Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by neogeosnk, Mar 20, 2018.
I haven't had a Lyr 3 since shortly after it launched nor have I heard the THX amp at all.
Thanks for your reply. I've started reading Head-Fi too to see if someone has compared the two.
@Hands Do you know of any amp (under $1k) with good depth and layering? This is one factor that I value very much. I'm at page 45 of 55 and it seems Lyr 3 wouldn't cut it for me with regard to soundstage.
Valhalla 2, but it's kind of a lean and gritty sounding amp. But very spacious and fast.
Liquid Platinum can do staging fairly well. May require tube rolling experimentation. Very refined but a hair soft sounding.
Vali 2 isn't half bad, if I remember correctly. Massdrop CTH was similar, but maybe more forward. Going off memory. The Vali 2 at least is smoother and ballsier than the Valhalla 2.
The ZDT Jr isn't what I'd call expansive sounding, but it has a great tube + OPT design that captures a lot of mid-range and treble magic. It can sound 3D at times but in a relatively small space. I am partial to good tube + OPT amps with high impedance dynamic headphones.
I think the safest all rounder is the Liquid Platinum, but the crew here all tend to have unique tastes that steer them towards other amps even if it means some tradeoffs.
If you value staging above all else, try the Valhalla 2. Unless you are using planars, in which case some of these options don't apply.
@Hands Thank you very much for your reply. I currently have HE-560 and E-Mu Teak and hopefully will get a good 2nd hand HD800S soon. I'm a bit worried about these Massdrop and Monoprice Cavalli amps. It seems that they are not that similar to what Cavalli amps were known for. My Massdrop Cavalli Liquid Carbon is very congested to the point that my HE-560 doesn't sound like an open can at all. If I go for Valhalla 2, it might not be a good match for my HE-560 and E-Mu Teak but if it's gonna be a good match with HD800S, it might be worth it.
Liquid Platinum is a good recommendation and very nice all rounder with both dynamic driver and planars. It has the good staging that you're asking for. It will be tough to do much better at this price range.
I guess I need to start reading LP thread then to see how impressions were.
The Massdrop CTH is good. Haven't heard the carbon. I still wouldn't rule out the Vali 2.
The Valhalla 2 might be too lean for the already lean sounding HD800. Maybe the 800S sounds fuller. Might be OK for the EMU.
Liquid Platinum is a solid bet if you don't need a really incisive sounding amp. It'll work with about any headphone.
Never heard the he560 with the Valhalla2, but when I owned it the Valhalla2 did not sound good with the planars I had at the time (lcd2f and he500), enough so that it sounded like something was wrong with it.I assumed it just wasn't a good pairing with planars in general.
@Hands Would the Valhalla 2 drive the Hifiman HEX/XX type planars to their highest comfortable volume levels? I've read your impressions on them and agree they shouldn't be cranked too loud.
The FAQ suggests the V2 is acceptable with high eff planars but doesn't exactly read as a recommendation.
I agree with this, I had the same issues with Valhalla 2 and planars.
Valhalla 2 can get any headphone to comfortable volumes, easily HE4XX. But it just makes planars sound wimpy if that's what you are going for.
@Hands What tubes do you recommend for LP?
By the way, does LP have decent build quality. I went through the LP thread and realized Monoprice has decreased warranty from 5 years to 1 year. Also, there were some complaints with regard to the new batches output power. Apparently, Monoprice has decrease the output power to make vol pot more adjustable.
@RedFuneral Just don’t even do Valhalla 2 with planars at all. The end.
@NightPhotographer Thats hard to answer. You’d have to get the LP, see if you think you want to tweak the sound in any way, then research what tubes of that type fit the bill. Just give the stock tubes plenty of burn in time, like 80-100hrs.
An A frame Amperex will give a bassier, livelier sound, but may be too warm and forward sounding. Those uber pricey Telefunkens might help with staging...
I don’t have a ton of 6922 rolling experience.
I bought mine early on. Great build quality. Moderately usable pot range. Can’t speak to rolling changes of any kind.
This is not going to be the most popular suggestion, but I am still appreciating the sound of the Schiit Mjolnir. The original tubes weren't so great, but find tubes you like, and well... I am still discovering layers of depth. A rich musical sound. Sound stage isn't very good, and it can be murky, but it never annoys me, and can convey power/dynamics well.
For whatever it's worth, for me, the dynamics of the music is what I love about live music, so any amp that can get that right is high on my list. For me, it's the difference between mentally analyzing music, and being 'in' the music.
I've listened to a Lyr 3 quite a bit and enjoy it's tonality but it does have a flatness to the depth and for this reason I picked up a Mjolnir 2 instead. It has it's issues but it was the first amp I heard that gave some depth to the music and I just fell for that. Current chain is RPi > Gungnir MB > Mjolnir 2 > Focal Clears and I really enjoy it, it works with a wide range of music.
Something I just recently picked up so I'm still in the honeymoon phase but I'm really enjoying is the ZDT Jr. That has incredible mids, treble, depth and instrument separation. I was shocked at how well it does. It does lack bass but to me it makes up for it in the other areas. Honestly if you want depth and staging on a budget, that should be high on the list.
To me, the MJ2 sounded best with WE396A tubes in it. I think the Lyr 3 with a nice old Sylvania 6SN7GT in it sounds better. The music is more vibrant and alive with the Lyr 3 and there is more clarity to it...especially at the bottom end. With my HD650 headphones the Lyr 3 has plenty of depth and a nice headstage. The Lyr 3 is just plain great.
There is something organic and fluid about the MJ2, while still being precise. Not sure, but Schiit has kept it on their list for a long time, and I will not be selling mine. Perfect no, but amazing at times yes.
Mjolnir 2 has some etch or grain to it, sometimes glare depending on tube. It's not as bad as the Valhalla 2, but it's there.
It also has a weird, elongated stage. Very wide but lacks depth similar to other Schiit amps.
What it excels at is face-melting amounts of low-octave power.
Yep, well said/written.
p.s. The MJ2 is not the amp for everyone, but my personal preference is for horn speakers, and that sense of endless power down in the lower octaves. I am willing to trade off some accuracy for the emotional impact those traits provide me. They turn my brain on
Ok...time to break the silence on my cripic post the other day on the RCA Clear Top tube. I needed a few days to confirm with switching and with different headphones.
After having the Lyr 3 for a few months with only a couple of tubes, I decided it was time to tube roll. I won't bore everyone with the journey though the syrupy RCA, the smooth yet detailed vintage Tung-Sol, ane the well balanced Raytheon, but I have a clear winner....the RCA Clear Top 6CG7.
I had a EH 6GC7 from a recent Vali 2 purchase. It was not bad in the EH, but the Amperex ECC88 was much better. Anyway, after doing some research on 6SN7's, I found out 6CG7's are 6SN7 equivalents as in the mid-50's RCA and GE were pushing for 9-pin variants. So I figured, only an adaper is needed.
The EH turned out has a boomy low end and a sizzly top. I could tell ot sounded better than any of my NOS tubes, including the stock TS and even the edgy Psvane.
The RCA clear top 6CG7 I read is what Mcintosh used. And holy crap...
The low end is there. Not jumpy like the TS tube. Pure, clear, lows. Clean mids. Vocals that just ride on top,of the music. Never an once of congestion. Top end nice and not overdone. Cymbals sound fresh and not too harsh. And the aounstage is rhe most open amd 3D I have ever heard the Lyr. And as open, sounds were more immedite and sharper without harshnes. I had to go back to my Gilmore Dynalo for some haze and go back to the NOS tubes to hear the blandness.
My only complaint is the low end is almost too deep and might be missing some low-mid body. Hardly noticeable on my HD650's or LCD-2C's.
So dynamic, open, low end goodness, top end sweetness...at first listen, I really wanted to dig through my collection and not stop listening. Hard to believe one tube can transform an amp, but seriously it is scary good now.
I could not find anyone in this thread and barely a mention on HF. Although one person on HF confirmed what I was hearing and agreed.
I almost think a 6CG7 sould have been what they started with. New production tubes are out there and NOS out there are dirt cheap. However, I understand the community has more abundance of 6SN7's and come to think of it, I'd probably do the same.
Also note that EH/Sovtek is the only manufacturer continuing to make the 6CG7 and their benchmark was the RCA Clear Top.
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