Cavalli Audio Liquid Fire
May 21, 2012 at 1:14 PM Post #1,638 of 2,297

dj nellie

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So mwilson's pair of 1973 Siemens E88CC ("A" frames) arrived a few days ago.  Installation was straightforward--I don't mind having to unscrew the cover to access the tubes, since I like having the tubes protected.  
 
The tubes sounded good, but after a day or so I began to hear a faint screeching noise on the left channel.  I started to flip out, and decided to try tightening the new tubes a bit more into their sockets.  One of them was slightly loose, and that seems to have been the cause of the problem.
 
I only replaced 2 of the tubes, but I can hear subtle improvements.  I'm not sure I would spend a grand or more for a top of the line, vintage set of quads, but I'm happy with the changes for the amount I spent (thanks for the deal, Nick!).  I would say the main improvements are an even more spacious, multi-dimensional soundstage, and a greater sense of refinement, dynamic range, and effortlessness in general.  The bass seems more authoritative and textured.  Part of me still feels like the midrange--especially vocals in the center channel--could be a bit more forward and robust, but this might be recording-dependent (or due mainly to the LCD-3).
 
I didn't think the LF could sound much better than it already did with the stock JJs, but for me it's yet another time when I didn't know what could be improved in my setup until I heard it.  Now, I really think I'm done with my rig for a looong time...just going to kick back and enjoy the music.
 
EDIT:  I just started hearing the screeching noise again.  Crap.  It kind of sounds like the high-pitched dentist's drill, and it's intermittent and only in the left channel.  I hear it even when I close my music player.  Any ideas about what the cause might be?
 
May 21, 2012 at 1:32 PM Post #1,639 of 2,297

Jamiee

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The distant (recessed?) mids you hear on the LCD-3 seems to be a trait of these headphones.
At least they have sounded this way to me -- in varying degrees -- on every amp I have tried them with.
-- Granted I do do find it to be somewhat music related as well.
 
Like you, I do wish vocals were a tad bit more forward on the LCD-3.
This is where I actually prefer my HD800's most of the time.
 
 
I hope you figure out your tube/LF problem.
Have you tried dropping in the 2nd pair of tubes to even everything out?
 
 
 
 
BTW, Mapleshade got back to me regarding my request for a custom colour finish, but unfortunately they said they wouldn't be able to do so
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May 21, 2012 at 1:39 PM Post #1,640 of 2,297

Icenine2

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EDIT:  I just started hearing the screeching noise again.  Crap.  It kind of sounds like the high-pitched dentist's drill, and it's intermittent and only in the left channel.  I hear it even when I close my music player.  Any ideas about what the cause might be?

 That is usually the tube going bad.
 
May 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM Post #1,641 of 2,297

MacedonianHero

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Quote:
 That is usually the tube going bad.


I would suggest switching the tubes and see if the "screetching" noise follows to the R channel. If it does, then one of the tubes has some "issues".
 
May 22, 2012 at 10:09 AM Post #1,642 of 2,297

Icenine2

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I'm presently assaulting my ears with fusion.  Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Visions of the Emerald Beyond"  McLaughlin just ripping with Walden playing the best drums he ever did and Ponty topping it off.  Percussive Nirvana!  Again LF delivers with detail I never picked up on the big rig.  The shear power behind all this..........
 

 
May 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM Post #1,644 of 2,297

landgreen

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Haven't reviewed all 110 pages of this thread so maybe this has been asked and answered. Some of you must use different sources to your LF (ie DAC and phono). Do you use high quality rca Y adapters (one male, two female) with rca cables from each source and switch the sources on and off as needed or just switch the rca cables from each source to the LF when in use?
Thanks
 
May 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM Post #1,645 of 2,297

dj nellie

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I didn't know that multiple sources could be fed using the LF's RCA outputs, so someone more knowledgeable should respond to your question.
 
Thanks to everyone who chimed in about my screeching noise problem.  mwilson, who sold me the tubes, gave helpful suggestions and was not about to leave me hanging with bad tubes.  I swapped the Siemens tubes out with the stock tubes and didn't hear any noise after running the amp overnight.  I put the Siemens back in and haven't heard anything after a few hours, but it's still unclear what the source of the noise was or if I even solved the problem somehow.  
 
People are telling me that if, after swapping the tubes, the noise remains in the same channel, it can't be a faulty tube.  But I was also told that the LF is sensitive to interference from wifi sources.  I have a small computer speaker next to the LF, but it never made noise before I swapped the tubes.  The cause of the noise could've been something totally unrelated to the tubes or amp, but I'm still not sure what it was.
 
I'll report back if I gain any more insight, but I just thought I'd share my (perhaps irrelevant and ignorance-induced) experience from a first-timer swapping tubes.  Especially anyone who is considering rolling only 1 pair of tubes...I can't say whether that had anything to do with my issues, but it was a strange and frustrating experience from an otherwise problem-free and incredible-sounding amp--in both stock form, and with the 2 Siemens tubes when the noise wasn't present.
 
May 23, 2012 at 4:05 PM Post #1,646 of 2,297

Olias of Sunhillow

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Quote:
Haven't reviewed all 110 pages of this thread so maybe this has been asked and answered. Some of you must use different sources to your LF (ie DAC and phono). Do you use high quality rca Y adapters (one male, two female) with rca cables from each source and switch the sources on and off as needed or just switch the rca cables from each source to the LF when in use?
Thanks

 
Personally, I am not a fan of adapters and splitters in cases like this, so for a while I just swapped interconnects when I wanted a different source. Once I got tired of switching cables between three sources (DAC, phono, SACD player), I decided on a Grace m903 DAC/preamp as source and switch in front of my LF. There are other DACs that give you the flexibility of analog inputs as well.
 
May 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM Post #1,647 of 2,297

MorbidToaster

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Personally, I am not a fan of adapters and splitters in cases like this, so for a while I just swapped interconnects when I wanted a different source. Once I got tired of switching cables between three sources (DAC, phono, SACD player), I decided on a Grace m903 DAC/preamp as source and switch in front of my LF. There are other DACs that give you the flexibility of analog inputs as well.


Is there anything else in the price range that has features like the 903? That's a wonderful little unit there considering you get all the digital ins, 2 analog ins and both balanced and unbalanced outs.

Pretty attractive package to say the least.
 
May 23, 2012 at 4:40 PM Post #1,648 of 2,297

Olias of Sunhillow

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Quote:
Is there anything else in the price range that has features like the 903? That's a wonderful little unit there considering you get all the digital ins, 2 analog ins and both balanced and unbalanced outs.
Pretty attractive package to say the least.


The other units I considered were the Burson HA-160D and the Centrance DACmini. Both are cheaper and have strong reputations, but neither have balanced in/out or multiple analog inputs like I needed. The Grace's combination of flexibility and performance (the DAC is at least 95% as good as my W4S DAC2 and the headphone amp is better than the V200, IMO) makes it worth the price for me.
 
May 23, 2012 at 4:51 PM Post #1,649 of 2,297

MorbidToaster

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The other units I considered were the Burson HA-160D and the Centrance DACmini. Both are cheaper and have strong reputations, but neither have balanced in/out or multiple analog inputs like I needed. The Grace's combination of flexibility and performance (the DAC is at least 95% as good as my W4S DAC2 and the headphone amp is better than the V200, IMO) makes it worth the price for me.


I'm really just trying to find the best way to use my TT and computer with my LF without cable swapping. I can't imagine there's a company that makes a 'switch' worth a damn so a DAC with analog ins would be nice.

Not sure if I'd give up my Calyx for the added ease of use though.
 
May 23, 2012 at 4:59 PM Post #1,650 of 2,297

Olias of Sunhillow

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Quote:
I'm really just trying to find the best way to use my TT and computer with my LF without cable swapping. I can't imagine there's a company that makes a 'switch' worth a damn so a DAC with analog ins would be nice.
Not sure if I'd give up my Calyx for the added ease of use though.

 
I have a 4 input/2 output line router that Lloyd at Mapletree made for me. Definitely beats cable swapping from a convenience standpoint, though I never quite escaped my audiophile paranoia about having another box in the signal path. I used it for a while with the LF, but that paranoia eventually led me to go back to just swapping interconnects.
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