Wells Audio Milo - Impressions And Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ufospls2, Sep 16, 2016.
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  1. ahmadfaizadnan
    sounds like a great match with HD800 :ksc75smile:

    I never find it veil at all. It was a short listening session but enough to tell that the auteur performs better with milo than ican pro.
  2. Hifi59
    You will, likely for the first time, hear the bass that the 800s are capable of and they won’t sound as peakish as you might be used to.
    ahmadfaizadnan likes this.
  3. nickosiris
    It's funny... If I'd never heard of the Milo and read that review I'd think it tremendously positive and be thinking something like "Wow that's fascinating, I'd love to try one out, it sounds right up my street". However, because I know and love the Milo so much I'm violently defensive about it and if a reviewer uses phrases like "stuffy and dark", "veiled" or "wooly" and suggests that "The iFi flagship is actually the better all around [sic] performer" I'm spitting feathers and marking him down as a reviewer never to trust!

    Incidentally if he's hearing "humming" and finding that "the noise floor was very audible" then something's wrong somewhere in the equipment chain. I've never even noticed there IS a noise floor with the various sources and headphones I've tried with the Milo, let alone it being an issue.

    From a purely reviewing-the-review standpoint this one isn't perfect. He directly contradicts himself over the Milo's alleged "wooliness" at one point and doesn't seem to grasp what most people mean by 'microdynamics' at all. However as I've said by this point I'm a very unreliable witness as I'm admittedly biased against any less-than 100% positive review of Jeff Wells' small but perfectly formed powerhouse. Each to their own OF COURSE (and wouldn't it be a boring world if we all liked the same things) but "slight glossiness"? Gimme a break...
  4. Hifi59
    I personally can agree with all you’ve stated, however, it can produce noise if not placed correctly. I now own the Headtrip, but when I had the Milo, I discovered that if I placed my cell phone near the Milo, it would make a buzzing or humming sound (can’t remember which). It took me weeks to figure this out as it wasn’t always noticeable and when it was, I only heard it during quiet passages of a song or between songs. At least one other guy on this thread also noted this. It would also make this noise if I placed it near my Oppo Dac at that time. The noise would go away if I turned the Milo to the left nearly 90 degrees.
    This may be what the reviewer experienced.
  5. boxxi
    Ditto here. I have not heard the Milo in depth, but for his other reviews I feel the same way. His reviews are very succinct and detailed.
    First impressions of the Milo are favourable for me, although the demo unit has a stepped volume pot that is annoying has hell to adjust to that sweet spot.
  6. grizzlybeast

    Thanks for catching my contradiction on the 'wooly' part.

    I saw it too but wasn't trying to say the Milo bass was wooly by itself but that it had just a little more of that in its tmbre than the ican in direct comparison

    No worries about ppl not trusting my reviews. Often times it's the direct comparisons that give me my perpective and everyones point of reference will be different. Also every reader will have a tough time not exaggerating what I am describing.I have a tough time not doing that myself. I do like the Milo though. Its a natural sounding ss amp...very good tones and a sweet midband with ideal bass presence.

    FYI 100% sure it wasn't my chain or me picking up noises from other gear....been there ....done that. I know what I am doing at this point. Cheers!
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    omniweltall likes this.
  7. nickosiris
    Just to be clear: my point was not that it was a poor review, it was that I went into reading the review with a preset bias, and wasn't going to tolerate any sentence that didn't look like ecstatic praise. You stood no chance! You're as entitled to your opinion as much as I am.
  8. grizzlybeast
    microdynamics = gradations of volume on the smaller scale. You can hear microdynamics best on light percussion from background drums and in the song accents. Those aspects give the song nuance and differences of shade around the inner details of the recording. You have have the little details audible on all kinds of equipment. Some equipment you can hear the small details very clearly and all of the information is resolved. However, those details needs to pop out and show contrast in volume and that is where I find a lot of solid states to suffer at in comparison to tube amps. The nuance can be audible but not pop or snap with the enough variation of intensity. The Milo is not bad for a SS but the Pro is better as are my tube amps in that aspect. Perhaps my understanding is incorrect and if so I would like to learn this better?:)
  9. Hansotek
    I find tube amps and solid state amps have a vastly different presentation of micro dynamics and micro details. Comparing them is somewhat irrelevant to a degree - by that I mean at a certain level you're just comparing solid state and tubes with a couple exceptions on either side. Then there's the matter of recording - are we talking about reproducing the finely grained micro texture on a highly compressed master? Or are we talking about the smallest dynamic nuances on a recording with wide dynamic range? Both involve micro dynamics, but I would imagine the tasks are a bit different for the amplifier. Personally, I would prefer the Milo on the more compressed recording to unearth more micro & macro texture.... I feel like it is naturally punchy and bombastic, and it delivers both the thunder and the individual raindrops with equal aplomb amidst the storm. For something that is more wide-open and nuanced like a great recording with a super black background, I tend to lean a little more toward my tube amp to deliver more etherial dynamic color out of the black. Not that either amp is particularly weak at the other, I just feel that they have different strengths in terms of delivering micro texture.
    grizzlybeast likes this.
  10. weissja36
    @grizzlybeast really nicely written review. I appreciate your rating system as well, very easy to understand. It was interesting to read because it really demonstrated how differently we all hear.

    When i was looking for my current end-game amp I bought the Milo and also the iFi iCan Pro to compare the two. While i enjoyed some strengths of the iCan Pro in the end it didn't do it for me. To ME the Milo beat it soundly in everything besides functionality (OK maybe not price :wink:. If I wanted/needed the swiss army knife abilities of the iCan that would have been the only thing that would have swayed me. But as far as just grading the presentation of music it wasn't close (again, for me). I must share that I have never experienced any hum with the Milo using any of my Grados, which are pretty sensitive. I also didn't perceive any veil and that is something I look out for and is particularly important to me. I agree that the iCan did sound a bit thinner and maybe that can be perceived as greater transparency? To me the Milo just has a bit more meat/guts/heart in it's sound, but i don't think that veils it at all. With the Milo the little subtleties and deep details on various tracks raise to the surface with ease and can be appreciated as distinct and separate from the bigger notes, all of which seem to be on display to their fullest potential. Again, to each their own, I just don't want anyone considering the Milo to be put off by one reviewer's views so I figured I'd offer my own.

    If i had never purchased the Milo i could have been happy with the iCan because it's a very solid performer. But when in direct comparison to the Milo i fairly quickly knew which one was for me. As an aside, this is coming from someone who was certain I preferred tube to solid state, which i think is a pretty neat feather in the Milo's cap. Really my only gripe with the Milo is the volume adjustment. I have the stepped attenuation and i wish it was smooth. Doesn't detract from my enjoyment while listening, but if it was smooth I think it would lend to a more refined feel during use..
    grizzlybeast likes this.
  11. grizzlybeast
    Re: Comparing them is somewhat irrelevant to a degree - by that I mean at a certain level you're just comparing solid state and tubes with a couple exceptions on either side.

    I totally hear you. I had a good SET amplifiers in mind which from what I have heard, maybe not as much as you, usually shines with micro-dynamics. The simple explanation of the experience was that I found, through various recordings, the small nuances better defined and more readily available consistently on the iCan and Aficionado (I expected that from the latter with the tubes used etc). I def agree, using generalizations like I did is misleading. But when shopping for amps and setting ones expectations from one side of the fence or another, it is tough not to expect certain kinds of performance from one camp or another. I just don't find the Milo exceptional in that area, bottom line there. However, overall compared to the venerable HE-9 the Milo is much more tonally realistic and the timbre is much more natural.

    What Dac are you using?


    Let me really put it all in perspective. I was talking about technicalities alone when it came to resolution and details. I feel that the iFi beyond being a swiss army knife, is just better designed, quieter, and cleaner. The ifi is not the amp I would keep had I both. If it were all about resolution and details the Audio GD-HE-9 would have never left my stable. BUT the HE-9 performed in sound stage, resolution, clarity, bass control, and neutrality better than both but it sounded lifeless to me and it lacked the aspects that envoke emotion. Now for the price the HE-9 kind of performance is what I expect for 2249 when it comes to solid state performance.

    I would take the Milo over both at the end of the day. BUT
    I use that comparison to show where I find the iCan to stack in terms of sheer clarity, resolution, and micro dynamics. To each there own but at 2249 I think that it is just a little overpriced. In my search for my end game solid state amp, the Milo just won't cut it. It has me looking at amps like the PASS labs or the Violectric V281. Otherwise then I will just get some kind of a speaker amp and skip solid state headphone amps all together.

    Now when I got my Aficionado, I heard a veil and people looked at me like I had horns growing on my head. But I swapped the driver tube and bye bye veil. The ifi even had better inner clarity than the Aficionado until I did that and now my Aficionado is exceptionally clear. It could be that since I use the Rednet3 and Pavane that I hear things a little different. I do know that since I had the Rednet3 added that I am able to scrape up the last bits of clarity that I didn't know was there before. So I really doubt I would have used the word veiled before.

    Now the Milos much larger soundstage and better macrodynamics gives it a better sense of realism where individual instruments are easier to focus on, BUT, I am not going to retract my sentiments about it. I said that the microdynamics are not bad at all in my review, just not an area I felt it excelled at looking at the whole picture. To draw a parrallel, The Utopia bass has very good control, but as a whole it is not the area it excels most at.

    It is okay though, people can hate my review and not trust me and all of the likes. It is okay. I just enjoy doing what I do with no ulterior motives. If you hear it differently than me no problem. @heliosphann can dislike my posts, this other guy can be pissed, everyone can hear it differently, no worries. Noone gets it right all the time.No reason to write me off altogether. If that was the case I would have done that to Tyll along time ago, but glean what you can and I can't help I am sorry. I just know I try my best every time. I remember the other day someone saying the AFO had a elevated upper midrange. I heard it and thought the opposite, his ears, his perspective, his gear, YMMV.
    Hansotek likes this.
  12. weissja36
    @grizzlybeast no hate at all my man! I hope i didn't come off that way. Just obviously a big fan of my Milo. I really applaud your reviewing effort as i tried to express. I don't have the time nor nowhow to go into that kind of detail when reviewing or comparing. I really do appreciate your efforts, we always need pros and cons and various opinions to make effective buying decisions for ourselves. Not many people can afford to purchase multiple components at one time to compare which is best suited to their tastes. Keep them coming Grizz!

    At the price point the iCan is a steal, no doubt about it. If my budget had been tighter that might have swayed me. But when I spend what i consider to me a lot of money, i'm usually willing to stretch my budget a little bit to get exactly what i want and will have zero regrets about (aside from my pocketbook).

    For the record, i've added your review site to my bookmarks list :)
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  13. grizzlybeast
    oh not at all. You didn't come off that way. I was just addressing the whole deal. Hopefully I didn't come that way to you either.

    The Milo is worthy of its fans.
    Hansotek and weissja36 like this.
  14. heliosphann
    Yea, I also came out a little too harsh, like what @nickosiris said. Kinda a knee jerk reaction of my bias I suppose. No hard feelings Grizz.

    And just because sometimes I don't agree with your views on certain gear, doesn't mean I don't respect your reviews. They're always well done and the pics are for sure on point. I quite liked you're AR-H1 review, although I thought the bass was much better than you did. :wink:
  15. grizzlybeast
    I was a little over critical of it. With what it was next to it didn't stand a chance in the bass department. Perhaps I need some more mid-tier phones to do it justice, but I am weird about bass. Anyhow, no worries dude. Usually what people say first is what they mean. It is possible that the fact that you rarely agree is because we have different points of reference, but it is good that you have developed your own sense of what is correct to you, and that is what matters. The reality is that rarely have I been at mini meet where everyone agrees. Those times remind me how much opinions vary and when you hear someone out, it all makes sense from their perspective.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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