Geshelli Erish Headamp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Vtory, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Had this in the house roughly for ten days. Shortly speaking, the amp was surprisingly good to me.

    To give a better context to 'surprining', let me first declare my amp preference a little bit:

    • I argue an ultimate headphone amp should drive and sound like ECP DSHA-3F. Proximity to that specific product is largely the way how I rate headamps.
    • I've consistently shown my dispreference toward opamp-based headamps. Also strongly believe that excellently measuring amps are all shit. None of Heresy, Atom, 888/789 worked for me, although heresy was noticeably better than the rest.
    • As of early July in 2020, Jotunheim seems regarded as a flavor of two or more years ago. I am a member of the minority group who still likes Jot over similar alternatives such as 789. Amps listed in the second bullet point were worse than Jot in one or multiple criteria. At least for the headphones I enjoy.
    That said, I admit my preference is far from being representative for the forum average. Feel free to disregard as much as needed.

    Anyway I will go straight to the points.

    1. This is the best op-amp implementation I've ever heard. Period. Almost THX789-level clarity, squared transient, and superb blackground. Not surprising for heresy or atom clones. What makes Erish stand out is, however, it comes with neither nastiness nor severe plankton loss. While it doesn't excel in musicality/flowness/density over more musical amps such as Asgard 3 (or good OPT amps like SW51 or ZDT), Erish is better in resolving super complicated passages with acceptable harshness.

    2. My understanding with regard to op amps is they can't pull as much current as discrete class-a with solid power supply. This current limitation usually causes poorer bass articulation and lacking authority. This isn't fully the case for Erish. It's not perfect yet. But it gets its job done more convincingly than my expectation.

    3. Definitely on the aggressive and edged side of the spectrum. In this respect, Erish reminds me of Jotunheim. It actually contains the advantages of both Jotunheim and Heresy (or 789 -- put whatever you're more familiar with). Hard hitting lows combined with appropriately edged highs pair amazingly well with Verite. Lots of fun and engagement. Easily passed my "one more song" test for the past ten days. Also extrapolating from my previous experience points, I'm pretty sure that this amp will turn HD650 to something that I can wholeheartedly enjoy.

    Rig : Bifrost 2 (bal out) --> Erish --> Verite
    (This combination is in fact too good to motivate me to hook up other gears. Damn.)

    Lastly, picture or didn't happen.

    [​IMG]

    Heck, something like below MUST BE a predictor of bad sounding. This should sound much worse than I am hearing now... Scratching my head.

    [​IMG]
    (Source: Geshelli)
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2020
  2. coatessey

    coatessey Rando

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    Thanks for the write up. I have been keeping an eye on the Erish threads that are out there.

    I also prefer the Jot to the THX implementations that I have heard (sp200 and 887).

    Would you go into further depth on the Erish vs Jot?
     
  3. Raimei Templar

    Raimei Templar Facebook Friend

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    Awesome review, I was hoping to see someone here try the Erish as I was really interested in it. The only reviews for it were a couple on youtube and a few on ASR. People on ASR seemed to really like it but I could tell they were scared to say it sounded better than things like Heresy as well that would be HERESY.

    The amps creator Geno has revealed a few interesting details in emails to various people that suggest it is not at all a typical op amp based amp. According to one email it is actually a current based amplifier rather than a voltage one, which is why it was even able to drive a 600ohm Dt880 very well inspite of the listed power specs not being all that high by todays standards.

    He also said it was closer to a pure Class A amp than a Class A/B amp, but I dont know exactly what was meant by that. He obviously doesnt want to give away the secret sauce, but its really a fascinating amp.

    I am strongly considering picking up one to compliment my Asgard as I think they would offer the perfect contrast both ran off the Modius.

    Were you able to try the Erish with any really low impedeance Planars? I am worried it may not be able to drive an Aeon as well, the Aeon 2 open is a amp crusher with its 13ohms and low sensitivity.
     
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  4. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    And it is from Florida in the Space Coast. Weird seeing audio from Florida that isn't aimed to the OAFAS members. I see the price is $200ish. @Vtory you really think this punches more than its asking price?
     
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  5. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Please note that I am not ABing them side by side. Everything is from my memory (I owned jot a while ago, and heard with three different settings at various meets in recent years).
    • Jot and Erish are rather similar than different in tonality and timbre. I don't think those who dislike Jot's sounding way will love Erish. Erish might be mildly tipped up on top ends, faking more airs as its name suggests.
    • Jot in any setting and in any revision had upfront and quite flat (2d) staging. Erish is more dimensional in depth and has a better layering.
    • Erish also has some glareness often heard with Jot, but a lot more diluted.
    Can't say any stronger than above, as I believe my current headphones (Verite) and dac (Bifrost 2) are way better than the gears I hooked up Jot with. High chance of confounding.


    I'd like to see its price a little lower than the current price -- considering Heresy is only $99 and Asgard 3 was introduced at $150. But I can't blame much because this small company may not make use of economy of scale. Honestly I didn't know this manufacturer until one senior member posted about it on the loaner request thread. lol.

    That said, yes, I do think even if paying more than $200, it would be very difficult to find a better alternative with this kind of sonic signature. Until we move on to a whole another price tier.
     
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  6. Ishcabible

    Ishcabible Friend

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    I bought one because my Rag raises my room temperature too much and this seemed interesting. I can take measurements with a Quantasylum QA401 to see if there are any inconsistencies.

    Geshelli claiming that the Erish is current source is what drew me to buying one. I’ll have impressions tomorrow but if anyone has any specific questions/measurements requested I can take them when I pick it up tomorrow. I only have a Rag to compare it to as far as solid state goes, but I also could use my DA11’s headphone output to compare too—I don’t think I’ve ever actually used it.

    I have a Lavry DA11 to pair with it and HD800, HD600, DT880 600ohm, LCD2.1, and Borealis/Australis protos to test with it.
     
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  7. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    The lowest Z I tried is HE6SE (actually 65 ohm), so it's much higher than DCA headphones. Erish drives them decently (I expected a lot poorer results) although I couldn't find any magic or synergy Verite has shown with this amp.
     
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  8. Ishcabible

    Ishcabible Friend

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    50B73C6A-2068-46F7-BCA2-8EC751092D15.jpeg

    Got mine. It immediately sounds weird, kinda harsh and both timbre and decay sound off. Timbre sounds affected in a way I don’t think I’ve heard in an amp—it sounds like harmonics are blunted and I wish I could explain why because there logically shouldn’t be a reason for this. Decay also sounds blunted and cut off. I do hear what Vtory’s saying about the faked air.

    This is all just bullshit flowery language with no technical basis, but in short, I don’t like it and I’m probably going to send it back. I’ll give it a week to be fair to it but I don’t really want to waste much more time on something that I don’t like. I might just deal with the Rag’s heat and buy another fan to face me instead.

    I haven’t gotten the time to relearn how to use the QA401 but I do have enough time on my lunch break to do a quick FR measurement to see if it has the same weird current source behavior as Bakoon stuff probably has. I didn’t see a bass elevation like I would expect with high output impedance on the HD800. I did subjectively hear elevated treble and I was shocked when I measured to find this:
    9D7DFE82-FAC3-402C-A5BB-E99DB9235498.png

    I mislabeled the graph because I was in a rush but grey is low gain Erish, pink is high gain, orange is Rag, green is DA11 headphone out. The subjective treble elevation I hear might actually be because the amp is reacting in some way with the HD800 to raise treble, which is affecting how I’m hearing it. Maybe this one is defective in some way but if anyone else happens to buy one, it would be interesting to see if it reacts in a similar way.

    I don’t recommend buying this for the loaner tour unless mine happens to be defective. It doesn’t sound defective though, just...not great.

    Also, I have a prototype planar a friend made which I believe is around 10ohms and getting it to the volume I normally to made it freak out a bit and shut on and off at dynamic sections. I’m not sure if this would be ideal with Aeons.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  9. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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    Picked up the Geshelli Labs Archel2.5 Pro a few months ago, was writing something up but @Vtory pretty much described it with his Erish review. From memory of other amps owned; it's better than: Atom, Magni, THX789. I used it for about 2 weeks instead of the SPL Phonitor x and it was damn close about 93% there, with obvious less power and some slight plankton loss. Ended up with Archel2.5 Pro and the Bifrost 2 for work setup as the chain is very complimentary with Bifrost 2 being warmer and Archel being neutralish. For $200 don't think u can go wrong, the Gishelli Dac on the other hand is just ok, buy the Modius instead.

    Link to pic since I still cannot embed them: Archel2.5Pro
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
  10. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    That measurement looks pretty interesting. I will measure my headphones with EARS if that boost is consistently repeatable.
     
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Either mine is cherry picked or @Ishcabible was unlucky. Don't know which one is the case.
    All I can say is both amps measured nearly identically in headphones FR.

    [​IMG]

    PS. Gain modes didn't change this difference-in-difference result at all.
     
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  12. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Friend

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  13. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    @Vtory how did you get a flat line? That's clearly not a headphone frequency response. Is it just the difference between two amps into the same headphone or something?

    @Ishcabible do you have any other headphones you can measure? Wonder if it's some wonky interaction with the HD800.
     
  14. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Yeah, that's right. Exactly speaking, see the below:

    Headphone FRs measured (3 per each combination) --> Averages taken --> Levels adjusted --> Log differences taken for each headphone --> Plots saved.
     
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  15. Ishcabible

    Ishcabible Friend

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    I can try an HD600 and LCD2 tomorrow! I’ll also take measurements with a QA401 to see if something is up.

    EDIT: Might have to push this to later this week, my interface isn’t being recognized by my computer
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2020
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  16. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    [​IMG]

    For the past couple of days, did more experimental/comparative listening.

    1. Bifrost 2 vs Modius (with and without Freya S nexus gain)

    This comparison was personally interesting as this headamp was initially planned to pair with Modius bal out. Well, I am not sure whether I am enthusiastic about Modius-Erish pairing. It worked for some tracks but also bothered for others. Nexus gain addressed it to some extent but not entirely. On the contrary, Erish has been consistently benefited from Bifrost 2's dark and warm tonality as well as dense timbre regardless of genre and recording. It might be dangerous to generalize it too much but I would rather avoid delta-stream dacs for this amp in general.

    Reversely speaking, Bifrost 2 needs to pair with something in the opposite direction to get a better total balance (but not at the delta magnitude of acoustic transducers), and some amps could dial in the overall sounding more toward my liking. The most perfect and ideal among I tried was the Ravenswood (DSHA-3F), and Asgard 3 was a little off in this respect. Erish can cut in nicely in-between. Closer to Ravenswood than Asgard.


    2. Erish vs Asgard 3 - Per track impressions

    Comparing Erish and Asgard 3 was a little challenging because it's not quite apple to apple. Underlying philosophies and directions differ a lot between the two. Nevertheless I could find a couple of tracks well contrasting how they differentiate from each other in making use of Verite's technical capabilities.

    a. Beyonce's Partition: https://tidal.com/browse/track/37936036

    This track has been my favorite test track -- as an aside, I also like this track as music -- because its bass roll-down from 80hz to 16hz in the first segment is very handy to test bass performance in any kind of gear evaluations. Of course it's synthesized, but how this bass gradation is rendered can meaningfully hint bass articulation and texturing. In my audio history, I found at least two groups of optimal answers: gradation as a series of fine points vs (non-blurring) continuous flow.

    There are not many speakers/headphones that do both well. Verite is one of such few performers, depending on the rest of the rig.

    As you might already guess, for Verite, Erish is in the former group while Asgard in the latter. Erish picks up each piece of micro-transition over frequencies and renders with hyper- details, dynamics, and transients. Did it very convincingly so that I feel like I know every aspect of the signal playing. In other words, it sounds (literally) "analytical". Asgard 3, on the other hand, did it more musically. Partition's bass roll-off sounds more like a elegant and continuous flow without too much information loss.


    b. Beethoven's Sonata No 32 c minor Op 111 performed by Espen Aspaas: https://tidal.com/browse/track/1635266

    With Erish driving Verite, I realized to enjoy piano renditions more frequently than before. And this specific track illustrates very well what Erish is capable of with Verite's Be driver. Transparent and clear images are impressive with Erish, which more evidently makes the strength of this track over other renditions performing the same movement. I could hear Aspaas's piano in a way sounding more powerful and (not overly) close-up, set within a supportive acoustic environment.

    While I was deeply impressed by Erish's low to mid clarity and superb dynamics, Asgard 3 still allows me to be caught up in performer's engaging interpretation. Can't clearly say which one I prefer.

    Aside: From the memory, Ravenswood did both superbly (therefore superior to both Erish and Asgard 3) and it should for its asking price.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  17. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Day 21. Of course I already gave up returning this product long ago. I simply couldn't. I don't think in next ten days jumbo magni would come out, either.

    [​IMG]

    It's very difficult to deliver the beauty (more toy-like though) with my poor camera device and skills. Internal LEDs kinda satisfy my guilty desire for glowing audio lamps.

    As some already know, Erish finally dethroned Asgard 3. I thought Asgard 3 did its job very well for my rig over any amps in similar or slightly upper price ranges. But Erish let me realize how magic occurs with the right 'last piece of the puzzle'. Maybe better last piece may exist somewhere in the world, or may come out later in the future. Neither can change my assertion that Erish is the most optimal among feasible options for my rigs and preferences at the moment.

    The more time I spend with this amp, the more I realize how freakingly well it can delineate micro stuff. For example, I don't think it slams that well. Decent at best. But it picks up every detail point in transient and decay, resulting in goosebumping attacks and perceptual speed. Compared to other headamps, 3F did these with higher levels of naturalness and refineness. Asgard was too syrupy, soft, and dark in this respect. Time to time, Erish sounds rougher and grainier (to bearable extent) but it helps to maintain proper tension even when listening to boring tracks. This is the only area where I envied THX789 very much. I finally and equivalently obtained that virtue with sidestepping to pay most of costs 789 requested from me.

    There is some plankton loss, likely caused by its bright nature, overairing, or harmonic cancellations. It makes most of old recordings cleaner in quite artificial ways -- as if they're remastered crudely. That's an interesting finding because I assumed hiss or contextual noise mostly locate on highs where Erish proactively nuance. Not to mention, things tend to sound less organic, less life-like, and less bloomy. More that direction than Jotunheim if I recall correctly. But fortunately nowhere close to most SS [1] amps I couldn't consider for myself.

    With Verite and Bifrost 2 [2], what I described above doesn't really feel like serious shortcomings. In fact, Erish nicely adjusts overall warmth and bloominess to spot on level to my preference. As a whole package, Bifrost2-Erish-Verite sounds just so beautiful that I can't focus on any productive tasks. Damn.

    Notes
    1. Strangely enough, Erish reminded me of Apex Teton much. To me Erish occasionally sounds like Teton Jr although Teton didn't present any weaknesses I found with Erish. But they share some strengths to impressive extent.
    2. For this reason, I believe some headphones (or some dacs) inherently have anti-synergy. For example, I won't consider Erish for Utopia/Clear/Elex, HD800, HE1000/Arya, Auteur (with brighter pads) any day. I'd avoid stock HD600, too.
     
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  18. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    Now I can update this thread with HD650 (in fact 6XX btw). I never imagined I would restart hd650 life when I whimsically purchased this small amp for just fun and curiosity.

    Brief disclaimer first. I have too doomed ears-brain chain to enjoy hd650 normally driven. Popular eq profiles usually were one step forward three steps back. The only exception was 650 kiss+coin modded AND paired with Gungnir A1 and Jotunheim, which I still list one of top headphones audio experiences. I've been considering myself 600 person rather than 650.

    But days with Erish persuaded me to rethink. Synthesizing every piece of my memory and previous experience suggested high chance of synergy in line with my taste. After a few days, I decided to give it another try. Fortunately ended up with getting @Pogo 's well used pair.

    While I praise 650's midrange any day, its highs and lows have different and uncorrelated problems breaking deals with me. My perception of its lows was a bit too loosely defined below its resonance frequency (90hz-ish as I recall). I generally prefer more critically voiced 600's bass but it has its own too early roll off problem losing too many decibels at 50 hz. Highs were more veiled, recessed, relaxed, and laid back than I'd enjoy. And as well documented, mods and amps help a lot.

    My expectation level for Erish+650 pairing was initialized around such context. Placed an order of small amount of dynamat, too. Both coincidently arrived at the same day.

    Long intro. So what does the 650 sound like this time around?

    Bifrost 2 --> Erish --> HD650 (unmodded) : balanced and differential in every stage.

    Well, not very much dramatic surprises as I already knew most if not all. Only except I didn't expect this pairing already sound satisfying to me even without modding.

    I don't believe in amp can change transducer's physical capability. Apart from response variability depending on equalization involved in the chain, 650 must be 650 no matter which amp is paired with. But the pairing successfully fooled me.

    To be specific, here are some notable changes I perceived:

    • In low notes (40-70hz), the pairing sounds less blooming and warm than I typically expect to hear from decently driven 650s. Perhaps attributable to harmonic cancellation. 650's bass now sounds tighter and pretends to extend deeper due to better definitions. Can hear down to 30hz without losing articulation. With somewhat negligible compromises, I can go even lower. Better slamming is a good bonus, too.
    • In my previous Erish testimonials, I said the amp had glareness on highs. That really seems to create good synergy with 650 highs. Resulting sound is spot on aggressive, relatively forwarding, and maybe the cleanest treble among I heard from any of 580, 600, and 650. Time to time a little shouty though. In fact I had to concentrate a lot to hear senn veils (still existing there but well hidden).
    • The two changes above enable me to perceive the overall tonal balance a little counter-clockwisely rotated. Still very cohesive connection from bottom to top. But with this changed tonality (in perception), I can enjoy purer and clearer midrange. Timbre gets more modern (good to me, not to some). Making Bifrost 2 not sound too warm nor sweet.
    Frankly I ranked 650 leagues below Verite before. But with my current chain, they can well rival each other. Verite is still far better at dimensionality, attacks/transients, and last bits of plankton. However, 650 now present competitive advantages in timbre, airs, and cohesive connection between mids and highs -- none easy win though. No superiority or inferiority identified for the rest of criteria.

    Looking at my listening logs, seems I spent more than 14 hours with 650 during the past 24 hours. That's record high for the first day hours among my long 650 history. Feeling very strong green signal.

    I originally planned to apply mods whenever dynamats arrived. But I am not quite motivated to do so as much as I was. Will allow a few more days to find out whether I really need mods and (if so) to what extent I apply. Maybe worth waiting until JAR600 (loaner incoming in the foreseeable future) arrives.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2020
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  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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  20. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    That will be a fantastic offer. I am very interested.

    I've heard it before at a local meeting but with HD600 (mine; unmodded) and Benchmark sabre (dac 2 or dac 3 .. can't remember well), the sound as I recall had several things critically wrong to me. With my current rig, more positive synergy and fairer apple-to-apple comparison can be expected. Should I pm you my address?
     
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