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What's the best amp for HD800 - Page 6

post #76 of 527

I've heard very good things about the Bottle Head Mainline as well.


Edited by TwoEars - 4/29/14 at 9:28am
post #77 of 527

OMG!

Total disaster!

The Matrix HPA-2 crapped out. It was working beautifully and suddenly I began to hear a very loud hum. It happens at all volume levels, on either input and with or without anything connected to the input. Fortunately the guy I bought it from sez I can send it back for a refund. Luckily it didn't take out the headphones! But it's back to the drawing board. Too bad. It sounded nice. I'm looking for a good match for the 800s. :(

post #78 of 527

Hard to beat the M-stage in that price range. I think you were just unlucky, never heard of a failure before.

 

Violectric v181 or v200 are very good but they will probably be twice the price of an m-stage even if you get them second hand.

post #79 of 527
I'd just get a replacement. This is the first I've heard of a M-Stage failure as well and I have 2 of them, one for over a year, the other a few months. No issues with either.
Edited by Maxvla - 4/30/14 at 8:51pm
post #80 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.

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 


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.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 

 

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.

 

This is a comparison I have been doing for a week or so now at my place on my own. Im powering the 009s with the KGSSHV and the 800s with the Super 7. the super 7 running single ended and the HV running balanced, both out of the Master 7.

 

My initial thoughts are that the 009s has a better overall tonal balance. With more present deep bass, and highs that are slightly subdued in comparison. On my good recordings the strengths of the 800s outshine the 009s I would say. The larger soundstage and better detail come through. But since a lot of what I listen to is not the best sounding metal, the 009s are smoother, making everything sound better. They also for some reason provide better instrument separation on the worst of my recordings, whereas the 800s do better instrument separation on anything else...its kind of weird.

post #81 of 527

I am glad to know others like you are hearing similar things. I have been doing a similar comparison exercise but on a single amp (the WA5). I await driving the SR009 out of the BHSE and a much better source, but with my current setup the HD800 can sometimes outshine the SR009 because of its more well-defined edges, microdetails and imaging, hence giving the perception of better clarity and therefore being more impressive. What I perhaps disagree with you here is the actual detail resolved through the SR009 but I suppose it is a difference in terminology. I find that it portrays nuances in a way that excels the HD800 by a fair margin. By nuances I refer to the individual sonic components making up the "sound" of individual voices and instruments. While HD800 may let you hear the pin dropping on the floor more clearly, the SR009 lets you hear the air moving through instruments, the way that these instruments vibrate and resonate with more detail realism. If I were to draw an analogy, HD800 is applying a sharpening filter in Photoshop to a photograph taken with a mediocre lens, SR009 is not applying any filter to the same photograph taken by a terrific lens.

 

 

The result is that the SR009 is far less fatiguing, more rounded throughout the frequency spectrum and better in tonal balance. It also has some midrange magic when the recording calls for it.

 

As a result, and I think we agree with each other on this, one would be playing more songs through the SR009 (even Spotify and mp3) and perhaps only the very special ones with the HD800. 

 

On the other hand, the HD800 has hands down the wider soundstage and things can sound tremendously "out of your head". It is indeed quite special in that regard, but I only need it when I am showing off my gear. It does not really allow me to appreciate the music any better (unless I am listening to an orchestra, of course).  

 

I thought about selling the HD800 and that is why I am active in this thread. I'm holding back from my decision because of the comments on the HD800 here (to which I largely agree) and also the fact that I may need a second setup at home.

post #82 of 527

Very good comparisons and analogues lojay.

 

I've never heard the Stax but I'm intimately familiar with the HD800 and I think I understand what you're taking about when you're making photoshop comparisions. I think part of the "problem" is that the HD800 has very fast transient responses. In stock form it's simply too much. It may work for electronic and classical music but for any other kind of music it quickly becomes harsh and fatiguing.

 

With a pure copper cable (of which you have a very nice one) the transient responses are subdued somewhat, but some of it is still there. With a smooth DAC and amp it can be subdued further but I doubt it will ever sound as smooth as say the LCD-2/3/X.

 

It depends on what you're looking for I suppose. Of all the headphones I've heard the HD800 is now my favorite, and I do prefer it to any of the Audeze offerings. But I also recognize that the HD800 is not perfect.

post #83 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

I am glad to know others like you are hearing similar things. I have been doing a similar comparison exercise but on a single amp (the WA5). I await driving the SR009 out of the BHSE and a much better source, but with my current setup the HD800 can sometimes outshine the SR009 because of its more well-defined edges, microdetails and imaging, hence giving the perception of better clarity and therefore being more impressive. What I perhaps disagree with you here is the actual detail resolved through the SR009 but I suppose it is a difference in terminology. I find that it portrays nuances in a way that excels the HD800 by a fair margin. By nuances I refer to the individual sonic components making up the "sound" of individual voices and instruments. While HD800 may let you hear the pin dropping on the floor more clearly, the SR009 lets you hear the air moving through instruments, the way that these instruments vibrate and resonate with more detail realism. If I were to draw an analogy, HD800 is applying a sharpening filter in Photoshop to a photograph taken with a mediocre lens, SR009 is not applying any filter to the same photograph taken by a terrific lens.

 

 

The result is that the SR009 is far less fatiguing, more rounded throughout the frequency spectrum and better in tonal balance. It also has some midrange magic when the recording calls for it.

 

As a result, and I think we agree with each other on this, one would be playing more songs through the SR009 (even Spotify and mp3) and perhaps only the very special ones with the HD800. 

 

On the other hand, the HD800 has hands down the wider soundstage and things can sound tremendously "out of your head". It is indeed quite special in that regard, but I only need it when I am showing off my gear. It does not really allow me to appreciate the music any better (unless I am listening to an orchestra, of course).  

 

I thought about selling the HD800 and that is why I am active in this thread. I'm holding back from my decision because of the comments on the HD800 here (to which I largely agree) and also the fact that I may need a second setup at home.

 

I agree with even if I think there is less different than you post suggest. Which DAC did you use ? You should try the HD800 on another amp like Eddie Current Balancing Act or DNA Stratus and on maybe on another DAC. I have the same setup as you excepting the DAC. I heard the SR009 on SRM007T versus Woo WA5+WEE. On the Stax amp it gains body and warm but the bass lacks control.


Edited by Hun7er - 5/1/14 at 6:04am
post #84 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoEars View Post
 

With a pure copper cable (of which you have a very nice one) the transient responses are subdued somewhat, but some of it is still there. With a smooth DAC and amp it can be subdued further but I doubt it will ever sound as smooth as say the LCD-2/3/X.

 

It depends on what you're looking for I suppose. Of all the headphones I've heard the HD800 is now my favorite, and I do prefer it to any of the Audeze offerings. But I also recognize that the HD800 is not perfect.

 

I agree with that as well. The HD800's bass will never have the quantity of the LCD-3s (unless you EQ heavily, but they're still not the same) or the SR009. But it is very special in its own way. Once you have an amp that can fully unleash its soundstage you can fully appreciate that. I think with your Sonnet and my WA5 that much is accomplished.

 

Thanks to this thread my HD800s are getting more head-time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hun7er View Post
 

I agree with even if I think there is less different than you post suggest. Which DAC did you use ? You should try the HD800 on another amp like Eddie Current Balancing Act or DNA Stratus and on maybe on another DAC.

 

I am using an Emotiva Stealth DC-1. It is a real bargain and I bought it after following the December 2013 mid-level DAC comparison thread closely. I can hear little difference between this DAC and the Naim DAC V1 and the Benchmark DAC2 which I had on loan for a couple of weeks. I compared the DACs with the HD800 but I have not conducted extensive A/B tests. 

 

To clarify, I do not think there is a big difference between the HD800 and SR009 when one compares the two on a general level. As mentioned in some earlier posts, I say the HD800 is about 90% of the SR009 with our setup (WA5 + WEE). That is quite frustrating because of the obvious price difference but I've read in this post or elsewhere that this may be because the WEE + WA5 is really not optimal for the SR009 but is already top flight with the HD800. Even so, the slight differences between the two headphones when added together and multiplied by the hours of listening can yield dramatic results in terms of listening preferences. It is important that there is 0% fatigue with the SR009 on the rather laid back WA5. In that way, it "fixes" one of the greatest problems with the HD800 and is currently my go-to headphone. 

post #85 of 527

I think it's me who said " WEE + WA5 is really not optimal for the SR009", the SR009 are better in my opinion on a SRM007t because it add fullness and warm.

post #86 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hun7er View Post
 

I think it's me who said " WEE + WA5 is really not optimal for the SR009", the SR009 are better in my opinion on a SRM007t because it add fullness and warm.

 

You have indeed said that. I agree it is not optimal but I do not think the SRM007TA is better. That is because tube rolling changes the nature of the WA5 dramatically and we most likely use different tubes. I have spent a week with the SRM007TA which arrived with the SR009. The WA5 beat it hands down and I sold the SRM007TA very swiftly. We may have different tubes on the WA5, but the soundstage on the SR009 opened up I swear by 30-40% after I swapped the SRM007TA with the WA5 + WEE. The bass quantity decreased very slightly but, as you say, had more control. With my tubes the WA5 is probably as warm as the stock SRM007TA (I for one do not find the combo bright) but there was this intimacy that exuded from the SRM007TA that is not present in the WA5 (which sounds lusher, grander and more open). I think you might be referring to this intimacy when talking about the combo being warmer.

 

I was in fact referring to HeadphoneAddict's comment in this thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/493214/hifiman-he-6-planar-magnetic-headphone/13035. If I may take the liberty to post it here with some truncation:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
 

 

Here's the scary thing - The SR-009 and HE-6 are both still being under-driven by the WA5.  If you think you like these phones now, just wait until you try a KGBH for the 009, or an Eddie Current ZDT or EF6 for both the HE-6 and HD800, or an Apex Pinnacle with the HD800.  That's a whole nother step up! 

...

 

Of the three headphones, the only one I enjoyed on the WA5 was the HD800.  The HD800 can certainly be fatiguing with the wrong amp or tubes for a long listening session, and even a headphone cable like the Locus-Design Hyperion or Moon-Audio Black Dragon can help tame them a little.  I'm still not sure I would call them sibilant per se, as with the EF6 or ZDT amps they are not sibilant (although I haven't used the stock cable in years, so I could be wrong if one is still using that).

 

...

Likewise, the KGBH gives the SR-009 balls so that they hit like a dynamic headphone, and increases the soundstage depth and width, while extracting every last detail from them.  When I first received the KGBH that luvdunhill built and I heard the combo I was gobsmacked.  They are so refined sounding with this amp (Mullard XF2 tubes, anti-cables interconnects).  I have the WEE, and in my case I think the SR-009 sound a little bright and forward with it, with a variety of amps.  If using the WEE I much prefer the SR-007 or Lambda Nova Signature over the 009 (with ZDT 8-watt amp, or Emotiva BDP-1 75 watt amp)

 

 

Similar observations.

 

Back to the HD800, I wonder how many out there think the Stratus / ECBA / Pinnacle bests a WA5 with upgraded tubes driving the HD800? By "upgraded" I mean having at least the Sophia Royal Princess or EML/AVVT/KR 300Bs, Tungsol BGRP 6SN7 and premium rectifiers such as the WE422 or GEC U52. I doubt many will be able to tell because very few would have this precise combo of tubes (by then, you would have spent enough to buy another WA5 second-hand).

post #87 of 527

I use on these tubes EML 300b, Sylvania 6SN7W and Langrex 5R4GY on my Woo WA5. It seems that you have better rectifier tubes than me.

I did hear a SR007T on direct comparison with upgraded tubes, I don't know what kind of brand. 

 

But yes maybe the intimacy gives this warmness I hear.

 

I have similar observation with HeadphoneAddict so maybe it's the Woo WA5 who are bright and forward. I don't believe that the Woo WEE change the sound. Moreover these is french guys who made a blind test with RVK MKII + Woo Wee vs EC Electra vs SRM007t vs SR727 and they didn't say that a combo are more bright and forward than other.


Edited by Hun7er - 5/1/14 at 7:06am
post #88 of 527

IMHO, in my limited knowledge and experience, I think your tube combination may be on the bright side. The NOS Sylvania 6SN7W chrome top metal base I have (I bought two pairs) do not match well with bright cans. I can't really use them with the HD800 and the SR009 although it is slightly better with the SR009. I didn't get to enjoy the lushness and musicality until I swapped in the Tungsol BGRP 6SN7. It is amazing. For more lushness, you may want to swap in the RCA red bases.

 

GEC U52 is generally regarded as euphonic and warm as well. The rectifiers will make a huge difference to the soundstage in my experience, compared to stock (which were crap) especially. 

 

From what I've read, the Royal Princess seems to have more bass and a grander presentation compared to other 300B tubes. I have not compared it to the EML. Combining the RP and U52 brought out the SR009's soundstage compared to the SRM007TA, which is very impressive.

 

I agree that the WEE does not change the sound. That's not the function of an energiser.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, I really enjoy my setup. It took a lot of tinkering with tubes and cables, but after all of that fuss, it is now quite amazing. But, curiosity begs me to ask, can it get better? :)


Edited by lojay - 5/1/14 at 7:32am
post #89 of 527
Quote:
Originally Posted by third_eye View Post
 
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.

 

That's quite fascinating. I did the non-slip-matting damping mod to my HD-800s and I find it fixes all their perceived faults. At the same time though it can make their presentation a bit too relaxed. However I had the same idea as your friend. While I miss the amazing presentation of the 009s I just didn't want $10k tied up in an amp and headphones that could only be used with each other and little else.

post #90 of 527

Which of these amps would you think best for someone on somewhat of a budget.

 1; DNA Sonett 2

 2. Bryston BHA-1

 3. One of the Bottlehead amps. either SEX or Mainline.

 or ??? Limit $1500


Edited by HPiper - 5/4/14 at 3:12am
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