EarMax Pro v Naim Headline & other matters
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Magicthyse

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Hiya folks.

I currently have a Naim Headline amp connected to a Grado SR225 at home. This is, as far as I can make out, connected to a Flatcap 2 power supply. I also have a Hicap power supply, and I've been meaning to ask the dealer how these are connected, but hey whatever.

Due to the amount I've dropped on the stereo, I was initially extremely reluctant to fiddle with it. (A sign for my girlfriend and her friends' benefit is still stuck to the shelf: "Touch anything on here and die"). If you want to gauge my degree of DIY-ness, I spent half an hour looking for a headphone socket after buying the Grado SR225 and excitedly bringing it home. I had to then sheepishly call the dealer to ask where the headphone socket was, either on the NAIT 5 or the CD5. Guffaws on the other end of the line later, I was patronisingly explained the need to have a headphone amp. I bought the Headline and a new power supply - hook, line and sinker. For the record, I hate you audiophiles


The thing is, I have absolutely no base of comparison as far as a headphone amp goes as the Headline is my first amp. I've started looking at the EarMax Pro with the cute valves and find myself wondering - is this a worthwhile upgrade over the Headline? I see that it's meant for "low-impedance phones". Is it more 'upgrade-friendly', phone-wise, than the Headline? Or am I best sticking to the Headline?

I've given up the idea of a portble amp, simply because I'm not that sad a geek. But something better for home, especially something that I can for example allocate to a secondary listening setup might be a very good idea.

Comments please?
 
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RickG

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Every time I say "Hey, get the EarMax Pro", about 20 or 30 guys post after me saying, "No...get this or get that"...

Oh well..., "Hey get the EarMax Pro"!

Let the games begin...

 
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Gergor

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I think Naim uses DIN connectors, so if you use any amps other than Niam with your other Niam gears, you'll need a DIN to RCA connector.

Just thought that's something you may want to be aware of.
 
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Magicthyse

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Oh, I know well enough, thanks


A frickin pain I can tell you
 
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Tomcat

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Have you seen this thread?

Once, I have directly compared both, the EMP and the Headline. I prefer the EMP, by a fairly wide margin. But if you listen to music that mostly calls for macrodynamic power, you might prefer the Headline. Btw, both amps ought to drive low-impedance headphones equally well. Only tube amps with high output impedances tend to have a problem with low-impedance loads, with a solid-state amp like the Headline, this ought to be a non-issue.

And the DIN connectors are a frickin pain. Absolutely.
 
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Magicthyse

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(puts on dumb hat)
macrodynamic?
duh..........
eh?
what?
 
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Tomcat

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macrodynamic accuracy = the ability to play really loud without distorting the signal, most noticeable in bass reproduction (which calls for high energy handling capabilities to be realistically slamming and impactful)

microdynamic accuracy = the ability to reproduce low-level signal content, the onset of a tone or its decay, often related to ambience retrieval, liquidity and musical flow (in my experience, somewhat more important for a musically satisfying reproduction)
 
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Magicthyse

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So what you're basically saying is that Leftfield won't sound as good on the Earmax?
 
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Tomcat

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No, what I am basically saying is that I am a really old fart who doesn't know who or what Leftfield is.


I like the Matrix soundtrack through the EMP a lot, though (does this count?), or orchestral music. I'd say, if an amp can handle "Die Walküre" by Wagner, it can handle anything.
 
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TimSchirmer

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nah... you should get some real headphones first
 
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fyleow

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Doing a google search on the Earmax Pro gets me one website that sells it in the US and they are out of stock? Or is there some secret audiophile hideout that you guys source these things from?
 
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For my taste the EMP isn't the ideal amp for Grados. My SR 80 have too much bass with it. This with flat pads made out of Sennheiser pads. I like them more with the Corda, but looking at the price, it's hard to imagine that this would be an upgrade to the Headline (which I don't know).
 
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Rob N

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The EMP is fantastic,get it!!

At a later stage (if you can afford it) get a pair of rs-1's,I've found this combination almost impossible to beat.
 
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Magicthyse

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From the other thread:

"In the UK, the earmax pro is £425, and the headline is £225 + the cheapest PSU naim do, which is an additional £195 which adds to £420. So in the UK at least, they are in the same price bracket. Alot of people don't know naim do a cheaper PSu that is suitable for the headline, and thus assume you need the £700+ unit, which obviously change the situation."

...

If that's true, then my dealer totally ripped me off. Is there a difference in using the different power supplies as far as the sound quality from both Headline and the rest of the system goes I wonder. I think I paid about £1,200 for the power supplies alone.

EDIT: I think I've got it. I was sold a Hicap first, which is still powering the CD5. The Flatcap2 seems to be powering the Headline.

My next question, going slightly off topic then would be, what about this smaller PSU? Is there an advantage in moving to a smaller PSU?

--------------

And on the matter of the Earmax Pro, it looks from what you say that I might prefer the sound of the Headline anyway. But how would it perform with an inferior amp, like the Sony TAF-E570 for more 'civilised' music?

My secondary system is a TAF-E570 with a CDP-XE570, and I've had problems trying to find a headphone that sounds anywhere near good with this setup. The Technics RP-FDA100 is the best I've found for it to date, but it's deficient in overall response. I'd really like to stick better phones on it - or maybe even swap phones, stick the SR225 on here and get an RS1 for the Headline.

Since the secondary rig is in my workroom, it actually gets more use with headphones than the main rig.

What do you think?

 
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taoster

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Quote:

Originally posted by fyleow
Doing a google search on the Earmax Pro gets me one website that sells it in the US and they are out of stock? Or is there some secret audiophile hideout that you guys source these things from?


pssst.. the password is headhack
 
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