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
Texas Audio Roundup
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- @supertransformingdhruv impressions: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/schiit-tyr-monoblocks.12178/#post-379981
- @purr1n impressions: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...chiit-tyr-monoblocks.12178/page-2#post-381033
- Measurements and analysis: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...iews-and-impressions.12178/page-4#post-381613
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.
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.
The more I read about the tech inside, the more intrigued I got about the Dave. The things Rob Watts was saying about digital filtering lined up alot more with what I know about digital sampling from my signals and systems classes in school and reading I've done since. (As an aside, Rob Watts has alot of ideas, right or wrong, about why we hear differences in things that we do, his blog on head-fi is an interesting read). I never in a million years thought the Dave would actually be my preferred DAC versus the Wavedream. Based on the other impressions I have read I thought it would turn out to just be soso, and I would sell it off and go about my business, but I was still interested enough to want to hear one, and I wanted to give it a fair shake, postulating that the filtering may take time to appreciate, so I decided to purchase one.
The downside is that there is no USB input. The ERC-4 only has coax and optical inputs. If we want USB functionality, grab a cheap used Schiit Eitr (good synergy) or Singxer USB to SPDIF converter. A little bit extra cost, but the ERC-4 at $600 is somewhat of a steal. The sound is closer to that of the well-regarded Convert-2 than the Lavry DA11. The tl;dr version is that the ERC-4 doesn't have the murkiness in the lows of the DA11. It exhibits the clarity, excitement, and sweetness of the Convert-2, and may actually be more resolving...
The PC38X is an update to the PC37X reviewed here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...nnheiser-pc37x-review-and-measurements.11072/ All of the great things I've said about the PC37X apply to the PC38X. The PC38X appears to be a tweaked PC37X that brings up the mids. This is a good thing for gaming because I felt the PC37X mids were just slightly recessed. The PC38X has less of that Sennheiser broad bass bump too.