Loving the custom bases and getting mighty envious!!
Not meaning to change the topic, I have just finished a short comparison of the S.E.X. and Mainline driving the HE-500 headphones. A few pages back I think I wrote that the Mainline was superior to the S.E.X. with the HE-500s, but with further listening I think I've changed my tune. Here's what I just wrote in the HE-500 thread:
I had a few moments to directly compare the Bottlehead Mainline and S.E.X. amps driving the HE-500s this morning. Here are my quick impressions for those who are interested:
- More refined sound with a certain delicacy and texture to the mids that's not present with the S.E.X.
- Seems to bring a slight emphasis to the treble that I find a little bit edgy at times (not that the treble itself is edgy, just that it seems to peak right where the HE-500s are already slightly peaky)
- Soundstage more open and airy
- Smoother sound
- More forward, creamy vocals
- Lush and liquid sounding
- Possibly slightly more bass presence and impact, but it's very, very subtle if at all and may depend on the output setting of the Mainline too
I think in the end, this is a question of preference. The Mainline is technically superior in it's reproduction, but the S.E.X. makes the HE-500s become everything that I bought them for - lush, liquid, engaging, but still detailed. If you were choosing one just to drive the HE-500s, I personally would highly recommend the S.E.X. as a bang-for-buck no-brainer. If you're looking for an amp that can also get the absolute most from flagship dynamic cans then I'd recommend the Mainline. Ideally of course, you could just buy both!