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ECP Audio - DSHA-1, L-2, Black Diamond - Page 6

post #76 of 207
I can't speak as to whether the sale is still on, but I can tell you that Doug has successfully moved smily_headphones1.gif
post #77 of 207

I've now owned the ECP L-2 for two months and I must say I'm very, very impressed.  Dynamics are not really my thing and I kind of bought the L-2 by accident (it happens... honest... redface.gif) but I'm glad I did.  I've known about the good work Doug is doing for years but having the amp here clearly illustrates that it stands head and shoulders over 95% of the stuff being pushed here as high end.  The fit and finish is perfect and the amp is tiny which is always welcome with an army of amps in the house. 

 

The real stand out though is the circuit used and how its implemented.  This isn't your regular single ended triode amp but something very special.  First off the choice of tubes and that there is only one.  This rather eccentric Russian tube allows the amp to have just one amplification stage but it's a tricky beast to tame due to it's quirks.  This is no 6SN7 or the like that you can just fit and forget.  The tubes are also driven by active solid state circuitry though the signal only sees the tube.  That means the limitations inductors and resistors have in keeping the perfect operation point for the tube is no longer there.  The tube is always getting what it needs to perform optimally, regardless of external factors.  This is in general what you get from amps such as the BHSE, the tubes simply being given the full resources to do what they do. 

 

The rest of the circuit is pretty much just two very high quality transformers.  Lundahl amorphous core input transformer that allows the use of both XLR and RCA (with either special cables or adapters) and a custom made output transformer with switchable secondaries for the impedance selector.  Very nice stuff indeed.  One thing that should be noted about the L-2 is just how utterly silent it is.  Hiss has been a problem with many dynamic amps but this one is dead silent.  You can't tell if it is on or not which welcome for somebody accustomed to this from the electrostatic side. 

 

Now the important stuff, how does it sound?  Well nothing short of stunning.  I know I'm not the first one to like this amp but given how demanding I'm of amplifier design I wasn't expecting to like it this much.  For me the HD800 is the best dynamic ever made but it is a tricky headphone to drive.  It sounds horrid off so many amps and I for one wrote it off initially after hearing it on lackluster amps.  Drive it well and it even comes close to the HE60 as the best headphone Sennheiser ever made and that is certainly the case here.  The edgy top end is gone and it's utterly smooth.  The bass is precise, tight and stops when it should.  The soundstage is wast and deep with pin point accuracy.  It also creates a coherent "whole" which is sometimes lacking when you basically get blobs of sound.  The midrange is just about perfect and only surpassed by the best Stax can offer. 

 

I also borrowed some Grado RS-1's, HP-2's and used my HD600/650 hybrid and it excelled driving them all.  Hell it made me tolerate the RS-1 which  is no small feat.  tongue.gif  I would like to end with recommending the L-2 to everybody who simply wants the best there is, built by somebody who knows what he's doing.  One thing to add and that's just how nice it looks. 

 

 

That one is a bit special as can be seen by the volume knob.  This is not something you can get from ECP (the stock volume knob is very nice milled aluminum) but I have a certain friend called Dr. Gilmore who decided I had to have something nice for my birthday.  A precision milled volume knob with metal insert was his choice.  smily_headphones1.gif  I think it looks stunning and fits the amp perfectly. 

post #78 of 207
Crap. I gotta buy this too? Wish my Leviathan was done already. Argh.

-Daniel
post #79 of 207

Spritzer ....You sound like you are one happy Viking now......beerchug.gif

post #80 of 207

Anyone who have experience with both L-2 and DNA Stratus?

post #81 of 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by maguire View Post

Spritzer ....You sound like you are one happy Viking now......beerchug.gif

 

I can't complain.  Finally some useable dynamics...  redface.gif

post #82 of 207
Thread Starter 

I am so jelly over that big black knob.  One in a wood grain that matches the side panels would look very cool too.

post #83 of 207

That pic makes the chassis look white-rather than the silver seen in other pics...also-I assume one doesn't have to worry about tube rolling too much? Does it run pretty hot, like say, an EC amp?

 

-Daniel

post #84 of 207
Thread Starter 

Everything looks whiter after being in Iceland for a while.  It is not a tube roller's amp.  It is optimized for one tube to run with the best possible linearity and that's it.  Chassis feels hotter than the BA but cooler than most other EC amps.  Tubes themselves get hot but you can only feel the tip while the top is on.  Does not add ambient heat to the room.

post #85 of 207
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

Everything looks whiter after being in Iceland for a while.  It is not a tube roller's amp.  It is optimized for one tube to run with the best possible linearity and that's it.  Chassis feels hotter than the BA but cooler than most other EC amps.  Tubes themselves get hot but you can only feel the tip while the top is on.  Does not add ambient heat to the room.

 

Whew. Good-that was my main concern when a Bryston, *fingers crossed* soon to be Levi, 360, and 65" plasma already require full AC year round almost.

 

-Daniel

post #86 of 207

The knob does match the side panels, the picture just isn't good at showing it. 

 

No tube rolling with this one besides swapping them out when they are tired.  That's how tube amps should be IMO. 

post #87 of 207
Thread Starter 

Wow - just zoomed in.  Hard to see in the picture, but that's definitely wood and it does look similar to the side panels.  Great touch.

post #88 of 207
Gabon ebony!
post #89 of 207

I've said it before, Birgir, but you do have a beautiful knob.

post #90 of 207
I fear I may have found another amp for my collection. So the L-2 pairs well with the TH900?

Edit: I should elaborate. I was previously looking at the ZDSE, will the L-2 pair as well with the TH900?
Edited by Audio Jester - 8/27/13 at 6:29am
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