EC Studio Junior (not AF)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. skem

    skem Friend

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    Don’t forget that the power rating is not a measure of gain. It’s a measure of power at which distortion exceeds manufacturer’s spec. XA25’s manufacturer’s spec is especially stringent.
     
  2. bozebuttons

    bozebuttons Friend

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    I have also used my Hegel H20 250 watt per side with no better result then the 25xa using a Hegel P30 preamp
    The studio & 25xa are run single ended.The H20 run balanced.
    They all can run the K1000 without a problem.
    In the past I have run the K1000 with CJ premier 12 mono blocks
    140 w per side with great results
     
  3. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    I did, and it made a rather significant difference. The SJ is quite responsive to tube rolling.

    [​IMG]

    With the JJ 300B I found the SJ to be a warm sounding amp overall and a terrific match with HD800. Switching to EML 300B-Mesh tilted its sound signature so that the HD800 sounds bright now, but Verite and Code-X sound much better.

    With my current roster of headphones (LCD-4, Utopia, Verite, Code-X and HD800) and 2 sets of tubes (JJ and EML), among 10 possible combinations, I was surprised to find EML/Code-X as shown in the photo above as my favorite pairing overall.

    Despite being more efficient than Code-X on paper, I found the LCD-4 to be a more difficult headphone to drive with my SJ, probably due to its higher impedance. The Pro iCAN and GS-X mini, on the other hand, drove the LCD-4 with greater control and authority.

    HD800 had never sounded better than when paired with SJ + JJ 300B, but it nevertheless retained some of that Sennheiser veil in comparison to other phones. It had the widest soundstage, but it lost some of that intimacy and connection to the music.

    Utopia sounded excellent with both JJ and EML, but I still felt that neither was its perfect sweet spot. The JJ was a tad too lush for my tastes, the EML a tad too bright. Considering tonal balance, I still think ZDS with PhilipsECG JAN 6SL7WGT was ideal.

    Verite with JJ tubes was warmpoo. The EML definitely helped, but it's still a colored sound nevertheless. That's just the way the headphones were tuned. It's romantic and addictive at times, but it doesn't work with my entire music collection.

    The Code-X with JJ tubes was okay but it felt somewhat uncontrolled and loose, the EML on the other hand grabbed it by the balls. The tonality is very balanced, if not slightly north of neutral, but nothing that couldn't be tuned with source and driver tube rolling. Before the EML arrived I had preferred the Pro iCAN in Tube+ mode with Code-X, which was a very good pairing in its own right. The SJ with EML was just better in every way, and there was never an instance I thought it was lacking in power.

    So there you have it. I take back what I said about never pairing pure tube amps with planars. I wish I had my Liquid Glass to compare side-by-side, because it was another ideal amp with Code-X (especially with TS BGRP tubes).

    I've never heard the Auteur but I read that it's more neutral than Verite. I'm curious to try it with SJ.
     
  4. JoeyGun13

    JoeyGun13 New

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    So I'm in a bind. I'm looking for a 300B tube amp for my LCD-3, after falling in love w/ the sound of the WA5-LE, but how much better/worse is the Studio Jr in comparison? What about the Cayin HA-300?
     
  5. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    If your primary headphone is the LCD-3, I would stay away from all 300B amps in general. My Studio Jr with 300B and tertiary feedback is perhaps the least warm-sounding 300B amp you'll find out there, and yet I found it a bit too warm with LCD-4. The LCD-3 is an even warmer headphone than LCD-4. I recommend looking at 2A3 or 45 tube amps, or a decent sounding solid-state amp that doesn't sound warm at all (e.g. McIntosh MHA150) for the LCD-3.
     
  6. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Or SPL Phonitor.
     
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Special order a 2A3 version.
     
  8. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Disagree. The Phonitor is pretty much neutral. I've also heard it with the LCD-3 (in late 2016). The combination was resolving, but definitely on the darker side and since the Phonitor didn't have this character with my LCD-XC, I'm assuming the LCD-3 itself is dark.

    Personally not a fan, too far from neutral for me, but I'd assume that a leaner/brighter solid-state amp would make sense. Or just a better headphone.
     
  9. JoeyGun13

    JoeyGun13 New

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    Hmm, the crazy thing is I love the sound of the Woo Audio Wa5-Le + LCD-4, and I'd assume that's warmer than the Studio Jr, right?

    I'm waiting for Craig to recover from his rehab before I can get over there with my lcd-3 and Qutest Dac to do a comparison between the 300b and 2a3 Studio Jr.

    What about the Cayin HA300? What do you guys think about that amp?
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Other than visit Craig's place (send me a PM, I can arrange it) or you can just call him, you should just get the Woo Audio WA5LE. I don't know how much stuff you have heard, but the WA5 sounded like ass to me with the LCD4. The tube magic was there in the mids and highs. But lower mids and bass were softy gooey poop, with poor resolution too, just a smeared mess with those OPTs. (You are hearing the OPTs more than 300Bs on the WA5 in my opinion).

    Honestly, I'm not sure if you would like the Studio Jr. even in 300B configuration. The best bet is to take a listen since we don't know your preferences or experience level. You may also want to check out Donald's new $2.2k amp.
     
  11. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    I don’t think folks here have tried the Cayin HA300, so you are probably not going to get any comparisons. From what I have gathered though, the sound of the Cayin (with the stock tubes) leans slightly on the warm and thick side, making it not an ideal match for warm sounding HPs. Also I remember reading in one the reviews that it’s noise floor isn’t low enough and the stepped attenuator increases volume dramatically, making it not so ideal for HPs like the Focals.
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    I've seen lots of folks with Audeze + warm and thick at meets. So unless I know personal preferences better, I'm hesitant to make recommendations. Joey is in the LA area. Somewhat easy accessibility to EC and DNA. He should make it to a meet. (I actually feels like time for a meet).
     
  13. JoeyGun13

    JoeyGun13 New

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    Wait, which one is Donald's new $2.2k amp and what kind of amp is it? I'm open to any tube or hybrid tube amps as long as they're at or near that Reference/End Game level like the Cayin HA-300 or Woo Audio WA5-LE.

    And you're saying the WA5-LE sounds good, but not the WA5?
     
  14. Don Miller

    Don Miller Banned from FS; never sell me anything

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  15. JoeyGun13

    JoeyGun13 New

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  16. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    The Studio Jr continues to intrigue me with its versatility in response to tube rolling.

    This time, I replaced the stock GE JAN-5670W driver tube with WE396A. To my ears, the shift in tonal signature is nearly as significant as rolling the 300B power tubes.

    Compared to stock, the WE396A is noticeably warmer, but doesn't sound rolled off in any way. With the WE396A, I felt the best matching headphone was HD800SDR, with Code-X coming a close second. Interestingly, the Code-X sounds airier, thinner and more ethereal compared to HD800SDR in this setup. LCD-4, Utopia and Verite weren't as good.

    I feel the only upgrade path from here is the WE300B, but even the reissues cost $1.5K for a pair...
     
  17. thoth

    thoth Acquaintance

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    Hi to all. Hope you can help me fix a Studio Jr Amp that was damaged during transportation. Follow-up to this thread from 2019 https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/eddie-current-customer-service-story.8653/

    The amp has no noise, makes sound, but the quality is very underwhelming. On the plus side, it has extraordinary clean and smooth microdynamics. On the con, macrodynamics is very lacking, it is bright, and the bass is weak and diffuse. Very different from what is expected. I suspect some tubes don't operate at intended parameters. I opened and inspected the amp. There were no signs of damage, bad/broken soldering, things that might got disconnected during transportation shocks. I also did all possible measurements.

    The only suspicious thing is the 300B operating point. They have:
    - plate to cathode - 235 V
    - grid bias - -43 V
    - plate to GND - 277 V
    - B+ - 283 V

    @purr1n wrote in some other thread that Studio B has 300V plate. This is quite different from my measurements. Could this be the issue?

    If I turn on the PSU case only, with Amp disconnected, B+ is 387 V. Rather big difference vs amp turned on.

    Can someone with Studio Jr check these voltages for his unit?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2023
  18. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Hopefully Marv or someone might know if those readings seem like they might be within normal limits for voltages and can help you out there. I have a Studio B (essentially the same amp) and would help you out, but I don’t have the skill set to know what I’m doing there.

    My hunch is that, if the unit is not producing noise or distortion and is playing music, you may just be describing the “new” (so post-Balancing Act or so) EC sound and it may just not be to your liking, rather than that there is something further wrong with the unit. Your description, taking into account sound vocabulary semantics, doesn’t sound too far outside of descriptors people use to describe recent-ish EC amps. Big on stage and detail, “dry,” etc. Some might hear this at being at the expense of low end or tonal “weight” depending on chain, sonic preferences, and other factors. You can try to ameliorate with tube rolls, but those kinds of qualities are likely to always remain without moving the needle a whole hell of a lot. If you don’t like that sound, you don’t like that sound, and maybe should sell if you can get some confirmation that the unit isn’t broken. Just my two cents.
     
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  19. Polygonhell

    Polygonhell Acquaintance

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    283V would be about right for an a,p with 300V B+, you get some loss across the transformer primary, just from the static resistance of the coil.
    I also don’t believe Craig uses regulated power, so you have to expect +/- 5-10% just based on the components variation.

    As has been stated, the EC amps are not rich lush amps, they are very much on the dry accurate side, and you might just be not liking that.

    having said that, it could be the tubes exacerbating it, I recently had a “working” 6SN7 here that sounded like utter shit in one of my amps. Not slightly off.
     
  20. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    I don't think that is just the "modern EC sound", I think something is not working right.

    This is going to sound stupid, but is the driver tube being clamped hard by the noval socket? From experience with the Aficionado, if there is any lateral or vertical wobble then it leads to a sound much like you describe and you should bend the tube pins inwards a bit and reseat until it is clamped tight.
     

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