Cayin HA-6A Tube Headphone Amplifier (KT88 and EL34) with XLR4 and 4.4mm Impedance Matched Output
Mar 25, 2020 at 11:32 AM Post #91 of 895
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Thanks Andy! I really enjoyed unboxing the amp, and listening to it even more :)

I did have some questions for you regarding the HA-6A:

Thanks for the wonderful support and information so far. Cayin has been killing it with their headphone amp offerings the past couple of years. :beerchug:

Check my response in blue:
  1. Is the volume pot the same aluminum shielded 24-step pot in the HA-300?
    Yes, HA-300 and HA-6A shared the same volume pot.

  2. Aside from the audible hiss for sensitive headphones how did you guys get this tube amp so quiet? :D
    We learned a lot from the HA-300 which runs on Direct Heated Triodes, DHT are more sensitive to micorphoic than EL34 and KT88. Besides, we design and produce our own power transformers and output transformers, they are 100% fit to our design and requirements.

  3. I'm trying to get a more lush, mid-forward sound out of the HA-6A. Are there any tubes you or the engineers recommend for this route?
    Sorry, I am not that familiar with the sound signature of different 12AU7.


  4. Do you recommend we change out the 12au7 tubes first before either the EL34/KT88 tubes to alter the sound signature? I know you mentioned this for the HA-300 in its thread.
    If you want to get a more lush, mid-forward sound, I suggest you switch the power tube to EL34 and then start to roll the 12AU7. To my ears, the KT88 are relatively more neutral while the EL34 sounds more lush, so EL34 is a better starting point to you.

  5. I saw Cayin posted some Coronavirus updates in the above mentioned thread, curious if the same halt of production applies to the HA-6A's April release date. We want everyone overseas to take as much time and safety as possible so we understand if there's a delay.
    Up to this moment, we are still expecting a HA-6A production run by early April. We are getting better every day, and product that are less depends on US and Japan component tends to be safer in our schedule.
 
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Mar 25, 2020 at 11:41 AM Post #92 of 895
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Just a quick update, was hoping to post my review today but truth be told I still wasn't satisfied from the sound coming out of my planars. I read around quite a bit and decided to pick up some Mullard 12au7 tubes (in addition to EL34 tubes of the same brand). They finally arrived today, and what an enormous change in sound signature compared to the stock Eletrco-Harmonix! I guess I'm officially a tube roller :darthsmile:

I'm grinning ear-to-ear and completely in love with this amp. Will get back on the camera asap

I responded to your previous post before I read your update, glad you find a combination that feed your preference.

Now that you are tube roller converted, does that mean you'll try our more tube combination down the road? That's interesting. :gs1000smile:
 
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Mar 25, 2020 at 11:42 AM Post #93 of 895
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I look forward to the full review! Do you know what the actual output impedance is at the lowest setting? The Cayin page says 8-64 ohms, which might be too much for the 32 ohm headphones I just purchased.

Trust me, 32ohm headphone is fine with the low impedance setting. By the way, is that dynamic or a planar?
 
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Mar 25, 2020 at 11:45 AM Post #94 of 895

SonnyMarrow

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Trust me, 32ohm headphone is fine with the low impedance setting. By the way, is that dynamic or a planar?

It's a new dynamic headphone called the Aurorus Borealis. I've wanted a tube amp since going to CanJam this year and hearing what tubes do to my HD600. But then I learned about output impedance matching and wanted to be able to use the Borealis with any amp as well. I was looking into hybrid amps, but if the HA-6A will work, I'll likely get that
 
Mar 25, 2020 at 4:25 PM Post #97 of 895

Relaxasaurus

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Great review!! Thanks.
Much appreciated! Please like & subscribe for the YT algorithm. Once I can start collecting revenue from these videos I can justify to my wife all these equipment purchases lol
 
Mar 26, 2020 at 5:12 AM Post #98 of 895
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Thanks for the responses @Andykong . I posted my full review here:


Let me know if I missed anything

Thank you very much for sharing your experience and impression with us. This is a wonderful review, informative and extremely helpful.

Base on your description of personal preference in the review, I'll suggest you consider the antique models from Sennheiser. 600 ohm version HD540 comes to my mind immediately, HD250 Linear 1 should also works fine with you, but they are even harder to locate. The sound signature of these headphones fit your sound preference right on, they are not expensive, you just need to spend time to hunt them down, make sure they are still in good condition and the earpad are still useable.

This is an example of HD540 at eBay, unfortunately the seller didn't specify whether this is an 300ohm or 600ohm vesion.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sennheiser...tereo-headphones-earphones-3-5mm/113999865067
 
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Mar 26, 2020 at 3:23 PM Post #99 of 895

ls13coco

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Much appreciated! Please like & subscribe for the YT algorithm. Once I can start collecting revenue from these videos I can justify to my wife all these equipment purchases lol

Great review. I was being pushed away on the idea of this amp after impressions started trickling in, but that change of the 12au7 tubes suggests it would get exactly where I want. I wonder if they will start offering these, or other tube options upon purchase.

I am curious if you could elaborate more on your thoughts between the KT88 and EL34 running, though, as well as TR vs UL tube to tube.
Also, did you find the lower impedance setting to be sufficient for the Arya, or did you bump that up?
 
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Mar 26, 2020 at 5:56 PM Post #100 of 895

Relaxasaurus

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I am curious if you could elaborate more on your thoughts between the KT88 and EL34 running, though, as well as TR vs UL tube to tube.
Also, did you find the lower impedance setting to be sufficient for the Arya, or did you bump that up?
Thanks for the kind words and sure thing. As you can tell from the video I'm looking for more of a lush, sweet & mid-forward sound. EL34 tubes in triode mode accomplish this better than any other configuration.

EL34 + TR = smooth, lush, sweet mids and non-fatiguing sound. Details are definitely smoothed out to accomplish this but I personally prefer this config most of the time. It's just a joy to listen to.
EL34 + UL = same smooth sound, but the "lushness" factor decreases a couple of notches, replaced by more high frequency detail coupled with more precise layering. I hear nuances like instrument echoes in much more detail. Still an overall "polite sound" to my ears compared to solid state but I know my ears will get fatigued the longer I hear in this mode.

KT88 + TR = full-bodied, balanced sound that doesn't necessarily focus on a mid-forward presentation. Still non-fatiguing in triode mode, but a bit flavorless to my ears compared to EL34.
KT88 + UL = full-bodied sound still there plus the added impact from tracks that have higher energy such as pop or even jazz. Very clean sound overall but not my cup of tea, unless there is a KT88 tube that can provide the balance of the stock Genalec Gold Lions + the lushness of my Mullard reissued EL34's.

YMMV with everything here. Listeners may prefer to stick with the high quality stock Gold Lions and call it a day.
 
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Mar 26, 2020 at 6:48 PM Post #101 of 895

ls13coco

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Thank you very much for the detailed information, this is exactly what I have been most curious about. I assume these impressions are all after the 12au7 roll, however your description of the EL34 in triode mode is exactly what I'm looking to achieve.
It almost seems that running the amp in UL with the the KT88 could take the place of many SS amps, with I'd imagine a slight warm tilt (comparable to warmer SS amps).

Thanks again for your impressions!
(only now I can hope for a ha-6a vs ha-300 comparison!) :)
 
Mar 26, 2020 at 7:04 PM Post #102 of 895

Relaxasaurus

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Thank you very much for the detailed information, this is exactly what I have been most curious about. I assume these impressions are all after the 12au7 roll, however your description of the EL34 in triode mode is exactly what I'm looking to achieve.
It almost seems that running the amp in UL with the the KT88 could take the place of many SS amps, with I'd imagine a slight warm tilt (comparable to warmer SS amps).

Thanks again for your impressions!
(only now I can hope for a ha-6a vs ha-300 comparison!) :)
Yes, I updated all my review notes after I rolled with the Sylvanias.

I'd love to get my hands on an HA-300 (and subsequently the HA-1A mk2). From everything I've read the 300 will give an even more lush sound, but it has the tendency to suffer from more microphonics & interference due to the nature of the 300B tube and DHT. The owners though, absolutely love this amp and you see very few get resold.

When things slowly get back to normal I'll see if I can get my hands on a review unit :D
 
Mar 26, 2020 at 7:06 PM Post #103 of 895

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only now I can hope for a ha-6a vs ha-300 comparison!
Count me too! Though the price difference are not comparable :) But the flexibility of this amp is on top!
How about the synergy with HD800 - hard to drive, but tube rolling should do the thing or I should look else?
 
Mar 27, 2020 at 12:35 PM Post #105 of 895

Relaxasaurus

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very informative. thanks for posting.
Thank you, was worried it was too long but I actually cut a good bit out lol.

Count me too! Though the price difference are not comparable :) But the flexibility of this amp is on top!
How about the synergy with HD800 - hard to drive, but tube rolling should do the thing or I should look else?
I hope this to be my next purchase. Was contemplating selling the Arya's for an HD800S but I love planar sound way too much. :D The Sennheiser and an Empy are the only headphones I have my sights on right now.

In terms of how it would sound on the Cayin, when I bought the Arya I did a critical listening session on it vs the HD800S and the latter did beat out the Arya in classical by a good margin. Violins sounded more realistic and orchestral music did sound more natural to my ears. The Arya won on soundstage, bass response, and pure speed so it was more of a well-rounded HP for all sorts of genres. Considering how the other dynamics fared in the review I bet the 800/S will really shine on the HA-6A. You have close to the attack of the Arya on speed while have more of a warmer, mid-focused presentation.
 

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