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Dana Cable Nirvana Headphone Cable for Abyss 1266

Rating:
5/5,
  1. FLTWS
    Dana Cable Nirvana Headphone Cable for Abyss 1266
    Written by FLTWS
    Published Mar 3, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Heavy Duty Construction, sounds superb with my Abyss 1266, comes with Furutech connectors and special adapters.
    Cons - Expensive. A bit stiff but not inflexible. Heavier weight wise than my other cables for the 1266.
    Dana Cable “Nirvana” Headphone Cable for the Abyss 1266

    A Comparison of my various cable options for use with Abyss 1266 Phi CC and the newly introduced Dana Cable Lazuli Nirvana

    ($3,495.00 for 2 meters with Furutech connector and $995.00 for ½ meter adapter with 2 Furutech connectors - $2995 introductory offer until March 31, 2019 )

    Feb 19 to March 4, 2019

    Intro /Background

    I’ve been a fan of Dana Cable since I first heard the Dana Cable Lazuli on my Sennheiser HD 800 a few years back, and after that the Lazuli Reference on my Utopia, and In the case of the HD800 and Utopia I am very satisfied with the sound of the Lazuli’s over the stock cables those two phones came with. When it came to the JPS Labs Stock Abyss Cable that came with my 1266 Phi (now CC’d with the new style ear pads) I was satisfied with the sound but in use it was a bit stiff, whippy, and not easy to dress. It’s a solid performer with excellent clarity sound wise however. But based on my experience with the previous Lazuli’s I was anxious to hear if the new (at that time) Ultra could bring something to the sound as the previous Lazuli’s had done with the HD800 and Utopia that suited my personal tastes in sound and I was able to audition one and decided to jump right in. I got a lot of listening enjoyment all last year going back and forth between the Stock and Ultra and comparing their differences. Late last year I couldn’t resist any longer and bought the JPS Labs Superconductor HP Cable (after auditioning one for over a week) to add to my collection and it is a stunningly good sound especially in the midrange and with vocals. I’m still wrapping my ears around how different it is from both the Stock and Ultra and I mean that in a good way and for my tastes. But, that new cable smell wasn’t even off the Superconductor and I was given an opportunity to evaluate Dana Cables latest, not yet shown on their website, entry in the headphone cable category for the Abyss1266. The “Nirvana”.

    Got to love these names; the just available, newest 1266 release is the TC which stands for “Total Consciousness”. Is “Total Consciousness” the attainment of “Nirvana”? LOL! With automobiles its “Impala”, “Denali”, “Murano”, “Sedona”, and on and on. I guess from a marketing standpoint they are just more ear catching and memorable than Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, and on and on.

    In the hierarchy of wires and their uses in audio applications and of those I’ve spent time with I can say that sometimes I hear a difference, many times I don’t. I’ve yet to hear a repeatable difference with several brands of AC (but I have pretty clean power and after a local military airbase closed down a few years back and I was no longer in the primary approach path, directly over my complex, things got even cleaner). Haven’t heard a significant difference with different brands of digital Coax or AES/EBU cables either but when it comes to wires I avoid the $5.00 a meter stuff or the highest priced spreads, usually I’m at the bottom of the middle range price wise. I do prefer XLR’s over RCA or ¼” connectors even if the circuit in not balanced, just a personal preference of mine but sonic differences in connector types? I don’t think so as long as they are clean and tight. I sometimes hear variations with IC’s especially with the Dana Reference line and JPS’s Superconductor V IC’s and some of the solid silver designs. But I’ve had good listening results with price friendly IC’s from Straight Wire, Blue Jeans and DH Labs all of whom also make nicely constructed digital and IC cables of various types as well. And I like Pangea’s cheapest AC cables, not because of sound but because they have an attractive appearance, are the same gauge as my Romex yet very flexible and most importantly they come in a variety of lengths which makes arranging and dressing them away from IC’s and digital cables easy in my racks. And the plugs, especially the female connectors, fit real snug. I keep my equipment on shelving stands with rollers to make rotating stuff in and out easy and I’m surprised how many times female plugs in some units came lose just enough to break the connection and then I’m tearing my hair out thinking I “bork’d” a box! With Pangea’s the box moves with the cable if I snag it. As far as digital and IC cables go I’ve got more than enough to last me to the end of my days.

    A part of what I enjoy about being involved with the hardware angle of audio reproduction is time spent listening for differences, but I don’t make it a job. I will spend a few bucks to get to experience some things for myself and form my own impressions. I don’t have an unlimited budget and do these comparisons for fun and not pay so I do rely a lot on what I read in reviews and impressions from various sources to narrow down what I will buy and try and I rent or borrow cables from time to time when available. I do note that Dana Cable does have a 30 day return policy but I’ve never availed myself of it and so am not familiar with the particulars.

    With head phone cables I find enough subtle differences in some cases and that have repeatable characteristics in the sound (to me) that I’m always curious to investigate. In my case it’s all about the Abyss now. As far as Utopia, and HD800, I’m set for as long as I own them with their respective Lazuli’s. But I do like a change of pace every now and then and some variety and the differences in the sound of the headphones themselves is enough for me. Switching over once in a while keeps my perspective actively engaged in listening and thinking about what I hear. But I keep returning to the Abyss each time thinking “this is the one for me”.

    I have no idea what causes these differences in the sound that I hear in some cables but suspect it’s some sort of interaction between the amps output characteristics and the characteristics of the load presented by the headphone and whatever the headphone cable might throw in to the mix that makes for subtle alterations in frequency response and perhaps phase relationships. Should there be a difference? Wire is wire, right? It’s just moving electrons from point A to point B. Take vacuum tubes, they all have the same parts inside in order to function right? Heater, cathodes, grids, plates, etc. and just electrons flowing through them. But discussions about different brands of 6DJ8’s, 6SN7, NOS, NNS, etc., and about substituting entirely different tubes to change the sound are constant and on-going even back to when I was in my 20’s in 70’s. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen or heard anyone say “there’s no sound difference between different brands of 6DJ8 tubes”. Tube-o-phile’s will even argue about and describe different sonic characteristics of what year of manufacture is best within the same tube type and brand, like it’s a wine! Granted the tube is amplifying the signal but I don’t see how differences can be that dramatic if the tubes are made to spec and listened to in the same amp circuitry. But they do sound different and it’s obvious a lot of the time. Headphone cables (and all cables to me) are a lot less obvious but I’ve noted it often enough to not discount it, especially the cable between the amp and the headphone. Comparing cables is not a sport for the timid. The difficulty is it may take a lot more focused listening time to hear any differences that are repeatable to me and decide if what I hear matters enough to me. Not everyone wants to work that hard at it and that’s understandable. Some listeners just want to listen to the music, believe me, I get it. It’s also a costly endeavor and my exposure to alternate headphone cables is not that expansive compared to some of the IC’s I’ve listened to over the past 3 years, many of which I was able to borrow or rent instead of purchasing up front. Unfortunately due to the fact that just about every HP manufacturer uses their preferred type of connector a “lending library” of such things doesn’t exist for HP cables as it does for AC and IC and digital cables.

    I think the balancing act that goes into designing any component in the chain, active or passive, is juggling technical stuff; with cables it seems to be resistance, capacitance, and impedance, with sonic qualities of transparency, detail, and transient capability. Get the right balance of all these elements and then it’s up to the recording quality. Sounds simple but…

    I characterize the Dana Cable line (and their Headphone cables in particular) I’ve auditioned over the past 3 years as being slightly warm and full-bodied sounding (which is my preference) with ample bass and midbass and smooth response up the frequency line but not as transparent as others I’ve heard that were more transparent and sounded more detailed, but bloodless and ultimately unsatisfying for my personal preferences. I also experience this with some SS amps versus some tube amps.

    Transparency has been on the increase with each new Lazuli introduction (along with the price), as I hear it, without sacrificing body in the sound of instruments and voices. Before I discuss my experience over the past 2 weeks with the Nirvana I want to give you a heads up to two “reads” I feel are worth looking into.

    First, there is a very thorough review of the Nirvana over at Audio Bacon by Jay Luong:

    https://audiobacon.net/2019/02/01/the-3495-danacable-nirvana-a-lesson-in-perfection/

    Second, and always a good read on things Abyss related are posts by @simorag on the Abyss thread. One of his most recent was 2/23, post 7646 and it, and the previous one he links to, both a good read.

    I happen to agree with many of their takes on the gear we have in common or I have experienced and I don’t believe I have any revelations beyond what they have already written about with regards to alternate cables, to date, for the 1266.

    Oh, and for a voice of reason in this unreasonable, at times, hobby (LOL), @Mulder01, on the Abyss thread as well.

    Enough with the shout-outs, on to the boring nuts and bolts of the matter…

    Physical Characteristics

    I made the following weight measurements with a digital kitchen scale (yes it’s my kitchen not a scientific laboratory) comparing all the Lazuli line cables I have as well as the 2 JPS Labs for Abyss 1266 HP cables I have (Stock and Superconductor both made with JPS’s unique Alumiloy wire). This is just to give points of comparison weight-wise. Those marked with an * are the ones I used in the comparisons on the Abyss. I own all of these with the exception of the Nirvana which, with its adapter, is a demo. Given the discussions around the weight of the Abyss in general since it was originally introduced this info could be of value.

    2.5 meter JPS Labs Phi Stock Cable* (twin run to 4 pin for the Phi) weighs 4.35 ounces (add 2.25 ounces for the 12” 4 pin to ¼ inch adapter)

    2.5 meter JPS Labs Superconductor* (twin run to 4 pin for the Phi) weighs 9.4 ounces. (JPS doesn’t make an SC adapter. I’ve used the Stock Cable adapter above when needed)

    2.5 meter Lazuli Ultra* (for Abyss with XLR connector) weighs 9.60 ounces (add 3.65 ounces for the 14” 4 pin to ¼ inch adapter)

    2.5 meter Lazuli Nirvana* weighs 14.0 ounces (with a Furutech 4 pin male connector) (the ½ meter 4 pin female to SE ¼ inch adapter is 8.0 ounces with its 2 Furutech connectors)

    The majority of the Nirvana’s overall weight including the 4 pin female to ¼” male adapter is the 3 massive Furutech connectors (1 with the cable and 2 with the adapter -if you need / want one). The Nirvana uses custom housings to accommodate the Nirvana’s diameter and each Furutech weigh about 4 ounces “each” with its custom made adapter! Nirvana cabling by itself is just not that heavy. The 4 pin male or ¼ inch SE adapter connector would be in the HP amps output so effectively using the XLR 4 pin male connector cable by itself would give a total weight load of around 10 ounces for 2.5 meters and 18 ounces with the adapter connected if 2 of the 3 Furutech’s are fully suspended in air. (Hopefully I’ve done my weights and calculations correctly.) You can see how they compare to the other members of the Lazuli line up as well as JPS Labs in the listing above.

    Just for the record:

    2.5 meter Lazuli (for my HD800 with standard Neutrik XLR connector) weighs 6.6 ounces

    2.5 meter Lazuli Reference (for my Utopia with Eidolic XLR connector) weighs 8.8 ounces

    One can see how as we move up from the entry level Lazuli the weight of the each successive cable goes up due to the larger wire bundles I presume, (and so does the price).

    The ½ meter Nirvana adapter

    upload_2019-3-3_9-57-19.jpeg

    The Nirvana cable itself is a 4 strand weave, and the individual sheaths look and feel like they are a resin or plastic infused cloth very tightly wrapped around each of the 4 wire bundles. It has a feel that’s not quite cloth and not quite smooth plastic. Based on previous Lazuli models they use a significant number of micro-thin strands of OFC in the cabling, and both Ultra and Nirvana add some silver to the mix. The Nirvana is a good bit stiffer flex-wise than the other Lazuli models but I had no issues working with it. The Stock JPS cable while lighter feels a bit stiff and “whippy”, like the old style car antennas, and is not as easy to dress but it is extremely light weight. The Superconductor HP cable and the other Lazuli’s are very soft and flexible (like cooked #10 spaghetti) and lighter in weight than Nirvana.

    2.5 meter(or maybe a minimum of 2.0 meter) would seem to be appropriate length for ease of use with the Nirvana. Again, the weight of the 4 weave cabling isn’t that much, it’s the connectors that make the weight difference. Given the diameter of the many stranded wires weaved together and the thickness of the sheathing over them the connectors needed to have special adapters added to them to allow insertion and solder attachment. And the connector adapters used are not available commercially and are made to order by Dana to accommodate the size and diameter of the Nirvana cabling which then has to be hand assembled from stem to stern. A very labor intensive process as I understand it.

    Microphonic noise as I slide the Nirvana cable over my sweatshirt material (my usual winter attire) is mostly non-existent, as it is with the other Lazuli’s and the Superconductor. The noisiest (and it is extremely slight) of the bunch is the Stock Abyss cable which is surprising as one would expect that smooth plastic-like finish would allow quiet sliding over materials but not so. It’s a little sticky, skiddy, especially in higher humidity conditions. Still, even the Stock cable exhibits neglible noise transmitted up to the phones when moving across various clothing materials and I wouldn’t consider it a problem at all when I listen.

    In comparing the Nirvana and Ultra physically it feels to my fingers like there’s a lot more wire inside the Nirvana than the Ultra.

    Here’s a picture comparing the Ultra (with Eidolic) to the Nirvana (with Furutech) at the 4 pin ends and a close-up on the different cable sheathings.

    upload_2019-3-3_9-58-8.png upload_2019-3-3_9-58-32.png


    On to…

    THE SETUP

    For my comparison I used my two preferred HP amps; the Solid State Class-A, XI Audio Formula S with separate Powerman power supply (a dedicated HP amp with no pre-out) and Schiit Audio’s LYR3 hybrid tube HP/Pre amp. Both use BJT’s instead of FET’s or Mosfet’s, and the LYR3 uses one 6SN7 vacuum tube (been really liking my Psvane Special Edition Treasure Globe in it). Both are SE designs. Even though the Formula S sports both 4 pin output and dual 3 pin output the signal is not balanced and the connectors are there for convenience (and as luck would have it, people like myself who much prefer an XLR connection over a ¼” pin, especially the non-locking type). The right side 3 pin output pulls double duty as the ¼” pin output. (I also gave a triple check to all the cables a listen with my Rogue RH-5, a sleeper of a HP amp, (with NOS tubes), and they sound as expected based on what I heard with the other two amps. And as with the LYR3 tube choice may make a difference in any given tube amp including the RH-5.

    My source is CD’s only and I’m currently using a NuPrime CDT-8 transport into a Straight Wire AES/EBU cable to feed Schiit Audio’s DAC Yggdrasil 2 (or B if you prefer). As the Yggdrasil has 2 SE outputs I used 1 meter lengths of JPS Labs Superconductor V IC’s to run both amps simultaneously during my listening sessions.

    My music of choice is large classical orchestral works, but I do listen to a fair amount of small scale classical chamber music in addition to some Jazz and Rock and some limited opera.

    As previously mentioned, the sound of different HP cables in my experience is small but noticeable and repeatable, but not in all cases. That being said the Ultra and Nirvana have a “from the same family” sound as do the JPS Stock and SC. Different headphones, like speakers, on the other hand tend to sound wildly different in sound presentation but testing Nirvana with my other phones is just not going to happen and when, I suspect, the Nirvana gets listed on the Dana website it will be available for just a few TOTL phones that they feel should be a best match. But then, who would buy Nirvana to use with Beats?

    Any given cable may have a specific characteristic(s) to its sound in areas of the frequency range that nicely compliments a particular head phone in that same area but that may be problematical with a different head phone. Further complicating matters is knowing if something I’m hearing is a result of the cable or specific interaction issues with the amp or headphone. And with tubed gear changing tubes can change the end sound.

    For evaluation listening I like (especially) 7 selections from Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone CD (Tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12, & 13, and I used 81 other tracks from 32 different classical CD’s and 5 Rock oriented CD’s. I’ve culled them and consolidated them and burned them to 8 CD’s in two 4 disc DVD cases which makes it easier to work with compared to juggling 38 plus plastic jewel boxes. I don’t listen to much electronic music (other than its use in film scores) or other popular genres so I tend not to comment on how a given component might work with genres other than what I’m familiar with, primarily Classical and Jazz.

    I treat headphone listening, in room speakers, and “live” as three different listening experiences, and I’ve attended somewhere close to approaching 200 live classical concerts over the past 50 years, that’s my ultimate reference and genre of choice and what I am most comfortable using in evaluations.

    THE SOUND (at last!)

    To my way of hearing it there is no “perfect” when it comes to sound reproduction (or recording) gear, only the “live” source can be perfect. I also don’t end up with winner / loser scenarios often; it’s more of personal preference that I gravitate to sound wise. I like and use a variety of options to enjoy my music with. If forced to make a choice in this case it would have to be “both” the Superconductor and the Nirvana (now that I’ve experienced both) but for different reasons that boil down to my personal preferences and the special qualities each has that I’m liking.

    I want to note that the Stock Abyss cable is not an also ran, it provides top notch sound and is most likely what makes the majority of purchasers of the Abyss 1266 take the plunge in the first place. Many Abyss users are perfectly happy with the sound of the Stock cable and I wouldn’t argue that one must substitute an alternate; it is a very clean, clear overall sound with good dynamics and punch. I do prefer the Superconductor over the Stock cable with the majority of my music but some Abyss owners prefer the Stock over the SC. I wouldn’t argue against another listener’s personal preferences. I can’t hear with their ears and listening background any more than they can with mine.

    Additionally, the Ultra is very close in overall sound to the Nirvana and significantly less costly as well. It is also very flexible and easy to dress. The majority of recordings I use would not be considered S.O.T.A. or demo material, but I’m driven by the music and performance first when I listen for pleasure, which is most of the time and it never made sense to me to limit my evaluation material to only the best recordings as what I end up listening to most of the time is not the best of the best. The selections I use to evaluate (listing at the end) all display some aspects, good or bad, that allow me to use them for comparison purposes and are music I like listening to. When I listen for the sake of the music I focus differently than when listening for evaluation purposes. I rarely listen casually or have music on just for background noise.

    I’m not going into a lot detail here, it’s already been done better by others, and none of that day / night stuff, not at these levels of performance. Moving along to some of my impressions, track 5 on the Dr. Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc covers a lot of high points in just 4:20, “Las Perlas de Tu Boca”. If there is a better recorded, more realistic compilation of various music I’d like to know what it is.

    BASS: Nirvana hits with a shade more authority than the other 3, a greater sense of “push”, “punch” and “air” in the bass and midbass but with no muddying or loss of detail. The SC strikes me as perhaps more uniformly balanced from the very bottom of the bass range though the midrange and into the highs. The Stock is clean and controlled. The Ultra while tonally similar doesn’t display that “oomph!” at the very bottom to the extent the Nirvana does. The opening double bass on “Las Perlas de Tu Boca” displays this difference in the bass pretty clearly to me when listening through the different cables on the Phi. The conga drums at the end of the song too, the more the drum strike sounds vary in intensity and volume, the more it sounds like real hands slapping real drum heads.

    MIDRANGE: When considering top to bottom balance the SC is most seductive in this range especially with vocals, no issues with any of the other 3 cables but there is something about the SC that is spooky good with voices. Again, compare the vocal on that same Chesky track.

    HIGHS: Track 5 again. The Stock is maybe a little on the bright side and maybe a touch of grain most evident on massed strings. The SC is buttery smooth with faint grain, the Ultra, and by a small margin more Nirvana seems to be a smidge cleaner, faster and extended with low grain or sibilance but that’s a really close call with the SC (in other words, I’m not really sure, LOL). But things like plucked strings with a banjo, violin, or acoustic guitar really catch my attention with their speed and airiness on the Nirvana and stand out clearly if the recording captures it that way. It may well be that the strong qualities of the bass and treble in the Nirvana are drawing my attention away from the midrange. That’s what I mean above when I say the SC has a really great uniform top to bottom balance. It’s a relaxed, refined sound; the Nirvana is more of an engaging type of sound. Don’t apply terms like good or bad to the words relaxed or engaging, it’s just my impression, not a statement of fact or an absolute. Compare the guitar sound, the speed of the attack, and the air attached to the sound it makes on that same track as well as the “realness” or “there-ness” of the vocalist.

    TRANSIENT ATTACK & DECAY: I prefer the Nirvana over the other 3 on leading edges but the SC has a really nice decay on things like cymbals, tam-tams, bells, etc., and it’s a close call between all 4.

    SOUNDSTAGE & IMAGING: As I’m HP’s only (the past 3 years) and was 2 channels primarily for 4 decades prior, I find the imaging and soundstage with phones never compares well to my ears with what can be gotten from even modest 2 channel in-room speakers properly set up in an average room. Stage width and image placement with HP’s can be fine but there really is no front to back volume of space “comparable” to that I sense with speakers. The best I hope for with phones is to be able say to myself, “yes, the horns sound as if they are coming from behind instead of in front of the string instruments and the horn sounds rise up and over the strings as in the concert hall”. But it’s just not the same as with speakers (especially dipoles set up right). But headphones are like microscopes in that they can give me a lot more inner detail information than I might get even live from a good seat in the concert hall, keeping in mind that with live classical music I’m not on the stage (which is where the mics are in a recording) but out in the audience getting a blending of the sounds determined by the hall’s acoustic properties, but, with “0%” distortion and a complete absence of strain no matter what the dynamic level. Nothing gets buried in the mix “live” unless that’s what the conductor wants or if a musician has a moment. But what headphones do for me is give a means of listening into the score to unravel in many instances complex simultaneously lines of thematic material, voices, and contrasting elements happening at the same time, if the recording and my playback gear is good enough. (Yes, I’m a classical nerd with scores for all of Beethoven and Mahler symphonies, and late Wagner scores to follow along with as well as a few one-off’s, like Stravinsky’s “Rite”. When I’m in the mood to follow along or want to double check something I hear in a new recording.)

    All 4 cables provide solid, wide imaging L to R, recording dependent, but Nirvana gives a more 3D like impression to instruments and vocalists with a good recording, almost a sculpted effect, especially with smaller sized chamber and Jazz music.

    DETAIL: Excellent on all, but with Nirvana I find subtleties a little easier to ferret out especially in the bass and highs.

    Some of the high points I listen for on other tracks of that Chesky binaural “Ultimate Headphone Disc”:

    Track 1: The sound of the sax, banjo, and tuba; am I actually in the room with them? How is player positioning in the soundfield. Track 2: The sound of the bow hair on the stringed instruments and the sound of Amy Rubarth’s voice compared on all 4 cables. Track 5: already detailed above. Track 6: All of it, it under 2 minute’s total. Listen and compare the recorded ambience, the sound of the air in the room, transient attack and decay, listen for any sibilance and the solitary drum “thwack” at the very end. Track 11: A lot of sounds going on here, drums, horns, voices, percussion, and guitar. Do the voices sound like a group of individual’s with micro differences in entry times when unison singing at times? I like to follow the guitar soloist sitting slightly right of center all the way through to see how easy it is to follow his line with all that’s going on around him. Also a good cut for listening for some decent front to back soundstage depth effect. At one point towards the end a percussionist with what sounds like a drum stick and wood block strikes it several times and seems to pull back from the mic as he plays. I’d be curious to know because it’s so obvious to hear, I hear the sound move from center to left and back away from the front. Do the horn and flute solo’s bleed over from the left side to the right side a bit at times? Track 12: Percussion, percussion, and more percussion. Track 13: Intelligibility of the words.

    Some of the large scale symphonic CD’s I use listed in the attached spoiler could legitimately be considered evaluation worthy. But I often find going with simpler music with just a few musicians makes it easier to determine how realistic, or not, instruments and voices sound and how well aspects of the recording venue that relate to imaging and sound staging are captured. With large works like a 100 piece orchestra with 100 choristers going full tilt I’m just hanging on hoping the recording got it right and that something won’t collapse somewhere in the chain causing distortion and congestion or just a loud garbled mess. When it comes off well, however, it’s amazing

    Of course use of different DACs, amps, etc., could lead to different listening results.

    SUMMARY

    Well, that’s about enough from me. Being able to spend 2 weeks comparing, especially with the Superconductor and Nirvana was a good listening time. As I said earlier, I want both for use with my 1266 Phi and will be adding the Nirvana. They are different but either one makes for a completely satisfying listening experience for me and my preferences and I’ll probably be playing one off against the other for the rest of 2019 and look into the Abyss “TC” later in the year because I am an Abyss believer.

    So, I’ve made my decision but given the diminishing returns aspect of these substitute cables as they increase in price over the Stock cable, are any of them worth the investment? That’s for each individual to decide for themselves.

    So what to do with my Ultra and its adapter? I will either sell or re-purpose it. I have a contact that does custom cable fabrication for industrial, home, and commercial applications that could probably retrofit my Ultra for any other headphone that I have or that comes down the pike.

    Happy Listening.

    My Current Demo List for Evaluating Equipment March 1, 2019 (all on CD).

    This is the Contents list from my 8 CD compilation

    Chesky’s Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc JD361

    The Sheffield/XLO Test & Burn in CD: 10041-2-T (for the walk around track)

    The Missing Linc Vol. 2: Sheffield CDS10

    Shostakovich / Shchedrin: Piano Concertos on Hyperion CDA 67425 (2003)

    Shchedrin: “Carmen Suite” / Pletnev DG471136 (2001)

    Gregorian Chants: Teldec 4509-96036-2 (1966 / the CD was issued 1994))

    Purcell: Dido & Aeneas: Davis & ASMF: Philips 422 485-2 (1970) / Remastered 2015 on Pentatone PTC 5186 230

    Debussy: Afternoon of a Faun: Sheffield CD24 (1985)

    Wagner: Tristan und Isolde: Prelude to Act 1: Sheffield CD7/8 (1978)

    Wagner: Siegfried’s Funeral March: Sheffield CD7/8 (1978)

    Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliette (ballet): Act 2 Finale: Sheffield CD 7/8 (1978)

    Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliette (ballet): Act 3 Introduction: Sheffield CD 7/8 (1978)

    Antidotum Tarantulae: (10th Century ? Anonymous): Harmonia Munde HMC 90379 CD (AAD), 1977

    Vivaldi: 4 Seasons: “Summer”, “Presto”: Comparison of 2 recordings of same movement, different chamber groups, conductors, labels, recording venues, and different period instruments. Interesting contrasts in tonal qualities and imaging/sound stage.

    Archive 400-045 CD: Trevor Pinnock, recorded 1982, DDD (?) 3:00 (timing)

    Chesky CD78 CD: Igor Kipnis, recorded 1992, DDD, 3:02 (timing)

    Bach: Goldberg Variations: Variations 31 & 32: “Quod Libet” & “Aria Da Capo”: Comparison of 2 recordings of same 2 variations by 2 different pianists in different recording venues.

    Sony S3K 87703 CD: Glenn Gould, recorded 1955, Re-mastered 2002, ADD, 0:48 & 2:11 (timing)

    VAI 1029 (Live) CD: Rosalyn Turek, recorded 1988, AAD (yes!), 1:47 & 2:57 (timing) Turek makes a repeat and is generally, overall, slower than Gould. Well, everybody else that ever recorded this was slower than Gould. It was recorded live somewhere in South America (?).

    Beethoven: “Presto” movement from Opus 131 String Quartet: Comparison of 2 recordings of same string quartet movement by 2 different groups on 2 different labels in different recording venues.

    DG 447-080 CD: Emerson Quartet, recorded 1994, DDD, 4:33 (timing) Lightening Quick!

    Telarc 80425 CD: Cleveland Quartet, recorded 1995, DDD, 5:20 (timing)

    Beethoven: Violin Sonata #9 “Kreutzer”, 3rd movement “Presto” London CD 421-453 (recorded 1973)

    Brahms Intermezzo Opus 118 #2 (for piano), London CD 417-599 (recorded 1971)

    Erik Satie: Gnossienne #1 & Gymnopedie #1, Harmonia Mundi HMC902017.18 (recorded 2009)

    Kreisler: Praeludium & Allegro for Violin and Piano: London 444-409 (recorded 1996)

    Sibelius: Symphony #7: DG 457-748 (recorded 1968)

    Prokofiev: Symphony #5: Telarc SACD 60683 (recorded 2007)

    Bartok: Music for Strings Percussion & Celeste; 3rd Mvmt “Adagio”: Neville Marriner & ASMF (Rec. 1970) on Decca 448577-2 & Fritz Reiner & CSO / RCA Living Stereo Hybrid SACD 82876-6 1390-2 (Rec. 1955)

    Respighi: Ancient dances & Airs, Suite #3 for Strings; Final section, “Passacaglia”: Antal Dorati & Philharmonia Hungarica (Rec. 1958) on Mercury Living Presence 434-304-2

    Rafe Vaughn-Williams: Symphony #7 “Antarctica”, 3rd Mvmt “Landscape”, Bernard Haitink & London Philharmonic (Rec. 1985) EMI CDC7 47516-2

    Rachmaninov (or “off” if you like): Symphonic Dances, 3rd Mvmt Finale “”Lento assai: Allegro Vivace”, Donald Johanos / Dallas Sym. O: (Rec. 1991 - AAD on all tube electronics) Analogue Productions AACD 006

    Mahler: Symphony #2 “Resurrection” Gilbert Kaplan & Vienna Philharmonic Orch. & Chorus, Latonia Moore: Sop. / Nadja Michael: Mezzo-Sop. (Rec. 2002) SACD/CD, DG 474-594-2

    Puccini: Tosca: Philips 412 885-2 (1976) Davis and the R.O.H Covent Garden, end of Act 1

    Puccini: Orchestral Works, “Crisantemi”, Riccardo Chailly & Radio-Symphony Orch. of Berlin, Decca 410-007-2, (Rec. 1982)

    Schoenberg: “Verklarte Nacht” (Transfigured Night) Opus 4 for string orchestra, Riccardo Chailly & Radio-Symphony Orch. of Berlin, Decca 421-182-2, (Rec. 1987)

    Arrigo Boito: “Prologue” to “Mephistophele”, Robert Shaw & Atlanta S.O. & Chorus with John Cheek (Bass), Telarc CD-80109-2 (Rec. 1979)

    Swedish Orchestral Favorites Vol 2 Peter Sundkvist & Swedish Chamber Orch. on Naxos 8.553715, (Rec. 1995)

    Billy Joel: “Fantasies & Delusions, Music for Solo Piano”, “Dublinesque Air”

    Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade: Final Movement: Comparison of 3 different recordings

    Fritz Reiner & Chicago S.O.: RCA Living Stereo Hybrid SACD 82876-66377-2 Originally recorded 1960 and re-issued at least a half dozen times in CD format. Latest remastering 2005 (or before) from the original 3 track analog tapes

    Charles Mackerras & London S.O.: Telarc CD-80208 Recorded 1990

    Robert Spano & Atlanta S.O.: Telarc CD-80568 Recorded 2000

    Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky: Telarc CD-80143 Recorded 1986

    Shostakovich: Sym. #5 - 1st Mvmt: Maazel / Cleveland SO Telarc CD-SACD-60561 (1981)

    Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (version of 1910): Eric Leinsdorf and The Los Angeles Philharmonic: Sheffield Lab CD-24 Recorded 1985 at MGM/UA Studio’s Culver City, California. Using all tubed electronics just as in their Wagner and Prokofiev discs from mic to tape recorder.

    Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (version of 1947): Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic: DG 00289-477-6198. Recorded “Live” at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California in 2006.


    Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks Live; Featuring the Lickettes: “Where’s the Money?” (Just Plain Fun) Ten Years After: “Bad Scene” (I do love’s me some good metal guitar pick’n.) David Crosby: “Cowboy Movie” (It’s David Crosby for cryin’ out loud; Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, CSNY) Chris Isaak: “Wicked Game” (Rock-a Billy meets Country Fusion at its best) Stanley Clarke: “School Days” (Classic guitar work)

    I also recommend anything by “Steely Dan” I have all their recordings on CD, in general the recordings are very well done and I like their musical style.
      Benny-x and simorag like this.