Hamilton Ontario NANO meet // Philodox's new setup // Lavry + Balanced K340
Mar 11, 2006 at 5:17 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 32

philodox

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Well, I just had roy_jones over for a nice listening session and thought I would start up this thread... mainly for impressions on the Lavry and the K340's driven balanced. Rob may have some comments and I will add some of my own as I become more familiar with my new setup.

Here are some pictures of Rob enjoying the K340's:

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This shows the two most common expressions that Rob made while listening.
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I will add some of my own impressions later as well as some pictures of my new rig taken in natural lighting. We listened to the HF-1's for a bit as well as we both own a pair, but Rob fell in love with the soundstaging of the K340's pretty quickly. Oh, I think he liked massive attack on them a bit as well.
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Mar 11, 2006 at 5:23 AM Post #3 of 32

philodox

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LOL, pretty much.
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Nah, I just wanted to have a place to collect the thoughts that we discussed while hanging out tonight. If the mods think it best they can move this to general discussion or the source or amp forums.
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Mar 11, 2006 at 7:00 PM Post #6 of 32

omendelovitz

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That's it! we need another Southern Ontario meet!!! I'm still all portable, but have some new goodies to add to the 'soundstage'...
 
Mar 11, 2006 at 7:10 PM Post #7 of 32

philodox

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All portable? er, ummm, what about the K701???
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I wouldn't expect Rob's impressions for a little while yet as I believe he was going out drinking with some buddies after he left last night.
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One thing I did confirm is that I listen to music way louder than some... With the Grado's on the headphone out I was listening at ~35 and Rob was listening at ~10. With the AKG's on the balanced out I was listening at ~50 and Rob was listening at ~30.
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Mar 11, 2006 at 7:12 PM Post #8 of 32

jbloudg20

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I, too, would like to hear some impressions on the balanced K340, as I am in the planning stages for my balanced amp.

And my 340 already has its XLR's
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Mar 11, 2006 at 11:13 PM Post #9 of 32

roy_jones

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ojnihs
Definitely looks like a nice comfy chair to do some extensive listening in...

Can't wait to hear impressions on how the balanced K340's sound out of the Lavry!




I think I'd been checking the wrong section of head-fi, looking for this thread.

Yes, the chair was remarkably comfy. Excellent for listening sessions.

Impressions?

Where to begin...hmmm. Well, I do have one preliminary impression, and that is that Jay (Philodox) is in fact, Lucifer (
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) , master of the underworld- because after listening to his heavily-modded K340's balanced, out of the Lavry, there is no way that sound that good is of this earth. Also the fact that he's forever ruined my ability to listen to mid-fi set ups- so my wallet is now in some serious jeopardy. Awesome guy, though...
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The Lavry was amazing. It was hard to isolate what specific sonic attributes were directly attributable to what, because I got a chance to listen to the Eastsound, but with a somewhat sub-par older Corda amp, whose name I can't remember off the top of my head (h-1?). So the contrast moving from the Eastsound and Corda, to the Lavry, with the Eastsound as transport, using the Lavry's own very capable internal amp...was dramatic, but also difficult to pin-point, in terms of where the improvements were coming from.

I'm sure Jay could do an infinitely better job in projecting what is responsible for what, in the chain- so I defer to him, as far as any of that. I have been making due with a very ghetto set-up, until I can upgrade my home gear, and some of the complaints I've had about my primary (and only) current headphone, the HF-1, I've realized are not so much flaws in the headphone...rather they're directly attributable to my poor source/amp combo.

The HF-1 has great impactful bass, but on my system (if you can call it that), it is a little out of control and muddy. It is much more defined, resolved, and yet retains the same characteristic punch, through the Lavry. Any boom on the bottom end that was thought to be a characteristic intrinsic to the headphone, was clearly established to be a function of the system it is being heard with.

The Lavry brought forward the mids vs. my own system, and resolved the treble region tremendously. High hat cymbals became immediately 'shimmery' and the soundstage, even with the relatively compressed Grado, opened up tremendously. Imaging isn't a great strength of the Grado, but everything was improved, including imagine. However, as I was soon to discover, imaging and soundstage are the forte of the AKG K340.

Hmmm...what to say about the K340? I want one. If you mostly listen to rock, the Grado's are excellent...but I listen to a variety of styles of rock/metal/alternative...and also a lot of more ambient stuff, and stuff that would benefit tremendously from the strength of the AKG's.

My primary test CD was The Mars Volta, De-Loused in the Comatorium. Those that have heard The Mars Volta, know that, while not 'ambient', they make significant use of soundstage and imaging in their music. I had anticipated, considering that ultimately, they're still relatively hard progressive 'rock' (if they could ever be classified?), that I would prefer the Grado's for listening to them. Not when the imaging and soundstage of the AKG's, as well as their lush and forward mids, enter the picture. Unbelievable. I later listened to a bi-naural (sp?) track that's used with the STAX, and the AKG's are just so damned accurate, spatially.

The bass on the AKG's was immediately noted as deeper than that of the bass of the HF-1's, and although somewhat less impactful, is of a higher quality and better resolution. I'm in love with those headphones. Jay is using HF-1's and the AKG's for his listening, and I think they're a great compliment to each other. In fact, I'm going to stop talking about the AKG's now, because the last thing I want is to further fan the flames of the hot market for those headphones.

Suffice to say, eventually I'm getting one. Maybe not for another year, maybe not for longer- but eventually, it will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine. *cough* Sorry- got a little overcome there...
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One note, though- Jay's pair are heavily modded, and I don't think they're likely to be representative of the average pair of K340's floating around the market place. So if you do see a pair, don't buy them.
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In conclusion, although I'll try to add some more thoughts if I get more time, later on...I have a hard time believing that the headphone-world gets a lot better than what I heard last night. The Lavry, the AKG's....the Eastsound as a transport....great synergy. The Lavry, in particular, deserves every bit of praise that it seems to have received. I'm not especially well-versed in sources, but it didn't really take someone well-versed in sources to identify the strength and quality of that all-in-one solution.

The AKG is awesome, but it's so specialized and unique, with what Jay and Larry at Headphile have done with it, that I don't think it's of great benefit to go on too much more about them- both because of my fear of driving up the market on myself
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but more because it's unlikely there's another AKG K340 (and I would even venture to guess AKG, generally) out there that sounds as good.
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 12:20 AM Post #10 of 32

grandenigma1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by philodox
All portable? er, ummm, what about the K701???
biggrin.gif


I wouldn't expect Rob's impressions for a little while yet as I believe he was going out drinking with some buddies after he left last night.
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One thing I did confirm is that I listen to music way louder than some... With the Grado's on the headphone out I was listening at ~35 and Rob was listening at ~10. With the AKG's on the balanced out I was listening at ~50 and Rob was listening at ~30.
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My listening leves with the K701, HD650s, and RS1 through the balanced outs oddly enough are all about 30-35
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 12:28 AM Post #11 of 32

ojnihs

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Thanks for the impressions Rob. You're making me want to upgrade my K271S's to the K340's right now...unfortunately, I have a college budget so that idea can be kissed goodbye! I want a Lavry as well...and of course...that'll have to wait as well.

On closer inspection, I think I have that exact same chair at home....
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Mar 12, 2006 at 12:32 AM Post #12 of 32

jbloudg20

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ojnihs
Thanks for the impressions Rob. You're making me want to upgrade my K271S's to the K340's right now...unfortunately, I have a college budget so that idea can be kissed goodbye! I want a Lavry as well...and of course...that'll have to wait as well.

On closer inspection, I think I have that exact same chair at home....
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Start saving your pennies, the K340 is WORTH IT!!!
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Mar 13, 2006 at 6:28 PM Post #13 of 32

Jahn

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Philodox, you ran the STAX Test CD on him? Man, you took no prisoners!
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Mar 13, 2006 at 6:43 PM Post #14 of 32

philodox

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Rob - Very nice impressions. I'm sorry that I ruined you.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jahn
Philodox, you ran the STAX Test CD on him? Man, you took no prisoners!


hehe... yeah, that was pretty evil of me eh? I don't know if it was 'Lucifer: Lord of the Underworld' evil, but I wasn't holding anything back - that is for sure.
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I don't want to go into incredibly deep impressions on my new setup, partially because I need more time to become familiar with it and partially because I don't think it is polite to gush about ones own gear... too much.
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Coming from the Eastsound/Dynalo to the Lavry's balanced outputs is a big change. There is definitely more detail with the Lavry, though it is not overblown DAC1-type detail... much more smooth. The other changes that I am hearing are harder to quantify as I am not sure if they are coming from the DAC, the amp, or the fact that I am *finally* driving my K340's balanced.

The biggest change that I have seen is in control. With my previous setup, the K340's sounded great, but there was no feeling that they were being pushed or forced. There was less of an immediate feel to the music, less speed, less urgency. Most people would not call the K340's exactly 'exciting'... those people need to listen to my new rig.
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The second change is in the bass. It goes so deep and has a fullness to it that is hard to describe. Though I like the impact on my HF-1's, I can say without a doubt that overall the bass is much better on my K340's now. I could not have said this a week ago.

Lastly, and I think this was the fault of my old Dynalo or perhaps the Eastsound, any shred of brightness or fatigue is gone. The highs are beautifully resolved, but without any harshness. I could listen to my K340's, or even the HF-1's I think, through the Lavry for hours... or even days if I had access to the right narcotics.
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The HF-1's through the headphone out sound great. Not really too many surprises here as I think my Dynalo was driving them quite competently as well. The fact that the internal amp can stand up to a well implemented Dynalo is a huge benefit IMO as it allows you to concentrate on high impedance headphones with any external amp that you might get... since it probably won't be able to do a better job that the Lavry with Grados.

All in all I am a very happy boy.
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Mar 13, 2006 at 8:13 PM Post #15 of 32

Canman

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Quote:

Originally Posted by philodox
All in all I am a very happy boy.
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I would love to hear that K340 balanced out of the Lavry! I'd also really like to hear what a balanced K701 might sound like through the Lavry. All in all, I am really satisfied with the Lavry DAC. I think it offers a lot of value and performance. There might be smoother sources out there like the Meridian, but the Lavry offers a nice mix of qualities that I haven't heard at this price range.
 

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