More here from me to finish up. If there's repetition so be it.
The low level listening on the amp is superb. I really didn’t hear what some criticize SS amps as being to clinical etc. I listened to very familiar music and heard detail, layering of vocals I’d never experienced before. The reproduction of bass and drums is the best I’ve heard in a phone amp with the bass being totally defined. Again I’ve not heard a phone amp pull that one off. There is so much greater definition than I get from the LF. I knew that if I increased the volume I didn’t lose anything either. It felt like it would just keep going until I’d reach a level my ears couldn’t tolerate. My only regret is that I couldn’t listen to this with LCD3’s and a big DAC like an MSB. I believe at that point you’d be knocking on the doors of Nirvana. As much as I could get from my Wyred4Sound DAC2 I am sure more could be had but that’s the audiophile in me!
I listened to all sorts of file playback: 24/96, 24/192, ISO SACD files, and vinyl rips in 24/96 and 24/192. I also played around using Single ended and balanced plus balanced in and TRS out etc. You are right that the balanced is the best. The others setups were still incredibly good as well. Some of my favorite tracks for testing in the rock idiom are “White Room” from the DCC gold disc plus I have a vinyl non CSG rip that is merciless. My 15 year-old daughter even listened to that one and no-joke I could barely get the phones back from her and she is a die-hard-now-generation-ear-bud-person. I also listened to Allman Brothers live at the Fillmore East “Hot Lanta” If the impact of the bass and drums comes across then you have a winner which this does in spades. Most phone systems just don’t get that across with that tune. On the vocal end I listen to Beethoven’s ninth DG Von Karajan(1969 issue). The last minute of that is the big vocal windup and anything not up to it just muddies the whole deal plus won’t enact the vocal and symphonic force behind it. Part of the passage has timpani going sympathetic with any low end and I could pick up all the definition in the bass and hearing the little modulations(that goes for the whole symphony for that matter). Pet Sounds in the new MFSL SACD has beautiful vocal passages brought out in this stereo mix that are just smooth and beautiful. I have Sgt Pepper in 24 bit remaster, 24/96 vinyl reissue rip and mono. On “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” the mono has the vocal flanging you don’t get on stereo but...........I could actually hear some of the flanging in Lennon’s vocal this time. “Voodoo Chile” 24/96 rip from the Track Record vinyl............oh boy!
I could go on and on. After I did my initial six hour listening tests it was me frantically going through my library to enjoy a multitude of tracks I love. Every time I sit down to listen I don’t want to get up. A similar experience I had with the Liquid Fire but better.
^^ What tubes are you using in your LF?