Blockhead Opinions Wanted
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smokey

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I'm considering the purchase of a Blockhead. I've read the reviews, and most of the posts, and this seems like it might be the next addition to the collection.

However, I haven't read anything about the differences between the Grado or the Sennheiser phones with this. All of the reviews that I've read seem to focus just on the Senns. Anyone heard both with this amplifier? Any opinions about which would be better?

I assume the universal opinion would be that the Cardas cable would be better than the Clou cable. True or false?

Do you think I might be able to get Headroom to make a custom cable for one of the wooden Audio Technicas?

Thanks!
 
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NotoriousBIG_PJ

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Tuberoller has made some comments on the rs-1 + blockhead combo. Just use the search function.


Biggie.
 
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john_jcb

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Look at the recent posts from the Chicago meet. We had the opportunity to audition both HP's with the Blockhead and a great player the Revox. Both had good points, I personally think it depends on the music and your personal tastes which HP is best for you. Is there any way you can audition both before you make a decision? The Grado and the Senn definately sound different.
 
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kelly

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smokey
There's nothing fancy about it, but you'd have to solder (or have someone solder) in a balanced cable. I'm sure HeadRoom can do this for you and if not, there are any number of other people who could. It kind of sucks to do that to a somewhat collectible headphone, but then maybe it will seem less collectible when new models come out.

Of course, then the headphone would also become unusable on every other amplifier. This may be fine with you since you'd have spent so much on the BlockHead.
 
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Tuberoller

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The Blockhead is incredible.I had it for about two weeks and got chance to use it with the HD600 phones and the Grado RS1s.The Revox E-46 CDplayer and the Synergistic Research Designer's Reference cables no doubt aided this combo somewhat,but I think this was the closest thing I have ever heard to a true soundstage on a headphone system.I really did like the RS1s better,but the HD600/Balanced Cardas combo sounded awesome as well.The RS-1 combo seemed have a more overall balanced sound.It just sounded right everywhere.The HD600 had a little better bass and a somewhat supressed midrange and treble detail.It was strange using both phones back to back and hearing the sharp contrasts.Todd at Headroom seemed a bit suprised that most of the meet attendees preferred the Grados.I think maybe the interconnects and the source may have played a part in that.I did try the Blockhead with the Cardas Neutral Reference cables that Headroom sent along and I strongly preferred the Synergistic Research cable.The Synergistic cables helped the Blockhead to on a completely new character.The somewhat soft lower midrange,where female voices are most prominent,opened right up.The soft edge of the upper treble took on a sharper,more focused edge without being bright or harsh at all.The Blockhead is on my list right now too.I think I'm gonna get one as soon as I get back from Las Vegas CES.I will most likely pick up a nice balanced source there and try to find the Synergistic cables used somewhere.
 
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sacd lover

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If you are certain you want a blockhead disregard,but $3333 would buy a great source, (say sony c555es modded sacd player), amp,( say a gilmore amp or sugden headmaster),cardas or mit cables and both a grado rs-1 and sennheiser hd600 with an upgraded cable.

HERES WHAT I WOULD GET

1) sony c555es with mod $775 shipped from Oade Brothers
2)mit 330 plus 2 interconnect <$200 Audio Advisor
3)gilmore amp $500 from antness
4)grado rs-1 $525-550 ebay
5)sennheiser hd600 $229 ebay
6)cardas upgrade cable $150 Headroom
7)PS Audio ultimate outlet high current 15 amp /20amp $399 including minilab cable available on Audiogon
8)dedicated power line with hospital grade outlets. I got two dedicated lines, and one split line for $440, and used hospital grade outlets from HCM Audio 4/$99.
9)PS Audio minilab/microlab to upgrade gilmore amps powercord
$125-200

TOTAL <$3500

Please dont take offense,you may already have these equivalents,but if you dont ,this combination would sound better than just adding an amp.
 
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smokey

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Thank you all for your help!

NotoriousBIG_PJ - Thanks for the pointer. I thought that I had looked through all of the appropriate threads. I missed this one.

john_jcb - While I certainly haven't read everything ever written about the Grado, my impression is that the Grado is more at home with fast, loud, metal, rock, etc. With the Blockhead, when you listened to it, were those your impressions? I have never listened to Grados myself.


kelly - I would never cobble up a W-2002
However, depending on the final price and sound quality I might think about having it done to one of the new W-1000s. If I understand AT's page it doesn't seem that these will be limited in production.

Tuberoller - I'm happy to hear that you liked the Senn/Cardas combo, (though not as much as the Grado). For me in the short term this will be the cheaper solution, as I already have a Senn phone. If I read you right you also think these things are very dependent on cable selection? Any other cables on your short list? How about power conditioning? Do you think this would benefit from a PS Audio 300?

sacd lover - I take absolutely no offense to your suggestions. If I hadn't been down many of these roads already I would indeed explore options like you made first before I ever considered something totally whacko like the Blockhead. (Is it sixmoons that calls this the MadMax?). If you look at my profile, you'll see that I've already got a couple of fairly good Cary CD players. I've also collected Sugden, Cary, Wheatfield, Stax, and META 42 amps. Heck, I've also got many pairs of decent speakers and phones. So the only places left for me to seek my bliss are in things like the Blockhead, and Orpheus.

Anyway, thanks again for all of your input.
 
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antness

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If buying the Blockhead won't put a dent in your audio wallet, then sure, go for it. But like others have said $3300 is a lot of money that can buy a lot of other stuff. I haven't heard the blockhead, but I know it's not necessarily the best amp there is, and I assume that it is overpriced for the performance. But, if you go for it, that sure is a cool thing to have for bragging rights too!
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by antness
If buying the Blockhead won't put a dent in your audio wallet, then sure, go for it. But like others have said $3300 is a lot of money that can buy a lot of other stuff. I haven't heard the blockhead, but I know it's not necessarily the best amp there is, and I assume that it is overpriced for the performance. But, if you go for it, that sure is a cool thing to have for bragging rights too!


As I said before, the HeadRoom sound isn't for everyone and doesn't seem to be for me but enough people like it that you definitely cannot dismiss it out of hand. For some people, the BlockHead will be the best amp there is. It is certainly the best HeadRoom amp there is.

What I'd like to see is another company with different sonic goals employ some of the same techniques as the BlockHead -- multiple transformers, balanced inputs and outputs, balanced headphone connectors, crossfeed filter, etc. Presently, these design ideas at least make the BlockHead unique in the market.
 
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sacd lover

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The p300 is awesome! Digital is much better and it has improved every small signal device I own. For $3333 you could even get a p600 that could power your system and have $1000 left over. The cumulative improvement in your entire system,including your headphone amp, would be BIG. The increase in resolution and microdynamics is stunning. Grain and glare disappear that you didnt know existed.
 
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andrzejpw

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smokey: it really seems like your next stop is the blockhead. In that case, I'd REALLY recommend an audition. Think of it this way: Blockhead + RS-1 is about $4000. Senns w/ cardas aren't far behind. Do you really want to make a purchase of this size without hearing for yourself? In my opinion, you should be GUARANTEED an audition for that sort of money.
 
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markl

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I haven't listened to any Grado phone with the Blockhead, but I did hear it recently in combination with the HD600 at the Bay Area Headroom meet. That said, I wouldn't "settle" for a Grado-anything in conjunction with any amp with a gun pointed to my head. Grados suck... Period...

Please allow me to totally disrail this thread. If you are already contemplating the Blockhead, you're already committed to spending an awful lot on headphone gear.

Allow me to suggest you get a Sony R10 (around $3K new) with a Headroom Max with stepped attenuator. I think this combo (or any other Sony R10/ amp combo) is better than any Grado or HD600 combo with the Blockhead.

Have you considered a Sony R10? Yes, it's more expensive than an RS-1 or an HD600, but if you get the R10 and a "cheaper" amp you will likely get more bang for the buck, and the accompanying amp will be much cheaper than the Blockhead...

PM me if you want more info...

Mark
 
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kelly

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
Please allow me to totally disrail this thread.


Par for the course.

smokey
My apologies for my peers for presuming you an ignorant newbie based on a small post count. It's a mistake some of them make repeatedly. HeadRoom has a 30 day return policy on everything they sell and excellent customer service. If you buy a BlockHead, I'm certain they'll take care of you.
 
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eric343

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Smokey is definitely not a newbie to high-end audio, he's the owner of one of (if not the) highest-end META42 I've done yet... (and you STILL haven't posted a review
)

But check to see if the Audio Technicas or R10s have replaceable cables; if they do, it's a simple matter of using two cables, one per ear, and you can use any headphone with the Blockhead, if the 1/4" jacks in the Neutrik plugs are wired right...

...similarly, you can turn any amp into a Blockhead, as long as you have two of 'em, using the exact same technique. Obviously, if the amp has balanced L/R inputs, you'd need to do a special Y cable, but for RCA inputs, it's just a matter of connecting each signal line of the balanced cable to one channel and rewiring the jacks...

I know Kevin Gilmore posted a design for a balanced KGCA... maybe antness can help? (one of the advantages of DIYFSE is that you could get it made with a single-ended -> balanced converter, either passive or active [I've never needed or made either, so I'm not sure how they'd compare] so you could use a true balanced monoblock headphone amp out of a sinlge-ended [RCA jack] source; or, if you get a BlockHead too, you could get the converter as a separate box and run the Blockhead off any CD player, albeit with greater noise at least since you're losing the advantages of a true balanced source. Not that this matters since Smokey has a balanced source, but...)
 
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kelly

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eric
How unfair that I've not gotten to hear your ultimate meta42. You should show up at a Dallas meeting.


Neither the R10 nor W2002 have detachable cables, unfortunately. One would have to show his comittment to the BlockHead by opening them up and soldering the cable in. A bit like a tattoo, really.
 
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