Review: Analog Design Labs Svetlana 2 tube headphone amplifier

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by project86, Jul 6, 2011.
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  1. project86 Contributor


    I'm not 100% positive, but I think that's the way it is. The $1499 price will probably include the upgraded RCAs but not the point to point wiring option. Hopefully the new website is very clear about all that stuff. 
  2. WarriorAnt
    wow the W3000ANV seems to be getting much praise from every corner I find myself venturing.  Has anyone tried it with the Svetlana 2 yet?    Seems like most of the folks who listen to the W3000ANV say they can't take it off their head.
  3. cky8
    I will try it next year. However no one ever mentioned Svetlana 2 in the other thread since the HA5000ANV was first getting all the attention, then that died off. Now it is the Zana Deux SE.
  4. cky8
    Just want to mention that the English page now allows international customers outside of South Korea to place their order through PayPal! I haven't done so yet since I have yet to clear my other payments first. But I will soon get to the Svetlana 2!
  5. cky8
    I saw they updated the site with new pictures! A closer inspection shows that the exterior is actually slightly different compared to the older pictures. I wonder if they have been reading this thread and are teasing me with the W3000ANV paired with Svetlana 2.

  6. project86 Contributor


    It took me a minute, but I do see some minor differences, like the text on the front panel. 
    Yes, I think they are specifically teasing you!
  7. FSonicSmith
    Let me join the chorus and say that your review is exemplary. You write extremely well and provide very useful comparisons. I had seen your repeated posts about the Violectric V200 and underestimated your breath of knowledge about various amps and phones. In short, I figured you were only a very vocal fan of the Violectric V200. Seeing your review of this amp has now, oddly enough, cemented my decision to pull the trigger not on this amp, but on the Violectric V200. I have LCD-2s. Thanks for your excellent review. 
  8. project86 Contributor


    Thanks for the kind words! I know it is hard to trust the views of some random person on a forum... and I never ask that anyone put too much faith in my opinions.
    There are plenty of folks around here who know as much or more than I do, and lots of valid opinions from average users who are less knowledgeable but just as passionate. You have to consider all opinions to some degree, and then decide which ones you most identify with for whatever reason.
    The day I start thinking too highly of myself and my opinions, is the day I need to step back from this hobby. Either that, or start writing for a traditional audio magazine! 
  9. cky8
    It is quite intriguing to see they have added even more pictures with W3000ANV. A total of 8 pictures! I don't think any other headphone got featured that much on their site in such a short amount of time. Maybe they are impressed themselves with the pairing too.
  10. project86 Contributor


    It does seem like they are trying to tell us something.... W1000 sounded the best I ever heard them, when paired with this amp. Same with W1000x. So it isn't much of a stretch to assume that the W3000ANV will be similar. 
    It also sounds amazing with the new Sennheiser HD700. My favorite amp for those!
  11. cky8
    Mini review.

    Sorry for hijacking your thread project86. I am not very good at writing but here it goes.. By saying Svetlana I am actually referring to Svetlana 2 for simplicities sake. There is lots of similarity with the impressions of project86.
    Last year I stumbled upon this excellent review of project86. Back then I wasn't really looking for an amplifier since I was very happy with the Anedio D1 DAC already which has a build in headphone amp. I usually don't gravitate towards very popular amplifiers as I often find myself looking for more less known obscure manufacturers who also offer just as high quality products.
    I doubt I would have stumbled upon Analog Design Labs if it wasn't for project86 his review. I never experienced that SET sound, but I was clearly attracted for some reason. I was looking for something that would give more drama and liveliness in the music. The D1 does just what it needs to do. Being as faithful to the source, but I wanted to be more emotionally involved with the music. So I took the jump and ordered the Svetlana. Especially since I own a W3000ANV and this amp seems to mate well with the W-series headphone from Audio-Technica.
    The people at Analog Design Labs are responsive through email and I usually would receive a reply within 1-2 days. Now that they have recently opened Svetlana orders for international customers, I did noticed their English wasn't always perfect. But it was adequate enough to understand and they really presented themselves as very open and polite. Though if they really have serious plans going even more international, hiring a good English communicator wouldn't be a bad thing.
    Upon unboxing I noticed the packaging of the amplifier was done very careful but especially thoughtful. A triple AAA+ from me. Maybe a bit extreme. Thoughtful for the extra padding on top to protect the tubes. You never know how ruthful people can stack boxes during the shipment. Extreme, for putting a manual inside a smaller cardboard box. But at least you would have peace knowing your package can withstand the shipping process. Other included accessories are a power cord, a burned disc of Best Audiophile Voices Selection (24bit Remastering), business card, and to my great surprise even two spare pairs of tubes! I guess these are already matched.
    The amplifier is build like a tank and is heavy. Especially for the back part where the toroidal transformer is housed. Needless to say I do think shape wise the Svetlana and Anedio D1 DAC complement each other rather well when stacked together.
    Just like project86 I confirm this amp needs extended warming to perform to its full potential. Comparison is with reference to the D1 headphone amp.
    The mids take on a magical appearance and the spotlight. It is really hard to put into words though. It is like ethereal water. Liquid, lively and with that slight sparkling touch. A feeling of delight, like a very caring lady. You are emotionally closer to the music. Especially female vocals are simply haunting and a sense of crystal clear purity. I'm not referring to micro details, but its vocal presentation as a whole. There is so much more I try to find the words for it, but by then I am already intoxicated by this setup, if that is any good indication. Needless to say the W3000ANV already had mids close to this, but the Svetlana brings it up a level higher and it is very complementing.
    The bass and treble department aren't the last word in extension and pure performance numbers but it is adequate. Bass felt slightly on the warm side, but did had more weight and slam when needed. Treble could have used just slightly more sparkle for my taste. But most important I never saw these points as lacking and as a whole they are good enough. Put in other words, if I would just let the music flow without trying to find flaws I didn't had anything to complain for.
    A very welcome addition is that the Svetlana is able to make nowadays 'brickwalled' music sound good, rather than ear bleeding on the D1. The D1 is just doing what it is supposed to do, being faithful to the source. The Svetlana takes those rough edges off. On good recordings the Svetlana is simply splendid.
    I haven't tested the Svetlana with other headphones since I only own a W3000ANV. Past headphones I owned have all been sold which include the K701, A900 and W1000X.

    I did used to have a Musical Fidelity X-CAN V8P + X-PSU which I sold for a rather dirt cheap price. Yeah it is good to make someone else happy and the buyer in question was very pleased with the purchase and most importantly the amp in his system. Only thing I knew the X-CAN was quickly useless after I seriously started disliking the K701. It showed clearly audible hiss through my A900 and W1000X headphone back then. I never bothered to change the tubes though. I believe the stock provided tubes were Electro Harmonix 6922.
    The Svetlana in that regard is completely silent. Especially when you know you are using a A-T headphone.
    - foobar2000 + WASAPI
    - Anedio U2 (BNC direct connection with adapter) > Anedio D1 DAC > Svetlana 2
    - Audio-Technica ATH-W3000ANV
    ** All digital volume controls at max. The Svetlana, volume knob 5 clicks from zero is more than loud enough for me at lo-Z.
    The Svetlana simply makes me enjoy music and forget about the technicalities or nitpicking. For me it is a wonderful match with my W3000ANV. My end-game setup and future A-T woodies. My sincere thanks to project86!

    - cky8
  12. project86 Contributor
    Nice write up! I am still jealous of your W3KANV and hope to try that myself one day. Seems like a dynamite combo.

    I'm considering rolling tubes one of these days. As I pair down systems and clear of some lesser used stuff, maybe I will give that a shot. Nothing too extreme but there are some good options out there for reasonable prices with these types of tubes.
  13. WarriorAnt
    It's too bad Analog Design Labs still doesn't have a website in english.  I'm looking for a tube preamp and I noticed they have a few in their lineup.  Other than looking at photos there is no english info on price or model specifications.
  14. project86 Contributor
    Yeah I was hoping to see that all worked out months ago. Maybe their plans have changed, or maybe they just haven't found the right web developer to do the forum in the way they want.
    I believe the preamps go for substantial prices though.... they make the Svetlana 2 look like a budget model in comparison. I know you are a big spender though so maybe it would be a good match? 
  15. WarriorAnt
    I'm surprised the Svetlana 2 is priced as low as it is.  
    But as far as my big spending those days are gone because baby needs new a new pair of shoes because she's going off to COLLEGE!  Back to the poor house again I guess, or at least the used market...
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