T+A Solitaire P planar magnetostatic
Sep 17, 2021 at 8:07 AM Post #1,351 of 1,460

BTD1

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Have you tried connecting the ADI-2 to HA200 and using the PEQ ADI-2 has? If yes, what is your opinion?
I haven't. I use the RME ADI in another living area. It is connected up to my Burson 3xp. I use the RME for volume and DAC. I haven't ever experimented with the PEQ on the RME ADI mainly because to access it you need to go through a few menus. Not really good for in real time adjustment while listening.
 
Sep 17, 2021 at 8:17 AM Post #1,352 of 1,460

ThanatosVI

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So, as an experiment I connected the balanced out from Schiit Bifrost 2 into Lokius and that output into analog in on HA200. It works quite well and provides fine tuning beyond what is built into the HA200. I select this mode when I'm using either headphones that need a lot of adjustment, or really bad recordings, as many older classical recordings need EQ regardless of the headphone being used. When listening with the Solitaire P I use the built in DAC and tone controls on the HA200---I think it sounds better, but it's hard to quantify what is different. Ultimately, doing things this way allows a lot more flexibility and for sure to my ear the Lokius and the HA200 tone controls sound much better than any software EQ I have used. I have never quite understood why the HA200 costs $8900 USD, except that it seems to be built very well.
2 reasons for the price.

1. It's a high end DAC and high end headphone amplifier in one unit.
2. There is a Ton of taxes and customs involved or the US distributor wants to rip off his customers...

The EU price for the HA200 is 6600€ = ~7800$
Rest is customs etc.
 
Sep 17, 2021 at 8:53 AM Post #1,353 of 1,460

TheAttorney

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I was really interested in either of those.
The HA200 lacks a regular pre out.
The DAC200 lacks the EQ (which is mandatory for me)

It's more than that. The HA200 has a considerably more powerful headphone amp section (700ma Class A vs 200mA Class A), and output impedance selection.
This presumably accounts for most of its extra cost.
So it's a no-brainer for headphone users. Looks like the DAC200 is aimed for users for whom headphones are of secondary importance.
 
Sep 17, 2021 at 9:07 AM Post #1,354 of 1,460

ThanatosVI

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It's more than that. The HA200 has a considerably more powerful headphone amp section (700ma Class A vs 200mA Class A), and output impedance selection.
This presumably accounts for most of its extra cost.
So it's a no-brainer for headphone users. Looks like the DAC200 is aimed for users for whom headphones are of secondary importance.
Yeah ofc, why would they release two products with the same purpose in the same series?

DAC200 is for those that want to use mainly speakers or external headphone amps (tube amps for example)
HA200 is for those who want thr best headphone experience.


It was just, that for my personal needs both Lack something.
I didn't buy the HA200 due to the lacking pre out and I won't buy the DAC 200 due to the missing EQ.

I love T+A but they always manage to miss something that I want...
 
Sep 18, 2021 at 5:39 AM Post #1,355 of 1,460

DarginMahkum

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20210918_111949.jpg


As this was the last topic about HA200, I did a comparison of HA200 as DAC amp vs ADI-2 to HA200 via XLR. I used HEKse as it is quite revealing.

Surprisingly ADI-2 performs very well compared to such a summit-fi device. There is some artificialness in the ADI-2 highs compared to HA200 DAC. But it is not a deal breaker difference. Center image felt slightly more forward, what I noticed with most AKM DAC implementations, but can also happen due to DAC volume difference.

I think once one gets used to the menu structure of ADI-2, pairing with a TOTL amp like HPA4 can provide an excellent end game SS listening station, as the DSP features of ADI-2 (loudness, 5 point PEQ, crosfeed) are excellent. I am not sure, but I remember something like the DSP engine of HA200 was developed by RME, but I don't remember the source.

Yesterday I also made a balanced cable for ADI-2 (pro version has balanced output possibility). I will use it today if that brings any noticeable difference.

By the way, I used two instances of the same software playing the same piece, so comparison was just a press of a button to switch between the two:

20210918_114301.jpg
 
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Sep 18, 2021 at 4:25 PM Post #1,357 of 1,460

jlbrach

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I use my chord dave/blu2 combo to drive my sol P....terrific combo since the sol P doesnt require a tremendous amount of power
 
Sep 20, 2021 at 5:38 AM Post #1,358 of 1,460

DarginMahkum

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Here are the german prices, as rough guideline.

MP200: 4390,- Euro
DAC200: 5490,- Euro, optional HDMI-Modul: 400,- Euro
A200: 3790,- Euro
HA200: 6600,- Euro
Looking at the prices again, especially the MP200 - which is just a CD & media player device with digital output (no upsampling etc.) - being sold for €4390! That price makes you question a lot of things in the industry. Maybe you have a very silent CD player, the case is an expensive aluminum case etc. but €4390??? Really? "Expensive components"? Why would you need super expensive components for this task?

In some other thread, people are discussing the effects of microSD cards on the sound - how sound changes after a burn in of 100 hours of the card??? Really?!?!? And that is with a device that has separated power sources for digital and analog. And people claim to hear differences. Some of them are reviewers that are influencing the buying decisions of people.

I am doing software and hardware development for nearly 20 years now, even during university I was working for the industry. I am not an audio hardware developer but can judge what is what in many cases.

There is a lot of BS going on here.
 
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Sep 20, 2021 at 6:50 AM Post #1,359 of 1,460

BTD1

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I agree. And, for average folks like me, with no special knowledge of audio science, who do you believe? So many reviewers rave over the newest, latest, most expensive piece of equipment. I have not been in a position to audition any of my equipment except for the Elites. And, I wouldn't have been able to make an informed judgment on value even if I could have auditioned any of these items. I hope there are enough smart, honest people on this and other forums that will keep the industry honest by exposing over pricing and BS wherever something new is released.
 
Sep 20, 2021 at 9:31 AM Post #1,360 of 1,460

brams

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I hope there are enough smart, honest people on this and other forums that will keep the industry honest by exposing over pricing and BS wherever something new is released.
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast ..."

Sadly, what you are seeking is unlikely to be the case. Clearly, on the basis of material cost and R&D alone a headphone should not cost almost as much as a good used car. The truth is we are part of a small, niche market where the long term survival of manufacturers depends on them slowly moving upmarket and selling more expensive equipment to a dwindling target market. The result is two distinct camps. The first is the "If it's expensive it must be better" camp and the second is the "Anything priced over mass market is snake oil since measurements tell the whole story" camp. Neither camp is correct.

Reviewers rave over the latest and greatest because it guarantees they will continue to be asked to review the latest and greatest, which will drive traffic to their site and put money in their pockets. The justification " I only review items I like" is often used. If that's the case then what is preventing the reviewer from pointing out the flaws just as easily as they point out the good things that the item does? The better reviewers will at least try to justify their rave by comparing to well known standards. The Sennheiser hd6xx/Drop 6xx) are a good candidates for this since they sound great, measurements are widely available and most have heard (and probably own) them. Instead we often get vague comparisons to other high end stuff that most have not heard. Yes, I do get the concept of comparing an item to another in its price range, but comparing one over priced item with flaws to another over priced item with a different set of flaws only tells half the story. The BS meter will not be properly triggered unless the comparison is done to a widely available and known standard and in the context that rapidly diminishing returns is par for the course. The tendency of reviewers to magnify their subjective impression of small differences borders on criminal.

Despite the above, the truth is that the worst offender is the buying public or more specifically the very small part of the public who can afford to buy these overpriced items then justify the purchase by telling the world how great it is. Note that this practice protects their interest for resale and it is not uncommon to see these rave items being sold relatively soon after the rave. If the item was so good why was it sold? The answer is that the seller is often (but not always) a "gear slut" who simply wants to keep trying the latest and greatest while minimizing their investment to do so. Please note that my comments in this regard are NOT intended to smear those who legitimately purchased an end game item, yet realized soon after that they had made a mistake or could not live long term with some aspect of the design that only became obvious with long term use.

The bottom line is if there was not a critical mass of the public buying the overpriced stuff the market would not exist. There have been those who have tried to bring some sanity to the game by calling out obvious flaws on high end items. However, we (and I definitely count myself in this category) are often quick to take offense or question their subjective impressions when this is done. It's almost as if we simply cannot believe that an item priced that high could be so obviously flawed. Don't believe me? Take a look at some of the earlier posts in this thread when some pointed out some obvious issues with their subjective impression and measured response of the Solitaire P.

"The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars but in ourselves ..."

My apologies for the rant!
 
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Sep 20, 2021 at 10:06 AM Post #1,361 of 1,460

DarginMahkum

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Take a look at some of the earlier posts in this thread when some pointed out some obvious issues with their subjective impression and measured response of the Solitaire P.
Oh, well. We are back to square one trying to rationalize looking at a very complicated equation from a single parameter only, and for doing that using a deterministic system example. Why are they very different?

- For the two cases I mentioned above, neither the objective measurements, nor a fully idealized blind test would detect a difference. Why? The engineering tells us that as long as the output of the system is within the range of predefined error range (e.g. jitter), from the receivers (DAC) perception there won't be any change. Even the lo-fi DAPs out there deal with that variations and would produce exact same results.

- What you have been again and again insisting on, is part of a much complicated equation. That recessed upper mids has complete different reactions depending on the recording, persons hearing, age, preferences, HRTF (head realted transfer function) even from what part of the world s/he is. Is it a coincidence that the people in far east Asia prefer brighter cans? Just take a look at here:

https://www.headphonesty.com/2020/04/harman-target-curves-part-1/

"This meant frontal externalization of the sound was not achieved, let alone precise frontal positioning of the sound sources. Thankfully, work has been done to come up with a standardized dummy head that more closely resembles the broad trends in head morphology of East Asians, which would hopefully close the gap somewhat."

Another point, try listening to a Cynic / Traced in Air or Death / Sound of Perseverance album with a Harman perfect headphone like Utopia or Stealth. A normal middle aged persons ears will be trashed after a few minutes of listening., because distorted guitars will sound too harsh with perfect Harman target.

The two, for this particular product do not really overlap. In fact, there are much worse measuring HPs like the TC, LCD-4 which have been in the circulation, just due to the variation of the multiple parameters I mentioned.
 
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Sep 20, 2021 at 10:46 AM Post #1,362 of 1,460

brams

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Not trying to rationalize anything. Just saying that dissenting positions on high end product are often not well received by the very public that the dissenting opinion might be trying to alert to the perceived issue.

As far as I am concerned your comments are all valid.

My position has always been that I like the Solitaire P despite its obvious (to me) subjective flaws and deviation from the Harman curve (which btw I do not consider to be the Holy Grail in terms of a HRTF). However, I wondered how they would fare in a market that generally, but not always expects a TOTL product to measure "well" (whatever we determine "well" to be) and have no obvious subjective flaws. It is entirely conceivable that someone else would not have the same subjective opinion. As I have always said, for long term relaxed listening they are great despite (and perhaps as a result of) the lack of dynamics resulting from the upper midrange dip.

I have never heard the TC, but have friends who have owned them and are equally divided on their performance. I have heard the LCD 4 and although it sounds good to me it just does not float my boat. By comparison my LCD-R does it for me despite it having a measurable dip that is a bit higher in frequency than the dip on the Solitaire P. For what its worth one of the most tonally correct headphones at its price point (at least to my ears) is the Precide Ergo 2 which clearly does not match the Harmon curve either. I am sure the opinion of others would differ and that's OK. My point is that the rave reviews never tend to point out any flaws with a product or compare it in a context to which most can relate.

How are you liking the Stealth? Do you prefer it overall to the Solitaire P? I'm still looking for a "P" for a good used price, but refuse to pay retail since at that price it is simply not worth it to me.
 
Sep 20, 2021 at 10:51 AM Post #1,363 of 1,460

ThanatosVI

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Not trying to rationalize anything. Just saying that dissenting positions on high end product are often not well received by the very public that the dissenting opinion might be trying to alert to the perceived issue.

As far as I am concerned your comments are all valid.

My position has always been that I like the Solitaire P despite its obvious (to me) subjective flaws and deviation from the Harman curve (which btw I do not consider to be the Holy Grail in terms of a HRTF). However, I wondered how they would fare in a market that generally, but not always expects a TOTL product to measure "well" (whatever we determine "well" to be) and have no obvious subjective flaws. It is entirely conceivable that someone else would not have the same subjective opinion. As I have always said, for long term relaxed listening they are great despite (and perhaps as a result of) the lack of dynamics resulting from the upper midrange dip.

I have never heard the TC, but have friends who have owned them and are equally divided on their performance. I have heard the LCD 4 and although it sounds good to me it just does not float my boat. By comparison my LCD-R does it for me despite it having a measurable dip that is a bit higher in frequency than the dip on the Solitaire P. For what its worth one of the most tonally correct headphones at its price point (at least to my ears) is the Precide Ergo 2 which clearly does not match the Harmon curve either. I am sure the opinion of others would differ and that's OK. My point is that the rave reviews never tend to point out any flaws with a product or compare it in a context to which most can relate.

How are you liking the Stealth? Do you prefer it overall to the Solitaire P? I'm still looking for a "P" for a good used price, but refuse to pay retail since at that price it is simply not worth it to me.
What is a good used price to you?
 
Sep 20, 2021 at 11:03 AM Post #1,364 of 1,460

DarginMahkum

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Not trying to rationalize anything. Just saying that dissenting positions on high end product are often not well received by the very public that the dissenting opinion might be trying to alert to the perceived issue.

As far as I am concerned your comments are all valid.

My position has always been that I like the Solitaire P despite its obvious (to me) subjective flaws and deviation from the Harman curve (which btw I do not consider to be the Holy Grail in terms of a HRTF). However, I wondered how they would fare in a market that generally, but not always expects a TOTL product to measure "well" (whatever we determine "well" to be) and have no obvious subjective flaws. It is entirely conceivable that someone else would not have the same subjective opinion. As I have always said, for long term relaxed listening they are great despite (and perhaps as a result of) the lack of dynamics resulting from the upper midrange dip.

I have never heard the TC, but have friends who have owned them and are equally divided on their performance. I have heard the LCD 4 and although it sounds good to me it just does not float my boat. By comparison my LCD-R does it for me despite it having a measurable dip that is a bit higher in frequency than the dip on the Solitaire P. For what its worth one of the most tonally correct headphones at its price point (at least to my ears) is the Precide Ergo 2 which clearly does not match the Harmon curve either. I am sure the opinion of others would differ and that's OK. My point is that the rave reviews never tend to point out any flaws with a product or compare it in a context to which most can relate.

How are you liking the Stealth? Do you prefer it overall to the Solitaire P? I'm still looking for a "P" for a good used price, but refuse to pay retail since at that price it is simply not worth it to me.
Agreed.

I love the Stealth. Frankly, I like the tonality more than Solitaire P and P-SE. Because, it has a perfect curve without dips and peaks, that is very easy to EQ to adopt to different conditions. For many, I don't have to EQ at all. Fit is, for my head, better than both Solitaires. I have been listening to it whole day today and it keeps surprising me that I don't feel any disadvantage in using a closed back. It is also very expensive but, there is pretty much nothing like it.
 
Sep 20, 2021 at 12:09 PM Post #1,365 of 1,460

brams

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What is a good used price to you?
For me a used Solitaire P should cost no more than a new Solitaire P-SE and in fact should probably be a bit less. For me the purchase would be more for the build quality than the absolute performance.

Agreed.

I love the Stealth. Frankly, I like the tonality more than Solitaire P and P-SE. Because, it has a perfect curve without dips and peaks, that is very easy to EQ to adopt to different conditions. For many, I don't have to EQ at all. Fit is, for my head, better than both Solitaires. I have been listening to it whole day today and it keeps surprising me that I don't feel any disadvantage in using a closed back. It is also very expensive but, there is pretty much nothing like it.
The only issue I have heard with the Stealth is that it is hard to drive. However, getting TOTL open backed performance in a closed headphone is a huge deal. I have not yet heard it, but by all accounts Dan hit it out of the ball park with this one. What's even better is the potential to further refine the sound with a combination of pads and his AMTS tuning system. That is a game changer that is loved equally well by hard core measurement freaks and subjectivists.

If the Stealth is as good as it appears to be and as good as you are confirming what would be the rationale for anyone to buy the Solitaire P beyond the build quality? This is why it is so important that headphones at this price point not deviate too much from neutral and do at least one thing exceptionally well. I know from my experience with the Final Audio Sonorous X. I still love it for what it is, but anyone who bought it at its original retail (luckily I bought used and only to collect) is basically screwed!
 

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