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Cavalli Liquid Gold - Page 16  

post #226 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster7 View Post

From what I've read, the Liquid Gold is the greatest headphone amp ever; crushing everything that came before it.  But the 6k price tag is crazy.  So, I'm wondering.  Do the components of the Liquid Gold justify the cost of the amp, or is it Cavalli's engineering genius you are paying for?

 

It's kind of a loaded question, because no commercial amp is ever going to be built to cost of the parts. There's always going to be markup since people have to make a living. Some folks think they've got the value figured out because they compare it to DIY offerings they have or someone they know has built, but viable business can't run that way in most cases. There are also quite a few hidden costs with the LAu such as the incredible chassis work (which you have to see in person to appreciate --- OEM it certainly is not). I suspect you'd end up paying a lot for DIY designs for instance if you invested in such flourishes.

 

Ignoring speaker amps which can cost substantially more, there are headphone amps that cost just as much (Manley Neo-Classic) and even higher (Apex Pinnacle). Looking at the parts list for the Pinnacle for instance, you're not going to see $10k in parts.

 

In the end I can say I'm immensely fond of the LAu, but in my experience there is no "one size fits all" greatest headphone amp. For me it's the greatest solid state headphone amp I've heard so far by a large margin based on my personal preferences. But someone else may feel the GS-X or the B22 for instance is close enough or even preferable. Also I would say that if you have very sensitive headphones primarily the LAu may very well not be a good fit for you, as it's an extremely powerful amp that was designed with less efficient loads in mind, and for me in SE mode there was too much hum with them (though others have reported little hum under those circumstances --- so it could be a ground loop thing).

 

Either way, I would strongly encourage people to go out and hear the LAu for themselves and compare it to other stuff, because ultimately only you can determine if it's worth its price tag for you or not.

post #227 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster7 View Post


I must have missed that somewhere along the way.  I read pages 1-12 about a month ago but haven't covered the new stuff.  Would you say that it is the best amp on the market to run either the LCD-3's or HD800's?

 

For my preferences, I felt my LCD-3 sounded the best it ever has out of the LAu. It really is THE amp for driving orthos IMHO. Simply stunning. The HD800 also sounded extremely nice, though I'm not sure I'd take it over something from Eddie Current for instance which pair really well with the HD800. There's also the DNA Stratus.

 

Also Cavalli's own Liquid Glass is a very good match for the LCD-3 and HD800 with the right tubes.

post #228 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster7 View Post

I must have missed that somewhere along the way.  I read pages 1-12 about a month ago but haven't covered the new stuff.  Would you say that it is the best amp on the market to run either the LCD-3's or HD800's?

If I was looking for solid state and hadn't just blown way too much money on a DAC, yes.  But I have not heard every amp currently on the market, so I'm just comparing it to the ones I've heard (which happen to include most of the expensive ones.) 

 

Here's the bullet points on the chassis alone:

 

 

1. The side panels of the LAu start as aluminum sheet stock. They are machined to 1/2" thick with rounded corners on the outsides. They weigh quite a bit.

2. The rear panel is 3/16" aluminum sheet specially machined for the jack arrangement.

3. The front panel is 1/4" aluminum sheet specially machined for the various controls. The filet around the outside of the front panel is made with a custom mill to get its unique shape.

4. The top and bottom panels are 90mil aluminum sheet custom punched to have the ventilation patterns that I want for heatflow through the amp.

5. There are four heatsinks inside the LAu. They are custom made from heatsink stock. They are first cut overlength and then machined to exactly the dimension between the top and bottom panels.

6. The lettering on the front panel is engraved using a 20mil end mill. It takes a very long time to cut out the letters because it is so easy to break the tool. After engraving it is bead blasted and anodized.

7. The volume knob is custom made from aluminum rod stock and anodized.

8. The feet disks are custom made from aluminum rod stock and anodized.

9. The sides, top, bottom, and rear are custom powder coated. The insides of the top and bottom are masked so that ...

10. The heatsinks are screwed to both top and bottom to transfer heat at their contact surfaces where the powder coating is masked off. This permits greater heat dissipation in a smaller box because now both top and bottom are helping out. Heatsinks are delivered natural Al and are anodized after they are machined.

11. The transformer is a custom made (to my specs) RCore.

12. The power switch is a custom made piezo switch assembled in housings that are custom made for me only.

13. The fastening points are all PEMS with thick interior aluminum brackets for rock solid construction.

 

There's probably more. Anyone has the right to believe that the LAu is a mass market construction, but I can assure you that it is not. If fact, it takes a tremendous effort by 4-5 suppliers to just make the enclosure.

 

post #229 of 406
Thread Starter 

For me this would be my ultimate amp until time traveling aliens drop off that new technology.  $6K I don't have now but the price doesn't faze me and I can pull up any hobby, sport ,car etc that would make this seem tame.  I am a cyclist and you can spend $6K on a bicycle frame blinking your eyes(yes just the frame).

 

The sound coming out of my headphones on this amp was just it.  I miss the amp.  When I had it everything was springing to life even more and a scramble to listen to all the favorite, interesting, and nit-picking music I owned.  I would have like to hear this on an MSB or DCS DAC.  And add a Smyth Realiser to that as well.

post #230 of 406

Good info in both posts Muppet.

 

Good info Radio...come on, you can tell me, you refinanced your house for an MSB didn't you :D

 

I would love to see one of these amps in person.  I haven't been really impressed with the pictures.  But, in terms of build quality, I am highly impressed with Woo Audio gear.  Would, either of you, say that the craftmanship is as good or better than Woo Audio?  Not that it would stop me from getting a Cavalli rig.

post #231 of 406

No need to refinance, but did fall for MSB.  

 

As for build, its kind of like trying to take a picture of a black hole.  You have to see one in person, and when you get close to it, you just get... sucked in.

 

Woo and CA seem to go for very different things with look and build, its like comparing a haunted Victorian tudor to a yurt.

post #232 of 406

I think you just did the comparison.  Interesting :D
 

post #233 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

 

Woo and CA seem to go for very different things with look and build, its like comparing a haunted Victorian tudor to a yurt.

 

LOL

post #234 of 406
Just read a write up from HiFi+ that I thought I would share
 
 
 
 
"The whole point of an admittedly expensive headphone amplifier like the Liquid Gold is to provide cracking great sound quality and the Cavalli does not disappoint. 
 
As one guest listener put it, “I’ve been around music and musicians all my life, but I’ve never heard anything quite like that amp. It shows you things about recorded music that I honestly didn’t know could be shown about modern recordings. In a sense, it gives you more and better insights into a musical performance than you would normal be able to hear even in good live music venues.”
 
Another guest listener just shook his head in wonderment and said, “That amp’s the real deal. Cavalli amps have traditionally done a very good job, but this one is just… over-the-top good.”
 
For my part, I came away from my brief exposure to the amp impressed by the positive sonic things it does with ease, but also impressed by its freedom from the types of commonly encountered artifacts and distortions I’ve sometimes experienced with other top-tier amps. Although the Liquid Gold can sound explosive and muscular when the music calls for those qualities, there’s also a relaxed, effortless quality about this amp that I found quite disarming."
 
..dB
post #235 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBel84 View Post

Just read a write up from HiFi+ that I thought I would share
 


FIRST LISTEN: CAVALLI AUDIO LIQUID GOLD FULLY- BALANCED HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER



Blog







 
 
 
"The whole point of an admittedly expensive headphone amplifier like the Liquid Gold is to provide cracking great sound quality and the Cavalli does not disappoint. 
 
As one guest listener put it, “I’ve been around music and musicians all my life, but I’ve never heard anything quite like that amp. It shows you things about recorded music that I honestly didn’t know could be shown about modern recordings. In a sense, it gives you more and better insights into a musical performance than you would normal be able to hear even in good live music venues.”
 
Another guest listener just shook his head in wonderment and said, “That amp’s the real deal. Cavalli amps have traditionally done a very good job, but this one is just… over-the-top good.”
 
For my part, I came away from my brief exposure to the amp impressed by the positive sonic things it does with ease, but also impressed by its freedom from the types of commonly encountered artifacts and distortions I’ve sometimes experienced with other top-tier amps. Although the Liquid Gold can sound explosive and muscular when the music calls for those qualities, there’s also a relaxed, effortless quality about this amp that I found quite disarming."
 
..dB
What would be the generally accepted absolute best quality dac to go go along with the Liquid Gold amp?
post #236 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by commtrd View Post


What would be the generally accepted absolute best quality dac to go go along with the Liquid Gold amp?

I don't think there is such a thing. 

 

MSB analogue dac, cantata , ...........

 

..dB

post #237 of 406
Budget?

I have about 2 weeks listening time on the Liquid Gold, mostly with the Abyss and the LCD-3's.

The gold with either of those, or even the HD-800 will show every attribute of the associated equipment.

I like my PWD MkII, but now I think I'd go for the Luxman DA-06 DAC. The really stupid expensive 5 figure dac's might be a little better, but...
post #238 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yikes View Post

Budget?

I have about 2 weeks listening time on the Liquid Gold, mostly with the Abyss and the LCD-3's.

The gold with either of those, or even the HD-800 will show every attribute of the associated equipment.

I like my PWD MkII, but now I think I'd go for the Luxman DA-06 DAC. The really stupid expensive 5 figure dac's might be a little better, but...

You should post impressions of the LCD-3 vs Abyss vs. HD800 on the Liquid Gold. Abyss seems to be trending these days. You have my dream set up. LAu + PWD MK2. I'm Jealoustongue.gif

post #239 of 406

Has anyone Tried this amp with lower impedance HPs?  In particular I am interested in how it pairs with the TH900?

post #240 of 406

The production LAu is shipping this week. Up until now, all impressions have been on pre-production models I believe. I should have mine in the next few days.

 

On the pre-prod. unit, I noted very audible hum with low impedance headphones using the SE outputs. The balanced outputs were much, much quieter. I was told this is because the SE outputs didn't have the same noise canceling as the balanced. This lead to some of my comments about not recommending the amp for exclusive use w/ highly sensitive headphones.

 

But the story gets complicated. Radio_Head, a good friend of mine, had the LAu at his place for a while right after me, and he noted very little if any noise using a pair of Grados in SE mode. This was confirmed by another friend of mine, dBel. Grados were one of the "sensitive" headphones I tested, so I was left scratching my head. Have to chalk it up to an environmental thing: the pre-prod. LAu just picked up on some wiring or ground loops or noise issues in my environment. I'm having the same problem with the production Eddie Current Electra (though my Liquid Lightning 2 is whisper quiet).

 

The sound I was hearing with everything I threw at the LAu was utterly seductive, and even though there was SE noise w/ sensitive headphones in my particular environment, they sounded really, really good otherwise. Because of this I acquired a SE -> XLR adapter. Problem solved.

 

But Dr. Cavalli is not one to simply accept "good enough" solutions in my experience. He said the production units will have a dedicated SE low impedance jack. Awesome! So yeah, really looking forward to seeing if SE mode is now quieter with my more sensitive stuff.


Edited by MuppetFace - 7/25/13 at 3:33am
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