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Why I got the Solo ULDE

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stefanm View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Dec 2017 at 1:58pm
Hi all,

As rarely as it happens I had some money to spare and was willing to part from it as well.
I decided to invest in my home audio equipment and make it a lasting investment.

Due to limited space at home I primarily use headphones. In my case mostly the AKG K601 which I bought some years ago. Since then the headphone market changed drastically.

I went out with my K601 and some CDs... (organ music, piano, cello stuff, acoustic guitar, nice base drums) to select a proper headphome amp.

I found myself a dealer in Berlin carrying Graham Slee. The contestants happend to be the Lehmann Linear and the Pathos Aurium.

The ULDE went first and I had nothing to complain about. Lots of power. Everything nicely controlled. Overall very pleasing and balanced. It was easy to hear Glenn Gould singing along. The presentation is lively and a thorough joy.

The Lehmann linear was next. Same price as the ULDE with the PSU unit- It is hugely popular in Germany and highly praised by a lot of people (also in broadcasting). Well I think it did not pair well with the K601. Otherwise I can't understand all the praise it gets. Good old Glenn Gould was almost inaudible and it sounded somehow compressed. 

Next the Pathos Aurium. Twice the ULDE price. It has some fancy tubes in it and sounded very good and gave a nice rounding to all harshness that might be in the recording. Don't get me wrong. I find this a very important aspect. It doesn't hide anything but presents it naturally and does not harass all the time. Imperfections sounded better.

Overall the ULDE won due to the way the low frequencies of the organ music sounded and how utterly convincing the cello growled. It was so easy to hear the friction between bow and strings but entirely non fatiguing at the same time. It had a somehow clearer sound than the Aurium. And well... the Lehmann was out anyway.

It also sounded the most balanced of operated on low volumes. I try to limit the volume so this was very important. The Aurius need more volume to show its strengths.

From what I understand I consider the ULDE also as fool proof and future proof. I certainly try outsome of the newer headphones that were released after I went for the K601 some six or seven years ago. Back then the K601 won against K701 and Sennheisers and some other brands as well. It had a pleasing treble roll off.
 
By the way. Including the PSU power unit the Solo ULDE was even the least costly of these three amps. It had the best sound to my ears and my preferences and I am confident it will pair well with any headphone I might buy.


Cheers
Stefan

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2017 at 3:24pm
I didn't know Norbert worked in broadcasting too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stefanm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2017 at 5:51am
I don't think he ever worked there. Can't find it from his history on his web page.

I read that the WDR, one of our broadcasters, uses some of his stuff. Can't find the source anymore. At least he has a strong and very good reputation among mastering professionals.

I think it was bad luck how the Lehmann Linear and my headphone mismatched. Something was amiss or it was a faulty unit. I have no other explanation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2017 at 7:41am
Apart from tonal and timing capabilities, music must also 'connect' with the listener. It is this which newcomers to high quality sound may not understand, but it is what differentiates one product with another. It is also the "glue" which makes you want to listen more, and more deeply.

Few headphones allow that 'connection' to happen. Most headphones seem to be designed with no consideration for it. After all, it is just the technicalities that matter Wink

I need to get that 'connection' before I will release a design otherwise in my opinion a design is useless. Working with many headphones to try and make a headphone amplifier design 'connect' is a very frustrating process! Therefore your experiences are no surprise.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2017 at 1:41pm
You won't regret buying the ULDE, Stefan! 

It works wonderfully with my LCD-2s and HD650s. And I've no desire to change it (unless Graham finds an even better way of making a headphone amp, of course Wink)
Bob

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Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote msphil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2017 at 5:35pm
Originally posted by stefanm stefanm wrote:

Hi all,

As rarely as it happens I had some money to spare and was willing to part from it as well.
I decided to invest in my home audio equipment and make it a lasting investment.

Due to limited space at home I primarily use headphones. In my case mostly the AKG K601 which I bought some years ago. Since then the headphone market changed drastically.

I went out with my K601 and some CDs... (organ music, piano, cello stuff, acoustic guitar, nice base drums) to select a proper headphome amp.

I found myself a dealer in Berlin carrying Graham Slee. The contestants happend to be the Lehmann Linear and the Pathos Aurium.

The ULDE went first and I had nothing to complain about. Lots of power. Everything nicely controlled. Overall very pleasing and balanced. It was easy to hear Glenn Gould singing along. The presentation is lively and a thorough joy.

The Lehmann linear was next. Same price as the ULDE with the PSU unit- It is hugely popular in Germany and highly praised by a lot of people (also in broadcasting). Well I think it did not pair well with the K601. Otherwise I can't understand all the praise it gets. Good old Glenn Gould was almost inaudible and it sounded somehow compressed. 

Next the Pathos Aurium. Twice the ULDE price. It has some fancy tubes in it and sounded very good and gave a nice rounding to all harshness that might be in the recording. Don't get me wrong. I find this a very important aspect. It doesn't hide anything but presents it naturally and does not harass all the time. Imperfections sounded better.

Overall the ULDE won due to the way the low frequencies of the organ music sounded and how utterly convincing the cello growled. It was so easy to hear the friction between bow and strings but entirely non fatiguing at the same time. It had a somehow clearer sound than the Aurium. And well... the Lehmann was out anyway.

It also sounded the most balanced of operated on low volumes. I try to limit the volume so this was very important. The Aurius need more volume to show its strengths.

From what I understand I consider the ULDE also as fool proof and future proof. I certainly try outsome of the newer headphones that were released after I went for the K601 some six or seven years ago. Back then the K601 won against K701 and Sennheisers and some other brands as well. It had a pleasing treble roll off.
 
By the way. Including the PSU power unit the Solo ULDE was even the least costly of these three amps. It had the best sound to my ears and my preferences and I am confident it will pair well with any headphone I might buy.


Cheers
Stefan


You also have to remember that the ULDE gets better over time as it burns in. You won't be disappointed with your decision.
'You are, through your soul not your body, a human being.'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote msphil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2017 at 5:39pm
Originally posted by stefanm stefanm wrote:

Hi all,


By the way. Including the PSU power unit the Solo ULDE was even the least costly of these three amps. It had the best sound to my ears and my preferences and I am confident it will pair well with any headphone I might buy.


Cheers
Stefan


Hi Stefan,


It's worth bearing in mind that the ULDE (like all of Grahams equipment) gets better over time as it burns in. You won't regret your decision.


Phil

'You are, through your soul not your body, a human being.'
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