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Oblivion | UltraSonic Studios

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by Maxx134, Mar 22, 2019.
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  1. SonicTrance
    This is the first Citadel I've built for sale. Biggest difference visually is the deeper chassis and the octal tubes used.

    DSC_0054.JPG DSC_0055.JPG DSC_0057.JPG DSC_0059.JPG DSC_0063.JPG DSC_0066.JPG
     
    Benny-x, nick n, Phantaminum and 3 others like this.
  2. Maxx134
    Impressive...
    What are the Octals?
    6sn7?
     
  3. SonicTrance
    6H9C (russian 6SL7) and 6P31S (russian EL36)
    Any 6SL7/ECC35/6SU7 can be used. And also any EL36 of course.
     
    PaganDL likes this.
  4. Maxx134
    I always preferred 6SL7 over any 6SN7, partially because it is louder..
    :)
     
  5. SonicTrance
    Yeah, 6SN7 is also a good tube. But, like you say, not enough gain to use in this amp. 6SL7 is very linear also and good sounding tube.
     
  6. baronbeehive
    That really is one impressive amp Sonic, looks very good in black, sleek and functional.

    Agree!

    TBH I could never tell any sonic differences between them, I could however tell the price differences between the Tungsol 6SN7/6SL7's, made it a no brainer for me.

    Edit: maybe we will have some impressions of the citadel if the customer in question is amenable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
    Benny-x likes this.
  7. SonicTrance
    Thanks! The front panel is available in silver as well. I think it looks better in black though.

    I think we’ll get some impressions in time. The amp is on its way.
     
    joseph69 likes this.
  8. Monsterzero
    Im still interested in reviewing your amp. :)
     
    joseph69 likes this.
  9. SonicTrance
    I’ll let you know if I build a loaner. If things doesn’t take off I might do it. :)
     
    Monsterzero likes this.
  10. Phantaminum
    Gear: PC --> Eitr --> Gungnir Multibit MB A1 --> Single End: Oblivion, Single End: Glenn OTL, Balanced: Liquid Platinum

    Headphones:
    ZMF Verite
    ZMF Auteur
    Sennheiser HD650
    Fostex TR-X00
    Hifiman Ananda
    Verum One

    EisPfpZ.jpg

    Build:
    The Oblivion is one big puppy. It's the size of two Liquid Platinum's side by side and stacked two high. It may be bigger than Glenn's OTL amp but weighs much lighter. The black aluminum attributes to this as well as it being transformerless. The only niggle I have with it are the metal spike feet. There are three in total - two in the front corner and one in the back. Metal feet that the spike sit on are provided and it's stable enough. Now, when you're disconnecting cables and moving things around, the back tends to wobble if you're not careful. I would of personally asked for a fourth spike to stabilize it. The rest of the amp looks and feels well built. XLR jacks click in smoothly and the power switch feels sturdy.

    hoLZTbx.jpg

    Sound:

    Slightly south from neutral with good extension on both ends. It's very strong in transients.The Oblivion can go low but it's not a bass monster. It has a refined presentation of bass - tight, fast, and punchy. Don't expect a big rumble from it. It extends well into the highs but never at any point harsh. This is an amplifier that I can see pairing very well with bright to neutral cans. The amp has a liquid way of presenting music while still having the attack needed for snares and cymbals. Speed is up there with solid state amps and I've not one complaint over it's PRaT. I had a blast listening to Rush's La Villa Strangiato from the Oblivion. It ate up all of the rhythmic changes without any complaints. The EL81 and 6AT6 imparts a tube like sound to the sound stage. It's big, and wide, with good depth. Great instrumental separation, tonality, and timbre. I will say that the amp can be strange with it's sound stage. For example, I found that the Verum One can be shouty at times on the Liquid Platinum and the Massdrop CTH. On the Oblivion it pushes the sound stage back a bit to where it's almost perfect for my tastes. When I decided to try out the Ananda I thought, "This may push the sound stage too far back for my tastes". It didn't change the sound stage at all.

    Amp Comparison:

    Glenn OTL:

    Both amps are priced around $1700 in total. Where Glenn's amp falls short is clarity, speed, bass tautness, and a quiet background. This is quite obvious when using the HD650 on both amps. You feel like you're listening to the Sennheiser out of a fast solid state but with a tubey sound. The Oblivion's presentation reminds me of the iFi Audio Pro iCAN in that sense but with better tonality/timbre. With the Verite, speed is not an issue. I feel like I'm almost cheating when using that headphone with this amp. It sounds faster than the Liquid Platinum pairing. Glenn's amp has the upper hand in macro dynamics, layering*, depth*, instrument separation*, and versatility*. Small gradients in sound and large dynamic swings are done so incredibly well. The Verite just doesn't feel as dynamic sounding out of the Oblivion as Glenn's amp. On the other hand this is matter of taste. I like a warmer sounding amp and this fits the bill. The Oblivion does a fantastic job in being neutral and that's what it excels in.

    *Layering, depth, and instrument separation are all dependent on the tubes being used. On average the tubes I use in the amp are worth around $400. The tubes in the Oblivion are a total of $35 - $40 shipped. *Versatility is either a big positive or big negative. If you're looking to be able to change the tone and timbre of your headphone this amp is for you. You can use 6, 12, and 25 volt driver tubes with a turn of a knob. On the other hand once you start the journey you'll end up going down the rabbit hole of tubes trying to find the right sound for your headphone. The Oblivion does not change sound when you tube roll. It has great tone and timbre but it's hard to get past the perfect combination of tubes on the GOTL.

    Liquid Platinum:

    The Oblivion is technically a much better amplifier in almost all comparisons. The LP falls behind in speed, bass tautness, instrument separation, liquidity, imaging, and sound stage width. The Oblivion's smooth and liquid presentation can't be underrated. Tonality and timbre are about the same but only because I'm using $250 tubes in the LP. The LP does have the versatility of being able to roll tubes to adjust the sound to a specific headphone and it has fully balanced connections. Tomas does offer a fully balanced version of the Oblivion. Where the LP does win hands down is in the sub bass. It gives Verum One and Ananda a really nice rumble to it.

    Headphone pairing:

    Verum One:

    This is, by far, my favorite pairing with the Oblivion. Just amazing synergy here and it makes the headphone sound like a million bucks. The Verum One has great timbre and tone, combined with its smooth presentation, and speed, it's no wonder that it sounds that good out of it. The Oblivion just stacks on the Verum One's strengths with its own. The Oblivion expands on its sound stage as well and pushes it slightly further out. Fast, tight attacks, with punchy bass. Rush's YYZ instruments, double kick drums and snares sound great with this pairing. Very clear and liquid sounding. Almost a holographic sound stage.

    Ananda:
    Great pairing as well and enjoyed it more out of the Oblivion compared to the Liquid Platinum. Most of what I said on the Verum One applies here as well except it doesn't scale as well as the Verum One. If you want a more laid back approach to music this is a good headphone to use. Smooth, clear, and wide. I would of loved to try out the Arya or HEK V2s as I think this amp would of tamed the highs enough to enjoy them.

    TR-X00:
    I was pleasantly surprised with this headphone and the Oblivion. I only had the default pads (which I loathe) but from experience you never get the same level of bass once you pad roll. The Oblivion tightens up the sound, adds speed, and tames treble peaks. When I owned the Fostex before, my ears would fatigue quickly. I've been running these for the past couple of hours and I'm truly enjoying combination. The LP rumbles the Fostex harder but the rest of the frequency sounds so much better out of the Oblivion. There's more air between instruments and it expands the sound stage slightly (it's noticeable but not big by any stretch of the imagination).

    HD650:
    Eh, it's doable. There are amps out there that have better synergy. I would stick with the MCTH and a LPS if you have one or save up for one of the TOTL amps to really make it scale.

    Auteur:
    Perforated pads: One of my personal favorite combinations. Great transients, attack, and liquid smoothness without dulling the sound.
    Auteur pads: I don't enjoy these pads as they've previously sounded too bright for me. With the Oblivion, it was much more enjoyable. Instruments have more air, better separation, and an even more neutral sound.

    Verite:
    Universe Pads - No. Please don't.
    Suede Perforated Pads - Much much better. Does a better job by bringing up the treble and doesn't make it sound dull.
    Be2 pads - Different presentation but much more holographic than then Suede Perf Pads. Starts sounding like the Auteur.
    As a personal preference I preferred a more warmer sound with the GOTL than the neutral sound out of the Oblivion.

    Conclusion:
    This amp pairs up nicely with neutral to bright headphones. It loves low z dynamics and planar headphones. I can just imagine how an Elex or Clear would sound out of it. I wish I could give you guys more data points when it comes to other amps. It be nice to compare it against the iFi Audio Pro iCAN, or the A&S Pendant. It has SS speed with good tube warmth, liquid sound, and fantastic transients.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
  11. SonicTrance
    I will now offer these amps with an optional impedance switch! I've made some measurements on my Citadel and updated the website with specs and power outputs. Will update the Oblivion page with power outputs when I've built the next one but it will be similar to Citadel.
    This is to give more power to high Z headphones.
     
    nishan99 and Monsterzero like this.
  12. 2359glenn
    Hi Tomas
    Have you sold many yet?
    Switching to the Octal tube is a good idea most people prefer them.
    Nice looking amp.

    Good luck
    Glenn
     
  13. SonicTrance
    Hey Glenn,
    I've sold 4 amps, so not that many lol. Thanks for the nice words though!
     
  14. Dogmatrix
    I would love to buy one particularly the octal version . In fact I am actively setting aside the pennies so please don't give up . Really good quality hybrids are rare and this one is beautiful as well . Unfortunately I live in Australia so the goal line keeps moving away in terms of currency conversion , but what goes down must come back up I hope .
     
    Phantaminum likes this.
  15. SonicTrance
    Don't worry I'm not giving up! I really enjoy building these amps and its not my job, just a hobby.
    :)
     
    Phantaminum likes this.
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