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What's the best amp for HD800 - Page 5

post #61 of 527

Doug Savitsky (DSavitsk on these forums) made two of the best amps for the HD800 -- the ECP DSHA- and the ECP L2.  Those are unfortunately both out of production, but he's releasing another amp shortly called the Black Diamond.  You can preorder that amp now, and while I haven't heard that amp with the HD800 it stands to reason that another of Doug's designs would also serve them well.  

post #62 of 527

I own a GSX-MKII and it is an excellent amp for the HD800 as well, especially in balanced drive amplification.

post #63 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post

WA5 is a 300B that sounds luxurious with the HD800. Starting to think that the SR009 beats it it in almost every area though, after having lived with both cans for a while. Are there HD800 amp combos that can make HD800 even compete?


Not sure but a friend who owns the WES/SR009 is coming over for a listening session tonight with my re-tubed Stratus/balanced HD800 rig so we'll find out.

post #64 of 527

Amazing it would be good to kn​ow what you find :biggrin: 

post #65 of 527
Auralic Taurus Mk.II is an excellent match with the HD800's as well
post #66 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 


Not sure but a friend who owns the WES/SR009 is coming over for a listening session tonight with my re-tubed Stratus/balanced HD800 rig so we'll find out.

Yes it will be interesting - I think the WES will have a battle on its hands. 

post #67 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by magiccabbage View Post
 

Yes it will be interesting - I think the WES will have a battle on its hands. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

Amazing it would be good to kn​ow what you find :biggrin: 

 

So we had a really fun listening session. My friend brought over his Ayre DX5 DSD DAC as well as all of his high end cables to try and simulate his system as much as possible. The differences were 009/WES vs 800/Stratus. Long story short, he could tell it was a slightly different presentation but could not necessarily say one was better. We would really have to compare both rigs side by side but he is seriously considering "downgrading" and pocketing some $$. The Stratus/HD800/Ayre rig was quite magical and has me seriously thinking about a DAC upgrade.

 

 

post #68 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 

 

 

So we had a really fun listening session. My friend brought over his Ayre DX5 DSD DAC as well as all of his high end cables to try and simulate his system as much as possible. The differences were 009/WES vs 800/Stratus. Long story short, he could tell it was a slightly different presentation but could not necessarily say one was better. We would really have to compare both rigs side by side but he is seriously considering "downgrading" and pocketing some $$. The Stratus/HD800/Ayre rig was quite magical and has me seriously thinking about a DAC upgrade.

 

 

 

Very cool. The HD800 is definitely very dependant on a good DAC. Crap in, crap out for sure.

 

In my experience the HD800 is far more sensitive to DAC/AMP matching than the LCD-2/3/X.

 

Thanks for the quick comparision!

post #69 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 

 

 

So we had a really fun listening session. My friend brought over his Ayre DX5 DSD DAC as well as all of his high end cables to try and simulate his system as much as possible. The differences were 009/WES vs 800/Stratus. Long story short, he could tell it was a slightly different presentation but could not necessarily say one was better. We would really have to compare both rigs side by side but he is seriously considering "downgrading" and pocketing some $$. The Stratus/HD800/Ayre rig was quite magical and has me seriously thinking about a DAC upgrade.

 

 

 

Out of curiosity, do you know what kind of valves were in the Stratus and the WES?

post #70 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigfatpaulie View Post
 

 

Out of curiosity, do you know what kind of valves were in the Stratus and the WES?


Stratus had Sophia Princess 2A3, and NOS RCA rectifier/input tubes, the WES has upgraded tubes not sure which ones. To be clear, these 2 rigs were not tested side by side.....we're planning to do that at a later date. Also, HD800's were run balanced out of the Stratus using a WyWires XLR cable, WyWires Silver RCA's, WyWires power cable, and a high end Audioquest USB cable, not sure which one.

post #71 of 527

Third-eye, I agree that the HD800 and the SR009 are not that far apart. On my setup I find that the SR009 bests the HD800 by 10-20%, but some might prefer the super expansive soundstage of the HD800 and call them even or 'different'. Still, I find that the HD800 does not render vocals as superbly as the SR009, especially female vocals which tend to sound a bit aggressive and less rounded on the HD800. Will you be carrying out more extensive tests or perhaps even live with both setups for a longer while? 


Edited by lojay - 4/28/14 at 9:15pm
post #72 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

Third-eye, I agree that the HD800 and the SR009 are not that far apart. On my setup I find that the SR009 bests the HD800 by 10-20%, but some might prefer the super expansive soundstage of the HD800 and call them even or 'different'. Still, I find that the HD800 does not render vocals as superbly as the SR009, especially female vocals which tend to sound a bit aggressive and less rounded on the HD800. Will you be carrying out more extensive tests or perhaps even live with both setups for a longer while? 

 

On the HD800 you can try to lift up he midrange around 2-4 kHz by about 2dB and lowering he 6kHz band by about -3dB. I feel that this little tweak does wonders for making voices feel more present and natural.

 

I also prefer a pure copper cable on the HD800, it takes away a lot of the harshness and siblance.

post #73 of 527

I am using a pure copper cable with the HD800 (SAA Endorphin). It reduces the sibilance and treble energy substantially without losing the details. Its effects are so obvious that my friends could tell the difference from stock on a simple A/B. It is a wonderful cable. Swapping in the Tungsol 6SN7 BGRP (an excellent tube that sounds rounded and rich, with emphasis on mids and lows) in my WA5 also helps.

 

But it does not change the fundamental nature in the way the HD800 presents voices, especially female voices. The HD800 portrays voices with a certain edginess. It draws human voices with sharpened contours in a way that feels unnatural to me. I suppose this is because the HD800 was designed for listening to classical music and opera, or even choir, where one might find these traits attractive. But it is less attractive when listening to single voices in a more intimate setting as is common with jazz and popular music. 

 

I therefore agree with the 58 Flagship review when it says that the HD800's strength is in presenting instruments. There are better headphones for voices (e.g. HE-6, SR009) and their difference is readily apparent once you compare them side-by-side.

 

I wonder if the Stratus improves the HD800 in terms of presenting voices?

post #74 of 527
I do not find the HD800 to be nearly as harsh on vocals as you. In fact I found them preferable in presentation to the HE-6 and even in some ways to the LCD-X
post #75 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

Third-eye, I agree that the HD800 and the SR009 are not that far apart. On my setup I find that the SR009 bests the HD800 by 10-20%, but some might prefer the super expansive soundstage of the HD800 and call them even or 'different'. Still, I find that the HD800 does not render vocals as superbly as the SR009, especially female vocals which tend to sound a bit aggressive and less rounded on the HD800. Will you be carrying out more extensive tests or perhaps even live with both setups for a longer while? 

 

We would like to get both setups next to each other for some extended listening as that would really be the only proper way to do it. I know what you mean and somewhat agree about the HD800's female vocals, yet I think much of this can be alleviated by amp/dac/cable choices.

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