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

Most of us love tubes…the warm glow, the warmth, the grain free smooth sound, the voltage gain we get out of this ancient technology, the harmonics. No matter what, we are addicted to tubes and what they do to audio. And tubes make the most sense almost in headphones where you don’t need megawatts to drive. They also require very few parts, fun to explore new sounds by changing the tubes, and somehow they really get along with high impedance headphones because of that high voltage gain.


And yes, the top end headphone amps from the likes of Eddie Current, Donald North Audio, Line Magnetic and others with 300b or 2A3 or other such high output tubes are just way out of the reach of most of us with not huge discretionary income. Pipe dreams. So, there are two paths…DIY, or something off the shelf that is very close. DIY is difficult, and still can be expensive. Ever looked at Elekit prices? And off the shelf…there are so many, how to pick?

For the DIYers out there, Dan just opensourced a modified version of his Alpha Dogs. Love them or hate them, here's your chance to build your own pair using a Fostex T20/40/50rp while tuning them to your liking.


Dan has confirmed that the baffle and pad ring can be used to modify a Mad Dog into a Pro. Anyone have access to a 3D printer who wouldn't mind printing some parts for a fair price? If not, Dan also provided links to a site that can print the pieces for you for a nominal fee.
The Softears Twilight appears to be the lineup replacement for the more expensive, heavier, and now discontinued Turii. It contains an all new 10mm DLC domed single dynamic driver. While the housings retain the same shape as its predecessor, the weight of those same shells has been reduced by a claimed 60%; each housing now weighing a mere 6 grams each. Indeed, they feel light in the hand. Also like the Turii (and Moondrop Illumination) predecessors, the Twilight is significantly vented with 5 slotted front vents. As a result, isolation takes a hit and your significant other might be able to hear the music you are listening to in a very quiet environment.


The housings of Twilight are very distinctive. While I am sure some of the elongated, rectangular shape is in part due to achieving the proper rear cavity volumes, I can’t help but think it is also simply designed to look different, memorable and distinctive. I’ve never worn the Turii, but imagining the shells weighing 60% more, I am thankful of the weight reduction Twilight brings.
Schiit Meet - Corpus Christi Texas - Wednesday Dec 14 2022. Sure this meet will be kind of way out in South Texas. I hear of possible gifts and a live streamed event. Spots will be limited. RSVP to [email protected]

Nueces Brewing Company
Over the years and in various incarnations I've written articles on SBAF about music history and theory. This thread will gradually pull together articles in abandoned and tainted threads and supplement them with ongoing additional content. Feel free to interact, asking questions and bringing in your own insights. This first post will have a growing index of the major articles. FWIW, my approach is to not take things too seriously, to try and make the story of Western Music accessible to non-musicians and/or those who are curious. I call this process "desnobbification".


Music History
Ancient Music
Gregorian Chant: An Origin Story
A Musical Mystery: Dating an Old Book (Part 1)
I will update the OP once Zach discloses more information. But I collected all the information I could see in various forums as of today (2022-09-12).

Zach also shared B&K measurements in HF (link). Below are DF-compensated FR (vs Atrium) and distortion results.

Because I am a cheapskate, I had been working on two plastic Walmart fold-up tables that I merged into one using wire ties. I had the intention to get a nice desk but never got around to it until now (almost two years). I didn't want anything fancy. Just a nice minimalist office quality desk that would be deep and wide enough to fit a 42" OLED with enough space to spare at the ends for two speaker monitors. I chose this:


Normally I dread putting desks together. My experiences from putting furniture together from Walmart, Target, Amazon have never been great. One piece from Amazon with many positive reviews was a nightmare with metal parts, screws, and nuts so cheap that they deformed or bent. You know, the typical China-special garbage where the manufacturer contracts out fake reviews. The stuff from Target wasn't much better. Walmart is hit or miss.
On this Day of the Dead please remember to raise a glass in a drink to our departed forum members whose ranks include

Rex Aeterna (David)
Rex Aeterna.jpg

Dino (Dean)

Piety is real now. A few others have heard it already at various meets, the Texas Audio Show and at the Head Space event in SoCal. @atomicbob posted comprehensive measurements of this amp here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...iit-magni-piety-technical-measurements.12752/

Yes, I've had a variant / early prototype of it since shortly after the release of the Magni 3 (non-plus). This is my version of the story, so it will most certainly be different from @CEE TEE's or Jason's if they ever tell their version. Think of this like that ST:TNG episode where Riker gets put on trial for murdering the wife's scientist husband, or more recently that Ridley Scott film The Last Duel, where three different people have different take on things. If would be interesting to have @CEE TEE tell his version of the story.

While I heard and reviewed the Drop Signature variant here, I had never had a chance to hear the plain Zen DAC. This here is the V2 version of the Zen DAC. It sounds different from the Drop Signature version (I have no idea how the V2 Signature sounds like), in that it's less laid-back, less outright warm, but yet maintains a palatable mid-to-high treble free from digititus common in the higher-end ESS + OPA1612 designs built purely to score well on SINAD graphs to the tenth of a decibel.


Resolution and technicalities match what I remember from the Drop Signature. The Zen DAC V2 is energetic with plenty of slam in the low end and strong attack on the transients without the etch or splash. There's also bit of that vintage saturation thing going when the signal hits peak levels. (I'm betting a uplift in THD as we get near and toward 0dbFS). A bit like the Burl B2 Bomber DAC, but with the Burl's output level turned down a bit. In terms of presentation, the Zen DAC V2 reminds me most of the Burl. A smidgen of outward warmth, an internal warmth that becomes most evident at higher sound levels, and muscular drive. If you prefer your toms sounding smeared and snares lacking the snap that wakes you up, then by all means go elsewhere. No, the Zen DAC V2 doesn't render bass textures or microdynamics as well as the Burl, but it doesn't cost well over $2k either.
The Audial Aya 5 is a TDA1541A based non- oversampling DAC. More info can be found on the Audial website here.


There is a huge price discrepancy here so it’s not exactly a fair fight, the Yggdrasil A2 sells for $2.5k and the Aya 5 sells for about $1k but can be built by a DIYer for less. But I’ve heard great things about the Aya 5 from multiple people and if it could better my Yggdrasil at under $1k that would be awesome. I have heard DACs that do some things better than the Yggdrasil A2, like more resolution, blacker background, more 3 dimensionality, more realism in micro tonality and timbre. But I have yet to hear any DAC that as a whole package beats the Yggdrasil A2 and makes me want it over the Yggdrasil. They all, despite when they beat the Yggdrasil in certain ways, have deal breaking problems for me that the Yggdrasil does not have. The Yggdrasil sounds good to me, there is nothing that stands out as a problem. The only thing I want out of pure lust is moar resolution and a blacker background. But the presentation of neither of these things bother me about the Yggdrasil.
I noted in the profile posts section that someone posted this: Normally I really wouldn't really care, because personally I wouldn't bother with the vast majority of the above. Until one guy I was talking with about audio gear said off-the-cuff: "Topping SMSL Shenzhen Audio's plan is to keep coming up with new models so people keep buying". I have to say that this is a interesting observation because now we are... comparing DAC SINAD to the tenth of the decimal? 123 point eight. Seriously? Talk about measurements for the sake of measurements. Now we are totally losing the forest for the trees.


Let's break this stuff down:


Basically, other than a a few standouts with the price since the performance is mostly the same, you would be buying more or less the same DAC, but repackaged, slightly tweaked for tenths of a db better SINAD. Somebody is pulling the wool over your eyes, or is being paid off by Shenzhen Audio.