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But you need to invest in some quality tubes. I hope Neil bought that pair of Bendix 6080wb. It was cheap !

 

Failing that, get a pair of Mullard 6080 from Langrex.

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Going through this thread has been fantastic - and I have learned a lot.   Here is my current rig and Headphones: Marantz CD6006 (nice used as a transport but the upgrade bug is startin

minunat    

He is shadey like A2As B-Stock specials.   Dont tell anyone, but I think A2A B-Stock is just Neil's returns.

20 minutes ago, franky995 said:

If anyone is interested - Drop have the LF339i for sale. I ordered one.

 

Update: 220v gone already apparently.

 

Nice, enjoy it!!!

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Look for these driver tubes for LF339i:-

 

Drivers

Tung Sol 6sj7gt mesh plates

Mullard 6sj7gt 

RCA Red Hots 5693

Mullard EF86 with adapters from Yuking if he still sells them otherwise from ebay seller mrsxuling

 

Power tubes

Tung Sol 5998

Tung Sol or Cetron 7236

GEC 6as7g (this is very expensive - I would pass)

Bendix 6080wb

GEC 6080

Mullard 6080

RCA 6as7g

Svetlana 6h13c

 

That's it. Your LF339i will become a Ferrari with some of those tubes, The lower ones will turn it into Ford Falcon or Commodore. Stock tubes will turn it into VW Beetles. 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Odyssey said:

I hope Neil bought that pair of Bendix 6080wb

I did indeed - excellent sounding with graphite cores.

Just an FYI team but I'm doing a massive shootout in the next 10 days. DACs/HPs/Amps, going to be some tasty morsels for the HeadFi lovers. One will be Mogwai SE vs LF339i. HD800s, LCD-3, LCD-X, Utopia, Stax LR-700 MK2, 007MK2, Verite Open. DACs are Sonnet Morpheus, Gustard A22 and Kompakt.

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21 minutes ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

I did indeed - excellent sounding with graphite cores.

Just an FYI team but I'm doing a massive shootout in the next 10 days. DACs/HPs/Amps, going to be some tasty morsels for the HeadFi lovers. One will be Mogwai SE vs LF339i. HD800s, LCD-3, LCD-X, Utopia, Stax LR-700 MK2, 007MK2, Verite Open. DACs are Sonnet Morpheus, Gustard A22 and Kompakt.

You've been busy. Got a few days of lockdown to polish the memoir.

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52 minutes ago, Odyssey said:

Look for these driver tubes for LF339i:-

 

Drivers

Tung Sol 6sj7gt mesh plates

Mullard 6sj7gt 

RCA Red Hots 5693

Mullard EF86 with adapters from Yuking if he still sells them otherwise from ebay seller mrsxuling

 

Power tubes

Tung Sol 5998

Tung Sol or Cetron 7236

GEC 6as7g (this is very expensive - I would pass)

Bendix 6080wb

GEC 6080

Mullard 6080

RCA 6as7g

Svetlana 6h13c

 

That's it. Your LF339i will become a Ferrari with some of those tubes, The lower ones will turn it into Ford Falcon or Commodore. Stock tubes will turn it into VW Beetles. 

 

 

Thanks! Will take a couple of months to arrive. Will buy tubes once it’s arrived.

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1 hour ago, Odyssey said:

I can't do a massive shootout because my gear are in 2 cities. Tale of 2 cities !

You need to get a caravan like @Sime. Then transport your gear as you move between the two cities heh.

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11 hours ago, Odyssey said:

Ah that was Mightygrey ?  we met at the Sydney CanCon in Epping suburb some years ago and he was keen to try out my Eikon and Atticus. Think he subsequently bought his own Eikon. 

 

Yes mate, that was me! Thanks again for the chance to have some proper ear-time with both those cans, I had a couple of great years of listening time with the Eikons. When stuff's back to 'normal' we must host another meet-up again around Sydney. I think my entire gear-chain has changed since then...

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34 minutes ago, Mightygrey said:

Yes mate, that was me! Thanks again for the chance to have some proper ear-time with both those cans, I had a couple of great years of listening time with the Eikons. When stuff's back to 'normal' we must host another meet-up again around Sydney. I think my entire gear-chain has changed since then...

 

Sure thing ! My pleasure btw. My gear have changed a lot too since then. Changed very drastically. Some have come and gone. It would be great to have a meet up again, though I'll have to work around my time and I shuttle to and fro every few weeks between Sydney and Canberra.

 

I thought the SMSL Sp200 review you did was very well done. I thoroughly enjoy reading that and I can relate almost completely with all you wrote there.

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2 hours ago, deafenears said:

You need to get a caravan like @Sime. Then transport your gear as you move between the two cities heh.

 

Haha, I can't be like Sime. I just travel in a SUV.... but I hate moving lots of gear. An amp and a headphone no problem.

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It's late but I'm still listening to music like there's no care in the world. This arvo, @xtiva2000 visited me at my home and brought 2 beautiful amps with him. The SPL Phonitor X and Schiit Mjolnir 2. Now that is a big step up over the SMSL SP200 that is for sure. Now I'm ready to give the SP200 away. ?

 

SO we had a great time together and xtiva is a swell guy. I warm up to him very quickly ... like I've known him for a very long time. He was that easy to talk to and ultra friendly and his interest in head-fi is as great as mine. The only difference is he is a classical music lover. Pure unadulterated classical music lover. He came with just one headphone and that is the king of classical headphones - the HD800 without the S. Don't touch the S. ? Now all the S lovers will throw bananas at me.

 

Anyhoo, both amps sound wonderful, particularly the Phonitor X but I was more interested in buying his mj2. So I bought his Michael Jordan 2 amp and you have no idea how high it can jump or the number of slam dunks it can do. I'm totally impressed !!!

 

So I say shut up xtiva and take my money and give me the mj2 and the transaction was done.

 

Now some pictures or it didn't happen,

 

IMG_1685.jpg

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HEKSE on MJ2 would go alright too. Nice pickup.

 

At this level it all comes down to synergy. Of the DAC, Amp, Can and Ear.

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5 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

HEKSE on MJ2 would go alright too. Nice pickup.

 

At this level it all comes down to synergy. Of the DAC, Amp, Can and Ear.

 

I do think so and this is with the CMA 12 dac. When I get Yggdrasil > Mjolnir 2 > Hekse I am sure it will be better. 

 

It's all subjective and depends on individual ears like you say. You nail it with that statement. 

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As a father of two young kids, I'm more impressed you have space for multiple Amos for yourself. Dreamy.

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When my  kids were young like yours, I have no time for head-fi or whatever fi. I take them soccer matches, swimming, tuitions, movies, and just having fun with them. Now they are grown I can't do that anymore so I baby sit amps and it is fun too !

 

However I'll be selling 2 amps in the next month. I have too many now and it's contributing to climate change. 

 

So don't be dreamy for me. Enjoy your kids. They grow up faster than you know it and then you'll regret you didn't spend enough time with them. ?

 

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16 hours ago, Odyssey said:

However I'll be selling 2 amps in the next month.

Super interested in what you might be selling. Will be just in time for me to be down to one tube amp again! First dibs on Oblivion!

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1 minute ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

Super interested in what you might be selling. Will be just in time for me to be down to one tube amp again! First dibs on Oblivion!

 

I'll sell anything to you Neil including the Oblivion. Just the thought of it makes me very sad though. Here is my amateur review of Oblivion. ?

https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/oblivion-amp-by-ultrasonic-studios.24108/reviews

 

However in the interest of my continued progress with my head-fi journey, I will ...... just have to wait for the ACT - Greater Sydney border closure to be open again for me to get it. It's in 'mint' condition !

 

So most likely the Questyle and Oblivion. There is a queue for Oblivion and Citadel, not to mention shipping from Sweden and mine has the low and high impedance switch, speakers out banana plugs sockets, switch for speakers or headphones and several pairs of input and output tubes - enough to last a life time.. ?

 

Won't tell you what I'll be after next.... it will be another tube amp but a very nice one.

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27 minutes ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

Super interested in what you might be selling. Will be just in time for me to be down to one tube amp again! First dibs on Oblivion!

 

Which amp will you be down to? ? I can guess. Could be a perfect pairing with Oblivion. A lot of contrast. Oblivion is very quiet and I like quiet amps. No hum or hiss and not hot. 

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The 2021 Brisbane shootout #1:

image.png.f10f5c6654952a956b55ce4179031401.png

 

Above is the schematic for my current setup for the shootout. I'd like to end up with 1-2 DACs, probably 3 HPs and 2 amps - I know, crazy!

Headphones:

ZMF Verite Open
Audeze LCD-3/X
Focal Utopia
HD800s
LR-700 MkII
SR-007MK2

 

Tracks:

Male Jazz vocal – Gregory Porter – Take me to the alley – “Holding on” 
Female Jazz vocal – Kandace Springs – The women who raised me – “Angel eyes”
Piano based – Brad Mehldau – Day is done – “She’s leaving home”
Male vocals – Michael McDonald – Wide open – “Just strong enough”
West coast – Dawes – Passwords – “Crack the case”
Steely Dan – Aja – “Peg”
Hard hitting track – Parra for Cuva – “Wicked games”

 

Caveats:

Streaming Tidal (masters) or FLACs through a Roon Core. Cables are a mix of Analysis Plus, Audioquest, DH Labs etc. I have USB, Coax and optical. I use Isotek power boards and cables. I have a mix of upgraded and stock HP cables. I am old and am not a reviewer. YMMV

 

Streamer vs Roon Core

I've had a few different streamers now (Auralic Vega G1, Matrix Element X, Lumin U1 mini, Bluesound Node 2i, Soundaware D300) and many are fine pieces of audio kit. The caveat here is that I listen using Roon. Here's where I find having a streamer in the chain makes no difference. I used the Giesler Kompakt fed by Kraftwerk LPSU as the test DAC. Comparing all available inputs with and without Matrix X SPDIF for the Roon core vs Bluesound Node 2i. Direct channel matching with same track. 

Result: Coax and optical digital output on Node 2i was worse than USB direct from Roon Core. This may be due to Kompakt having a good Amanero USB input. Tried Coax/Optical from USB fed X-SPDIF2 and no difference between Roon Core and Node 2i. I want to love streamers more that just Roon Core output but I can't hear a (any) distinct improvement in SQ. Not convinced that the MAtrix X SPDIF 2 reclocking etc makes any difference either. All it gives me is more outputs to run up to 4 DACs from 1 USB input. 

 

First DAC shootout:

Giesler Kompakt (GK) with LPSU vs Sonnet Morpheus (SM) through Mogwai SE on LCD-X

Now I know they're different implementations! AKM Chip vs R2R. Both are musical, in that they convey less "glare" but maybe less detail than ESS. I guess you'd say more analogue sounding. Detail retrieval is good, better on SM. There's just more detail and clarity than on the GK. You can hear instrument placing better on the SM and I would say the SQ is "richer", more "fluid" and seems to be deeper. I feel the soundstage on GK is wider than SM though. Now the retail for SM is 5.5K vs 1.8K for GK combo. Is SM 3X better? - no. The GK is really great value and a very good DAC. Very hard to seperate DACs like D90, GK, Ares II, BiFrost 2 in this price bracket. 
 

Stay tuned for more (or less!) insights!

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Bravo Neil. You must be a professional reviewer. Can't wait for the next instalment. So you have the Benchmark HPA4 again?

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4 minutes ago, BlueOceanBoy said:

On it's way back to me! Seller's regret!

 

I still maintain that the SMSL Sp200 is an interesting amp for the transparency and details. If it's a shadow of the HPA4, then the latter would be one amp I would like to listen.

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Shootout #2

Previous caveats apply:

Gustard A22 vs Sonnet Morpheus

So, the Sonnet comfortably saw off the Giesler Kompakt in tonality, imaging and depth, albeit close though. The A22 is a dual mono AKM4499 DAC and powerful preamp. So Kompakt ++ maybe? In short, yes. This is close, very close. Listening through LCD-X (neutral and fast response) via Mogwai (again a very neutral and quiet tube amp) and channel matched. I tried all the genres mentioned above and it was hard to distinguish between these two DACs. Similar, to Kompakt, the Sonnet just edged out the A22 on tonality, depth and imaging but so close. I felt the A22 might have a touch more detail than the Kompakt, so very close to Sonnet. Has the Sonnet a bit more "air"? Maybe. Has the A22 got faster transients? Maybe. I just can't tell. I had no genres favourites in either DAC. In a speaker system, it may be easier to hear SQ differences. The A22 is MQA compatible and arguably has more functionality than the Sonnet. My version of Sonnet has the USB and there is an I2S module available but takes the place of USB. Some say the I2S input is best. I do use the I2S on the A22 from Matrix SPDIF 2 and I feel that is better than the USB or coax. 

Sonnet vs Hugo 2

A quick head to head here. H2 being fed by optical. Rob Watts is said to prefer optical inputs on Chord gear but not sure that it works as well here. I do like the H2 but the Sonnet is "better" at tonality, soundstage and depth for this challenge. I was really surprised!

 

In summary, prior to Sonnet, I had settled on A22 and Kompakt as two very capable DACs. I preferred the A22 over the Element X for example. My feeling is that Sonnet yields more overall depth and imaging than the A22. Detail retrieval is matched pretty much. With A22 being a powerful preamp and MQA, it is much better value than the Sonnet. I may keep both here!

 

Next shootout will be......Stax 006Ts vs 353 and LR700 vs 007......

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Waiting on the review of HPA4 because I'm interested in buying it. Question of replacing a few amps for it. ?

 

I spoke to Geoff of HeyNowHiFi actually about the Benchmark.

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9 minutes ago, Bengineer said:

Is that the same @Geoff@HeyNow Hi-Fi that is soon to announce the winner (me) of the Bluesound Node 2i?

 

HPA4 such a big bit of kit.

 

There's only one Geoff of HeyNow and I spoke to him this morning and the HPA4 is not big but sexier than ...... who's the sexiest female?

 

You can have the Bluesound Node 2i but I'll get the Benchmark. Or Neil can buy the HPA4 first and let me hear it for 2 months. Thanks Neil. Appreciate. Remember you have first dips on Oblivion. ?

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4 minutes ago, Odyssey said:

 

There's only one Geoff of HeyNow and I spoke to him this morning and the HPA4 is not big but sexier than ...... who's the sexiest female?

Margaret Thatcher.

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