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Considering tubes: Crack OTL much different from M-stage?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Although I'm not an equipment junkie (yet, heaven forbid k701smile.gif ), I am curious about the tube sound.


I currently have a music streamer II DAC and a Matrix M-Stage amp. If I were to get a Crack OTL amplifier, would the experience be more than subtly different?


I have a Sennheiser HD 600 and I listen to classical and alternative/rock mostly.

post #2 of 5

I've never heard the HD600's with an M-Stage but I used to have an M-Stage and I'm listening to my HD600's with my Crack right now. 


There are fewer pleasures greater than the sound this combo produces.  I've been grinning from ear to ear since I finished the Crack build...even made me sell my LCD-2 and Woo WA6-SE. 


Everybody has their own opinion of the tube sound so YMMV but there really is something special about the Crack/Senn HD600 synergy.


I found the M-Stage to sound great for the price but like all SS pieces, it just doesn't have that tube "magic".

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks. I guess I was really just interested in how much different a tube amp was from a SS amp. Is it night and day, or more subtle than that?


I'll be able to answer that question for myself in a while. I have a crack on order.

post #4 of 5

I have been considering these same two amps (among others...) although with the HD650's.  Is the basic Crack with stock tube enough to get that magic sound, or do you need the Speedball upgrade and/or exotic NOS tubes?

post #5 of 5

Again, everybody has their own idea of what magic sounds like but I don't have any ss amplification in either my main speaker rig or my headphone rig.  To me, the Crack in its stock form (and Doc sends out some quality NOS tubes with his kits although you can certainly tweak the sound to your liking with aftermarket stuff) is miles beyond anything SS. 


Lots of people put lots of names on the sound but tubes are a warmer, more "natural"-sounding approach so if you're looking for the last word in sonic precision and accuracy, tubes probably aren't for you.  But if you want something that allows you to just listen to the music with a lot of enjoyment, tubes have no substitute.


As with anything else in this hobby, it's all in the ear of the beholder.  The best thing to do is just try things out by whatever means you have available - I had tube speaker amps way before I had anything tubed feeding my headphones so I had a head start - and figure out what you like.  But if the reviews of the Crack and Senn pairings are to be believed (there are many and they're all pretty right-on if you ask me), it's like the two should be bundled together.  The sound really is that good. 


Have you finished your Crack build, stephenbou?  The day I finished mine and plugged in that first set of high-impedance cans is probably in the top 3 audio milestones in my life.

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