Black Widow [Update] - Second round official, 100 amps total, single chassis

Discussion in 'Eddie Current' started by purr1n, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. Uchii

    Uchii Rando

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    I took a chance on some HD800S and I tried them first with the Mjolnir 1 while BW shipping was a day out. A clear and smooth sound, little harsh in some way -some coarseness- like a a pair of quality leather shoes but disappointing polish; nice headphones I thought. Couldn't articulate until I heard the Black Widow. The treble seems sharper on the BW but the musical presentation and textures felt natural (organic?) like I was listening to speakers that weren't there, not headphones. I am impressed.
    Still 800S bass hits like a MMA lightweight fighter with KO power, yet still a lightweight -I can live with that. This amp is a keeper and it made the 800s a keeper too.

    Gungnir Multibit in flight!
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
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  2. RiddleyWalker

    RiddleyWalker Friend

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    just got my Black Widow in today!! i've only had it plugged in for an hour or two and so i'm not going to say anything too in depth so far.. but i'm absolutely loving it! i'm upgrading from a G1217 Project Polaris, so this is a pretty big step up for me. current chain is Wyrd / U12 -> Theta Progeny -> BW -> HD650 (modded), ZMF Blackwood

    This is the best i've heard my HD650 sound so far. More thoughts later, time to jam out

    UPDATE:

    - DAT BASS. As others have noted, this amp has what could be called a "healthy bottom end". In fact, that's an understatement. This is like Nikki Minaj level (except more articulate). The first thing I noticed about this amp when I first plugged my modded HD650 in was a huge subbass rendered in a very clean manner. In the past, I've attempted to EQ up the subbass on my HD650 using Sonarworks and stuff - but anything more than + a dB or two always slightly compromised SQ or caused distortion/bleed into mids. The BW is somehow able to punch the bottom octaves full of life without causing any of the aforementioned issues. My ZMF Blackwood noticed the difference as well, but it seems more pronounced on the HD650 for some reason. The bass impact on the HD650 is just ridiculous with the BW. On well-recorded tracks, the effect is almost always positive. On tracks that are overly warm and bassy already, it can sometimes be too much. Fans of electronic music should take note - the bass on the BW is impactful and enveloping as hell, and works very well for tracks in this genre. In comparison, the Project Polaris handles bass in a clean and controlled manner, but it lacks the extension and texture of the BW.

    - There is also a certain softness to the upper mids and lower treble. Snares and cymbals can sometimes sound a bit muted. This can manifest itself in several ways, depending on the headphone. My ZMF Blackwood actually is a bit aggressive in this region, and this amp helps calm it down, making the overall sound more balanced and less fatiguing. On the modded HD650, which is already pretty damn smooth in this region, it can sometimes sound a bit too soft and less engaging than the Project Polaris. But this is recording dependent as well - tracks that are a bit peaky are tamed well by this characteristic, while the opposite applies to warm-ish tracks. While I feel the BW has great detail retrieval, upper mid/lower treble clarity isn't as good as the Project Polaris.

    - Soundstage is more enveloping and holographic than the Project Polaris. It's like swimming in a sea of bass. Hard to describe.

    - Keep in mind when reading these impressions that I'm using a Theta Progeny as DAC, which is on the warmer side of neutral. I can imagine some people won't be huge fans of the Progeny -> BW -> HD650 chain, as it is definitely a bass heavy sound and lacks a bit of the air or "sparkle" of many high end setups. But for me personally, I love the tonal richness and fun-factor of this chain. I'll organize these ramblings after I've had some more time and new toy effect has worn off, but for right now I'm just enjoying the music.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
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  3. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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    Had a nano-meet at @insidious meme 's place today, with the goal of comparing the Black Widow and Liquid Carbon in a duel to the death (loser walks the plank into HF's classified cess pool). I came equipped with my HD800 Super Dupont mod, and a freshly acquired Focal Elear terminated with a Neutrik 4 pin XLR (burned in precisely for 244 seconds to Queen's "We will rock you," once forward and once in reverse).

    It didn't take long to establish that the BW had sharper, clearly defined imaging, and a quicker, snappier, agile sound. I mentioned that the LC's treble almost sounded rolled of, and @insidious meme added it was almost like a haze, which I think is more accurate. Is the BW worth $500 more? It depends on you, I think it is, but YMMV.

    With a day under the belt of the Elear, all I can say is that I hope there is a cure for the rough treble. It's a shame, the Elear does a lot of good things, but it's treble is a trouble spot for me, and a deal breaker. I'm curious how much the Utopia pads will go for, or @Hands keeps on tweaking his Elear's pads and come up with a solid formula before I send these down the HF river.

    I think @insidious meme and I chatted more than we listened, I didn't mind a bit, and had a killer time. Thanks for being a gracious host, and get that turntable of yours spinning ASAP, lol !!!

    EDIT: after another full day of listening with the Elear, the treble has smoothed out somewhat. Could be that the pads are losing some of their stiffness, and are squishing down, slightly altering the sound signature. Anyway it's definitely for the better. I'm currently auditioning them with a possible take to work mini rig, consisting of the Modi Multibit and Pete Millet "Butte", so far all three have been an excellent combination.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  4. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Oh, I'm pretty said on the HM5 hybrid pads. $25 or so on those and a few bucks on your choice of additional front damping, if you need any (still figuring out how best to get mine adhered), and that'll get you most of the way there.
     
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  5. insidious meme

    insidious meme Ambivalent Kumquat

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    Thanks @JK47 for the post. Good times with good people never sucks!

    That said, I agree with what @JK47 said about the BW, but I think it was a bit closer soundwise than what people think. He's the third person to come to that conclusion after I had another get together earlier to A/B the two amps. The discussion of whether the BW is worth the $500 more is valid.

    Also got to compare his modded HD 800 to my HE 560, and on the BW I thought the HD 800 beat it on detail retrieving and ability to handle different instruments going on at the same time. Otherwise, it's not too far away on other metrics that I could think of. Guess I'll keep the HE 560 another day. But then again, planars do sound better on SS amps than on tube amps.

    Again, never a bad day to hang with good people, and talk fun stuff.
     
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  6. Faker

    Faker Rando

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    Got the BW in finally!! It's been wonderful thus far
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  7. totoloope

    totoloope Rando

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    insidious meme does the BW is a good synergie with he 560 ?
    if yes you prefer it to which amp please ?
    thanks
    tom
     
  8. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    I found the he560 to work very well with BW. In my experience, the 560 loves power and a bit of added bloom / warmth, which is great fit with Black Widow.
     
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  9. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    I can say the BW2 I have is clearly tweaked with the modded HD800 and modded HD6** series headphones in mind. I like it with other cans but on those is where it pulls away from other SS offerings.
     
  10. totoloope

    totoloope Rando

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    thanks for your answers
    can we order a BW or it s to late and only second hand available ?
    cheers
     
  11. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    Too late, good luck finding a used one pop up for sale.
     
  12. AppleheadMay

    AppleheadMay Friend

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    Is there any way to lower the gain on the BW?
    I'm thinking some jumper or switch on the board?
     
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Generally secondhand only. About 10-20 have been turned away in the past few months. We have a stash of bad boards that need to be reworked. Progress is about one board a month.

    Not without soldering parts, which entails some risk since the parts are jammed so close together.
     
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  14. AppleheadMay

    AppleheadMay Friend

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    Thanks for the answer Marv. Won't risk breaking the amp as I like it too much.
    But just found another way to connect it which gives me a little lower input volume so I have more control.
    I use the BW with rather sensitive dynamic cans.
     
  15. Dino

    Dino Friend

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    The website looks like one can order a new BW, but various posts sound like it is no longer available new. This clears up my confusion.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
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  16. AppleheadMay

    AppleheadMay Friend

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    Does EC have further plans with the BW or solid state amps?
    I have been trying out other SS headphone amps and the best I could find so far was the Violectric V281.
    I am listening to it now but it's still no match for the BW, the only thing I find that came close was a vintage Aiwa AX-7600 receiver .

    Some of the other SS amps I tried were: Audio-Technica AT-HA5000, Bakoon HDA-5210 mk3, HeadAmp GS-X mk2 and Sony TA-ZH1ES. None came close.
     
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  17. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    The odds are against me, but has anyone spent time with BW2 & PMx2? I am imagining BW2 adding a touch of sweetness, but synergy is such a fickle thing...
     
  18. brencho

    brencho Loves pumping iron (Moderator)

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    disclaimer is that I haven't tried that pairing but if you want the PMX2 to sound warmer and lusher then it'll probably be good! otherwise i thought the PMX2 sounded good from raggy.
     
  19. jowls

    jowls Never shitposts (please) - Friend

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    Thanks. It would be like two unicorns bumping uglies. I’m not sure anyone could actually 100% predict what you would end up with ;)
     
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  20. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

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    I had the loaner PMx2 and did most of my listening on the BWv2.

    Here were my impressions:
    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...x-and-quick-impressions.60/page-4#post-154560

    I do prefer a lusher presentation so keep my impressions with that in mind. I found the pairing to be excellent.
     
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