System Synergy - Special Sound

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by atomicbob, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Components are often discussed in isolation. Yet some systems sound special together, while others are competent and yet others are, well, not worth the effort.

    Here is a system that I put together and find to have a sound quality far exceeding the system price point. This will be traveling with me to many meets for the foreseeable future.

    GungnirMB+PSIII.jpg

    Components:
    Component List.jpg
    All prices in US Dollars.

    To my ears this system delivers dimension, depth, emotional connection that help suspend hearing the system and focus on connecting with the music, very similar to how I experience it at shows.

    System notes:

    Gungnir MB - an extraordinary DAC with exceedingly low jitter, excellent channel matching and gain linearity among its outstanding performanc - a must hear DAC.

    Project Sunrise III - hybrid tube - mosfet OTL with no negative feedback - very low residual noise, highly configurable - tube is employed at what is does best, voltage gain, mosfet employed at what it does best, current gain.

    HD650 - Sennheiser must have been sneaking in design changes over the years. Current production appears to have beneifited from HD800 design innovations and sound much better than HD650 from years ago.

    Linear Power Supply - reduces further the already low noise noise floor on the PS-III

    Regen USB - cleans up USB crap from computers

    Canare L-4E6S starquad cables with Neutrik connectors - used at many recording studios / mastering facilities around the world - technically excellent cables with high EMI noise immunity

    Radial Twin ISO - Jensen transformers adding a little iron to the audio path while converting DAC balanced outputs to single ended inputs for headphone amp.

    20211123 edit
    Thanks to the admin(s) who resurrected this 2015 original post from the deleted dead. I have added the original picture and list of components.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  2. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

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    Does anybody have knowledge as to how the current HD650 differs from Drop HD6XX?
     
  3. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    was hoping this thread would be resurrected... this (and the classical thread) were big losses (damn hacker)
     
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  4. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    Bit off topic but but OG HD650 and HD6XX (Romania) do not sound the same. The OG's from Ireland I've heard are more veiled, warmer, and a hair darker. The HD6XX (Ireland) is closer to the OG HD650. They're all fairly similar though.
     
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  5. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    I don't know how much of this thread the admins will be able to recover and index. However here is the latest system of considerable interest to me. This receives a lot of listening time, much to the detriment of measurement efforts.

    DSC_0734_small.jpg

    20210902 HP Sys List D16R MC-3+ LiveClock FS725 Spring2 Studio B HD800 Jmod - IVS.png
     
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  6. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    Answer is in here.. including in the comments.

     
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    Last edited: Nov 23, 2021
  7. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Acquaintance

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    Aw, that's a huge bummer the previous thread might be lost. I learned so much from it.
     
  8. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    So many participants contributed pictures, lists of equipment with costs and commentary of what made the system special to them. It may take time but there is hope for some recovery, possibly a significant amount, by our hard working admins who deserve our gratitude.
     
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  9. Noodlz

    Noodlz Almost "Made"

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    Oh man it’s unfortunate that we lost all that knowledge, hopefully we’ll get some of it back. Much thanks to the admins putting it back together for us.

    in the meantime I’ll try and share a discovery I had just yesterday. On a whim I plugged my LCD 2.1 rev1 into my sofa chain of ifi nano bl > MCTH w/ the western electric 2c51 jw tube and was very very pleasantly surprised.

    the sound was colored for sure but sounded just right for my personal tastes, liquid, smooth, punchy, and sweet without being overly so. The lcds seem to just really come to life and became even more musical, I was glued to that station for quite a while.

    eventually I decided to compare this chain with other components to see what’s what. Checking the amp first, I tried it out the lcd2.1 with the wa6se (with Marv’s tube reccos sovtek rectifier & sylvania 6dr7) on the same source and while it was technically better (wider stage, more resolution & clarity), it didn’t have quite the same flavor. It seems like the mcth gave it a sweetness and more fluidity and gloss.

    Then onto the dac & source, I tried switching the source to the sonic frontiers SFD1(amperex orange globe tubes), and also the modius, (fed from Pi2AES running moode) but I found I still liked the ifi nano BL with the lcd because similarly while it doesn’t technically sound as good as the sfd or modius technically with staging, resolution or even organic-ness, it was still highly musical like the sfd, but brought forth more punch/slam and low end rumble

    Maybe it’s the burr brown chip that I like in here?might need to look for a desktop dac that has a similar tone, perhaps the bifrost 2 which im told offers a good amount of low end slam and warmth

    all in all this combo seems the bring out the best of what I love about the old prefazor audezes, rich sweet fluid mids with a deep thick slam / rumble low end. Going to see if I can find a chain that’s a level up from this, particularly in the monoprice cavalli liquid gold x. Also maybe the sfd would synergize better with the mcth with different tubes.

    some details of this chain for anyone who’s interested :

    Power - emotiva cmx2 conditioner & stock power
    Source - piZero running piCoreplayer played through Roon, running off battery
    Dac - IFI Nano BL - running on battery mode
    Amp - Massdrop Cavalli Tube hybrid
    Tube - Western Electric JW 2C51 '57
     
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  10. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Tube
    DSC_0137_small.jpg

    Or Not Tube
    DSC_0145_small.jpg

    There is no question. T4 and DSHA-3F are two very fine amps rendering music with high engagement factor, non-existent listening fatigue and NO PERCEPTABLE NOISE. That last attribute is extremely important for my listening preferences. DAC pictured is the Matrix X-Sabre Pro. Not shown but also very synergistic with these two amps is Schiit Gungnir MB v2. Preferred headphones for my preferences with these amps are HD800-Jmod, Focal Clear and HD6x0, roughly in that order.

    So what is the difference. Warning: my perceptions and opinion follows. YMMV.

    T4 has greater flexibility for output impedance, SE and balanced, allows for tube nervosa and may have sonic character tuned via a wide variety of tubes accommodated. I have numerous appropriate tubes to explore but at this time I have only heard the stock tubes. Initial impression is this amp shares many traits of the DSHA-3F. Also easy to lose track of time during listening sessions. T4 will be one of my preferred can meet amps. Less likely to have an accident than DSHA-3F if left unattended at the meet, due to safety of output transformers.

    DSHA-3F has only one sonic signature. But WHAT a signature, and no tube nervosa. With HD800-Jmod and Focal Clear magic happens. Non-fatiguing clarity without harshness or spittiness, well defined bass, balanced presentation. Easy to lose track of time during a listening session.

    My measurement postings have been severely impacted by strong desires to spend undistracted listening time with the these two systems and two DACs mentioned. Both using AES input from Dante digital feed at 88 KHz 24 bit. Measurement data is still being accumulated as loaners come through. Just not posting as promptly as I once did.

    Some of you may be wondering why the Big Ass Meter is in the picture. With such high quality listening I have a tendency to listen louder than my session targets. The meter provides calibrated feedback on my listening levels and can roughly infer my session SPL levels. Amplifiers are adjusted for unity gain, 0 dB, input to output. A splitter for the DAC left channel output sends signal to the AC Millivoltmeter. Using the following chart, maximum indication on the meter for a given scale is correlated to a calculated maximum SPL:

    dBV chart 300R 98dB per mW.png

    Formulae for the above chart:
    dBV chart 300R 98dB per mW - formulae.png

    Now notice the handy dBV scale on the millivoltmeter. Subtracting meter indication from the maximum for a given scale and SPL may be inferred, for a known headphone impedance and sensitivity, ignoring impedance bumps and headphone frequency response. Which is why this is a rough indication. Still, useful and helps to avoid SPL upward creep.

    One final note. The Leader LMV-182A is about 35 to 40 years old. It still performs to specification. Real Engineers(TM) designed this meter. Acquired on ebay for about $100 US. GW Instek GVT-417b is basically the same meter with a face lift for approximately $225 US. I prefer the old look, but that's just me.
     
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