HD580 Finally Unlocked by Tubes
Oct 29, 2008 at 7:50 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Maxvla

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I got new toys tonight so I must post!

So here's the deal. I've had these Sennheiser HD580 for about 10 years. In that time I've gone mostly without an amp because both of the amps I bought, both solid state, including a Gilmore Lite, offered me virtually no change in performance. I became pretty skeptical of amping, but finally decided I'd give tubes a try with a Little Dot MKIII with stock tubes (GE + Russian).

Got it home, set it for 300ohm, and flipped it on and let it warm up for about 20 minutes while I got some food ready. Sat down with a pile of discs of many genres, and 7 hours later I could hardly pull myself off my loveseat! There it was; the expansive soundstage, the pristine clarity, the smooth timbre of the instruments, I finally had it. Until this experience I had thought speakers would always be the better way to experience music, but no longer. The music through my headphones was lush and beautiful. The classical music was powerful and soothing at the same time, nearly making me fall asleep, but still awake. It was a strange state to be sure. Folk and jazz were equally amazing, but in a different, more lively, way. I concluded that HD580s, as others mention, are not the greatest pop, rock, or r+b phones, but the music was still light years ahead of what I had heard before. Perhaps rolling would make this setup better for pop/rock, but I'd rather get a different headphone altogether (and had planned on doing so) to complement my HD580s. One thing that was strange with mostly the pop music was that the soundstage with this amp/headphone actually sounded TOO big and it was quite distracting. I had thought about DT880, but I'm open to suggestions for a rock/pop set of cans.

After a few hours I realized I might prefer HD650s to my HD580s with what people call a darker sound. I kept feeling on certain songs that there was more to the low end that wasn't coming through perfectly.

OK, OK I'm a believer! The right amp can make a huge difference.
L3000.gif
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 8:08 AM Post #3 of 15

Maxvla

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Quote:

Originally Posted by QQQ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Of course.
Next step is trying serious SS amp. NOT something like Gilmore Lite...



Hey, this MKIII ($199) was half the price the Gilmore Lite (~$350ish) was.

Anyways, here's pics if anyone cares.



 
Oct 29, 2008 at 8:53 AM Post #4 of 15

QQQ

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If Gilmore lite was manufactured in China like little dot, its' cost would be around $120, $100 of which spent directly to nice looking case. This is what Gilmore amps is-overpriced with only good feature(nice enclosure).
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 9:09 AM Post #5 of 15

Maxvla

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Quote:

Originally Posted by QQQ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If Gilmore lite was manufactured in China like little dot, its' cost would be around $120, $100 of which spent directly to nice looking case. This is what Gilmore amps is-overpriced with only good feature(nice enclosure).


Fair enough. I didn't really look into the Gilmore that much when I bought it. It was suggested so I tried it and didn't like it. I still see it suggested around here somewhat often if that means anything.

Given the price of my components: HD580 ~$150 and Shanling CDP $280 I'm not really looking for the serious $$ SS amps right now, certainly not with the experience I had before.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 10:59 AM Post #7 of 15

silverrain

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Maxvla /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Fair enough. I didn't really look into the Gilmore that much when I bought it. It was suggested so I tried it and didn't like it. I still see it suggested around here somewhat often if that means anything.

Given the price of my components: HD580 ~$150 and Shanling CDP $280 I'm not really looking for the serious $$ SS amps right now, certainly not with the experience I had before.



What model is the CD player? It has a nice small size, for places where space is a problem. Based on what you posted, I assume it sounds pretty good!

Anyway, when I first plugged my HD580 into my new Darkvoice 336SE tube amp, I had to immeditaely take them off, just to see if I was really using my old HD580 -- they sounded so good, I couldn't believe it!

With the HD580, that low-priced tube amp even beat my big Headroom Max, and several other very good SS desktop amps.

But, the DV336SE was not happy with my RS-1, though. Picky amp.

The SS amps treated my RS-1 much better. Go figure. In spite of many posts here saying that "Grados love tube amps", that was not *my* experience.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 11:02 AM Post #8 of 15

Maxvla

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It is the Shanling PCD300A half size cdp. I got it through DIYkits. I can give you their email, but I think they may still have some on eBay which is where I ended up buying it from them after they put some up in response to my email. I paid $280 + shipping from China for it.

The player is great because of the size. It fits my table perfectly. The sound is good, no noise. The joystick control is very easy to navigate with and the remote it comes with is actually metal with a rubbery bottom so it doesn't slide. I'm very impressed with it for the price.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 11:47 AM Post #9 of 15

QQQ

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There's pretty serious amp for HD 580 in LDV or Shanling ph100. Shanling really superb amp for low imp cans, but it's got enough power for HD 580 too.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 12:51 PM Post #11 of 15

sacd lover

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Quote:

Originally Posted by QQQ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Of course.
Next step is trying serious SS amp. NOT something like Gilmore Lite...




I have tried about every serious SS amp out there and they dont come close to giving me the enjoyment even my inexpensive tube amps do.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 12:53 PM Post #12 of 15

Spareribs

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Good choice! IMO, the Little Dot amps and Sennheisers match well. Of course, the recording of the CD is also a factor but over all, it's a nice combo brotha.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 12:56 PM Post #13 of 15

QQQ

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Quote:

I have tried about every serious SS amp out there and they dont come close to giving me the enjoyment even my inexpensive tube amps do.


I can agree on this one, esp. with high-imp. phones.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 1:24 PM Post #14 of 15

nikongod

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Quote:

Originally Posted by QQQ /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If Gilmore lite was manufactured in China like little dot, its' cost would be around $120, $100 of which spent directly to nice looking case.


you are of course ignoring efforts for part-matching. I suppose not having to pay your labor force negates most of the cost of having some dude sit around matching transistors all day.

The cost of the generic black-cube linear clone (which is a pile of **** by all accounts) strongly disagree with this estimate of cost.

incidentally: senheiser was using the black-cube liner as their demo amp for the HD-600/650 for a long time. I suspect that the senn's just deal better with amps with less global feedback: most tube amps and the BCL.
Quote:

This is what Gilmore amps is-overpriced with only good feature(nice enclosure).


ooh, no my friend. the open loop gain of the g-lite (and most Gilmore designs) is FAR lower than other SS discrete amps. This requires less global feedback compared to others.

A discrete opamp is still an opamp. It has some advantages compared to a "chip" opamp, but its still an opamp. when you look at higher order harmonic distortions (7'th and 9'th - and higher if data is provided), the differences become very clear.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 1:51 PM Post #15 of 15

QQQ

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Quote:

you are of course ignoring efforts for part-matching. I suppose not having to pay your labor force negates most of the cost of having some dude sit around matching transistors all day.


Yes, but you're insisting Gilmore actually perform picking\matching components? Come on...

Quote:

incidentally: senheiser was using the black-cube liner as their demo amp for the HD-600/650 for a long time. I suspect that the senn's just deal better with amps with less global feedback: most tube amps and the BCL.


We don't know WHY Sennheiser use Lehmann amps in their demos. And will never know. I think not just for SQ reasons.
 

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