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Post your Headsave Classic impressions

post #1 of 89
Thread Starter 
I just received mine in the mail yesterday and I suspect other folks are getting theirs as well. I thought we ought to have a thread dedicated to initial impressions.

Since I'm asking for them, the least I can do is start. I'm not ready to review it more thoroughly until those big caps have had adequate time to burn in, but my initial impression is that it sounds very good. Quite detailed, very involving.

My Classic has dual 8610 op-amps (equivalent to the 8620 option) and it sounds quite comparable to my Norm-built PIMETA with 86x0s and double-stacked buffers. Right now the PIMETA seems a little more controlled on complex passages while the Classic seems a bit more forward. Given that the Classic is much cheaper than the PIMETA, my initial impression is that it's quite a value.

I'll post pics and a more thorough review later.
post #2 of 89
Cool. When you post your further impressions, can you also let us know how much power you're feeding it?
post #3 of 89
Thread Starter 
24v from an Elpac. I do actually have a 12v linear regulated supply also, so I'll say something about how it compares with the two different voltages.
post #4 of 89
it's been 3 days...
so how do you find the classic ?

any big difference when you try both 12V and 24V with it ?
post #5 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj_mocok
it's been 3 days...
so how do you find the classic ?
I like it a lot. It's funny, because I was going to keep my PIMETA (also Headsave-built) as my home amp and ordered a Home Vibe as my "budget" office rig. I had the chance to upgrade that for $15 because Norm was discontinuing that version of the Home Vibe, and I figured it would just make my office rig even better. But now that I have some time on the Classic (and will be doing some op-amp rolling in the future), the PIMETA will be banished to the office and the Classic my main home amp. At least for my Senn 595s, I like it better than the PIMETA.


Quote:
any big difference when you try both 12V and 24V with it ?
A little but much less than I would have thought. However, my Classic has the 86x0 series op-amps, not the standard 2227 or "big upgrade" 627s. The 86x0s are known for having modest power requirements, which is why they're what JMT recommends for portables. I suspect there'd be a larger difference with the stock 2227, and I'd be surprised if you can run the 627s off 12v at all. But for my current Classic, it's not much of an improvement.
post #6 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunByrne
At least for my Senn 595s, I like it better than the PIMETA.
Oh man reading that just made me so happy. I was flip floping between either buying a PIMETA or HS Classic as an amp upgrade for my new 595s, and finally decided on the Classic because of price. I'm really happy that in your mind I made the right choice, and I can't wait to receive it.
post #7 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunByrne
...the PIMETA will be banished to the office and the Classic my main home amp. At least for my Senn 595s, I like it better than the PIMETA.
Can you tell us what it is about the sound of the Classic, compared to the PIMETA, that you like better? If you find it hard to abstract into the usual Audiophile critique terms, can you give us tracks that you played and the actual differences that you heard between the Classic and the PIMETA?

BTW, I concur with your increased input voltage findings. With my setup (with a jeri-rigged Vibe, listening at 9v and 18v), I heard a really substantial improvement in the sound of the stock OPA2227 going from 9v to 18v which would make it easily worth the price difference of the 24v power supply over the 12v. What I heard with the AD8620 going from 9v to 18v was an improvement, no doubt, but not nearly as large as with the other opamps I tried. Even the AD823 (also known for its low voltage performance) had a very nice improvement going from 9v input to 18v input - again worth the $20 12v/24v power supply price differential.

But I'm really interested in what you observed in the sounds of the Classic and the PIMETA with your HD595's that causes you to prefer the Classic.
post #8 of 89
My Classic has had a little less than 50 hours of burn in. I'll give it a full 100 hours before going into a detailed description, but I will say this: So far I'm very happy. When listening to Stereolab's Emperor Tomato Ketchup for example, the amp revealed details that were totally obscured when I was listening through my Creek OBH-11 (now sold).

The amp's sound is indeed forward, and well matched to my AKG K240S. (FWIW I did ask Norm to take the K240S into consideration when building it.) I'd also describe the sound as crisp and clear- again, it is revealing exquisite amounts of detail. The build quality is, in a word, excellent. This is a solid little amp: the "action" of the 1/4 inch hp jack is smooth when plugging the phones in and removing them, and holds the plug with a secure "snick". The volume knob is fluid and feather light when turning, and the on/off switch snaps with authority. I have not looked under the hood yet, and don't imagine I will until the day I decide to roll the op-amps, so I'll leave it to others to comment on the innards.

So far, so good!
post #9 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbulack
Can you tell us what it is about the sound of the Classic, compared to the PIMETA, that you like better?
It's not a large difference--the PIMETA sounds very good as well. Howeer, the Classic is just a little more involving and sounds a smidge more detailed. It's like a little hint of Grado involvement without the treble harshness. The 595/Classic with 86x0 pairing might be a teensy bit too forward for extended classical listening, which I have not yet done with the Classic. However, we'll see how it sounds when I get the 627s from Norm on that score.

To qualify, though, I think with my Sony CD780s I like the PIMETA slightly better. The CD780s have a tendency to be kind of sloppy and the PIMETA seems to control them a little bit better. That definitely relegates it to the office since that's where the CD780s are going. Again, though, we're not talking about an enormous difference.
post #10 of 89
Hi guys. I was wondering if any of you could find the chance to compare the Classic with a PPA or perhaps some comercial amps. I have been eyeing Norm products for some time and would like to have your opinions about them. Tnx.
post #11 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onix
Hi guys. I was wondering if any of you could find the chance to compare the Classic with a PPA or perhaps some comercial amps. I have been eyeing Norm products for some time and would like to have your opinions about them. Tnx.
Sure, send me a PPA or a commercial amp and I'll be happy to compare.
post #12 of 89
I haven't had mine very long, and circumstances have dictated that I haven't given it much airtime yet. Add to that the fact that my only reference point for amps is a CMOY, so my opinion should be taken with that in mind. I'll post more detailed views later on when I've had the chance to give it more attention, but so far I am VERY happy at the results.
post #13 of 89
Someone post some piccies of it please the ones on the offical web site are bit small and I'm eager to see what I've ordered. Build date for me is 20 July oh the waiting, the waiting....
post #14 of 89


post #15 of 89
no inside pic ? hehe...
anyway, just curious, how does it sound with your senns ?
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