A Headphone Newbie on the X-Cans v2
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rtsy

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My wife and duaghter got me one for Fathers' Day. I've used it about 2-3 hours a day for 4 days now with my NAD 502, vdH D102mkIII, Senn HD 495.

The instruction says the unit is designed to be left on all the time. It gets darn hot. I've used other (albeit entry level gear like NAD 304, Nakamichi IA-3, NAD T760) for extended periods but these haven't gotten as hot as the X-Cans v2. Do X-Cans v2 users on this forum really leave it on all the time?

Fresh out of the box, the bass was one-note and lumpy (e.g., on plucked upright bass). I noticed bass became a tad more tuneful after about 20 minutes of use. This is why I hardly tured it off since (I only turned it off when I tried it with my Pioneer DV-525 as source).

4 days later, I noticed a tad more tunefulness on the bass. I'd like to try the X-PSU or some better power supply to see if bass gets better. I liked its pace/timing.

Also fresh out of the box, the highs were very harsh and there was a lot of sibilance. I only usually hear sibilance on "S's" but this one's so bad I hear sibilance even on "F's!" I could not listen to (bright) commercial Pop CDs as it is so ear-piercingly annoying. Only well recorded ausiophile discs highs were acceptable.

Warming it nor 4 days of use didn't change this one bit. Is it really like this? Is it my entry level HD495? It certainly isn't the NAD as I've known it to be quite warm.

Where I think my system excels is the midrange. Vocals, male and female, are oh so sweet (except for the sibilance on bright discs). Earth Chants by the MAdrigals of Sta. Barbara high School, Ella's XRCDs, Snow Rose, HArry Belafonte at Carnegie Hall, Livingston Taylor sound oh so amorous! So are strings and wind instruments. Stikes on percussion (except kick drums) was realistic but not its decay.

Piano improved the most over the past 4 days. At the start, piano sounded like the hammers striking the strings had too much velvet that made the keystrokes soft. Now it's much better.

Another thing I likes is the resolution of detail. There is such so many new sounds coming from favorite discs. On the downside, I don't like the exagerrated left-right soundstaging.

Depth perception is there but my perspective is quite strange. Instead of being near the front row center, it's like the band is right at my face.

I noticed that simple recordings sound great but busy ones like reggae or pop with lots of synthsized tunes are not as palatable.

So what do you think, folks? How do I get deeper, tighter, more convincing bass (what is the headphone equivalent of adding a REL sub)? How do I tame the sibilance and harshness on the highs while retaining the sweetness of the mids? How do I give my gear more control of dense, busy music?

Thanks!
 
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Duncan

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Tuberolling... definetly clears up the sibilance and sharpness you notice, and the bass is now not so 'one-noted' as with the stock JP tubes...

trouble is, you're worried about the heat from the stock tubes... my Edicrons run a LOT hotter!!

I leave my unit on over the weekend, when i'm home ~ but I must confess that that heat does bother me a little, so when i'm at work during the week, i only have the unit switched on in the evening
 
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Hirsch

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How long to leave the X-Can on is problematical. My unit needs to be on about 12 hours before it sounds its best. It can sound good after about 30 minutes, but keeps improving if left on longer. The downside is that if kept on too long, about a week, there actually appears to be a muddiness introduced into the signal. It needs to be turned off and allowed to cool every now and then to keep this from happening. The improved power supply and a good set of tubes can turn this amp from a good one into a great one.

The heat is normal for tube units. The X-Can doesn't let you see the inside, but the tubes are glowing orange with heat (think of a very dim light bulb). If too cool, the tubes won't reach their optimum operating temperature and will not sound as good.
 
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daycart1

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I can second all the above. Also, as you mentioned, an x-psu helps a lot. I found the tube rolling helped the treble more, the x-psu tightened the bass. With the x-psu, my xcanv2 never got more than pleasantly warm. But perhaps this means I have less amperage out of the wall (?).
 
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bootman

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Humm, a modded x-can chassis with a temp controlled fan like those for PCs...
 
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Beagle

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I have the original X-Cans (not the V2) and I changed the stock tubes to JJ's, and recently picked up a 12vac 1600mA AC adaptor. This transforms the stock unit into something really nice. The highs are cleaner, more extended and the bass has some sock and dynamics to it.

The transformer and amp run hotter but the sound is much improved. The hot amp and vibrating humming transformer make me a bit uneasy compared to the simple battery operated RA-1. But the sound is so nice that I try not to let it bother me. I just make sure to unplug when I'm not going to be using it.
 
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rtsy

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Thanks for the replies.

Hmm...

US$200 for the X-Can v2
+ US$180 for the X-PSU
+ US$ 20 for a matched pair of JJ Electronics 6922
------------
US$400

If a Hosfelt 12VAC 4.5AMP is used (US$20 instead of US$180 for the X-PSU), total cost is US$220.

I wonder how headphone amps at US$220-400 price range compare vs. the X-Cans v2 with better PSU and rolled tubes.

If I can only do one now between tube rolling and a better power supply, which would have greater impact on the sound quality?

In practical terms, I can get a better power supply now then roll tubes when the JAN Philips stock dies. Does this practical approach make more sense?
 
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Beagle

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I think you could just spend $40 and get the Hosfelt 12vac 4.5 amp power supply and the JJ tubes. This is probably all you need to spend to reap the rewards.
 
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ajy55906

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I agree with Beagle. Significant improvement with JJs and Hosfelt. But it runs even hotter.
 
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Duncan

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Quote:

Originally posted by ajy55906
I agree with Beagle. Significant improvement with JJs and Hosfelt. But it runs even hotter.


Is that the amp, the PSU, or both?
 
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john_jcb

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ajy55906

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The amp runs a lot hotter. I have not noticed that the Hossfelt CPU does.

I upgraded to the JJs before I bought the PSU - I did not notice a difference in heat then.

The combination really stepped up the Xcans, v2 to a new level. A wonderful upgrade. I just wonder about the heat it throws off...
 
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Ken

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if you buy the x-psu power supply , you could have purchased a much better amp in the first place for the same money. Beagle has the right idea. The most for the least.
 
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Duncan

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Quote:

Originally posted by ajy55906
The combination really stepped up the Xcans, v2 to a new level. A wonderful upgrade. I just wonder about the heat it throws off...


I must agree... I bought a 1 amp PSU today, and it tightens up the bottom end quite nicely... i'm not too sure about mids and treble... i'll do an A/B between the two PSUs at a later stage
 
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Jason

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I was just about to buy a second hand V2 over the web, when I thought I would just check out these pages again. Now I'm not so sure!
I listen to rock and pop, rap and dance. If I change the tubes for JJs do you think this amp would suit me? If not, can anyone suggest another in this price range? (150 sterling - 250 US dollars). Would a Creek amp be better? Headroom Little?
Cheers
 
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