Main Head-Fi system consists of FrankenZero DAC/Pre with Earth HDAM in DAC/LT1364s in amp + NOS Alps pot, Silicon Chip Professional headphone amp (kit) known as KHA II with OPA Earth HDAM, Corda 2MOVE.
KHA II was based on the upgraded stock board known as KHA I.5 and fully rebuilt from scratch with a new board and top SQ parts, Russian PIOs and Black Gate caps alongside Nichicon FA and ES series caps, Dale resistors, OPA Earth with audio-gd power supply. In combination with Frankie, in a word, stunning!
Now have two of the little $25 valve hybrid headphone amps; one is near stock, with only better Phillips PS caps, Nichicon Muse output caps and AD825 opamps installed ... well, I say only - I'm not a fan of cheap caps. The other has the same upgraded Phillips and Nichicon Muse FA caps, with the addition of Black Gate NX series 0.1uF coupling caps and all metal film resistors, CAT 5 wiring other than Teflon covered pure silver ribbon output wiring to the headphone jack. The AD825 opamps are wonderful in this circuit and suit the Denon cans to a T. Power supply has paralleled 9V batteries.
This has now become the main Head Fi listening system in my new home environment: iMac (Lossless files only)- MusicStreamer II+ DAC through 0.6M of Slinkylinks pure silver interconnect to upgraded Oately valve hybrid amp/preamp - Denon AH-D1000 headphones. Amazingly musical and communicative on all music, the results belie the price - the amp is ridiculously fine value for money and outshines the Corda 2Move for openness and out-of-the-head sound stage, while still having good punch and focus in the bass and excellent detailing.
Currently keeping an eye out for a better headphone amp for the Senn 650's, or will sell them and look at the new HIFIMAN 400's to use with the Oatley amp, I think they may make a fine match.
Apple 27" iMac, Marantz DV6600 DVD/SACD/DVD-A player, Samsung BD-D5500 Blu-ray player (actually makes for a very clean sounding transport), 120 GB iPod Classic, 8 GB iPod Nano
Best of all is a TRI TRV CD 4SE CD player, valve output stage using a Phillips E88CC SQ (Special Quality), in a word, fabulous! Best CD player I've ever owned and a musical treat to listen too, very involving.
Technics SL1210 MkII turntable in fine condition, Supex SD1000 moving coil cartridge at the moment. The Time Step upgrades are likely sometime this year.
Upgraded Plinius IIc preamp used as the main phono stage for the t/t. Have an NAD pp3 USB phono stage as well.
Headphone cables are standard so far; interconnects are White Zombie's La Cacanya (pure silver), another shorter length of silver ribbon cables with Bullet plugs, SlinkyLinks pure silver ICs with SlinkyLinks speaker cables in the main system, van den Hul D501 cables for the turntables, Neotech KHS154-SPC Hyper Balanced, AudioQuest's beautifully made Mini 3 3.5mm to RCA cable.
TRI TRV-88SE tube integrated amplifier, the output valves/tubes have been very recently upgraded to the fabulous Psvane KT88-T versions. As of February 2013, the input tubes have now been upgraded to Psvane versions and the results are beyond what I ever expected, the whole being far greater than the sum of the parts!
Plinius IIC pre-amp upgraded to Frankie status with PIOs and Black Gate bypass caps, power supply upgraded from 16,000uF total to 35,200uF Nichicon PWs, plus Elna Silmic ARS caps in the amp, Shottkey diodes in PS.
Feb '10, replaced all Shottkeys with a set of brilliant Vishay ultra fast/soft recovery diodes and changed the old Phillips caps in the transformer case to brand new Phillips/Vishay low ESR caps with fabulous results; Trevor Lees "Positive Vibrations" tube pre-amp (currently undergoing Frankenization)
Other Audio Equipment:
Thorens TD 160 - highly modified with Mayware Formula 4 unipivot and Supex 1000 MC (actually have three of them!), Triangle Antal EX main speakers, NAD C541 CD player (not with me at the moment), Kenwood KD 500 turntable with an about to be seriously upgraded Syrinx PU2 arm.
All electrolytic caps on KHA bypassed with Black Gate NX series .01uF caps. All 0.1uF polyester caps replaced with Black Gate NX series .01uF. Power supply caps bypassed with Russian paper in oil caps with awesome results. LONG run in time! Fuses removed and replaced with pure silver ribbon.
Now that I'm settling into my new home back in OZ, I will create a complete new housing for the KHA amps, maybe both models in a stacked housing so that I can easily switch between the two. The OPA Moon HDAM seems to particularly suit KHA 1.5 and OPA Earth KHA II.
Zero DAC became FrankenZero with very fine and worthy results and has only recently been replaced with the MusicStreamer II+ DAC. FrankenZero is now in the main system as an external DAC for the HD Plasma TV and the Samsung BD player, where it sounds just terrific.
Eclectic tastes, David Bowie, Eva Cassidy, Tool, lots of World music, Ali Farka Toure, Ry Cooder etc to the Pixies, Yes, Genesis, Dave Matthews Band, John Meyer, selections from the Chesky collection, Alison Krauss, some classical, particularly the Romantics and some more recent electronic music - Above and Beyond, Chicane being just two. Current fave is the new Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis "Two Men With The Blues", stunning and fun.
Listening to even more 'World' music these days and have discovered the likes of Terakaft, Tinawiren, Yasar Akpence and more for those swinging desert blues and Middle Eastern rhythmic moments.
Really enjoy using a really decent quality fishing rod and the same goes for a good camera, I especially enjoy using an Olympus XZ-1 digital camera for general use and photographing my electronic projects, alongside an Olympus E-PL1 mirrorless SLR - includes an adaptor for using a selection of Canon FD lenses.
Been passionate about hi-fi since 17 years young and have been loving my headphones since 1990.