More to come.The photos are crap. This drink is tasty.
Broke open a NOS pair of HP1000s. Drinking helped. Review coming?
Update: Initial Impressions
Well hopefully most people who are in this batch have received their Picos by now… time for some initial impressions.
Since my Pico Power (which I will now call the PP) is red, and my TH900 is red, and since I'm also secretly a communist I will be using this combo for now. What about the HP1000's? Pshhh, that's so last week/World War II.
First off is the noise floor… or hiss.. background noise. Whatever you want to call it. With the volume knob at 50% the Pico Power has significant humming with the TH900's at high gain, an almost inaudible "bzz" at medium gain (the gain setting which is optimal for these cans), and dead silent at low gain. I'll test later with IEM's and the low gain setting but needless to say the Pico is excellent in this regard. (If you are wondering, with the TH900 50% at medium gain is borderline painful/ music for grandpa, while 50% at high gain will most likely result in temporary deafness/tinnitus).
Also a point to note: I don't know if it's because of the PP's laid back presentation, or neutral sound signature but I had an overwhelming urge to turn up the volume knob even though I knew better. So say "no" to hearing loss.
I'll list some tracks as a reference when appropriate.
Bass: The PP tames the slightly bloomy bass of the TH900 while retaining the bass slam. Very punchy sounding amp. Bass extension suffers slightly, and it has a noticeably shorter bass decay than the Portaphile. Still- clean, powerful, and controlled bass from the TH900's, without a lot of the "bloom" is quite nice.
("Softly as a Morning Sunrise" from Hiromi's Sonicbloom)
Speed/Transients: Amp has excellent driver control. The TH900's are a relatively fast pair of cans, and with the PP it shows. ("Aerodynamic" from Daft Punk)
Detail Extraction: I don't know if it's my lack of intimacy with the TH900's (I've used them for maybe 6 hours?) but to me this amp (while quite good) is not the last word in detail extraction. It's minor nuances here and there, for example 1.08 seconds into Pixies "Where is My Mind" you hear a tiny click (I assume it's two drumsticks being hit together). With the PP it's just a dull "click", but switching to the RX MK3b the sound was more clear, sort of a snappy "clack". Other small things.. like the pressing of a piano pedal being made more audible, the slight shuffle of a persons behind (this was great, the MK3b sort of gave me a sonic image of where her butt was going..). Just nitpicking.
Mids: Liquid smooth. For me this is how I want my mids: you add nothing and take nothing away. ("Samson" by Regina Spektor)
Treble: Fiona Apple still hurts my ears with every S uttered, but this is the TH900's fault, not the amps. The amp actually helped out a bit here, and mellowed them out a bit. Like putting a band-aid over the gaping festering wound that used to be my ear drum.
I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
Soundstage: Soundstage is relatively smaller (compared to the Portaphile/MX3-b), and not as airy. Soundstage is well defined. Imaging is very precise…. I will reserve judgement on the space and depth of the imaging for later. Will also have to listen more to get a better feel on layering and instrument separation too (going to lean towards "good" for now).
Overall a very solid amp. Still need to do that thing where people turn the volume up real high to check for distortion... I might pass. Near the end I decided to switch it up and connect a pair of LCD-3's to the PP for 10 minutes and the sound I got from the pairing oddly reminded me of the 007 MK1 + KGSSHV in some ways.. but then again it was 2 AM and I was half-dead.
Edited by En_R - 3/25/13 at 10:58am