Stealth as Preamp?
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lextek

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Since the search is turned off and I have been out of the loop for a while. Wondering about the Stealth for use with HD650s and a preamp.
 
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I must confess that my headphone listening has declined significantly since I got my Stealth. I use the Stealth primarily as a preamp and have been enjoying my speaker set up. As a preamp it fits into my system perfectly. I am using it with a Meridian 507, Atma-Sphere MA1 Mk2.2 monoblocks and Von Schweikert VR-4 Gen III HSE speakers. I had the opportunity to listen to a few other preamps and the Stealth was clearly better to my ears.

I have listened to it occasionally with my HD-600's and it drives them with authority. As with every product that I have seen from Ray Samuels Audio the background is dead black and the notes are clear and and faithfully reproduced. The workmanship and parts quality both inside and out is I think without equal. Take a look at the pictures of the insides from the recent NY meet. Servinginecuador (Doug) has also done a review but I don't have the link handy.
 
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I'll join John in admitting that I have'nt been listening to headphones as much since adding the Stealth to my system as the preamp. It's the best preamp I've had in my system and sounds amazing.
 
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lextek

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My other choices are Cary SLI-80 or Single Powere Maestro. I've always been impressed with Ray's gear. So I am leaning in that direction.
 
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Isn't the SLI-80 an integrated amplifier? Seems like relegating it to just the preamp function is under utilizing its capabilities. I have not had an opportunity to hear the Maestro so I can not comment on how it fits the bill as a preamp.
 
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lextek

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Yes the Cary is an integrated. It was an option. It would be used as an itegrated not a pre.
 
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I'll put in another vote for the Stealth as an excellent preamp; and that I too have been listening less to headphones since. I did use my HD650 last night with the stealth and they paired up fantastically.

Lextek, I was in your shoe before opting for the Stealth. The Cary SLI80 would have made my system alot more compact (and that was a definite factor). But in the end, I chose to go with the Stealth and a pair of Six Pacs. I'm quite certain I've made the right choice as I've had no urges to upgrade since.
 
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lextek

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Quote:

Originally Posted by darkclouds
Lextek, I was in your shoe before opting for the Stealth. The Cary SLI80 would have made my system alot more compact (and that was a definite factor). But in the end, I chose to go with the Stealth and a pair of Six Pacs. I'm quite certain I've made the right choice as I've had no urges to upgrade since.


Spooky. The Six Pacs were one the amps I was considering.
 
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darkclouds

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lextek
Spooky. The Six Pacs were one the amps I was considering.




Not at all. Great minds and people with good taste think alike.


Seriously though, I don't think you would be left wanting with the Stealth and Six Pacs combo (that is unless you can spend much much more).
 
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lextek, my Stealth has been getting just the opposite use from john_jcb's and Tuberoller's - I've used it almost exclusively as a headphone amp. I did put it through its paces as preamp as part of the initial shakedown, and it excelled. Used it ahead of an Acurus A200 solid state brute, and it smoothed out a tendency to brightness with no loss of frequency response or detail. I would have no hesitation recommending the Stealth as a pre.

Ah, but what a wonderful headphone amp it is. Surely world class. Most of my hours of listening have been spent with R10's out of a Meridian 588 - pure bliss. Just started doing a little tube rolling, and find it is very responsive to different tubes, letting the character of the tubes show themselves. No favorites yet, as I am a neophyte to the whole tuberolling game, but having much fun experimenting.
 
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OT: would someone explain to me the difference between a pre-out and a headphone out? shouldnt the 2 be interchangeable?
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by adhoc
OT: would someone explain to me the difference between a pre-out and a headphone out? shouldnt the 2 be interchangeable?



Two main differences:

1. First, there is the obvious pysical difference in connections - the pre outs are usually single ended RCA connections (although they could be balanced XLR's), while the headphone out is normally a 1/4" phone jack.

2. Impedance is usually different - pre out will normally be on the order of 100 to 300 ohms, while headphone out is usually best at 0 ohms. Headphone out may have more gain than the pre out as well.

Most high end preamplifiers do not have headphone jacks. The designers know that to do headphones well takes a whole different stage - much like a phono stage for phono cartridge (not the same at all, electrically, just conceptually) - that would add much money to the cost, so it is left out.

The above being said, I do have a 2x RCA by 1/4" Stereo phone jack adapter that I have often used to connect to a preamp's output when there has been no headphone jack, and the results have usually been ok, but nothing close to the sound from a real high end headphone amp..
 
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lextek

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Would it be safe to say the Stealth would be on of the "top choices" for the HD650s??
 
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I would definitely say that the Stealth is on the short list of amps that pairs well with the Sennheiser. Your ears alone will tell you what amp is on top of the list. I think when choosing an amp you need to evaluate in addition to sound, engineering and build quality. Build quality IMO goes much deeper than a pretty case and knobs. You need to look at soldering, board layout (or wiring) and component mounting. In all these categories the Stealth excels and that is why it would be on my short list of top flight amps for the 600 series Sennheiser headphones.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by lextek
Would it be safe to say the Stealth would be on of the "top choices" for the HD650s??


The Stealth is the only choice for the HD650 in my book!


Seriously though, it's definitely an awesome combination (this coming from a serious Senns fan). Then again, I have not heard any of the Singlepower offerings. After a couple of weeks with the Headroom Max, (which is also an excellent amp for the Senns) I opted for the Stealth and never looked back.
 
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