In my specific case, any amp that fits into my rack would match fine my listening spot on the side of my couch in my living room. That includes all amps (headphones or speakers) under 35kg and 550×550mm footprint.I think this is an interesting presentation but i will be honest in that I still do not understand the allure of huge bulky enormously heavy speaker amps that cost a fortune for a HP setup...I personally own a Mcintosh 452 which weighs about 200 pounds and sits in my living room attached to my loudspeaker system....my HP setup which includes the TC along with the dave/blu2 and the formula s /powerman is in my bedroom where i relax and listen to music.....I suppose if somebody only listens to their music in a living room area a speaker amp could be attached to the chord dave etc but somehow it seems like such inconvenience and overkill....the cost is yet another consideration of course....I certainly do not fault anyone for curiosity and testing of a speaker amp but to me it is like the car that can drive 200 MPH but of course you can never find a place to go 200 mph lol.....just my 2 cents and god bless all those who are willing to do all involved to use the speaker amps
Of the amps I have tried so far, the AIC-10, Thrax and ATM300 clearly outperformed by a significant amount (while in different ways) my previous XI Audio combo in terms of pure sound quality, to my ears.
They are also much more expensive, unfortunately.
Now, I don't believe this is because they are speaker amps per se (the AIC-10 is actually a headphone amp with additional speaker taps), but just because they are better suiting to my personal sound preferences.
There may be lots of headphone amps that could be even better, I admittedly have a very limited experience. Unfortunately, auditioning higher echelon headphone amps in Italy is basically impossible, while speaker amps are - relatively - more accessible. Another advantage of speaker amps is that they are easier to find (and resell) in the 2nd hand market, at least in Italy / Europe.
As for the rated power, I am not sure that looking for 100W+ (speaker) amplifiers to drive the Phi TC provides an advantage because of 'additional headroom', possibly (??) because the first few watts - i.e. what is really needed for the hp - are provided with very low distortion figures and in pure class A, but I am just speculating here as I have neither direct experience nor technical competence to substantiate this.
For what I know , the ATM-300R list price in Europe is 15k + tubes. Basic 300B tubes (what I heard in Amsterdam) are Electro Harmonix (+1kEuro) and maxed out Takatsuki TA300 tubes are offered with a +3.5kEuro supplement.You could, but the latest configuration already comes with Takatsuki TA300's in the box. I would say that anything in production is going be a downgrade from those.
Now that would be a perfect timing for me as long as the headphones on such system are the AB-1266TC and not a new modelI heard Z reviews mention on one of his newest videos regarding RMAF that Abyss is planning to show a system that would rival the Orpheus? Sounds interesting
This could be the typical case of 'different strokes for different folks' most likely.I am exactly in the opposite way. I like so much the Empyrean with a full silver cable from Norne audio on the Viva 845, it is actually my best headphone with the D8000 and the 009S from Stax.
As you know, I am not a big fan of the Abyss TC on the formula S or on the 845. Except the excellent soundstage I find the abyss a very rude and uncomfortable headphone.
Not a big fan of the Susvara I sold after less than 1 month.
Very interested by the Raal. I tried the Mysphere 3.2 but i founded it uncomfortable with distorsion at high volume and a big loss of bass.
That said, I honestly would need much more time with the Empyrean to make an educated judgment of them against the Phi TC.
Perhaps next time I will come to Paris I could visit you, Jean Michel