Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › The Apex Teton Review and Impressions Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Apex Teton Review and Impressions Thread - Page 9

post #121 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

After months with the Teton, I think I prefer the EC445 (EML 45 solid plates) for bringing out the strengths of the HD800 in terms of stage depth and width and the way details and transients are done. So I brought the Teton home from office and drove my lowly DT880s with them. 

 

Holy crap. I've never heard my DT880s sound this good. Expansive soundstage, quick as hell transients, natural tonality with a touch of euphony, everything I didn't expect from an inexpensive pair of headphones like these. All without the fuss with cable/tube-matching and modding required to make the HD800s sound great.


I was reading that the Teton isn't too much spoken about on HeadFi (good review on Headphone.Guru) but did you get the chance to listen at the Cypherlabs Prautes (no review I think) which seems to pair also very well with HD800 ?

post #122 of 235
Thread Starter 

I doubt you are going to hear from anyone who has heard both amps.  I had never even heard of the Cypherlabs Prautes before reading your question.  Lots of amps supposedly pair well with HD800s -- although those claims sometimes come from people who haven't heard much else.

 

In my mind, the Apex Teton is hands down the best headphone amp on the market right now.  The Eddie Current 445 is a good amp, just not at the same level as the Apex Teton in terms of detail, frequency response, bass authority, or tonality.

The wide soundstage of the 445 doesn't float my boat -- since no headphone setup is ever going to approach any halfway decent 2-channel speaker rig in terms of soundstage.  Listening to my speakers is like listening to musicians in the room.  That's what a lot of folks will say about the best speaker systems they have heard.  I seldom have heard the same said of headphones. And I wouldn't say it about either the 445 or the Teton.  In fact, I don't think the term soundstage really applies to headphone listening.  Yes, some headphone/amp combos will create "trippy" aural spatial cues, but if you think that is good soundstage, my guess is that you have not heard a really good set of speakers yet. 

post #123 of 235
I certainly agree that Pete's and Todd's Apex amps are spectacular. I have the Apex Pinnacle which sounds spectacular with HD 800's.
Bob
post #124 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post
 

I doubt you are going to hear from anyone who has heard both amps.  I had never even heard of the Cypherlabs Prautes before reading your question.  Lots of amps supposedly pair well with HD800s -- although those claims sometimes come from people who haven't heard much else.

 

In my mind, the Apex Teton is hands down the best headphone amp on the market right now.  The Eddie Current 445 is a good amp, just not at the same level as the Apex Teton in terms of detail, frequency response, bass authority, or tonality.

The wide soundstage of the 445 doesn't float my boat -- since no headphone setup is ever going to approach any halfway decent 2-channel speaker rig in terms of soundstage.  Listening to my speakers is like listening to musicians in the room.  That's what a lot of folks will say about the best speaker systems they have heard.  I seldom have heard the same said of headphones. And I wouldn't say it about either the 445 or the Teton.  In fact, I don't think the term soundstage really applies to headphone listening.  Yes, some headphone/amp combos will create "trippy" aural spatial cues, but if you think that is good soundstage, my guess is that you have not heard a really good set of speakers yet. 

 

I think you need to try the 445 with EML tubes ;) I agree with what you say insofar as vintage 45 globes are used on the 445.

 

The problem is, there is no Apex Teton. It's sound changes depending on the tubes used. 

 

Both are excellent amp but I think the 445 and Teton are generally on the same level. 

post #125 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post
 

I doubt you are going to hear from anyone who has heard both amps.  I had never even heard of the Cypherlabs Prautes before reading your question.  Lots of amps supposedly pair well with HD800s -- although those claims sometimes come from people who haven't heard much else.

 

In my mind, the Apex Teton is hands down the best headphone amp on the market right now.  The Eddie Current 445 is a good amp, just not at the same level as the Apex Teton in terms of detail, frequency response, bass authority, or tonality.

The wide soundstage of the 445 doesn't float my boat -- since no headphone setup is ever going to approach any halfway decent 2-channel speaker rig in terms of soundstage.  Listening to my speakers is like listening to musicians in the room.  That's what a lot of folks will say about the best speaker systems they have heard.  I seldom have heard the same said of headphones. And I wouldn't say it about either the 445 or the Teton.  In fact, I don't think the term soundstage really applies to headphone listening.  Yes, some headphone/amp combos will create "trippy" aural spatial cues, but if you think that is good soundstage, my guess is that you have not heard a really good set of speakers yet. 


About Prautes you are right. Cypherlabs doesn't communicate a lot about it and they could find it difficult to sell it. I read Robb Report on this. Would it be a piece of Luxuary ??

 

http://robbreport.com/slideshow/electronics/six-best-dedicated-headphone-amplifiers/cypher-labs-prautes

 

Regarding Soundstage I would agree with you. Actually I haven't found any headphone rig approaching my 2 ch speakers system.

But but technology is running and on every other aspect (tone, timbre, resolution...) headphones on TOTL systems are evenly matched or go farther than speakers combos (unless physical sensations although using a Smyth A8 with KickButters...).

 

Reading reviews from Dubstep girl on Headphone.Guru about the Teton, Lojay about his 445, Jeff Wells speaking of the HeadTrip, Abyss advertisement (why not ?), F Iacone praising the Viva Egoista,   things are moving....


Edited by cladane - 5/9/15 at 1:28am
post #126 of 235
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lojay View Post
 

I think you need to try the 445 with EML tubes ;) I agree with what you say insofar as vintage 45 globes are used on the 445.

 

 

Lojay, I don't have any problem with your views about the two amps.  Opinions differ, and you come by your opinions honestly.

 

But I have a few comments that crescendo to a rant-- I think people get the false impression that the 445 is less expensive than the Teton, comparing the prices of the two amps without tubes.  Yep, the base price of the Teton is $5,000, while the 445 is "only" $4,200.

 

But let me again point out where costs stand when you factor in tubes.  Craig personally recommended the vintage globe RCA 45s to me, saying they sounded "more like real music" to him than the EMLs.  Those globe 45s cost $750.  I also bought the Western Electric 417As for another $350.  Now I am supposed to buy EML 45s?  That's another $630 to $740 for a matched pair. So the amp costs $4,200 new, and then to get it to sound optimal and (potentially) on par with the Teton, I am supposed to shovel out in total another $1,700 to $1,800 for the tubes, for an all-in cost of $5,900.  I don't even want to ponder the replacement costs of those tubes, a relevant concern given that EML's don't have a great reputation for long-term reliabililty.  In comparison, the Teton sounds stellar with the supplied rectifier, a TI/Tung Sol 6528 for $100, and a Sylvania 6F8G for $50, for an all-in cost of $5,150.  So, the 445 is not cheaper than the Teton, unless you just want to stare at both amps, tube sockets empty.

 

Yet, on another site, Purrin claimed that the Teton, not the 445, is the overpriced amp (and also that the Teton suffers from "a lack of fully extended tonal dynamic range", verbal diarrhea that sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Srajan Ebaen review on 6moons).  His critique of the Teton was apparently based on Anax's impressions -- at a meet? -- listening to Pete Millett's rig.  (Meet impressions in my experience are borderline worthless.)  Frankly, it bothers me that Purrin has been one of the biggest long-time advocates of the 445 (much of his glorification posted on another headphone forum, where he started a thread in which he initially referred to the 445 in his thread title as the "God amp", since changed to the "Good amp" for some reason).  And elsewhere he critiques the Teton.  I wouldn't have a problem with that -- tastes differ.  Except that he is now listed as a "member of the trade"  for Eddie Current.  Were all his past comparative comments the god's honest truth or were they free marketing for a buddy and future employer?

 

Bottom line, I wholeheartedly agree with Dubstep Girl's review on Headphone Guru from March -- she concluded that the Teton is the best amp she has ever heard with the HD800. That's my feeling as well.  It is a shame that the Teton still gets so little love on Head-Fi, even relative to other similarly expensive amps.  If I had a time machine, I would not have bought the 445. It is wasteful to use such an expensive amp as a mere "backup" in case my Teton ever needs to be sent in to be repaired.

post #127 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post
 

 

Lojay, I don't have any problem with your views about the two amps.  Opinions differ, and you come by your opinions honestly.

 

But I have a few comments that crescendo to a rant-- I think people get the false impression that the 445 is less expensive than the Teton, comparing the prices of the two amps without tubes.  Yep, the base price of the Teton is $5,000, while the 445 is "only" $4,200.

 

But let me again point out where costs stand when you factor in tubes.  Craig personally recommended the vintage globe RCA 45s to me, saying they sounded "more like real music" to him than the EMLs.  Those globe 45s cost $750.  I also bought the Western Electric 417As for another $350.  Now I am supposed to buy EML 45s?  That's another $630 to $740 for a matched pair. So the amp costs $4,200 new, and then to get it to sound optimal and (potentially) on par with the Teton, I am supposed to shovel out in total another $1,700 to $1,800 for the tubes, for an all-in cost of $5,900.  I don't even want to ponder the replacement costs of those tubes, a relevant concern given that EML's don't have a great reputation for long-term reliabililty.  In comparison, the Teton sounds stellar with the supplied rectifier, a TI/Tung Sol 6528 for $100, and a Sylvania 6F8G for $50, for an all-in cost of $5,150.  So, the 445 is not cheaper than the Teton, unless you just want to stare at both amps, tube sockets empty.

 

Yet, on another site, Purrin claimed that the Teton, not the 445, is the overpriced amp (and also that the Teton suffers from "a lack of fully extended tonal dynamic range", verbal diarrhea that sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Srajan Ebaen review on 6moons).  His critique of the Teton was apparently based on Anax's impressions -- at a meet? -- listening to Pete Millett's rig.  (Meet impressions in my experience are borderline worthless.)  Frankly, it bothers me that Purrin has been one of the biggest long-time advocates of the 445 (much of his glorification posted on another headphone forum, where he started a thread in which he initially referred to the 445 in his thread title as the "God amp", since changed to the "Good amp" for some reason).  And elsewhere he critiques the Teton.  I wouldn't have a problem with that -- tastes differ.  Except that he is now listed as a "member of the trade"  for Eddie Current.  Were all his past comparative comments the god's honest truth or were they free marketing for a buddy and future employer?

 

Bottom line, I wholeheartedly agree with Dubstep Girl's review on Headphone Guru from March -- she concluded that the Teton is the best amp she has ever heard with the HD800. That's my feeling as well.  It is a shame that the Teton still gets so little love on Head-Fi, even relative to other similarly expensive amps.  If I had a time machine, I would not have bought the 445. It is wasteful to use such an expensive amp as a mere "backup" in case my Teton ever needs to be sent in to be repaired.


Actually if you buy an hd800 new from todd the Teton is only $4750, $6k total. Probably another $300 off if he has a demo pair of hd800's lying around.

 

The 445 has low ohm output and would probably be better suited for planars. Lojay has a he-1000 on the way. Should be really good.

post #128 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post
 

 

Lojay, I don't have any problem with your views about the two amps.  Opinions differ, and you come by your opinions honestly.

 

But I have a few comments that crescendo to a rant-- I think people get the false impression that the 445 is less expensive than the Teton, comparing the prices of the two amps without tubes.  Yep, the base price of the Teton is $5,000, while the 445 is "only" $4,200.

 

But let me again point out where costs stand when you factor in tubes.  Craig personally recommended the vintage globe RCA 45s to me, saying they sounded "more like real music" to him than the EMLs.  Those globe 45s cost $750.  I also bought the Western Electric 417As for another $350.  Now I am supposed to buy EML 45s?  That's another $630 to $740 for a matched pair. So the amp costs $4,200 new, and then to get it to sound optimal and (potentially) on par with the Teton, I am supposed to shovel out in total another $1,700 to $1,800 for the tubes, for an all-in cost of $5,900.  I don't even want to ponder the replacement costs of those tubes, a relevant concern given that EML's don't have a great reputation for long-term reliabililty.  In comparison, the Teton sounds stellar with the supplied rectifier, a TI/Tung Sol 6528 for $100, and a Sylvania 6F8G for $50, for an all-in cost of $5,150.  So, the 445 is not cheaper than the Teton, unless you just want to stare at both amps, tube sockets empty.

 

Yet, on another site, Purrin claimed that the Teton, not the 445, is the overpriced amp (and also that the Teton suffers from "a lack of fully extended tonal dynamic range", verbal diarrhea that sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Srajan Ebaen review on 6moons).  His critique of the Teton was apparently based on Anax's impressions -- at a meet? -- listening to Pete Millett's rig.  (Meet impressions in my experience are borderline worthless.)  Frankly, it bothers me that Purrin has been one of the biggest long-time advocates of the 445 (much of his glorification posted on another headphone forum, where he started a thread in which he initially referred to the 445 in his thread title as the "God amp", since changed to the "Good amp" for some reason).  And elsewhere he critiques the Teton.  I wouldn't have a problem with that -- tastes differ.  Except that he is now listed as a "member of the trade"  for Eddie Current.  Were all his past comparative comments the god's honest truth or were they free marketing for a buddy and future employer?

 

Bottom line, I wholeheartedly agree with Dubstep Girl's review on Headphone Guru from March -- she concluded that the Teton is the best amp she has ever heard with the HD800. That's my feeling as well.  It is a shame that the Teton still gets so little love on Head-Fi, even relative to other similarly expensive amps.  If I had a time machine, I would not have bought the 445. It is wasteful to use such an expensive amp as a mere "backup" in case my Teton ever needs to be sent in to be repaired.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jibzilla View Post
 


Actually if you buy an hd800 new from todd the Teton is only $4750, $6k total. Probably another $300 off if he has a demo pair of hd800's lying around.

 

The 445 has low ohm output and would probably be better suited for planars. Lojay has a he-1000 on the way. Should be really good.

 

I will not pass comment on Marv (Purrin's) comments on the Teton. Let's focus on the sonics.

 

These are tube amps. How good they sound depends on the quality and life of the tubes you use. My quad of globe 45s (bought "NOS") sound weak. Using the globe 45s, one can easily see why the Teton bests the 445. In contrast, the EML brings out the best of the HD800. That's my honest opinion. Hopefully when someone is considering the 445 vs Teton, he can take that into account.

 

In my view, despite having bought the best NOS tubes for the Teton, the Teton lacks the soundstage, precise imaging, microdetail and leading edge (especially the leading edge- ie the transient attacks) that the 445 (EML solid plates and WE 417A) can give with my modded HD800. 

 

And that is not my own opinion, but the opinion of my friends who have compared the two amps. Some thought the battle was not even close.

 

On the other hand, even with cheaper tubes, the Teton is more musical. It is warmer and, with the right tubes, can be euphonic. It sounds less technical than the 445. It is smoother. The bass is better with the HD800. All of this while maintaining a good soundstage (not as good as 445), excellent detail (about the same or less than the 445) and PRaT (on par with the 445). In my view, it is an amazing amp. It transforms the HD800 into a rather different animal, however, than the 445. The 445 is a more solid state sound and in some ways can sound more realistic. The Teton sounds more like music. I would venture to suggest that most on headfi will prefer the Teton.

 

But I would have to differ when one claims that the Teton is certainly, without qualifications, the better amp compared to the 445. You need the right tubes with the 445.

 

Ps: the Teton was an excellent deal for me, second hand. I think overall the Teton is a better value proposition because the quad 45s are very expensive.


Edited by lojay - 5/14/15 at 8:34pm
post #129 of 235

Hi Mark(minimus)

 

I like to take advice from people who seem to know what they're talking about.This is why I originally contacted you and subsequently took yours (and others) advice and bought the Teton.

 

I should  mention that here in the UK, we don't have the opportunity to audition many of these high(er) end Amps , let alone do A/B tests.So,I'm not in a position to make comment on any 

Eddie Current model,(although I recently heard the 2a3 with the HD800 at a Meet-but too much noise to make any comment)

 

If someone posts that the Teton is "too Harmonic" and "more Musical" (than something else)then I don't think there's any need to question his opinion !!??Unless the argument is solely to do with the cost of tubes, In which case,I have some of the best for the Teton which total about £300-£500-depending on selection.

 

(Maybe I'll take your advice at some point and post my views on how excellent the Teton is - in any case,  having recently had a private audition of Meridian's MQA, I suspect 'reference' points be will changing for most of us - maybe much egg on faces !!!)

 

Regards

David

post #130 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by britneedadvice View Post

Hi Mark(minimus)

I like to take advice from people who seem to know what they're talking about.This is why I originally contacted you and subsequently took yours (and others) advice and bought the Teton.

I should  mention that here in the UK, we don't have the opportunity to audition many of these high(er) end Amps , let alone do A/B tests.So,I'm not in a position to make comment on any 
Eddie Current model,(although I recently heard the 2a3 with the HD800 at a Meet-but too much noise to make any comment)

If someone posts that the Teton is "too Harmonic" and "more Musical" (than something else)then I don't think there's any need to question his opinion !!??Unless the argument is solely to do with the cost of tubes, In which case,I have some of the best for the Teton which total about £300-£500-depending on selection.

(Maybe I'll take your advice at some point and post my views on how excellent the Teton is - in any case,  having recently had a private audition of Meridian's MQA, I suspect 'reference' points be will changing for most of us - maybe much egg on faces !!!)

Regards
David
And your point is?
post #131 of 235
Thread Starter 

Lojay, thanks for your comments...they seem reasonable.  At the end of the day,  I think we have different priorities and preferences.  I have far more money invested in my 2-channel speaker rig than in headphone equipment and my 2-channel electronics don't have a tube anywhere in the signal path.  Because of that system, I may value the attributes of the Teton more than those of the 445.  In any case,  I might consider giving the EMLs a try, although I wish they weren't so expensive.  Are you using the mesh plates?

 

I recently had a series of PM exchanges with Purk, who is veteran Head-Fi member who has owned a truly impressive array of high-end headphone gear in the past 15 years. He summed up our exchange by writing that both of us have spent a lot of time and money in recent years in search of amps that could match, let alone surpass, the sound quality Singlepower amps offered in their heyday. Singlepower is now infamous for awful build quality and disappearing into the night with substantial deposits for amps that were never built, but (excuse the blasphemy) Singlepower amps, when working, could sound sublime. Purk owns the Singlepower SDS-XLR and I used to own the Singlepower Extreme Platinum. The Teton is the first amp I have owned that sounds like how I remember my Singlepower sounded, but I believe the Teton surpasses it in terms of speed, detail, and bass extension.

 

post #132 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by minimus View Post
 

Hey Mark sorry I thought I replied earlier. I am using the solid plate EMLs. You might want to give them a try - but they need couple hundred hours worth of burn in, and sound quite nasty out of the box. Not sure you'd want to spend that much on the 445 given you are happy with the Teton. I think once you hit the sweet spot with your setup it's about time to stop fooling around with gear :)

 

Are you using the Teton with speakers as a preamp? I am using the Teton at home with my Johnblue JB3 speakers (nice small and cheap) and Trends TA10.2P, and I must say that the Teton has transformed the rather cheap speaker system I have to something palpably real. I never knew that preamps have such a profound impact on speakers. Tube rolling has a significant influence though. I am using the 6528 Tungsol and CBS 5692, and am digging the results.

post #133 of 235

I find it interesting your comments, Lojay and Minimus, comparing those two amps which creators compete at the same level in the Tubes production.

I would pinpoint two points about what I get out of it.

 

First it is funny to talk about the EC 4-45 (Transformer Output) and the Teton (OTL) when we read the following Graig Uthus IW precisely concerning output transformers technical problems. One should have thought that the Teton would come out from Craig mind...

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/eddiecurrent2/zana2.html

 

On another side, all the chat is centered on how to drive the HD800. Well, seriously guys, $5500 amps to drive heaphones costing actually €750-950 in EU (street price) ?? Technology has moved on. Really NO headphone now has better soundstage than the HD800 ? Those cans are the end of game ? Wow, I hope for Pete and Craig that the EC 4-45 and the Teton has more future than this role.

post #134 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by cladane View Post
 

I find it interesting your comments, Lojay and Minimus, comparing those two amps which creators compete at the same level in the Tubes production.

I would pinpoint two points about what I get out of it.

 

First it is funny to talk about the EC 4-45 (Transformer Output) and the Teton (OTL) when we read the following Graig Uthus IW precisely concerning output transformers technical problems. One should have thought that the Teton would come out from Craig mind...

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/eddiecurrent2/zana2.html

 

On another side, all the chat is centered on how to drive the HD800. Well, seriously guys, $5500 amps to drive heaphones costing actually €750-950 in EU (street price) ?? Technology has moved on. Really NO headphone now has better soundstage than the HD800 ? Those cans are the end of game ? Wow, I hope for Pete and Craig that the EC 4-45 and the Teton has more future than this role.

 

On your first point, do take note that Eddie Current's top of the line amps are all OPT: the EC 445, EC BA and EC 2A3MKIV. What I read Craig to be saying in that article is that, in the single ended world, it is hard to wind a good transformer which is needed to make a OPT amp sound good. He is also saying that OTL amps (like the ZDSE) measure better but do not necessary sound better. Those comments are also specifically about SE outputs, where the 445 has floating balanced speaker and headphone outputs. So I am afraid one needs to be more careful when taking Craig's comments in the 6moons article into account. What I can confirm is that (a) Craig has obtained some very good transformers for his 445 and (b) in his conversations with me, he says "I have never heard an OTL amp that can match the speed, and detail of a good transformer amp."  

 

About your second point, I have heard all the top current production headphones and I can confidently say that I have not heard a headphone, including the SR009 that I own and listen to regularly, which has better soundstage depth, soundstage width, precise imaging or resolution/detail than the HD800. In these technical aspects, SR009 is behind, but is rather quicker in the transient movements and may have better front to back layering as opposed to spatial images spread across the stage. So the HD800 can be truly end-game for the right amp and DAC. It needs the right amp to sound its best. If technology has "moved on" I do not think we have that technology on the market yet.

 

In fact, I am a beta tester for the "latest" technology of Hifiman headphones, the HE1000. I can again confidently say that the HD800 images and does soundstage better (both depth and width and spatial separation). But HE1000 does other things better (better bass, more laid back sound, vocals to die for). It depends on your preferences at the end of the day. We are at a lucky time where sound reproduction is truly top notch for relatively affordable prices. 

post #135 of 235

Detailed comments #Lojay.

 

Reading your first comment I understand why you could prefer the 4-45 vs the Teton as point (b) could influence your judgement but point (a) comes undoubtedly from your own listening experience. Perhaps the difference with Minimus' feelings spotlighting the Teton rises from his feelings about OTL and Transformer Output technologies. OTL drives better the HD800 ??

 

Second comment is a surprise for me but I'm happy with it since I do like the HD800. So no PS1000e, no Ultrasone ED 10, even the HE1000 doesn't do it !! But where is in your opinion the Abyss there ??

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › The Apex Teton Review and Impressions Thread