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Achieving High Fidelity Sound

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Ash View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 Mar 2017 at 12:02am
A few years ago, I began a quest to obtain genuine high fidelity sound. It started a long time before I discovered the existence of Graham Slee Projects Ltd and was inspired purely by a love of great music. The music of video game and film was my main motivation. Since then, I have bought and sold my way through a lot of equipment, in order to learn and teach myself. Here are a few photos.

The headphones featured in this first photo are the Audio Technica ATH-M50, AKG K550, Sennheiser HD600, Sennheiser HD250 (both Linear and Linear II versions). I compared them all using Graham Slee's Bitzie USB DAC and Lautus USB cable. In my opinion, the HD250 was the best sounding, followed by the HD600 then K550 then ATH-M50. The M50 had a closed-in sound with an accentuated bass response. The K550 was quite neutral in its sound IIRC but its dynamics were quite flat. The HD600 had much better dynamics than the K550 but the upper bass exhibited some thump, altering the overall tonality in a way that others would call "warm" (I would call it "not transparent"). The HD250 Linear II was maybe slightly better spatially than the HD250 Linear (Mk1) but the differences between them were very small. Both HD250 models were excellent and were the first headphones that I used that I considered to be true high fidelity and faithful to the recording. They had neutral transparent tonality and great resolution of small details. The stereo image size was also great for a sealed headphone design.

Comparing HD250I to HD600, the upper bass emphasis of the HD600 was even more obvious in a side-by-side comparison. The upper bass thumped more than it should on some of my CD tracks. It wasn't long before I sold the HD600 and moved on to the HD250.

This was my first venture in "hi-fi" speakers. I bought a kit LS3/5A kit pair and a pair of Equator D5 audio monitors among other things such as Graham Slee Spatia cable and links, Proprius speaker monoblocks and a Solo Ultra-Linear Diamond Edition headphone amplifier. I embarked on many different listening sessions with the various equipment. The speakers, whilst more spatial than my headphones, were coloured due to their design and because of various room interactions. I ended up being left unimpressed and sold both. The Solo ULDE was great but I found that the Bitzie was so good that I had no need to connect the Solo to it as there was little to no performance benefit to be had. The Proprius were exceptional too but their future was uncertain as I had sworn to not use speakers again. I ended up selling the Solo ULDE and kept the Proprius pair to be used for headphone amplification.

This is when I was using the Bitzie and Lautus USB cable to compare four vintage Sennheiser headphones: HD540 Reference (mk1), HD540 Reference II, HD250 Linear (mk1) and HD250 Linear II. Many of the parts were interchangeable between each model and I could thoroughly compare them all for hours and hours. All sounded great. The HD540II sounded the best to my ears but the HD250II was great and sounded extremely close to the HD540II when I swapped the 540II velvet pads onto it in place of the pleather pads. The pleather pads sealed the earcups thoroughly whereas the velvet pads allowed sound pressure to equilibrate across the pad and gave a more natural imaging, to my ears.

(I will continue to expand this post over the coming weeks)

Edited by Ash - 16 Sep 2017 at 6:55pm
Bitzie DAC, Majestic DAC/preamp, 4x Proprius monoblocks, Lautus interconnects, Mark Audio Alpair 5Gen2/10P/10MAOP/12P/12PW
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Dave Friday View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dave Friday Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2017 at 1:30pm
Hi Ash ( and the rest of the gang) I want BBC radio in my van ( I'm in Spain ) so I need a phone with good sound quality to plug into the car radios aux input,reccomendations please.
lp12,oc9mk3,ca610p,krimson40watt pa,kef105.4
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