My Headroom switchbox just paid for itself!
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gerG

Headphoneus Supremus
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Busy week, so I just got a chance to hook up my latest toys. I bought a Philips DVD S580M a couple of weeks ago on sale at Target. (Yes, Target, damnit!). It is a very attractive ¼ chassis DVD player that also plays MP-3 discs. Made by Philips, and with the model number 580, it had to be worth a try, right? I initially hooked it up with the Corda and the Beyer 831s. CD was “3 Wishes” by Spyro Gyra. I couldn’t have picked a worse combination. The Philips seemed to have an accentuated upper midrange, which overemphasized the upper register of Jay’s sax, and lopped off the lower range. The 831s turned this into a pure wave of distilled harshness and focused it directly on my poor overtaxed eardrums. Of course my built in mental equalizer adapted in 2 songs and I couldn’t be sure if I had really heard something obnoxious, or my ears were re-calibrating from the long drive home.

Enter the HeadSwitch. I just set up the following test:

The Players: Phillips s580 vs JVC D723
The Disc: 2 copies of “Tourist in Paradise” by The Rippingtons (highly recommended)
The amp: SAC modified w/ ¼” locking jack
The cans: HD600 w/ 25’ Barney cable
The chair: Ekornes Stressless (of course)
The beer: Spaten Oktoberfest

I started the discs about 10 seconds apart, so that I could hear the same passage repeated. There was really no contest. The Philips does indeed have a pronounced bump in the upper midrange, and an accentuated treble. This would not have been a bad combination with the HD600s if it had been more subtle, but it was very obvious. In contrast the JVC has a much warmer character that really flatters acoustic guitar. I was also surprised at the difference in soundstage and apparent depth. I don’t usually think about this stuff with headphones, but with the Switchbox the contrast is so apparent that I couldn’t ignore it, and my touchy but treacherous ears could not adjust fast enough to fool me.

Bottom line, the Philips goes back, I get back $145, and my quest for a midsized player for my office continues. I hope to take the Corda in to go with the DT250-250 that get used daily. The combo will have to best my D808K Sony PCDP, however.

Oh, about the switchbox: nice piece of work. Typical Headroom build quality. Very nicely finished aluminum housing about the size and looks of the Home amp. Connectors are very solid. No pops or clicks when changing sources. No apparent audio degradation, but how could I tell anyway? I will devise a test to be sure.


Later

gerG
 
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