HiFiMan Susvara
Jun 15, 2021 at 8:55 PM Post #9,346 of 18,163

paradoxper

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The above conversation is exactly why I've struggled with the constant blanked sentiment of speaker amps > headphone amps for the Susvara. I'm not an engineer, so it's likely I'm missing something, but specifically in regards to speaker amps.. with it possible for the Susvara to only use up to a certain amount of power .. what specific advantage unique to speaker amps do they have?

Obviously quality of parts and design matter greatly, but that applies to headphone/speaker amps both. This isn't a question to doubt either, if someone has insight they'd like to share, I'm genuinely interested in hearing it. :)

Lastly, I've always found it interesting how highly revered the Bakoon tends to be, while the GSX Mini/HP4 typically aren't with nearly similar specs. My hunch around this entire topic has been that 'capable' TOTL amps (whether speaker or headphone), within a given price range, it all mainly comes down to preference in comparison to say large increases in performance. But this begs an important question. Is there any general consensus around what people are trying to improve or optimize as they search for a TOTL pairing?

I've talked to a few people via DM and from searching this thread, the topic of 'softness' tends to come up very frequently. I actually happen to enjoy the Susvara's politeness/softness, as it's a really welcoming compliment to say the 009/TC/Sr1a which can be less warm and even a bit harsh at times. Reason I ask, is as I'm searching for options, if I jump on recommendations from people looking to make the Susvara a lot more like the TC, I'd be going in the wrong direction. I know I'm rambling lol, but it just feels like we don't talk a lot about what people are trying to achieve, optimize or correct, from their current baseline if that makes sense. (for me, the only area of improvement I'm looking for is potentially openness/soundstaging.. also acknowledge that it's not always about trying to improve certain things for ppl, could just be X sounds best with Y to me.)
The crutch is you haven't had opportunity to hear something like Bakoon against your WA33 to gain reference.

The Bakoon AMP-13R is a perfect example to experience as, while good and rather competent, it is ran at its capacity and still lacks ultimate dynamics and heft.
A bit similar to a tube amp but less about bloom/roundness and flat out more soft.

It's also important to understand the context of these differentials as they're more small than the more important differences of starting with the transducer.

But it is the refinements that make TOTL what they are.
 
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Jun 15, 2021 at 8:58 PM Post #9,347 of 18,163

number1sixerfan

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None of the Math makes any sense when it comes to powering the Susvara
power is I*V or I*I*R or V*V/R.
It’s basic physics, for a given load at a given voltage (loudness) you need a given current, figure it back from sensitivity, and the numbers are all small.
There is clearly something odd going on with the way the Susvara presents it’s load while playing music, it does seem to be the case that amps with overbuilt power supplies do better.
Speaker amps have to be able to driver low impedance loads, so they have far more current gain than most headphone amps.
There is a big change in the dynamics (both macro and micro) of the headphones at some point, the only amps I have here that will drive them well are the WA33 and the Cavalli Liquid Gold (OG one), most every other amp I own will get them loud, and they don’t sound terrible, but they aren’t the same headphone.

Thank you for the response! And if it's something that isn't necessarily quantifiable or able to make entire sense via math, thats totally ok too. This is helpful insight.

I don't know. Fusion Jazz - Stanley Clarke 1st LP; 1812 Ovature, Joni w/ Jaco, Pink Floyd, etc. Lots of bass in many genres, not just the stuff from the past 20 years.

Also what animal is a Ragnarok? Drives speakers and cans?

At the very high end - accuracy is pretty much a given. Its the slight add ons like the subtle HD from Pass amp or the more obvious liquid smoothness a tube amp gives. It's got to give pleasure as well as accuracy...

I hear this, but there are definitely different parts of a sound spectrum that matter more for certain genres. I think bass is just one example, but different elements may be more relevant to people that listen to certain types of music. And I do think that's relevant.
 
Jun 15, 2021 at 9:13 PM Post #9,348 of 18,163

number1sixerfan

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The crutch is you haven't had opportunity to hear something like Bakoon against your WA33 to gain reference.

The Bakoon AMP-13R is a perfect example to experience as, while good and rather competent, it is ran at its capacity and still lacks ultimate dynamics and heft.
A bit similar to a tube amp but less about bloom/roundness and flat out more soft.

It's also important to understand the context of these differentials as they're more small than the more important differences of starting with the transducer.

But it is the refinements that make TOTL what they are.

Yea in this instance, I'm not speaking of or really thinking about the Woo at all. Definitely open to experimenting and will be, I don't have much of an emotional tie to specific gear/brands, so I'm fully open to the idea that there's other amps out there I'd really enjoy--maybe even more than it. In that post, I was specifically referring to the Bakoon in comparison to amps with generally similar specs for the Susvara (as in the GSX Mini I still have on hand). Doesn't make much sense to me that the Bakoon would be so highly regarded, yet the Mini/HP4 essentially shunned (a bit harsh, but generally aren't loved here) in comparison, and typically cited due to power. (get the importance of preference here)

To the second part of this post, absolutely agree. My main original point was just how relevant preference really is. Subtle differences become bigger as people try to reach 'end game' status.
 
Jun 15, 2021 at 9:28 PM Post #9,349 of 18,163

paradoxper

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Yea in this instance, I'm not speaking of or really thinking about the Woo at all. Definitely open to experimenting and will be, I don't have much of an emotional tie to specific gear/brands, so I'm fully open to the idea that there's other amps out there I'd really enjoy--maybe even more than it. In that post, I was specifically referring to the Bakoon in comparison to amps with generally similar specs for the Susvara (as in the GSX Mini I still have on hand). Doesn't make much sense to me that the Bakoon would be so highly regarded, yet the Mini/HP4 essentially shunned (a bit harsh, but generally aren't loved here) in comparison, and typically cited due to power. (get the importance of preference here)

To the second part of this post, absolutely agree. My main original point was just how relevant preference really is. Subtle differences become bigger as people try to reach 'end game' status.
In part, where the Bakoon excels comparatively to other solid-state is due to the current feedback topology. What the Bakoon is very good at is presenting space of stage both in width and depth, very much more three-dimensional -- and in that, quite similar to tubes.

As I've compared the AMP-13R to the AIC-10, Formula S, SuSy Dynahi, CFA3, with the CFA3 outperforming them all in appreciable form, I am still quite certain due to the favorability of the Dynahi, you could boost the bias of the Mini into something much better performing. Of course, you'd have to DIY which would equate to a SuSy-X.

In short, I'd really put focus of attention less on power output, more on the power supply and output stages to better understand what makes the Bakoon different from the Mini, for example.

If you want to experience a non-DIY venture, the Niimbus is very good.
 
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Jun 15, 2021 at 9:38 PM Post #9,350 of 18,163

number1sixerfan

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In part, where the Bakoon excels comparatively to other solid-state is due to the current feedback topology. What the Bakoon is very good at is presenting space of stage both in width and depth, very much more three-dimensional -- and in that, quite similar to tubes.

As I've compared the AMP-13R to the AIC-10, Formula S, SuSy Dynahi, CFA3, with the CFA3 outperforming them all in appreciable form, I am still quite certain due to the favorability of the Dynahi, you could boost the bias of the Mini into something much better performing. Of course, you'd have to DIY which would equate to a SuSy-X.

In short, I'd really put focus of attention less on power output, more on the power supply and output stages to better understand what makes the Bakoon different from the Mini, for example.

If you want to experience a non-DIY venture, the Niimbus is very good.

I'm really glad I posed the original question, because this is exactly the type of context and insight I'm looking for. I've had the Bakoon on my list as well and that's what made the current topic so interesting given my questioning around whether it should be on it or not (which seems to have been inaccurate). Coming from the WA33 it may not make the final list as I want to shoot high in replacing it, but this is really helpful. I will say, as researching these amps, I wish there was more topology info (stated in somewhat layman's terms) more readily available.
 
Jun 15, 2021 at 9:45 PM Post #9,351 of 18,163

paradoxper

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I'm really glad I posed the original question, because this is exactly the type of context and insight I'm looking for. I've had the Bakoon on my list as well and that's what made the current topic so interesting given my questioning around whether it should be on it or not (which seems to have been inaccurate). Coming from the WA33 it may not make the final list as I want to shoot high in replacing it, but this is really helpful. I will say, as researching these amps, I wish there was more topology info (stated in somewhat layman's terms) more readily available.
While not perhaps as complete in terms of dumbing down the technics, Head-Case is a great resource (DIY focus-based) at providing a foundational understanding of these circuits as they cut through the fluff.
 
Jun 15, 2021 at 10:32 PM Post #9,352 of 18,163

jlbrach

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keep in mind that at this level it all becomes subjective, dont let anyone tell you it isnt..there is a threshold the susvara requires and once it is crossed there is no objective truth...listen and buy what you like
 
Jun 16, 2021 at 12:00 AM Post #9,353 of 18,163

Ethereal Sound

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In part, where the Bakoon excels comparatively to other solid-state is due to the current feedback topology. What the Bakoon is very good at is presenting space of stage both in width and depth, very much more three-dimensional -- and in that, quite similar to tubes.

As I've compared the AMP-13R to the AIC-10, Formula S, SuSy Dynahi, CFA3, with the CFA3 outperforming them all in appreciable form, I am still quite certain due to the favorability of the Dynahi, you could boost the bias of the Mini into something much better performing. Of course, you'd have to DIY which would equate to a SuSy-X.

In short, I'd really put focus of attention less on power output, more on the power supply and output stages to better understand what makes the Bakoon different from the Mini, for example.

If you want to experience a non-DIY venture, the Niimbus is very good.

Ah, CFA3. Perhaps someday soon.
 
Jun 16, 2021 at 12:23 AM Post #9,355 of 18,163

Tachyon88

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So if one wanted to play the susvara at 120db:confounded: it would take 816mA and the A90 can put out 1.4AMPS for reference. Here is solderdudes guide that I got it from.
 
Jun 16, 2021 at 1:25 AM Post #9,358 of 18,163

Sajid Amit

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Ha, I swear, at this rate you'll change my mind about the TC. 😂
These guys made me get over my initial apprehensions about the TC which were substantial because my ears were married to the Susvara sound. After three auditions, I ordered mine.

Reaches me tonight, lol.
 
Jun 16, 2021 at 1:27 AM Post #9,359 of 18,163

fsi22

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So if one wanted to play the susvara at 120db:confounded: it would take 816mA and the A90 can put out 1.4AMPS for reference. Here is solderdudes guide that I got it from.

Solderdude's Susvara measurement is a typo , I had a chat with him a few weeks back, as I was certain they measured 80dB mW, which he confirmed. The Susvara I know of actually measured 60 Ohm @ 79.2dB mW, so 120dB SPL is 448mA / 26.87V / 12W.


I have mine set at 95 dB SPL @ 1khz 0dB FS usually, which is a measly 28mA / 1.5V / 38.03mW
which you can get with something as lowly as a BTR3K.

110dB SPL is the loudest I set mine up for, 141mA / 8.5V / 1.2W
 
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Jun 16, 2021 at 2:57 AM Post #9,360 of 18,163

Bonesy Jonesy

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Speaker amps have much larger power supplies and capacitance and can deliver far more current than headphone amps. Low sensitivity planar headphones (Susvara, HE-6, etc.), as well as low sensitivity planar speakers, like lots of current.

There are two ways to make power:

low voltage, high current (like a Cayin IHA-6, Resolve's choice for the Susvara, or Hifiman's own EF1000)
high voltage, low current (like a Phonitor)

Watts (W) = Volts (V) x Amps (A), so you can make the same power either way. Amp manufacturers rarely talk about whether their amps are of a high current design (they used to a long time ago when it was a new thing), but you can usually tell by how beefy the power supply is, and how much capacitance is packed into the chassis. Most headphone amps are small and can't accomodate much of either. But then again, most headphone amps are not designed to power low sensitivity cans like Susvara, and they don't need to because most people don't own these TOTL headphones. That's where speaker amps come in - they have the balls to deliver all the current that the Susvara needs to sound its best.

Note that Hifiman produces the EF1000 amp which is specifically designed for the Susvara. It has a large outboard power supply capable of delivering high current. That's the key. Unfortunately it's quite expensive, but fortunately we have much lower priced speaker amp options like the Bakoon that apparently work just as well.

Even among high current amps though, there will still be subjective preferences for us to argue over.
Very well said. As well as the high output current, the amp should have a low impedance output too for the secret sauce to power the Susvaras effectively.

When I finally get my EF-1000 from Hifiman, China (second attempt / time around, hopefully sometime in July), I will let you know how well it makes the Susvaras sound.

In the meantime I am listening with a loaned Pathos Inpol Ear Headphone Amp (by no means a slouch in performance with the Susvaras) and my Chord Mezzo 140 Speaker Amp (plenty of power, current, headroom etc. for the Susvaras).

I am assuming the EF-1000 will be like the Inpol Ear on steriods with them both being hybrid amps and the EF-1000 being approx. double the power (hence double the current).

Also note that the EF-1000 can run relatively sized speakers too of not too low sensitivity.
 

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