Best amps for orthos

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by rhythmdevils, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    5,467
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    I tried my HE-6 from an HSA-1b recently out of the ribbon output with an adapter. Absolutely gobsmacked, and this is from a guy who used to run monoblocks.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  2. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2018
    Likes Received:
    1,243
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Not going to win any value contests but WA33 is a push-pull with 2a3's that drives the LCD-4 superbly. At Canjam thought GSX Mk2 with Susvara was also stunning. For normal human beings Jot 2 and Mjolnir 2. Rag 2 obviously has a fountain of power for anything but isn't as engaging as Jot 2.

    At Canjam I heard the BHA-1 with LCD-5's and thought it was too furious a combo
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
  3. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Jakarta, Singapore
    For a really long time, I used to pair Mr. Ti Kan's Beta22 with the Susvara before I had to sell the HFM last year because of financial reasons. It was a pretty good synergy, the slightly warm tonality helps to reduce the edge off the Susvara's low treble a bit and adds impact.
     
  4. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,426
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    <$200 TP60, I was very afraid connecting my friend HE6, with his permission of course, to TP60 but it worked and, not having previous experience with HE6, I found the sound full and not like HPs usually sound when they do not get enough power. Limited experience, just few hours but it may not be a bad choice in this price range
     
  5. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,426
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    1. BHA-1 balanced in and out: with the gain lowered by -12dB on low gain works extremely well with the easy to drive planars like HEKSE and LCD-X 2021, and on high gain HE500 sounds fast without loosing any of it's magic. And from memory HEK1000v2 sounded great with BHA-1
    2. RME ADI-2 Pro balanced out
    >BHA-1 with HE500 using the reversed polarity trick,
    not so good with HEKSE or LCD-X
    3. THX AAA887 balanced in and out: with LCD-X 2021 slight improvement on already very good synergy with Soekris 2541 XLR out. Will have a chance to try my other in two months when I get home but this setup is very versatile and I have no reason to believe that it will perform any worse with HEKSE or HE500.
     
  6. elwappo99

    elwappo99 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Likes Received:
    495
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    SoCal
    I have not heard the Susvara with the Crimson, so I'm only in speculation here but...

    Many amps seems to have enough power to get the HE-6 to loud volumes, but they can sound thin and lose bass impact. With the Crimson, sometimes I wish there was a bit more volume, but it never really sounds strained.

    If your location is correct and you're in SoCal we could find answers to these questions!
     
  7. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,022
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    TL;DR Oor + Hypsos is amazeballs great with Susvara.

    I didn't want to move toward TOTL planars like Susvara for a long time, didn't want mono blocks, speaker tap cables, tube pre-amps etc.
    Once research began into a "small amp" that could deliver Susvara greatness, and Ferrum Oor was demoed - well, bingo.
    winner winner chicken dinner.
    no piercing or fatiguing tremble, no wonky staging issues, no lack of bass or punch, no lack of air or layering.
    just all around greatness.
    (and yes, I do HQPlayer EQ the Susvara to lift bass and reduce some hot spots. so I've simultaneously given up trying to remain satisfied with bit perfectness under all circumstances.)

    Other inter web dudez deserve credit for finding and pairing Oor + Susvara long before, but am glad to have finally made the jump.
    During 2 hours of late night listening was just floored at the over all presentation, never felt a need to stop.
    Looking at the powered down / unused Aficionado these days is strange, but not because anything in the music is "missing".
    well except maybe some of that famous EC depth. no big whup.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 8
    • List
  8. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    9,157
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Greater Philadelphia Area, PA
    Did you perhaps compare sus vs lcd-5 with the very combination? If so what made you choose sus?
    I think I pretty much decided to go for sus once I'm ready, but for now not enough to fully rule out lcd-5. If you already wrote some in other threads, please just let me know the link.

    I'm guessing sus a little power-hungrier but want to hear from you anyway.
     
  9. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,022
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    yes, had short fly time with LCD-5 and Susvara on Oor + Hypsos, albeit for only 30min and with a different DAC (Sonnet Morpheus) than my Spring3 KTE.

    without any EQ involved: felt the Susvara had an edge in bass (larger amount and tight presentation) and technicalities such as micro details.
    I'm sure there are better (and longer lived) comparisons to be found between these two cans.

    yet wouldn't claim the Oor had "superior" synchronicity with one headphone over the other, except of course Oor having the power to drive Susvara to wide open heights, whereas more numbers of amps (and tubes) abound that could pair with LCD-5.
    (didn't haven the chance to bring LCD-5 home to plug into Aficionado.)
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 5
    • List
  10. eskamobob1

    eskamobob1 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2022
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    SoCal
    Its got some real good grunt. I have also been surprised at its level of texture as well. TBH I find getting susvara to have proper texture is much harder than getting them to have adequate bass even. If I wasnt on a hunt for a dac upgrade currently I would be pretty heavily considering offering to buy it off the guy im borrowing it from currently,

    I agree on the wa33. I had another extended demo with a WA33 JPS (not elite and stock tubes) yesterday (#3 at this point all 3-5 hr ea) and it handles Susvara with quite a bit of grace. Im personally not a massive fan of the amps sound in general (i like more color tbh) but its certainly capable of running basically anything you throw on it.

    PM inbound!

    Hyposys + Oor is quite literally what made me buy Susvara. I heard a buddies pair on it at canjam, was super blown away, and was walking back to my room with my own set of susvara less than 30 minutes later. To your second point; if you are looking for a small integrated to run susvara there are surprisingly few options. 13/23R works as does the ferrum stack but that's all Ive found so far. V281 has enough grunt to run the bass right but doesnt really do the cans justice over all IMO. Headphones.com had a smaller sized sound tweakers dream at canjam socal that supposedly works but it didnt sound right on the show floor (ive been told it was possible damaged before the show but never asked anyone from the company for confirmation on that tbh). I guess its possible the new IFI Pro Sig amp has enough grunt for sus but I havent been super impressed with their amps technical abilities in the past. Ive heard really mixed review about the Xi Audio Form S + Power man, but I guess thats worth a look if you are super space constrained (I know I am). Last one I can even think of that under full size that stands a chance is the pathos inpol ears but thats another one there is basically just no info on.

    Once you break the 10k RRP barrier there are a few more options (none of which ive heard so just hearsay, but at least from people I trust) such as the Viva Egoista, Traformatic Primavera, and Riviera AIC-10, but its still not a lot tbh.

    Ive tried sus and LCD-5 back to back on a fair number of chains at this point (all of which comfortably power sus just for reference). TBH the differences between LCD-5 and Susvara are quite consistent in my mind. Susvara has better timbre, a slightly bigger stage, and IMO a better penchant for realism and liquidity/organicness. The LCD-5 is a hair more forward with detail and has a more uneven stock tonality (TBH I prefer stock LCD-5 tonality to susvara as it lends its self to a bit more lushness in the mids on the right setups and I am a massive mid-head). That said, LCD-5 is also the can I have heard change most with EQ, and thats by quite a margin. Applying Resolves EQ profile opens up the stage (not as open as susvara still but much closer) and significantly evens out the FR. I am exceptionally comfortable saying that the two are in the same general tier of performance. Maybe one runs out of juice before the other if you throw 6 figures of sources at them but I dont think you or I realy care about that. Ultimately, I prefer susvara due to the more open stage and better timbre, but that is a flat prefrence, not a judgement of "better". I can also see them complimenting eachother well in a collection but the LCD-5 presentation just isnt something I'm really after personally so I haven't pursued it further than my couple day demo
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 4
    • List
  11. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Jakarta, Singapore
    I actually feel that the LCD-5 puts out more details than Susvara especially in the bass area and it also has more texture to its sound. The headband clamp is painful and its forward midrange can be problematic, as it's even more forward than Focal Utopia in this area. I think both headphones are definitely in the same area performance wise, just depends on what you're looking for. The LCD-5 has a sure advantage that it's easier to drive so that opens up a lot of possibilities especially with planar optimised tube amps from ampsandsound, Feliks, etc.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  12. eskamobob1

    eskamobob1 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2022
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    SoCal
    Just fwiw, I felt this detail gap closed up when using them on amps such as OG LAu, Wa33, and 13R. This gap is more present on some lower powered amps such as GSX-mini and even A&S forge, but I think the raw resolution differences between the two on various setups may be due to power and synergy if I am honest. I especially say thus because while the LCD-5 was more forward with its detail i think the sus outresolves it on weiss 502 -> wa33/OG LAu so it wasn't just a constant "this one is more resolving" in my experience.

    I can see LCD-5 having a hair more bass texture in general though
     
  13. JeremiahS

    JeremiahS Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    105
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Jakarta, Singapore
    I don't think it's related with synergy and power since the comparison was done mainly with a DIY amp, Kevin Gilmore's dual mono CFA-2 which has plenty juice since it's designed especially to drive planars. I also tried the Susvara briefly with Ti Kan's Beta24 (a supersymmetry power amp, also DIY) but the CFA-2 is good enough for this application.

    These two amps are some of the best solid-state designs I feel. I recently tried the original Liquid Gold again since the owner was looking to sell it but I don't think its resolution ability can match with those two DIY amps.
     
  14. eskamobob1

    eskamobob1 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2022
    Likes Received:
    49
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    SoCal
    Ah, I wasnt trying to claim OG LAu was end all of detail in the previous post (cause its very blatantly not even if it is still quite good). Simply that susvara allowed more detail through than LCD-5 on that specific setup in my experience. Unfortunately I havent heard the two amps you used so cant comment there. More so than disagreeing with you I was mostly just trying to point out to @Vtroy that they are close enough two people can judge them in two different ways even on something like detail.
     
  15. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

    Friend MZR
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2016
    Likes Received:
    9,157
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Greater Philadelphia Area, PA
    Thanks for all the helpful inputs! I originally didn't expect much for lcd5's bass but it sounds like careful investigation would be worthy. Lcd5's reduced cup/driver sizes made me hypothesize that way. But I am willing to be proven wrong.

    TBH I am not very picky nor demanding person in bass. If LCD5's bass is really as good as the several posts reported above, I doubt I choose one over the other because of bass.

    FWIW lcd5 and sus are similar in the used prices, weight, and possibly eq-workability. So the decision will largely depend on presentation, realism, and/or big-head comfort.

    Still leaning toward sus due to less uncertainty (i.e., I know what I would get), but will keep my eyes on lcd5, too.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  16. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils Best SBAF member of all time

    Friend Staff Member Gearmaster
    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2020
    Likes Received:
    8,372
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Bay Area
    I'm interested in trying an Eddie Current amp for my LCD-5 which loves tubes. What would the best EC amp be for orthos? A friend recommended the ZDS because it has transformers.

    The sound of the 300b sounds perfect, I'm looking for a lush, tubey, but highly resolving sound. Tons of plankton. But I know certain amp designs don't play well with orthos.

    Thanks!
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  17. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,022
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    gone
    anyone built an Elekit TU-8900 for use with ortho headphones and want to advise on synergy?
    (ahem @MisterRogers )
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  18. dubharmonic

    dubharmonic Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,309
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Evanston, IL
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I was able to listen to the Feliks Envy and Woo WA33 at AXPONA. The Envy / Susvara combo was the show highlight for me.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 6
    • List
  19. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    India
    The only planar I have tried on the 8900 is my LCDi4 and I am of the opinion that the amp doesn't play to, all the strengths of a planar and vice versa. At least not with all planars. A friend of mine bought it to use it with his Susvara, LCD5, LCD4 was also underwhelmed by the synergy with planars and ended up selling the 8900 in 2 months.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2022 at 11:24 AM
  20. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,744
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Home Page:
    I use it with good results driving my Empyrean Elite's - though they're very efficient by planar standards. When the CO Crew meets (soon I hope), we'll try @jexby 's Susvara.
     

Share This Page