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  1. #26
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Congrats on finally getting some real gear. I bet you've been eagerly awaiting. When is the 2ch setup arriving?
    I was going to say that you can't imagine how eager I was, but then I remembered you had a good wait too to get your gear... I hope you're still enjoying the setup...

    For now the 2 channel setup is on hold... I plan to really enjoy the Headphone setup for awhile first + pay closing costs on my house (construction is almost finished)....

    And now that I have the Benchmark, I need to reconsider whether to get an integrated amp (as I had originally planned) or just look for a power amp and speakers Or maybe those new Martin Logan active speakers....

  2. #27
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I was going to say that you can't imagine how eager I was, but then I remembered you had a good wait too to get your gear... I hope you're still enjoying the setup...
    Sure am, it's on 24/7 It seems you're waiting much longer than I ever have, but I can imagine your excitement.
    For now the 2 channel setup is on hold... I plan to really enjoy the Headphone setup for awhile first + pay closing costs on my house (construction is almost finished)....

    And now that I have the Benchmark, I need to reconsider whether to get an integrated amp (as I had originally planned) or just look for a power amp and speakers Or maybe those new Martin Logan active speakers....
    So it's gone from RS6 to GS 20 back to RS6 and now Martin Logan? hehe
    I understand, choices choices..
    Let us know when you've made up your mind And some more good luck on finishing the house and everything involved

  3. #28
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Sure am, it's on 24/7 It seems you're waiting much longer than I ever have, but I can imagine your excitement.

    So it's gone from RS6 to GS 20 back to RS6 and now Martin Logan? hehe
    I understand, choices choices..
    Let us know when you've made up your mind And some more good luck on finishing the house and everything involved
    Well the RS6 is definitely off the list... I don't want anything that would be too obvious a step down in sound quality from the AKGs... which means I have to save some serious money... so the GS20/GS60 remain my favourites... but I'm so curious about the Martin Logans... since for the price of the GS20s, I can get the Martin Logans (which have their own internal amplification, hence saving me the money for a power amp)... But nothing is gonna happen for now...

    Basically, instead of lowering my goal for a high-end setup (by getting a Monitor Audio RS6/Marantz PM 7001 Combo) I spent that money on a high-end headphone setup - and I have NO regrets... This is easily the highest quality setup I've owned so far and it certainly sounds the part (which is what really matters to me)...

    I'm now dreaming (more like fantasizing) about a Monitor Audio GS60/Musical Fidelity 550K Supercharger combo... But the $10K price tag makes me feel really ill...

  4. #29
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    The ML's are very nice and would be a great match with the direction you are going. I heard a pair of the, is it the Vista that's the entry level powered speaker, connected to an Arcam Solo. Really nice for the money.

    amusicdirect was running those MF super chargers on special, I don't have the details, I just browsed over it in a newsletter as it didn't concern me at the time.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  5. #30
    nightflier
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    I checked back on a few online reviews like Stereophile's and the brightness on the Benchmark was concerning the DAC portion, not so much the headphone amp. Interestingly enough, not a lot of reviews say much about the headphone amp and focus largely on the DAC.

    What's your take on the DAC?

  6. #31
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    I checked back on a few online reviews like Stereophile's and the brightness on the Benchmark was concerning the DAC portion, not so much the headphone amp. Interestingly enough, not a lot of reviews say much about the headphone amp and focus largely on the DAC.

    What's your take on the DAC?
    When it comes to issues of brightness and neutrality, I look at frequency response measurements... reviewers can only comment on whether their entire setup sounds neutral, not a single component (as they can't listen to just one item, such as speakers - without an accompanying amp and source)... but neutrality can be easily measured...

    The Benchmark measures flat as a pancake (per several major publications, including Stereophile).... and in my totally subjective opinion, based on using it combined with the AKG K701, it sounds neutral...

    I haven't tried using the DAC without the headphone amp, since the only thing I have at home that I could plug it into is a Panasonic Mini-System... and giving a review of the DAC1's performance as source for that item, would give me less credibility than Paris Hilton at an abstinence convention...

  7. #32
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Well the RS6 is definitely off the list... I don't want anything that would be too obvious a step down in sound quality from the AKGs... which means I have to save some serious money... so the GS20/GS60 remain my favourites... but I'm so curious about the Martin Logans... since for the price of the GS20s, I can get the Martin Logans (which have their own internal amplification, hence saving me the money for a power amp)... But nothing is gonna happen for now...

    Basically, instead of lowering my goal for a high-end setup (by getting a Monitor Audio RS6/Marantz PM 7001 Combo) I spent that money on a high-end headphone setup - and I have NO regrets... This is easily the highest quality setup I've owned so far and it certainly sounds the part (which is what really matters to me)...

    I'm now dreaming (more like fantasizing) about a Monitor Audio GS60/Musical Fidelity 550K Supercharger combo... But the $10K price tag makes me feel really ill...
    Have you heard the Gold series? It's funny you mention MF's 550K's, i wouldn't care for them as you're just long-cutting the sound to the speakers. You might as well just start off with a decently powered amp and voila..
    But that's just my opinion. Or maybe i've got it all wrong and you'd be using them as the main amps in dual mono? (no other amps connected)
    The GS60's are nice but for the price I think I would rather something a little more 'exotic'.
    I briefly heard the GS20's, somehow what came out the most was the highs and lows and not much midrange, I'm guessing it could have been the acoustics in the room. I have heard the RS6 and was impressed.
    Never had contact with any Logans but I sure would like to

  8. #33
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Have you heard the Gold series? It's funny you mention MF's 550K's, i wouldn't care for them as you're just long-cutting the sound to the speakers. You might as well just start off with a decently powered amp and voila..
    But that's just my opinion. Or maybe i've got it all wrong and you'd be using them as the main amps in dual mono? (no other amps connected)
    The GS60's are nice but for the price I think I would rather something a little more 'exotic'.
    I briefly heard the GS20's, somehow what came out the most was the highs and lows and not much midrange, I'm guessing it could have been the acoustics in the room. I have heard the RS6 and was impressed.
    Never had contact with any Logans but I sure would like to
    If I bought the 550Ks, they'd be used as dual monoblocks... No supercharging nonsense....

    I've spent a lot of time auditioning the GS20s... My favourite 2 channel setup to date is still a pair of GS20s connected to a Musical Fidelity X-T100 and X-Ray V8 in a small room (11ft x 11ft). The setup just sounded magical, had a nice tubey sweet midrange, plus proper treble extension and nice deep bass... I've heard the RS6 a few times as well, and thought it was great value for money, but I've yet to be really 'wowed' by any speaker under $3K.... And unfortunately for my wallet, I'm at the stage where if I buy something I really want to be impressed with it....

  9. #34
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    If I bought the 550Ks, they'd be used as dual monoblocks... No supercharging nonsense....
    haha that's more like it
    The GS20's I heard were powered with a rotel RB-04 (strangely enough), and a 3000$+ marantz CDP. As I said, not bad but the showfloor room had acoustic issues, it wasn't in a dedicated room.

  10. #35
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    The ML's are very nice and would be a great match with the direction you are going. I heard a pair of the, is it the Vista that's the entry level powered speaker, connected to an Arcam Solo. Really nice for the money.

    amusicdirect was running those MF super chargers on special, I don't have the details, I just browsed over it in a newsletter as it didn't concern me at the time.
    Vista is the next model above the active one... The Purity is active....

    I think the 550K is being replaced.... a number of sites in both the UK and US (Music Direct & Audio Adviser) are selling them for half price right now...

  11. #36
    Ajani
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    Second night with the new DAC/Headphone Amp and the sound is getting better and better...

    So far I've thrown all of the following genres at the DAC1/K701 Combo and been impressed with its performance on all of them:

    Rock, Rap & Reggae.... Classical, Soul & Jazz... Pop, Country & Dance... Latin, Soca & Reggaeton

    I have very.... ummmm..... eclectic taste in music...

    The DAC1/K701 combo seems to be a great all rounder so far....

    More updates and Pics to come...

  12. #37
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Interestingly enough, not a lot of reviews say much about the headphone amp and focus largely on the DAC.
    I think many reviewers see the name DAC in the title and don't pay much attention to the other features (i.e. headphone amp and digital preamp)... however, I did notice that the DAC1 is rated as both a Class A digital source and a Class A Headphone Amp in Stereophile... So they do think it's a top class headphone amp as well as top class DAC....

  13. #38
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    I think I may have found my headphones finally! Auditioned Stax SR-202's and SR-303's with a Stax SRM-310 drive unit yesterday, bloody good headphones to say the least. Immediately preferred them to the Senn HD-650's

    So with the financial turmoil, I'm thinking of purchasing a basic Stax SRS-2050II system, which consists of SR-202's and an SRM-252A drive unit (haven't auditioned this drive unit yet though). Meets my budget, much cheaper than a Naim Headline2 system, the drive unit is easy to conceal, plus very upgradable and easy to resell. Has anyone got experience with Stax earspeakers?

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
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  14. #39
    nightflier
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    Just heard that my order for the new Musical Hall Dac is going through at AA. Should be here in a little while. Too bad I don't have the Benchmark as a benchmark (pun intended). I'd really like to know how a DAC & headphone amp at 1/2 the price would compare (the specs are similar). I'm also curious to see what Stereophile says.

  15. #40
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Just heard that my order for the new Musical Hall Dac is going through at AA. Should be here in a little while. Too bad I don't have the Benchmark as a benchmark (pun intended). I'd really like to know how a DAC & headphone amp at 1/2 the price would compare (the specs are similar). I'm also curious to see what Stereophile says.
    so order a benchmark from musicdirect at the same time and compare the two, then return the one you don't like...

  16. #41
    Sure, sure... Auricauricle's Avatar
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    I have listened to a few of 'em, elapsed....I must say they are the best 'phones that I have listened to, bar none. They're a bit steep fer my budget, but they are sweet, sweet, sweet! I particularly liked the way they handled chamber music and jazz ensembles. Strings were reproduced so fluidly, woodwinds were nice and, uh, woody, and voices just soared! I think you'll like 'em. If you don't, let me know and I swap you for a slingshot or my favorite yoyo....

  17. #42
    nightflier
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    Ajani, unfortunately, I can only afford the $500 one for now. Even if the Benchmark was an order of magnitude better, I'd still have to return it!

  18. #43
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    Elapsed, are you kidding, Stax aren't that easy to find. I saw some on Musicdirect a couple years ago and the set up was like $2k. How much is the rig you are looking at and where are you getting them from?
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  19. #44
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Elapsed, are you kidding, Stax aren't that easy to find. I saw some on Musicdirect a couple years ago and the set up was like $2k. How much is the rig you are looking at and where are you getting them from?
    Thankfully I have a local Stax dealer in Vancouver. I'm looking at an entry-level Stax system, which the dealer has marked down to CA$699 which I think is a great deal. This includes both headphones and amp. I mean I'd love to own a Stax Omega II system but I'm afraid to audition them as they'd set me back over $4,000 and I know once I heard them nothing will compare. So my thoughts are that the 202's sound great, and hopefully I won't feel compelled to upgrade

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
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    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
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  20. #45
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    Were the Stax quite a bit better than the 600's? Or, just different? How do you think they will do for Rock? I didn't realize you could get into Stax for that, I may have to snoop around some.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  21. #46
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Were the Stax quite a bit better than the 600's? Or, just different? How do you think they will do for Rock? I didn't realize you could get into Stax for that, I may have to snoop around some.
    What I found with conventional headphones is that the sound is in your head, and that while the headphones sound good they still don't compare to my speakers. Now with Stax it was a whole other story, it feels like I'm in an auditorium! My mind was actually confused the first time I heard Stax 303's, it felt like the sound was coming at me from every corner of the room. This was only the second time I've ever been blown away by any audio system.

    So meanwhile, I went ahead and auditioned Senn 650's, Grado RS-2's and AKG 701's. These were with a Naim Headline2 amp and a NAPSC2 power supply. I really, really wanted to like them, but ultimately I just wasn't a fan of the matching Naim headphone amp, especially since these systems would cost more than a Stax system, and were no where near comparable.

    Anyways, a basic Stax SRS-2050II system retails for US$750. I haven't auditioned this yet, but I was really blown away with the next system up (albeit almost twice the cost!). So tomorrow I go in for an audition, I'll report back!

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
    Harmony 890 remote
    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
    Wiremold L10320 power strip

    System Picture #1 | System Picture #2 | System Design

  22. #47
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    Darn it, Elapsed, I had put Stax out of my mind for a long time, just one of those things not in my budget. Now, you tell me they are, sort of. Hmmm, when is my birthday..... how much does Honey love me....

    Really though, thanks for the info. One other thing if I can get you out on a limb. Which did you prefer out of the 650's, RS-2 & 701?

    I already put a feeler out to see what rigs and prices are from Spearitsound which is the only Stax dealer I'm aware of in the States.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  23. #48
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Darn it, Elapsed, I had put Stax out of my mind for a long time, just one of those things not in my budget. Now, you tell me they are, sort of. Hmmm, when is my birthday..... how much does Honey love me....

    Really though, thanks for the info. One other thing if I can get you out on a limb. Which did you prefer out of the 650's, RS-2 & 701?

    I already put a feeler out to see what rigs and prices are from Spearitsound which is the only Stax dealer I'm aware of in the States.
    You neeeeed to go audition Stax, go immediately!

    So of the three headphones.. 650's for comfort and sound, 701's for build quality and price, RS-2's for looks (though very uncomfortable, I did prefer the sound to the 701's), . For me it would be between the 650's and the 701's, and the decision would ultimately come down to price (the 701's are amazing value really, while the 650's need a really good headphone amp). I was leaning towards the 650's, but in the back of my mind I would never be happy with them after having heard a Stax system.

    cheers,
    elapsed
    Fidelity Acoustics RFM-2 speakers
    Naim CD5x cd player
    Naim NAC 122x pre-amp
    Naim NAP 150x poweramp
    Naim FlatCap-2x power supply
    Naim Stageline N phono stage
    Naim NACA5 speaker cabling
    Naim Hi-Line interconnect
    Chord Crimson interconnects
    Rega Planar 3 turntable
    Goldring 1042 cartridge
    Squeezebox 3
    Oppo DV-983H dvd player
    Harmony 890 remote
    Quadraspire Q4 shelving
    Wiremold L10320 power strip

    System Picture #1 | System Picture #2 | System Design

  24. #49
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    Same here, I know there are hard core Grado fans but I prefer Sennheiser for sound.

    Stax interested me the first time I read about them. I've heard Martin Logan with tubes and the combo to me is magic. So I've always wanted to hear Stax. I don't know if Musicdirect still carry them but I didn't want to bring in a rig well over a grand just to try and return. Plus, if I like them as much as I think I might the audition would be dangerous, I might not want to return.
    Mark Levinson #512 SACD & 532h power
    Pass Labs XP-10 preamp
    Clearaudio Performance DC & Maestro v2 E, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    JBL 4367's & SAM3ha
    Revel S30's & SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
    Transparent cables / Tributaries HDMI
    PS Audio Quintet & Surgex SA15&20

  25. #50
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    So I've always wanted to hear Stax. I don't know if Musicdirect still carry them but I didn't want to bring in a rig well over a grand just to try and return. Plus, if I like them as much as I think I might the audition would be dangerous, I might not want to return.
    You can get Stax from Elusivedisc.com (I got my AKGs from there - they successfully delivered via UPS to St Kitts, so you shouldn't have any issues):

    http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo....ber=STXSRS2050

    Oh and elapsed... everytime I read a post from you, I start dreaming of more ways to spend money I don't even have!!!

    Seriously though, Congrats on the Stax!!! I think you made the right move not going for Naim in your headphone setup as well ... I think it's good to have variety in your audio setups....

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