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Audeze LCD-X - Page 139

post #2071 of 8795
Quote:
Originally Posted by megawhacko View Post

I received my lcd-x and wa7 today and have been listening for several hours. I have to say... I have been seriously blown away. The sound is incredible. I haven't been able to get rid of this silly grin on my face since I sat down and started listening. 

If you haven't already, add a moderate to high-end DAC to the WA7 and you'll be even more surprised.
post #2072 of 8795
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post

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 coupe of TNT 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!


 



Wow great info here, sad to hear the Burson didn't synergize as well with the X, the Burson Conductor was on the top of my list, but I am really looking for an all in one unit (DAC & AMP). Dark Star looks beautiful, but my wife would kill me if I bought it and told her how much is cost smily_headphones1.gif
post #2073 of 8795
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post
 

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 coupe of TNT 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!

 



Wow great info here, sad to hear the Burson didn't synergize as well with the X, the Burson Conductor was on the top of my list, but I am really looking for an all in one unit (DAC & AMP). Dark Star looks beautiful, but my wife would kill me if I bought it and told her how much is cost smily_headphones1.gif

The Darkstar does not have a DAC...just a stand-alone Heaphone amp, so it wouldn't suit your needs anyway. Maybe Mjolnir and the one of the Schiit DACs? Do remember that the more power, the better...I know, it is counter-intuitive given all the hue and cry about the LCD-Xs being so efficient, but it is the reality based on my experiences!


Edited by figaro69 - 12/11/13 at 10:33pm
post #2074 of 8795
Yeah I was originally thinking Lyr/Bifrost, but then started leaning towards the Conductor based on the reviews I've read about it as being one of the best all-in-one's. I have to admit I am a bit suprised to hear that they still need a lot of power to put forth the best sound, from everything I had read they were supposed to be much more efficient and would not necessarily need a high end amp to drive them to their limit.
post #2075 of 8795
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post

Yeah I was originally thinking Lyr/Bifrost, but then started leaning towards the Conductor based on the reviews I've read about it as being one of the best all-in-one's. I have to admit I am a bit suprised to hear that they still need a lot of power to put forth the best sound, from everything I had read they were supposed to be much more efficient and would not necessarily need a high end amp to drive them to their limit.

I am as surprised as you are!  By the way, forget the Lyr...tube amp and as noisy as a hummingbird...believe me, I owned one!

post #2076 of 8795
You think the Burson Conductor is a better match for the Audeze's? Or do you have another recommendation in that price range for Amp & Dac (sub 2k)
post #2077 of 8795
Quote:
Originally Posted by goldendarko View Post

You think the Burson Conductor is a better match for the Audeze's? Or do you have another recommendation in that price range for Amp & Dac (sub 2k)

If you don't listen to anything else, you'll think the Burson conductor (which is the same as the Soloist, only that the soloist doesn't have the DAC) drives the LCD-Xs extremely well...listen to the EF-6 and Mjolnir and you'll be saying: "yes, it's good and all, but...the others are better".  You get the Burson and you won't be tearing your clothes in disgust, though.  It doesn't make the LCD-Xs sound like crap...that's for sure.  I think it is virtually impossible to make the LCD-X sound like crap with whatever amp you are using.

post #2078 of 8795
Hey figaro, maybe I missed it but which dac did you use for this amp comparison?
post #2079 of 8795
Quote:
Originally Posted by figaro69 View Post
 

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

 

 

 

what about GSX MK2? 


Edited by Dubstep Girl - 12/11/13 at 11:28pm
post #2080 of 8795

Thanks for review on the headmp Figaro69 very nice work :wink_face:

 

I will be purchasing the conductor and HD800 and maybe TH900 or LCD X. 

 

That EF6 sounds like one sweet amp.. DANG!! 

post #2081 of 8795
another drawn in by the lure of the Conductor i see smily_headphones1.gif
post #2082 of 8795
I have tried Mjolnir amp and was very very disappointed, but i only had HE6 at the time, so i return it quickly.
I guess everybody is right that Mjolnir is best with the dark Audeze.

Here in Denmark i dont have that many options oder than Burson or Violelectric.
So Im voiting for the Burson, if it was easy guess would have tried that GS X mk2.. sounds pretty awesome.
post #2083 of 8795
As I just received my taboo mk3, I am still analyzing it's sound, but so far I love it with LCD-X.

I don't feel it is slow at all. Although it is my first tube amp, I have a feeling that is pretty fast. However, it does give some tube signature to LCD-X and that is very nice as I was missing my lcd-3 and with taboo mk3 some qualities from lcd-3 were brought to the X like more magic in the mids, more body.

Besides that it also has better impact, instrument extension and a bigger soundstage.

I think Conductor does a fine job too, but I like taboo mk3 more . Will come with more details in a full review of taboo.
Edited by dan.gheorghe - 12/12/13 at 1:59am
post #2084 of 8795
dan what are you using as your source with the Taboo? im looking at a computer setup, which is why I think an all-in-one would be a good option (less clutter, happier wife wink.gif
post #2085 of 8795

Nice review ones again figaro69! I don’t have the LCD-X, but on my LCD 3 and IMO the Soloist doesn’t sound very dynamic, rather the opposite a bit to laid back. It can be that the different between the X and 3 can result rather different, I don’t know. The soloist with LCD 3 sound the best then playing laid back acoustic music or music that isn’t so demanding, IMO.

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