the WD40 could gunk things up.
I was joking..
post #5473 of 13971
Quote:DarKen23
 
Originally Posted by wink View Post

Better to use methylated spirits. Otherwise the oil in the WD40 could gunk things up.
I was joking..

I wasn't:wink_face:

 

Seriously, The idea is to get rid of all the loose carbon and dust inside the pot, and leave a clean track for the wiper to run on.

 

You can get a contact cleaner & conditioner that  cleans the track and leaves a film of lubricant behind that doesn't harden or clog with age.


Edited by wink - 9/8/13 at 4:07am
post #5474 of 13971
Ah, gottca. Thank you kindly, I'll try it.
post #5475 of 13971
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarKen23 View Post

Ah, gottca. Thank you kindly, I'll try it.

 

It's a coincidence that palmfish also has a VSX series like you do, which is interesting. As for cleaning the receiver, just some canned air might do the trick, but De-Oxit Red followed by Gold would do even better, or the Fader lube that Caig also sells. Try the canned air first :)

 

Gotta say, I'm surprised by those Pioneer headphone outs! Can't wait to get my BH Crack in commission...

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