Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

This might be a fail, but if you were to recommend one album, basically your favorite album, for whatever reason, what would it be? This list might be an SBAF "Essentials" List.

Artist, Album Title, Pressing/Version, if relevant
  • Only one album.
  • No commentary.
  • No comments.
  • No replies.
  • No explanation.
  • No judgement
  • Hits and compilations OK
Just make one album recommendation. No replies. No comments. No requests for clarification. Use PM and have the person update their post if need be. Make sure they PM me too, so I can update the list.

Just likes. I encourage everyone to dislike any posts other than a person's one album recommendation. This is an intelligence test to see if folks can follow directions. The goal is to have no noise and all signal.

I'll start:
Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
Animation of the previous three measurements Again, observe how CF is nearly the same for all three but considerably different amounts of NFB are utilized for each amplifier design.

08 vali 2+  magni 3+  heresy  distortion animation.gif

Several key points to remember:
1. THD+N masks differentiating distortion components
2. Each amp has different D2 / D3 sweep signatures
3. THD+N @ 1 KHz is 0.00216% for Heresy and 0.00252% for Magni – very similar – yet sweeps demonstrate clear differences between them
4. 4+HD+N is nearly identical for all three amps in the range of interest

20220529 Poll Results to date:
09 202200529 poll results.png

Between these measurements and the SBAF poll one might infer a preference exists for amplifiers with lower NFB needed to achieve a particular CF distortion performance.
Well, there's been a lot of buzz about this cute little box, but surprisingly enough, I don't see a thread on it here. I bought a B-stock unit from Schiit after hearing some trusted SBAFers say a few too many nice things about a product that's about a tenth or a twentieth the cost of a lot of the gear we purchase here, so I thought I would buy one to see what the hype was all about. A few days later, my B-stock unit from Schiit arrived, and I was quite surprised at just how tiny this little thing is...

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Yeah, it's small, especially compared to the Mjolnir. But it packs a good punch. I'm going to discuss the dac here, as all my headphones are higher impedance, and so aren't really a good fit for the amp. According to some others, the amp works great with low impedance phones, though they'll have to verify that with impressions.
I am not new to Chord DACs. I have owned a Mojo1 and a Hugo 2 and have tried the Dave with and without M-Scaler a couple of times in the past. I was once a Chord fan boy, as I was led to believe that other DACs don’t hold a candle to the Chord DACs. But I discovered later that there wasn’t much truth to that statement.

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Depending on where you are coming from, the tone of the Mojo2 will fall anywhere between neutral and neutral-warm. It has an even-handed tone and presentation, with nothing really standing out nor missing. It has a sort of cohesiveness to its sound, which I would say is one of its strengths. An other area, where I am noticing it to be strong is the pace, rhythm and timing, for the lack of better descriptors. Neither slow nor fast. Mojo 2 seems to do these aspects on point. This aspect, combined with the cohesiveness makes for a nice sense of rhythm and flow to the music.
Originally posted at Head-Fi: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sch...most-improbable-start-up.701900/post-16951998

Texas Audio Roundup
July 22-23
Austin, Texas
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Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/texas-audio-roundup-tickets-335542455517

Of course, I'll be there, as well as some other Schiitheads. Hopefully you can come and see us at the first-ever Texas Audio Roundup! All the best, Jason
What I wanted to do next was build out the Frugel-Horns, the XL version that would fit the larger 6" drivers. I'm years late. There are some differences between the FHXL and BK-16. The Frugel-horns have the horn exit towards the back, are of an arguably simpler design, and have a longer section behind the driver with a choke near the exit flare. With respect to use, I gravitated toward the Frugel-Horn because it was designed to be used against the wall, instead of needing to pull them several feet from the walls. The BK-16, especially with the 168ES I sound to be midbassy and murky if not placed at least one to two feet from the wall. Not so with the FHXL where I had them placed against the the wall angled in a bit.

Anyway, I've had always had success with Fostex, particularly their higher-end drivers, so why not? I ended up with the fairly new FE168NS (not ES) but accident because I didn't look carefully while I was on shopping Madisound's site. Oh well, but it turned out to be a happy accident. The NS are based on the limited edition SOL series. I have kept away from Fostex's limited edition series because I never know when one of my kids is going to poke a hole through a driver (boy and girl, but they fight like cats and know stuff over). The last thing I wanted to worry about was to be stuck with one expensive driver with no possibility of replacing the other.

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Snorry NM-1 Impressions. Thanks to @Failed Engineer for loaning these to me! :bow:

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They are probably the best tuned stock ortho I’ve ever heard. Very well balanced from bass to treble, very neutral. Nothing sticks out and there’s no Audeze midrange suck-out. vocals are forward but also there’s no upper mid peak. Bass is nicely layered and textured. They are really meticulously tuned.

They also have the best soundstage of any ortho I’ve ever heard. I don’t know if it’s the driver or the combination of the very deep pads with the very open back or all 3. Instruments are pulled apart and separated with space between them, sometimes even artificially so. Bass lines are easier to follow than Audeze headphones simply because they are separated more from the rest of the spectrum even if the quality isn’t’ as good. Very airy presentation.
The following is a visual guide to amplifier distortion vs amplitude with a schiit Vali 2+ and Ultron 7DJ8 tube as the example.
00 202200510-31 vali 2+ THD+N  4+HD+N vs amp 300R - vol set for 0 dB gain +20 dBu.png
Above is a typical tube or hybrid amp 1 KHz distortion spectrum. This graph will look unusual due to the dual axis delineations. On the y-axis blue is linear in units dBu while yellow is logarithmic in % distortion. Only the log scale is showing. The x-axis also has dual delineations with blue logarithmic in units Hz while yellow is linear in units dBu. This graph has been initialized for a measurement sweep of amplifier % distortion vs level in dBu.

...

Compare and contrast the foregoing extensive amount of data obtained from measurement sweeps against a single observation such as:

0.46% 1KHz THD+N at 2V.

Not only is the level ridiculous as being far above a normal use case, such a simple, single point observation represents a profound reduction of information to evaluate amplifier performance for this attribute.
Today we are taking a look at T+A (Theory and Application) of Germany’s flagship headphones, the Solitaire P. This is a headphone I have been incredibly interested in since its release back in early 2020. Since its release, T+A have also followed up with the Solitaire PSE, which retails at roughly half of the price of the Solitaire P. I hope I can get ears on a pair of those someday as well, as the Solitaire P itself is an incredibly compelling headphone overall.

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The Solitaire P, which for the rest of this review I will refer to as the “SolP” is a planar magnetic headphone, with a sensitivity rating of 101db/mw and 80 ohms impedance rating. Overall, they are quite an easy to drive headphone, and will play well even from lower power source equipment. With that being said, they do seem to enjoy a healthy supply of power behind them, and scale well with an increasing quality of source equipment. The reason I note that they play well from lower output power equipment, is that generally speaking, top of the line planar magnetic headphones have been fairly difficult to drive in the past. There are obviously a few exceptions, but things like the Hifiman Susvara and Abyss 1266TC, are both difficult to drive, the Susvara notoriously so. I was worried the Solitaire P would not play at the level of the very upper echelon of planar magnetic headphones, especially given its $6900USD MSRP ($6200USD at launch.) Thankfully, they absolutely do play at the very top level, and also manage to do some things I have not heard before.
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Hi, I'm a random dude who lives in Corpus and I happen to know Marv. Marv knows that I am an audiophile so he drops by the office stuff so I can check it out. Most recently, Marv dropped off a ZMF Atrium headphone and Decware Taboo amp. I really liked the Atrium and stole it from Marv. When I got a chance to try out the Decware Taboo, I thought this combination with the ZMF was super. I asked Marv if I could take the amp home and borrow it. I've never loved any pieces of gear that much that I asked to borrow them. He replied that I could borrow it for an extended period of time only if I wrote a review, so here it is. For context, I listen to speakers at home. My speakers are the Tekton Lore non-floorstanding model. I have a Bifrost for a DAC and an Emotiva integrated amp. I listen to both speakers and headphones.

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I am going to keep my comments brief because I don't normally write reviews. I tried the Taboo as a speaker amp with the Lores. The immediate thing that I noticed was big the soundstage that expanded outside the boundaries of the speakers. This was noticeable on Yosi Horikawa's music where he went to a forest and recorded sounds all around. The downside was that I could not get enough volume from the Taboo. I like to listen very loud. I think the Lores are 94db efficient. I cannot say if the Taboo didn't have enough power or gain or if Tekton fudged the specs on the Lores.
Finally had time to get my big Moth up and running well. And it is a treat.
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My ZD is really sorted right now and very good with my HD800. Reminding me how good it is. Not a ZD Super, but has had some work by Craig/Marv a few years ago to update it some.

The Moth is better with modded 650. I tried lots of headphones with Moth the other night. I suspect I could roll NOS in place of the new production 6SL7GT driver tubes but it it is already very good! The leading edge transients on Moth are ridiculous, lots of good/quick detail with mids to treble. But with 800 needs some smoothing on top and a bit more bottom end. Elex would be good but bass is missing some control, probably due to needing to adjust internal jumpers for lower impedance. I need to see where the jumpers are at for the speaker impedance inside.

Still some lower level hum with Moth at higher volume levels that might be a ground thing. Using an Isomax though for everything on the table...not as bad as when resistors were bad on regulators. Pulled out the HD600 today. Craig did recommend that exact headphone in the Moth manual...prefer Marv-modded HD650 for cleaner bass.