"Shortest Way" SW51 Amp Impressions (Simple SET Amp)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Hands, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. EternalFury

    EternalFury Rando

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    I received my SW51+ unit a few days ago.

    First, as I told @Zampotech, it was remarkably well packaged and traveled intact from Russia to Colorado.

    Here are a few pictures to illustrate this...

    https://mega.nz/folder/3BwRyIJY#bGo4vGQ7_xS7F1JLoPpaNw

    End result: Not a single scuff or scratch, even though the corners of the box were quite worked up.

    Then, there is the quality of this amp. A lot has already been said and I don't feel competent enough to add anything that hasn't already been said.
    It's a great amp and I don't think you can do better for less than twice the price at least.

    So, thank you, @Zampotech, I will recommend you!
     
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  2. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Acquaintance

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    The SW51+ and HD 6XX is the real deal, no joke. I've listened to my Aeolus, my favorite headphone, about twice since I got my SW51+. I don't hear the 3k and 4k peaks that drove me nuts in the 6XX and also the super shouty and close stage now has layers to it.
     
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  3. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    I have a Beyerdynamic T1, a Sennheiser HD250 and some other cheapie headphones, but just like you, I find that the SW51+ sounds the best with the Sennheiser HD650.
     
  4. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

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    While I like the combo of SW51+ and HD650, I have found the amp driving Grado RS1i to be magic and the best among all amps that I have ever tried with these Grado headphones. SW51+ provides speed matching the RS1i and body/density to the mid frequencies while somehow mitigate the fatiguing tendency of treble inherent with the RS1i. I enjoy the stock tubes as they are: natural sounding, well balanced but still lively.

    In my chain (Cary CD 360 SACD to SW51+), Verum 1 headphones sound the least impressive. Looking forward to @Zampotech's new amp creation tailored to planar headphones.
     
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  5. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    I should add that I am using the Telefunken EF805S tubes in the SW51+ with HD650. The TFK tubes require a very long burn in, but for me they now sound even better than the stock tubes.
     
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  6. TomNC

    TomNC Friend

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    @Mordy. Thanks for the note. As I have some EF805S tubes, I should try them. If it just that the stock tubes sound so good to me that I've not been motivated to try anything else.
     
  7. ColdsnapBry

    ColdsnapBry Acquaintance

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    Grados seem to do really well with SET amps.
     
  8. Insomnium

    Insomnium Rando

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    The only problem with Telefunken tube to me is the amp run a bit hot compare to stock tube. Zampotech also briefly mentioned the amp is not designed to run with EF805S tubes so they should be used as complimentary tubes rather than your main. However my stock tubes had severe channel imbalance issue so I'm stuck with EF805S tube until my replacement tubes come ...
     
  9. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    I think that I have solved the heat problem by adding a 3" USB powered fan, lying on the front transformer housing. The amp runs very cool and the fan I use is very quiet.
    https://www.amazon.com/AC-Infinity-...+Infinity+multifan+40mm&qid=1636954487&sr=8-1
     
  10. mdr30

    mdr30 Acquaintance

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    Normally I run the HD800 on my balanced Dynahi, but when that needed some service I hooked it up to the SW51. The results are surprisingly good - full, nice and detailed sound. Will run it for some more days to confirm initial impressions. The 300 ohms drivers are probably a good match for the SW51. Mullard EF184 (Philips branded) in the amp right now.

    [​IMG]

    (Check my profile if you're looking for SW51 tubes.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2021
  11. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    The higher output impedance of the SW51, especially if you're using the H jack as in your photo, will make a big difference in itself: the SW51's 54 Ohms will interact with the HD800's ~100 Hz impedance bump to give a noticeable boost to the base vs the sub-1 Ohm output of the Dynahi.

    Edit: Miss-Information! See the two posts below.
     
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    Last edited: Nov 21, 2021
  12. mdr30

    mdr30 Acquaintance

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    Reproduction of bass didn't even enter my mind when I listened to HD800 and SW51. And, even with the H output, elevation of bass would be 1 dB or less.

    What I appreciated are qualities difficult to describe (and also particular to the individual). It sounds like pieces are falling into their right place, with precision of details in space, and nothing (or very little) in the tonal balance that calls for attention. Also the dynamic aspect, when crescendos open up without being held back.

    I'm not saying this is the perfect combination, but it sure has admirable qualities. Would be very interesting to hear others' opinion about the HD800 & SW51.
     
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  13. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    You're right - I didn't do the math until after I posted, and while the elevation is fairly broad, at max it's under 1 dB. The peak-to-trough difference in the HD800's impedance profile is under 2x and its lowest level is high compared even to the SW51's high output Z, so the effect is pretty small.
     
  14. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    "It sounds like pieces are falling into their right place, with precision of details in space, and nothing (or very little) in the tonal balance that calls for attention. Also the dynamic aspect, when crescendos open up without being held back."
    Excellent description of the sound of SW51+!
    What I enjoy is the the very clear instrument separation, tonal balance, dynamics and the bass. So far the best results have been with the TFK 805S that seems to expand the sound stage as well, compared to the stock tubes.
     
  15. mienk

    mienk Rando

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    I bought some vacuum tubes while waiting for SW51+, and now I’m waiting for SW51+ to be sent to me.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    Cool story, bro. Really adds to the conversation. I feel enlightened now. Appreciate the deep insight.
     
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  17. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    Tube rolling is always fun. My approach has been to try to find inexpensive lots of tubes and roll through them to find out what I like. Please note that rebranded tubes are very common wearing US labels - I have found Mullard, Japanese, RFT and Telefunken tubes etc with US names such as RCA, Raytheon and Zenith as examples.
    Here is a source - just a couple of dollars/tube:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/114704184850?hash=item1ab4e6f612:g:XxgAAOSwySNgN~7Q
    Very nice seller as well.
     
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  18. mienk

    mienk Rando

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    These vacuum tubes are bought from small stores in the area. The price is cheaper than eBay, and there is almost no shipping cost. The store can also match. I think my place is very suitable for playing audio. The only risk is to judge whether it is remak.:)
     
  19. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Instead of posting a picture of tubes awaiting auditioning in the intended amp it would be far more useful to hold off on posting until you have heard them and then comment on what auditory differences you experienced.

    For an example see this post
     
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  20. Mordy

    Mordy Acquaintance

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    Another thing I forgot to mention: It seems to me that these tubes are all long life tubes because they were made for TVs. Most people would just turn on the TV and leave it on the whole day or evening so the tubes had to stand up to prolonged use.
     
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