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 is where the Ikeda IT-345 comes in. Of course! Low compliance carts. The classic carts like the SPU (where there is now a modern take with the elliptical needle), the DL-103 which is dirt cheap, and if I wanted to go mono, the Miyajima. There also seemed to be quite a good selection of under-the-radar low-compliance carts in Japan where the price hasn't gone through the roof. I decided I was going to get this arm and use it with my DL-103 and enjoy it for long as I can while I put on the roadmap an eventual SPU purchase. There's no need to rush. High-end audio is journey for me where it's best to really appreciate what one has on-hand, to maximize that pleasure, before moving on. Besides, I can't find an SPU for a good deal right now. Needle Doctor is dead. Soundstage Direct is long dead. SPU carts seem to be special order items. I wished companies like Ortofon would say just FU to the dealer model and sell direct.
First of all, I will say that I like the DL103. Audiophiles are weird and seem to be getting weirder as they age with some saying the DL103 is cult-like. Or maybe this is coming from Millenials who don't understand the DL103's history as a broadcast cartridge. I'm sure much of what I heard on the FM radio when I was a kid was played back on the DL103. The fact remains, the DL103 is a great moving coil cartridge. No, the conical needle tip ain't gonna bring up the small details (and surface noise) to the forefront like the line contact and ellipical tips. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with this. One rather famous designer of DACs prefers conicals. Not everything is about moar details, moar details - especially with vinyl which IMO is beyond detail.
I thought about doing this mod commercially for a second, but it’s so easy to do, it’s much easier than any of my other mods, so I instantly wanted to just share it with the community, partly to give back for supporting my commercial mods and letting me share them with you all, and also just because it would be a bit silly to ship your SR-1a all the way to me just to do this. (I’m hoping to share mods for some orthos as well when I have the time and energy to write them up).
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 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.
Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.