The All Purpose Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. dasman66

    dasman66 Friend

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    I also have a Denon AVR for a 5.1 system in the family room. I run a DISH DVR, gaming system and bluray thru it (I used to run an HTPC through it too, but now I use the PLEX app on the tv). I tend to agree with @StageOne, consider a pre-amp/processor instead of an AVR (especially if you're only 2-channel).
     
  2. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    @ChaChaRealSmooth Denon and Marantz are safe bets for AVR's. They have the latest bells and whistles and good room correction. Depending on your speakers you might not even need an external amp. Yamaha's are solid too, but their room eq does nothing for subs. The NAD T758 has excellent room eq, but no onscreen overlay. Older Anthems MRX series as alternative to that , but no Atmos and limited 4K. Same goes for Emotiva older prepro's ( poor room eq, no Atmos and limited 4K).
     
  3. jazglers

    jazglers Rando

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    Would rubbing a headphone part (except the membrane. . . that's too delicate) with a Q-tip change its sonic properties? When I do it, things do seem to sound better, as in a more clear and less ringy-sound, but I'm not sure by what basis. I don't know why it would work. The only analog I could think of is rubbing a drumskin, which makes it's pitch and overtones sound more damped and dull. In the case of a headphone, a more dull sounding material is what I would be looking in a housing. Different rubbing materials seemed to have varying degree of effect, but any cotton swab seems to be the best right now.
     
  4. eyrepm

    eyrepm Rando

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    Alright! Thank you. What do you specifically mean by electronics? Amp? Because I got parts 1, 2 and 4 I think. Power as in the actual electricity getting into the system?

    Anyway: that was what I was hoping and thinking: transducers.

    In regards to what I want/like, I'll try to put it into words:
    - I like a quick, fast, punchy sound
    - On the warmer side
    - Has to be pleasant-sounding / euphonic
    - Up-front soundstage (if that makes sense)

    - I don't like "sterile"/"reference", at least not products commonly marketed as that

    I do think my Grados have that now, for the most part, but they do get a bit sharp and tiring. So. I like their style, but I'd like a bit more control on the top, and more defined bottom? I still really like their "attitude" and liveliness.

    Things I have tried and what I think:
    - Audeze LCD2 — nice, but not lively enough for me
    - AKG 701 — not great
    - Generic bass-heavy headphones — no thank you

    The music that I listen to:
    - Rock-/metal-based sound -> a band playing
    - Usually quick and punchy
    - I do enjoy everything (ha - ha, naturally)
    - I also dabble in jazz, electronic music, acoustic


    EDIT:
    Regarding speakers: is there a likely effect when switching from an "inefficient" speaker like LS50s, to a more efficient speaker, like Zu Omen DW?

    And, would this fit well with my amp, etc?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  5. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Almost "Made"

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    Yes, electronics, meaning DACs, pre-amps and amps. Power meaning power conditioning, upgraded power supplies ... even silly-expensive power cords I guess.

    I can't help you much with speakers -- I've been out of that market for a long time. I will say that switching from a less to a more efficient speaker won't necessarily impact sound per se. However, if you're moving from a speaker which is under-powered from your amp, to one which is adequately powered, that should have a significant impact.

    As far as your tastes, you've got a bit of a problem. It can be a challenge to find cans which are both 'warm' and 'lively' as many 'lively' cans tend to be on the brighter side while warmer cans tend to be a bit 'laid back'. Not a law, but just more common. Also, your Grados tend to the warmer end of the Grado 'house sound', so if you find them sharp and tiring, finding a remedy for this while adding energy could be difficult.

    Fostex TH-900 ? Maybe still too bright, but certainly lively.
    ZMF Eikon, or maybe Atticus? Might be really hard for you to try in your country I suppose.
    Focal Elear? Especially with the Dekoni Fenestrated Sheepskin pads. Still maybe too bright though.

    It may be that you should get as close as you can to your target sound by changing cans, and then think about nudging the tonality with other parts of your chain. So if you end up with a too bright sound, things like a warmer cable (all copper vs silver or SPC), a warmer DAC or a warmer amp, (warmer than Rag 2?). In my case, Liquid Platinum w/ some Siemens (or Amperex) NOS tubes plus a Lazuli Reference cable really helped with the 'sharpness' of Utopia. Again, those were a couple of nudges to push the sound in my preferred direction.

    Conversely, I use a silver cable, and some brighter tubes (or a SS amp) to cool down my Empyrean a bit. Small changes, but still noticeable and satisfying.

    Anyway, GLTY
     
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  6. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better gear impressions than you

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    Not sure which Gungnir Multibit you have but you may wanna consider getting the Analog 1 version (can only be found used) as it is distinctly warmer, wetter and more euphonic than the newer units which are supposed to be drier. Or you could pony up extra for a new Yggdrasil as it is supposed to have switched places tonally with the old Gungnir Multibit (Yggy2 being more euphonic).

    As far as headphones, you may want to seriously consider the ZMF line. They are warm but not poo poo warm, very punchy in the bass and a pleasant top end. I just got the Auteur and it ticks all those boxes.

    But not sure how they synergize with Ragnarok. From all accounts the ZMFs pair well with tube amps.

    Do some digging.
     
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  7. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Almost "Made"

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    Given @eyrepm's preference for warm, I thought Auteur might end up being too bright, hence my Eikon/Atticus suggestion. I mean Auteur's not 'very bright' but @eyrepm seems to be looking for warm, and I'd call Auteur slightly bright of neutral. Best part of Auteur for @eyrepm is that its character can move a lot with different chains. Also, Auteur is warmer with the Eikon pads than with the Auteur pads I prefer. Of course, my Blackwood Auteur might be brighter than (say) Teak.

    All that may be moot however, as @eyrepm appears to be in Norway, and so ZMF cans might be Unobtanium.

    Actually, of the cans I own, Empyrean might be the best fit for @eyrepm -- didn't mention price constraints.
     
  8. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    ZMF has 2 European distributors now, one in the UK and one in Holland.
     
  9. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Almost "Made"

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    Shows what I know :)
     
  10. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better gear impressions than you

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    Its all relative. I consider Auteur quite a bit warmer than my HD600, which is mostly dead neutral/just shy of analytical HD800 territory. But Auteur is a pleasing, clear and airy warmth, not too warm. But I haven't heard the other ZMF cans enough to know the degrees of warmth that line has to offer and I don't know to what degree the OP considers "too warm".

    Auteur is also open, vs the closed back Atticus/Eikon... was he looking for closed? Maybe I missed it. Aeolus is also open and is supposed to be warmer than Auteur, and a step down in technicalities.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  11. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Almost "Made"

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    Who can argue with that :)

    No idea if @eyrepm wants open or closed.
     
  12. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Efficient speakers can sound “faster” and more dynamic than low eff ones, but there’s a ton more involved than just that. And the Zu speakers are a beast of their own due to the driver config. Although I’ve not heard them, there are lots of reviews out there that can give you the character of the sound. However, I’m not sure I’ve read any that say the Zu speakers are particularly euphonic however - most classify them as “rock speakers”, that being very dynamic and forward. I would try to hear a pair before going with a speaker like that.

    I’ve owned the LS50s before as well as a number of other low efficiency speakers along with Schiit Gungnir Multibit, Vidar, Freya/Saga, etc. What is it in particular that you think you don’t like about the LS50s? They are definitely more on the analytical side and need a lot of power to sound super dynamic and punchy. I’ve not heard the Rag 2 so I’m not sure what it can do with a low eff design like the LS50s, but I assume it can drive them decently well.

    Do you find them too bright? Too steely sounding? Not warm enough? Not enough low bass? Too thin through the mids? Too much mid bass? Too forward? Not forward enough???
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  13. Phantaminum

    Phantaminum Friend

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    I’m on a look out for a high end SET amp or top end OTL amp. I’ll try to describe the type of sound I’m looking for as best I can. Hope you guys can give me direction.

    Chain: PC —> Eitr —> Gungnir Multibit MB A1

    Headphones:
    HD650
    ZMF Auteur
    ZMF Verite
    • Clarity like the Feliks Elise.
    • Punchy bass with good low end extension. I like warmer sound with good note weight.
    • I enjoy a mid forward sound - like the HD650.
    • Fast enough to not feel slow.
    Amps I’m currently looking are:
    DNA Stratus
    Apex Teton
    EC Aficionado
    Toolshed Darling Amp
    A&S Kenzie Encore Darling Amp
    A&S Mogwai SE

    Right now I’m leaning towards the Stratus or Teton but I’ve never heard the Stratus and it’s been years since I heard the Teton. Any recommendations welcome.
     
  14. k4rstar

    k4rstar On a journey... somewhere

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    I've owned most of these and will have the Darling amp next week. Have lived with another Toolshed amp since May. I think I can offer you some perspective soon!
     
  15. eyrepm

    eyrepm Rando

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    First off:
    Thank you, really, for the help!! And wow, this stuff is hard. Especially since I can’t check out the ZMFs easily. Or other gear. I am able to find Focals though!

    Open vs Closed
    I think I like open. I don’t really have that much of a relationship to closed headphones. And I believe I enjoy the openness and all-over feel of open ones.

    Other gear I like
    I realized that, although cheap, my baseline could almost be said to be Koss Porto Pros. I’ve used those for 14-15 years. I just enjoy those. And they’re open.

    Question regarding that «rule of thumb»
    How much can you mess things up with gear that is good, but you’re matching it wrong? For example, if you’ve actually found a perfect headphone, but the rest of your stuff is confusing you.

    Gungnir
    I have the newest one.

    Budget
    I’m not going to go too much further than what my stuff already costs. I might go up to about $1000-1500 on the headphones IF I find something REALLY well fitting for me, but speakers, a price around what Kef LS50s or Zu Omen DWs costs is about right.

    Warmth / Brightness
    I’m thinking that perhaps I just need to tone down the brightness anyway, and go a bit warmer, in simple terms. The RS2s might just be a bit over the top. So, a bit warmer, and lively enough, is what I’m hoping for.

    The speakers
    I'm gonna have to sit down with them and to really give you a good reply on this. But overall I feel... they're:
    • a bit uneven feel overall (with the gear I use now)
    • low end is the most unclear part
    • a bit tiring to listen to, really
     
  16. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Almost "Made"

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    A lot, if you work hard at it. ;)

    There can be 'technical' issues. For example, impedance mismatches can severely degrade the sound. Or your amp can have insufficient power or current for your cans.

    Or the tonality of your devices can move your sound signature far away from neutral (i.e., warm DAC + warm amp + warm headphones == too warm).

    As you read reviews of equipment, pay attention to discussions of synergy between different components.
    Consensus is that the (newer) Analog 2 Gungnir Multibit is brighter than the older Analog 1 Gungnir Multibit (A1). I haven't heard an A1, so can't say how dramatic the difference is, but the A1 will certainly play closer to your preferred 'warm' tonality.

    So, would you be better off trading for an A1 and pairing it with a neutral amp? Or would it be better to keep the A2 you have and pair it with a warmer amp? Probably depends on which headphones you're gonna be driving.

    Only your ears can answer questions like that.
     
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  17. eyrepm

    eyrepm Rando

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    Yeah, all of that makes sense!

    Is Schiit in general known for making warm amps?

    In regards to the cans I think they’re just ... my gripe there is a character of the cans themselves.

    Switching out the DAC might be a hassle. Plus, they might upgrade it. And it might not be the big change I want.

    Was it just the analog stage, as in not otherwise a huge upgrade? Because I see it was still the MB.
     
  18. lcmusiclover

    lcmusiclover Almost "Made"

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    I don't think so, but don't really have that much experience with them. IIRC the Jot is considered pretty bright by those who have listened. Tube hybrids probably vary some with tube-swapping.
    I was thinking you might find someone with an A1 Gungnir Multibit who would swap with you, preferring the A2 sound.

    You might want to peruse this thread:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/schiit-gungnir-multibit-impressions.158/

    Probably some detailed comparisons of A1 and A2 in there somewhere.
     
  19. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Headphones first! They're the biggest variable, and if you're not happy with them, differences made by changes in the rest of the chain have little chance of helping. After you settle on, or at least narrow down, 'phones you're happy with, then give more thought to upgrading the rest (because the rest is already pretty good).
     
  20. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better gear impressions than you

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    @eyrepm

    I'm in on the Ragnarok 2 loaner so I'll be able to see how well it pairs with my ZMF Auteur. I may even have the Gungnir Multibit A1 back by then. I'll let you know.
     

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