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No difference in sound when trying various amps??!?!?!

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by cobaltius, Nov 24, 2014.
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  1. Mr Rick
    Another SS amp. Don't you folks like tubes. LOL
    Update: I did a bit of research here on HF and it seems I might not hear much difference between the Soloist and my Lyr. If yours is in the closet you must not hold it in very high esteem [​IMG].
  2. joseph69
    It did not sound great, but not terrible either, but all in all I didn't care for the sound…and that was out of my HeadAmp GS-1 SS amp, not my WA6.
    Yes, we do [​IMG]
    I have a WA6 which I love dearly paired with my RS1i's [​IMG]
    I had the Lyr, and yes it is a very good sounding amp with the right tubes. I wanted a SS amp specifically for my PS1K's because I didn't really care for them paired with the WA6. I felt they needed more authority, so I tried the Lyr due to it power and they sounded very good, but the Lyr is a Hybrid and I still wanted to try a SS amp with them which lead me to the Soloist, which I did/do prefer over the Lyr. But I always had my heart set on getting a HeadAmp GS-1 (no longer in production) and searched high/low for a long time for a used one, but couldn't find one…then I found one, and couldn't buy it fast enough! I compared the Soloist/GS-1 and have to say, I've never heard an amp like the GS-1 before…beautiful/clean/natural sounding amp!
    I also really like the Soloist and considered keeping both, but I really don't need 3 SS amps (3rd being my Magni/Modi combo for my desktop use with my 325is's). So I decided to sell the Soloist, thats why its packed away safely in its box in the closet…plus I don't have/intend to use HI impedance HP's being Grado's (LO impedance) are the HP's for me after trying many different HP's like the HD-800/HE400i/T1/and also the LCD-X (LCD-X LO impedance) so I'm going to be sticking with the HP's/amps I prefer. [​IMG]
    If I didn't come across the GS-1 I would have kept the Soloist and never looked back…for sure!
  3. Cobaltius
    What headphones do you use?
  4. joseph69
    I was using my PS1K's.
  5. Shaffer

    I like tubes, albeit prefer the amp most with HD600 and K550. If you're willing to take the time and effort to find the right tubes for your tastes, why not?
  6. Mr Rick
    Well a few days have passed and I'm happy to proclaim that I am starting to hear a difference between the Asgard 2 and the Valhalla 2.  However, I can't quite put into words what that difference is. Other then to say I prefer the Vallhalla 2.[​IMG]
  7. Stillhart
    FWIW, I think the Modi is super overrated and didn't sound any better than my Sound Blaster card.  When I moved up to the NFB-15, I clearly noticed a blacker background and better separation in A/B testing with the same amp.
    And for what it's worth, there's a big thread on here about some guy doing blind A/B tests between the Modi and the Bifrost and not being able to tell the difference.  Apparently, much of what you're paying for with the Bifrost is additional connectivity and upgradeability.  So no, I don't think you're going to hear much jumping from a Modi to a Bifrost.
    I think you'd want to try out a different DAC chip to hear a real difference.  
    Regarding amps, I noticed a real difference jumping from no amp (sound card) to a real amp (Matrix M-stage).  But moving to the onboard amp of the NFB-15 there was no audible difference.  Adding the Project Ember obviously changed the sound a bit thanks to the tubes, but apparently you're not considering tubes so *shrug*.  I have yet to jump to a "flagship" amp or DAC.  I'm waiting to try some out at Canjam before spending money...
  8. money4me247 Contributor
    The modi and bifrost do have different dac chips. Modi uses the AKM4396 and the Bifrost uses the AKM4399. The NFB-15 does use dual Wolfson WM8741 dac chips which is considered to be a flagship dac. if choosing dacs based on their chip, the ESS Sabre 9018 is another "flagship" dac chip.
    But yes, generally with additional components, the audible improvements are a lot more subtle than some impressions around here suggest.
  9. Mr Rick
    I would go so far as to say the audible differences between DACs is non existent.  But as always YMMV.
  10. Stillhart
    Yeah but they're in the same family so they're not going to sound as different as jumping to Wolfson or Sabre.  It sounds like OP realizes he's looking for something subtle so changing the DAC might be what he's looking for, I dunno.  But I'll throw in my $0.02 that refusing to change headphones and then looking to spend Gungnir money on a DAC seems a little backwards.  Yes, the DAC will improve the sound, but not as much as spending the same money on new headphones.
    On paper this SHOULD be the case.  In practice it's not.  My understanding from my research is that the "implementation" is what gives the different flavors to the different DAC's.  Things like power conditioning/isolation can affect the sound, etc.
    I went through the same doubts as OP a few months back when I was disappointed to realize that the Modi made no difference in my setup.  But then I got the NFB-15 and Yulong D100 and both of those sounded better than the Modi or Omni.  I tested both through the same amp to make sure the differences were down to the DAC and there was an audible difference.  The differences between those two were pretty subtle, for sure, but there was enough of a difference that I didn't have any problem deciding which I liked better with my headphones.
    Long story short:  everyone is going to have opinions on sound and the only way to know for yourself is to try it yourself.
  11. money4me247 Contributor
    I totally agree with this. You will get a more dramatic sound change & increase in sound quality spending that kind of money on headphones.
  12. joseph69
    I agree 100%…I already asked the OP if he was happy with his HD-600's and he said yes he is…different HP may be the answer here?
    I take reviews/opinions/impressions with a grain of salt…I absolutely need to hear for myself.
  13. Cobaltius
    I'm thinking of saving up for the HD 800's?
    How would that be compared to the HD 600
    I heard the HD 800 has an annoying peak around the 5.5-6K so I will probably do the Anaxilus mod to flatten the frequencies down a bit
  14. adtrance
    While I'm very new to the headphone hobby, I have a long history with home and car audio.  Speakers definitely make the biggest difference in sound compared to amps.  That said, my Little Dot 1+ is leagues ahead in sound quality compared to the headphone out of my Sony SACD headphone jack and of course the IPhone 6.
    I also have a Meier ss amp coming so I'll have a better comparison to make.
  15. joseph69
    Yes, I am totally aware that HP's come first.
    So you can hear a definite difference in your HP's  with the LD-1+ amp compared too other amps so far, correct?
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