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Astell & Kern SR15: A&norma Impressions & Reviews

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by pitch_black, Jul 29, 2018.
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  1. tjpearson
    Hello everyone,
    I'm a little confused considering the focus of this forum are headphones and so little talk about what gets great results with the SR15.
    A lot of talk about in ear jobbies which I'm afraid I hate, find them uncomfortable and give me ear infections, but hardly any talk about over ear headphones. I have seen a couple of enquiries about how Sen HD600/650's would perform with the SR15 but with no replies.
    I would love to see what others are using in over ear headphones priced realistically such as £200 to £300.
    I'm sure many will be using this device statically on holiday or away from home and although would love to spend, spend, spend but have mortgages and wives to keep happy.
    I do have Sen HD650's but would not really like to take these out and about so need to get some dedicated headphones when I buy this.
    Feedback with who uses what would be great.
    JTori likes this.
  2. gunwale
    It really depends on your current setup.

    I tried the sr15 with a couple of audezes. They dont sound particularly good or bad.

    They definitely will not sound like tube amps or dedicated desktop amps.

    I like them better than mojo though.

    I only tested the SE output.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  3. abitdeef
    The SR15 is fairly neutral yet musical, not dry so it pairs well with most anything, I mean the iem or headphone sounds as it should. The only thing I would say personally is keep the ohms/resistance 150 or under.

    And no it doesn’t drive hd600s to their potential imo. It will get them loud enough, but not enough to make them sing like a dedicated amp. But that’s true of every dap I’ve had.

    I mentioned 3 over ears a bit back and also the Ultrasone edition 8 plus was mentioned as being very good.
    tjpearson likes this.
  4. punknotyet
    I'm currently using Audio-Technica's MSR7SE with SR15 and quite happy :).
    Regular version of MSR7 is also very nice, but less comfortable.
    MSR7b (updated version of this model with balanced option) will soon be in shops, but unfortunately it uses 4.4 mm jack instead of 2.5 mm.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
    tjpearson likes this.
  5. tjpearson
    OK, food for thought, interesting comment about keeping to under 150ohm.
  6. abitdeef
    I think that AK might say up to 300ohm but I guess it’s just what you’re used to. People might think the 600s are driven fine, but I’ve heard them with more power and they just don’t sound driven properly by the SR15 to my ears. You might think they sound fine.

    But then there are so many great sounding headphones that aren’t 300 ohms. I’ve heard the hd660 and I like them better than the 600s personally.
  7. bgtip
    Impressions for SR15 with DT 990 250Ohm: at volume level 140 I felt subjectively the sound pressure level approximately as sound level 70 with my FiiO FH5 on the balanced output i.e. somehow adequate. Especially the bass was lacking imo. Overall sound was less than agreeable, thin and very bright.
  8. Tempy-17
    I think these should have been called the 'SE15 Sygma' since that seems like a Vinyl thing and had a higher SNR. They do look like a Vinyl type device. Do they sound dark and slick like Vinyl? A higher SNR makes MP3 players sound more like Vinyl such as the Cowon Plenue V or the Acoustic Research AR-M2.....
  9. Sparx81
    I use mine with a pair of Shure 1540 Over Ears there only 46 ohms and i love them. Very easy to drive and Shure are renowned for quality premium headphones. I have just ordered a balanced cable to go with them.
    tjpearson and bgtip like this.
  10. abitdeef

    No it doesn’t sound like vinyl, and higher snr has nothing to do with sounding like vinyl, vinyl actually has more noise in the signal. Besides those snr numbers are taken without a load and pretty much mean nothing. And to realize such a high snr number the volume would have to be ear shattering.
    buonassi and JTori like this.
  11. Tempy-17
    More pure sound is more closer to vinyl. Higher SNR is less noise combined with music sound so the sound would be more like the original analogue sound being converted by the DAC and closer to Analogue vinyl. That's what I thought. It sounds more striking and dense in a concentrated way.
  12. abitdeef
    No, physical noise is produced just by playing vinyl back, needle friction, dust, imperfections etc. What makes vinyl sound good is some of that noise, giving it body, and dynamics, and less compression- but it is definitely not higher snr.

    From Steve Hofmann and hydrogen audio


    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
    bgtip and JTori like this.
  13. Tempy-17
    Well I thought vinyl had a high perfect SNR because it is a Physical form of picking up sound, needle to grooves etc., maybe something like 220 db and DACs tried to reach it to be more like Analogue to Analogue conversion, rather than Analogue to Digital.... I could've sworn the Cowon Plenue V (126db) and the AR M2 (129db) sounded more like vinyl because of their high SNR DACS. Oh well. I really don't know anything about it. I originally thought it was the bit rate which determined it, until I heard some HD tracks and thought they weren't special like the Vinyl sound. I don't know what else could be responsible for reaching vinyl type sound (perfect Analogue) than the SNR of DACs.
  14. JTori
    Have any of the august members of this forum heard the SR15 with AK T5Ps or T5Ps? Wondering if it's got the balls to drive them and how they sound. Thanks, all!
  15. abitdeef
    Ok lol I’m going to say this one more time (I don’t want to derail the thread anymore) First as you can see you’re wrong about vinyl having a high snr which I already explained why. Second vinyl is just the medium and has inherent harmonic distortions that causes a warmer sound- that is definitely not high snr.

    Second your not going to get perfect analog unless you’re listening to the master tape. And of course that has it’s own added distortions- noise, and you are definitely not getting perfect analog playing an LP.

    Third those high snr numbers don’t mean squat- your ear couldn’t take 120db or 126db of snr that you would have to listen to to attain that number. 90db is plenty- those are just dac makers marketing numbers, and then you have to consider the noise in the output signal and the LPF used. What I suspect you’re hearing with those 2 particular daps is the warmer sound sig that they possess which would remind you of a vinyl record.

    We are in the digital realm with dacs, so you can put vinyl out of your mind. If you want to hear great vinyl, get a good mastered- pressed lp and a good turntable, amp, preferably tube and good speakers- then turn it up to 11. And lastly SR15 isn’t really a warm source although musical so it really doesn’t sound like vinyl imo. But with good mastered material it sounds close to the source and depending on the recording can be really, really great sounding.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
    bgtip and JTori like this.
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