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Feliks Audio Elise Impressions Thread – a New Start (please read first post for summary)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by pctazhp, Jul 7, 2016.
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  1. OctavianH
    I would say that the main factor here is the different types of music which we are listening. For example these EL tubes are favouring a lot vocal music, piano or maybe trumpets. Therefore, classical and jazz are definitely a better match for them. I listened a few days ago some Corelli which sounded very good on darker tubes. I plan to continue to mix some classical with the "usual" stuff from time to time, but I keep my opinion that for rock music these EL tubes are not always the best match. Regarding Euforia, I wait for @Scutey to come with his own assessment. And regarding a future upgrade for me, at the moment I am very pleased with what I hear and I think that patience is the key to fully understand what I need. I will not hide that there are several candidates to a possible future upgrade and these are: Euforia, GOTL and WA22. I will not hide also that I would like to try a balanced connection for T1 and WA22 might be a good point in that regard.

    PS. One small thing I do not like at Elise (and also Euforia) and I never mentioned because it is not a technical problem but a design one is the volume knob. I never understood why they made those black on black volume markings which I am never able to see since my front panel of the amp is always in a penumbra. So I guess that soon I'll paint them to white or glue something on it to be able to see something. Anyway, this is not a technical issue, so do not count it.
  2. mordy
    Hi OctavianH,
    Agree with you on the faint markings on the volume knob. I found two no-cost effective options:
    1) I applied a drop of white typing correction fluid to the indentation on the knob - works fine.
    2) On another amp I cut a thin white strip from an address label and stuck it on - it's still there and also works very well.
  3. hypnos1
    Hi again OH.

    I fully understand your position but, given the wide cross-section of genres enjoyed by many owners of Euforia now (plus professional reviewers' findings), I suspect that yours is going to be a rather long and tortuous (torturous?! :wink:) quest mon ami!! And I can only hope that you are fortunate enough to be able to have a good, long listen to any future prospective candidates lol :).

    You are not alone of course in what can indeed be an extremely difficult journey towards hi-fi nirvana, and I wish you all the very best in this quest...CHEERS!...CJ
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  4. hypnos1
    By the way @OctavianH ...the lack of clear markings on the volume knob does indeed make life difficult sometimes. But this has always been a design decision by F-A, in their quest for a 'clean, minimalist' look...they wanted to stay away from the often rather gaudy nature of some designs that do actually make things easier to discern however lol! :wink:.

    But I too think they could/should have at least made volume level markings much plainer...:triportsad:...
  5. Scutey
    Hi O, these decisions for us are never easy are they!, not being able try out equipment just adds to the problem. I've read a fair chunk of the Euforia thread, from around the time most of the regulars were receiving their amps, around March 2017 on wards, everything that I've read has convinced me that a Euforia was the next natural step for me to make, as like h1 I've come to prefer a warmer, more full bodied, sound, and about a year ago a used Euforia came up for sale on eBay at a very good price, I hesitated and it was sold and I have regretted not buying it ever since, anyway at that time it didn't seem right to buy a new one, so since then I have contented myself with the Elise, which I have been very happy with, but finally after much thought, and finding an investment I had all but forgotten about (which has funded my Euforia!), now finally seemed like the right time to take the plunge!. It sounds like you're still very satisfied with your Elise, which can only be a good thing as you don't have to put any pressure on yourself to find another amp, because of the situation most of us are in, in that we can't try equipment for ourselves, it does take time to come to (hopefully) the right decision when we finally do decide to make a change, as you rightly say, patience is the key, and with that in mind you will come to the right decision.

    ps, my first assessment between the amps will be one of your faves O, Psvane/ TS 5998, that one's for you :smile_phones:.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  6. OctavianH
    Thanks a lot in advance for that. The human mind understands something based on a reference point or by comparing with an already known example. Since this pair is the one I mostly appreciate and use, it will be a better reference point for me to understand how both amps perform.
    In the meantime I'll try something which I did not had the chance to do until now: Siemens C3g + Tung Sol 7236. Let's see what I will find.

    Scutey likes this.
  7. Scutey
    Now there's a tube I haven't seen/heard from for a while!, I can't remember the last time I used my C3g's, I have even forgotten what they sound like!, hope you enjoy that combo!.
  8. OctavianH
    Unfortunately the C3g's are back in their boxes. The reason was that I have switched the interconnect cables from Chord C-Line to Chord Clearway which was a sensitive upgrade. Clearway are much better cables but the sound they provide is darker. Having new cables I added again the ISO Regen and now it seems it provided this time an improvement. This was the reason for me to search for a more detailed and better match and I found it in the CV181T1 + 7236. These have less bass than the 5998 but are very clean and detailed, and added to my setup exactly what I was needing. Now, honestly, I do not really understand why a pair of 5998 is priced somewhere at 250 EUR and a pair of 7236 might be under 100 EUR. These are the mysteries of the tube world. Both tubes are excellent in my opinion and should be placed somewhere on the same price level.

    And for the ones who appreciate pictures, here's a new one:


    But my latest changes have not provided only benefits. When I switched the interconnects and made some arrangements with the rest of the cables to provide a better orientation and comfort, I start to listen and make an assessment to the Clearway and observe that the left channel is somehow muffled, but to a very small extent. I said "OK, maybe this recording has a problem". But hours were passing and I was still observing this problem and it was becoming annoying. I was convinced that the Clearway left channel cable has a problem. So I started to switch cables and the problem was still there. I said that maybe Elise has a problem on one of the channels. I remembered that I switched some tubes before changing cables and maybe the auto-bias mechanism was doing something wrong. So I start to switch power tubes and driver tubes without any positive result.
    Anyway, I reached the point when I decided to try the headphones to a different amp just to eliminate them from the equation. So I turned on, after almost 3 years, my audio-gd NFB11. And the problem was there. Now everything was clear to me: the T1.2 headphones have a problem. OK, but how I fixed it? It was so simple that I am ashamed it took me so long to find it. It seems there was an imperfect contact on the left jack of the cable which was connected to the left driver. Even if everything looked fine, something was not properly working there.
    So, in conclusion, this problem is fixed now and leads me to the conclusion that every interconnect, socket and additional stuff is only adding another layer of possible problems. I was very happy when Beyerdynamic changed the cables on T1.2 with some interchangeable ones and thought that this will make much easier the maintenance and cable rolling, but in the end I used only the stock Cardas Clear Light one and look that I had a problem instead of a benefit from it. Who knows, maybe in the future I'll try a Moon Audio Silver Dragon. And another conclusion was that before we search for the perfect tubes and make very critical and analytical assessments, we need to be sure that the rest of the line and cables are properly connected and filtered. I wonder how many such problems are caused by these intermediary jacks. I just observed now something that I have forgotten: the stock T1.2 cable provided a 3.5mm jack and a converter to 6.3mm. So another possible... point of failure? I guess in the end I'll reach @hypnos1 conclusion and solder everything...
    If I can find a benefit from all this effort, that one is: after 3 years I listened to my SS amp and remembered why I decided to go with a tube amp. But who knows, the Devil on the left shoulder tells me Violectric V281 might change my opinion. Let's hope the Angel on the right one will keep me from spending more money.

    PS. I know that my latest posts are somehow off topic, but still Elise is a part of them. I'll try to stick on tube rolling which is the purpose of this thread but I would say that these observations about the environmental effects on our amp are also of interest. What I would advise before going to spend hundreds or thousand of EUR on tubes and amps: ensure you have the proper cables, grounding, filtering of the AC source and everything in place. Otherwise you'll reach my position of learning after 2 years that a connection jack on your headphone can make you loose many hours of your short life. And of course, try first 7236 with proper cables before other more expensive power tubes.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
    DavidA, Scutey and Madhyamika like this.
  9. Scutey
    You make a good point about all the interconnects we have in our systems, like a castle's defences, our whole system is only as strong as the weakest point.

    Ps great pic!.
    OctavianH likes this.
  10. hypnos1
    Hi OH.

    That's a shame about the C3gs...they are a wonderful tube...if the rest of the system is just right for them lol! :wink:

    And no worries about focusing on topics other than tube rolling...we've been doing this for years now, and they're just as important - if not more so, sometimes. I personally have lost count of the number of times I've beseeched folks (ad nauseum!) to have everything else in the chain at the best quality they can afford (or beg, steal or borrow!!), and properly set up.

    And re. connectors etc, although I don't actually recommend others to remove as many of these interfaces as possible throughout the chain unless very au fait with such drastic manoeuvres and/or madly brave(!!), this does bring sonic improvements. Especially if, in the process, one does some DIY wire/cable replacement using the wonder wires - mono crystal OCC silver and copper...:ksc75smile:...CHEERS!...CJ

    ps. And do I sniff some SS heresy here lol?...Shame on you!! :wink::wink:
  11. OctavianH
    It is not heresy but honesty. Anyway, let's hope the tube Inquisition will not catch me too soon because I still have plenty of tubes to try and test. I would never renounce on my tube amp, mostly because T1 is pairing so well with it.
    But (there is always a "but") I would like to have also a "counterpart" in my collection and this is why I read about V281 which seems to be the only worthy opponent of the "SS" team. The same for the source, where RME ADI-2 DAC might be a good companion to my Qutest, even if I will never renounce of it.

    Anyway, regarding tube burn in times, my Tung Sol 7236 have somewhere at 30-40h already and I never really observed any change during this time. As far as I know they were NOS bought from US NY from a seller having a full box of tubes. Should I expect some changes or?

    On them I have 6207 and 6213 which I guess means '62?


    PS. And to make a proper assessment and change the playlist a little bit, I have returned to the one and only, and my favorite, Tchaikovsky. If someone mentioned earlier Holst, which I also appreciate, I have to give a "Thumbs up" to this recording:

    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  12. hypnos1
    Well OH...remember those members of the Inquisition are merciless in hunting down sinners. And the cruelty of their methods in achieving 'renunciation' is legendary - viz not just a few days' abstinence from quality Elise time, but months lol! :astonished::wink:

    However, now honesty is on the table, I have to admit to a secret desire myself...ie. the emergence of a (good) SS amp that hides a magical equalizer where you can dial in the precise tube signature desired, complete with all the other things we love about tube amps! :ksc75smile:...to perfection. Plus, it must look good too...after all, there certainly is something special about most tube amps' presence and character. Something sadly lacking in most SS amps, including the V281 I'm afraid! It may well sound great but hey, that design? Certainly not by an Italian, I suspect lol! :triportsad:. Now, I could just be tempted, if it looked more like a McIntosh, complete with blue dials!! :L3000:

    However, as this whole dream is just that alas- a dream, I much prefer being able to 'dial in' different sounds merely by using different tubes, and without having to introduce anything else into the output line. But if you do indeed add the Violectric to your arsenal, it would be great to hear how it compares to your Elise! :)...CHEERS!...CJ
  13. Scutey
    Blimey h1, for a minute there I thought you were doing a poacher turned gamekeeper! :wink:.
  14. hypnos1
    Fear not S...I doubt the sort of erotic dream I've had will ever come to reality in my lifetime at least (story of my life lol!! :wink:. Especially with the kind of sound I'm now hearing from my own Euforia setup...:gs1000smile:...particularly when I preferred it to the highly regarded Questyle CMA 800 SS amp recently (and that was when my T1s were nowhere near at their best...now it's no contest whatsoever! :L3000:).
  15. OctavianH
    Hmm, McIntosh looks nice too. But I'll keep my pocket safe and continue to use Elise, even if I might be the last user on Earth since all the others upgraded to Euforia. I have to admit that my amp sounds really nice after the latest cable and filter upgrades.
    Madhyamika likes this.
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