1. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,533
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Palo Alto
    Studio-side.jpg

    I just received my order of the EC Studio Friday. Hand delivered by Marv & Sons. It had been months since I first ordered it and I wasn't sure if I was making the right decision. Well now that I have it it's removed any doubts.

    The EC Studio is the best headphone amp I have ever heard and it's not even close.

    Brought this to NorCal SBAF meet with my whole vinyl rig (barely fit it all in my car) and everyone gave it a listen. People of all different amp preferences were blown away.

    This amp is incredibly detailed, the most detailed amp I have ever heard. It's also incredibly delicate: no sound it put played too harshly or too softly, but just right. Microdynamics are beautiful. The tone is flat across the spectrum. With the setup I have (WE417a driver tubes and RCA Black dual plate output tubes) it's rich but not overly warm, if anything a bit on the lean side. What I'm looking for in an amp: Neutral tone, Incredibly detailed, rich (but not overly warm, just natural like real instruments). I've not heard a headphone amp come even close to truly nailing these things like the Studio has.

    What makes this amp great is it pairs exceptionally well with every headphone I've thrown at it. Here's a list so far: HD800, HD650, HD600, TH-X00, HE-K, HE-X, Code-X, HE-6 and Dharma. With every headphone, it seemed to truly bring out the best it had to offer. I and several others tried these headphones across a number of amps and the Studio was the best fit for all of them.

    This amp also pairs incredibly well with my vinyl rig. I have a VPI Classic 3 with a Zephyr cart and a Zestos Andros phono stage.

    It also powers my 88db efficient Marten Duke 2s alright. It's definitively at it's limits to push these speakers, so not all music works on them, but when it does work, it really makes them sing. Joni Mitchell's Blue sounds incredible on this setup.

    I couldn't be happier. The best way you can tell is that when music is on, I have a hard time paying any attention. A problem several meet goers suffered.

    Here's what it looks like on the inside (I may have edited it a little. Don't want those caps leaking):

    StudioT.png
     
  2. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10,570
    Dislikes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'm going to be honest with you guys, the improvements and increase in BOM to the studio are noticeable. The production amp is something special. I've never heard anything like it.

    THIS is the biggest bargain in summit fi audio. The BEST, most resolving amp you can get. I've been in the hobby for over a decade now; no amp in my entire time has been as revelatory as the studio. I'm really fucking excited for every single one of you who ordered it :)
     
  3. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,856
    Dislikes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    Maybe I'm being very jealous, but the only thing I can think of where my ZDS is superior to Studio (and BA for that matter) is the design. In my opinion, from a purely aesthetic point of view, I think the ZDS is the most beautiful looking amp, followed by BA and Studio in that order.

    Of course, I could only imagine how motherf'ing godly the Studio is going to sound, especially with my modded HD650 or SuperBAF modded HD800/ HD800S. If somehow I ever get a chance to listen to one, I'll probably take back everything I said right now and tell Marv to shut up and take my money, even if it takes a second mortgage, have him dig up the last remaining exotic uber transformer buried somewhere out there, build one for me and be done with my years of quest for sonic nirvana for good. Well, at least on the downstream end.
     
  4. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    274
    Dislikes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Cant wait for reviews!

    They look surprisingly small though, is there a power supply?

    Marv, provide more pictures!!!
     
  5. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,856
    Dislikes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    The umbilical cable you see in the pictures do seem to indicate that there is indeed a separate PSU. Besides, I would be surprised if a true end-game amp like Studio doesn't come with a separate PSU.

    I'm also curious as to how the PSU looks like, both inside and outside.

    On a side note, is the LED white or blue? I was expecting red like the rest of the EC amps.
     
    mtoc likes this.
  6. TMoney

    TMoney Shits on SBAF over at Head-Case to be cool

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    780
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Sausalito, CA
    There is a separate PSU and it is fairly substantial. I didn't measure it, but it looked to be around 10"x10"x12" or so. It is a nondescript box, just like on all the other EC amps (except BA).

    The amp is legit amazing, as I note in my impressions from the meet. I'd say 9.5/10 with the potential for a 10/10 if a little 2a3 tube rolling can give it a little more weight and kick in the bass region. With that lone exception, the amp does everything else at least at an "A-" level, if not above.

    I'm not sure I'd call it a bargain though. For $7k it treads in rare territory and should sound amazing (it does). Off the top of my head I can only think of a few headphone amps in the same price range so its hard to say if its a value or not.
    • Apex Pinacle
    • Woo Monoblocks
    • Bottlehead Neothoriator
    • DIY T2 - have heard. Is amazing.
     
  7. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10,570
    Dislikes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I've spent some time with the pinnacle and the woo wa-234s. Neither was close.

    I'm interested in the Neothoriator, but the mainline was disappointing when stacked against the sonnet 2 so I'm going to reserve judgement until I hear it. As far as the DIY T2, the only one I've seen in the wild is the one Marv had years ago. I know he loved the thing but I believe he was fairly vocal about there being zero stat amps in the same realm right now before he joined EC and stopped making direct comparisons. Once we have a paralleled SET stat amp with ridiculous interstage transformers (Craig and Marv went through MANY transformers to settle on the Tributes) and HF filament heaters, I'll believe it's in the same realm. Right now, there's nothing that comes close.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  8. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,479
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Estonia
    Pinnacle is at least a level below EC 2A3, and even below modded Ehha in technical ability.
    I imagine the Studio is pointless to put against something like Pinnacle, though some have taste for extra wet sound and artificially deep stage, I can understand those prefering the Pinnacle.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    54,278
    Dislikes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    Cooter's SET stat amp from years ago at the 1st @CEE TEE organized Bay Area meet. He used a custom ElectraPrint: the one with blue glowy tubes.
     
  10. Rotijon

    Rotijon Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    274
    Dislikes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Have you heard the pinnacle?

    Right now, for owners with both the Teton and 445, they usually prefer the Teton, minimus, lojay etc etc.

    I dont see why the PInnacle would not be the better or at least the equal of the Studio.

    Lojay has a studio on order, lets see what he says.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    54,278
    Dislikes Received:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    50kHz AC filament heaters, paralleled output tubes (x2 current, 1/2 plate impedance), no caps in signal path, interstage coupled with transformer (unobtainable more or less). The Studio should be $25,000. Really a different piece of gear. Studio is a headphone / HE speaker amp - there are no preamp outs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  12. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10,570
    Dislikes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I suspect this is a tonal preference rather than one of technicalities. I don't think most people know how to judge technicalities to be quite honest. I can see folks rejecting the 445 due to it's lean signature (I personally from a tonal perspective preferred the 2A3 MKIV).

    The Pinnacle is not in the same class as the paralleled transformer coupled EC amps.
     
    Smitty likes this.
  13. knerian

    knerian Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    474
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Francisco
  14. mtoc

    mtoc SBAF's Resident Shit-Stirrer

    Executed
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Likes Received:
    85
    Dislikes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Heard a rumor, the Studio indeed was priced at $25,000 initially (a few yrs ago).
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
  15. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,533
    Dislikes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Palo Alto
  16. knerian

    knerian Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    474
    Dislikes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Haha I just got an email saying my Studio is ready and I'm all tubeless over here! If I can't find anything please don't be surprised if you wake up with a tubeless Studio. And whatever you do don't call the police.
     
  17. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    Likes Received:
    10,570
    Dislikes Received:
    47
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Ask Craig what his WE275 PSVANE price is. RCA "dual plates" should do fine if you can find them for cheap. Pricing has gone up sadly.
     
    knerian likes this.
  18. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,479
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Estonia
    I usually don't talk about things I have no personal experience, less so compare things from thin air.

    Pinnacle sat on my table for around 2 months in total with modded Ehha Rev A next to it with some other lesser amplifiers.
    Source was Yggdrasil or Soekris Dam or BMC Puredac.
    A few weeks was between Pinnacle and EC 2A3.
    I am confident in my assessment in technicalities. And even wrote them down. The Ehha was the more realistic sounding amp and EC 2A3 even more so.

    Ehha had much better clarity in highs and lows, more slam. Better transient attacks all around, better defined stage, as wide but less deep.
    Ehha had a little less microdynamics in midrange and vocals, Pinnacle was slightly more fluid and easy going in vocals as a result.
    Ehha showed huge differences in sources. Pinnacle made it difficult to discriminate differences between sources.
    This was largely due to hyper-deep stage, and wetness super imposed to everything. This makes it very attractive amplifier to those with sources with 2d stage (like a typical S-D dac). Seriously BMC and Yggs were hard to discern. From any other semi transparent amp or speakers there is rather large gap bw those dacs.

    A friend of mine who owned it for a while really graves for that wetness and is looking to get something like a Pinnacle's and Ehha's (or EC 2A3) offspring in sound to combine technical ability with the water-magic.

    Now if I assume Studio is noticeably better than EC 2A3 then this would make Pinnacle in comparison more like a mid-fi unit for my sensibilities.
    I have faith in the words of OJ, MrRogers and ZD, Merv to name a few as these guys have not let me down in consumer advice ;)
     
    Jerry, Abhishek Chowdhary and mtoc like this.
  19. mtoc

    mtoc SBAF's Resident Shit-Stirrer

    Executed
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2015
    Likes Received:
    85
    Dislikes Received:
    85
    Trophy Points:
    28
    @Priidik, if you have chance to AB Dam & Gungnir Multibit side by side, don't forget to tell us about the result.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  20. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,462
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Aurora, CO
    Home Page:
    Congrats!

    I usually reach out to Brent at: http://www.audiotubes.com. He's never the cheapest, rarely the most expensive, but he deals in true NOS, tests well, etc. I've never had a tube from him go bad prematurely. If you need a quad of 2A3's, he'll go through his entire stash to match them as closely as possible. Good dude.
     
    Gray, Smitty and Priidik like this.

Share This Page