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Audeze LCD-X - Page 138

post #2056 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post
 

When driven by THE RIGHT amp YOU WILL NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE!!!  No question about it.

I'm interested to read about all of your amp/LCD-X pairings.

:popcorn:

post #2057 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Questhate View Post
 

 

I'm also going to have to disagree that the LCD-X is more detailed than the HD800 (or even on the same level). I've been comparing the two closely for a few weeks now, and it's not even close, IMO. The HD800 extracts much more micro-detail -- you get so much more texture and ambiance from the recording than the LCD-X.

 

It's odd though, although the HD800 is more detailed, the LCD-X is less forgiving of bad recordings (counter-intuitively, I know). It's mostly due to the fact that the LCD-X treble is rougher and less-refined. Although the HD800 has that troublesome 6K peak, the treble rendering is much sweeter and smoother overall. I've found myself cycling through music trying to see what recordings are good enough, as I'm also finding that the LCD-3 is "brutal" with less-than-perfect ones. There's definitely some wonkiness going on that I'm having trouble putting my finger on.

 

As an X owner (love 'em) always looking to expand my horizons, what type(s) of music do you suggest would benefit from my adding the HD800 to my collection?

 

Thanks for your help -

RCBinTN

post #2058 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post
 

Looks like you are bringing in the big bad boys for battle.  By the way, I use the Philips rectifier that is sold at Upscale Audio...I have the RCA5yGT and the Philips beats it by a mile (based on my taste), even though the RCA is fine (i.e., it would be the best if the Philips did not exist!).  The RCA is warmer and punchier...the Philips is airy and opens the soundstage, which works wonders for Classical Music, which I almost exclusively listen to).  Both are great, but the thing is that I prefer airy with bigger soundstage.  You are gonna have so much fun rolling tubes!!! By the way, my current tubes are the Philips rectifier, two EL84 Tungsram tubes (the best EL84s I've heard, again courtesy of Upscale Audio), and a GE5751 five star (black plates, 1957) driver tube.  My god, the sounds this makes with the T1 are just unbelievable.

 

Just catching up to these posts, but this sounds like a great amount of fun.  Time for a centralized meet to compare/contrast AMPS with the LCD-X.

post #2059 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post
 

When driven by THE RIGHT amp YOU WILL NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE!!!  No question about it.

Actually, I'd particularly be interested in how close your Burson Soloist comes to the Dark Star driving the LCD-X, as it's more in the realm of possibilities for me. Also, any experience with the Woo Audio WA6 SE? Although I am trying to steer away from tubes, having had many tube amps for my hi fi and knowing how neurotic I can get with tube swapping. :confused_face:

post #2060 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMG52 View Post
 

Actually, I'd particularly be interested in how close your Burson Soloist comes to the Dark Star driving the LCD-X, as it's more in the realm of possibilities for me. Also, any experience with the Woo Audio WA6 SE? Although I am trying to steer away from tubes, having had many tube amps for my hi fi and knowing how neurotic I can get with tube swapping. :confused_face:

Tube swapping/rolling can either be fun or a real pain in the neck, depending on your mood...sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I hate it.  I have great hopes for the Burson soloist.  Actually, I will be using the soloist and the EF-6 tonight to see what gives.  I have great hopes for both!!! May not be better than the Darkstar, but could be close enough...the plot thickens.  When are my wife and kids going to bed!!! Aaaaahhhhhhh! I need silence/solitude to be able to do my little amp/headphone experiments!

post #2061 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post
 

Now, here we go again with the LCD-Xs, but now being driven (single ended) by the Decware Taboo.  My taboo is the SE84TS (from about two to three years ago), not the newer version.  This one uses the 12AX7/12AT7/12AU7/5751 variant tubes at the input stage; the new version uses the 6922 tube at the input stage (i.e., I am thinking that the newer version is better sounding than mine since I love the 6922 tubes and I've never been to0 crazy with the 12AX7 et al tubes).  So, I tried various tubes and I always got similar results.  To put it bluntly, the Taboo is unable to take the LCD-Xs to the lofty heights of Mount Olympus.  I don't think the problem is with the Taboo itself...rather, it is a problem of using a tube amplifier, period!  The problem is that once you tube-it-up, so to speak, with the LCD-Xs, the sound is no longer as tight, pristine, dynamic, and awe-inspiring as it was with the powerful solid-state Ray Samuels Darkstar.  Okay, so they don't sound awful either, but suddenly the Audezes no longer stand head-and-shoulders above the other flagships, but rather, it starts to sound closer in quality to the HD800s and T1s of the world...suddenly it has become a horse race and one is left undecided as to which of the three is the best of the of the bunch.  Moreover, the Audezes have always had a magic of their own in the mid range...adding more wetness and cream in that area of the spectrum via tubes is like gilding the lily...I truly consider it to be unnecessary and crossing the line into being "too lush" for its own good.  Out of the Taboo the sound is more diffuse, warmer...in a word, more LCD-2-like in quality of sound.

 

I am starting to think now that the way to go with the LCD-Xs is by using a powerful solid state amp.  I am thinking that the Burson Soloist (4 watts, it I remember correctly) and the EF-6 (which are obviously much cheaper than my Darkstar) are going to do quite a job with the LCD-Xs.  Since I have both in my headamp stable, I shall report how they perform with the Audezes within a couple of days.  While efficient, my ears are telling me that lean and mean (as is clear-as-a-whistle, high-powered solid state) is the way to go with the LCD-Xs.  Although it may ultimately be that the Darkstar is better than the Soloist and EF-6, I have the suspicion that such is not going to be the case...it is probably a matter of pure power (or current, I don't know which of the two) rather than high cost that will likely prevail in this case.  The magic that I have experienced with the Darkstar is just not there (maybe 85% of it) with the Taboo.  Oh, I also have to consider that the Darkstar is fully balanced...that may ultimately be the reason (maybe not) why the LCD-Xs sound so good out of the Darkstar.  I played the Audezes with the Darkstar again right after driving then with the Taboo and the difference is not subtle...it is clearly patent.  I used brighter-sounding, neutral-sounding, and darker sounding tubes, but nothing really worked the way I wanted...I was always left lusting for the sound that the LCD-X and the Darkstar make.  I still have plenty of amps to play with, so we'll see how things turn out.  So, all in all, kinda disappointed with the Taboo in this one, even though it plays most of my other headphones superbly.

Kinda sums up my experiences with orthos and the tube amps I've heard them with. I've always gravitated towards SS amps for orthos....and I'm a long time tube guy (or used to be).

post #2062 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
 

Kinda sums up my experiences with orthos and the tube amps I've heard them with. I've always gravitated towards SS amps for orthos....and I'm a long time tube guy (or used to be).

 

Peter have you tried any of the non-tubey sounding amps? BA, Stratus, etc.

 

I'm now seriously considering the LCD-X if the HE-6 doesn't please me once modded. If I end up trying them, I'm thinking the Stratus might be a dream pairing, could be wrong. 

post #2063 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greed View Post
 

 

Peter have you tried any of the non-tubey sounding amps? BA, Stratus, etc.

 

I'm now seriously considering the LCD-X if the HE-6 doesn't please me once modded. If I end up trying them, I'm thinking the Stratus might be a dream pairing, could be wrong. 

I've tried a WA6SE which is fairly non-tubey and a Zana Deux (with the LCD-2s). 

post #2064 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
 

Kinda sums up my experiences with orthos and the tube amps I've heard them with. I've always gravitated towards SS amps for orthos....and I'm a long time tube guy (or used to be).

Nice to know that I am not the only voice that "crieth in the wilderness" with regard to Orthos and Tubes...specially coming from the legendary Mac.  But maybe it's too early in the game.  If a tube amp will triumph with the LCDXs, it will most likely be that most non-tubey tube amp of them all, the Taboo!

post #2065 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post
 

I've tried a WA6SE which is fairly non-tubey and a Zana Deux (with the LCD-2s).

Tubes with the LCD2s? Oy vey...pure slush!

post #2066 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by commtrd View Post

 

Anyone driving the LCD-X with Mjolnir/Gungnir?







The Gungnir/Mjolnir is my main setup with the LCD-X and I love it. I'll be the first to admit the G/M is not the best pairing with brighter headphones, but it seems to be magic with everything Audeze. The LCD-X sounds powerful and detailed out of the G/M with a surprisingly large and airy soundstage. I haven't found any issues with sibilance or treble harshness. A nice complement to the Mjolnir is the new Vali. I have both the Mjolnir and Vali being fed by the Gungnir. The Vali offers a more intimate soundstage with a live performance signature--a touch of reverb and a controlled analog sound.


 



I would guess that the LCD-X sound amazing with the M/G pair. I know the LCD3 sounds incredible with this amp/dac combo.
post #2067 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post

Tubes with the LCD2s? Oy vey...pure slush!
The LCD-2 and the X sound great on my DNA Stratus. No slush with the 2's, at times I found myself thinking I was listening to my HD800's when in fact it was the LCD2.
post #2068 of 8654

I am also very interested in hearing how the LCD-X pairs with the Burson as it is in a more reasonable price range for me as well. Thanks for all your impressions thus far figaro69.

post #2069 of 8654
Quote:
Originally Posted by cradon View Post


The LCD-2 and the X sound great on my DNA Stratus. No slush with the 2's, at times I found myself thinking I was listening to my HD800's when in fact it was the LCD2.

So I guess the Smurf is a brighter-sounding, hybrid-like mean and lean machine!

post #2070 of 8654

Drum roll, Please...pumpumpumpumpump...the battle of the headmps (driving the LCD-Xs) has been waged: the ultimate fighters are...

1. Burson Soloist

2. EF-6

3. Headroom Ultra Desktop Amp

4. Mjolnir

 

Here are the results:

1. Burson Soloist: does a creditable job for a thousand bucks.  Great dynamics, not an ounce of fat/flab, tight as a tick...the Burson is a great amp for the price.  There is a small problem:  the sound stage is kind of collapsed/consctricted with this one compared to the Darkstar.  Moreover, the sound is a bid edgy at times...too much energy for its own good.  This is not a laid back gentleman who exerts his power behind the scenes like the Darkstar...the is a young turk out to make a statement...a splash.  So, the whole thing is kind of rambunctious, kind of loud, too much oomph to the whole thing.  Excellent if you haven't heard the rest, but ultimately a bit lacking in the elderly statesman department.

 

2. Headroom Ultra Desktop Amp: I bought it for about $1600 coupled with the desktop power supply about two years ago; now I see that it's going for much cheaper at HeadRoom.  This one is just Okay, but the dynamic range is kind of constricted, as is the Soundstage.  This is the one in the bunch with the least cojones (i.e., watts) and it shows.  No wow factor at all.  Does its thing in a rather nondescript way.  Good, but not excellent.  This is really an amp made for the Fostex, Ultrasones, Audio Technicas, and Denons of the world.  Does a rather nice job with the HD800s, though, because of it's darker-sounding tone.

 

3. Mjolnir:  at $750 bucks this is the Budget amp of the lot.  Since I don't have a balanced copper headphone cable, I had to play the LCD-Xs using the stock cable and the Silver Dragon Moon Audio replacement cable.  Never had been a fan of the Mjolnir or Schiit amps...sounded like crap driving the HD800s and HE-6 due to nails-scratching-the-chalkboard screeching and piercing highs (plus, not enough power for the HE-6s anyway).  Now, I have to be objective (and I've been known to make fun of the Schiit fanboys in the past): the Mjolnir does an amazingly good job at driving these babies...in my opinion, much better than the Burson and Headroom amps.  Mind you, I couldn't use what would be the ideal choice for this amp driving the LCD-Xs: a high-quality copper headphone cable replacement ala ALO Audio or Moon Audio.  The Silver Dragon cable was way too bright-sounding with the Mjolnir/LCD-X combo (no surprise here given that the Mjolnir is a bright sounding amp and silver only exacerbates the situation).  Now, with the stock cable things improve considerably...while still mildly bright everything else is in the right place.  Get the copper cable and we are definitely in business!!!  What a pleasant surprise...and this is coming from someone who used to be (until tonight) a Schitt hater!  Now, I decided to use my new Silver Dragon cable on the LCD-2s driven by the Mjolnir out of curiosity, and all I can say is...wow!  This amp was simply designed to drive the warmish Audezes to perfection.  Whoever thinks (myself included until tonight) that the Audezes of old were lacking in treble has to give a listen to them through the Mjolnir...preferably with silver cables...suddenly the LCD-2s I kind of despised have blossomed into quite something (not quite LCD-X territory, but believe it or not, within striking distance!).

 

4.  EF-6:  I think everyone who has read my posts in the past is familiar with my rants regarding how the EF-6 - which was specifically designed by Fang Biang to drive the HE-6s - is totally inadequate (at least in my estimation) at driving the much frustrating, pigs-to-drive Hifiman flagship.  The thing does have the power and finesse to drive everything well - specially the HD800 and T1 - to lofty heights...yet the HE-6 remains hopelessly earthbound, tending to distort with wide swings in dynamics as often happens in Mahler's symphonies and Wagner's overtures, for instance.  So how does the EF-6 fare with the LCD-Xs?  In a word, SPECTACULARLY!!!! I am getting virtually the same sound out of the EF-6 as I am getting out of the Darkstar, the only difference being that the EF-6 costs less than half (i.e., I think 1.5 to 1.6K) of what a Darkstar would cost (i.e., I think mine cost somewhere between 3.2 and 3.5K).  Great soundstage, great dynamics, tight, velvety...everything said about the Darkstar/LCD-X combo in my initial impressions applies to the EF-6/LCD-X combo.  Just remember, I used the Silver Dragon headphone cable and a copper interconnect cable (i.e., for some reason, this combination of cables with the Darkstar and EF-6 does work it's magic...go all out copper and it sounds too warm...go all out silver and it sounds too bright...mixed it up and you get perfection (i.e., reminds me of Goldilocks!).

 

So, what do we have here?  These are the rankings of the headphone amps I've tried so far with the LCD-Xs:

1. EF-6: while tied with the Darkstar in every department, it is close to 2K cheaper!  This one is a no-brainer.  If you got's the the dinero, blindly take the leap...it will also drive your HD800 and T1 to perfection.

 

2. Darkstar: amazing, but way too expensive...get the EF-6 and you'll be missing nothing (i.e., since the use of balanced interconnects with the EF-6 is not possible - only RCAs - I am thinking that the great sound of the Darkstar has nothing to do with it being fully balanced...it's all about the power, baby.

 

3. Mjolnir: the surprise of the day...if you are on a budget and want to have the LCD-Xs shine, go for it, but get a good copper headphone replacement cable...you won't regret it.  If you are in an even tighter budget, just get the Mjolnir with the LCD2s...The two together sound amazing, even with classical music...this is the first time in my life when I've heard the LCD-2s presenting a respectable soundstage and a fairly extended treble. The LCD-3s with the Mjolnir must be magical, by the way!@.

 

4.  Don't wast your money with the Burson if you want to drive the LCD-Xs (now, if you want to drive the TH900s, Beyer T5P, Ultrasone Ed. 8, and Audio Technicas of the world, do get it, since it is a glorious and relatively affordable amp; just don't expect it to make water into wine when it comes to the LCD-Xs...sounds good, but there are much better choices.

 

5.  Decware Taboo:  the jury is still out since I have much tube rolling to do still, but I would tend to agree with the venerable one (i.e., Macedonian Hero) on this one: Orthos were not made to be played by tube amps!!!

 

6.  HeadRoom Ultra Desktop Amp: foggeddabouit...doesn't do enough for the money you pay...let's just leave it at that.

 

As you can see, the more powerful the amp, the better it drives the LCD-Xs.  These may be efficient and all you want, but they do like it when driven by a couple of dynamite sticks.

 

I hope these "vignettes" have been helpful to the head-fi community.  It has been an honor!

 

Sincerely,

 

Figaro

 

P.S. - using Oppo and Marantz SACD players all the way...no compressed music in this neighborhood!


Edited by figaro69 - 12/11/13 at 10:47pm
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