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Definitely asking for less than $10k for the bundle, upper four digits though
We've had the chance to try the SR1a using Vidar & Aegir monoblocks - specification-wise, the Vidar does 400W/8ohm, while the Aegir does 80W/8ohm in monoblock configuration. Aegir works fine if you're not listening at really loud volumes, although we got it to clip when we cranked it up a bit too much. The Vidar goes much louder & has more headroom, of course, and would be the better choice if you like it really loud & effortless.
A pair of AHB2s just arrived.....first impressions - WOW! wonderful clean, powerful sound - and as detailed as you like !!! Bonkers !!
Question... can the Mcintosh MA252 hybrid run the S1Ra without any hiccups?
Looks like the MA252 outputs 100 W into 8 Ohms and 160 W into 4 Ohms. My Outlaw integrated outputs the exact same power and works just fine.
This is a legit option.
It looks awesome. I'm still sitting back and enjoy the show myself without jumping in just yet.
Beautiful rack and components you have there!
Glad to hear the new Benchmark gear is working out.
Looks like you have the 'sickness' too...
Lol If only I had the funds for this kind of medication I would most certainly keep buying stuff until there's nothing left.
What are those cables?
The SR1a headphone cable is a pure copper Litz 20 AWG made by Kevin O'Brian at YourFinalSystem.com. The copper cable seems to open up the sound a little and smooths out some of the high end excess of the silver stock cable....
Now where is that Shangri-La vs SR1A comparison of yours? Hehehehehe
Just musing; and wondering if I can kill two birds with one stone (while justifying the large $$ purchase of a nice headphone amp).
I've been looking at (expensive enough) tube-based headphone amps for my existing planar magnetics, until I decide on the next step (of MySphere, SR1a, Stax, or something else), and I have been turning my nose up at the headphone amps that also offer a pre-amp output.
"I just want a great headphone amp; leave this other stuff off!"
Maybe I was short-sighted.
Under consideration are medium to high quality tube-based amps like the Liquid Glass (if I can find one), Donald North Status or Stellaris, Apex Teton, or Auris Nirvana. Maybe the MicroZotl MZ3, if anyone would ever publish a proper review of it with headphones; a couple of people love the MZ3 as a preamplifier.
Here's my question: if I someday make the switch to the SR1as, and add maybe the Benchmark AHB2 amplifier they were designed around (at $2,995 quite "affordable", at least vs some of the other $5000 - $20,000 options that are said to work fabulously),
would any of the headphone amps listed above work well as a pre-amp? Just keep the nice headphone amp I already own and add the 100 wpc power amplifier?
If so, is there anything in particular to look for other than pre-amp outs, which I believe all of them have? Any reason to think one design or tube complement in a pre-amp, coupled with a "great" solid state amplifier plus the Raals, would be better than another?
Some pf these headphone amplifier/pre-amps are OTL, some SET, some are both, one is ZOTL; all with varying tube sets, including:
The Liquid Glass uses (can use) two 6SN7 tubes
The Donald North Stratus uses one Winged "C" (SED) 5U4G rectifier; one- Sovtek 6N1P dual triode input/driver tube; and two Shuguang 2A3B directly heated triode power tubes
The Apex Tetoon uses three different tubes: Input - 6SN7. Output – 6080; Rectifier - 5U4GB
The MZ3 uses two 12AT7 input tubes, and two 12SN7 output tubes
The Donald North Stellaris uses one 6N1P input/driver tube; two 2A3 directly-heated power triodes; and one 5U4G directly-heated rectifier tube
What does (should) all this mean to me?
Is there any reason to think the design of any of these headphone amplifiers, used as a preamp, would pair more suitably with a "real good" solid state amplifier and the SR1a headphones than some of the others? Or would any of these high quality hand-build amplifiers work fine; the only way to "know" which would pair better would be to try them all?
You make some interesting points. In respect of the AHBs in my system which are used exclusively for the SR1a I use an Apex Pinnacle headphone amplifier as a pre-amp (I notice you mentioned the Apex Teton) as it has been designed to provide a high quality pre-amp function as well as being a headphone amp, which was the reason I purchased it in the first place. As a tube based pre-amp using 2xPX4s and 1x6SN7 I believe it contributes very nicely to the overall sound of the AHBs/SR1a. I have tried the set-up both with and without the Apex Pinnacle (using the DAC pre-amp function) but have decided that I much prefer the sound with the Apex included.
We've actually found the Vidars to be an excellent value and to drive the SR1A very well (they actually sound better than a lot of the amps we have tested), but one of their flaws is they tend to break up a bit when listening to more complex tracks, We're now experimenting with the Benchmark AHB2, the Bryston 3B3 and the NAD m22 V2.
I had listened to the SR1A on a NAD m22 but it was not the V2, when hearing them on the V2 I was actually quite surprised by how clean and powerful the sound is.
I also have a set of cables coming from Kevin at YFS, he has made many cables for us over the years and his work is always fantastic.
I'll post my impressions of the other amps with our pre's and transports after we finish playing with them.
The VIdars are by no means perfect but they are a great value and sound very good for an afordable system.