Comparisons of the Liquid Lightning and KGSSHV Solid State Stax Amplifiers
Sep 22, 2013 at 4:20 PM Post #166 of 211

dukeskd

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Originally Posted by gilency 
  Is funny, when comments were placed on the LL thread, you guys were all worked up about, now you are in this thread doing the same.
Don't care much for the LL, one reason I have not posted anymore in that thread.
The Electra I liked, just not as nice as the KG Stax inspired designs.
 

 
Fixed it for you.
 
Offering counter views does not amount to being worked up. 
 
Worked up is when one insists THEIR opinion matters solely or more than others and get upset when someone posts questioningly or completely opposes their view. 

You're kidding right? Electra, Woo audio, Cavalli amps are all based on the Stax designs.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM Post #167 of 211

purrin

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The Electra was loosely based on an Ampzilla design. If you knew who worked on it, you would understand why.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 4:26 PM Post #168 of 211

ultrabike

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DG That is precisely my point. You and I probably cannot offer much in KGSSHV impressions. But you and I can agree or disagree with the impressions presented here about the LL, and I think that is valuable and relevant here.

I for one disagree about the coloration and no-bass issue. I would also love to see more characterization info on the KGSSHV. I think a lot of end users would benefit from that.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM Post #169 of 211

eric65

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unfortunately this is probably what will happen, which is sad since its meant to be another thread just to offer another viewpoint from someone who actually took the time and money to compare both amps and see what they liked best.
 
people will continue reading the thread and simple end up more confused then they where at first, creating more questions and raising more doubts.

 
On the contrary, this thread is very interesting and informative to read, you learn a lot of things ; for proof, look at the number of people who have already visited this thread since its inception there has only one week  : shortly 6000 !
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 6:33 PM Post #172 of 211
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People, I've removed some unhelpful posts from the thread. A good idea is: If it isn't contributing anything useful, don't post. 
 
Second, something people forget or don't realise: Pretty much ALL amp designs are based on existing circuits. There are very few exceptions. With only a small number of electrostatic amp designs out there, the number is even fewer.
 
 
No need for the pissing match, Peter just wrote it how he heard it.
 

 
I think this summarises it really. I've often disagreed with Peter's impressions, but over the years I've learned to appreciate people who hear things differently to me as an opportunity to learn something I might not have realised before.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 7:32 PM Post #173 of 211

dBel84

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  Look I wanted the best SS Stax Amp I could find and I've done that and I thought I'd share that with exactly what I heard over several weeks. 

Peter, your efforts were valiant and there are many who appreciate your time although by the context of your quote you may have considered the amp in current production and not one that has been discontinued. The LLmkII has been making the rounds on request and I believe it was very recently in Canada. I also wish everyones' intentions could be so pure but we would be naive to consider this the truth. You know where you can read what is really being said and your well intentioned comparison was a vehicle to this end. 
 
  I really took this thread to be a review of the LL(mkI) and KGSSHV. 
 
I'm all for reviews, such as yours considering you've had both amps. My point was if you've had both, please contribute. If you've only heard the LL or HV, well, go to the other place and rant and rave or seek out the LL thread.
 
It's about comparativeness, no?
 

 
I have spent time with the KGSSHV , BHSE, Electra, LLmkI and mkII and thus am able to have a valid personal opinion. People will assume me biased because I consider Alex a dear friend. I will make the point that the LLmkI is not the equivalent of the mkII. I do not think the LLmkI rolls off the bass and measurements support this opinion.  I don't find any of the amps offensive and feel they are all worthy of being considered as top contenders for driving stats. Of them all, LLmkI is the least likely to be recommended as an all round performer and I truly feel LLmkII takes this honour. The KGSSHV combined with the SR009 was just too "etched" , it sounded fantastic with the SR007 but I have to admit that the amp itself scared the daylights out of me. It is the first HV amp that "spoke" to me. The amp was in my possession for repair as it had developed the not infrequently reported problem of the power supply "clacking". After I had replaced the transformer with a higher rated version, the amp literally hissed and ticked away while performing perfectly. I think this comes from the high bias currents and tight tolerances. This is not a criticism of the amp at all , just my experience and the first time I have felt "afraid" of working with 500V rails.( I am always weary around HV, I enjoy my life as it is. ) The BHSE shares a lot of the sound signature with the KGSSHV and I actually preferred the KGSSHV over the BHSE, it seemed to have more overall presence/control and excellent detail. The soundstage king was without question the Electra and the detail retrieval was on par with the LLmkII. So what was it about the LLmkII that made me feel that it was the best overall performer, it didn't have a problem with either the SR009 or SR007, the bass was the most full and the detail / layering in the bass and sub-bass was the best I had heard for any electrostat. It had very good top end extension and the level of detail was not lacking. I have never posted these impressions previously as it seemed somewhat irrelevant as they were just my opinions. 
 
..dB
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 8:06 PM Post #175 of 211

gilency

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Funny, I have built 2, and never had any hisses with the KGSSHV.
Nobody has ever reported that either and sounds like there is something wrong with your built.
You can not blame that on the high bias or the design. 
BTW, when the LL Mk1 came out, didn't hear anything but praises about it being better than everything else. Funny how now it is inferior, and its replacement is the best thing since hot bread.
Will we hear the same thing when the MK3 comes out?
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 8:38 PM Post #176 of 211

Golfnutz

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  Funny, I have built 2, and never had any hisses with the KGSSHV.
Nobody has ever reported that either and sounds like there is something wrong with your built.
You can not blame that on the high bias or the design.
BTW, when the LL Mk1 came out, didn't hear anything but praises about it being better than everything else. Funny how now it is inferior, and its replacement is the best thing since hot bread.
Will we hear the same thing when the MK3 comes out?

 
And what does this say about the glowing review of the LL (9.5/10) in AVguide when it did the LL/BHSE/WES comparison. It just doesn't make sense to me.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 8:39 PM Post #177 of 211

paradoxper

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I have spent time with the KGSSHV , BHSE, Electra, LLmkI and mkII and thus am able to have a valid personal opinion. People will assume me biased because I consider Alex a dear friend. I will make the point that the LLmkI is not the equivalent of the mkII. I do not think the LLmkI rolls off the bass and measurements support this opinion.  I don't find any of the amps offensive and feel they are all worthy of being considered as top contenders for driving stats. Of them all, LLmkI is the least likely to be recommended as an all round performer and I truly feel LLmkII takes this honour. The KGSSHV combined with the SR009 was just too "etched" , it sounded fantastic with the SR007 but I have to admit that the amp itself scared the daylights out of me. It is the first HV amp that "spoke" to me. The amp was in my possession for repair as it had developed the not infrequently reported problem of the power supply "clacking". After I had replaced the transformer with a higher rated version, the amp literally hissed and ticked away while performing perfectly. I think this comes from the high bias currents and tight tolerances. This is not a criticism of the amp at all , just my experience and the first time I have felt "afraid" of working with 500V rails.( I am always weary around HV, I enjoy my life as it is. ) The BHSE shares a lot of the sound signature with the KGSSHV and I actually preferred the KGSSHV over the BHSE, it seemed to have more overall presence/control and excellent detail. The soundstage king was without question the Electra and the detail retrieval was on par with the LLmkII. So what was it about the LLmkII that made me feel that it was the best overall performer, it didn't have a problem with either the SR009 or SR007, the bass was the most full and the detail / layering in the bass and sub-bass was the best I had heard for any electrostat. It had very good top end extension and the level of detail was not lacking. I have never posted these impressions previously as it seemed somewhat irrelevant as they were just my opinions. 

Wish you'd break it down into a 4/5 part review. Would be of tremendous value considering so few of us get the chance to hear a few, let alone all the top performers.
 
But appreciate your input.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 8:39 PM Post #178 of 211

johnwmclean

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dBel84 what are the upgrades from LLmkI to the LLmkII specifically? I think this would be informative.
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 8:48 PM Post #179 of 211

georgep

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  ... it had developed the not infrequently reported problem of the power supply "clacking"...
 
..dB

 
Sorry, never heard of this. There were some issues earlier on with some less robustly specced SumR transformers, which I understand had been corrected some time ago (though it is really up to the person building it to pick their own traffo).
 
It would be helpful to understand this more. Could you provide some links?
 
Sep 22, 2013 at 9:36 PM Post #180 of 211

MuppetFace

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Just thought I'd add my own two cents FWIW.
 
I own both the LLmk1 and LLmk2, so I'm in a unique position to hear them side-by-side. There is a definite improvement in the mk2 to my ears. In fact it's honestly a bit surprising to me to hear just how much of an improvement results from changes like working on stray capacitance, but it's there. The LLmk2 is more nuanced, and subtle details and layering are much more apparent. I find the LLmk1 to be more restrained or polite by comparison, laid back. The LLmk2 on the other hand literally throws details at me, yet---at this is the crucial part for me---it remains effortless and musically engaging.
 
While I've always appreciated the truly exceptional driver control of both the KGSS and BHSE (I have not yet heard the KGSSHV), I've always personally preferred the LL in terms of its overall sound. It just sounds more natural or "correct" to me. When I got my LLmk1, I eventually said goodbye to my KGSS as a result. I went ahead and ordered a BHSE however because I still feel it pairs quite well with the SR-007 which truly benefits from its tight grip. When it came to the SR-Omega and SR-009 however I preferred my LLmk1 to the BHSE in terms of tonal synergy. Now with the LLmk2, I honestly feel my BHSE order is redundant, as the LLmk2 can in my humble opinion easily keep pace with the BHSE in terms of performance. I'm sure some folks will think "yeah right" when they read that, but there you go. I personally feel the LLmk2 is the best commercial stat amp I've heard so far with both the SR-009 and SR-007 (and SR-Omega).
 
Yes, I also prefer it to the Electra.
 
I still keep the LLmk1 btw to use in my office. It essentially replaced my SRM-717's duties, as I find it an improvement over the Stax amps. I still have my BHSE on order, as I really do like Justin's build quality, and I'll probably use it for normal bias Sigmas and as a backup amp for the SR-007s. Hopefully I'll get to hear the KGSSHV some day soon, but from impressions by those who I can calibrate my own taste to, I suspect it's not for me.
 

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