System Synergy - Special Sound

Discussion in 'General Audio Gear Discussion' started by atomicbob, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    Components are often discussed in isolation. Yet some systems sound special together, while others are competent and yet others are, well, not worth the effort.

    Here is a system that I put together and find to have a sound quality far exceeding the system price point. This will be traveling with me to many meets for the foreseeable future.

    GungnirMB+PSIII.jpg

    Components:
    Component List.jpg
    All prices in US Dollars.
    To my ears this system delivers dimension, depth, emotional connection that help suspend hearing the system and focus on connecting with the music, very similar to how I experience it at shows.

    System notes:

    Gungnir MB - an extraordinary DAC with exceedingly low jitter, excellent channel matching and gain linearity among its outstanding performanc - a must hear DAC.

    Project Sunrise III - hybrid tube - mosfet OTL with no negative feedback - very low residual noise, highly configurable - tube is employed at what is does best, voltage gain, mosfet employed at what it does best, current gain.

    HD650 - Sennheiser must have been sneaking in design changes over the years. Current production appears to have beneifited from HD800 design innovations and sound much better than HD650 from years ago.

    Linear Power Supply - reduces further the already low noise noise floor on the PS-III

    Regen USB - cleans up USB crap from computers

    Canare L-4E6S starquad cables with Neutrik connectors - used at many recording studios / mastering facilities around the world - technically excellent cables with high EMI noise immunity

    Radial Twin ISO - Jensen transformers adding a little iron to the audio path while converting DAC balanced outputs to single ended inputs for headphone amp.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  2. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    I like seeing the synergy setups.
     
  3. insidious meme

    insidious meme Friend

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    Looking (and sounding) good, AB. I will be getting the HD 650 hopefully if and when the xmas pricing comes out, but will be using the Cavalli Liquid Carbon amp along with the Gumby. Should be a winner for me for a long while.
     
  4. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Does anyone know how that Project Sunrise III compares to the Valhalla2? Or for that matter, any of the Garage1217s (compared to Valhalla2).
     
  5. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    Ha! Brilliant minds think alike. I am early on the LC list and have my balanced cable for the HD650 with this very system in mind for a SS balanced alternative.
     
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  6. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    Yeah - this setup is pretty fantastic.

    Similarly, I'm running Uptone Regen > Gumby > Val 2 in place of the Sunrise III and an ALO RX MK3_B out of the Gumby balanced outs until the Liquid Carbon preorder arrives > HD800 (Anax 2.0)/HD650 (Quarter Mod + Rear Foam removed)/LFF Paradox.

    Absolutely tremendous value. I'm interested in a Sunrise III vs Val 2 comparison myself...its cheap enough that I might just pick one up to try it out.


    20150929_143348.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
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  7. Skyline

    Skyline Friend

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    Is the sunrise 3 OTL or hybrid?

    I chose the Ember over the Valhalla, but that's purely because I'm driving planars. They're both fantastic amps.
     
  8. JK47

    JK47 Friend

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    Why wait for Xmas pricing... email the Sonic Electronix rep and ask for a deal on them. I did last month and got them shipped for $320. PM me for his email if you're interested. When and if I'm ready to jump on the Senn HD800's, he will be the first place I check for a deal.

    UPDATE: It appears they wont go down to $320 anymore...
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  9. FlySweep

    FlySweep Friend

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    Black Gumby looks uber hawt.
     
  10. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    The Sunrise III is OTL in that the output is transformerless. First stage of gain is a tube with the plate fed directly to the gate of a MOSFET run class-A. So this is a hybrid OTL amp. It will drive my AH-D5000, TH-900 and HE-500 just fine to suit me. Then again, my listening habits are typically 10 to 15 dB SPL lower than most others and my listening space has a very low residual noise level.
     
  11. Skyline

    Skyline Friend

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    I would love to hear some people discuss how the garage amps do with various DACs. I've got the Modi 2 Uber paired with my Ember and the HE-500. I wonder how sensitive it would be to DAC changes, if I would notice at all.
     
  12. mickeyvortex

    mickeyvortex Friend

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    Beautiful photos. @atomicbob and @AustinValentine, let me ask you this. If there was a (hypothetical) fire, which piece of gear would you try and rescue before fleeing (excluding the PC)?
     
  13. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    Man, hypothetical fires are the worst!

    Pragmatically, I'd grab the Gumby because the rest of my setup (sans the HD800) is on the lower budget side and can be more easily replaced. If I had to pick in absolute terms though, I'm not sure I could get by without my Paradox. Even with the HD800 and HD650 here, it's still the headphone that I listen to the most. I feel like a bit of a dick because I haven't gotten around to buying a fully decked out balanced pair of regular Paradoxes or Slants from Luis yet - that's been on my to-do list for months now.
     
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  14. mickeyvortex

    mickeyvortex Friend

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    So hypothetical fires can be decisive ;)
     
  15. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    I'd be looking after my wife and cat. Everything else can be replaced. However, the GuMB would be the first thing replaced, most likely along with everything else on the list I gave. The EC ZD, Ygg, BH Crack, MSD192 and HD800 would also be replaced. I'd have to think hard about replacing much else in my collected assortment of cans, amps and DACs.
     
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  16. Maxvla

    Maxvla Friend

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    If replacement were the concern, I'd say the ZD would be most difficult to get another copy of, everything else on your list is still available new.
     
  17. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Unpaid LH Labs volunteer - Admin

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    I see my black gumby has started a trend :)

    I find the Wyrd/Gumby > modded ZD prototype > HD600 to be exceptional. Such a great system.
     
  18. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    Indeed, I am spending time with the Ygg, GuMB, and Vega. all level matched into a ZDSE and then alternating between HD600 and HD800. Spending a lot more time with the selector knob set to GuMB of late. The Ygg has better transparency, but the GuMB slightly euphonic in just the right way.I heard a ZDS but it was at a meet of which ambient noise level very high, preventing a really comprehensive listening evaluation.
     
  19. audiofrk

    audiofrk Guest

    how is the val 2 + paradox?
     
  20. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    Not great. Gets a bit soft, and Val 2 doesn't drive orthos (even t50rp mods) very well. I generally use my ALO Rx MK3-B for the Paradox - which sounds phenomenal with it.
     

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