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Amp recommendations for Audeze LCD-2

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by oqvist, Jun 4, 2010.
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  1. kashmiami
    Thanks for folks who responded.
    Obviously, a newbies question here..but, 50 percent of my desktop volume is too loud for me. I am curious why I need an amp at all, I understand the DAC part, but not the amp. Can anyone please refer me to an article or something which explains this in a lucid manner. Thanks!
     
  2. Lohb

    Amps are not just about loudness, it is also about the quality of the sound presentation at different volume levels.
    Quality amps performing well below their peak limit usually offer better low-end control/presence, dynamics, sound-stage, micro-detail.
    They also have a unique overall tonality....from cool/dry along the sliding scale lush/rich.
    Paired right, they can also give the various deficiencies of various headphones an 'audio repair' towards YOUR target overall SQ preference.
     
    kashmiami likes this.
  3. Steve Wilcox
    I bought a Chord Mojo for portable/computer use but its finished up replacing my Schiit Asgard in my main system and sounds fantastic with my LCD2Fs.  You do need a digital signal but it has optical, coaxial and USB options.  Don't let its diminutive size fool you - it's got bags of power and its digital to analogue conversation puts the sound out from a laptop, PC or phone into the same league as set ups costing serious money.  If you've been using the headphone out from a laptop you're likely to be amazed by the sound quality you can get via the Mojo - just make sure you're using uncompressed files to get the most from it.
     
    I very much much doubt you'll have any of the problems you describe via the Mojo.  I'm finding the Mojo/LCD2F coupling wonderful from any source.
     
  4. ruddypulido
    Hey guys... First post here...
     
    I am considering buying LCD-2 but I am in big doubt about the amp...
     
    My main source is from Vinyl of my dedicated stereo system ( PM6004 + Pro-Ject Debut III ).
     
    At first I was convinced to go with a Gustard H10. But lately, after some reviews, I have start to thinking about the micro iDSD. 
     
    Although my main focus is my stereo system it would be nice to have a portable amp/dac that I could take with me on travel, or even to another room and use with my laptop or iPhone.
     
    So, I have some questions and wanna see if you help me.
     
    Will I be missing something in terms of sound quality / capability going micro iDSD instead of H10 ?
     
    In terms of power, how the two compare ?
     
    As far as I could see, to use the micro iDSD I will need an RCA from my stereo out to 3.5mm in the iDSD. Are there any loss of quality going this route ? Will I be able to charge the iDSD while using it through the 3.5mm input ?
     
    Another possibility would be both a Gustard H10 and a small AMP/DAC like nano iDSD ou DragonFly, but I don't know if these ones can drive satisfactory the LCD-2.
     
    I don't know if it makes any difference but, about 80% of my listening is extreme metal.
     
    Thanks a lot for the help !
     
    Updated: JDS Labs The Element or some schiit may also be an option
     
  5. catspaw
    To be honest, I found that even portable amps do a decent job on headphones.
     
    I have used 3 amps: Fiio E17, Fiio E12 and Asgard 1.
    Tested on HE-400 and HD600.
     
    When comparing the sound from the mp3 alone (Cowon i9) to the Fiio E17, there was a substantial difference, mostly in bass.
    However, from there to E12 and Asgard 1 the difference was small. I had to A/B, other way it was way too similar, and we are talking of 250 mW (into 16 Ohm) on the E17 to 1 W (on 50 Ohm) on the asgard.
     
    When going from cowon i9 to bifrost multibit, the volume went up nuts (on the asgard), and I went from listening at 70-80% of volume to 50%.
     
    In other words, unless the Amp is of poor quality, Id assume that the LCD-2 will be driven well with anything that has close to 1 W (how well it will synergize is another thing at all, since thats sound signature and that is subjective).
     
    I can confirm however that Valhalla is NOT a good option for planar as my HE-400 on it did not have good volume, dynamics or even detail for that matter (of, no bass).
     
    When I did listen to the LCD-2.2 Fazor it was on a Burson Soloist (the 4W version) but from the cowon i9. It sounded very good and quite loud on max volume (after I discovered the massive change of volume when using the Bifrost multibit as source with the asgard 1, my rough estimation is that the asgard will be enough for the LCD-2.2 fazor, but its an estimation).
     
     
    Dont know if this helps much... :).
     
  6. BassDigger
    Let's say that I have a penchant for Chinese equipment; like the ever increasing number of clones, or near clones, and the original Chinese designed stuff.
     
    I'm looking to upgrade my Gustard H10 (a dual transformered V200 clone) that has been performing quite well powering some LCD2Fs.
     
    I was originally going to commit to a Chinese made Beta 22. But, reading back earlier in the thread, there seems to be consensus that a Krell KSA5 clone is even better than the B22.
     
    As for my sound preferences: after listening to my set-up for the first time in 6 months, I found that the sound is quite detail-forward; a little bright. This was my first impression, compared to my perception of both real sound, and familiar old recordings. This, I expect, is the character of the fazored lcd2. So, I'm definitely not looking for a 'bright' sounding amp; a little warmer/fuller sound would be preferential.
     
    Out of the the known Chinese contenders, I'm looking at B22 and KSA5 clones. But, the better looking versions of these are getting into Audio-GD territory, in price; a fairly established and reputable brand. So, maybe I should also consider the Audiogd C2 (or NFB-1; I could go balanced). If reliability was a concern, I guess this would be my choice. But it's not; SQ is the No.1 priority here!
     
    Here are some pics of some contenders:
     
    KSA5
     
    TB2ix0NmXXXXXaNXpXXXXXXXXXX_2529159729.jpg
    TB2wHWcbXXXXXbfXXXXXXXXXXXX-21537438.jpg
     
     
    B22
     
    TB2pKH2iVXXXXabXXXXXXXXXXXX_2529159729.jpg
    T1nEGeXklyXXc.g_MZ_033609.jpg
     
     
    Audio-GD C2 (NFB1)
     
    NFB1AMP1.jpg
     
     
    If anyone has made comparisons (with anything), has any feedback, or has a better (Chinese sourced) suggestion, your input would be much appreciated.
     
  7. Lohb

    Is the one with water bottle on top also a B22 clone ? Link ?
     
  8. BassDigger

     
    The 2 box model?
     
    Lohb likes this.
  9. BassDigger
     
    Yeah. She's real purrrdy. Ain't she? [​IMG] (Although it also demonstrates Chinese style awareness of potential hazards; to be comfortable with placing a bottle of water on top of a live/connected electrical device!? [​IMG]!)
     
    The first four:
     
    https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.39.Hygqol&id=524853281211&ns=1&abbucket=14
     
    https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.16.CEP6lR&id=39835698285&ns=1&abbucket=14
     
    https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.150.rtT3wf&id=528663465664&ns=1&abbucket=14
     
    https://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=a230r.1.14.26.rtT3wf&id=12588170899&ns=1&abbucket=14
     
  10. GrindingThud
    If you go KSA5 clone, make sure you use one sourced from the KG board design like you show in the zero zone link...the others are not the same. The KG KSA5 clone is one of my favorite builds.
     
  11. BassDigger
    DIY, unfortunately, is not for me (I won't entertain you with the list of reasons why not). And besides, isn't this one of the best things about Chinese hifi; cheap labour? And that ZeroZone ksa5 looks quite tasty. But I know that looks don't tell the whole story; I was wondering how it reeeally compares to the others.
     
    I'm glad that you like the building of the KG ksa5. But actually, I'm sure that it was your comment, earlier in the thread, that extolled the virtues of the ksa5's sq. Can you please give some more details, impressions or comparisons? (Like, what's the balance? Is it slightly detail forward, or warm and weighty?)
     
  12. Kumabro
    Anyone got any recommendations for an amp which is good at electronica/rock? :)
     
  13. deafdoorknob

    Violectric V-series
    Chord Mojo (portable solution with DAC)
    Schiit Magni 2 Uber (budget solution)
    Audeze Deckard

    in my experience, despite being a resistive load, LCD 2 tend to benefit from amps with highish (40 and up) damping factor, could be due to the size of the planar itself.
     
  14. BassDigger
     
    Oh no! That would mean that I have the same curse with finding a good headphone amp, as I do finding a the right amp for my transmission line speakers; damping factor, to control the movement of the driver (especially for deep bass), being a key factor.
     
    I too like electronica and rock, and your suggestion of Violectric makes sense to me; the Gustard H10 is based on the V200, and i noticed a very significant tightening of the bass, when i got it.
     
    Although your theory, about the size (mass?) of the planar driver, doesn't make so much sense; i thought that planar diaphragms were supposed to be very light, and low inertia; that's why they're so fast sounding; they shouldn't need much 'controlling', when compared to a higher mass dynamic driver.
    But, saying that, maybe it's the configuration of the magnet/voice 'coil' interaction that is the planar's weakness; hence the need for a bit of power to get the best out of them. Yeah. That must be it. Makes sense to me, now.
     
    But nonetheless, it's observations, not explanations, that matter. I've always found it very difficult to know the damping factor of full size amps, never mind headphone amps! How do you find out?
     
  15. Amish
    I've used a number of amps with these cans. Polaris, Ember, Ember II, BHA-1, HK3490, Onkyo, SONY, Pioneer, etc...
     
    I have now found that feeding this headphone with crazy watts does it wonders. I'm running it off a Maggie 8802 amp off the speaker taps which provide 12 watts per channel via a HiFiMan HE adapter and the LCD-2f is a whole new beast. Damn.
     
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