Discussion in 'General Audio Gear Discussion' started by atomicbob, Sep 28, 2015.
And i always thought getting headphones loud doesnt mean its properly driven, hehe.
There two sides of the argument: One is how much power do you really need? The other is more power is always better. In the end, it depends on the situation.
On a lighter and more on-topic note:
+ Sennheiser HD800 with mods (not pictured).
I think many of you guys know by now that I am not a big fan of the HD800s because pop recordings (I am a sucker for a good pop song - my way of pissing on classical snobs), which tend to have more treble energy, don't work well with those headphones. However, in this case, I would have the give the nod to the HD800 (modded of course) over the HD650. The Balancing Act is an easy-going laid-back amp. With the bloom and mellowness of the Electro Harmonic 300Bs, the HD650s don't quite work in this setup. BTW, the EH 300Bs, despite their low cost are pretty darn good 300B tubes. (I think several years ago, I may have written a 300B comparo on Changstar or Head-Fi comparing about half a dozen 300Bs.)
My regular setup is the EC ZDS, but the added refinement and increased resolution of the BA with the spaciousness and stage-depth of the high-frequency filament heaters scream for the use of the HD800s. I'm using a tall-glass 7N7 (with the H plate) on a adapter. The 7N7 is exactly the same thing as the 6SN7, but in a different package. This particular 7N7 is brighter, more sparkly and airier than the triangle plate short glass 7N7s. I chose this specific tube because the BA with the EH 300Bs can tend to be a bit too laid-back for my tastes. There actually are not that many types of 7N7s (look at the plates, not the brands) so that does make life much less neurotic. I hate tube rolling because we can easily be seduced into listening to tubes instead of listening to music. Personally, I have no patience for people who insist on listening to tubes.
But yeah, just a little insight into how I personally would set things up, and how different headphones will perform differently under different setups.
And now for something completely different, at the other end of the spectrum. Had this been my first listening station, I might never have been motivated to look further. A lot of engaging sound for not much money. It has my nearly full attention this evening.
The realism achieved with this system is scary for the modest investment required. Listening to Christian McBride "Shake and Blake" transports the listener to the studio, as one example. Sounds as if I'm working mic placement in the room. Every track I've auditioned has been far more realistic than any D-S DAC based system previous to this setup. However, I've not seen channel matching as excellent as in all three Schiit MB DACs before, either. So the channel matching may be a large contributor to the 2 channel realism.
Here is the component list of this system:
Added component list and comments to MultiFrost + PS-III + HD650 system setup.
You forgot one of the main synegizers to the above system and its cost?
From my eye it looks like a very worthwhile tweak...........Is is an Australian cab or Shiraz?
The synergizer is a Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2012 cab, and goes for approx. $8 US. 90 pts from Wine Spectator. Another exceptional value.
Oh yeah, the Columbia Valley wines are among the best bang for buck.
Edit: I like Chateau St. Michelle, runs for about $12
A ways back when I played with channel matching I figured out that it’s one of those ‘key’ aspects along with several others, which can contribute mightily to a magnificent sound stage. Of course the entire system needs to be able to reflect this degree of matching, but when achieved the results can truly be spectacular.
And these days we can add a variety of different types of compensation to the entire system much easier, with greater accuracy, and with fewer 'consequences', even before the front end, using DSP.
Whereas analog sources usually have far less specificity.
Like, can you imagine adjusting the entire systems channel balance by ±0.1dB using a volume control knob?
And yes it can be done but at what cost?
But more to the point, these days some of us even have the ability, at home, to measure and quantify their speaker systems responses given a wide variety of situations and gear and in many cases (ie. channel balance etc.) adjustments can be made quite easily and with precision.
A sharpening of the focus if you will.
It was this single bit of complexity that is inherent with a mechanically based signal (re)generation system (a rock in a spiral groove, trying NOT to get thrown out) that convinced me to abandon analog for the less cumbersome AND much less expensive digital format of signal retrieval.
Especially if I wanted to continue to pursue what "sharpening of the focus" could lead me.
The ability to tighten the focus of many variables in the system while being much less cumbersome (read $$ not $$$$+) because of the much easier control accorded using DSP, allows us to gain tighter focus in multiple domains (FR, channel matching etc.) all at the same time.
And no, digital isn't at the same SQ level as the best that analog can offer, not quite yet, especially for the vast majority of folks, and mostly due to cost.
And with this latest Schiit gear, even a $600 dac in a ≈ $1500 system is enthralling, captivating and compelling.
So now instead of spending $x10^6+ we are in the $x10^4 range, which is orders of magnitude cheaper, and wind up being REALLY close in terms of SQ.
And this IS more than end game for the majority of folks.
And for me THIS is why high end audio is fading away, it's simply far to costly for the vast majority of folks.
A really good analog based speaker system + room etc. is just WAY to fraq'n expensive and time consuming for the average, or even above average audio oriented listener.
But I digress…
So as we continue to dial in channel matching and many other related variables with a finer and finer degree of focus, for less and less cost, we all win!
Interesting, intriguing and compelling times in audio indeed, for more and more folks.
@atomicbob , have you ever tried the Project Horizon?
Looks to be almost the same as the Sunrise, but aimed for higher impedance cans, maybe, even better synergy?
No, unfortunately I haven't heard the Horizon. When looking at the two, I wanted to have a wider range of impedances served by the hybrid, given I already have a Bottlehead Crack which does high impedance very nicely.
I wanted to get a sense of the difference between the Gumby and my AMB Gamma2, just to see just how large of a delta between the two I could hear with the modded HD650s. So this is the setup I've been running since last evening:
Schit Wyrd > y2 (Filter B) > Schiit Mjolnir 2 (Amperex 6DJ8/ECC88s, Holland Orange Globes, A-Frame, Steel Pins) > Modded HD650.
Thoughts & Observations:
1. Tonally, these two DACs could be cousins. See how they line up on Marv's DAC chart? I was skeptical that they'd be quite that close to one another. They are exactly that close. The Gungnir Multibit has less high end roll off and the y2 has slightly more bass body/presence. The differences are really small.
2. Notice that high gain toggle and 12 o'clock pot placement? I'm not a high volume listener and the Mjolnir 2 is a pretty beefy desktop amp. That's how much difference your DAC output power can have on the volume output of your system. The y2's output power is only 1.2V. The single ended output of the Gumby is 2V, balanced is 4V. With the Gumby, I mostly listen at between 8-9 on high gain. On lower volume recordings with the y2, I have to crank it up to nearly 1 o'clock.
3. The biggest difference between the two: microdetail. On better recordings, breath, whispering, and small spatial/positioning queues all seem to vanish when moving between the y2 and the Gumby. I have three different versions of Hell Freezes Over (5.1 DTS, XRCD, and a standard 1994 CD rip) and with the Gumby, the differences between the recordings are far, far more apparent. (Note: The difference here would likely be smaller with a bipassed ASRC chip, as with OJNeg's that was on loan a while back, but my y2 isn't.) Score yet another one for Marv's chart - the delta in resolution seems to be fairly represented there.
4. I'm posting about listening to this here specifically because this setup really sounds good together. If I hadn't heard the Gumby, or had less resolving transducers than the HD650/HD800 (and the HE-6 and HE-560 as well), I'd be completely satisfied with this pairing. Gamma2's generally pop up on the open market at $250 or less...and way less if you can DIY. A B-Stock Schiit Mjolnir 2 with stock tubes is only is $769 + shipping. Add in ~$300 for a used HD650 and around $100 for some decent aftermarket tubes and it's a slightly warm, highly musical sounding system for around $1500. A used HE-500 (~$450) or a refurbished PM-2 ($499) would also be nice pairings for this setup if one were ortho-inclined.
5. I can't help but think that with this kind of resolution difference a Headphone Plankton/Low-level Detail/Microdetail Companion Chart would be an incredibly useful resource. Listening with my stock PM-1s, the massive detail monsters that they are (#sarcasm), the extra nearly 1k spent on the Gumby would almost be a waste of money. This kind of resource would almost certainly have to be another project built around correlated group subjective impressions. (It's not as if measuring plankton hasn't been discussed after all. But I get the sense that that's a bit of a dry well, at least for now.)
A setup I'm really enjoying:
Audirvana/Tidal > Gumby > Black Widow > Enigmas. While the BW does have bit of a "tubey" sound, it pairs incredibly well with orthos. In fact, I like the LCD 2.2s out of it quite a bit as well (as much as one enjoys an LCD 2). It's especially delightful with my Enigmas.
gamma2 + Wyrd is certainly effective
I'm glad to hear of these pairings. BW has definitely been on my watch list and it's great to hear that it doesn't make the LCD2.2s/Enigmas sound too gooey. Any idea how Bimby would sound within that chain? I'm wondering if I can settle and be happy with Bimby > BW and not have to worry about excess warmth.
I bet that would be a rather awesome pairing. I'm not sure how warm it'd sound, but I bet it's would be just fine.
Giving the Bimby a listen. Bill tends to be rather sensitive to frequency response. I'd say the Bimby is slightly warmer, but it's not something overwhelming by any means, just rather slight.
Though exhausted from a 19 hr day of research, a Liquid Crimson showed up today. In spite of the warnings that the best will come in about 150 more hours, I can't stop listening to yet another major step up in the level of realism realized by this system; Multifrost+LiquidCrimson+HD650. However, this does not stay within the concept of budget mindedness, more like out of this world sound but with a much higher investment required (the Liquid Crimson is 10x the price of the Project Sunrise III).
@purrin Muddy Waters Folk Singer MFSL sounds spectacular on this system.
@drfindley how do you like your black widow with your stock hd800 compared to the ragnarok?
The BW is sweeter and smoother and the transients are less sharp compared to the Rag. I find them both to be rather resolving (though not as resolving as a EC Studio)
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