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Comparisons of the Liquid Lightning and KGSSHV Solid State Stax Amplifiers - Page 13

post #181 of 210
Thread Starter 

Well, I got back from a very nice walk with my family and a great dinner at a local restaurant (though towards the end the kids were really acting up). Sometimes I think we should all step back and think about the more important things than audio. :smile:

 

Forgot to add this to my original impressions. Half way through my comparisons I did upgrade my DAC from the W4S DAC-2 to the very excellent Bryston BDA-2 (review in progress FWIW) and the differences between these DACs was very much apparent with the KGSSHV. With my W4S DAC-2 there was a definite upper mids/treble "shout" with my SR-009s (and there with my GS-X MK2 / HD800s and LCD-3s). But it certainly wasn't anywhere as apparent as with the blurry presentation and shaved off the top LLMK1....among many other improvements that weren't fully picked up with the LL.

 

That's the one issue with highly transparent gear....let's not forget the source....it's very important in the chain as well and very much when one considers both the SR-009s and HD800s IMO.

 

I've also added this as an addendum to my original review. 


Edited by MacedonianHero - 9/22/13 at 7:10pm
post #182 of 210

MH: Agreed. Might I also add that, listening here to a variety of music through the LL2, the 009s are the first I reach for when listening to old jazz classics and a lot of acoustic music, but with Verve Remixed tracks for example, they are too forward. 

post #183 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgep View Post

Sorry, never heard of this. There were some issues earlier on with some less robustly specced SumR transformers, which I understand had been corrected some time ago (though it is really up to the person building it to pick their own traffo).

It would be helpful to understand this more. Could you provide some links?
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBel84 View Post

... it had developed the not infrequently reported problem of the power supply "clacking". .... 

..dB

Still very interested in where I can become familiar with this not infrequently reported problem. I think it is very important given there are quite a few of these amps out there. You should not be shy about supporting this statement (or else you wouldn't have made it), but as it stands unless you can support the statement it would seem that what you have stated is entirely false.
post #184 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by georgep View Post

Still very interested in where I can become familiar with this not infrequently reported problem. I think it is very important given there are quite a few of these amps out there. You should not be shy about supporting this statement (or else you wouldn't have made it), but as it stands unless you can support the statement it would seem that what you have stated is entirely false.

 

The amp that failed was built by a highly respected member of another forum who was well acquainted with the amp and the build of the amp was exemplary. When it failed, he was preoccupied with other important matters and could not address the problem. I offered to help a friend in need and went looking where anyone with foresight into this amplifier would go , I used google to track down several reports of similar concerns and transformer failures. Please feel free to do the same, you should have similar success. The transformer had been adequately specc'd the first time round and I opted to use the higher spec based on peoples experience ( again using google ) in order to avoid a similar concern in the future for the owner. The amplifier functioned perfectly after identifying the problem and fixing it. I appreciate your concern for the other KGSSHV owners out there but they know well where to seek advise should anything wayward occur with their amplifiers. 

post #185 of 210

Don is not lying or falsifying anything, two other people heard the issues in person and this amp was built by a well known and respected DIY'er.  I know some of the issues experienced were similar to the issues livewire (and others?  Don't feel like searching through the whole thread) had on pages 44-45 of a KGSSHV thread somewhere and were solved upon a transformer replacement but I believe there were other issues as well.  This thing was shipped a few times and sent out on loan twice though so who knows.  Also, ever since an unfortunate accident with a hot chocolate explosion in late december, my house has been haunted by the ghost of swiss miss past and it is really messing up my listening room.

 

Thanks for the review MH.  I've owned a couple Stax amps and had the LL, KGSSHV, Electra, and BHSE in my possession (and the LL2 in a few private auditions) and definitely considered doing a review on more than one occasion.  Personally, I think the differences stated sometimes are a little overblown due to the old schoolyard politics and perception wrangling and no amount of walks with family is getting me in the middle of that morass.  I'm into being tarred and feathered but only by my wife and we have a safe word.  Thanks for amassing the courage, (despite it not gelling with what I heard.)  

 

On the topic of the LL1 & 2 as you asked for feedback at some point, I heard them side by side and while it wasn't night and day, they were clearly different amps with slightly differing presentations.  Whenever I wasn't sure I would just look at the front panel and remember which one I preferred.  I wondered how cleaning up parasitics could affect the sound that much but then I heard the BD1 and 2 (or version 1.2) with cleaned up parasitics and it was very different indeed and Doug mentioned that was the only real change there as well.  Alex also changed fab houses between 1 and 2 which may change some of the little things and build quality on the board itself, don't know how much that would affect sound though as it should either work or not work.  

 

Sometimes I wonder about how the cable change to JPS might have affected the sound but I do not want to go down the road lest my house be filled with Nordost and MIT next year at the expense of my quality of Life (I'd have to buy the cheap generics for breakfast rather than the real Life I eat every morning.).  I'll go on thinking cables aren't a factor until I die or win the lottery.  (Isn't that what we all do, kind of?  Insist whatever we can't afford isn't a factor as it would downgrade what we have from being the best to something - *gasp* - lesser?  That is, until we can finally afford the next 'step up' and what we had before suddenly becomes 'clearly inferior.'  And you can't be an audiophile without having an epiphany at least once an equinox that requires a system revamp to accommodate having 'rediscovering your music collection' with X product while never discovering new music because none of its as good as the old days when you first heard 'so happy together' on the radio on the way to that fishing trip that is one of your fondest memories with your dad, and no nostalgia for youth and familiarity has nothing to do with yesteryear's music being better than today's trash.  What's up with today's music?  One song on the radio tells me to "drop it like its hot" and the next song tells me "don't drop that thun thun thun."  And here I am sitting paralyzed in my car having no idea whether I am supposed to drop it or not!  I'm still waiting for the next hit single to tell me whether I can indeed drop it or whether its something worth holding onto.)

 

I'm not sure how much this Abe Simpson train-of-thought post helps, if at all, but I used to tie an onion on my belt.  It was the style at the time.

post #186 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by dBel84 View Post

The amp that failed was built by a highly respected member of another forum who was well acquainted with the amp and the build of the amp was exemplary. When it failed, he was preoccupied with other important matters and could not address the problem. I offered to help a friend in need and went looking where anyone with foresight into this amplifier would go , I used google to track down several reports of similar concerns and transformer failures. Please feel free to do the same, you should have similar success. The transformer had been adequately specc'd the first time round and I opted to use the higher spec based on peoples experience ( again using google ) in order to avoid a similar concern in the future for the owner. The amplifier functioned perfectly after identifying the problem and fixing it. I appreciate your concern for the other KGSSHV owners out there but they know well where to seek advise should anything wayward occur with their amplifiers. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

Don is not lying or falsifying anything, two other people heard the issues in person and this amp was built by a well known and respected DIY'er.  I know some of the issues experienced were similar to the issues livewire (and others?  Don't feel like searching through the whole thread) had on pages 44-45 of a KGSSHV thread somewhere and were solved upon a transformer replacement but I believe there were other issues as well.  This thing was shipped a few times and sent out on loan twice though so who knows.  Also, ever since an unfortunate accident with a hot chocolate explosion in late december, my house has been haunted by the ghost of swiss miss past and it is really messing up my listening room....


Thanks, and yes, I have read about some issues with the earlier specced SumR transformers, which ended up having to be beefed up by SumR to properly handle the demands of the amp. But I take it that you were not aware of other systemic issues? And yes, I have read about Livewire's trials and tribulations in getting the very first KGSSHV up and running (though his was a slightly different circuit as well), but his circumstances were unique to my understanding.
post #187 of 210

To my understanding there was nothing else systemic, at least not anything that could be explained by the perfectly rational ghosts phenomenon. Dbel was the one who laid hands though.  

post #188 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post
 

Sometimes I wonder about how the cable change to JPS might have affected the sound but I do not want to go down the road 

I couldn't resist the curiosity.  Do you mean your cable was changed to JPS to feed BOTH amps with same cable, different cables to both amps, or different internal cabling inside amps?  

post #189 of 210

There is different internal cabling.  LL2 has JPS.  But if cable made a difference internally, that would send me down the rabbit hole internally.  I've already messed around with "mid-range" cables years ago, but if I thought it really made a difference I'd have to go high-end and that is a time and money suckage I wouldn't wish on my mother-in-law.

post #190 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post
 

There is different internal cabling.  LL2 has JPS.  But if cable made a difference internally, that would send me down the rabbit hole internally.  I've already messed around with "mid-range" cables years ago, but if I thought it really made a difference I'd have to go high-end and that is a time and money suckage I wouldn't wish on my mother-in-law.

 

If Dr.Cavalli will do change internal cables to JPS for LL1 for someone, we'll know the result. :D

post #191 of 210

This ongoing mention of KGSSHV problems by dBel84 are erroneous.

Henyo is a guy who had no idea of how to build things and his builds were horrendous.

To say that the KGSSHV has problems is intentional smearing and hearsay.

Livewire was the first guy to build and his version was one of the first. He ordered his own PCB's.

One person had a shorcircuit under the capacitors, nobody else.

JohnMcClean I believe had a problem with one of the transformers, to no fault of the PCB's themselves.

The PCB's have been improved over time anyways. I built 2 from the first group buy and had no problems. Listen to it everyday.

If you want to see poor build quality visit the Mk1 thread (you know where).


Edited by gilency - 9/23/13 at 9:57pm
post #192 of 210

I don't believe he was referring to Henyo...

post #193 of 210

I know the builder you’re referring too, I think...

It was one of the earlier builds, from lil knights first boards runs.

A lot has progressed since with reducing the risk of arching, better techniques, updated PCBs etc.

The KGSSHV is always evolving, and none of them are identical whatsoever.

post #194 of 210
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwmclean View Post
 

I know the builder you’re referring too, I think...

It was one of the earlier builds, from lil knights first boards runs.

A lot has progressed since with reducing the risk of arching, better techniques, updated PCBs etc.

The KGSSHV is always evolving, and none of them are identical whatsoever.

 

Any sound quality differences and/or improvements through out the KGSSHV evolution?

 

EDIT: This is an honest question. Obviously something has been done to improve the design.


Edited by ultrabike - 9/24/13 at 1:26am
post #195 of 210
No. The refinements have been functionality and sizing.
The build can be customized though, from balls to the wall to a modest on-board version, depending how deep your pockets go.
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