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Solo Diamond Ultra Linear - Oh My God!

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Joined: 28 Nov 2015
Location: Denmark
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    Posted: 25 Dec 2016 at 5:06pm
Sold my Solo UL back in April, as having two expensive, high end headamps was one too much (I have one from another manufacturer which I was/am also very happy with.)

I quickly started missing the Solo though. It has a different sound to the other head amp I have, but obviously a very nice sound. So I started keeping an eye on the used section here in Denmark.

Long story short: I'm now listening to my HD-700s on a Solo with the ULDE board installed Smile

Highly recommended combo.

(As Paperweight above, I also think SULDE matches Sennheisers very well.)

EDIT: Still have the other head amp btw. I'll probably switch between them with some months' interval. What a luxury! But I've learned my lesson: I'm not gonna sell the other head amp - I'll no doubt start missing THAT one too then!! Smile


Edited by Hbuus - 25 Dec 2016 at 5:08pm
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Paperweight View Drop Down
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Joined: 21 Mar 2011
Location: Lexington NC US
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paperweight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Dec 2016 at 3:59pm
Just for something different, I housed the board in a blue anodized aluminum case from Hammond. Drilled out all the end panels and it looks decent even though case work isn't my thing. I received a nice surprise and my stack of 22 new records arrived yesterday while I was at work. After a good night's sleep and 6 cups of coffee, I have the time and inclination to listen to records.
 
At first I was trying to figure out what was causing so much surface noise even after using a dry record brush and cleaning the stylus after each side. I was curious if it was cartridge alignment. Maybe not. What about the anti-skating? I looked up how to set it on the Rega P5 since it had been a while since I used it. All the way out is 0 and all the way in is full. I had it set backwards of course. With the Audio-Technica AT150MLX, less is more on the tracking force and anti-skating. Got that set where I wanted it and it sounds great.
 
So far, the 2011 Steven Wilson stereo remix of Jethro Tull's Aqualung is one of the more notable reissues I bought. The instruments are really well defined. The bass is tight. The noise floor is noticeably lower.
 
I'm not much of a jazz fan but the reissue of Duke Ellington's The Feeling of Jazz is really nice. For what I assume is a recording out of the 1950s, this sounds fantastic.
 
I'm hard pressed to say where the sound of the Reflex M ends and the Solo Diamond Ultra Linear begins. They're such an impressive musical pair. All I can say is the Solo drives a 9 year old set of Sennheiser HD-600s in a very euphonic, tuneful, toe tapping way. Nothing is over emphasized but you can pick each instrument out of the mix and the soundstage is marvelous in it's depth and width.
 
As always, Graham never fails to impress. I had some doubts as to how much a seemingly simple thing as a headphone amp could further improve the sound of my vinyl rig. Now it's my new favorite. It just sounds amazing and does everything extremely well.


Edited by Paperweight - 25 Dec 2016 at 4:03pm
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Paperweight View Drop Down
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Joined: 21 Mar 2011
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paperweight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Dec 2016 at 1:21am
Just received the Solo ULDE upgrade board this afternoon. Slid it home into the case and hooked everything up. I know it takes a while to burn in but I enjoy hearing it go from hmmm to wow as it goes across the record. It's cleaner sounding with more definition and separation of instruments and vocals. It has amazing imaging.
 
Another good thing is it sounds great with either Sennheiser HD 600s or 650s. The 650s tend to sound overly bass heavy using any other headphone amp in the vinyl rig. While I can still hear them contributing more bass than needed, it's not objectionable with the Solo ULDE. As the Solo burns in, it seems to be taming the bass boost to some degree. On 45RPM British dubstep singles, the bass is thunderous and deep without bloat.
 
I'll give some more impressions as I find time to spin more vinyl.  
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BAK View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BAK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2016 at 3:29pm
Here to help,
Bruce
Bruce
AT-14SA, Pickering XV-15/625, Technics SL-1600MK2, Reflex M, Lautus, Technics SH-8066, Dynaco ST120a, Eminence Beta 8A in custom cabs;; Using Majestic DAC
Enjoy Life Your Way!
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Joined: 21 Mar 2011
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paperweight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2016 at 2:10pm
If I didn't live in Middle of Nowhere USA, that would be a great idea. Getting it back to UPS or the post office isn't terribly convenient. I'd have to take a day off from work to be here to sign for it. Heaven help me if I miss an UPS delivery. Their nearest hub is at least 35 miles away.
The good thing about Graham's designs is that you can almost be absolutely certain you are getting something you will really like. I bought the Reflex M based on my homebrew version of the Genera. I was and am still quite impressed with the Genera's simplicity and fantastic sound character. The Reflex M brought so much more refinement to the table.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BAK Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2016 at 1:41pm
Originally posted by Paperweight Paperweight wrote:

Anyone have thoughts on the sound of the Solo ULDE and Reflex M? Do they have good synergy?


Shawn , you could borrow
the Solo ULDE as a loaner, and find the sound you are looking for.

 I gather, you already own a Reflex M... if not you may borrow that too.

I have both in the US Loaner Program.

Bruce
Bruce
AT-14SA, Pickering XV-15/625, Technics SL-1600MK2, Reflex M, Lautus, Technics SH-8066, Dynaco ST120a, Eminence Beta 8A in custom cabs;; Using Majestic DAC
Enjoy Life Your Way!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paperweight Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Dec 2016 at 1:03pm
Yes, exactly what I wanted to hear. Thanks, Graham.
When I was younger, playing something loud through speakers was the way to go. As I get older, headphones have turned out to be pretty convenient and space saving. They don't disturb anyone else in the house and you don't get the acoustic feedback through the turntable with headphones.

Edited by Paperweight - 07 Dec 2016 at 1:04pm
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