I have purchased a Musical Fidelity X-Can V8P headphone amplifier. It should be here next week. I have been listening to a HeadAmp Gilmore Lite for the past few years, and I enjoy the amp. I wanted to try something different, and I thought that the tubes in the X-Can V8P might be a nice change. Both headphone amps are dual mono Class A designs, so it will be interesting to put these two amps against each other. I listen with a Sennheiser HD600 headphone using a Stefen AudioArt Equinox cable.
I am interested in comments on the Musical Fidelity X-Can V8P, and what I might expect in comparison to the HeadAmp Gilmore Lite.
It will be a few more days before the X-Can V8P arrives. Since the original owner never opened the case, the original tubes are still in place. I have no idea who the manufacturer of the stock V8P tubes are, so in anticipation of the X-Can arrival I ordered a fresh matched pair of Genelex Gold Lion ECC88 / 6922 tubes. I'll spend some time listening with the stock tubes in order to develop a reference point before installing the Gold Lions. I will let the new tubes burn in for at least 50 or more hours before I start any serious audition. I am very curious what the tubes have to offer in comparison to the all solid state Gilmore Lite.
The Musical Fidelity X-Can V8P arrived today. It's a good looking amp, but more importantly a very good sounding headphone amplifier. I have been listening now for about eight hours. I am impressed with the richer, deeper bass and a more organic texture to the sound as compared to the Gilmore Lite I have been using for a few years. The sound stage created between my ears seems deeper front to back, more 3 dimensional. The Gilmore Lite is a bit more in your face with its presentation. After eight hours I sense zero listener fatigue, in fact I just want to keep listening. I am very impressed with the X-Can V8P's performance. The fit and finish are high quality, and the Alps volume control with that big volume knob operates as smooth as silk. I believe I prefer the infinite adjustment capability of the Alps control versus a stepped attenuator.
I have already opened up the V8P, looking to see who manufactures the tubes. No luck. The only markings on the two tubes were ECC88, and in small screening that I could just barely make out 1ABR near the base. No origin markings at all. I put the X-Can back together, and have been listening to it all evening. The stock tubes sound quite nice, although I still plan to install a pair of Genelex Gold Lion ECC88's that I ordered. They should arrive by the end of the week if I am lucky.
I really like what I am hearing with the dual triodes in the circuits. There is a new smoothness coming from my HD600's, an enhancement to the music's texture, a thicker texture to the bass, and a quiet noise floor. The V8P will be replacing my Gilmore Lite, which will be going up for sale. I'll have more to say once I get the Gold Lion ECC88's installed and put some hours on them.