I've been spending most of today listening to my now-burned-in classic and thought I'd share my impressions. I didn't take notes or anything (I was too busy enjoying the music!) but I do believe that I have enough of a sense of it to share what I heard. I did my listening primarily through my AKG K240S, occcasionally dipping into my SR125.
I would describe my classic (w/dual 627 op amps and 24v elpac) as detailed, clean, clear, forward and intimate. The sound was pleasantly smooth in general. I wouldn't describe it as liquid, but it came pretty close at times. I definitely felt very close to the music, which was primarily rock, roots reggae and dub. Some of what I've been listening to inlcudes:
The Flaming Lips- Yoshi
Dennis Brown- The Promised Land
Rush- Permanent Waves
Niney the Observer- Head Shot
Stereolab- Margerine Eclipse
In the denser of the recordings: Yoshi and Margerine Eclipse, the Classic was able to effortlessly reproduce every nuance in the complex passages on the recording, including the fine details in the intricate synthesizer work on these records (particularly some very subtle modulations of tone). Both cds sounded clear, lush and intricate, instead of the muddy mess I had experienced when listening to them through my OBH-11. Imaging was excellent and soundstage was imo good, although I have limited exprerience in judging soundstage, having owned relatively few headphones.
In the sparser reggae recordings Head Shot and The Promised Land, the Classic performed equally well. The bass was deep, defined and clear, and the amp was dead silent "in between the notes". There has been some debate in the earlier Home Vibe thread about amp hiss. To my ears, through low impedance cans, I heard ZERO hiss when listening at normal listening levels coming through the classic. A high point of my listening to Head Shot (no pun intended I assure you
) was during some of the piano passages, where I found the piano tones to be utterly realistic. I played the piano for many years when I was younger, and I was amazed at how correct the piano sounded on this recording. This was something I had not heard before owning the Classic.
I listened to Rush's Permanent Waves with my SR125, and the classic performed much as it did when I was listening through the AKGs: it was equally smooth and revealing. In particular, I was quite captivated by the vibration and decay of notes during some of the acoustic guitar parts on this record. Again, the classic brought more music to my ears than I had previously known was on the recording.
So, I hope this was useful, despite my general lack of audiophile vocabulary, and other amps to compare to the Classic. In summary, I am very, very pleased with the performance of this amp. IMO its an excellent little amp at a bargain price.
[EDIT: Regarding soundstage, I did some more listening tonight to the newly remastered Police Regatta de Blanc and found the soundstage to be excellent. Really 3-D, spooky and echo-ey. So I have no longer have any doubts about the Classic's ability to create a very nice soundstage.