Beezar Audio T4 versus ecp DSHA-3F: first and last[ing] impressions
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pataburd

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[Transferred and augmented from the Focal Utopia general discussion thread.]

Started listening to the Focal Utopia with the Beezar Audio T4 [differential hybrid parafeed design]. I have never heard the Utopia sound so smooth and laid back[!]. Everything is more liquid, flush, with a rounder (and perhaps denser) tonality when using the T4 [with JJ ECC81 tubes].

The ecp DSHA-3F [solid state design, with Lundahl amorphous transformer] resolves more detail, is more open, transparent, neutral and airy sounding with greater perceived front-to-back dimensionality, solid dynamic punch and remarkable speed

For my listening preferences, the 3F better targets and exploits the Utopia's strengths. With the 3F, I feel as if I am listening to the Utopia laid musically bare. With the T4, I feel as if I am listening to the Utopia as rendered--one might even say "colored"--by the T4.

My [decided] preference for the 3F extends to my hearing of the ATH-ADX5000 and HEDDphone, as well. Comparatively, the ADX5000 [high Z] sound a bit constrained and the HEDDphone [low Z] a bit hard with the T4.

The Mikros 90 fared pretty well with the T4, chiefly benefiting with a more palpable midrange. The T4's signature dynamic leveling or "smoothing", and its tendency towards a more opaque presentation--which, for the Mikros 90, translated to just a touch of welcome tonal/textural solidity, chiefly for vocals--were still evident, however [compared to single-ended amplifiers that were on hand, like the Lehmann BCL or Meridian Prime], given that a direct comparison, in balanced mode, with the 3F was not possible.

While I can completely understand why some Utopia owners might prefer the T4 to the 3F, I am not one of them, at least not at this point in time. Subsequently, I plan to re-tube with a pair of GE NOS 5965 and audition the T4 some more. However, to my ears, and in my mind, the T4 cannot do enough, viz-a-viz the 3F, to alter these first impressions.

As always, with different upstream gear, a different pair of tubes [and a different pair of ears] "your mileage may [very] vary".

Upstream:
Lenovo G-50, Tidal Masters [Doris Day, Keely Smith, Peggy Lee, John Williams, The Beach Boys, Lee Ritenour, Avishai Cohen]
>USB Disruptor/da Big Genius w/iFi iPurifier3.0
>Chord Qutest [white filter]
>Neotech UPOCC interconnects and power cord
>Beezar Audio T4 [JJ ECC81]
>PowerVar and OneAC line conditioners.

Headphones:
Focal Utopia [HeadphoneLounge UPOCC 4x 24 AWG solid silver]
ATH-ADX5000 [ATH balanced upgrade cable]
HEDDphones [teknorob23 Neotech solid 8-cores UPOCC 4x 28 AWG silver + 4x 24 AWG copper]
Martin Logan Mikros 90 [4-pin XLR to TRS adapter, HeadphoneLounge UPOCC 4x 24 AWG solid silver]

Caveat:
The reader should keep in mind that the DSHA-3F is the best solid state headphone amplifier--and perhaps the best headphone amplifier, overall--I have heard to date.
 
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pataburd

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Am continuing to enjoy the T4/Mikros 90 pairing [although that opaqueness can be exacerbated with less-than-Master quality recordings]. The Martin Logans [supra-aural, closed portables with Momentum replacement ear pads] handily remain in the Top 5 of all the headphones I have ever owned.
 
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