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Studio Six - A Reference Headphone Amp from ALO Audio - Now Available! - Page 4

post #46 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

Ken, with respect, it has been pointed out to me in another thread that the transformers used, along with topology employed in the Studio Six is perhaps not quite on par with amplifiers at the same/similar price point. I am not saying that this is a fact - merely an impression of another member - but I think it will be fair if you can shed some light on the matter - specially of component sourcing and may be some design decisions involved in creating the Studio Six in this thread.

 

Thank you,

 

C

Hi @x838nwy - 

 

I'm not sure about about the meaning of "on par" in this context, because I haven't seen these other comments you're speaking about.  I also can't speak to the actual sourcing of components and such in the ALO Studio Six, as I'm a writer/reviewer - and, most importantly, a confessed music addict!  But I will say this, and I say it after 20 years in both high end audio and the music business:

 

Being the proud owner of an E.A.R HP4 (what I consider to be amongst the very best reference-level tube headphone amps), and currently running the Studio Six, Burson Conductor, and Ray Samuels The Darkstar - I am obligated to say that I would buy the Studio Six in a HEARTBEAT.

 

Forget what others are saying.  Try it for yourself.  Me, I've been listening to music on a high end two-channel system for 20 years (including gear by Classe Audio, E.A.R, dCs, Zu Audio, Nordost, and more), I've listened while mixing at the desk in a ton of studios, and I've worked backline at live shows:  The Studio Six is a splendid sonic achievement.  Nothing less.  It's connects me to the music emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually, which is what I seek in a high quality amplifier.  

 

It's something Ken and his team have reason to be proud of,

 

post #47 of 64
Thread Starter 

x838nwy,

 

Thank you for your post and good question, please let us try and elaborate. 

 

There are several general parameters to consider in judging the merit of any hi-fi circuit, the parts used in the circuit and the product that relies on that circuit: (1) subjective performance; (2) measured performance; (3) reliability, stability and user friendliness; (4) price and value compared to competing products of similar performance level.

 

(1) Above all else, how does the circuit/unit perform subjectively?

 

The Studio Six is widely received as a unit which provides an exceptionally fine level of music reproduction and delivers a high level of user enjoyment. If we achieved this level of performance using "three sticks and a rock in a shoebox" we still would have met our goal in designing and building the Studio Six.

 

(2) How is the unit’s measured performance?

 

Here we see that the Studio Six measures very well. The amp delivers generous levels of voltage to a very wide range of headphone impedances over a quite respectable bandwidth, and with vanishingly low levels of odd-order distortion and noise. The Studio Six circuit demonstrates a high level of merit in terms of measured performance and that is what a good circuit should do.

 

(3) How is the unit's reliability, stability and user-friendliness?

 

The Studio Six uses carefully chosen, high-quality and conservatively rated components throughout, which ensures an unusual level of longevity and reliability for the unit as a whole. There are no bias adjustments  needed and tube matching is not required. The Studio Six is a 100% tube design, which uses very easily sourced tubes, so it won’t require locating obscure transistors or ICs for repair. These elements together means the ST-6 is a pleasure to own, easy to live with and "cheap to keep" for the long-term.

 

(4) What is the price and value of the Studio Six compared to competing products of similar performance level?

 

With the Studio Six circuit, it's sophistication is in it's refinement, not in it’s complexity. The Studio Six is a prime example of a "less is more" approach to audio circuit design with a goal of placing as few amplifying stages as possible between the signal input and the power output of the amplifier. Emphasis was placed on choosing quality amplifying devices (in this case tubes)  that have as much intrinsic linearity as possible with very low levels of higher-order, odd-harmonic distortion in particular. Then we carefully implement these individual devices (tubes) into a circuit in such a way that they are functioning individually at desirable operating points, and together as complex interacting/interrelating dynamic elements with as much synergy as possible.

 

This design approach may sound simple, but in fact it is quite challenging to find suitable complementary parameters and operating points which allow individual circuit elements to work together holistically and thereby achieve an optimum overall result.

 

Another key element of this design provides the individual amplifying devices (tubes) with very well-filtered and isolated sources of voltage from the power supply. Here, ironically, a "bigger is better" approach to power supply design and transformer ratings goes well with the "less is more" philosophy implemented for the signal-chain portion of the circuit.  

 

There was never a design directive to automatically seek out the most exotic, esoteric or expensive parts available to use in the Studio Six.  Our approach was to spend generously and wisely on parts from the higher tiers of quality and performance, while also keeping an eye directed towards seeking parts which possess exceptional "price-to-performance ratio".  For example; the highest quality TKD potentiometer, KOA speer and PRP resistors and top quality Teflon tube sockets. In addition, internal wiring is done with our own ALO audio conductors and in places where beneficial, internal components have been cryo-treated with our in house Cryo-Fi process.  

 

Particular attention was given to selecting suitable transformers with generous measured performance ratings. The Studio Six weighs just under 30-lbs, and, impressively, most of this weight is in its transformers and chokes alone.  All of the transformers and chokes in the Studio Six are quite conservatively rated and manufactured entirely in the USA and Canada. The output transformers are high-quality and carefully selected for optimum suitability in the Studio Six. The output transformers use high-quality, grain-oriented M6 iron laminations, have a high primary inductance, and are conservatively capable of several times the rated 1-Watt output level the Studio Six produces.  This results in superior bass performance with low IMD and harmonic distortion. The output transformers also achieve a respectable high-frequency minus 1-dB rolloff point of 20kHz at full 1-Watt output into 8-Ohms.

 

The "less is more" sonic virtues of well-designed, zero-feedback, single-ended-triode amplifiers such as the Studio Six continue to set a high-water mark in terms of transparency, fine detail resolution, definition of space and sense of "immediacy", which is challenging to approach by any alternate amplifier design topology, regardless of technical sophistication or complexity.


In the end it is best to simply listen A-B and subjectively compare amplifiers to find the right amplifier for your listening tastes and preferences, and to find the amplifier that has a positive synergy with your prefered set-up. Our ability to listen to these products, to make these comparisons and find that perfect set-up is one of the great things about personal audio. It is also one of the things that helps keeps it fun for all of us.

 

Best Regards,

 

Ken and ALO team


Edited by KB - 7/18/13 at 9:18am
post #48 of 64
@mikemercer, KB & the ALO team

Thank you for your replies and for not taking my comments the wrong way. I very much look forward to hearing the amp.

Another question, if I may; will the Studio Six remain ALO's totl amp for the (reasonable) foreseeable future or have you guys got something in the pipeline also? I ask this as for a lot of people including myself, this will be a significant investment and necessitates building an unbalanced system with se connectors. This is not in itself a good/bad thing but it'd be nice to not have to buy new cables and interconnects all over again.
post #49 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

@mikemercer, KB & the ALO team

Thank you for your replies and for not taking my comments the wrong way. I very much look forward to hearing the amp.

Another question, if I may; will the Studio Six remain ALO's totl amp for the (reasonable) foreseeable future or have you guys got something in the pipeline also? I ask this as for a lot of people including myself, this will be a significant investment and necessitates building an unbalanced system with se connectors. This is not in itself a good/bad thing but it'd be nice to not have to buy new cables and interconnects all over again.

ANYTIME

 

I welcome the conversation, it's why I love this community - and talking about this amp!!

post #50 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

@mikemercer, KB & the ALO team

Thank you for your replies and for not taking my comments the wrong way. I very much look forward to hearing the amp.

Another question, if I may; will the Studio Six remain ALO's totl amp for the (reasonable) foreseeable future or have you guys got something in the pipeline also? I ask this as for a lot of people including myself, this will be a significant investment and necessitates building an unbalanced system with se connectors. This is not in itself a good/bad thing but it'd be nice to not have to buy new cables and interconnects all over again.

x838nwy,

 

I can say with great certainty that we do not have another big desk top amp in the works, nor do we plan on re-releasing the Studio Six as a balanced system. The Studio Six was a very capital intensive product for us to make. As you would imagine, doing so is far more than the cost of the components alone so we need to rest for a while and recover. Additionally everyone here is very proud of the Studio Six, we see it as a purist, classic tube amp product that will be available - we hope forever. We don't see it being possible to make it sound better or necessary to make it any different than how it is now. If you like the sound of tubes the Studio Six is what it is, and we hope will forever be something that will remain a popular go to amp for great listening sessions. 

 

Again thanks!

 

Ken


Edited by KB - 7/18/13 at 1:21pm
post #51 of 64

Ken, You make it sound like such an ordeal!!! But that's good to know, thanks.

post #52 of 64

Dear Ken,

Nice to meet you.

I have a question about the Studio Six Amp: does this amplifier work well with the Hifiman HE6 and the AKG K1000?

Best Regards,

SALEVO

post #53 of 64
Thread Starter 

HI Salevo,

 

The Studio Six works fantastic with the HE6 with plenty of volume and drive. I sold my AKG1000s but I know where I can get one to borrow, I will do this and report back. I am almost certain it will drive them just fine however but will get a pair to try.

 

Thanks

 

ken

post #54 of 64
Thread Starter 

Source, Macbook Pro - Mytekdigital DAC (line level out) both the HE6 and K1000 running at the same time, has plenty of gain on both phones. Of course if you plug in a 32 ohm headphone the 32 ohm phone will be crazy loud when the K1000/HE6 is at listening levels. But yeah all good sounds great...

 


Edited by KB - 7/23/13 at 4:28pm
post #55 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by KB View Post

Source, Macbook Pro - Mytekdigital DAC (line level out) both the HE6 and K1000 running at the same time, has plenty of gain on both phones. Of course if you plug in a 32 ohm headphone the 32 ohm phone will be crazy loud when the K1000/HE6 is at listening levels. But yeah all good sounds great...

 

AMAZING!!!!

 

Running Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs, HD800's, and LCD3's right now!!!

post #56 of 64

Just wondering, Is it worth to invest in the 5AR4 tube such as Mullard which cost around $150-300 for rectifier.

 

Is there any impact on the sound quality? That is the last tube that I can play with this amp.

I already got Bendix 6v6, Northern Electric6SN7, Shuguang treasure 6SN7.

 

Thanks,

post #57 of 64
Where can one find details on these tubes and what they do?

Thanks

C

*** edit ***

Okay, did some reading and as far as I can work out going from left to right facing the volume knob: the first tube does amplification for both channels. The following two do the output amplifications for each channel.

No. 4 and 5 regulates voltage for 2 and 3. No. 6 does voltage rectification at the power supply for the whole amp.

Did I get this about right? What's the difference between the functions of no.1 vs. 2 and 3?

Thanks

C
Edited by x838nwy - 7/24/13 at 6:26pm
post #58 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohmmzz View Post

Just wondering, Is it worth to invest in the 5AR4 tube such as Mullard which cost around $150-300 for rectifier.

 

Is there any impact on the sound quality? That is the last tube that I can play with this amp.

I already got Bendix 6v6, Northern Electric6SN7, Shuguang treasure 6SN7.

 

Thanks,

 

Yes. This is the rectifier tube I am using... I got lucky and found it for $65 a while back, but yes the 5AR4 does have a impact on the SQ.

 

 

 

Thanks

 

ken

post #59 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by KB View Post

 

Yes. This is the rectifier tube I am using... I got lucky and found it for $65 a while back, but yes the 5AR4 does have a impact on the SQ.

 

 

 

Thanks

 

ken

WOW!!

Mullard rectifier?!?!?!

DroooooooooooooooL

post #60 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikemercer View Post

WOW!!

Mullard rectifier?!?!?!

DroooooooooooooooL

 

One of my favorite videos on the web (they don't allow embedding unfortunately):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDvF89Bh27Y

 

se

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