My One of a kind Melos
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Zanth

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Now that my Melos has finally arrived I will tell my story here.

It all began this past summer with my search for some HP-1000's. A fellow Head-fier was selling a pair of HP-2's and I jumped at the chance to buy them. It had been a while since I had seen a pair for sale so I didn't bother wasting time. They weren't the HP-1's but they were close. I enjoyed these cans for about 3 weeks when fortune smiled in my direction. I was offered a pair of HP-1's with Signature Joseph Grado Cable. I didn't want to pass the Crown Jewel of the Grado family up so I bought them. Sitting here with two HP-1000's was gluttonous for sure, but it was fun to compare and contrast them against my standard - the RS-1's.

I felt the RA-1 just wasn't supplying enough juice to the HP-1000's so I bought a Headmaster. It was a great amp and I think the build quality is impecable on these units. The sound was fantastic but I still preferred my RS-1/RA-1 combo. If the HP-1000's are to be the best of the best...then something must not be right. Time to switch up amps. I sold the Sugden to my brother and I began researching tube amps. I was very very close to jumping on the Meier RKV bandwagon back in August but again fortune smiled down on me. The seller of the HP-1's mentioned to me that he had a Melos amp he was willing to sell. He has a pair of Ety's for portable use and a pair of Omega II's which are his standard phones. The Melos was just sitting there anyway. I hmmm'd and haaaa'd because of the age of Melos units and reliability issues as well. I don't think I would have been so torn over the issue if it were not for the fact that this melos in particular is a one of a kind prototype built solely for headphones. No preamp stage at all.

This intrigued me. Melos built this amp using the HP-1's. It was designed for the HP-1's and I figured with all that has been said positively about various Melos amps, this was worth a shot. I bit the bullet and sent my money order away in late September. The amp was shipped out to me Sept 29th and should have arrived to me Oct 4th. It was shipped via USPS and upon entering Canada, Canadapost takes over. I never got the amp. Not only was this thing missing in action, I didn't receive any notice that someone had attempted to drop it off. I work for the Canadian Government. At my particular building there are between 6-10 security guards at the front desk 24 hours a day. There is one door into the building. No one gets past the guards and ALL packages go through them.
Anyway, I didn't know what was up. I waited a week and then I contacted the seller. He went and inquired at USPS, who subsequently informed him he would have to wait at least 2 weeks until they would begin a trace. After another 2 weeks, I requested a tracking number even though it was for USPS. I entered it into the Canadapost system and it came back indicating an attempted drop-off on Oct 4th am, and notice was left. I called immediately and was given 6 phone numbers of depots it may be located at. I called them all. Nothing

I began a trace the next day. The trace came up nil. Get this though...the day I was told they have no idea where the amp is...it arrived back to the seller. Gotta love BOTH the US and Canadian postal services on this one.

The amp was sent off to me again. I requested it be sent by Fed-EX, UPS, DHL, ANYTHING but USPS. Sadly, the seller did not heed my demands and sent it off. He didn't pay for tracking the second time around either...so I waited. He sent it October 28th, I got it last night. I was pissed off to say the least. I was frustrated I had paid for something and still no amp. When I got a notice to my home address that a delivery had been attempted, I was very nervous (I'm expecting LOTR 5 disc set as well) and didn't want to get too excited over the ordeal.

I came home, called up the postal depot and rushed off to see what I got. When I walked into this 7/11 I was panting, I had just run 3 miles to get this package. I was sprinting most of the way. I threw my ID and the notice on the desk and 1 minute later my amp was safely in my arms. Now to get this thing home!!!

When I arrived home I opened up the box. Amongst all the packing popcorn was another box (yeah for double boxing!!!). I gently removed the second box, unpacked the amp and was taken aback by the fact that it was missing the volume knob! I searched through the mess and found it hidden deep in foam. I screwed it in and then went to turn the amp on. Nothing. The power switch was either loose or not connected at all. It must have been broken in all the travels. I popped open the hood and hand wired the switch, turned on the amp and finally witnessed success!

Sadly, at the moment, I can only turn the amp on and off via the power switch on a power bar. This weekend I will grab a switch from ratshack and see what I can swing. At least it works right? So how does it sound?

Preliminary impressions with the HP-1's are that I will not look to find something better. This combo is sooo magical that at the very most, I will have a certain young brown man on the west coast hook me up with some stellar mods. Until I hear the R10's or some electrostats, I won't lust after them. Instrumental music, the sound is BIG, Detailed, and airy. It sounds like true music. This beast makes these phones sing! I tried different cd's, different genres, and hands down, the RA-1/RS-1 combo bests this combo for electronic music to my ears. Also, I don't like the Melos with the RS-1's. It doesn't sound as smooth or liquid as the reference combo from Grado. If I am to fully take advantage of the RS-1's I may very well have to look into an EAR or a Cary. The Cary is on my very short list for a SET speaker system so it will probably win out over the Ear. For now, I enjoy the RA-1/RS-1 combo very much and won't complain.

I will whip out a digital cam this weekend but for now, here are some small pics sent to me by the seller:





So I am happy now...not ecstatic as the amp was not in the exact condition as I expected it to be. I am happy it is in my hands now and bringing me some super joy with the HP-1's.

More to come as I get used to its sound!
 
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Hirsch

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Congrats on finally getting it! I'm looking forward to reading about how it sounds. Based on the SHA-1, my own opinion is that the HP-1000 is the reason to own a Melos. It's good with other headphones, but that's the headphone it was made for. It sounds like your one of a kind prototype has the same synergy. Of course, in addition to the mod prospects, you're going to have to find the right set of tubes...
 
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Zanth

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Well if the HP-1000/Melos combo is that magical, coming from you ruler of the headphone, then I figure it is legit. I need two mods...the first is, if possible, installing a removable pc. The second will be tubes =)

Not sure what is in there now, but the seller sent me a pair of Ei's ECC-82's. I have no idea what that means =) But I will roll them later tonight.
 
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yidimsum

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Quote:

Originally posted by Zanth
Not sure what is in there now, but the seller sent me a pair of Ei's ECC-82's. I have no idea what that means =) But I will roll them later tonight. [/B]



Nice pictures! I think the Ei's are Yugoslav tubes, along the lines of JJ/Tesla. The VTL TT-25 (tiny triode) monoblocks that I just received today use Ei EL84s as stock power tubes (labeled VTL). I'm still trying to figure out how to bias the amps.
 
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Zanth

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I will be looking to the uber-melos people to offer me suggestions about tubes. I don't know much and so all the help I can collectively receive would be grand.
 
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kerelybonto

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Very cool, Zanth. I look forward to hearing more of your impressions.

And it's so small! The main reason I haven't pursued a SHA-1 is that I just don't have room for any 19-in rack components (and really not much for standard components either). Do you know if your amp is a SHA-1 prototype or what?

kerely
 
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aeberbach

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That looks like a great little amp! You're lucky it came through all that shipping in one piece, or I should say, two pieces. Trivial fact: the knob used by Melos is available from Digikey, although they don't sell the gold version.

Comparing my Melos SHA-1 to the pictures of the inside of your amp, it looks like it might be the same PCB. Unfortunately there is no marking on the PCB so I can't give you a part number to compare, but the color, position of the tubes, capacitors and row of power connectors all looks the same. Do you have a SHA-1 or have you heard one so as to be able to compare it?

Now I'm curious. There was a guy at the NYC meet on Saturday, I never found out who he was and he did not seem to be a head-fi member, trying to sell a Melos prorotype amp built for Grado but never turned into a product. He wanted $180 and if anyone was interested was going to go and get it from Long Island to bring back. Nobody expressd much interest so he didn't - but I wonder if it was the same as yours? Anyone remember who he was?
 
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Hirsch

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Quote:

Originally posted by aeberbach

Now I'm curious. There was a guy at the NYC meet on Saturday, I never found out who he was and he did not seem to be a head-fi member, trying to sell a Melos prorotype amp built for Grado but never turned into a product. He wanted $180 and if anyone was interested was going to go and get it from Long Island to bring back. Nobody expressd much interest so he didn't - but I wonder if it was the same as yours? Anyone remember who he was?


WHAT?? There's a guy with a one of a kind Melos for less than $200 and half of the people there didn't jump on it?
I felt a disturbance in the Force while listening to the HP-1 on Saturday. Now I know why.
 
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NotoriousBIG_PJ

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Thats looks like a great combination. Trying out the hp-1's is definetly on my to due list hehe.

Biggie.
 
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Zanth

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Hirsch said:

Quote:

WHAT?? There's a guy with a one of a kind Melos for less than $200 and half of the people there didn't jump on it? I felt a disturbance in the Force while listening to the HP-1 on Saturday. Now I know why.



I nearly wet my pants...

Heh...the more I listen the more I think I have found my final resting place. Some mods...and some speakers...and finally I can invest in an auto.
 
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markl

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What is that? A dedicated headphone amp-only SHA-1? I swear, there must be a different Melos for each one they sold!


What year is is from? How many inputs does it have?

Mark
 
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andrzejpw

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Quote:

Originally posted by aeberbach
That looks like a great little amp! You're lucky it came through all that shipping in one piece, or I should say, two pieces. Trivial fact: the knob used by Melos is available from Digikey, although they don't sell the gold version.

Comparing my Melos SHA-1 to the pictures of the inside of your amp, it looks like it might be the same PCB. Unfortunately there is no marking on the PCB so I can't give you a part number to compare, but the color, position of the tubes, capacitors and row of power connectors all looks the same. Do you have a SHA-1 or have you heard one so as to be able to compare it?

Now I'm curious. There was a guy at the NYC meet on Saturday, I never found out who he was and he did not seem to be a head-fi member, trying to sell a Melos prorotype amp built for Grado but never turned into a product. He wanted $180 and if anyone was interested was going to go and get it from Long Island to bring back. Nobody expressd much interest so he didn't - but I wonder if it was the same as yours? Anyone remember who he was?


jeebus!


I WANT IN! Please, come back, mister seller! About the disturbance: the dark side clouds all. </yoda voice off> Question though: were alcoholic beverages consumed at the meet?
 
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Zanth

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Not sure what year. It has two RCA's on the back and a 1/4" headphone jack on the front, that's it that's all. Simple, very simple I think. The PCB is hand drawn...I have not seen one like it before.
 
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williamgoody

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Quote:

WHAT?? There's a guy with a one of a kind Melos for less than $200 and half of the people there didn't jump on it? I felt a disturbance in the Force while listening to the HP-1 on Saturday. Now I know why.


Guys, not for nothing, but this is NY. People will sell you empty tin cans with "Melos" printed on them if they could get away with it. He looked and acted like a scheister, and was treated as such.
 
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andrzejpw

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Ah, ok. My faith in New York head-fiers is restored.
Seriously though, did no one ask to see it?
 
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