Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

Meet was hella fun. Got to meet a lot of great folks from Schiit. I’ll do a write-up later when I get home.

There has been talk of Abbas DACs around here for some time, including IIRC a short personal loaner tour, but it's all scattered as isolated posts in other threads. As @Ksorota has one for sale right now, and other units have circulated within our community, I felt it was worth having a place to discuss them.

Magni has been around for 10 years. It has served as an entry point into the headphone hi-fi hobby for quite some time. Although many of us have moved on to other gear and have suggested even other gear, eg. Vali ams (1, 2, 2+, +), Magni still serves as this low cost small form factor solid state amp to use with an external DAC, and really the start of the small Schiit stack with the Modi

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Tldr; and improvement over all the other Magni’s from the past, but not a Piety killer

Now right when the Magni + was released, there was already hype surrounding the Magni Piety through NITSCH’s limited run. And anyone who purchased a Piety can rest assured that the + I do not think is a Piety killer. However, I do think it is an improvement from all the other Magni’s, especially over Magni 2.
This thread's intention is to gather in one repository, any member who wants to contribute their knowledge, time and experience in creating addictively listenable, superbly ratio'd price : performance setups.

The rules are:
  • Only pieces of gear that have a high cost : performance ratio, or a paragraph on why a more expensive piece is better in a certain case
  • Synergy. is. important.
  • Aimed at maximum availability, even promoting the Piety (and I am guilty of this in my pf post leading up to this thread!) is discouraged because it is, as of right now, OOP. Esoteric gear is fine, so long as it's gettable
  • Allow for personal taste to guide your decision-making, but please explain why gear fits together synergistically, bias is fine so long as it serves a purpose (for instance, off the top of my head, @rhythmdevils, please tell us why your modded orthos are a great deal if you'd like, @purrin please provide perspective on why under-$500 Grados kick ass, @Merrick this is right up your alley, having owned gear in the multiple kilobuck range still but love a Fulla 2, tell us why it's amazing, @loadexfa—being bourgie isn't bad if you can get a great deal on it! and so on)
  • Total pricing should be under $2K, but if we can get even more realistically "budget" in the around-or-under $1K setups that fucking kick, I'll donate again to SBAF. I love this place, it's full of people who have hands-on familiarity with excellent gear in all price ranges, kindness to share their impressions and understanding, as well as the wisdom to turn that knowledge into insight for the budget space, and I think lurkers and new members alike would agree
A new headphone from Nectar Sound called "The Bee" - a planar.


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I took a chance and purchased the Gold Bar for myself because of my very positive experience with the Go Blu. The downsides with the Go Blu is that it only worked well with efficient headphones (Grados, Mini, etc.) and I kept losing it in a pants pocket because it was so small and lightweight. I figured the Gold Bar would give me something super portable that I can take with me for travel that will work with ZMFs, Sennheisers, etc. Now that the COVID scare is over, I'll be travelling more, so this is good timing. I'll be headed to the UK this coming January visiting London and Manchester. And again in March for a family vacation. The iFi Diablo would have been another considering, but I hate carrying weight with international travel.

Most of us love tubes…the warm glow, the warmth, the grain free smooth sound, the voltage gain we get out of this ancient technology, the harmonics. No matter what, we are addicted to tubes and what they do to audio. And tubes make the most sense almost in headphones where you don’t need megawatts to drive. They also require very few parts, fun to explore new sounds by changing the tubes, and somehow they really get along with high impedance headphones because of that high voltage gain.


And yes, the top end headphone amps from the likes of Eddie Current, Donald North Audio, Line Magnetic and others with 300b or 2A3 or other such high output tubes are just way out of the reach of most of us with not huge discretionary income. Pipe dreams. So, there are two paths…DIY, or something off the shelf that is very close. DIY is difficult, and still can be expensive. Ever looked at Elekit prices? And off the shelf…there are so many, how to pick?

For the DIYers out there, Dan just opensourced a modified version of his Alpha Dogs. Love them or hate them, here's your chance to build your own pair using a Fostex T20/40/50rp while tuning them to your liking.


Dan has confirmed that the baffle and pad ring can be used to modify a Mad Dog into a Pro. Anyone have access to a 3D printer who wouldn't mind printing some parts for a fair price? If not, Dan also provided links to a site that can print the pieces for you for a nominal fee.
The Softears Twilight appears to be the lineup replacement for the more expensive, heavier, and now discontinued Turii. It contains an all new 10mm DLC domed single dynamic driver. While the housings retain the same shape as its predecessor, the weight of those same shells has been reduced by a claimed 60%; each housing now weighing a mere 6 grams each. Indeed, they feel light in the hand. Also like the Turii (and Moondrop Illumination) predecessors, the Twilight is significantly vented with 5 slotted front vents. As a result, isolation takes a hit and your significant other might be able to hear the music you are listening to in a very quiet environment.


The housings of Twilight are very distinctive. While I am sure some of the elongated, rectangular shape is in part due to achieving the proper rear cavity volumes, I can’t help but think it is also simply designed to look different, memorable and distinctive. I’ve never worn the Turii, but imagining the shells weighing 60% more, I am thankful of the weight reduction Twilight brings.
Schiit Meet - Corpus Christi Texas - Wednesday Dec 14 2022. Sure this meet will be kind of way out in South Texas. I hear of possible gifts and a live streamed event. Spots will be limited. RSVP to [email protected]

Nueces Brewing Company
Over the years and in various incarnations I've written articles on SBAF about music history and theory. This thread will gradually pull together articles in abandoned and tainted threads and supplement them with ongoing additional content. Feel free to interact, asking questions and bringing in your own insights. This first post will have a growing index of the major articles. FWIW, my approach is to not take things too seriously, to try and make the story of Western Music accessible to non-musicians and/or those who are curious. I call this process "desnobbification".


Music History
Ancient Music
Gregorian Chant: An Origin Story
A Musical Mystery: Dating an Old Book (Part 1)
I will update the OP once Zach discloses more information. But I collected all the information I could see in various forums as of today (2022-09-12).

Zach also shared B&K measurements in HF (link). Below are DF-compensated FR (vs Atrium) and distortion results.