Several SS Amps Compared & Rated.
Mar 23, 2002 at 9:57 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

DarkAngel

DarkAngel's a man, baby!
Joined
Aug 22, 2001
Posts
7,235
Likes
13
Just to give members my perspectives on several amps I have owned and tried in my own system, with some relative comparisons and quick thoughts on each one. To see equipment used with main system see my profile and web page. I am SS man, I want the power, detail, control SS offers.

First I will rate on 1-10 scale, baseline #1 is the sound quality acheived using headphones directly out of Pan CT470 CDP with no other amp.

1 - Pan CT470 CDP
This is baseline reference, good sounding portable CDP, some headphones like Grados can sound OK driven only by Pan CT470.

5 - Creek OBH11 Amp.
A noticeable step up in all respects, simple, reliable, good amp for beginer, $199 retail. Now you can get good sound from Senn 600/580, makes you wonder what a better amp sounds like........hmmmm?

6.5 - Creek OBH11se
A good power supply plus improved electronics take us to another level, more detail and refinement vs OBH11, at $350 retail
offers good value.

7 - Grado RA1
Elegant little amp, clean, natural, refined sound. Slightly edges out
OBH11se overall (close call), and mates very well with Grado cans. Will also drive Senn 600 no problem, very smooth almost tubelike. Retail is $350, beautiful amp.

7.5 - Corda HA1
Moving up slightly in quality we have probably the best value for any SS amp, the Corda. Offers 3 important new features vs previous amps: 1)removeable AC cord 2)variable crossfeed settings 3)two headphone outputs with 0 ohm + 120 ohm impedance to tailor sound and match cans. Capable of slightly more detailed refined sound vs RA1, OBH11se this maybe all the amp most members need (and you will pay much more to get better sound) I do not care for the Corda crossfeed and never use it myself, $320 retail.

9 - MOHR 2002 (maxed out home reference)
There is a big step up here in sound quality (also big price jump)
but the fine detail and subtle nuances are captured here that elude the previous amps altogether. The crossfeed Headroom uses is very effective and I always use it, creates more 3D space than any previous amp, the musical experience is just much more realistic. Many usefull features also that the other amps lack, this unit could be used as a pre-amp. I can honestly say I have no desire to try another amp, I am a satisfied audiophile. (unless I win the lottery) Retail is $1150

9.5 - Max
Have not tried in my system, this is an educated guess

10 - Blockhead, Orpheus
These are amps that cost more than I would ever spend, but establish the upper end of scale.

These are my approximate rankings according to my musical preferences, and used in my main system. Your rankings may be much different but I offer this assesment for general information.
 
Mar 23, 2002 at 11:51 PM Post #2 of 13

bootman

King o'Ping
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
3,308
Likes
10
Thanks for the comparison list.

I briefly heard the MOH (not the ref model) and what stood out for me was the effortless bass. It really sounds like it can't run out of gas. I don't mean loudness mind you but overall dynamics. It must really have a killer supply in its design to sound this effortless. I can only imagine what a blockhead must be like.
I also agree with the x-feed findings. I have an amp with uses a x-feed design like the corda and I prefered the x-feed in the MOH as well.
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 2:53 AM Post #3 of 13

Gord SW Ont

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 4, 2002
Posts
495
Likes
10
Thanks for the review DarkAngel!

Which one of your interconnects did you use for the review?

I've recently got the HGA Silver Lace for my Corda and HD600's and your posts helped with that decision. I'm very happy with them as they are definitely a step up from the Kimber PBJ's I was using previously and sound even better as time goes on.

Appreciate your assistance (although you're now leaving me in the dust with your recent equipment purchases and so will likely be less helpful in the future
biggrin.gif
).

Thanks again ... Gord.
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 4:07 AM Post #4 of 13

msjjr

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 12, 2001
Posts
440
Likes
14
Does anyone know where the Sugden Headmaster would fit on this scale?
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 5:36 AM Post #5 of 13

kwkarth

Electronics guys... we have our plusses and minuses. With advent of digital everything, we're being phased out
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Posts
10,307
Likes
98
Nicely done DarkAngel!

Thank you for the ranking.

Happy Listening,
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 2:30 PM Post #6 of 13

DarkAngel

DarkAngel's a man, baby!
Joined
Aug 22, 2001
Posts
7,235
Likes
13
>>>>>
I've recently got the HGA Silver Lace for my Corda and HD600's and your posts helped with that decision. I'm very happy with them as they are definitely a step up from the Kimber PBJ's I was using previously and sound even better as time goes on.
<<<<<<

Gord
That is a great set-up you have there, the Senn 600/Corda are a match made in heaven. The HG Silver Laces offer truely great performance without breaking the bank.......I like them better than HT ProSilway II, Silver Audio Hyacinth, Kimber Silver Streak,
and several other silver cables. Be sure and get a decent AC cord
like the Absolute for $49.

KW
Once you have a Max (or MOHR) in your system, I'm afraid there is no going back. (as you well know) At least now I don't have to concern myself with any more amp upgrades, and it is extremely
important to have dealer/manf who could easily repair upgrade your amp if needed.
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 5:18 PM Post #8 of 13

kwkarth

Electronics guys... we have our plusses and minuses. With advent of digital everything, we're being phased out
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Posts
10,307
Likes
98
Quote:

Originally posted by DarkAngel
KW
Once you have a Max (or MOHR) in your system, I'm afraid there is no going back. (as you well know) At least now I don't have to concern myself with any more amp upgrades, and it is extremely
important to have dealer/manf who could easily repair upgrade your amp if needed.


It is nice to have an amp with which you can rest comfortably (for a while at least) isn't it.
wink.gif
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 9:01 PM Post #10 of 13

Zanth

SHAman who knew of Head-Fi ten years prior to its existence
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Posts
9,570
Likes
39
I only have the RA-1 right now, and I use it with my SR60s, RS-1s and Ety 4Ps with 4S adapter. I was wondering what level of ac hum you get from these amps? Because the RA-1 is battery powered...it rocks with no hum. I am very interested in going up the level: 1 great SS, perhaps the MOH or the Blockhead and then a tube based amp: Moth 2ia3 or the Cary CAD300SEI. I would like as low ac hum as possible, 0 would be ideal.
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 9:17 PM Post #11 of 13

Hirsch

Why is there a chaplain standing over his wallet?
Joined
Aug 12, 2001
Posts
7,822
Likes
29
Quote:

Originally posted by kwkarth

It is nice to have an amp with which you can rest comfortably (for a while at least) isn't it.
wink.gif


Damn right. I wish it was only one! I've got three...oh the choices I have to make
tongue.gif
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 9:41 PM Post #12 of 13

kwkarth

Electronics guys... we have our plusses and minuses. With advent of digital everything, we're being phased out
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Posts
10,307
Likes
98
Quote:

Originally posted by Hirsch


Damn right. I wish it was only one! I've got three...oh the choices I have to make
tongue.gif


Thank you for substantiating my point!
wink.gif
 
Mar 24, 2002 at 9:43 PM Post #13 of 13

kwkarth

Electronics guys... we have our plusses and minuses. With advent of digital everything, we're being phased out
Joined
Sep 30, 2001
Posts
10,307
Likes
98
In all fairness, I still have two and could not bear to part with either one of them.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top