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Building a high-quality headphone system
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Old 14th June 2010, 03:30 AM   #11
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
I think this illustrates all too well that that whatever it is we are looking at it is is not 'community'. In all probability the advantages supposedly conferred by such systems are totally illusory.

Take a look at the other 2 designs from the Linkwitz headphone page by John Conover:

John Conover: Direct Coupled Stereo Headphone Amplifier

John Conover: Spatial Distortion Reduction Headphone Amplifier

The headphone amp I think is much better documented than the Gilmore design, which in any case is predicated on the philosophy of 'no high open loop gain' (no opamps), which I think is more an article of faith than a demonstrable fact. The Gilmore design might have some advantages when driving low-impedance Grados, but the Sennheisers have a much higher impedance.

youre joking right?? perhaps you should have an idea (or even better , experience) of the technology of which I speak before making such ridiculous statements. The reports are from people that I have known for years on that forum, who are in no way connected to the industry at large, have nothing to gain and usualy give good level headed feedback. These people own systems of that caliber, heard the unit at canjam, went gaga and immediately on masse put their money where their mouth is. The line to hear the system apparently was consistently annoyingly long in a room filled with headphone systems including Kevins own T2.

Myself personally, having experience with many quality headamps like Beta22, stax systems, Woo 6, WOO GES and soon the T2 in sydney, I have a pretty good idea of headphones like HD800, HD600, O2, K1000 and lately beyer T1 and how they sound when properly amped with quality source. weiss dac feeding beta22 and T1/HD800 for example

I can say that already the JH13 out of a buffalo II is as good in many aspects as any of those systems and superior in others. so much so, that although my latest build has been put together with other headphones and my active monitors in mind as well, it is primarily tuned for low impedance loads and with as good damping factor as possible (and I dont like Grados)

I dont know what is hard for you to swallow, its all down to the ear in the end really, apart from air movement at high volume and many of the problems with speakers like phase delay and room are totally removed by such a system, people here on the forum have been trying to come up with exactly such a system to correct such problems for speakers for some time now. and in fact the articles you quote seem to be doing the same thing related to headphones

what makes you think that if done well it wouldnt sound amazing?

like I said I will save final judgement until I hear it and it pains me to think that I have spent many thousands of dollars in the last 6 months and I dont want to think about the time, preparing a system that may well be beat out by something that can fit in my pocket, but i'm open minded enough and trust the designer of these IEMs enough, that it will sound utterly fantastic.

but hey I dont care if you dont believe me and wish to label it as some kind of mass delusion, if you are into headphones at all, you are the one missing out. i'll be waiting for the system to mature a bit before I buy in, but for someone just starting to accumulate headphone gear, I really cant see a better quality choice, plus you can take it with you on holiday, which is pretty sweet. digital out from ipad is quite doable, sounds like a pretty good transportable rig to me, thats more than good enough for home

Last edited by qusp; 14th June 2010 at 03:50 AM.
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Old 14th June 2010, 07:55 AM   #12
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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My appologies for being uptight above, but I dont take very well to being basically told myself and many of my friends are deluded, by someone without any actual experience of what they dismiss

weiss dac feeding beta22 and T1/HD800 for example
was meant to be 'stage dac feeding beta22, he doesnt have the weiss anymore. I cant afford/justify that sort of money, which is why I DIY, but buffalo II with dual mono QRV08 is right yup with the best i've heard too and ackodac with zero feedback mosfet D1 hopefully moreso.

there is still something about fullsize headphones, thats for sure and I still love my balanced HD600 and balanced woody D2000; do I think it would sound even better if it was an ESS9018 plus DSP, with all fet 6 channel borbely IV plus 6 channel JFET amp, instead of the cirrus chip with integrated DSP and voltage out, plus 6 channel opamp circuit?? hell yes!! it seems however that phase issues and multichannel are more important for soundstage and give such improvement that some people prefer it already to elite 2 channel setups. again, I dont have an opinion other than its something to look into and quite exciting tech

cant wait for the next step, the IEM technology is not to be discounted as a toy. already its my preferred type of headphone and add significant improvement and its pretty exciting

Last edited by qusp; 14th June 2010 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 16th August 2010, 12:00 AM   #13
DualTriode is offline DualTriode  United States
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Originally Posted by THKL View Post
Hi guys,

since I am usually listening to music in the late night (and some people would even say early morning), my new neighboors are not that amused and I will probably have to change my listening habit a bit.
Of course my listening hours won't change and so I will change to headphones.
I therefore went to different retailers and found the Sennheiser HD800 to be what I was looking for.

Now I want to build a system around those headphones. It will consist of a Linux machine running brute-fir for high-quality correction, libsamplerate for best resampling and send the RAW PCM data to a CPLD that generates the I2S signal for the DAC.

Sounds easy enough, but reading through this forum, I'm in need of good advice, since the information is just too manyfold for someone that isn't that deep into DAC design.
I don't want to design everything totally from scratch - that might come later, but I would be very happy if you could point me into the right direction for the parts that I should be looking for.

Basically I was thinking of using a FTDI chip with USB2 and 8kb buffers (with asynchronous read) feeding a CLPD that generates the I2S-signals (one normal and one inverted source) driven by a low-jitter reference-clock.

And now the questions start...

1.) What lowjitter clock would you advice on? I read good things about Tent clocks - other advice?
2.) Which DAC? I have ordered a Buffalo II to test with it, but you probably have other devices on your lists, too.
3.) Which I/V stage? I have ordered a IVY III, but I read that it could be improved quite a lot. What would you advice? I read some good comments on the Erno Borbely all jfet I/V.
4.) Would you advice on a headphone amplifier? Or is the I/V stage good enough to drive the HD800?
5.) If I should opt for a headphone amplifier which one would you suggest?
I read very positive feedback on the fully balanced Beta22 from AMB.
6.) Another option I got presented with is to use two ES9022 chips with integrated I/V (one normal and one inverted for fully balanced). Could anyone comment on those?
7.) What about digital volume control: with 32bit DACs that should never impose a problem - how are your opinions on digital volume control with 24bit DACs?

A lot of questions for sure, but hopefully someone with more experience than I have, could give me some hints...

Many thanks in advance
Hello All,
Is there more to this story? How does it turn out?
How would high end near field work? Will it also disrupt your neighbors?
Near field may maintain the 3d illiusion Linkwitz speaks of and place the virtual localication outside your head. How does the HD800 localization work out? 3D or in your head?
All for just for fun!
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Old 16th August 2010, 12:44 AM   #14
jcx is online now jcx  United States
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the better answer to getting a "outside of your head" headphone experience is the SVS Realizer DSP with head tracking

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Old 16th August 2010, 11:02 AM   #15
beachgeek is offline beachgeek  United States
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Originally Posted by rfbrw View Post
I was considering this for the HD600.
That looks like a great diy headphone amp, do you know where to get the list of parts and the parts themselves?
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Old 19th August 2010, 06:11 AM   #16
Vladco is offline Vladco  United States
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You could check http://www.djgardner.com/headphone/gilmore/ if he still got board and hard to find parts.
Other way go to Head-Fi.org - Headphone forums and reviews for audiophiles diy forum and search for PPAv2, M3 or B22
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