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MAD Ear+ Purist HD thread.

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by lmilhan, May 22, 2007.
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  1. DeadEars
    I've heard good things about the ZMF stuff.  I've never heard any, although I'm interested in the ZMF Omni's.  I like, but don't love the LCD-2's on the WA6SE.  I feel the same way about the HD-600's on the MAD amp.  The Fostex is more fun by far than the HD-600's with the MAD amp.
    I see you've run the T1 and HE-400's as well.  I've heard HE-400's sound great on the WA6SE (under meet conditions).  Did you try either with the MAD amp?  
    My LCD-2's (gen.1) sound really quite nice with the MAD amp for non-bass heavy classical music, which is a primary use for me.
  2. kpfeifle

    Yes, of corse. The T1's were not good at all on the MAD, much better with the Woo. At this point I'm thinking of using the Woo as a high impedience amp and the MAD for low. The HE400 sounds good with the MAD, my guess is about the same as the Woo. However I might be biased, as I do not really love the HE400. Will probably end up selling them, they just don't do it for me. Never tried the LCD2's, but would love to some day.
  3. DeadEars
    You have to really love rich, dark sultry and romantic for the gen 1 version of the LCD-2's.  Fortunately, I do!  It's too much of a good thing with the MAD amp, except for chamber music, where it's spectacular.  My sister was a professional musician for years, so I love it when a system gets the tone and timbre right.  
    I also like girl-with-piano, jazz, blues, and small-group vocal music, which is well-served by the LCD-2's with the MAD amp.  To really get the best out of the LCD-2's requires a lot more amp.  Most folks go for a solid state amp.  I've heard mine sound very good with the Oppo HA-1 and the Bryston HPA, but those amps sound too bright to me on other headphones (especially painful with Grado's IMHO).  Currently, I have my eye on a Berning MicroZOTL 2.0, which really makes the LCD-2's sing and is also darn nice with the HD-600's.  
    But there's always something...  I'm just enjoying the music.
  4. JoeDoe
    Hey there MAD owners - it's time for JoeDoe to downsize a bit which means the Woo has to go! I'd love to get my hands on another MAD to help mop up the tears of sorrow, so if you are interested in selling or trading, please shoot me a PM!
  5. canali
    just thought i'd share to get imput.
    i was/am thinking of getting into some planars or new senn hd800s to try them out
    ...aside from my senn hd 650...
    so went onto the senn hd 650 thread for advice.
    some had suggested improving my chain vs changing out my sennshd 650 cans...
    to get nto an OTL amp...a better dac
    (currently i have a dragonfly red, iFi micro iDSD and a soon arrive chord mojo which can drive 800ohms
    chord's CS has told me)
    so i emailed dr lloyd peppard on this...and what are the power limits of my newly tweaked ear+HD
    his reply  below, which i thought i'd share
    Hi J,
    The output impedance of the HD is very low, which, just like a power amp for speakers,
    yields a high damping factor, which ensures good bass transient response.
    The combination of a cathode follower output stage and the output transformer in the HD
    is the key to all this. You will never get as low an output impedance with an OTL amp.
    I would be very surprised if your HD has any issue working with any of the new headphones.
    Lloyd Peppard Mapletree Audio Design
    www.mapletreeaudio.com lloyd@mapletreeaudio.com

  6. DeadEars
    I've built a couple of OTL amps => you're always fighting with the problem of tapping power directly off the output tubes.  The usual solution is to parallel a lot of tubes, which reduces the output impedence and increases power, but at the cost of a lot more complexity and an increased need to have well-balanced tubes.  I use a pair of Atma-Sphere M60 amps using a Circlotron fully differential topology and they are fantastic for higher-impedence speakers.  They do not do well at all with speakers that drop impedence at different points in the frequency curve.
    Nevertheless, getting rid of the output transformers yields a huge improvement in clarity and immediacy -- much more of the "you are there" feeling.  One amp that is sort-of OTL-ish is the David Berning MicroZOTL 2.0, which delivers plenty of power for my LCD-2's under meet conditions (using music I didn't know).  That might be something to consider if you're looking to go the planar route.
    OTOH, if you're looking for a nice complement to the Senns, you might try the high-value Fostex X00's from MassDrop.  At $400, you save a bunch of money, and they are the cat's meow for electronica, EDM, and rock & roll when used with the MAD amp.  The Senns walk all over them for balance, especially for classical music, but the Fostex cans are a whole lot of fun.  And there's always Grados, which are the perennial recommendation for MAD amps, for good reason.  I have used and abandoned several Grados:  each was a nice match but none of them were comfortable enough for me and my long listening sessions.
    I routinely use my LCD-2's with my MAD amp, and they are really not a great pairing if you like to crank the volume.  Mostly I'm listening to small-scale blues, classical quintets, that kind of thing, and I like the sound a lot, but I don't recommend Audeze's for use with the MAD.  If the output impedence s actually 2 ohms, the 32-75 ohms of the Audeze's will be well-damped, but the MAD doesn't deliver enough current to help them sound their best.
    Hope this is the kind of feedback that you find helpful.
  7. canali
    thanks, DeadEars....
    i do also have the sony mdr 7520 closed cans....i am wondering if the fostex massdrop would be too close to their sound sig..
    i was/am considering the hifiman HE560 as my first value planars...have heard good things on them.
    have only had the sennhd650  on under limited condtions: with the dragonfly red....so I haven't tried it with the newly tweaked ear+ hd
    ...nor with the chord mojo (on the way)...nor with the iFI micro iDSD.....so things could change SQ of course.
    imo (thus far anyway) the senn650s are definitely softer sounding than the sony
    (sonys are much more punchy and detailed...some have said it's the mid bass hump).
    ...so who knows: maybe when i give the senn hd650s a better dac and amp (as above) they'll come more alive.
    good reviews on that David Berning MicroZOTL 2.0 amp you suggested, too..thanks
    a few reviews below
  8. DeadEars
    I've never heard any Sonys except the legendary R10's.  Which are sublime.  A bit thick sounding with the MAD amp, nice with a dual-differential Beta.  Your SONY's are a different animal from what I've seen.  I do think the Fostex has a much more "fun" profile, so you should try to hear some.  Amazing bass with the MAD amp.  Listening to the TH-X00 as I type this now, a great drum solo in a live performance by BoDeans.
    I find the HiFiman HE-560 to be too bright for my taste.  They have a whole lot more air and speed than my turgid old Audeze LCD-2's!  I like the bass on my planars better though.  Note: I listened to both on a Bryston HPA-1; results probably different on other gear.  But maybe they would float your boat?
    You should definitely try the HD-650's with your updated MAD amp.  Senns were one of the target headphones when the original MAD amps were voiced.  I would expect them to sound very good.  I listened for 3 years with  my HD-580/HD-600 cans and was pretty happy.  Again, it depends on what you want.  Both the MAD amp and the Senn's have a relaxed presentation, so the two together won't be hard-hitting, but maybe that's a good thing for you?
    It sounds like you've got a lot of gear coming.  The Mojo is pretty darn nice.  Should make a difference for you.  I like some of the iFi gear, but have never listened seriously, so I'll be interested to hear what you think of them paired with the MAD amp.
    Enjoy the music!
  9. jtinto
    My Ear+ doesn't have any trouble driving HD800 or LCD-3F at moderate listening levels. The HD800 is a harder to drive, less efficient, high impedance, but has more headroom because it doesn't require the current that the LCD does. So, I prefer the HD800 and RS1i on my Ear+.
    I used to have HD650 which was too warm and laid-back for my tastes. The HD600 was used to initially voice the Ear+ and is the better of the two for this amp.
    I spent all last evening listening to different music with the HD800 on the Hi output with a Gold Lion 12AX7. It was fun to switch back and forth with my Bryston amp. The BHA-1 is more detailed with better dynamics. The highs are more forward and the soundstage is larger. Both have great bass. The Ear+ has sweeter midrange and is very musical which makes the combination very easy to listen to.
  10. DeadEars
    Agree ^^  
    With the MAD amp, I like my HD-600's better than HD-650's that I bought & returned a couple of years ago.  I had some discussions with Dr. Lloyd P. about it at the time, and he claimed many of his customers were happy with either Senn on his amps.  At that time, I don't think he had personally heard the HD-650's on them.
    I switched from the Gold Lion 12AX7 to a pair of ribbed plate Telefunkens I had lying around (my Super II+ amp uses a pair of input tubes).  They are cleaner/crisper sounding and a good match for the Fostex's I've been playing.  They are now my favorite "fun" cans when matched with the MAD amp.  I like that the deep bass slams and yet vocals are clear and distinct at the same time.  No muddy one-note bass here, even better with the Tele's.  Tonality and instrumental timbre are not in Audeze range, but the music is delivered with a lot of urgency and drive.
    Also I agree on the Bryston.  It's a nice match with my LCD-2's, giving them a lot more authority in the treble, and deeper bass.  I find that the Bryston reveals a lot of the faults of the Fostex TH-X00, especially the somewhat recessed midrange and some shout-iness in the highs.  
    But the bass is more plentiful and fun with the Fostex cans on the MAD amp (with the Telefunkens), if not as tuneful and balanced as the bass on the Brystons/LCD-2 combo can be.  The LCD-2's have a wonderful liquid midrange and very faithful tonality when played on the MAD amp at low/moderate listening levels.  Cellos sound "just right" and woodwinds and french horns have the right amount of body and gravitas.  Speaking of tubes again, with Gold Lions or Mullards, the MAD/LCD-2 combo becomes too much of a good thing.  OTOH, with my favored Amperex Bugle Boys the LCD-2's are darn nice on the MAD amp.  I don't recommend the combo for head bangers or EDM tho.  Your LCD-3's are in a whole different zip code as far as efficiency and treble performance, compared to my gen.1 LCD-2's.  Glad to hear you're happy with their sound on the MAD amp.  
    jtinto likes this.
  11. N15M0
    Anyone can tell me besides the grado, what other headphones are great with the Ear+? Looking to get a TH900 MK2 to pair with the Ear+. Thanks. 
  12. parbaked
  13. DeadEars
    I'd recommend the Fostex cans.  I'm currently playing with a set of the Massdrop Fostex TH-X00's and liking the combination with my Ear+ Super.  The Fostex have a bit of U shaped frequency distribution with a ton of bass and a fairly bright high end.  The MAD amp nicely fills in the missing middle and provides great synergy.  Very much a "fun" profile.  Tons of drive and bass, which my HD-600/650 did NOT have with the MAD amp.  Plus the Fostex are easy to drive.  I expect the TH-900 headphones would be great, but haven't heard them with this amp.  They are a bit more sizzling on the high end than the TH-X00's, at least when I heard them at a meet on a couple different amps. 
    Good luck and have fun listening to the music.
  14. Andrew Rieger
    Anyone here test out Mapletree's newish OD300 headphone amp? 
  15. MacedonianHero Contributor
    I did review it a while back...brilliant amp. You can find my review in the link in my signature.
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