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Team HD800 challenge!

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by solude, Dec 31, 2012.
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  1. Dexon
    Quote:
     
      There is no such amp. Stay away from HD800 or persuade alternative/punk/metal records industry to take more care to audiophiles when mastering their stuff.
     
  2. wink
    ClapGifAddamsfamily.gif
     
  3. SoupRKnowva
    Not really related I guess, and i must have missed it somewhere, but why/when did you ditch the LCD-3s in favor of a new set of LCD-2s?
     
    though i will also say that i dont think a different amp will ever fix your problems with the HD800s.
     
  4. Solude
    Getting a lot of double takes on that choice :D
     
    While I think the LCD-3 does something better than the LCD-2 I could never shake the feeling that something was off.  Can't put my finger on it but after a lot of amps, tubes, sources... it's persistent.  So back to the easy to please LCD-2 for me.
     
    It's not burned in and my amps aren't in but off the Peak it's nice to be back to the more alive LCD-2 :D
     
  5. Solude
    Getting a lot of double takes on that choice :D
     
    While I think the LCD-3 does something better than the LCD-2 I could never shake the feeling that something was off.  Can't put my finger on it but after a lot of amps, tubes, sources... it's persistent.  So back to the easy to please LCD-2 for me.
     
    It's not burned in and my amps aren't in but off the Peak it's nice to be back to the more alive LCD-2 :D
     
  6. CEE TEE
    ^I agree, I will borrow some LCD-2 r2 again.  Liked the pair that Shankar brought to AudioHigh in Mountain View last year during the Smyth Realiser demo night. 
     
    Prefer the latest r2 over the 3. 
     
  7. purrin
    Current LCD3 is smoother in the treble, but thicker sounding / more bassy (some say even more veiled) than current LCD2r2. Pick your poison.
     
  8. Solude
    Cough ringing cough :wink:
     
  9. K3cT
    Quote:
     
    And people called me crazy when I stick around with one of the earliest LCD-2 r1 although it has been modified to the point that it no longer sounds like your typical r1. Still to these ears I still regard these as the most unique Audez'e headphone compared to r2, r2.5 and LCD-3. 
     
    Anyway back to the HD800, I honestly feel that a tube amp is needed to get the best out of it (just like how an Audez'e planar needs an SS amp to brings out its full potential) so the recommended Stratus 2A3 is worth a punt. I haven't personally heard the Stratus but I've heard the 2A3 tube in another design and it's one of the few tubes that I like. For the record, I'm a SS kind of guy and the 2A3 can serve as a good bridge between SS and tube sensibilities. 
     
  10. pp312
    Quote:

    Really? And how is that then?
     
  11. Ian S
    Quote:
    http://www.colorware.com/p-289-sennheiser-hd-800.aspx
     
    Is this simply ordinary paint?  Not thick heavy damping material?
     
    When I had the HD800 apart I did think about painting in some acoustic damping paste.  These headphones are light weight un-damped plastic.  Every part that you touch conveys the sound to, more or less, every other part.  Whether there are any structure borne resonances induced by music playing I couldn't guess.  It just seemed like a sensible thing to do.  Manufacturers usually save as much money as they can and manually painting on damping would cost.  It would also weigh, and it rather looks like they tried to save weight, maybe to offset a heavy-ish motor unit on a relatively large diaphragm.
     
    My HD800, in MY SYSTEM, don't peak at 5k or 8k but do at 12k.  After reading on HeadFi about the graphs and peaks I think I might get out the signal generator and try a sweep of all frequencies instead of the spot frequencies I briefly tried them with.
     
    I already know that the DAC is not fully even at all frequencies, don't know why or really how to fix it other than make my own analogue stage, or something.  I've planned to do that anyway, I just have not been bothered enough to be motivated to.
     
  12. Ian S
    What did people think of the Realiser with the HD800?
     
    I fancied that proper surround sound they proffer in their website spiel.  It said they are supplied with a pair of Stax.
     
  13. Shahrose
    Looking at your setup Ian, I can tell you the HD800's plastic resonance is not the problem. Sennheiser put a lot of work into making the Leona plastic they used to be as acoustically inert as possible. No need to mess with it.
     
    I'd first focus on the source, amp, cables and then finally with these extraneous mods if you still aren't satisfied. Trust me, the former make a world of difference. Moving away from a midlevel soundcard alone (no matter how upgraded it is) will solve a lot of issues.
     
  14. Ian S
    Quote:
    I agree with this and have said this often to people.  I strive with Hi-Fi to get it be as near as possible to the real thing reproduced in my lounge.  I'm not sure you can purchase that, you have to make it yourself out of the best electronic components that exist, which commercial products never contain.  And base it on the best circuits.
     
    I was talking to a recording engineer and asked him why recordings of cymbals didn't sound like the cymbal I was at that moment tapping on.  He said no recordings do, like that was a reason.
     
  15. Ian S
    Quote:
     
    Thanks, but I wouldn't be completely reliant on an assumption that Sennheiser made something that couldn't be improved, even if it is quite good, there have already been a couple of improvements.  It's just a matter of time before someone tries more and finds something good and then eventually most people come to accept it as real.
     
    I don't really have issues with the system.  It's OK.  I'd like some more bass heft. The imaging is very good, and I mean in front me, not 'in my head' due to the CMedia 'Crossfeed'.
     
    This soundcard should be viewed as components on a board, not as a soundcard.  It's now beyond anything that 'normal' 'modifier' would call modified. View it as the CMedia DSP, the AK4396 DAC and a DC coupled analogue stage using LME49710HA op-amps.  Now I'm not saying it can't be better, I know it can.  But I'd not expect much commercial stuff to be all that much better.  There's a 70 page thread on this soundcard on another forum and none of the people have any idea what they're doing with hardware.  I do have some idea at least.  One option I'm considering to remove the DAC chip and analogue stage from the soundcard which, will allow for better power supplies, and feeding if from the DSP with I²S.  I'd like to dispense with the ATX sized PC but need to keep the cross feed that the DSP provides. And do it relatively cheaply.  But I have been thinking about trying the Phonitor and Realiser but they both looked like they'd not really do it, I might feel I had to re-organise their innards to get rid of the copper tracking and solder joints and probably very low cost resistors and capacitors, etc.  You might think that statement sounds so arrogant that I must be delusional, but I have been doing this for years.
     
    I started 'improving' commercial 'high end' stuff about 20 years ago for myself and then for discerning people often with decent budgets, and it's often not all that difficult to do.
     
    A commercial item is mainly a cost saving measure.  A £2000 box may be £200 in parts, and usually not very good ones.  My CD player analogue stage PSU, (one of 5 PSU's in there), now used for the headphone amp, cost me about £300 in parts and that's only 'cause I knew how to make discrete regs, otherwise add another £100.  Of course if I'd made 100 of these then the price would come down a bit but not all that much as I and a friend were making PSU's to sell in the late '90's and importing Nichicon KZ capacitors by the 1000.  I'm not saying that that PSU can't be better either.  I'm planning to try out some Super Teddy Regs to see if they're better then connect the regs direct and close to the amp chips so as to delete nearly all the (silver that I'm using) PSU wire from the equation as post reg PSU wire has had an effect on the sound previously.
     
    I spent a couple years very carefully crafting the sound of that soundcard.  It's better sounding that the better Asus Sonnar stuff, I know this a pal has that and asked me to modify it for him.
     
    The Wire amp apparently has particular good measurements by any standard.  And it will have good sound due to being minimalist DC coupled with nearly no copper tracks and state of the art chips and capacitors. Copper tracks are a veil to the sound, etc.  In just about all cases people with that and the O2 prefer The Wire (as in straight wire with gain) but I don't have any comparison data to high priced commercial amplifiers.
     
    I'm in a different position to most end users, I don't have to buy and try 15 different boxes to get a sound I like, I can change the build or design of what I have.
     
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