PPA & Senn. 650 How do I spend my last few $
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duff138

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I have Sennheiser 650 and I am getting a PPA amp, made by Voodoochile. Right now I considereing the PPA with discrete buffer. What is the best way to spend my last $100-200. Here are my choices:


1.upgrade headphone cable, maybe Zu Cable
2.BlackGates upgrade on PPA
3.stepped attenuator

Any other choices I may have missed, let me know. What is going to be best improvement/upgrade.
 
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tom hankins

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Get the stepps now so you don't have to send the amp back later.
As soon as you can, get the Zu cable. I think the Zu will make a bigger difference in sound, but get the amp how you want it first and the cable later. The 650 with stock cable is good on its own and will do for the time being.
 
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duff138

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I'm actually only 30 minutes away from the builder, so if it needs to go back for a stepped attenuator it's not a big deal. I will not have to worry about shipping time or cost. I'm tempted to get it with out at first then upgrade just to see/hear the improvement.
I like your suggestions. You know as well as I do it's not my last $200! It's the last $200 till the next $200 upgrade!
I guess eventually I'll be doing both of these and it's just a matter of which one first.
 
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gpalmer

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If it were me I would go with the stepped attenuator first also. While I haven't heard the amplifier let alone with the permutations you mention, when it comes time to decide on a cable the closer your amplifier is in sound to what it will be the better you can make the judgement call.
 
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I have to agree with both tom and gpalmer. Do it right the first time and you will not have to wonder. There's no point in going back and forth. You can get the cable upgrade later.
 
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Sean H

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
If it were me I would go with the stepped attenuator first also. While I haven't heard the amplifier let alone with the permutations you mention, when it comes time to decide on a cable the closer your amplifier is in sound to what it will be the better you can make the judgement call.


I agree. If you think you will definitely be going for a SA then do it now if funds allow. While the Zu definitely has the gracious trial period for you to try it you should consider what your system sounds like at the time you are ready and let that help guide you to what after market cable might be your best choice (based partly on descriptions and impressions of others) as Greg is eluding to.

Personally not a proponent of choice #2 myself. Congrats on your amp choice BTW, I know you have been thinking about this one for some time. I have it planned to add a Goldpoint SA to mine in the future, I simply had to forgo the option right now due to finances. I don't mind, this way when that bug starts to bite again I've got something I can look forward to.
 
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I'll break with the pack and suggest an upgrade cable for the 650s. I think it could make a bigger sonic difference than a stepped attenuator (and will certainly make a bigger difference in the overall "look and feel" of your setup).

My feeling about SA's vs. high quality pots is that you're giving up volume control flexibility in exchange for slightly better stereo separation and maybe improved SQ. Granted, this is not based on extensive comparisons, but rather a modicum of knowledge of electronics.
 
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duff138

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean H
I agree. If you think you will definitely be going for a SA then do it now if funds allow. While the Zu definitely has the gracious trial period for you to try it you should consider what your system sounds like at the time you are ready and let that help guide you to what after market cable might be your best choice (based partly on descriptions and impressions of others) as Greg is eluding to.

Personally not a proponent of choice #2 myself. Congrats on your amp choice BTW, I know you have been thinking about this one for some time. I have it planned to add a Goldpoint SA to mine in the future, I simply had to forgo the option right now due to finances. I don't mind, this way when that bug starts to bite again I've got something I can look forward to.




What's your opinion on BlackGates? How do they effect the sound?
 
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gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by fewtch
My feeling about SA's vs. high quality pots is that you're giving up volume control flexibility in exchange for slightly better stereo separation and maybe improved SQ.


Actually it doesn't do anything for stereo separation since that is the degree the signals crossover between channels. What it does is more precisely regulate the level of the two channels particularly in the end ranges of the volume where pots tend to be least reliable. In addition to usually improving the sound quality since the parts quality is usually better.
 
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For medium sensitivity, high impedence headphones like the senn 650 the stepped attenuator is relatively easy to set the right volume. Where stepped attenuators are a pain is with high sensitivity, low impedence headphones. Stepped attenutors make a dramatic difference in resolution because the signal only has to pass through a resistor, or at most, a couple resistors instead of conductive plastic. The stepped attenuators remove any trace of eletronic glare and give you a refinement that a standard volume pot cant match. I am also in the camp the attenuator is the best initial option, followed by the cable upgrade; especially since you will eventually get both. The cable upgrade will then (likely)
make a larger improvement once you get one because of the stepped attenuators improved resolution and transparency.
 
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