System Synergy - Special Sound

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by atomicbob, Nov 23, 2021.

  1. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

    Jun 16, 2016
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    Austin, TX

    One of the most synergistic setups I've experienced yet.

    @rhythmdevils ZMF Pendant SE
    @yotacowboy Sennheiser HD800S
    @Joshvar Schiit Bifrost 2

    The warm/dark Bifrost 2 counterbalances the Pendant's neutral-ish tone and fast transients, while the HD800S takes full advantage of the perfect marriage downstream, delivering oodles of resolution, speed and impact. Very hard to put the headphones down.
  2. WoodyLuvr

    WoodyLuvr Friend

    Aug 17, 2021
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    Oh, the synergy... upon seeing (reading about) @atomicbob's Goldpoint SA2 Sepped Attenuator a seed was planted and I now have this newest addition to my chain: SACThailand Silk Classic TVA Passive Preamp... that is not TVA as in Time Variance Authority but rather Transformer Volume Attenuator. Thank you @atomicbob for sharing your setup and being such a dandy enabler ;)... regardless of all the ole' balls & chains (wives) around the world that may curse you!

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  3. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

    Pyrate BWC MZR
    Sep 27, 2015
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    On planet


    DAC: Holo Audio Spring 3
    HP: Sennheiser / JAR HD800-JAR (commonly called JAR800)

    Both Studio B and Vali3 are using GE JAN 5670W driver tubes
    Studio B has Elrog 300B output tubes and has custom output transformers
    Vali3 has Coherence™ current-feedback discreet Class AB bipolar output

    Listening levels between 75 and 90 dB SPL

    The following differences are slight to moderate.
    Without direct A/B comparison one might not be able to remember the differences noted.

    Studio B has higher overall technical performance such as
    Cymbals have greater definition between hits and on the shimmer
    Bass has a bit more impact on plucked low notes
    Kick has more impact and definition
    Piano sounds more liquid in the higher octaves

    Vali3 maintains a great timbral quality over the entire spectrum similar to the Studio B.

    Both exhibit that very desirable trait of magic midrange
    Both amps have such engaging, immersive sound as to invite listening at levels higher than normal, so be careful.
    Once settled in, either can keep my attention on enjoying music and not fussing about equipment.

    Studio B setup above cost 73x as much as the Vali3

    Vali3 is an incredible design accomplishment.
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  4. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Sep 27, 2015
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    A Beguiling System

    01 20240505 modius Cyan 2 vali 3 HD800S.jpg
    A very intriguing system small footprint, not terribly expensive, yet very high level of auditory zen
    Components to be discussed are
    DAC: Cyan 2
    Amp: Vali 3 + GE JAN 5670w tube
    HP: HD800S and HD800-JAR

    Many enjoyable listening hours have been logged with this system as enumerated. It is hard to describe the satisfaction achieving such immersion without spending $$$$$ nor occupying huge amount of space. Low overall distortion, no fatigue factor, simple enjoyment.

    02 20240505 RDL SF-ND2 - Cyan2 - Vali3 - HD800.png
    The system embodiment avoids USB in favor of Dante. All music files are resampled on-the-fly to 88 KHz using SOX converter in Jriver MC and output via Dante VSC to ethernet, which is inherently galvanically isolated. Cyan 2 has lower jitter with Dante to spdif than ASIO USB as will be shown later. Though not a huge difference, it is significant.

    The following measurements are all SYSTEM electrical measurements of Cyan 2 + Vali 3 with GE JAN 5670w tube.
    03 20240417 Cyan2+Vali3 Distortion FFT 88K Dante+spdif SE 300R - annotated.png
    Note AC main noise of the system is far below threshold of perception for common dynamic headphones. Also note the descending harmonic distortions common to excellent sounding system. Vali 3 dominates this distortion suite measurement. Cyan 2 distortion are much lower.

    04 20240428 Cyan2+Vali3 dynamic range FFT 88K Dante+spdif SE 300R v2.png
    System dynamic range is well over 110 dB. Considering measurement is dominated by AC Mains noise, practical dynamic range, considering the ISO Contours of equal loudness, is much greater. This will contribute to a very clean sounding experience or blackground.

    05 20240417 Cyan2+Vali3 multitone -20dBu FFT 48K spdif SE 300R 8-24 - annotated.png
    There are two distinct noise floors in the multitone test. Vali 3 is responsible for the higher level which Cyan 2 sets the baseline for the absolute floor. Considering the dominant Vali 3 noise floor is 90 80 dB below the multitone level this will result in a very clean rendering of complex waveforms. Another reason for the apparent exceptionally clean sound experienced with this system.

    06 20240417 Cyan2+Vali3 sine -70dBFS 100Hz FFT 44K spdif SE 300R.png
    -70 dBFS sinusoid system response Again, exceptionally clean for a system level measurement.

    07 20240417 Cyan2+Vali3 sqr -70dBFS 100Hz FFT 44K spdif SE 300R.png
    -70 dBFS square wave system response Nearly perfect square wave.

    08 20240505 BOM Cyan 2 vali3 HD800 + Dante DDS.png
    While not really a budget system, for a little over 3K this system delivers great enjoyment, low distortion, low fatigue for hours long listening sessions. Jupiter Audio Research mods will add 2K to the price but is well worth it. Dispensing with USB once and for all with Dante is a $600 proposition, but again, to me, well worth it. And this DDC will work for any DAC with AES, spdif or optical input. Once acquired one can dispense with USB altogether.

    09 20240417 Cyan2 Inferred Jitter SE - ASIO 88KHz.png
    Cyan 2 ASIO USB jitter is really good.

    10 20240418 Cyan2 Inferred Jitter Bal - Dante spdif 88KHz 8-16.png
    But Cyan 2 Dante to spdif at 88 KHz is nearly perfect.

    Amps such as the Mjolnir 3 and EC Studio B will definitely showcase the capabilities of Holo Audio Cyan 2, however there is a very beguiling sound with the Vali 3 and GE JAN 5670w tube.

    This specific system is likely to remain a staple in my lab collection.

    *editted for typo*
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    Last edited: May 10, 2024

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