Wells Audio - Impressions & Questions
Nov 15, 2021 at 11:44 AM Post #241 of 375

tawmizzzz

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Has anyone tried the Dragon L2/L3 with the LCD5 yet? I am wondering how much of a SQ increase I can expect coming from the iDSD Pro Signature.

Also, if I were to go down the route, any preferred DAC pairings with Dragon in the $2k range or under? Looking at Qutest (and would pair with Roon DSP) or even the RME for the EQ feature.
 
Nov 15, 2021 at 1:16 PM Post #243 of 375

Bonddam

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Received my Dragon LV2 few weeks ago :)
It replaced nothing, as i was powering my ZMF Verite/HD650 with solid state output of my diy dac. At first power on and first 5 hours Dragon brought me a bigger spaced music and a tad more dynamic with a little better bass. But after some 20 hours or so it began showing a lot more what it is capable of and now at ~150hours it is already significantly more dynamic, more smooth sound, bigger soundstage with more space between the instruments. The thing which strikes me - i dont feel ive lost any of general resolution nor "plancton", on the contrary, i hear or understand some complex passages better, as there is more air between the sounds, which helps with better macro resolution. And this bass... it isnt too much, but if music calls for it - who have it with all its glory and subbase :) Its addictive. Also, the added smoothness...sound became easier on ears, as sounds are not so edgy anymore and are more rounded, but again, i feel nothing, even inner tiny details to be lost. Music just have a better flow and PRAT.
In general, someone not from audiophile circles, would call differences minor as my dac output is quiet capable with pitch black background and lots of plancton, except the bass (which now is a lot better), but for me personally - money is well spent :) Thanks Jeff!

PS. I still not understood weird noise on all gain settings except for 0db, which is only one totally silent with my 300ohm headphones. Is this normal with not so sensitive , but still easy to drive headphones?

PPS. Can gain be changed while amp is on?
The level 2 is best bang for the buck. If you are getting 1266 I'd say lvl3 can add more oomph with the upgraded power supply. I'm a big believer in transformers. Must expensive parts and if wound by hand that's where the expense really comes in. When I worked for ADT security I'd take old boards and take parts off for the scrap yard and those transformers are machined but the amount of copper is crazy. Couldn't handle sitting winding those with my hand even if on a spool slinging the transformer. Just to get everywhere exact is important so the magnetic field isn't wonky. So lvl 3 is more transparent, but the 2 is really transparent and fast smooth very even across the spectrum not living anything else. Being I'm not on team Abyss anymore I'm probably going to stay with the 2. Sorry Jeff it's that good. I got rid of my big Woo WA5 because it didn't have the same resolution.

I have tube recommendation for Arya and tube is Amperex 6922 super smoothed. Don't get it for ZMF sound they require tubes with more brightness in mids to mid treble to stay lively.

The highest price I found but was from a high end store are Bel and Philips e88cc cost me for all four about $500. The Amperex 6922 gold pins where up there. A steal is Russian version of 6dj8(can't remember
Has anyone tried the Dragon L2/L3 with the LCD5 yet? I am wondering how much of a SQ increase I can expect coming from the iDSD Pro Signature.

Also, if I were to go down the route, any preferred DAC pairings with Dragon in the $2k range or under? Looking at Qutest (and would pair with Roon DSP) or even the RME for the EQ feature.
I'm waiting for my LCD 5. Is something making you concerned or just how it will sound. That headphone is low impedance and low sensitivity (if I remember correctly). So if the LCD 5 had 88db like 1266 but has 14 ohm resistance it's telling the amp to give power of 14 ohms so it's going to get more power out of the amp then the 1266 meaning it will play better. So the 5 will rock easier then 1266. Plus dual magnets vs 1266 single get the picture.
 
Nov 15, 2021 at 1:21 PM Post #244 of 375

Bonddam

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Has anyone tried the Dragon L2/L3 with the LCD5 yet? I am wondering how much of a SQ increase I can expect coming from the iDSD Pro Signature.

Also, if I were to go down the route, any preferred DAC pairings with Dragon in the $2k range or under? Looking at Qutest (and would pair with Roon DSP) or even the RME for the EQ feature.
I also have Qutest and recommend it seems very neutral the amp will smooth out any issues and give you great sound. If you look into R2r world denaphrips Ares 2 or pontus 2. If you can find a used Pontus 2. If you like giving Denaphrips a chance the price is in Singapore dollars so it looks more expensive.
 
Nov 15, 2021 at 1:26 PM Post #245 of 375

tawmizzzz

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I'm waiting for my LCD 5. Is something making you concerned or just how it will sound. That headphone is low impedance and low sensitivity (if I remember correctly). So if the LCD 5 had 88db like 1266 but has 14 ohm resistance it's telling the amp to give power of 14 ohms so it's going to get more power out of the amp then the 1266 meaning it will play better. So the 5 will rock easier then 1266. Plus dual magnets vs 1266 single get the picture.
I think LCD5 sounds excellent with the Signature (both in SS and tube modes), but I would like a bit more musicality in the mids and seeing how Dragon L2 is synonymous with terms like "lush", "liquid", and "smooth" makes me wonder if it'll be a better partner for the LCD5. Just need to figure out the desk space situation too :joy:

Looking forward to your impressions when you receive the LCD5s-thanks.
I also have Qutest and recommend it seems very neutral the amp will smooth out any issues and give you great sound. If you look into R2r world denaphrips Ares 2 or pontus 2. If you can find a used Pontus 2. If you like giving Denaphrips a chance the price is in Singapore dollars so it looks more expensive.
Yep, heard great things about the Ares II as well. For the Qutest, I heard it is recommended to upgrade the power supply so open to suggestions there if need be.
 
Nov 15, 2021 at 2:52 PM Post #246 of 375

Bonddam

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I think LCD5 sounds excellent with the Signature (both in SS and tube modes), but I would like a bit more musicality in the mids and seeing how Dragon L2 is synonymous with terms like "lush", "liquid", and "smooth" makes me wonder if it'll be a better partner for the LCD5. Just need to figure out the desk space situation too :joy:

Looking forward to your impressions when you receive the LCD5s-thanks.

Yep, heard great things about the Ares II as well. For the Qutest, I heard it is recommended to upgrade the power supply so open to suggestions there if need be.
Dragon has yet to offend any of my headphones. Be careful using lush Jeff equals that to many negative things. Basically the amp is neutral it doesn't add anything to the headphone. So you hear the headphone. Example to remotely like Arya I had to throw it on a lush tube amp to quail the air. Hell the iFi Zen signature amp/combo made it sound worse to me and it's got the filter for Hifiman headphones. Dragon had bass for bass heads and people older than Jeff. 😂. Mids for miles. Treble that never hurts. It's got sparkle warmth speed and a bunch of other words audio nerds use that mean zilch to me. I'm just regular guy no super powers but I love how my Dragon makes me feel.
 
Nov 15, 2021 at 2:56 PM Post #247 of 375

minionas

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The level 2 is best bang for the buck. If you are getting 1266 I'd say lvl3 can add more oomph with the upgraded power supply. I'm a big believer in transformers. Must expensive parts and if wound by hand that's where the expense really comes in. When I worked for ADT security I'd take old boards and take parts off for the scrap yard and those transformers are machined but the amount of copper is crazy. Couldn't handle sitting winding those with my hand even if on a spool slinging the transformer. Just to get everywhere exact is important so the magnetic field isn't wonky. So lvl 3 is more transparent, but the 2 is really transparent and fast smooth very even across the spectrum not living anything else. Being I'm not on team Abyss anymore I'm probably going to stay with the 2. Sorry Jeff it's that good. I got rid of my big Woo WA5 because it didn't have the same resolution.

I have tube recommendation for Arya and tube is Amperex 6922 super smoothed. Don't get it for ZMF sound they require tubes with more brightness in mids to mid treble to stay lively.

The highest price I found but was from a high end store are Bel and Philips e88cc cost me for all four about $500. The Amperex 6922 gold pins where up there. A steal is Russian version of 6dj8(can't remember
The only thing which i would like to try what is available now and seams to be close to my taste - susvara, but for now its out of my league :) But until then ill do some serious upgrades to my source so it becomes serious contender to 10k+ category. Now its very good, but i am picky and want max what i can squeeze out of it :) Then i will look again at my headphones and amp..
 
Nov 15, 2021 at 4:59 PM Post #248 of 375

Bonddam

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Back on team Abyss but Diana TC. I've got that Sloth head shape. You know Rocky Road. Anyhow the 1266 just suck on my head and it pisses me off. So next best thing TC driver in a non gap designed headphone also ordered Liric. Waiting for my headphone from Ukraine by some name I can not remember because it's more of a phrase then one or two word name but Sasha Tres Deux custom wood planar that has Audeze design. LCD 5 someday will be shipped.
 
Nov 17, 2021 at 7:39 AM Post #250 of 375

johnzz4

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Gave up sent Jeffy moolah to send me the Dragon 3 before I send the 2 back then he can refund me the difference. I don't want to be 2-3 weeks without it.
That’s funny, I’ve done the same to make sure I wasn’t without a Wells amp. @Bonddam, I believe you’ve mentioned prior that you listen to some electronic music. How is the Cipher for that? I don’t want to lose the bass I’m currently getting with the Denafrips Terminator Plus, but I’ve heard universally great things about the Cipher.
 
Nov 17, 2021 at 10:17 AM Post #251 of 375

Bonddam

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That’s funny, I’ve done the same to make sure I wasn’t without a Wells amp. @Bonddam, I believe you’ve mentioned prior that you listen to some electronic music. How is the Cipher for that? I don’t want to lose the bass I’m currently getting with the Denafrips Terminator Plus, but I’ve heard universally great things about the Cipher.
No loss of Bass at all. I'm a big EDM head and tired many different DAC's of different topologies and the Cipher is my favorite except I have less expensive DAC's. My favorite less expensive is Denafrips Pontus 2. Not sure about the Terminator I believe it is less then Cipher and gives you more options for use. I have a Chord Qutest that I move between my 2 channel for my TV shows and Movies and BottleHead Crack amp. The extra features don't get important as I don't use balanced circuit designs and only USB. I believe putting nothing between the computer and my source. My Laptop outputs to 3 different DAC's and really only balance is from the ifi Zen DAC to the Stax SRM 007t energizer for my Perun Rock.
 
Nov 17, 2021 at 2:41 PM Post #252 of 375

TheMiddleSky

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I think LCD5 sounds excellent with the Signature (both in SS and tube modes), but I would like a bit more musicality in the mids and seeing how Dragon L2 is synonymous with terms like "lush", "liquid", and "smooth" makes me wonder if it'll be a better partner for the LCD5. Just need to figure out the desk space situation too :joy:

Looking forward to your impressions when you receive the LCD5s-thanks.

Yep, heard great things about the Ares II as well. For the Qutest, I heard it is recommended to upgrade the power supply so open to suggestions there if need be.

A little off topic, but I can assure you any wells audio amp deserve more than Ares II. I like Pontus and Terminator, so basically I praise Denafrips products. But Ares II is so weak in term of technical that something like Topping D90SE would provide 1-2 level above it. Very not recommend product for Ares II from my point of view.
 
Nov 21, 2021 at 9:37 AM Post #253 of 375

Bonddam

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For Cipher and Dragon people, finding good tube roll in both to work in harmony is way to go. I changed up the given stock tubes with TAD 12bh7A long plate in the Dragon. I put NOS RCA 12BH7a black plate o getter red lettering in Cipher. This was dream combo life and thickness with stage and holographic sound. Both tube sets are fresh so if burn in is real see what happens.
Headphone being used Meze Elite.

My test came after a horrible roll with two RCA 12bh7a u getter black plate(Cipher) and 12bh7a black plate o getter(Dragon) created lush unexciting sound that just made me turn off the equipment and go back to bed. After researching the 12bh7(A) family decided on the new production and NOS as ideal by description given for every 12bh7 I could find info on.

Goal get more tubeness without running into the original role catastrophe.

I had to make my choice on what I happen to have on hand.

I've also come to like a few of the E88CC tubes for 6 volt setting tube I hate and causes original problem is Amperex 6922 gold pins expensive pair. Those just lush the hell out of the sound like swimming in molasses.

Good 6 volt Genalex E88CC gold pins similar to TAD sound a bit more potent. Thicker still shows power are E88CC Philips and Bel same tubes just different factories are sq and pq labeled if labels wipe off you can't tell them apart. These give warm thick bass and midrange not solid state.

So I have some 12bh7 from Sylvania that I'll be trying.
 
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Nov 22, 2021 at 1:46 AM Post #254 of 375

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A little off topic, but I can assure you any wells audio amp deserve more than Ares II. I like Pontus and Terminator, so basically I praise Denafrips products. But Ares II is so weak in term of technical that something like Topping D90SE would provide 1-2 level above it. Very not recommend product for Ares II from my point of view.
I'll have to disagree, I think the Ares II pairs extremely well with my Dragon L3. I love how my recently acquired Ares II gives the dragon that extra bloom and umfff as compare to the Adi-2 and the Yggy that I previously paired with the dragon. While my plan is to have the Ares II as a temporary dac while my doge 7 gets build, I'm getting more and more tempted to just upgrade to a Pontus or even the Venus.

Note that I don't have much experience with Topping other than an A/D90 stack that I had for a week before I quickly sold it. Not a fan of Topping - while on paper it's a superstar, tonality wise.... it's just boring.
 
Nov 22, 2021 at 2:36 AM Post #255 of 375

Bonddam

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My Pontus arrived tomorrow. See if it gives me some bloom hopefully a change from just linear sound of the Cipher. I also have a Lokius on order but I have a another eq for seeing how much fun to boost some bass to make my ears pop. Gotta have fun bass, we'll see if it works for me.
 

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