"Shortest Way" SW51 Amp Impressions (Simple SET Amp)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Hands, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    That seems like an inflated price. I think someone earlier paid about $15 for a matched pair, I've recently paid $29.
     
  2. Ksorota

    Ksorota Friend

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  3. Prydz

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    I gotta pay VAT too... So $49,32...
     
  4. Prydz

    Prydz Friend

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    Alrighty! Got myself some matched pair RFT EF184, and they do indeed sound excellent. Just right, id say.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    anyone having experience with SW51+ also heard the Musical Paradise MP-301 MK3? how does the MP-301 headphone section compare to SW51+ ?
     
  6. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    all right, my MP-301 MK3 arrived yesterday equipped with Chinese 6L6 equivalent (6P3P) which I found too bright in speaker application and rather unremarkable while listening to headphones. there was a low hum tilted towards the left side which did not increase or decrease in volume when I rotated the volume knob. today I swapped in EL34 variant from Ruby Tubes (also Chinese I believe). the hum is still there, this time reacting to the pot, but not really a nuisance at a pretty loud listening level I enjoy. now, the sound... well... how shall I put it? it's an overdriven, meaty rock'n'roll onslaught. there is no refinement to speak of, but man, does it slam - something entirely different for sure. I can't decide if I like it or not. I suppose this is how I expected tube amps to sound before I heard the Echo and SW51+
     
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  7. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    so, anyone used/uses SW51+ with a preamp? any positive experience? @Zampotech wrote to me that input impedance of the amp is 10kOms, which sounds rather low and limits the preamp options.
     
  8. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    I have been using the SW51+ as a preamp for an extended time and it works just fine. Zampotech told me to use the LO impedance headphone jack when connecting the SW51+ as a preamp.
    The SW51+ needs the volume knob to be set quite high to get good volume as a preamp.
     
  9. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    thanks. I am interested in using a pre-amp before SW51+, not using SW51+ as pre-amp. the latter option is nice of course, but with only one input for SW51+ it's sorta limited.
     
  10. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    @Grattle why a dislike? just curious as it's not exactly obvious to me what in the post above could merit that... you don't like MP-301?
     
  11. MisterRogers

    MisterRogers Ethernet Nervosa

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    I'd guess it's because you are sharing impressions of the MP-301 MK3 in the SW51 impression thread.
     
  12. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    In the past I tried a few times with two preamps plugged into the chain. The results were not good and resulted in poorer sound. I guess too much of a good thing....
     
  13. Grattle

    Grattle Friend

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    Off topic. Noise.
     
  14. denny_dow

    denny_dow Acquaintance

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    all right, I guess I see where you're coming from, but I'm not sure I agree with the assessment. I believe the comparison is in order, as both are tube headphone amps (both are class A, single-ended amps too), with MP-301 having an upshot of being a speaker amp with an extra input. MP-301 looks like a good step for someone willing to dip their toes into tubes while consolidating the setup (covering both the speaker and headphones tube listening). this was exactly the choice which I faced: do I get a separate, dedicated speaker tube amp and ideally another DAC, as my OCD is getting in the way of me using the leaking Chinese switchbox I was using before, or... or get something like MP-301, which will allow me to sell the SW51+. tube amp with support of wide variety of tubes, to cover both the speaker and the headphones application, and allowing me to plug my TT in in addition to the DAC? checks all the boxes - with one big if, that is - if the headphone amp implementation is good, and not just a nice to have afterthought to the speaker amp. the best way to find out was of course to compare to something I am familiar with, and since my reference list is rather short, only Feliks Echo and the SW51+, with SW51+ ending up a keeper and something I listen to a lot lately, it was natural to ask for opinion in this thread, which I did. after waiting for feedback in vain, I ended up pulling the switch on MP-301 anyway, based solely on the reviews, and naturally I thought I'd share my impressions, for the benefit of someone else like me. mind, since there are very little comparisons and critical impressions on the performance of this amp in its headphone application, I had the idea at the back of my mind that I'll be able to contribute something new to the forum.

    honestly, I think if I had had an answer to my question along the lines of what I wrote in the post in question, it'd probably sway me away from MP-301. I am not giving up on MP-301 in its headphone application, mind, I want to spend more time with it, roll different tubes, do proper A/B, and perhaps even fiddle with it / do some modes, but so far may 'after-initial' impressions are that in stock form with EL34 tube rolled in, it's not up to the mark when compared to SW51+... the latter is just plain cleaner sounding amp, more refined. at first I thought that MP-301 had some sort of distortion / overdrive thing going (hence my comment about 'overdriven, meaty rock'n'roll onslaught), but I did a bit of A/B (sequential, with gaps for cables switching etc. but I did this on some tracks I know and use for critical listening), and it's not that - the presentation, resolution, seems identical, in a sense that music sounds true to the source on both of the amps, I could not hear any noticeable difference in timbre say, an yet, the listening experience was different. SW51+ has this elusive quality to the sound, which I can only describe as musicality. it's much more pleasant to listen too, and I'm still drawn to SW51+, and can listen for a very long time. the MP-301 on the other hand, had the slam, the punch... I guess I can see how this may actually be somebody's thing, somebody's preference... it surely works with rock music, especially live recordings, but generally speaking, I am finding it poor substitute so far for SW51+. I can see myself using it on occasion for some specific records, but not as a replacement for SW51+. I suppose if the return window was longer, and the process easier - I'd probably return the MP-301, although not without a struggle, because it is a speaker amp too, and there I am more intrigued so far by what I am hearing (bear in mind though that, having heard no tube amps before, I might not be in the best position to judge - again, as I have nothing to compare too). I am going to give the MP-301 more time, but the initial plan to sell the SW51+ is postponed, perhaps even cancelled, which is a bummer, as I can ill afford to keep both. we'll see.

    anyway, a bit of an in-depth explanation of the motivation behind my comments, as well as a bit of real-life details aimed to back it up. I realise that I have doubled down on the original complaint and might have dug myself even deeper. for your consideration, if I am in the wrong here, I'll change my ways.
     
  15. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    The thing to do would have been to create an MP-301 impressions thread... the MP-301 impressions have value, just not buried in the SW51 thread where nobody will find them if they are looking for info on that particular amp in the future.
     
  16. Prydz

    Prydz Friend

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    My supposed NOS RFT tubes get a whining sound just if I drop my phone on the desk. Is this normal?
     
  17. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    What you are hearing is tube "ringing" and it happens. You can try tube dampers (those rubber o-rings), but the ringing comes from inside the tube. The Schiit Vali 1 is notorious for this, and some of my RFT EF84 tubes also have some ringing if you tap on them.

    So it is kind of normal, but just a slight by-product of the tube manufacturing. Some tubes will just ring more than others.
     
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  18. fastfwd

    fastfwd Friend

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    It's not abnormal. Some tubes are more sensitive than others -- and some mounting arrangements are more isolating than others -- but almost any tube will ring if you tap it or transfer even a small mechanical shock to it through the chassis.
     
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  19. RAZRr1275

    RAZRr1275 Facebook Friend

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    I don't think I've posted here in a couple years and its because my setup is exactly the same. Still rocking the Senns, SW51, and misterrogers custom dac of sonic frontiers sfd-1 with the holy grail as the other place calls them tubes. You know you hit your "endgame" (feels weird as an ex DNA Stratus and Eddie Current ZDT owner) where I could buy shit again if I wanted to. I just don't. Its not that I think this sounds as "good" per se. It just does everything I want and need it to to be reclusive for 2 years or wahtever
     
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  20. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Almost "Made"

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    Same here, I still waffle a bit but sw51+ with Sennheisers has been my mainstay since I purchased it.
     

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