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Oblivion | UltraSonic Studios

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by Maxx134, Mar 22, 2019.
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  1. joseph69
    Thank you for your impressions/comparisons. Yes, I'm using the WA33 w/upgraded tubes to power the Susvara, as well as other headphones, and I do enjoy it very much. I never turn the volume past 12:00, I'm usually listening at 11:00 or lower and I'm very satisfied. I do understand that you pushed these amps to their limit for testing, though. I had the opportunity to hear the Susvara on the PL 150 power amp (not INT) thanks to @llamaluv but unfortunately it was much too brief to draw any conclusions between it and the WA33 because my main priority was to listen to the SR1a/PL which is what I did. I would love to give the Citadel a listen for myself one day in comparison to my WA33, especially due to their price differences.
  2. llamaluv
    I also liked Maxx134's Oblivion on the Susvara when we listened to it alongside my WA33. I didn't listen to it long or closely enough to form strong enough opinions compared to the WA33 (in part due to my own psychological resistance to doing so?! :D ). But I liked what I heard.

    I'm starting to warm up to the hybrid amp topology and wouldn't mind another listen with the Oblivion, as well as some other hybrid amps. Similarly, I'm liking the combination of a tube pre-amp with a solid-state power amp. Best-of-both-worlds kind of arrangement...
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
    omniweltall and joseph69 like this.
  3. SonicTrance
    I can build Oblivion and Citadel with pre-amp outputs as well, no problem.
    llamaluv likes this.
  4. Maxx134
    Thanks to member @llamaluv for initial testing with Susvara.
    It was later in other friend's setups with Susvara I put the Oblivion to the test.

    Also, to respond to that idea quoted,
    I used to think that in the general, (about using a tube preamp) as it does make sense, but the truth is, most equipment is still not optimally implemented.

    They just throw a tube circuit in the middle for "tube distortion" and looks..
    You would be surprised at how many do this.

    In contrast, this amp, and the hybrid amp thread previous to this thread shows, if a circuit is not using the tubes specifically for voltage and the "solid state" for current, its not an ideal hybrid design.

    Also the ideal usage of CCS & Gyrators is what gives this amp the quick recovery & transients, to perform as if it was a higher wattage amp.

    The other parts of the design (like "parafeed" part of the topology) is not uncommon but the implementation of it , in a way to reduce the parts parasitics, is also key to this design.

    I am sure SonicTrance or MrCurwen can elaborate better, but I cannot understate this point.
    That is what truly differentiates this amp from common tube amp designs, or common hybrid designs.

    The electronics market is slow to modernize and most amps you see, (even in the multi-thousand dollar level) are still using old school topology, which consequentially relys very heavily on parts quality.
    You can't get around this on current tube designs.
    They are still following old school topologies.
    You see it everywhere and upgrades will cost you more.
    Name a tube amp brand now, and you'll see it's old school design.
    This is also why you will hear nothing but crickets from competitors because they know this.

    Eventually the market will come around, but in the meantime, this amp has turned out to be the most optimal implementation.

    If you have been following the previous modern amp thread, or even the LittleDot Mk6/MK8 super mod thread, you would know that I was not a believer in this type of topology at all.
    I was a stubborn believer of old school designs.
    There is a stigma in the tube camp where oldtimers feel a need four purest tube design without Solid State.
    I also had this belief system.
    And it is true, most hybrid designs are done poorly..

    So It was only until I was able to test it and hear it for myself. At first I was in heavy denial that this amp could sound as good as the amps next to it (at the time they were very expensive).
    three amps.jpg
    It actually took some time for my mind and denial to accept the fact what I was hearing.
    I wasn't even planning to hold onto this amp at all.
    I was only supposed to inspect, review, and then ship it off.

    So in summary, this is the first implementation that I feel is done right, only because I myself was able to confirm through comparison.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    llamaluv and SonicTrance like this.
  5. baronbeehive
    Very interesting test of the amp using max volume to check on the amps response to heavy loads and consequent distortion, clipping and so on, glad your brain survived this rather extreme rash experiment Maxx!I have not tried this, since using earbuds a while ago I never listen at high volumes any more, the only time I did was accidently when the max volume setting on an amp I had was also the setting for change from amp to DAC and I forgot this when I switched over. Fortunately my ears loss of blood was minimal and the effect on my headphone drivers was not terminal.

    You certainly know no boundaries when it comes to testing lol.

    It is testament to the ingenious design that it holds its own against other more high powered competition, due to the clever way in designing parts to work together in just the right way that some would not think of doing. It appears that whatever you throw at this amp it is equal to the task. In any case it appears that the amp has more than enough power from what you say.

    Are you able to do a test using it as a speaker amp, this would be interesting to me?I realize this is outside your normal listening method.

    Sonic, a small point but the only thing I would say is are you able to put the meters on the front side instead of the top?
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  6. SonicTrance
    I can but then I can not use those nice big meters. Id have to use small ones like in the Little dot MK6.
  7. baronbeehive

    Another question, I know you have similar speakers to me, although your headphones are not similar, how do you rate the sound from speakers compared to headphones with the Oblivion. People assume that headphones are generally superior but the sound I get from my speaker amp and the LD is very similar in general terms - soundstage, resolution etc. so I can change from one to the other without any lack of enjoyment.
  8. Articnoise
    Any pictures and spec of the Citadel?
  9. joseph69
    I believe I had visited a website for the Oblivion by SonicStudios but I can't seem to find it, all I keep coming up with is this thread and recording studios. Am I mistaken in thinking I visited a site for SonicStudios? If not, @SonicTrance would you mind posting or sending me the link in a PM, please? As I've mentioned before, I'd be interested in the Citadel being I run a fully balanced system.

    Thank you
  10. SonicTrance
    My small monitor audio speakers dont have the same sound quality as my Audeze headphones regardless of amp. I do have a pair of Yamaha floorstanders as well and I think Oblivion/Citadel drives them very good! It's always different to listen through speakers rather then headphones though. It depends on the mood which I prefer.
  11. SonicTrance
    Sorry, no pics yet as I have not built one for costumers yet. My personal amp is Citadel circuit but in a different chassis. The ones I build for customers will look like Oblivion but 100mm deeper chassis.

    What specs do you want? Tubes in Citadel will be 6SL7 and 6P31S (EL36). Citadel will have higher gain than Oblivion, otherwise the specs are the same.
  12. SonicTrance
    Sorry, I don’t have a website, yet. You must have visited something else. If you’re interested send me a PM.
  13. joseph69
    I must have visited a review of the Oblivion and though I'd seen a site, my mistake.
  14. baronbeehive
    Just a thought but that must be something to do with the fact that most amps have a Chinese or similar origin, ripped off from our old treasured 50's designed amps. Things will really get going when they start to innovate rather than copy.

    Yes, but I feel it is not wrong to use the right topology for the right reason, that is to go for top level sonics, and why wouldn't you use hybrid in that case, unless of course you just want to get the best "tube sound", if that is what you are in to.
  15. SonicTrance
    I prefer my amp to be transparent, fast and detailed while keeping the holographic soundstage. Not slow and goey "tube sound".
    FlySweep likes this.
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