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Curator: Member-Judged Fine Art Head-Fi Gallery


Near Dallas, Texas

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56 minutes ago

About Me:

Just another guy who enjoys listening...

What I do for a living:

Spend money I find under rocks

Headphone Inventory

(A freebie from OPPO, following four months of Beta testing - so I'm biased, but here's my mini-review: http://tinyurl.com/mynenrk and some pictures: http://tinyurl.com/m3x9yal PM-2 Pads make it better still.)

Sennhesier HD800
(Too bright and revealing of faults in upstream components. The Metrum Acoustics Octave MkII NOS DAC made a huge push in the right direction and the low-feedback, single-ended, Class A NuForce HA-200 brought me almost to perfection with the HD800, but now I am awaiting the Metrum Acoustics Aurix, a zero-feedback amp that matches the Octave MkII - this might be my "final solution" for the finicky HD800.)

Sennheiser Amperior (Silver)
(Lower build quality than the Beyer DT1350, but more comfortable and amazing sound - a poor man's LCD-2!)

Audez'e LCD-2 rev.1
(Almost everything I want in a headphone - yes, I slightly prefer it over the OPPO PM-1 - if I had to get by with just one headphone. If only I could find a way to give it a 13-Watt into 50-Ohm, neutral and transparent signal.)

Audio Technica ATH-M50
(Best $100 headphone out there - but it only sounds like a $150.)

Sennheiser HD280
(A sleeper - bang for the buck)

Shure E4g
(I'm not into IEMs, so these will do...)


Sennheiser HD600
(Sold - Considerable bang for the buck - especially on the Beresford Bushmaster MkII.)

Sennheiser HD650
(Sold - Surely, the offspring of an HD800 and LCD-2, the HD650 was the best compromise out there, until the PM-2!)

AKG K550
(Sold - My head wasn't wide enough for a good seal.)

Philips CitiScape Downtown
(Gifted to 91-year-old friend who loved them for listening to dixieland jazz - now deceased...)

Shure SE530
(Sold - awesome IEM, but seldom used)

Beyerdyanmic DT1350
(Gifted to a friend - sounded great, but I've decided I don't like the discomfort of supra-aurals)

Beyerdyanmic DT1350 "Facelift"
(Sold - A comparison with the Sennheiser Amperior ... Amperior wins!)

Beyerdynamic T1
(Sold - I had a love/hate relationship with the T1 due to not having the right amp - for my tastes, the T1 wants a tube amp, but I'm not willing to go there - I'm too obsessive to roll tubes!)

Headphone Amp Inventory

Metrum Acoustics Aurix
(A zero-feedback "transformer-powered" amp - no tubes, no transistors, this is a cosmetic match to the Metrum Octave MkII, and most certainly is my final fix for HD800 woes. The Metrum stack is a turn-key HD800 solution - stunning!)

NuForce HA-200
(Purchased as a "solution" for the HD800's bright and brittle treble. Using this amp with my Metrum Octave MkII has finally given me the smooth, yet transparent and very detailed treble I've spent a long time trying to secure for the HD800. This is a LOT of desktop amp for the money - I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to spend $350 or less for a desktop amp. I have not tried it with another HA-200 in balanced mode, as I personally think it's got plenty of power for the HD800 single-ended.)

(Had Beta test units for seven months, beginning mid-December 2013 - Received a silver HA-1 of my own in August 2014, for keeps. This DAC/amp does it all - with everything except the finicky HD800, that is...)

TBI Audio Millenia MG3 - with a TBI-made external 10:2 resistor network
(A ridiculously good 32W into 8-Ohm speaker Class BD speaker amp that I use with directly-attached 8-Ohm Def.Tech SM45 near-field monitors or with only very efficient headphones or IEMs via the TBI resistor box and appropriate cables)

CEntrance DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod
(This thing does so much, so well. I will never sell it.)

iBasso PB2 Pelican with HiFlight TopKit
(Currently running Frugalphile's LME49990 x4 in L/R + dummy buffers. Portable power!)

Meier Audio Corda Stepdance
(The ultimate portable amp, IMHO - and, believe it or not, this little guy is my absolute benchmark for neutral transparency - seriously - every amp gets compared to the Stepdance when evaluating neutrality and transparency!)


Schiit Valhalla 2
(Returned under Schiit's gracious 15-day trial guarantee, I'll say it was my least fatiguing amp for the HD800 to date, but a little too laid back (10th row seating) for my tastes and a somewhat lacking in dynamics and bass energy, compared to a good SS amp like the OPPO HA-1 - where, I'm back to dealing with HD800's fatiguing treble. HD800: A world of compromise.)

Beresford Bushmaster MkII (TC-7533) DAC/amp
(Sold - Spectacularly non-fatiguing, detailed, transparent, low-noise DAC and intergrated amp, runs on 12VDC, pulling only 60mA, and makes HD600/HD650 and the PM-1 sound their very best. This thing almost sounds like a Speedballed Bottlehead Crack (per a couple of friends), but it's solid state! http://tinyurl.com/ny2oq6g)

Schiit Vali hybrid mini-amp
(Sold - This giant-killer was my favorite solution for the HD800, until it wasn't. Aside from the microphonic ringing, which really wasn't a problem for me, it has a constant sheen of sorts that makes the timbre of every instrument and voice sound similar.)

Emotiva a-100 Mini-X
(Sold - 8 Watts per channel into 50-Ohms - but a little bright and a little harsh, even with LCD-2)

Burson Audio Soloist
(Sold - I liked it with the Beyer T1, but prefer the sound of the LCD-2 with DACmini CX - for real.)

CEntrance DACport
(Gifted - an awesome piece of gear but I didn' t really need it as much as a friend of mind did)

Source Inventory

iPad 3 + Pure i-20 iDevice Dock
(Blu-Tacked to an 8x5-inch slab of grey marble, it's much more stable with the iPad 3 - using Coaxial out to the Metrum Acoustics Octave MkII (and from there to the Metrum Acoustics Aurix and HD800) - primarily for streaming TidalHiFi and Netflix movies - which look great on the 2048 x 1536 Retina display - that's quite large at a viewing distance of only 12 inches. This has put an end to using Bluetooth to get form iDevices to the OPPO HA-1 - which forced use of the HA-1's ESS9018 "glare-inducing" oversampling DAC.)

Metrum Acoustics Octave MkII NOS DAC
(My absolute favorite DAC of all time - which isn't saying much, as I haven't been around the block much, but still...)

(Wow! Here are my initial impressions, only three days in: http://tinyurl.com/n8p8apv)

TeraDak Teralink X2 USB-to-IIS or USB-to-S/PDIF Converter
(I was only using my Concero as an S/PDIF converter for the Beresford Bushmaster MkII, until I bought this giant killing, bang-for-the-buck converter which sounds every bit as good. It's limited to 96/24, but hear this - I genuinely consider this affordable, Taiwanese-made product to be superior to the USB receiver in my OPPO HA-1. Seriously - it's a great upgrade to the HA-1's USB input - going in Coaxial, instead.)

CEntrance DACmini CX with 1-Ohm output impedance mod
(The DAC section has just a tiny bit of "etch" in the treble - great with LCD-2 rev.1)

CEntrance DACport LX
(Sold and bought again, after buying the DACmini CX. The LX is a must-have for traveling with a laptop!)

Toshiba Windows 7 laptop + Foobar 2000 + WASAPI plugin > USB

Sony PCM-M10 - 96kHz/24-bit Linear PCM recorder/player
(My favorite portable source for 3.5 years - preferred over HiFiMan HM-801 and TASCAM DR-100, but replaced by the FiiO X5)

Sansa Clip+
(8 GB + 32GB & 64 GB microSD cards)


Beresford Bushmaster MkII (TC-7533) DAC/amp
(Sold - Ridiculously good sound, runs on 12VDC, pulling only 60mA, and makes HD600/HD650 and the PM-1 or PM-2 sound their very best. This thing almost sounds like a Speedballed Bottlehead Crack, but it's solid state! http://tinyurl.com/ny2oq6g)

Resonessence Labs Concero w/Apple Remote
(Sold - Amazing USB power management when external power isn't convenient.)

Decware ZSTAGE Zen Triode Tube Gain Stage
(Sold - with JJ ECC82, PSVANE T Series Mark II 12AU7, NOS Radiotechnique 12AU7, NOS Siemens 12AU7, NOS Mullard 12AT7)

HiFiMan HM-801
(Returned on 30-day trial guarantee for a full refund. Here's why: http://tinyurl.com/mftmfvz )

TASCAM DR-100 MkII - 96kHz/24-bit Linear PCM recorder/player
(Returned after one day of ownership for a refund. Here's why: http://tinyurl.com/mx89gdk )

Stoner Acoustics UD100 ESS9018 USB DAC
(Sold - dry and lacks dynamics, but smoother treble than the Objective DAC)

JDS Labs Objective DAC
(Returned on trial guarantee with 15% restocking fee - intermittently "screechy")

iBasso DB2 Boomslang2 DAC
(Returned on trial guarantee - "lifeless" and too dark - at least for the LCD-2 rev.1)

CEntrance DACport
(Gifted - an awesome piece of gear but I didn' t really need it as much as a friend of mind did)

Cable Inventory

(2x 2m speaker wires and 2x 0.5m RCA Level 1 interconnects - way out stuff that works very well)

Audioquest Golden Gate Mini-to-RCA 2.0M

Audioquest Golden Gate RCA-to-RCA 0.6M

Milian Acoustics SPOFC 6-inch interconnect with 1/8th-inch Switchcraft connectors

Toxic Cables Silver Poison UPOCC, 60-inch, naked, terminated for iBasso PB2 (balanced) and LCD-2

Toxic Cables Silver Poison UPOCC, 96-inch, naked, terminated for 4-Pin XLR and HD800

BTG-Audio 8-wire clear OFC adapter: Neutrik female 4-Pin XLR to Banana Plugs

4x Emotiva 0.5M RCA interconnects
(A great value!)

LaCie USB Dual Power Sharing Cable 131046
(The poor man's KingRex uArt Y USB cable for DACs with female USB Mini-B jacks, i.e. DACport LX, ODAC, etc. Cover the 4th pin of one USB A connector with a sliver of Scotch tape to supply only data from the PC and only power from an external 5V source.)

C2G (Cables To Go) 28108 USB Y-Cable
(The poor man's KingRex uArt Y USB cable for DACs with female USB Type B jacks, i.e. Concero. Cover the 4th pin of one USB A connector with a sliver of Scotch tape to supply only data from the PC and only power from an external 5V source.)

TeraDak USB Y-Cable
(Included with the TeraDak U9VA PSU, this cable is an excellent and affordable alternative to the exceedingly expensive KingRex uArt and uCraft Y USB cables for DACs with female USB Type B jacks, i.e. Concero. - allowing only data from the PC and only power from an external 5V source. No Scotch tape required!)

Emotiva XDRCA 0.5m 75-Ohm Coaxial (digital) interconnect
(It works - but maybe too well - it's thick and stiff - uh... that didn't come out right...)

KabelDirekt (6 ft.) Pro Series Digital Audio Cable 1 x RCA Male to 1 x RCA Male
(Works great as a Coaxial interconnect - very flexible.)

2x KabelDirekt (3 feet) 1 x RCA Male to 2 x RCA Male Y Cable - Pro Series

Cardas GreyPigtail Adapter: Neutrik 4-pin female XLR-to-6.3mm Rt-Angle TRS


Cardas Grey (24AWG x4) with black Teflex sleeves, 54-inch, terminated with Neutrik 4-Pin XLR and HD600/650

Power-Related Components

Furman AC-215A Power Conditioner

TeraDak U9VA Linear Low noise Power Supply (Adjustable 0.25 to 9.0V, 1Amp)

Energizer XP8000A 8000mAh LiPo battery pack (5V, 9-12V, 19-21V, 3Amp)

XPAL Willy Cable WI15 and Powerstream adatper to supply Meier Stepdance with regulated 15VDC (max. permissible)

XPAL Willy Cable WI16 to supply iBasso PB2 with regulated 16VDC (max. permissible)

Venom 25C 6-cell 3600mAh 25.2V LiPO Battery for use with TBI Audio Millenia MG3 amp

Anker Astro3 10,000mAh LiPo battery pack
(5V, 9V, 12V - 2Amp)


Tripp-Lite PR-3UL 3Amp 13.8V DC linear regulated power supply
(Sold - a great but crude-looking power supply, no longer needed)

Other Audio Equipment

Definitive Technology SM 45 monitors (for near-field use)

Audio-Related Tweaks

My Travel Rig, version 4.0

Using the Energizer XP8000 LiPo Pack to Supply Regulated 15V to the Meier Audio Stepdance, 2Stepdance, or Quickstep
http://tinyurl.com/k3yrrk6 and http://tinyurl.com/lwejmp7

Using the Energizer XP8000 LiPo Pack to Supply Regulated 16V to the iBasso PB2 Pelican amp

A 15V LiPo Battery Solution for the Meier Audio Stepdance, 2Stepdance, or QuickStep

Selecting Resistors for Using Headphones With Speaker Amps

An External 6-cell 25.2V LiPo Battery Solution for the TBI Audio Millenia MG3 Amp

Achieving 25.2VDC with AA Li-Ion Batteries Inside the TBI Audio Millenia MG3 Amp

Schematic For Dual 9V Battery Pack Connection to the HiFiMan HM-801

A portable solution for 5.1 Watts (uh, make that 0.133 Watts) per channel into 50-Ohm LCD-2

Clean, ample, 5VDC power USB-powered devices like the Resonessence Concero (vanilla, HD, or HP)

The awesome and affordable Bushmaster MkII integrated DAC/amp > HD650 or PM-1
http://tinyurl.com/llfeb3n and http://tinyurl.com/kf88k4y

Accessorize your USB-powered DAC!

My version of Currawong's HD800 mod

Headphone sensitivity vs. amp power output

Balanced vs. Unbalanced cables

zilch0md's Recent Activity

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Metrum Acoustics Aurix
zilch0md posted in this thread in Headphone Amps (full-size) Yesterday at 6:06 am | 165 replies | 6842 views
Tidal Lossless Streaming
zilch0md posted in this thread in Music Yesterday at 5:41 am | 318 replies | 33545 views
Show us your Head-Fi station at it's current state. No old pictures please...
zilch0md posted in this thread in Headphones (full-size) 1/25/15 at 11:11pm | 19439 replies | 2595775 views
The (new) HD800 Impressions Thread
zilch0md posted in this thread in High-end Audio Forum 1/25/15 at 11:01pm | 16586 replies | 771306 views
GUSTARD H10 High-current Discrete Class A output Stage Headphone Amplifier
zilch0md posted in this thread in Headphone Amps (full-size) 1/25/15 at 10:57pm | 648 replies | 35659 views
Songs that make us bust a move!
zilch0md posted in this thread in Music 1/25/15 at 5:57am | 129 replies | 3532 views
Pure i-20 iPod/iPhone Dock as a DAC
zilch0md posted in this thread in Portable Source Gear 1/23/15 at 3:44am | 524 replies | 118054 views
zilch0md posted in this thread in Members' Lounge (General Discussion) 1/22/15 at 4:36pm | 11975 replies | 1365860 views


zilch0md’s Photos

More Pics
67 photos
Latest upload: Oct 4, 2013
PB2 + XP8000
9 photos
Latest upload: Jun 24, 2012
XP8000 Regulated to 15-Volts
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Latest upload: Aug 24, 2012
Walkabout Rig
6 photos
Latest upload: Nov 29, 2012
1-Watt per channel Travel Rig
3 photos
Latest upload: Aug 8, 2012

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