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The JPS Labs: Abyss AB-1266 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by scolaiw, Jun 5, 2013.
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  1. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Here's the GS-X Mk2 measurements:


    Notice the dead flat FR response and incredibly low distortion. Tube amps can be tuned to be neutral, no doubt. But the tube amp being used makes the HD800 headphones sound "smooth" then that's a colouration. As well, no tube amp can approach the low levels of distortion compared to a well designed ss amp. Just the limitations with tubes....but the distortion introduced by tubes can certainly sound inviting (though definitely not transparent to the recording or more "neutral").

    Nothing bright, harsh, nor glarey...feed it with a bright source, DAC or music and it will reveal what comes in. Play it with the HD800s (or other bright sounding headphones and amps like the 430 or GS-X Mk2), it will reveal them for what they are. Thus the "wire-with-gain" comments and Kevin Gilmore amps are very much like that (including the BHSE).

    In fact, when I compare the Abyss-Phi straight out of the DAVE or with the GS-X Mk2 in between them, the tonality doesn't change...just slightly improved control of the drivers yielding in a better perception of detail retrieval and control (though not night and day improved perception by any means). And to my ears, the DAVE is as neutral as any gear I've come across.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    jscmd2000 likes this.
  2. MacedonianHero Contributor
    I love the DAVE/Abyss-Phi combination, but I do prefer the added power provided by the GS-X mk2 with these headphones (and the LCD-4s too). The Z1R + DAVE is the best I've heard the Sony's sound FWIW. :)
    AlanYWM likes this.
  3. jscmd2000
    So, you don't think the GS-X mk2 takes away anything from the dave such as transparency or anything pertaining to the dave's sq? I doubt it messes with the accuracy since that is one of its strengths. Have you tried any other amps with the phi that you liked?
  4. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Like most things in life...it depends. I’m thi case it really depends on your headphones and how much power they need. :)

    As mentioned, I slightly prefer the DAVE / GS-X combo with the LCD-4 and Abyss Phi. All of my other headphones I only use the DAVE.
  5. jokostyle

    Did you have the opportunity to try your Phi with the XI Audio Formulas S amp ( conceived with the Abyss in mind ) ? I haven't seen so much mentions about it but it was described as probably (?one of?) the most powerful ( able to drive the Susvara at high volume without distorsion ) and 'neutral' SS amp. As the acclaimed king of these was/is the GS-X...

    Thanks in advance.
  6. Xecuter

    If this discussion could be ended with some measurements this would be a very boring hobby indeed.

    Honestly I don't believe that all tube amps/equipment introduce more distortion than SS. This misconception is usually due to exposure to OTL, or badly designed tube amplifiers with cheap transformers and poor design. The level of 'transparency' or more interesting to me of micro detail retrieval in exceptional tube amplifiers beats all SS amplifiers in my exposure to equipment.
    I completely agree that a reavealing amplifier will expose a bad transducer. Unfortunately the gsx introduced a level of glare to all transducers I tried it with.

    The rag is probably still the least coloured SS I've used. Its just about picky with power and source..

    That why I haven't bother spending more money on SS..
  7. Beolab
    If you read my earlier post 1 page back, you can see what i am using right know, and yes i am not using Dave any more, because of the lack of synergy with the Abyss Phi, it needs more dynamic body and musicality fluidness / richness etc, to match perfect.

    I have find the right balance with my current setup in my opinion. It plays like the a reference rig, where all registers are presented with great authority and great resolution / timing precision and musicality.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  8. mulder01
    All you need is...

    jscmd2000 likes this.
  9. Beolab
    That is correct understood!

    When you approaching the end of the line for what is possible, then it beginning to cost you allot to gain the last percentage.

    Like my dog who is very glad for his dry dog food he eats every day, not knowing of anything better.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  10. jscmd2000
    hahaha seriously!
    Benchmark Amp AHB2 looks and sounds interesting but can you use it for headphones?
    iFi pro... is that what you are using now? I am starting to think if I want to stick with the Dave, then utopia may be a better choice than the Phi.
  11. Mystel
    Personally i prefer the pairing of phi + dave to utopia + dave, by a pretty large margin
  12. MacedonianHero Contributor
    When it comes to distortion, measurements are quite necessary. Look I’ve owned many tube amps for 25 + years and enjoyed my time with them, but no doubt a good ss amp is cleaner. And pretty much every measurement I’ve seen shows significantly reduced distortion (not just OTL)...it’s just physics. The ideal is changing your mind to conform with the evidence of reality instead of the other way around...and measurements can help. But measuring headphones has somewhat proven to be a mystical art depending on too many variables to get right. Thankfully Jude and the Head-Fi folks have some killer equipment and are doing some good work here. While some prefer this higher distortion as it can sound quite pleasing and I totally get it. Been thinking of adding a tube amp (ampsandsound most likely) to my rack. Any glare with the gs-x is most likely indicative of what's upstream...that's the limitation of "wire with gain"; it won't hide anything. I think this is a strength, but others prefer a different route. Different strokes, etc...

    FWIW, I really like the Rag and hold it in high regard, but to my ears it is a darker than neutral amplifier with plenty of punch. But as a reviewer I want to hear exactly what a pair of headphones (or DAC) is about and I get too much of this warmer character with the Rag that clouds things. The GS-X MK2 is more transparent and cleaner in this area.

    And my post didn’t just end with measurements, but comments about sonics compared to the DAVE. Both first hand experiences and measurements pretty much lined up. :wink:. Thank goodness measuring amps/DACs is not as ridiculously nutty as headphones.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
    Mystel and Xecuter like this.
  13. jscmd2000
    Interesting... thanks!
  14. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Sorry, I haven't heard that amp yet...looks like a beast though!
  15. cradon
    I agree.
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