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Before and after pics - CURSE YOU HEAD FI!

post #1 of 6026
Thread Starter 
Before - post count around 100, a modest rig for home and portable:

Since then, my MS-1 is now a MS-2, the Cmoy has been given to be friend to be confiscated by the government (Thanks, JFK security) and the Ipod is the only thing left. A few months later...

Post count - 1500. Portable rig is now a ipod, SR-71, and a KSC-35. And here's the home rig:

Modded 3960. Modded DT770Pro/600 Ohm. Modded Graham Slee Solo. some BSR EQ3000 equalizer i picked up on ebay for a few bucks. an LCD/TV monitor so i can watch vids on the 3960 and still surf head-fi. A banana hanger for the MS-2. "Moe" the headphone stand for the DT770. 6 pairs of ICs. a ONEAC power conditioner. Shoot me now. Oh, and replacement pads for the Beyers inc. Pandafeet under the 3960. Vibrapod Isolators inc for the Technics turntable and Sony Receiver/phono stage incoming soon. SHOOT ME NOW!

Why didn't anyone shoot me? Hopefully this is the Rig: The Final Solution.

EDIT - I guess it wasn't.

DOWN, BOY! And Post count 2800 and counting!

Edit - Post Count 3280 and counting...

What you see is me getting more focused, more minimal - more expensive. Wharfedale Crystal 20 speakers, some isolation cones incoming - the Toshiba is in the other room for bedroom duty, the source is a Emu 0404 soundcard in the computer, and the Solo doubles as a headphone amp and a pre-amp for the Sony receiver to power amp the speakers with 6 ohms and 100 watts. The MS-2 is gone, and now we are down to the Darth Beyers and the SR200. Incoming is an indoor radio antenna, powered to boost the signal in this apt with alot of interference in the air. Audioquest speaker wires are incoming. CURSE YOU HEAD-FI! I think every forum on this site forces me to consider a purchase - even the non-headphone speaker and accesories forum. What's next, a soldering gun and some DIY projects?

A PS2 and an Infinity Subwoofer and Terk Radio boosting tower. So I hooked it all into the Denon receiver (swapped it with 1911 for my old Sony) and the PS2 going into the Samsung LCD TV monitor, and now we're cookin.
I think I better stop here for a while...ah who am I kidding. And btw my post count at this point is 4000+. CURSE YOU HEAD FI!
I hit the 5500 postcount, so here's another update-

My Rig -

Notice the Zoom Palmtop Studio on top of the Solo, and the Darth Beyers lurking behind the SR200. The EQ is finally banished and the PS2 is in its place - and the old Denon reciever is swapped for a Sony receiver. I bring out the turntable only to record vinyl to the computer, then back in the closet it goes. Check out the comic book on the desk - it's by Head-fi's own Catachresis so give him a PM and ask him about it!

But what could that be holding the cans? Let's take a closer look...

What the heck? Yes indeed it is the new Headphile Headphone Stand!

CURSE YOU, HEADPHILE! Notice my SR200 has the Headphile Beta C-Pads on as well. I'm a Headphile Fanboy!

6300 post update - CURSE YOU HEAD FI!

Well in light of the Wife thread, I thought I'd show the insanity my long-suffering wife has put up with hehe. Also it looks like time for an update, since I just hit the 7000 post count mark, and I still don't have a pic of my HP2s with my whole rig - I'll rectify that this weekend! The HP2s look funky now - Cpads, Beyer pads lightly snapped over the band, recabled, the whole shebang!
But until then, have fun staring at the madness of one day's fateful post...

Yep I unpacked and tossed the boxes in 30 seconds flat before the wife got home lol! Why did it all have to come at the same time!?
Post count is 7240 and I finally get around to posting my HP2 monstrosity. Zeta Port C-Pads, DT770 Headband Pad, Recabled Blacksilver Headphile cable, on a Headphile stand with SR325 housings. Do you think Joe Grado would forgive me? I think not.

Post count is 7910. The Tushi has been sent to Australia to cavort with the Kangaroos. The KSC-35 finally pooted out. And we've come full circle on the portable rig - scary how much the picture below looks like my very first pic in this thread, doesn't it? "And the circle is complete!"

The Go Vibe V3 has the Green LED, and the Op Amp is a browndogged AD8066. Check out full info on http://members.shaw.ca/storage_2/headsave/
My Rat Shack lithium 9V batt is in there now.

The SR60 is a, well, SR60 hehe. Now I have a full set of Grado Pads (all but a sock mod version lol!) but the comfies didn't do it for me, so the best compromise right now are reversed bowls (actually I might consider the flats but i don't want to walk around town with original Joe Grado flats!)

The amp bag is a lowepro camera bag, a D-Res 30AW, and the cord wraps are Sumajin cablewraps. The Grado carry case is the taiwanese one everyone's raving about right now. The portable amp with the red LED in the pic was a borrowed JMT CHA-47, heading back to Joelongwood, thanks for the lend!

Curse you, Head-fi! You can't even leave my dog walking rig alone!


Well since it's post #8000, I guess it couldn't hurt to jump the gun to say what should be coming by the end of the week, hopefully it all works!

What's coming-

The Stax Lambda Professional Earspeakers and The Stax SRM-1 Mark II Energizer. Wish me luck that everything arrives safe and sound and sounds great! Curse you, Electrostatic MiniMeet thread!

Post 8115. I think I'm officially in trouble.
This is bad...CURSES!!!!

Post 8545.
See this thread for the full pics on my new head-fi additions!
And here's a taste of my new setup!

Stax Lambda Pro Earspeakers hooked into Stax SRM-1/MKII Driver Unit. Excellent!
Post count is 8900. Well Pinkie's replacement is on the way, hopefully it will make it here in one piece - without further ado, here is a teaser pic of the Melos SHA-Gold "Telefunkenator" Reference Pre-Amp/Headphone Amp!

Post 9000!
And even better news - 1911 is coughing up an old CD burner he doesn't use in return for this Denon receiver I have, here's the stats and review - the important part is the stable platter mechanism I'll be using as a redbook transport for my Lite DAC-AH. EDIT- he fooled me and gave me a crock pot holder - "Stable Platter" indeed! Bah!
Post count 9200 and OH CRAP GOTTA UNPACK! Why did it all come at the same time! History repeats itself!!!!!

*Unpacks like a madman*

"What are you talking about honey? That's the same crappy Sony receiver, honest! Why does it say "Melos?" Um...hey hon why don't I walk the dog tonite? And clean the floors, do the laundry, rub your feet...

Everything arrived safe and sound and sounds amazing right outta the box! Welcome, Headphile Blacksilver ICs, "The Mule" - Yamaha/Koss KSC-35 hybrids, Hospital-Grade Quail Power Cord without ferrite, going to...
"The Telefunkenator" - Melos SHA-Gold Reference with Telefunken EECC88/6DJ8 tubes!

I already programmed my all-in-one remote to control the Melos, so the original Melos remote can go back in the box. Ready to get Telefunky!
Originally Posted by Salt Peanuts
Jahn - I just love how the Melos look. Got any pics of The Mule?
You wanna see the Mule? Here's the Mule!

Post Count 9410.
But are they Hospital Grade like the see-thru Group Buy ones? You Bet!
But why am I fooling with cords when I'm staring at THIS?

Stuck some squishy vented bowls on there, plugged it into the Melos, and OMG TEH BASS! GO GO #200!

Post 9550. I needed a Tuner, Phono Stage, and Power Amp. So why am I getting a T-Amp? I cancelled that and went to ebay and found a vintage beast of a receiver - an Optonica SA-5250, the high end line of Sharp in the 70's!

I like the fact that it's from the era of silverface monster receivers, but it's black so it matches the Melos - without being from the horrid "black box" era of receivers (like my old Sony and Denon were!) Whee! Darth Opto!

Post Count 9710. Someone told me that both my post count and my Gear Acquisition Syndrome would slow down. To him I say - Curse you, Liar!
Traded my HF-1 for a golden SR-325i, just to match my Melos! Yes, I'm vain!

Post Count 9800: The Return of the Pinkie!

New matched pair of super quality 6N1P valves (that glow PINK!). These valves are were made for the Russian Military in 1983 by the Voskhod Factory in the former Soviet Union. They have the factory's famous 'Rocket' emblem printed in gold as well as the 'OTK' technical quality control diamond mark. These are the better quality 'EB' or 'EV' extended life and reliability version.

These twin triode tubes are in truely mint condition, beautifully made with a stainless shield between each triode, extra stainless supports on the thick mica plates, they have chrome pins, silver copper posts, lovely silver domes, twin supported silver saucer at the top and thick lead compound glass for long term vacuum integrity . All this adds up to a low noise high performance tube with a long and reliable life.

These tubes make a great upgrade for all amps that take 6N1 type tubes - they can be an upgrade for 6DJ8's, 6922, ECC88 & E88CC, it would be a case of trying them and listening to them as results vary from amp to amp.

(BTW MAR said a normal Melos will melt to the ground if you try to use these tubes, but my MAR Reference won't because they beefed up the power supply to handle the draw.)

Post Count 9850. THE CURSE GOES ON!
Well I told the wife my old turntable was busted ("didn't you just ask for a 20 dollar line thing? don't think I don't know what you're doing! you can't spend more than 50 on this record player!") so I picked up a Dual 1228 for 30 bucks shipped - that leaves me 20 for a new cartridge. I've heard that the Grado ZTE+1 is the right cart to do the job, would you all agree? Buying it new would cost 30 bucks, bah, so I think I'll put up a sign in the sale forums asking for some help for a used cart that will fit on this thing.

Post Count 9885.


The Optonica is awesome - it even makes 1911's subwoofer sound acceptable. The woofer is on Channel B, the Wharfedales are on Channel A, and you can dial in A+B to get the ghetto bass blasting! And the Tuner is amazingly strong - I hooked up the Terk FM tower to it and now it's not even breaking a sweat to pick up the Guerrilla Radio broadcasts from tugboats on the Hudson River. I can't wait to hook it up to the Dual 1228!

BTW this gave me the first opportunity to try out the other outputs of the Melos - I have it on the passive line out right now, because i found out the left channel of the tape out on the Melos is dead! Oh No! Looks like a job for Lan!

Post Count 9915: Small Curse Update- for some small isolation feet!
These eight E-A-R Specialty Composites small isolation feet were just priced so right, I had to snap em up! 4 are going under my DAC-AH, and the other 4? Well if they clear the STAX amp that's ideal, but if the current STAX feet are beefier I'm going to stick these under the PC, or maybe even under the turntable coming in - or under my current DVD player, which is currently using my old pandafeet. And maybe use the isoblocks with the turntable. Ah, it's nice to have isolation options!

Post Count: 10,133.

Best and Worst 30 bucks I ever spent!

The Dual 1228 Turntable came today, and I definitely got my 30 bucks worth of manpower shoehorning this beast into servicable condition! I spent 4 hours of my life trying to get this thing to work and I FINALLY DID IT. You wouldn't believe it - the tone arm's aluminum barrel looked like it was bent by a vicious pair of pliers, the automatic mechanism is totally FUBARed, the list goes on. But the strobe light works fine, and the turntable actually turns, and the thing actually puts out a fine phono signal (it has RCA outs, so i could use my Magwire Phono ICs, yay!) so I rolled up my sleeves, googled "Phono Recovery for Dummies" and had at it.

I wedged a slice of cardboard in the thingy to make it a manual TT (plug it in, it will spin.) and the pitch control and strobe worked to help set the speed. I had to bend that damn tonearm BACK into alignment lol, and the cart, amazingly, was already perfectly aligned according to Enjoy the Music's protractor. It came with a Audio Technica AT441E cart and stylus, is that good? The stylus has seen better days, it's probably ripping gashes thru my vinyl - but my vinyl sucks anyhow so I don't care. The weight, skate, etc is all perfecto now, and the TT is grounded via my Melos' ground. It's fed into the Optonica's phono stage and the Optonica is coming back to the Melos so I can hear it with my HP2 cans.

Before the music starts you can hear SLIGHT plinth rumble, and occasionally the magwires buzz like it's reacting to some RF - but once the music kicks in all that stuff becomes silent. I'm listening to "Temptation - Secret Machines Remix" by New Order and the BASS is AMAZING. Plus, I'm hearing stuff I didn't with digital - like a really distant echo, really expansive and warm atmosphere to it that is really pleasing. I mean, it's REALLY lo-fi, but the fun factor is way up there!

Post Count - 10,163. UH OH! So the wife walks in to see me A/B testing this!

"But honey, I was just checking out the Marantz versus the Optonica and figuring outwhichoneiwantedandwhichiwasgoingtogetridof" You can tell I was talking FAST at this point trying to get finish up before...

"YOU PROMISED! THIS STUFF DOESN'T LOOK BROKEN! GET RID OF THIS STUFF NOW OR ELSE!!!!" Goodbye Optonica and Dual 1228! Hope you find more fortunate owners at the NYC Meet Raffle!

Post Count 10,165. I just don't learn. I just pulled the trigger for this-

I don't break, I just bend - ALOT. The SR325i is off to a good new home, as well as the the elusive taiwanese bag and some cashola to make it fair, and here comes my new portable amp!

Post Count - 10,300. CURSE YOU, Bozebuttons! My Pink Russians crapped out so now I have new tubes on the rec of Bozebuttons! Description and pics of my actual tubes...

..." ONE OF THE BEST PCC88 TUBES FROM HOLLAND."... (My note- these are rebadged Holland Amperex tubes)

PCC88 / 7DJ8 1960's Vintage NOS WITH RARE Dimple-GETTERS
Twin A-FRAME Support Rods between the Micas
Balanced & Matched Triodes
Identified by the A-FRAME CONSTRUCTION which has LOWER MICROPHONICS, and SOLID DIMPLE GETTERS, lively and realistic sounding and balanced musical sound
Best Quality Vintage rarely-seen select audio tubes ! PHILIPS mfg. at Heerlen Holland. They don't make tubes as good as these anymore! These tubes were made in Heerlen, Holland identified by the delta Δ
tube identification symbol of Heerlen, Holland
vintage date coded
Tests Better than 100% NOS @ perfect
Balanced & Matched between the Triodes

tube 1: 12,500 / 12,500

tube 2: 12,500 / 12,500

New Hickok standard = 8,760 for NOS & Minimum = 6.500
These are STRONG Tubes! Tests approx. 140% STRONG !

Post Count - 10,330. What can I say. Herbie the Love Ring has struck.

Got a pair of HAL-O 9 Damping Instruments to help with the already low microphonics of the incoming tubes. Beep beep!

Scroll down to Post 5 for a continuation of the Curse, or just click here!
post #2 of 6026
I came to head-fi with a D-EJ915 and G72LP pair.

Now check what I've got...
DMP-R50 (Denon MD-R)
SJ-MJ77 (pana MD-P)
Alpine Type-R sub w/ amp (300 bucks)
Speakers (100 bucks...)
...I've sold my A500s though
post #3 of 6026

I guess somewhere around post 750 (in a 4 week period) your wallet goes out the window ; )

nice stuff tho : ]
post #4 of 6026
Awesome. You know, if I had the money, I'd be the same way, but alas, maybe it's a good thing my parents don't throw money at me.
post #5 of 6026
Thread Starter 
Post count 10,370. The A-Frame Amperex Holland tubes are here! And once again my listenable tunes are reduced by 50 percent. Man, some of the songs I have sound like utter CRAP! Like really amazingly horrible - how could I even stand this 128 compressed junk before? As you can tell, these tubes are HIGHLY resolving, I can't believe it. I really can't believe it. My STAX really is amazing now, just insane how it's a different beast. Man, those russian tubes sucked! This is so great I can't even take them off to try the HP2 next, my eyes seriously rolled into the back of my head, that's how amazing a tube roll is! Ok Bozebuttons, I'm not cursing you anymore.

BTW thanks again to DannyandElyse for the loan of the STAX ED-1 Monitor. I have to admit that it takes a little getting used to - it sort of "Sennheisers" my STAX, which I'm not sure I like, hehe But can I keep it on aesthetics alone?

So here is the cursed rig to date. Amazingly this rig doesn't bother the wife - she tolerates it because it somewhat all matches and is pretty compact and symmetrical. I dunno, I still get the Tower of Power feel from it, a Cursed Tower...

Post Count 10,410. Everything old is new again!

KSC-35 and Sik Imp. Rats, why did I sell my right angle mini adapter? I shouldn't get rid of unique stuff like that! BTW there's another big update coming, because my iPod broke, and you know what that means...

Post Count 10,468. I'm home! I popped on the herbie tube dampeners and fired up the melos - what can i say, it just destroys my minivan stereo. i can help it guys, i was hearing crappy radio for the past 2.5 hours, of course my home rig is going to sound better!

btw i opened up the KSC-35 - whoa they added alot of junk.

Velcro bag with a metal hook thing that snaps right on my camera bag - finally, somewhere to store my earclips. Also, a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter, that was a bonus. And that blue tray isn't bad to just prop the cans on when I'm home if i'm feeling anal. In all, i got my money's worth! really quickly i popped the ipod to the AE1 to the 75 ohm adapter to the KSC35 and it sounded like crap hehe - time to get to burning the cans in! Btw you can see my new 30gig 5G video iPod charging in the back - I'm waiting for my invisible shield to come in to really toss it around!

Post Count - 10,650. The Technics SL-3200 with Ortofon Concorde 10 was a freebie from my in laws. The cart needs a new stylus, and the quartz light needs a new bulb (led?) which I can salvage from my old Technics TT. Hooboy another work in progress!

Post Count 10,800 - I think my wife felt bad about chewing me out when I actually wasn't going to buy Grados this time (THANKS for getting me in trouble, 1911!) so she picked up some earwarmers for me at Century21 for 12 bucks. It doesn't look like I can stuff the KSC-35s in there but I tried them with the Earwarmers over the clips and it's nice and snug. Finally, I can wear my baseball hat in winter and not freeze my ears off!

Double Whammy! Lefty hooked me up with a swap for my Sik stuff - in the pic below you'll see a monster right angle Switchcraft plugged into the AE-1, with a 9-inch Headphile BlackCoral cable going into the bag to the iPod's TURBODock. Oh yeah! It's beefy and sounds that way too! Good stuff!

Edit- don't laugh at my temp iPod case - it's my old ratty 3G one until the real screen and case come for the 5G!

Post Count: 10,827.

Good News, Bad News update.

1)Bad News - I had to stay home and take care of the kid today, babysitter is sick, good thing my boss is cool with it.

2)Good News - I get to check the mail today without fear! And good thing too, because here's what came-

That's the Ortofon Concorde 10 Stylus in the little box, and my new Aluminum 5G case in the USPS Box! But uh...isn't that the Case above the box too?

3)Bad News - yep, they sent me TWO. So no way am I doing the back and forth with them, I'm going to hope someone out there has a 5G 30gig that needs a nice aluminum case for that additional $35.88 so I can recoup my losses, bah.

4)Good News - both the Stylus and the iPod case ROCK. I put the stylus on the cart, popped on my 7 inch of Richard X's remix of Bizarre Love Triangle, and fired her up (after flipping the rubber mat, as suggested on the Technics fan site). SWEET SOUND. Yes! As for the iPod case, I think you can sense my satisfaction from the scale comparative pics below-

Yes, the interior is well and softly and securely padded with neoprene, and that is a hard plastic screen built into the aluminum case. The scrollwheel is exposed, but as you know I have the InvisibleShield on just the scrollwheel. I docked this baby and no probs through the case, even with the TURBODock I. Here's the rig in its element!

Post Count 11,180 - Good News, Bad news Part II.

Good News - the InvisibleShield came in today!

Bad News - this is how the Post delivered it.


Good News? It is an Invisibleshield after all, so of all the packages to get slammed, this was the one that could shrug it off. And bingo, I opened it up and it's pristine. Test One Passed!

Ah, sweet success! Any tiny little bubbles left were squished out with my finger today, and now it looks flawless!

The white parts on the bottom of the face is flash glare and the edge of the dock.
The amazing thing is, there were microscratches on the screen, but the InvisibleShield actually wiped them out - I can't see them at all with this shield on there now, at any angle! Great!

The TURBODock II just came, so the portable rig is Finally Complete!

I really appreciate this dock after living with the headphone out of the ipod to the AE-1 for a week- everything is FAR cleaner and punchier, I love it!

Post Count 11,414. I hooked up 1911's Toshiba 3980 to serve as my transport for digital coax to my DAC-ah and the first disc was the STAX Test CD. What can I say, it was good enough to freak me out, so I think I'll keep it around. Yep, adding it to the rig wasn't really necessary (I won't even put it in my sig) but hey, it's free, it works, why not, right? It's still not a stable platter transport (curse you, 1911!) but it'll do when I'm in the "pop a DVD-A in and listen in low-res" mood. Here is 1911's Toshiba 3980 under my monitor, and the Toshiba remote, and the iPod while it's charging (still in the black metal case):

Post Count 11,880.

Good News, Bad news again!

Bad news - my kid pulled on the cord of his portable DVD player and it tumbled off the shelf and broke in a million pieces.

Good news - 1911 convinced me to get a 2-Yr Best Buy warranty on this thing a year ago for 30 bucks. Man, was THAT a good idea!

Bad news - spent an hour trying to convince Best Buy that it was a manufacturing defect ("uh huh. how come it's all dented and bits are broken off?"

Good news - they finally let up when I told them that I would pay the diff tween the broken DVD player and their most expensive portable DVD player -

This One! And they said yes - and it had a 75 buck rebate on it, so I actually didn't pay much more at all in the end!

GREAT news - this new DVD player won't even need to be taken out of the box, because 1911 bought me a Toshiba 3960 that I can use for the bedroom TV, and the old bedroom DVD player can be used for the kid's DVDs in the family room, leaving the portable DVD player just for car trips and...

BEST news! For Head-fi meets! Because this thing has an optical digital out! Yes! So I can pretend I'm Tyll and hook up a portable DVD player to an external DAC (my DAC-ah) and will no longer have to lug my PC around, muahahah! I already have a TOSlink Glass Optical cable, so I just have to root around the 'net for a mini TOSlink adapter, and I'm done!

Post Count 12,078. While I'm waiting for the DAC-ah to come home from mods, I picked these off eBay for 99 cents, not bad eh? Now I can check out the digital out from the portable DVD player for meets!

Post Count 12,305. While the DAC-ah is out for mods somehow I lost my optical cable! Oh well, a good excuse to invoke the "dont buy unless it's broken/lost" clause, right? Here's my new Dayton Optical 3ft Cable!

Post Count 12,384. Well I got a new and improved BSE to put on the back/sides of my iPod and put it on yesterday, here is the link to the application and a review! The curse lives on!

Post Count 12,917: The Silver Dragon has arrived!

Instantly I knew that the clips for this recabled KSC-35 wouldn't do the trick, because the Silver Dragon recable is a bit stiff due to the sleeving and therefore made the drivers shift around while I walked. Solution? Pop em off the clips, stick em on the Portapro headband, and bingo, ultimate stability and comfort! Even with the stock drivers of the Portapro on the KSC-35 clips, meaning that they are closer to my ears, it's no contest - the recabled deal is the REAL DEAL. Let's put it this way - I could live with this as my home cans. The Tower of Power is pleased. Speaking of which, here's a pic of em kicking the HP2 and STAX to the curb, and you can get a good look at the entire cable length too-

The STAX SRM-1/MKII looks so lonely down there without the DAC-ah, doesn't it? The DAC-ah is off for Round 2 mods with Lan, I can't wait!

So anyhow, back to the comparo. I have a pair of stock Portapro drivers, 60 ohm beauties that basically are identical to the KSC-35 drivers I believe. They have about 50 hours burn in time on them and are totally liveable in the portable setting. But the recabled KSC-35 drivers do something really cool, check it out-

1)Soundstage. Not super wide with either can, but with the Silver Dragon, the presentation isn't as forward, but still just as lively. It releases a bit of the congested feeling you get from the stock cans. But the Continuity is the amazing thing. With the stock cans, there is a definite left, right, and blob in the middle. With the Silver Dragons, there is a left, a transition to the middle, the middle, a transition to the right, and the right. Notice I didn't say it was a seamless sweep like the HP2 can do (i know, totally unfair comparo!) but still, it's something that removes a glaring gap in the stock cans and lets you live with the presentation even in the quiet reflection of home.

2)Bass. I'm actually amazed the recabled cans still have the big ol' bass, it's nice to still see it's here. Therefore, that midbass bump that you might or might not like is indeed here - that's a Koss signature move that isn't going anywhere. But the bass is sounding more "real" - not supertight-detailed, but not one note flabby either. Just a warm beefy bounce. The stock cans do a good job in not being one-note either, but can get wooly. This comparo was done with the stock cans having a 75 ohm adapter (that is leaving tomorrow, just sold it!) - the recabled cans have a built-in resistor in each driver, thanks to Moon Audio. You can "sense" the subterranean bass from the recabled cans, but still don't feel the rumble like, say, the DT770. The stock cans don't register that low at all.

3)Highs. Recableds have JUST a touch of smear in the highs still - not harsh, just a thin film of coverage on the highs. Better than the stock cans, which get harsh up there when pushed too hard (and yeah I pushed it). The highs aren't bright or thin at all - still have body to them, but not as warm as the stock cans, which I attribute to a bit of mid-high bleed from the stock cans.

4)Mids. Never had a problem with the stock cans' mids, and no exception with the recableds. I love how everything blends so nicely here in the mids with the recable - with the stock, sometimes the mids were presented too "front and center" over the rest of the spectrum, although the quality of what was presented was still nice and warm and accessible as always.

End result? I almost feel like I shouldn't go outside with these recabled cans. But I will. And I'll love it. BTW, the length of the cable is perfect on the go - reaches from the hip to the ear. But at home, I'd like to double the length. But they aren't going to be my home cans anyhow - tho they could certainly hold their own!

BTW, serious bass just kicked in from Martyn Ware&Vince Clarke's mix of "Music" by Madonna. MAN that midbass kick is bouncy!

Edit- holy crap. Just switched to my portable rig, turned on Sublime's "Santeria" and the snare drum is KILLER! Man, I feel ALIVE, BABY! Good stuff!


Post Count 13,087. Finally, my Generic Ebay Black Aluminum Case for the 5G 30gig iPod has arrived! Check out my comparo with my old PodsPlus here!

But don't think the Curse is over, oh no! In fact, I have two more upgrades coming up that I consider quite major...MUAHAHA!


Post Count 13,177: I got a new amp!

And yeah technically it's a headphone amp too since it has a headphone out and a line out as well - I'll try those later, but for the past SIX hours I've been destroying my calluses on this thing - man, I LOVE IT!

It is a Vox Valvetronix AD30VT, 30 watts of awesome tube hybrid power. Unlike my old Fender Roc Pro 1000, which had 100 watts but the tube was only in the pre-amp gain stage, this Vox has a juicy 12AX7 in the power amp stage - that way when I play this thing clean I've got that vintage AC30 groove to it that sounds 100% genuine.

In fact, at Guitar Center I played a LP Custom through it and it spanked the Roland Cube 30 - I got a good trade value for the Roc Pro and went home happy. Man, that LP was $6K retail, $3K on the street, but my LP at home smokes it! Of course that could have something to do with the vintage mojo and being broken in for decades by now.

I've already preset two channels to imitate the best tones from my Roc Pro 1000 for the clean and crunch sounds I like, and I'll get down to business on the wackier stuff soon. This is a no-brainer buy, and it's light too- at least lighter than the 100W beast I had before!

Oh btw that's a Morley Black Gold Volume Wah inbetween the amp and axe - I used to use it to calm my Roc Pro down just as a volume pedal, but I think I'll fool with the wah a bit more now that my new amp is more manageable hehe.

Post Count 13,379.
I figure it's time to show not just the Tower of Power, but the entire Head-Fi niche! And to play a little game called "Where's the MicroDAC?"

"Here I am! I look so tiny!" It's below the Marantz, to the right of the Stax amp! I'm borrowing this Headroom MicroDAC for a few weeks while Lan is modding my DAC-ah with its final round of mods. It has a PSU plugged into the MonsterPower PC1000, and it is taking an optical digital signal from my modded EMU 0404 via my new Dayton Glass Optical Cable (I got JUST the right length for the DAC-ah, but as you can see it's a bit short to be able to scootch the MicroDAC to the front). The mini to RCA going to the Melos from the MicroDac is my trusty Magwires Original, which hasn't let me down forever.

The biggest change going from the EMU 0404's analog out? Well, the MicroDAC has got WEIGHT. The 0404 has just as much impact, but the MicroDAC gives some heft to the bass, and when that snare drum hits, you get a nice beefy realistic THACK sound. Sublime's "Santeria" really sounded like a block party coming out of my Wharfedales! The analog signal from the MicroDAC is a bit lower than from the 0404's analog out, so the Marantz gets to travel a bit further on its pot. The Melos too, just a smidge. imho this seals the deal that external DACs are the way to go!

I tried the USB but my Dell seems to hate it and won't recognize it, no worries - I wanted to try out my new digital cable anyhow! And yes, those miniToslink adapters are working like a charm!

Post Count 13,418: THE PORTABLE RIG IS COMPLETE! (yeah right)

This should be it - the new and final addition is the RnB Audio BlackDiamond 8 inch mini to mini with gold right angle plugs. I'll make certain to do a full review after it's settled down in the rig (lol my kid just came over and started once "Eruption" blew up on The Burninator) - for now, let me say it's nice to get closure on at least one of my rigs!

Scroll down to Post 7 for a continuation of the Curse, or just click here!
post #6 of 6026
Are you sure your oneac (2 amps) has enough amps to handle all that gear? I own a 12amp one just to be sure (also had it modded).

The oneac models below 1103 don't have any filtering in them, they are just a transformer and recepticles.

post #7 of 6026
Thread Starter 
Post Count 13,623: CURSE YOU, PORTABLE FANBOYS! You drew me in but bad! Check out the spread!

Every way you can connect a 60 ohm Koss driver to a clip or a band is here, other than the sportapro or portapro 2 - yeah, i'm saving the spot for streetstyles until Grado comes on the scene. And you are seeing right - MY FIRST SENNS. Px100, old style, and yes it brings the bass, impressively enough - more than the KSC-75. I'm going to pop the KSC-75s on the Portapro band, set it on Firm, then see if it can go toe to toe with this Senn perennial fave. Let the games begin!

Post Count: 13,650.

CURSE YOU, 1911!!!

I'm not even going to grace this last "acquisition" with a picture!

1911 called me to tell me he sent my "birthday cans" to a mutual friend of ours in NYC and I could go pick them up since apparently the two of them chipped in for them - my NYC pal wanted to give them to me in person. (NYC friend is the guy who gave me the SR71 as a best man gift to put this in perspective) So I show up and he hands me...

His five-year old ratty pair of Sennheiser HD280s. "I heard you needed some sealed cans at home"

And the worst thing is 1911 never even paid for his half of the cans, so 1911 gets off scott free and laughing his @$$ off. Very nice.

Well, I will get the last laugh! My sister may be heading to LA on tuesday, but I'm in last minute negotiations with her to swap these crap cans for my Darth Beyers! "Yeah sis, these are COOL, they're what all the pros use!" I Shall Prevail!

Post Count 13,687: MY PORTABLE RIG IS COMPLETE! (uh, did I say that before already?) Ignore the squat iBuds...

It's more of a tweak than anything - the ipod radio remote doesn't HURT the SQ, but the jury is out still whether it improves it still - i'll give it some time first. The bigger jump is me living with starquad for a week then swapping back to the BlackDiamond again - no contest, this cable is the Business. Well at worst this rig keeps up with the TurboDock option, but adds radio - which in NYC means pure static with one or two Salsa stations.

Oh and before you ask, The Burninator is going in for another round with Drew, I'll post pics of Trogdor v2.0 when it comes to burninate again!

Post Count 13,745:

CURSE YOU, 1911!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post Count 13,915: Romanee Presents the Continuing Saga of "Good News, Bad News!"

Bad News - I was listening to my rig just sitting there when the right channel went out.

Good News - Everything in my Tower of Power wasn't the cause - not even the crappy Pink Russians.

BAD NEWS - it was the Grado HP2. Confirmed by sticking into eveything that had a headphone out - yep, the right channel is gone. Emailing Larry now to send over for CPR.

Good News - cried a river to 1911, who graciously just mailed me my Headphile HF-1s to cover my dynamic rig in the duration of the repair of the HP2, so I'll still have something dynamic to bring to the Nat Meet.

Bad News - until the Cocobolo HF-1 comes, the freaking SENN HD280 is my main dynamic can in my main rig, ARGH.

Good news - the Burninator is back! Drew spiffed up the recabled KSC-35 and stiffened everything up so there'll be no worried walking around with it in the future!

Bad news - I guess popping and unpopping the drivers in and out so many times finally wore out the nubbin on the right driver.

Good news - nothing a little nail polish won't take care of! Popped right into the Portapro band, and man the BASS is INSANE but the SilverDragon cable keeps everything clean and detailed!

How's that for a new episode of Good News, Bad News? And all of this happened within a span of one hour today!
Post Count - 13,962. The Continuation of Good News, Bad News!

Good News - Two packages came in the mail today!

Bad News - Neither were headphones.

Good News- One was Hillary Hahn's Bach Concertos, which I'm listening to now, and is quite alluring!

Bad News - I couldn't rip it gapless onto my computer, bah!

Good News - the other package were my A-Frame Mullards! Goodbye Pink Russians, the Melos loves these!

Bad News - uh, at least the STAX is telling me the Melos loves these. I have no dynamic cans right now other than the HD280.

Interesting news - these Mullards don't rate as high as the Amperex A-Frames I had - the Melos can comfortably go to 1 O'Clock, while the Amperex used to destroy my ears at 10 O'Clock. But these Mullards are superquiet (especially with Hal-O dampeners!) and make Hahn's violin sound so sweet...

*wakes up* so where was I? Oh yes - as we speak, really expensive Grados are criss-crossing the continent, and in the meantime the Lambdas are holding down the fort (in my avatar too, thanks Inkmo!)

Post Count 14,000: Mini-update - my ebay tube came in, and what a surprise, it's a NOS '66 Amperex Holland White Label "Bugle Boy" PCC88! Bad news? Right now I'm using 6DJ8s in my Melos, not a 7DJ8 anymore, so what am I going to do with this tube? I can't even use it as a replacement if one of the other tubes fail! Hmm, maybe in the future I'll get a Tube DAC that uses only one tube? Bah. Maybe I'll trade it to someone for a pair of lesser "backup" tubes.

I guess I could try to find another tube identical to this, but it's such a hassle, and they won't be matched, or I won't know, because I don't have a tube tester.

In unrelated news, do you see a bit of a downgrade on my Headphile stand?

Stupid Sennheiser HD280. Well, it does isolate which is good for late night jams, but I'd rather just swap these for my Darth Beyers. Curse you, Sister Dearest!

Post Count 14,040: CURSE YOU, 1911!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post Count 14,093: Sweet Isolation!

And I don't mean just because the wife isn't back until tomorrow, hehe. My Melos now has 4 Type IV Vibrapod Isolators and cones under it, giving clearance from the heat of the Marantz, since I noticed the Melos runs pretty hot when the speakers are doing their thing. Once the Monster Power conditioner comes (if it does...ebay is evil) I'll stack the Melos on top of that instead, resulting in one more tier to the Tower of Power...

Sorry no pics, the wife has the camera!

Post Count 14,152: "Something is different..."
So the wife walks in the door and all's well for half an hour...but eventually it dawns on her that the black and silver box between the black box and the silver box is new. I tried to transition it, but it's hard to hide a new tier to the Tower of Power...

Yep she called me out! The Monster Power HTS 3500 MKII is registering 122.5V of nice cleaned up power for the Melos, STAX, Marantz, Subwoofer, and uh...lamp. The PC is plugged into the old Monster Power PC1000 while it is doing a dirty secret deed...

Can you say Stealth Mod? 120 more Gigs via a secondary hard drive! Man, it's taking forever to move my libraries over there! There's nothing left now to stop the Tower except the DAC-ah, which Lan is modding up as we speak!

On the down note, I'm paranoid about the HP2 now, so methinks I'll leave it home, it's a bit more fragile than I've been treating it. But the STAX will be there in force with the Melos preamping it, and this means there will be a headphone out open for anyone to plug a can in at the meet!

Post Count 14,215:
Well the DAC-ah is back but I can't do too much listening to it right now, I'm about to keel over, pretty sick here. So instead I'll give you a visual representation of what my ears are hearing when they use the Tower of Power now!


Post Count 14,232: Massive. Powerful. Sensual. Expansive. No pics, not even symbolic pics, can do this interconnect justice, so I won't even try. The Cardas Neutral Reference Interconnect. Whoever said these cables were too bright and unforgiving are sooooo wrong (at least to my ears!) I've read that these cables do take a good 8 weeks to break in tho, and I'm certain JMT put that on, plus more, because these cables hit the ground seducing from first impact. 1911 called these "your first Real interconnects" and although I disagree that price alone makes one cable any more valid than another, I have to admit that the Tower of Power isn't Tron anymore - it's not virtual reality, it's "In Living Stereo!" Ah it's good to be alive! Even tho I'm dead sick and going to take a day of work tomorrow, I know what I'll be doing to recuperate - listening to this gorgeous rig! No apologies for gushing unhelpful platitudes, this is just so ****tingly good!

Edit - can't stop talking about these. It's like I'm getting the clarity of silver, but with the weight and impact and BASS of copper, without any smear in the warm/round/smooth nature. I naturally gravitate towards the copper sound anyhow, which is why I use Audioquest Diamonback with my STAX. It's almost like my HP2 is channeling the best of what I liked about the electrostatic rig - the clarity, the definition, the extension - but still retaining the impact and slam of the Grado Dynamic, with the lush mids and smooth highs. I might change my mind and bring the HP2 to the Meet even if it gets trashed, just so folks can hear this for themselves - I gotta share the love!

Post Count: 14,268. WAF Decline!
So the wife said I had to keep my rig under the height of my desk lamp - and even that was too high, since my lamp is already perched on top of my speaker. So instead of totally killing the tower, I created a secondary ziggurat. I love symmetry! It even matches the same visual look - black and gold with the silver on bottom.

With all the rearranging I took the opportunity to figure out what dissapated the most heat (my laptop fan) and what got the hottest (My Melos) and what was in use the most (Melos, not the STAX) and what put out the least heat (The HTS3500). I used the Vibra products to get proper clearance where needed, and stored the power conditioner under the shelf (still cool as a cucumber) and what do you know, I think my wife helped me out - better distribution of heat and dampening of isolation, groovy!
And sometimes, you need to beat that heat...

Post Count: 14,379. Raining like mad here, I'm trying to handle and umbrella and my bag and my rig and it's a big mess because the AKG K81DJ has a EIGHT-ft long cord or something! So I'm at work, and since Head-fi is no longer an option, I start using the old noggin. I google all the cable management options out there (sumajin smartwraps will NOT handle this length unless you daisy chain them, which looks ridiculous) and stumble across something called the Cable Turtle. I see they sell it a block from work, so after work I amble over to The Container Store and ask the guy at the door about it. He gives me a funny look at says "you're the 3rd guy in a row to ask me about those! They're upstairs next to the window at the end of the aisle." Whaddya know. So there they are in tons of colors and sizes, but hey, it's a turtle so I get the green one. I have reservations about the size, but I get the smallest type since it's the only one small enough to fit into my camera bag's portable rig. I start winding and winding until I'm reminded of a Duncan Yo-Yo. But I slap it shut and what do you know, it fits! Perfect length! And it tucks neatly into a side interior pocket - the other pocket has the iPod Radio Remote's cable managed by the Sumajin Smartwrap. So here's a pic!

Yep, my kid's sitting there with a turtle. A bit of green everywhere, including the LED of the AE-1, nice touch. See how it tucks in? You can barely see it. I'll bring it out...

I know that looks gigantic because it's a close-up, but it's really quite small. Check the next pic, it's only 2/3rds the height of the AE-1. Now that's a slim profile!

So far I have zero complaints with this cable management device. It only cost 5 bucks too! I'm going to add the link to it in my sig now in case folks want to read up on it! Turtles on a half-shell, Cable Power!

Post Count 14,458. Reverse Jet-Lag, meaning I don't feel it now, but I will tomorrow morning! Back from vacation and the wife caught a gander at our mail when we got back...

Rut Ro.

Fortunately I spun it off saying it was just some stuff that was already mine - "see the empty half of the headphone stand? it's just my grados coming back, honest! oh the little box? it's my portables coming back!"

of course i waited until she went to bed to open up both because you never know...and it's good i did! The Darth Grados were perfect, but the small box had 2 pairs of tubes i forgot I snatched up, woops! 2 backups - one pair of Amperex Holland A-Frames, and one pair of Bugle Boys. Take that, Melos! You burn out on me again, and I got you covered!

And yes the Darth Grados are back with a vengeance. Such sweet music after a week in a rental car pumping out island reggae. WHEW!

Post Count 14,489. The Burninator is Back! I just walked the dog with em to put it through its paces and it's solid like a rock and brought it hard. Since the Koss design is open and breezy, they will definitely be my warm weather cans for when the K81DJ gets sweaty during the summer.

I think I'm done. Two home cans, two portable cans, each filling a unique niche. Now please oh please let none of them break down on me evar!
Post Count 14,620. Below is NOT a curse update, because technically Head-fi didn't do it to me - or did it? Not being able to check out my headphone hobby for most of the day made my eye wander, and I ended up checking out the home recording websites - NOT HEALTHY FOR THE WALLET. I managed to spend within my miniscule budget, but the wife is still going to kill me when this SHURE SM57 is shown in its glory...

Along with the mic preamp needed to use it with my EMU 0404 - this M-Audio DMP3!

I am so screwed.

Post Count 14,650 - The AC/DC Edition. Well you can just sense the impending doom as I feverishly snap this pic before doing the old "unwrap and hide in plain sight" routine...

Happy times in 27K ahead!

May I introduce - the Darth Grados - Back in Black!

Yep, Black Cpads, even the cushions. Larry overhauled my HP1000s and now they're firing on all cylinders - "Galvanize" by the Chemical Brothers through this beast is mind boggling. Yes, it is indeed possible to attain that mythical fleeting Eargasm moment again from a rig you know and love - and this baby proves it! Oh Bliss!

Oh, and that shining dial at the bottom left was in the other box, the M-Audio DMP3 Dual Microphone Preamp. It has balanced outs and can take both mics and instrument inputs - I swear I'm not going any further in home recording! I swear!
Post Count 14,919. Another thread brought up a cash tally idea, so I'll repost mine here for posterity - let's hope the wife never reads this!

Well, I can only speak from experience - it took a while to get to the point where I've said "ok, i'm done." I'm guessing you're not asking for the minimum, but rather the "saturation point" where you say "ok, this rig is definitely of Audiophile Quality for my ears."

For all I know, I'm fooling myself, but anyhow...
I'll list current market value on what's in the rig right now, NOT what I paid, or the price of all the parts I've replaced due to gear deaths or mods and the such. Just the raw number if you want to slap someone with cash and say "take me right to the Tower of Power please."

Cans - Grado HP2. Let's assume you want the recable job too, and the beyer pads (both the headband and the black earpads), and the cpads. A Darth Grado's going to run you about, hmm, $1300 after the dust settles? Could be wrong, the HP1000s may have upped in price again without me noticing.

Amp - Now this one is easy. The Melos isn't even Maestrobated, and since GoRedWings19 was selling his Carlos-modded one for 1K even, put mine somewhere south of that.

DAC - the stock DAC-ah is going to run you $150, but after mods? I've seen em go up to $350-400 after mods, which is still very reasonable for an external DAC that does what you want it to.

Transport - take your junky desktop (price on the street, 50 bucks?) and stick a nice EMU 0404 in there - stock is $100, but mine's modded up a bit, say add another $150.

Cables - You have a $25 glass optical cable from the transport to the DAC, and a Cardas Neutral Reference going from the DAC to the Amp. What's that cable worth now? Let's say $380.

Tubes and stuff - I won't count the several pairs I currently have, just the pair in there now that has it at the level I like. The matched pair of A-Frame Mullards will run you $90. The Melos and the DAC (even the PC) are all sitting on top of isolation cones and pods and blocks, all which total up to, hmm, $70?

Music - a hell of a lot of cash. If you want quality, pony up for the real thing.

GRAND TOTAL - $3140, not counting the tunes. Remember, this is NOT what I paid, it's just the price on the street, and probably what I'd tell the government if they ever tried to seize it and pay me "market value" hehe. But all of this is just right for MY ears, but you may think it sounds like crap and is far below what you call Audiophile quality. On the other hand you might think you just landed on cloud 9 and someone's stuffing manna into your ears. Diff strokes, diff folks! find what's right for you, and don't afraid to shop around, but ALSO don't walk away from something if you know that you just neeeeeed it!

Edit SHOOT forgot my powerconditioning and tube dampeners- add $275 for my MonsterPower HTS2500 MKII and Herbie Hal-Os for a total of $3415!
Post Count: 14,933.

Finally, my camera is back! Since the last pic, I've gotten my home recording rig all set up - I think my poor Tower of Power is starting to overload with all the junk that can go into it and come out of it. WAF was easy this time tho - I just recorded family hubbub on the mic, and played it back on the Wharfedales - "Hey, I sound GOOD!"

Scroll down to Post 9 for a continuation of the Curse, or just click here!
post #8 of 6026
Wow, has your wallet made a semi recovery yet?
post #9 of 6026
Thread Starter 
Post Count: 15,131. FREEDOM!

And what timing to go with being able to get on head-fi again - lookit what came in the mail!

TURBO's speedy delivery of the TURBO Dock III and the TURBO Cable III! It's sorta cheating to call this a Curse update tho, since eventually this combo is going to find its way into the hands of some lucky donator for the NYC minimeet, and yep it won't be me since I can't buy a raffle ticket. Since, uh, the money from the raffle's going back into my pocket so it's like I'm paying myself for the chance at prizes, which wouldn't make sense. Heh.

But on to the comparo - as of Minute One, the TURBO Combo pays off. How so? Well I hooked up my HP2 to the AE-1 and the iPod via this rig, and blasted The Clash's "Train in Vain" and even via the ambient noise from my open cans, the wife starts doing the Saturday Night Fever Strut. WAF? Sign Me Up for this rig! Seriously, this thing is clean as a whistle, but has really great punch and impact. Thumbs up from me, and that's not even with any burn in time! Someone on June 16th is going to be one happy donator!
Oh I totally forgot this update - Scored a great discount for a July 4th home recording update - my Nady Metal Pop Filter! No more expectorating on my Shure SM57 mic!

Post Count 15,376: Post-NYC Meet Update!

The Tower has added another tier and a new promenade!

Amazingly, the turntable has WAF because no cash left the bank, I did a trade with Immtbiker for his spare Goldring GR-1 with Grado Gold cart, and since my keyboard died an embarassing death, I beefed up with a wired keyboard with a MIDI keyboard hooked into it - my kid already loves it to death! Any more stuff plugged into the Tower and I think the Fall might be arriving post haste I'm grooving to Talking Heads on vinyl right now - gorgeous stuff!

Post Count 15,600. The Velour Also Rises.

Yep, a tiny lil care package today in the mail- just some accessories! Strings and picks for my guitar, and Velour replacement pads for Senn HD25 that fit PERFECTLY on the AKG K81DJ!

Here's a comparo of the stock pad and the interior foam with the HD25 pad and interior foam. The velour is comfier by far, although the isolation seal isn't as airtight. So, there is a bit more soundbleed now, but at least my ears aren't sweating and squeeking on the pleather pads anymore! Plus, I didn't like the stock foam inserts so I removed them and just used the cheesecloth underneath that is attached to the pleather pads. But the HD25 foam is thinner and more porous, so I tucked them in and bingo they're just fine. The drivers are protected, and the SQ isn't affected badly (mushy possibilities) at all. This was a good use of 18 bucks to get, I got them from Sennheiser USA direct!

Oh btw here's a glam shot of the Goldring in action. Spin you beautiful bastard, spin!

Post Count: 15,735. The Circle is Complete!

If you've read the first post of this thread, you'll see my first "real" can - the Alessandro MS-1, as recommended by Lisa here at Head-fi. This "Gateway Drug" was no joke, and started me down that slippery slope of UpGrado, DownGrado, SideGrado, etcGrado.

Well I got nostalgic, and seeing as how the K81DJ has securely snagged the portable/isolation combo I needed for my subway commutes, I took a shot at coming back to the MS-1 for Dogwalkin' duty, seeing as how I didn't need to be as portable as Dogable on those quiet late nite walks. As The Burninator held the throne for my open portable cans, they were the fall cans for the trade for a pair of MS-1s. The Burninator is dead - Long Live Alessandro!

As you can see, this comparo pic shows all the current pads I have that will fit both the HP2 and the MS-1 with aplomb. The CPads stay on the HP2 - that combo is too perfect to break up. Next are the Flats, then the undyed VWAPs with hole mod, then squished Bowls, then the unmodded dyed black Senn 414s. Right now, the black Senn 414s do the trick, although I have a feeling the original Flats with the addition of some Grado Expanders might be a competitor here...yes indeed, another addition to the Curse is expected in a few days!

And the sound? Just the way I remembered it - SLAM without getting as wooly and Grate-o as other cans in the Prestige line. Man, I missed the John Grado Slam! I can't wait to walk the dog - dinner can wait!

That was one fun dog walk. IMPACT.
Here's one last Glam shot for the night, using my new (used) Sony 5.0 Megapixel camera!

Post Count 15,845: The Curse has Expanded! Give me Liberator or give me Death!

So I get home and see that my wife is staring at me strangely. "So what did you buy from Holland?" Uh oh.

"I swear I only paid for shipping! See? It was under 10 bucks to get over here! He had a spare pair and...oh nevermind I know the routine."

So as I suited up for another late nite dog walk, it took all of 3 minutes to pop the forks off the old cups, pop the Liberators on the old cups, then pop the forks on the new cups. There is zero chance of the old cups (still holding the drivers of course) of falling off, but they do sorta rotate on the new cups if you make em - the tension isn't hard enough to make you sweat about installation, but not loose enough to make you think the thing is going to fall apart on you on the go. Here's a pic head-on and side view - sorry if you can't see it that well, it's a black Alessandro MS-1 after all, and if you can't see the Liberators well, hey, that means it's a stealth mod that's low profile.

I tried unmodded Senn 414 pads, VWAP pads, bowl pads, flat pads with this baby. Theoretically I thought the flats would do best, since the Liberators set the drivers further from your ears, but no - it ended up being that the bowls were the best. Especially strange since it was the unmodded Senn 414s that sounded the best before putting on the Liberators.

I knew that the main difference here should be in the bass, so I intentionally played Richard X's mix of Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence - nonstop relentless souless bass beats in quick succession. All pads but the bowls displayed the increase in bass, but with too much soggy slowdown. Not so the bowls - the bass was big and deep and in control and a definite improvement over the bass pre-Liberator with any pad.

The highs had more air to breathe so to speak, so I wasn't surprised to hear more separation and distance between notes, although there was this VERY slight reverby "tzz" that resided in the highs - not annoying, but also not there before. This resulted in giving Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a more wooden creaky rocking chair type of delivery, instead of the parched scorched earth drymouth sound. When on the go, this phenomenon faded against the assault of normal ambient noise, so it wasn't a big deal.

The biggest surprise was the mids. How the Liberator managed to keep the mids so forward and intimate was beyond me. There was definitely more soundstage, so the end result was like Ivy singing intimately to you about urban disassociation while the Rhodes keyboard was floating in the background - trippy!

Overall, the Dark-Audio Liberators were a definite improvement over the stock thinline Prestige Series plastic cups. Of course I came home after the walk and the HP2 trashed the MS1, but that's neither here nor there Thank you, my distinguished Dutch Connection, for introducing me to this reversible and worthy Grado modification!

Edit - they add almost no weight, so no worries there either

Post Count 15,917: Two down, Two to go.

Well with all the ramping up of cursed folk on this thread, it's hard to keep pace, but The Curse always finds a way. Seeing as how the Tower of Power has been under seige for months without budging an inch, the Curse has attacked The Other Rig. Poor portables.

AE-1 is on the way to Connecticut (damn you USPS for keeping us in the dark by not scanning the delivery confirmation tracking number, making me paranoid!) and in return The Hornet has made a little nest in my camera bag. As you can see, the Blackdiamond cable is saying "uh, a lil room please?" Myo is crafting an alternative as we speak. And the MS-1 looks nigh unrecognizable, but there's another surprise in store in a week or two for ye olde Alessandro as well...The Curse Lives On!

BTW, Mercuttio's HP3000s look bad ass.
Post Count 16,089: Lock and Load, baby!

So here I am listening to 1911 whine about how scared he is of how the cups of his Grados can spin spin spin...ultimately leading to Twizzler-like cables. Personally I like how the cups are designed, because it's very easy to adjust to the shape of your head to lie flush with your ears. However, they only stay in place when they are on your head, it's true. Looking at ye olde HP2, Joe's elegant solution was to lock the rods in place so the cups wouldn't spin - plus, the rods wouldn't go up and down, so both the twist and the cup height would halt. How come we don't have this great idea on John's cans?

Well, now we do.

Larry from Headphile hooked me up with a pair of screws that would do the same thing (thanks for the free screws Larry! uh, that didn't come out right...) and made them Black to boot, you know, Darth em up. So what do we get?

, the mad meshing of machine and bad ass?

Darth Locks? The, uh, mad meshing of machine and bad ass?

D'Lok, based on my "Team?" They sure love those Shakti Stones too!

Well in the end maybe they'll just be "GRADO Adjusting Rod Locks" like Larry calls em, which is exactly what they do. Do they do the job?


Post Count: 16,275. Return of the Vinyl!

Well I grew up on vinyl. Lost track of it during middle school, caught all up in the cassette and dolby stuff. Then in high school/college, it was all about the DJ! After that CDs pretty much took over, then more recently the computer as source. I dabbled in some cheapo tables here and there but mostly gave them away, never hit the spark of my first allure with em. But Immtbiker did a mutually beneficial swap and I got the nicest table/cart ever (see sig!). What did this mean? Time to dive into the bargain bins!

Here's what I got from my first foray today. I only had five bucks on me, so I had to pass up the pristine Genesis, King Crimson and Yes albums on tap to get these back to back post punk underrated English pop gems - Elvis Costello's "Armed Forces" and Squeeze's "Argybargy." The Music? Aggressive and Ethereal. Oh, the sound quality was good too.
Post Count 16,330: Back in STAX!

Well my poor Headphile stand has been quite packed lately, what with three cans vying for two spots on the lambskin. So it was time to move the non-Grado off this Grado-only stand. But where would the Lambda Pro go? I didn't want to spend 75 bucks on the STAX-exclusive STAX stand, blah blah. So the idea of needing a new stand was percolating in the back of my brain when I went to the Container Store today looking for new bags for my portable rig. Didn't find anything that fit, so on the way out I stopped by the Kitchen section, remembering folks having luck with Coffee Mug Trees, when I came across this baby!

Weighs a ton, stainless steel, neoprene skid-free bottom, nice and wide and flat on the top and rounded edges, with a narrow column so the pads wouldn't compress. Bingo!

Oh by the way Romanee, that's a pic of the lithium 9V I'm giving to you in thanks for the free batt at the Portable Meet - as we discussed (and tried) at the meet, that particular batt won't fit in the Hornet.

So enough chatter. How does the STAX fit on that stand?


Post Count 17,008. Since when did I get 17K?

Anyhow, waiting for me at home to make me feel better about selling Mercuttio some busted Mullard tubes and seeing the cash flow back outta my wallet, was this one-two punch!

I just had to mod my Hornet! Yay, "M" Mods! And there's a CD lurking in that Newbury Comics envelope - ever since I stumbled on that funky store in Beantown, I make certain to get all my cheap amazon.com CDs from them!

But this is no regular Hornet...this is a SPECIAL HORNET. Why? Because it's a...

PINK HORNET???? Say it ain't so, Eva Cassidy! Although I bet a "Strawberry Shortcake Hornet" would sound sweet with Songbird...I guess it's time to change the signature

Ok, so I'm yankin' yer chain. I opened up the poofy red baggie and what do we see? HO HO HO MERRY XMAS! I'm off to walk the doggy and give this amp a spin!



Scroll down to Post 15 for a continuation of the Curse, or just click here!
post #10 of 6026
Originally Posted by D-EJ915
I came to head-fi with a D-EJ915 and G72LP pair.

Now check what I've got...
DMP-R50 (Denon MD-R)
SJ-MJ77 (pana MD-P)
Alpine Type-R sub w/ amp (300 bucks)
Speakers (100 bucks...)
...I've sold my A500s though
You should ask Jude to change your nickname to SD-NX10....
post #11 of 6026
you've been here for over two months and still manage to have a post per day average that's over 20?

is browsing and posting on Head-Fi looking for your ultimate setup your full time job?
post #12 of 6026
Originally Posted by mjg

I guess somewhere around post 750 (in a 4 week period) your wallet goes out the window ; )

nice stuff tho : ]
Tell me about it I just bought a baby orpheus and bought RKV MKII with Impedanzer only few weeks ago.

Team store brand peanut butter and jelly soon to be upgrade to national brand peanut butter and jelly
post #13 of 6026
I first came here and ended up with an MS1. $100 was a lot for a pair of headphones back then. Now I currently have about $1100 (retail) worth of stuff. And I'm still trying to get an amp. (Well, I don't really need a car that much anyway . . .)
post #14 of 6026
Originally Posted by Permonic
You should ask Jude to change your nickname to SD-NX10....
umm...no, lol, my D-EJ915 is still my favvie...and it's my first.

I got my MJ77 today...amazing, it's 1/8 the size of the D-12 I got yesterday, hahaha.

I just bought an MZ-E900...I'm insane, 1 PCDP and 5 PMDP/Rs in 1 week O_O

I bought a poster too...
post #15 of 6026
Thread Starter 
Post count 17,149. Back on Team Alessandro!
Well my Curse you thread started with an Alessandro MS-1, and pretty quickly blew past an MS-2 to go up and up and up...
I never felt like I gave a long enough shot at that can, and I always wanted to revisit the "Sweet Spot" of the John Grado lineup, especially since the Fatboys were introduced. Finally an MS-2i popped up with perfect timing of wallet at hand, so I snagged a pair, modded with Headphile Blacksilver, extended with Canare Starquad by six freaking feet! Yes folks, the intention is to make these cans my Safari cans - ready to trip outdoors, lounge out on the patio, what have you. My camera bag has a loop on the bag that velcros it flush with my portable rig, and I'm off to the races!

My dog may not look too impressed, but hey, she just wants a walk. I popped the MS-1 forks on there so I could use the Rod Locks with this baby, and bingo - even tho these cans have more heft and momentum when I swing around, they don't move on the rods at all. Thankee, Headphile Rod Locks! And yes, the MS-2 headband is faaaar beefier than the MS-1 band. I'm boxing up the MS-1 for now (yes, a ninja upgrade, wife just came in and didn't even notice the difference, can you believe it?) and using the MS-2 for dog walks, and the AKG K81DJ still for commutes. Ah, life is good!

Oh, I got 4 more vibrapods today too, but I decided to lead in with the sexy upgrade
Post Count: 17,303. Viva La Fashionista!

My wife gave me a strange look when I asked her to bring one of these babies home from her Fashion Week runway gig:

"What do you need with a pro makeup case? Are you finally going to become a metrosexual like I keep bothering you to? At least use some product in your hair? Pomade wouldn't kill you, that stupid baseball hat's got to go!"

"Wait a second...what are you filling that up with? Why are you bringing out that big ugly toolbox case for? This isn't for your stupid hobby is it?"

"You are such a geek."

She's right on all counts. My $25 Home Depot tool briefcase was getting way too stuffed and I didn't want to endanger my pads and tubes in there since the beefier powercords and interconnects were banging around. Elegant solution? This makeup kit stashes away a pair of matched tubes in each tier, and keeps tiny adapters and accessories from rattling about. In the bottom is a storage space big enough for my Grado pads, Grado Headphone Extension Cable and Magwires Mini-to-RCA cable. Before the NYC Meet I'll stash a mini screwdriver set in there too for some case removal and tube rolling. I'm set!

Post Count: 17,340. Master of Maestrobation!
Goredwings19 was very cool dealing with my handwringing as my new Melos SHA-Gold Maestrobated by Carlo was making its way here via a slow boat from Wales. Well, a trawler eventually dragged it from the brine and it popped in my mailroom today! Here's the first pic of the fliptop- sorry for the fuzzy pic, as you can imagine I was a tad bit excited

Lookit! Two Melos Remotes! Never hurts to have a spare!
The tubes were thoughtfully removed for shipping, so it gave me a chance to open this baby up and do some rolling before sealing the deal. Oh, and to take some pics too of course!

First tubes in there were the ones Goredwings were using, some relabeled Amperex 6DJ8 A-Frames. They reminded me of a K701 - suuuuuuper clean highs and creamy mids, but uh, where's the bass? This is a MAESTROBATOR, dammit! Time to roll some bass in here! I tried the Orange Globe Holland Amperex 6DJ8s that worked so well in my old Melos, and the bass indeed came back, but it seemed less coherent than I would like in this amp. So what turned on the eargasm? These babies-

That's right, USN-CEP Amperex 7308 from 1965. Military-Grade "10,000 Hour" tubes from the American Navy! I can't even describe it...let's just call 'em "Bozebutton-killers." Here's a pic of them happily churning away!

Well it's time to close this baby up. Kinda funny not to have the PHO-TENTIOMETER lit up, since the DACT 10K Stepped Attenuator is pulling volume duty now ("chunk-chunk-chunk!") and having no blinking LED indicating a built-in warm up time (this ain't yo daddy's MAR-Reference mod!) but it's still quite satisfying to gaze on this derivation of the Tower of Power while grooving to "Strangelove" by Depeche Mode. Strangelove, strange highs and strange lows, Strangelove, that's how my love goes!

Post Count 17,429: One Of These is Not Like the Other.

Pop Quiz: Can you guess which box came from Happy Domestic USPS Priority Shipping (my fave) and which from International Shipping (my bane)? I'll give you a hint - the international one is the one with the TUBES in it.

Fortunately it was packed like a steel trap inside, so the tubes came out nice and frosty! I can't put them in the Melos just yet since I'm babysitting, but just you wait! As you can see, the RnBAudio Blackdiamond Mini with straight gold plugs is already in the Portable rig and firing on all cylinders - man, this is definitely my fave mini to mini cable, and this derivation works better in my rig than the right angle plugs. I blasted "Take the Power Back" by Rage Against the Machine with the ipod and hornet and MS-2i and my kid heard it wailing from across the room, started laughing and jumping up and down - we have an early Headbanging adopter on our hands!

Oh, the Tubes? Valvo (Holland Amperex) PCC88/7DJ8 PINCHED WAIST Tubes! A higher heater voltage than the normal ECC88/6DJ8 tubes, which the Melos can take full advantage of, unlike other preamps. Man, I can't wait to try em out and make certain they didn't die somewhere over the Atlantic. Watch out, 7308s!
Post Count 17,453: Escape from Gear-atraz!

So I've been in a flurry of hardware upgrades to both the Home and Portable rig for the past few weeks, a nonstop outpouring of walletcide. But I think it's time to kick back, let all the systems sink in, and enjoy some tunes.

The Curse being what it is, however, won't allow my wallet to escape so easily. So what shows up from Amazon.com today?

When I was growing up, The Bird and Diz were the ultimate musical duo - keep your Lennons and McCartneys and your Simons and Garfunkels! So imagine my excitement when this 1945 Town Hall recording was uncovered! I can't wait to hear it! But of course I had to endcap it with their stint together at Carnegie Hall years later. Oh man, this is going to bop so hard.

Speaking of So Hard, the Pet Shop Boys convinced Bernard Sumner from New Order and Johnny Marr from The Smiths to make a proper band out of their side project, Electronic, and I'm very glad that they did. It's like a little supergroup of all the bands I enjoyed in my teen angst years. A decade or so later, here are a few remastered tracks. Again, I can't wait to fire it up!

Speaking of firing it up, my wallet is burnt to a crisp, so I think I better go into financial silence for a few weeks until the November NYC Meet. So pick up my slack folks and keep posting all your drool-worthy acquisitions!

Scroll down to Post 17 for a continuation of the Curse, or just click here!
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