The MASS-Kobo 394/394II and the 406 desktop full balanced headphone amp thread
Feb 11, 2024 at 3:07 PM Post #46 of 63
Any of you guys heard 394ii side by side with US5? I've got a 394ii on route for demo in a couple of weeks, wondering if it shares traits with US5 and what differs. Really liked US5 for IEM duty but thought I'd try a different flavour instead of re-buying US5....
Haven't heard them side by side, but from memory the MK has a dynamic punchy sound that is quite addicting. The US5 has a wonderful sense of space and shape to the sound. But I preferred the MK for things I listen to.
 
Feb 11, 2024 at 4:17 PM Post #47 of 63
Any of you guys heard 394ii side by side with US5? I've got a 394ii on route for demo in a couple of weeks, wondering if it shares traits with US5 and what differs. Really liked US5 for IEM duty but thought I'd try a different flavour instead of re-buying US5....
Not to sound rude or impertinent, but will such a comparison not depend, as well, on which Headphones they're driving, and maybe, which DACS are feeding each Headphone amp in real time? I am afraid pitting one of these amps against the other independently as if they're working in isolation ( which they can never do in practical circumstances of comparative evaluations--sorry for stating the obvious in this way) might just risk producing some unintended or unforced errors in the evaluations rather than concretely useful results that might be genuinely helpful to enthusiasts... Just saying...
 
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Feb 15, 2024 at 8:16 AM Post #48 of 63
If anyone's moving from 394ii to 465, give me a shout. 465 is out of budget but on the hunt for a 394ii...
 
Mar 7, 2024 at 5:09 PM Post #49 of 63
My 394 II is by far the best heasdphone amplifier I ever owned. Stunning control of drivers and supremely transparent and weighted sound. I wondered if the 465 is just more powerful version of the same sonic signature (same circut)? If so, my ultra transparent audio-gd HE-1 MK3 preamp which is dead neutral should add plenty of drive to the 394 II and perhaps result in sonics very similar 465 for less money- and I'd have a remote for the volume as well.

I have actually put together this combination in the last few weeks and find the 394 II VASTLY improved with the audio-gd preamp behind it. However I cannot confirm how this setup compares to the 465 as I dont have $17,000 to splurge on the comparison.
 
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Mar 7, 2024 at 5:56 PM Post #50 of 63
My 394 II is by far the best heasdphone amplifier I ever owned. Stunning control of drivers and supremely transparent and weighted sound. I wondered if the 465 is just more powerful version of the same sonic signature (same circut)? If so, my ultra transparent audio-gd HE-1 MK3 preamp which is dead neutral should add plenty of drive to the 394 II and perhaps result in sonics very similar 465 for less money- and I'd have a remote for the volume as well.

I have actually put together this combination in the last few weeks and find the 394 II VASTLY improved with the audio-gd preamp behind it. However I cannot confirm how this setup compares to the 465 as I dont have $17,000 to splurge on the comparison.
As primarily a DHT amp guy, I will concur the 394ii is the best SS amp I have ever heard or owned. I don’t like to think about how a 465 may improve upon the 394ii due to the danger such a thought may pose to my wallet.
 
Mar 7, 2024 at 6:22 PM Post #51 of 63
As primarily a DHT amp guy, I will concur the 394ii is the best SS amp I have ever heard or owned. I don’t like to think about how a 465 may improve upon the 394ii due to the danger such a thought may pose to my wallet.
I use a HE9 mk3... can you think of a DHT HP amp I could use (also as preamp) to get a similar result as HE-1 mk3/394ii?
 
Mar 7, 2024 at 7:21 PM Post #52 of 63
My 394 II is by far the best heasdphone amplifier I ever owned. Stunning control of drivers and supremely transparent and weighted sound. I wondered if the 465 is just more powerful version of the same sonic signature (same circut)? If so, my ultra transparent audio-gd HE-1 MK3 preamp which is dead neutral should add plenty of drive to the 394 II and perhaps result in sonics very similar 465 for less money- and I'd have a remote for the volume as well.

I have actually put together this combination in the last few weeks and find the 394 II VASTLY improved with the audio-gd preamp behind it. However I cannot confirm how this setup compares to the 465 as I dont have $17,000 to splurge on the comparison.
I agree that 394ii is also the best headphone amp I had heard! It just drives everything I throw at it well!

I tried using a Roksan Caspian 1 power amp to drive Susvara recently, it sounds great but 394ii is better.

What volume on the 394ii do you set to drive it with the preamp? I have a custom build valve preamp with remote which I had thought to combine that with the 394ii.
 
Mar 7, 2024 at 8:49 PM Post #53 of 63
I use a HE9 mk3... can you think of a DHT HP amp I could use (also as preamp) to get a similar result as HE-1 mk3/394ii?
Unfortunately, my existing DHTs have speaker taps but not pre-outs so I cannot address your question.
 
Mar 8, 2024 at 1:01 AM Post #54 of 63
I use a HE9 mk3... can you think of a DHT HP amp I could use (also as preamp) to get a similar result as HE-1 mk3/394ii?
I really feel all of this is trial and error and personal tastes. I also own the audio-gd HE-1 tube preamp which is fantastic with the 394 II as well. I get a really meaty sound.....

Regarding the 394 II, I can say that I owned a maxed out CFA-3 which is considered one of the very best headphone amplifiers ever made and I really prefer the 394 II by a wide margin even though it is not the flagship of the MK lineup and is 1/3 the price of the 465;- implying a very distant second, if price is any idication.

I keep the 394 II on max volume when using the preamp setup and cotrol the volume from the preamp.
 
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Mar 8, 2024 at 8:21 AM Post #55 of 63
Has anyone tried the new Burson Voyager? From the description- I get the feeling it may provide a similar sound signature to the MK 394 II.... I could be way off.
 
Mar 17, 2024 at 1:27 PM Post #56 of 63
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I'm a big fan - it's one of the best solid state amps and extremely portable for a high-power desktop system.

Yeah, I used to run two of these in a monoblock :)
Apologies replying to such an old post, but wanted to ask how you ran your 394IIs in monoblock configuration? I may be exploring a similar option

Running these in mono, could you power things such as Susvara? As I understand it, a single 394II doesn't really do the job for that specific headphone
 
Mar 17, 2024 at 1:36 PM Post #57 of 63
Apologies replying to such an old post, but wanted to ask how you ran your 394IIs in monoblock configuration? I may be exploring a similar option

Running these in mono, could you power things such as Susvara? As I understand it, a single 394II doesn't really do the job for that specific headphone
I can tell you with certainty that my 394 II drives my 1266TC with fantastic authority and control- but not to ultra loud volumes as it just does not have the gain. Susvara- for sure. I put my audio-gd HE-1 MK3 preamp behind my 394 and now I can get the TC to blistering volumes... Sound is much cleaner as well, and I have a remote on the volume now as well.
 
Mar 17, 2024 at 5:44 PM Post #58 of 63
Susvara- for sure.
So you've tried it on the 394II?

Nice, I've heard the 1266TC is a nice pairing with this amp albeit not reaching higher volumes.
 
Mar 17, 2024 at 6:01 PM Post #59 of 63
I have not tried Susvara but i assume if 1266 TC cant get loud enough, susvara also cannot.

Again- a good active preamp pushes the 394 to extreme volumes- so its a different game. With my preamp- the volumes reach until the headphone distorts or I go deaf. Also, my preamp made the 394 sound vastly better than before in every way.
 
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Mar 17, 2024 at 6:05 PM Post #60 of 63
Nerd math. 394ii has a Vrms of 8.5V on high gain over balanced and 24V P-P. I sold my Sus before I got the 394ii but those cans need some voltage swing to sound best. Unless your peak loudness is going over ~113 db, 394ii should do fine. I can definitely say if drives a HE5LE (~87 db) perfectly.
 

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