Quicksilver Audio Headphone Amplifier any opinions?
Dec 6, 2020 at 8:35 PM Post #46 of 394

ckhirnigs113

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 19, 2005
Posts
1,066
Likes
934
Sold your Aeolus? Yes, you'll regret that one day! Not because the VC is deficient in any way (on the contrary--it's amazing). But because the Aeolus is so good in its own right (my 2 cents).
I completely agree with that opinion. I had multiple reasons that forced my hand at the time. I decided I needed a closed-back because I have a pair of particularly loud children, and I was also disturbing my wife when doing late-night listening. Third reason was that I sadly couldn’t afford to keep the Aeolus and get the VC. Who knows, I may buy one again in the future.
 
Dec 11, 2020 at 9:32 PM Post #47 of 394

ckhirnigs113

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 19, 2005
Posts
1,066
Likes
934
I’d really like to hear some more impressions of this amp. Anyone else try it out?
 
Dec 20, 2020 at 4:17 PM Post #48 of 394

starck86

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Posts
249
Likes
446
I’d really like to hear some more impressions of this amp. Anyone else try it out?

I have it - I only use it with IEMs at the moment, but I can help provide some additional impressions if you’re interested. What kind of info are you looking for?

To me, this amp is just a really sweet, revealing yet non analytical and non fatiguing, beautiful sound signature. It’s very detailed, and even more so with certain tubes.

It’s a nice “reference” sound without being boring or analytical. Just very accurate to what you feed it (source and music).

One suggestion I have for those who do purchase this amp (and aren’t too experienced with tubes) - I think you’ll benefit from trying some of the ‘higher-end’ crop of new production tubes with the amp. The Genalex Gold Lion ECC83/B759’s and their EL84/N709’s are pretty good and a definite upgrade from the stock ones, and then there’s the typical original production tube options as well. The stock tubes will do you just fine to start though.

An off the cuff impression on the (awesome) soundstage - for me, it kinda beats all of the solid state headphone amps I’ve tried at CanJam etc. (at least all I can think of).

It seems to do well with any genre I feed it as well.


For IEM users, you probably want to get an ifi iematch (or impedance adapter). Not required but certainly helps.
Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’re curious about. For me, this amp is something I plan to keep for the long term, it’s insanely fun to roll tubes in, and it sits dutifully next to me on my desk.

I need to get a pair of over the ear headphones at some point...would be a treat with this lovely amp.

edit: Let me know if there’s anything specific you want to know that I might have left out.
 
Last edited:
Dec 21, 2020 at 7:13 PM Post #49 of 394

ckhirnigs113

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 19, 2005
Posts
1,066
Likes
934
@starck86 Thank you for taking the time to go into such detail for me. I am mainly interested in how it compares to many of the other popular sub-$1k tube amps. My main headphones will be the ZMF Verite Closed. They are said to be at their best with quality tube amplification. I have a few decent solid state amps, but I’d like to have an amp that really works with the ZMF.

The tube amps in this price range that get a lot of praise include the Feliks Audio Echo, Hagerman Audio Labs Tuba, Shortest Way 51+, Drop ZDT Jr., Monoprice Liquid Platinum, Schiit Mjolnir 2 and Lyr 3. I’d love to see how the Quicksilver stacks up.
 
Jan 1, 2021 at 11:36 PM Post #50 of 394

starck86

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Posts
249
Likes
446
Ah, so my experience with tube headphone amplifiers is a bit limited, but I think this amplifier does beat at least some of the ones I’ve listened to at ~2x the cost (Cayin may come to mind - not to disrespect them, but I just liked this particular amp better than the one I tried at the time).

Mike Sanders (founder and chief engineer of Quicksilver audio) has been making amplifiers for a long time - since at least 1980.

His design and work is extremely solid, to say the least. I think it’d be hard to find something that would beat it in this price range.

Of note, all connections are soldered point to point on these units. No wiring - just leads soldered impeccably to their destinations. That should speak for itself ; ).

For what it’s worth, I tried changing the 2 stock caps to mundorf evo silver gold oil’s, and I don’t think it made an improvement (typically I have noticed very nice, noticeable improvements when swapping these in other components). I put the original caps back in again and saved the mundorf’s for another project.

I think this kinda shows that 1- the two stock caps used in this amp are very, very good, and 2- a lot of care and consideration most likely went into selecting the caps used in this circuit.

However, I admittedly haven’t tried or heard of the other amps you have mentioned.

IMO, it’s simply incredibly hard to go wrong with a well-designed EL84 tube amplifier, especially given the high quality iron used in the quicksilver, and the kind of heritage and expertise that comes from designing tube amps for over 40 years.

All of my other tube stuff is Fisher gear I’ve restored hooked up to my speakers.

Hopefully someone else can chime in too, as I’d love to hear more comparisons to other tube amps.
 
Jan 2, 2021 at 1:00 PM Post #51 of 394

daytrader

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Posts
416
Likes
278
Location
Paradise in Naples, FL
Ah, so my experience with tube headphone amplifiers is a bit limited, but I think this amplifier does beat at least some of the ones I’ve listened to at ~2x the cost (Cayin may come to mind - not to disrespect them, but I just liked this particular amp better than the one I tried at the time).

Mike Sanders (founder and chief engineer of Quicksilver audio) has been making amplifiers for a long time - since at least 1980.

His design and work is extremely solid, to say the least. I think it’d be hard to find something that would beat it in this price range.

Of note, all connections are soldered point to point on these units. No wiring - just leads soldered impeccably to their destinations. That should speak for itself ; ).

For what it’s worth, I tried changing the 2 stock caps to mundorf evo silver gold oil’s, and I don’t think it made an improvement (typically I have noticed very nice, noticeable improvements when swapping these in other components). I put the original caps back in again and saved the mundorf’s for another project.

I think this kinda shows that 1- the two stock caps used in this amp are very, very good, and 2- a lot of care and consideration most likely went into selecting the caps used in this circuit.

However, I admittedly haven’t tried or heard of the other amps you have mentioned.

IMO, it’s simply incredibly hard to go wrong with a well-designed EL84 tube amplifier, especially given the high quality iron used in the quicksilver, and the kind of heritage and expertise that comes from designing tube amps for over 40 years.

All of my other tube stuff is Fisher gear I’ve restored hooked up to my speakers.

Hopefully someone else can chime in too, as I’d love to hear more comparisons to other tube amps.
I own his V4 Monos, and couldn’t agree more! As for Mike, he’s old school, honest as the day is long and always extremely helpful! My recommendation, buy his stuff without hesitation, you won’t find better built stuff, and maybe a little better(different) sounding at much higher prices if that?
 
Jan 26, 2021 at 11:54 PM Post #52 of 394

Oddiofyl

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Posts
67
Likes
108
Location
Boston
My Quicksilver amp is about 10 months old and I am still blown away by how great it sounds. I love it, will never sell it , and owning it justifies owning several pairs of phones. It is that good . I listened to it the other night and immediately thought " I need to listen to this more often" It is a lot of amp for the money in my opinion. I have a pair of Quicksilver Mid Monos and the headphone amp is like a 2/3 scale one of those. Same build quality, hefty transformer, thick chassis ..... it is real quality. I bought it sight unseen after owning the Mid Monos for some time, 6 years actually and they have been rock solid reliable.
 
Jan 27, 2021 at 1:49 PM Post #53 of 394

Pharmaboy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 22, 2016
Posts
4,769
Likes
6,773
Location
Goshen, NY
Not a real active thread (Quicksilver always flew under the radar), but I have plans for this amp:
  • Before getting it, I have to solve a vexing ground loop in main desktop system that has defied all conventional solutions
  • I have a couple brute-force tactics left:
    • Recabling the system so that the electronic crossover is used only for the high-pass signal to amp+monitors
    • Or recabling so that the electronic crossover is out of the system entirely
    • That crossover is where the groundloop started--it ties together a number of separate components in the system that otherwise would not be interconnected (that's what crossovers do)--and this somehow set up the groundloop
  • Either tactic takes time & effort; the 2nd option may or may not work in terms of sonic results
All to say that once there is no groundloop, only then do I feel confident putting a tube amp in the midst of the equipment scrum. If I put it in now, no telling what weirdness would result.

Question: has anyone here messed w/tube rolling the Quicksilver? It's more or less billed as the one tube amp you don't need to tube-roll to sound good. Still, I wondered. I came into a pair of NOS telefunken 12AX7s and might be tempted to roll them in place of stock, once I get the amp. But if that's a foolish thing to do, I wouldn't bother...

(thanks for listening!)
 
Last edited:
Jan 27, 2021 at 2:08 PM Post #54 of 394

ckhirnigs113

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 19, 2005
Posts
1,066
Likes
934
@Pharmaboy I'm personally very drawn to this amp because the stock tubes are supposed to work so well. I am very nervous about falling into a never-ending search for NOS tubes to get that last 2-3% of performance. There is not a huge amount of info out there on this amp, but the info that is available is very encouraging. Everyone that has it, seems to love it and compare it to much more expensive gear. The one record of a used one being sold was from someone that bought 2 of them!

I have the SW51+ amp on order and should have it sometime in March. Otherwise, I would have already purchased the QHA to use with my Verite Closed. I welcome more info on this amp though.
 
Jan 27, 2021 at 9:46 PM Post #56 of 394

alpha421

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 4, 2013
Posts
3,747
Likes
602
Hey starck86, what IEMS are you using with your Quicksilver?

For those who paired it with Grado, is it a match made in heaven? I tried a few SET amps with Grados in the past and didn't like the loose bass.

Looking to create a bed side rig with an amp, DAC, and tablet.
 
Jan 28, 2021 at 9:41 AM Post #57 of 394

daytrader

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Posts
416
Likes
278
Location
Paradise in Naples, FL
Mike Sanders of QS has one of the most extensive tube testing facilities in his shop you will ever find. I’ve owned his amps for years and if biased as suggested they last, I have yet to have one fail. With that said try other tubes to see, why not, but I think with Mike’s amps it won’t matter much, Good luck.
 
Jan 28, 2021 at 11:13 AM Post #58 of 394

mav52

Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Posts
57
Likes
43
Location
Florida
I had the Quicksilver on loan from a friend, it impressed me over my Woo SA6SE, which is now gone. I've owned MIke's amps and pre-amps for many many years and he work is top notch and he is easy to get in touch with. PS: the amp drove , my HD800s, HD650s, LCD-3, Clears and my friends HE6v1. A very fast amp, quiet, NO hum. Love the midrange and the transparency.
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 7:19 AM Post #59 of 394

Jimmyblues1959

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 4, 2020
Posts
198
Likes
252
Location
New York
Nice find!

Quicksilver Audio has been around since the 80's and have always made simple, high quality tube amps and preamps.

I'm really curious to hear their take on a single-ended triode tube headphone amp.

And the price isn't too crazy at $998.

Looks like a really nice headphone amp. Mike Sanders builds great tube amps at an affordable price.
Have had my QS Minimite tube momoblocks since 2006 and really like them. They sold for $998
back then, with a 3 year factory warranty.
 
Feb 19, 2021 at 10:56 AM Post #60 of 394

HeyWaj10

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 29, 2010
Posts
274
Likes
49
How does this amp deliver in terms of tube-y goodness, i.e. 3D/holographic soundstage, richness in tone, etc.? Obvioulsy this amp is a champ in terms of build design and quality and can drive a wide range of headphones easily - I'm just curious about those other aspects moreso.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top