HeadRoom SS amps?
Mar 10, 2007 at 4:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 97

MaloS

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Posts
4,670
Likes
11
They don't seem to get much love around here (apart from the balanced one) - any particular reason?
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 4:47 AM Post #4 of 97

Ingo

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Posts
2,030
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by NtD Gr3nade /img/forum/go_quote.gif
ss?


solid state?

I think there's not much buzz because there line has been relatively the same for a while. The MicroAmp and MicroDAC do get discussed quite a bit, though.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 5:14 AM Post #5 of 97

Mrvile

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Posts
3,391
Likes
13
I've always thought Headroom's prices were usually a bit high for what you get...but that's just me.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 5:37 AM Post #6 of 97

greggf

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Posts
1,278
Likes
185
Hardcore head-fiers seem to prefer tubes, I'm afraid.

Even if there's no practical reason for it, hobbyists in any hobby tend to like to take the romantic or difficult path.

Pen fanatics prefer fountain pens that leak and fade and smear. Tomato fanatics prefer to grow plants from seed rather than buying ready-grown seedlings from Walmart, and they prefer growing difficult heirloom varieties rather than sturdy hybrids. Audio ocd-ers like vinyl that they have to clean and get up and change rather than CDs, and they prefer tubes that they can "roll" and tubes that hiss and spit and overheat the room and need biasing.

I think that if the point is the music rather than the simple killing-of-time-between-birth-and-death, then ss is just as good. Therefore the Headroom stuff is fine, and great, but it will sell to people who want first class music reproduction in the home, not to people who want first class music reproduction in the home PLUS something to admire PLUS something to fiddle with PLUS something that makes them feel a little bit special in what is otherwise a way too brief lifetime.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 5:45 AM Post #7 of 97

Thelonious Monk

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Posts
2,483
Likes
10
their line has been unchanged for a while, and it's arguable that they are outperformed by cheaper amps. there's the LaRocco Audio HeadCode, Ray Samuels Audio HR2, Meier Audio Corda Opera, and numerous DIY options. they're also not up to snuff chassis-wise compared to the aforementioned amps- they're a bit "plain jane" compared to those beautiful metal beasts.

i haven't spent enough time with the high-end headroom amps to actually give a decent opinion on 'em, but that's a good amount of highly-regarded amps priced lower than the Max/Home amps. and that's not including tube amps.

i'll just say this: i'd be much more willing to buy a LaRocco HeadCode than a Home Balanced amp. and Tyll's such a nice guy, you really just want to do business with him. just one of those "he would be my best friend if i knew him in real life" types of people..

on a more positive note: i'd get the Home Balanced amp at my doorstep long before LaRocco Audio even acknowledged my order, probably.

edit: i forgot RudiStor
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 5:51 AM Post #8 of 97

deej

Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Posts
90
Likes
11
Location
Sylvan Lake, Alberta
I'd have to agree. My brother used to have a Headroom Total Airhead which sounded like complete garbage and totally distorted the music. I hooked it up to a discman and immediately unplugged it because it sounded much better unamped. Haven't heard the higher end models so I can't comment there.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 6:04 AM Post #9 of 97

MaloS

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 8, 2004
Posts
4,670
Likes
11
This thread thoroughly demonstrates why we should stop recommending the Total Bithead to people xD

Thanks for good clean replies.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 6:08 AM Post #10 of 97

greggf

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Posts
1,278
Likes
185
I do think it's true that Tyll and Headroom need to hire a first class industrial designer.

Their chassis design and appearance is way, way out of step with what is possible. Many independents and boutique manufacturers have much better looking gear.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 6:14 AM Post #11 of 97

Mrvile

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Posts
3,391
Likes
13
Quote:

Originally Posted by greggf /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hardcore head-fiers seem to prefer tubes, I'm afraid.

Even if there's no practical reason for it, hobbyists in any hobby tend to like to take the romantic or difficult path.

Pen fanatics prefer fountain pens that leak and fade and smear. Tomato fanatics prefer to grow plants from seed rather than buying ready-grown seedlings from Walmart, and they prefer growing difficult heirloom varieties rather than sturdy hybrids. Audio ocd-ers like vinyl that they have to clean and get up and change rather than CDs, and they prefer tubes that they can "roll" and tubes that hiss and spit and overheat the room and need biasing.

I think that if the point is the music rather than the simple killing-of-time-between-birth-and-death, then ss is just as good. Therefore the Headroom stuff is fine, and great, but it will sell to people who want first class music reproduction in the home, not to people who want first class music reproduction in the home PLUS something to admire PLUS something to fiddle with PLUS something that makes them feel a little bit special in what is otherwise a way too brief lifetime.



Um, I wouldn't call myself an audiophile at all yet I would still rather spend $320 on a Darkvoice 336i tube amp than $600 on the Headroom Desktop solid state amp. It's not about which one is better than the other, or about what grade of and audio connoisseur I am, it's merely about which type of sound I prefer. Not all amps are made to sound the same, so saying something like "then ss is just as good" doesn't really make sense.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 6:28 AM Post #12 of 97

granodemostasa

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Posts
3,759
Likes
12
Hi
The headroom stuff isn't bad. for example, i tested out a desktop against a GS-1 and thought the desktop the better of the two amps. However, the problem i found was in the high end. simply put, the maxed out deskop was something like 2100, while the zana deux was 1600, but SQ out of the Eddie current was much more impressive than what i was hearing out of the maxed desktop or the single ended max.
there are solid state amps that i admire and i believe in Headroom's engineering capacity.. over time i'm sure they will beat everyone else, just not that day i was testing them out.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 6:50 AM Post #13 of 97

greggf

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Posts
1,278
Likes
185
Mrvile,

I should have said, "Solid state CAN be just as good."
wink.gif


I pretty much agree with you, in other words.........
cool.gif
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 6:57 AM Post #14 of 97

Davesrose

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Posts
4,766
Likes
135
Quote:

Originally Posted by greggf /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I do think it's true that Tyll and Headroom need to hire a first class industrial designer.

Their chassis design and appearance is way, way out of step with what is possible. Many independents and boutique manufacturers have much better looking gear.



I don't think their amps are that bad actually. And I have some design experience! Their micro series in particular is good design IMHO. Both simple, practicle, rugged, and very portable looking. Though their desktop and max lines also carry this same portable looking design: if it were me, I'd make it a bit more cubic and industrial looking.

I don't think a lot of the high end amps look that good. Yeah the B-52 and SDS look good: they're massive and scream attention grabbers. I chose my more modest, $1k SP amp because of the SQ/price ratio. IMO, it doesn't really look like a $1k amp. If this were a consumer, mass produced amp from Sony, you can be sure that it would be slicker looking. But the only cool looking things about it are the tubes. In some ways the tubes and knobs make it look like some retro creation from the 50s. But the chasis is simple sheet metal that's been bent and welded: not molded parts. But who cares.....Mikhail is focusing on the internal components, and is making some great sounding amps.

While I think that it's hard for HR to compete with the high end amps right now, I do think they compete quite well for portable amps. The microamp was my first HP amp. I've still got it around and will probably use it for traveling. The crossfeed filter is a great feature for computers and DAPs.
 
Mar 10, 2007 at 7:58 AM Post #15 of 97

Iron_Dreamer

Landscape-Photo-Fi
Organizer for Can Jam '09
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Posts
9,529
Likes
79
Location
Los Angeles
Headroom's enclosure designs are great for the portable/desktop models. I think the high end models need to a bit more Lian-Li like, a bit less Antec like (sorry I've been stuck inside computer cases all day, and my brain is fried!
biggrin.gif
) I think the styling of the old Max and Blockhead were much more appropriate for the high end (I almost kept that Max just for the looks).

On the sound end of things, the Headroom sound is a bit too forgiving for me. If I am going to have a solid-state amp, I want it to embody what solid state does best, i.e. speed, detail, and dynamic punch. If I want something to sound smoother, warmer, etc. I'd use a tube amp. Headroom's amps blur the line between the two, and thus win over neither camp (or so I'd think). This is not based on brief listens to one or two of their amps, but quite a number both past and present, including the '03 Max I owned for a while.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top