Formerly known as dc_guy
- Dec 6, 2004
- Washington, DC
I just discovered something that blows my mind! Ever since getting the Pro iCan... about 3 or 4 months ago, I have never tried driving my LCD-3F's on the highest gain setting... I have gone back and forth on the lowest and middle settings. This evening, for the first time, I flipped the switch up to the highest setting. And, man alive... my sound really came alive! It was no slouch on the lowest setting, where I played it most of the time... and occasionally I tried the middle gain setting. Just this evening, I decided why not try the highest setting... so I did. Now, I won't go back after hearing this highest gain setting. I hear great focus, great transparency, and even more black background. Have you tried it with your phones? And, especially anyone using the LCD-3F's, I would like to hear from you.
Just so you know, besides the good Pro iCan, I have my music program Amarra 4 Plus on my 2016 MacBook Pro. My music files are stored on an external solid state drive. I use a PS Audio DirectStream DSD DAC. I'm really pleased with the sound from this system. Mighty fine!
I'm not sure the same thing applies to the HEKv2 as it does to the LCD-3Fs, @Skooks. I've tried high gain on the iCan Pro before, but didn't really care for it. After I read your post, I tried switching between medium and high gain on a few different albums. The one with the most palpable differences was U2's The Joshua Tree, specifically U2's "Where the Streets Have no Name." In medium gain at about ten o'clock, Bono's voice and Edge's ringing guitar occupy a shared space at a similar volume, a bit laid-back, neither really standing out from the other. When I switched to high gain at maybe eight or nine o'clock, I could physically feel each cadence of the guitar distinctly, one after another, and they occupied a separate space from Bono's voice. That part was great! But the overall sound was very in-your-face, and there was also a bit of hardness that crept into the sound that made me clench my jaw, as I always do when that happens.
I can see how a harder-to-drive headphone like your LCD-3Fs might benefit from it, but I think that for the HEKv2s, high gain is a little too much. If only there was a level of gain between medium and high -- that would be perfect.
EDIT: I was using an older tube single-ended CD player with the iCan Pro with an OCC copper headphone cable when I did this test. Not my usual setup of streaming music through the Holo Audio Spirng DAC to the iCan Pro with a silver headphone cable.