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I’m going for a minimalist setup
Hi Betula. The CMA600i actually turns that current amplification back into voltage right at the end. No different than any amplifier, which is good. Because true current amp would have a ton of output impedance, which we dont want.
For true current amplification, I'm only aware of the bakoon amps, which anyway is nothing to wrote home about. It is an OK amp for planars. And even worse for dynamics as it will change its FR too much.
CMA600i sure works better for planars than dynamics, especially darker planars. I think you like its sound synergy with the 2C.
PS: blues lights are my favorite as well.
Why would Questyle bother with current mode if it doesn't make any difference to voltage mode amps?
"Current Mode Amplification features the use of transistors to amplify and a fully discrete structure, to wit: voltage input and output, while the core amplification takes place in the current domain operating in a pure Class A state. It is completely different from the traditional voltage mode amplifier in the structure of the amplification circuit. Current-mode audio amplifiers affect the speed and bandwidth of the transistor-level capacitance between the low impedance nodes, not only completely eliminates the transient intermodulation distortion (TIMD), but can easily attain ultra-high bandwidth (full power bandwidth of 500kHz ) and ultra-low distortion (lower than 0.0002% THD+N, challenging the physical limits of audio testing). The Current Mode Amplification technology can be used for amplifiers of any power level (10mW-2000W) and of any size (thousands of square centimeters for some professorial amplifiers).
It is basically made up of voltage-controlled current source (VCCS), current mode amplification unit(A(i)), I/V converter, output stage（OPT）and negative feedback. In the science of electronics, voltage and current exist side by side, power (Watts) is the product of the two, so you can amplify either current or voltage. In the current amplification stage, signals are amplified in current to achieve higher performance, while the input and output stages remain voltage. This kind of design is easily compatible with other advanced sources and loads.
Negative feedback is applied to guarantee stability. Because of the low impedance of the negative feedback and the high-speed performance of the amplifier, the processing speed of the feedback loop is hundreds of times faster than that of voltage mode amplifiers. So the issue of TIMD as produced in conventional amplifiers doesn't exist here."
To be honest, mate....if current amplification is that good, many amp maker would have done it. The theory has been around for quite a while.
AFAIK, Bakoon is actually the manufacturer that is most into this and purist. At least in the headphone world. They even had their DAC lineups and recommend pure current connection from their DAC-to-amp through their SATRI-link. This would be an end-to-end current design. Some people bought into this SATRI-link idea. They forgot a little thing. Bakoon is not a DAC designer. I guess it is just the same thing with balanced amp. Some people focus on the balanced part, and forgot that good amp is good amp, regardless of SE or balanced.
Anyway, not saying that current amp is bad. But I don't really put attention to marketing talks. Designers talk a lot of things about their designs (just look at IFI as an example). If it sounds good, then it sounds good. Which is the case with your CMA600i.
Every manufacturer has their own thing, I guess. Why would all the other manufacturers bother with voltage amplification if current is better?
Anyway, I'm not an expert. Just sharing my opinion.
Like many things in this hobby current mode amplification is not necessarily better, but definitely different. It is very clean while taking the artificial edge of the sound of many SS amps and replaces it with smoothness. It is more complicated (and perhaps more expensive) than a more traditional design.
Very much agree with this.
Anyway, we are getting a bit off topic here.
Further listening and comparison between AFO and LCD-2C using Luca Stricagnoli's 'What If?' album. This is a really nice acoustic guitar album. Highly recommended.
1. Feel Good Inc.
2. Can't Stop
4. Now We Are Free (feat. Meg Pfeiffer)
With the AFO, guitar plucks sound more solid and thicker. Mid-bass does not have much role in this album. It is a very intimate experience, like there is no stage in front of you.
Going back to the 2C, yup overall, it is still a league better than the AFO. First things I notice immediately are: (1) Air, (2) Soundstage opens up, especially depth, and (3) Sound is a lot grander. Overall, it is just a better audio experience with this album. Guitar is about 80-90% as thick as AFO, but has more bite to it.
I'm considering upgrading from the m1060 to the lcd2c since I put some money aside.
I currently own following amp:
which is connected to my pc mainbaord (Realtek ALC1550)
Should this be enough to bring enough out of the lcd2c or should I look into something else like Schiit etc...
It should be ok but you have room for improvment. LCD2 needs lots of of juice to really shine.
this looks like an interesting amp to pair up...one of a few i'm considering.
anyone out there also looking at this?
Monolith by Monoprice Liquid Platinum Headphone Amplifier by Alex Cavalli
Any 'audiophile' who has been in this hobby for a while knows that 'end game' does not exist. Even if you feel you have reached your end game, innovations come out more and more frequently. This hobby is growing in a fast pace.
I do however feel I have reached my temporary end game. Temporary can mean anything between 6 months and 3 years.
I used to love my NightHawks out of my Mojo. I liked the organic sound of the bio-cellulose driver, the amount of bass. The control and definition Mojo brought to the picture. I still think this combo for £500 beats systems at £1000 for pure musical enjoyment.
Lots of auditions, purchases and selling happened since then.
My journey for now has condensed down in this system: FLAC→iPurifier 3→Chord 2Qute→Questyle CMA 600i→Toxic Silver Widow cable→2C.
This system lifts the 2C to another level. From cheap source the 2C can sound overly warm and dark, lacking details. Once the 2C's have got the power and quality source they can show you a different world. Any sort of veil or warmth disappears. There is clarity, space, details, sound-stage depth, extension, sub-bass rumble, airiness, openness.
I am not chasing the ultimate neutrality. I want to have fun with a relaxed, bassy sound signature in the highest possible quality and resolution. I owned the Focal Clear which was impressive in resolution and dynamics, but I found it fatiguing and too intense after a while. Also lacked the final bits at sub-bass extension. That is why I chose the 2C over the Clears. Bass, relaxed sound and fun even if resolution is a bit lower.
Therefore I have built the aforementioned system for my 2C. I have realised I can't live without Audeze bass. So I brought out the most of the 2C with a powerful and clean system. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy it. The 600i is pretty much the best you can expect from a SS amp. 2Qute is pretty much the best DAC under £1000. The 3D space, tightness and timing the 2Qute brings to the picture still amazes me. After owning Mojo and trying several DAC/amps in the competition I was sure my DAC can only be Chord. They do something special: space and lifelikeness.
The iPurifier adds extra clarity and spaciousness and the Toxic gold plated silver cable also adds some space and airiness to the upper mids and treble.
I have got the perfect system for my purposes. A fun, dynamic headphone with the perfect bass out of a very clean, clear, neutral and powerful set up. I thoroughly enjoy the result.
What would be my next step up? A Qutest over my 2Qute? LCD-X over the 2C? Some people say the Qutest is not that far from the 2Qute. Especially with the iPurifier 3 I guess. Some people enjoy the 2C more than the X. Is the X too neutral? It must be more detailed and refined, but is it more fun? Not to mention that extra 100g weight.
Amps in this price range can only give me a slightly different taste compared to the 600i's qualities. It very much looks like I'd have to spend 1-2-3 thousands more for any substantial improvements. And even those improvements might be irrelevant for my taste and my music (detailed but bass-centric).
I am a happy camper. I am definitely unable to spend twice as much for a 10-20% improvement. Therefore I start to feel I have reached my end game for the next two years at least. A fun, bassy sound with the most possible clarity, resolution and dynamics.
I could go for a Qutest and spend £700 more. I could go for another amp in this price range for a different taste. I could go for the LCD-X for more resolution but potentially less fun for £600 more. I could go for an Ether 2 which is insanely priced.
I have attained building a perfect system for my music and my taste which will last a good while. After a crazy year of selling and buying I think at least a year of enjoyment is ahead of me.
Time to stop and enjoy. Make sure you've got these times too.
I am currently using the Liquid Spark (LS) Solid State amp. They match very well together. If the price to performance is anything like what I am getting from the LS go for it. After using this amp I have become a Alex Cavalli fan.
I would love to try this amp.
Cavalli has a great reputation.
I read a lot about this amp. Even emailed Monoprice representatives in the UK. Unfortunately they were unable to confirm whether this amp will be available in in the UK or EU at all.
While I think this amp would bring a sweet and addictive sound quality to the picture I am worried about overall resolution, quality, extension and sound stage.
I don't really want to go down in the rabbit hole of tube rolling and reading the thread of this amp people go into tube rolling to a good extent. They also say in that thread that you need a much better power source otherwise this amp is too noisy/weak.
Spending 2-300 for a good power supply and another 200 for better tubes can make this amp an end-game tube sound. But don't fool yourself you have got an endgame sound with the stock version. According to what I read there is plenty of room for improvement. With the improvements however for $1000-1200 you might have and endgame amp sound.
I am still very interested, but be aware of the weaknesses before you purchase.
Does anyone know how the lcd2-c compares to the Campfire Audio Cascade ? (soundwise)
They are both in the same price category and emphasise on lower-end/mid area...
I had a chance to listen to the Cascade and I found it to be a good headphone but more for portable use imo while the 2C is a much better home listening hp. The Cascade has an elevated low-end that bleeds a bit into the mids but overall it's a nice headphone just not as good as the 2C imo. The 2C has a cleaner sound and better overall detail retrieval and the bass sounds smoother and more detailed as well.
Yeah there is always something better out there if you are willing and able to play. I've been trying to narrow down which way to go by getting lots of different lower priced stuff since I can use most of in i various areas and saves me the trouble of traveling to some boutique that might have really high end stuff to demo.
I think my future upgrades will be based on my favorite system I've found right now which is the LCD-2C, Mimby with etr, and thx AAA 789. based on this lower end setup's performance I've decided to eventually spring for the LCD-4, Metrum Pavane Level 3, and The Vioelectric V281 amp. This should be a bit of an upgrade while retaining a similar sound profile overall. I'm just not to sold on D/S dacs or super oversampled dacs either. I like the r2r sound coupled with super precise amps and the audeze headphone sound.