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How do you compare 2 headphone amps? - Page 4

post #46 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by glunteer View Post
 
I did something similar. I made to use with my headphone and my active speaker :)

 

This is a great diy , simple and effective casing.

I think the switch box I bought must be something similar, but it seems that the aluminum case is solid and I can't find where I can open it to see what is inside. The sides are probably glued? But the seller told me that they use Neutrik silver plated 1/4” jacks and a switch with silver plated internal contacts, with high quality shielded cable for the internal wiring.

post #47 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmagoo View Post
 

Yes the amp is old, and probably it doesn't sound as new but I own it since new (I think I bought it in 1997) and it still sounds excellent with my old Cabasse speakers from the same time. I didn't notice any obvious sound degradation over the years...

I will try my cdp with 2 headphone amps and if there is a channel imbalance in the RCA line out, I think it will be pretty obvious.

We will do the tests without knowing which one we are listening to, and we'll see what are the differences and which one we prefer. We will probably try to take some notes, so we are able to easily compare what we both think individually and see if we agree on some points... it will be interesting...

I would ask you to take a picture of the internal switch ^^

But it must be difficult.
:)

post #48 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by glunteer View Post
 
I did something similar. I made to use with my headphone and my active speaker :)

 

Curious... Why did you double up all the wires?  are there any sonic benefits?

post #49 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

Curious... Why did you double up all the wires?  are there any sonic benefits?

 

 
 
 
 
I think not :)

I used Mogami w2893 and I found it a bit fragile, so I preferred to use two wires for welding

 

Edited by glunteer - 2/26/14 at 11:18am
post #50 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by glunteer View Post
 

I would ask you to take a picture of the internal switch ^^

But it must be difficult.
:)

I have not opened mine :blink:, but I have asked the seller by email about what is inside his psb2-1, and he has quickly replied with a link to his website with a picture (I don't know how to post this image here) : http://mfspdesigns.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=790

 

It seems simple, clean and well built, and quality shielded cable is used.

I think its worth for the price.

post #51 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonbernard View Post
 

 

I'd recommend you go through the Philips Golden Ears training first - it taught me a lot about what to listen for. I'm looking forward to your results!


I've finally completed the tests after several days...

It's a fun experience.

Thanks jonbernard for pointing me to this.

post #52 of 60

Looks solid in there...  This is the exact 3PDT device we have been discussing.  Love those Neutrik jacks they are so smooth and solid feeling.  I used two of those same switches (the 2PDT version) to power my darkvoice 337.  I didn't like the needlessly HUGE toggle levers that came OEM. 

post #53 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

Looks solid in there...  This is the exact 3PDT device we have been discussing.  Love those Neutrik jacks they are so smooth and solid feeling.  I used two of those same switches (the 2PDT version) to power my darkvoice 337.  I didn't like the needlessly HUGE toggle levers that came OEM. 

 

looks be nice !

 

 

post #54 of 60
Thread Starter 

Thanks kramer5150 for posting the picture :)

post #55 of 60
Thread Starter 

I've finally manage to make some tests with a friend last saturday and all I can say is that the PSB2-1 switch box was really worth buying and very useful as it showed me instantly if there is any audible difference between 2 different headphone amps connected to the same source.

 

Sorry for this loooong post but I'll try to detail my impressions if it may be of any interest for someone...

 

For the A/B comparison tests, we've used the following:

Sennheiser HD580 and HD600

Sony CDP-XA2ES as source

Headphones output jack of the above CDP

Beta22 3ch amp

MMM diy amp built by a friend

SPL Auditor

PSB2-1 switch box with high quality cables to connect to the output 1/4” jacks of the headphone amps

CD: among others: Jordi Savall - Orient Occident | Pink Floyd – Division Bell | B. Springsteen – The Seeger Sessions | Karajan New years concert 1987

 

I've done the A/B tests with a friend (he built his own MMM and other amps that he unfortunately don't had available for those tests the other day, but he bought the Beta22 from someone else)

For those tests, I couldn't see the equipment and my friend that were behind my back, as he was switching from A to B with the toggle switch without telling me which one I was listening to, and I was telling which are the differences that I noticed. He noted on a paper the amp (A or B) that I was listening to and what was my opinion each time he switches (for example :”more boomy”, “clearer” or “narrower”...).

We repeated the tests with other tracks and other cds.

Then we changed and it was his turn listening as I was switching and taking notes.

 

The results are very interesting for me, and here is a summary:

 

Part 1

 

A/B comparison test #1: CDP headphones out jack vs. MMM with HD580 and HD600 (I'm not able to hear any difference between the 2, so I mostly used the HD580)

Not big differences between the 2, I noticed one was very slightly more spacious and very slightly less boomy, and at the end we verified that it was the MMM.

My friend didn't notice any difference that he could identify between the 2!

For me it was only in certain parts of a track that I could hear clearly a small difference in spaciousness and boominess , but (FOR ME) the changes are too small to justify spending money on this amp for my HD580, and the CDP headphones out jack is just great for that.

 

A/B comparison test #2: CDP headphones out jack vs. Beta22 with HD580

Exactly the same impressions as with the MMM. Same conclusions. Surprising as the Beta22 is way more expensive.

 

A/B comparison test #3: MMM vs. BETA22 with HD580

In this test we were not able to find consistent differences between the 2 amps. We both had the impression that switching from A to B made no difference ! Very surprising for both me and my friend because the Beta22 is known as one of the “best” solid state amp. Well I guess there is no need to spend so much for a Beta22 when used with a headphone such as the HD580 !!

 

A/B comparison test #4: MMM vs. AUDITOR with HD580

Here the blind test showed that we both notice easily a difference : we both identified one as beeing slightly more aggressive with the highs slightly more present (slightly exagerated to my taste, but very pleasant for my friend). This was the Auditor.

If I were to chose one , I would go for the MMM which seems more natural to me, with no coloration on the high freq. My friend prefers the slightly more high freq presence that comes from the Auditor.

 

But... for me, all those tests took a surprising turn and everything changed when I made those same tests again but using my friends HD800 instead of my HD580!!

 

Part 2

 

A/B comparison test #5: CDP headphones out jack vs. MMM with HD800

The headphones out jack is immediately identifiable in the blind A/B tests: it sounds immediately more congested, spaciousness is clearly reduced and bass is more “boomy”

M^3: wow what a difference: sound is wider, and deeper, and the instruments are clearly separated from each other. Sound is more “3D”. Bass is less “boomy” and goes lower in frequency.

A/B between these 2 using the HD800 gives us no doubt: we both prefer the MMM.

(the HD800 is really a great headphone)

 

A/B comparison test #6: CDP headphones out jack vs. BETA22 with HD800

Same conclusions as above. Again, very surprising...

 

A/B comparison test #7: MMM vs. BETA22 with HD800

Although the sound is way more spacious with better resolution and detail than with the HD580, we can not find any thing that identifies any difference when switching between the 2 amps! So if I were to buy one I would go to the cheaper amp.

 

A/B comparison test #8: MMM vs. AUDITOR with HD800

same as the test done with the HD 580, but with the highs even more pronounced.

In this test we both easily identify the differences between the 2, and found again that the AUDITOR is more “agressive” and the highs slightly more present. Again, I personnally prefer the MMM for its more natural soundstage, with the Auditor, the sound seems more “colored” to me. This time my friend disagrees and preffered the one which has the voices and high frequences more present, and that's the Auditor.

 

 

 

Final Impressions of this first tests session:

 

My personal conclusion and advice is that each one has to make his own A/B comparison tests with his own equipment in order to tell what he prefers, and how to obtain a sonic quality that suits him best. At least, my personal experience during this first tests session (I hope to make other tests soon, with the others amps of my friend) , is that the switch box showed me without any doubt that I'll have much better sound quality by changing my HD580 for a HD800, and that I will not really have an improvement if I keep my HD580 and buy an amp... but of course, in this case, it also showed that if I have a HD800 someday, I will benefit to use a headphone amp (such as a MMM for example...).

 

Now , I'm very curious to compare other amps with the HD800... and I've already started to save money for a HD800...

post #56 of 60
Wow. Excellent findings. It's kind of surprising that the 580 detected no difference between the amps since the 580/600/650 are said to have a ton of scalability.
post #57 of 60

SOLID... great write up.  Sounds like your sony CD deck has a very good headphone output, perfectly suitable for all but the most finicky cans.

 

Glad the little A/B box is working out for you.  I ALWAYS learn a lot more with blind A/B testing.  Mostly I learn about my own hearing limitations, and preferences.

post #58 of 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by Za Warudo View Post

Wow. Excellent findings. It's kind of surprising that the 580 detected no difference between the amps since the 580/600/650 are said to have a ton of scalability.

I  quite honestly have never found my HD580 a highly detail revealing can in blind A/B tests.  I updated drivers to HD650 silver mesh plates and quite honestly, same thing.  Yeah they are not the most sensitive/efficient, and their high impedance makes for its own set of amplification needs.  But detail revealing/exposing, I just don't think so.  They are both just too syrrupy-warm-groovy and laid back for me to readily hear very "deep" into recordings and gear.  I always grab the K701 when I am comparing OP amps and tubes... the HD650 sits and waits for less critical sessions when I just want to kick back and enjoy the tunes.


Edited by kramer5150 - 3/17/14 at 2:31pm
post #59 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Za Warudo View Post

Wow. Excellent findings. It's kind of surprising that the 580 detected no difference between the amps since the 580/600/650 are said to have a ton of scalability.

 

Unfortunately, I have only tested very few amps, so I can't know for sure if what I experienced is still true with different kind of amps (tube for example...) , but what I know is that me and my friend were very surprised with the Beta22 which didn't really showed us any obvious difference in the sound presentation.

I hope I can soon be able to make other tests with other amps, and I'll post them here...

post #60 of 60
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

SOLID... great write up.  Sounds like your sony CD deck has a very good headphone output, perfectly suitable for all but the most finicky cans.

 

Glad the little A/B box is working out for you.  I ALWAYS learn a lot more with blind A/B testing.  Mostly I learn about my own hearing limitations, and preferences.

yeah, the sony cd player is really great for the hd580... but for the HD800 it shows some limitations when compared to a headphone amp.

If we have done the tests without switching instantly from one amp to another amp, that is without the switch box, I'm sure I would have not been able to identify clearly the differences, or the lack of differences, that appear immediately (or don't appear ;)) when we use the switch box.

So for me that simple switch box proves its utility and is worth every cent...

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

I  quite honestly have never found my HD580 a highly detail revealing can in blind A/B tests.  I updated drivers to HD650 silver mesh plates and quite honestly, same thing.  Yeah they are not the most sensitive/efficient, and their high impedance makes for its own set of amplification needs.  But detail revealing/exposing, I just don't think so.  They are both just too syrrupy-warm-groovy and laid back for me to readily hear very "deep" into recordings and gear.  I always grab the K701 when I am comparing OP amps and tubes... the HD650 sits and waits for less critical sessions when I just want to kick back and enjoy the tunes.

Although I don't know the HD650 nor the K701, I agree with you, because I had only very small experience with the HD800 but to me it shows clearly that the HD580 is not a highly revealing headphone. But I still love how it reproduces the sound...

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