HiFiMan Susvara
Jul 3, 2019 at 4:19 PM Post #2,671 of 12,584

QueueCumber

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The first thing I'd do with that room is lay down a large area rug. I find Persian ones to sound the best... :)

I like the way you think. This is the rest of the living room behind it...

0CD902C3-B9B0-434C-97C6-45BE02CC6A9E.jpeg 21C835FF-F1DB-4209-A8E1-56309E3AB301.jpeg
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 4:43 PM Post #2,672 of 12,584

BassicScience

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I like the way you think. This is the rest of the living room behind it...

Very nice rug! However, in that position it isn't doing anything to damp the direct reflection of sound from the speaker to your ear off the wooden floor. For best imaging, you would hear no reflected sound, and while that is impossible practically, it's a good general principle. Of course, some people just prefer the sound of a "live" room, and aren't really after optimal imaging. YMMV.
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 4:53 PM Post #2,673 of 12,584

QueueCumber

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Very nice rug! However, in that position it isn't doing anything to damp the direct reflection of sound from the speaker to your ear off the wooden floor. For best imaging, you would hear no reflected sound, and while that is impossible practically, it's a good general principle. Of course, some people just prefer the sound of a "live" room, and aren't really after optimal imaging. YMMV.

I’ve had rooms that were completely treated HT and audio. Never liked the sound as much as just placing some minor diffraction on the sidewalls. In this case, I have the ridged artwork on the sidewall 1st order points and the shelves with books/equipment on the 2nd order points. It gives a move enveloping field that for me is more like a real music event.
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 7:47 PM Post #2,674 of 12,584

jlbrach

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enough with the speaker amps already...if one wants to use a speaker amp and all the associated aggravation and risk more power to you but people are getting the impression that the susvara can only be used properly with a speaker amp and that is unambiguously false...yes they require sufficient power and a high end amp but there are numerous outstanding HP amps that drive them beautifully and with far less hassle.....i am not suggesting a speaker amp is not an option i am only suggesting that there are several fine HP amp options out there
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 9:30 PM Post #2,675 of 12,584

Zhanming057

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enough with the speaker amps already...if one wants to use a speaker amp and all the associated aggravation and risk more power to you but people are getting the impression that the susvara can only be used properly with a speaker amp and that is unambiguously false...yes they require sufficient power and a high end amp but there are numerous outstanding HP amps that drive them beautifully and with far less hassle.....i am not suggesting a speaker amp is not an option i am only suggesting that there are several fine HP amp options out there

Not really. I will pretty much only say this for the K1000, HE5, HE6, Susvara and maybe the LCD4, but it is one of the cans where I will firmly say that if you want to extract optimal performance from them, you will need a high-power, high-end speaker amp with a robust power supply. Usually, this means something that's capable of delivering 50+ watts. But it's not the max power that matters, it's power delivery at low wattages which is also where most headphone amps come up short.

You can use the Abyss Phi with a cheap class D amp from Amazon or the Utopia with your smartphone. It doesn't mean that performance is optimal with those pairings. and TOTL speaker amps will absolutely push the Susvara to the next level compared to TOTL headphone amps. Just try them on a Nagra Integrated or an AM201H compared to the WA33e and you'll know what I mean.
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 9:31 PM Post #2,676 of 12,584

jlbrach

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nobody certainly not me is comparing a phone to a speaker amp...i am speaking of high end HP amps which are made for HP's...are more convenient and have less chance of destroying the HP drivers
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 9:33 PM Post #2,677 of 12,584

QueueCumber

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Susvara sounds the same to me through the HP jack as through the speaker taps of my 50wpc amp...
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 9:38 PM Post #2,678 of 12,584

Zhanming057

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nobody certainly not me is comparing a phone to a speaker amp...i am speaking of high end HP amps which are made for HP's...are more convenient and have less chance of destroying the HP drivers

That's also not true.

My Nagra has two levels of protection circuity, a physical remote and a remote mode that disengages the volume dial, and a low power offset mode that limits output to about 15w.

The WA33e has no protection circuitry, you can fry the cans just by plugging them in, and there is a 6.3mm jack on the amp where, if you unplug the cans with the volume on, you might short out both the amp and fry the cans.

Tell me which one is safer?

Susvara sounds the same to me through the HP jack as through the speaker taps of my 50wpc amp...

Being brutally honest, that's mostly because the MHA150 isn't the best amp for its price point. Lower output than rated and not a great design either.
 
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Jul 3, 2019 at 9:43 PM Post #2,679 of 12,584

jlbrach

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different strokes for different folks...i use my HP system in my bedroom and have aero desire to have a speaker amp next to my head....i will stick with my formula s/ powerman combo made specially for my abyss Phi TC and use it with my susvara....again, more power to you
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 9:46 PM Post #2,680 of 12,584

QueueCumber

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Being brutally honest, that's mostly because the MHA150 isn't the best amp for its price point. Lower output than rated and not a great design either.

Its pricy for sure. What makes it “not a great design” in your mind?

If you could share a reputable reference on the measurements of the actual output, would appreciate that as well.
 
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Jul 3, 2019 at 9:48 PM Post #2,681 of 12,584

jlbrach

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i have a mcintosh 452 in my speaker system and it is a monster 450 watts and weighs about 300 pounds...i will stick with my HP amp lol
 
Jul 3, 2019 at 10:45 PM Post #2,682 of 12,584

QueueCumber

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In any case, even if you don’t answer my questions, I doubt the output is significantly lower. Even if it were, I should still hear a difference between the taps and HP jack if power differences are that prominent. A long history of blind listening to solid state equipment tells me those differences very likely aren’t there at all. Much like I know I could have spent multiples less or multiples more on my solid state amp and still gotten the same exact sound (Albeit, with equipment that is much less convenient and aesthetically appealing.)
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 12:37 AM Post #2,683 of 12,584

llamaluv

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Oh wait!, did someone say they wanted more feedback on speaker amps?!

Some bullet-point impressions on the Susvara paired with the Benchmark AHB2, which I'm borrowing from a friend (listening to mostly jazz, some electronic, soundtrack, and some compressed stuff):
  • Clean, detailed, and neutral -- these attributes above all others. It lends the Susvara a different character than what I'm used to, which by itself makes for an interesting listen. The Susvara connected to the AHB2 reminds me a bit of the RAAL SR1a, actually.

  • Relatedly -- sharp, quick transients. This lends it a surprising sense of rhythm. I catch myself bobbing my head without noticing. And then I notice, and I think to myself, "Wait, what? I thought this amp was supposed to sound all 'sterile' and sh- so forth."

  • Notably wide soundstage. I'm hyper-aware of instrument locations on the far ends of the x-axis. Depth is decent, though not a stand-out feature; probably better than the Bryston SST2's I've heard. Height -- which I usually don't pay much attention to -- can be very pronounced with some percussion on occasion, so that's interesting. Imaging is more of the pin-point variety, not the big-expansive-blobs variety.

  • Smooth and detailed treble. The way it renders cymbals is my favorite thing about the amp so far. Very well defined without being overdone or hot, just sounds right.

  • Nicely extended and controlled bass. Lower registers of bass guitar and stand-up bass are well articulated, and their fundamentals are very follow-able.

  • Due to its resolution, doesn't require the volume to be turned up to fully "get" the music (the same kind of thing people say about the Utopia). Separation between instruments is easy to process cognitively.

  • When listening analytically, there is much to be explored, looking into the music. Like for instance with dense and complex electronic music, where much of the appeal is in texture and 'soundscape'.

  • Really shines with acoustic jazz (probably my #1 priority in terms of musical genres) for all the reasons stated above. Also, I get this satisfying sense of euphony as different instruments layer and harmonize. So like, real "euphonics" based on an effective (accurate) rendering of underlying musical intent, as opposed to "euphonic" in the sense of 2nd-order distortion introduced by the signal chain. Interesting!

  • Modern, compressed material is a mixed bag so far. The typical hi-fi predicament where much of this sort of source material isn't mixed with a neutral, ultra-resolving audio chain in mind (I feel the same way about the RAALs, TBH).

  • The amp responds very well to EQ though. Small changes that usually go fairly unnoticed (to me) are more readily apparent. I take this to be a very positive attribute.
So overall, a really enjoyable listen so far. I've come to prefer a denser, meatier sound most (though not all) of the time, which is why I keep a Pass Labs X150.8 despite its inconvenience, but if I wanted to have a contrasting second amp as well, this would (will?!) probably be it.
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 6:18 AM Post #2,684 of 12,584

tunes

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Oh wait!, did someone say they wanted more feedback on speaker amps?!

Some bullet-point impressions on the Susvara paired with the Benchmark AHB2, which I'm borrowing from a friend (listening to mostly jazz, some electronic, soundtrack, and some compressed stuff):
  • Clean, detailed, and neutral -- these attributes above all others. It lends the Susvara a different character than what I'm used to, which by itself makes for an interesting listen. The Susvara connected to the AHB2 reminds me a bit of the RAAL SR1a, actually.

  • Relatedly -- sharp, quick transients. This lends it a surprising sense of rhythm. I catch myself bobbing my head without noticing. And then I notice, and I think to myself, "Wait, what? I thought this amp was supposed to sound all 'sterile' and sh- so forth."

  • Notably wide soundstage. I'm hyper-aware of instrument locations on the far ends of the x-axis. Depth is decent, though not a stand-out feature; probably better than the Bryston SST2's I've heard. Height -- which I usually don't pay much attention to -- can be very pronounced with some percussion on occasion, so that's interesting. Imaging is more of the pin-point variety, not the big-expansive-blobs variety.

  • Smooth and detailed treble. The way it renders cymbals is my favorite thing about the amp so far. Very well defined without being overdone or hot, just sounds right.

  • Nicely extended and controlled bass. Lower registers of bass guitar and stand-up bass are well articulated, and their fundamentals are very follow-able.

  • Due to its resolution, doesn't require the volume to be turned up to fully "get" the music (the same kind of thing people say about the Utopia). Separation between instruments is easy to process cognitively.

  • When listening analytically, there is much to be explored, looking into the music. Like for instance with dense and complex electronic music, where much of the appeal is in texture and 'soundscape'.

  • Really shines with acoustic jazz (probably my #1 priority in terms of musical genres) for all the reasons stated above. Also, I get this satisfying sense of euphony as different instruments layer and harmonize. So like, real "euphonics" based on an effective (accurate) rendering of underlying musical intent, as opposed to "euphonic" in the sense of 2nd-order distortion introduced by the signal chain. Interesting!

  • Modern, compressed material is a mixed bag so far. The typical hi-fi predicament where much of this sort of source material isn't mixed with a neutral, ultra-resolving audio chain in mind (I feel the same way about the RAALs, TBH).

  • The amp responds very well to EQ though. Small changes that usually go fairly unnoticed (to me) are more readily apparent. I take this to be a very positive attribute.
So overall, a really enjoyable listen so far. I've come to prefer a denser, meatier sound most (though not all) of the time, which is why I keep a Pass Labs X150.8 despite its inconvenience, but if I wanted to have a contrasting second amp as well, this would (will?!) probably be it.
I am having a hard time choosing between the XI audio Formula S with the added Powerman power supply ($5,500), the Pass Labs X25 ($4,900), the Benchmark AHB2 ($3500) and the First Watt F7 ( $3,000). With the CHORD DAVE I was looking for amp that would bring the Susvara or Abyss PHI TC to their fullest potential but with the most transparency. I am looking for smoothness, micro-detail retrieval and the largest overall sound stage possible with headphones.
 
Jul 4, 2019 at 6:37 AM Post #2,685 of 12,584

ManWithoutAPlan

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I am having a hard time choosing between the XI audio Formula S with the added Powerman power supply ($5,500), the Pass Labs X25 ($4,900), the Benchmark AHB2 ($3500) and the First Watt F7 ( $3,000). With the CHORD DAVE I was looking for amp that would bring the Susvara or Abyss PHI TC to their fullest potential but with the most transparency. I am looking for smoothness, micro-detail retrieval and the largest overall sound stage possible with headphones.

From personal experience, the Niimbus US4+ is about as transparent as I've heard from any solid state amp. I currently have it paired with the qutest so I'd imagine that the dave would elevate the overall performance to an even higher level. The Formula S & Powerman admittedly pairs better with the AB-1266 and does a better job in the low end, with greater bass texture but the Niimbus ain't no slouch either. If you value smoothness over some potential rumble and bass impact, I highly recommend at least demoing the US4+ if possible. I haven't tried the other options so I can't really comment on those.
 

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