Big Sound 2015: Biting the Bullet with Bob Katz
Woot! What a joy to have Bob Katz over for a visit! For starters, he's just a lovely guy and we got along marvelously it seems to me. Moreover, he brought a truly glorious set of reference tracks and it's been a real treat to use them in today's testing.
I was pretty sure he'd have passed the Bakoon/Teton/Simaudio test with flying colors, so I set out to try one of the more difficult blind tests on the menu: identifying the Schiit Yggdrasil R2R DAC from the Antelope delta-sigma DAC. Hooo boy, not easy.
We both did the test today. Initially we spent time switching between the two sighted; then we did a couple of passes blind as trial runs; and then set out to do the scored tests. Results...50-50. No better than a coin toss. On the other hand, after quite a bit of dialog and a little further listening we both agreed that the Antelope was slightly brighter and seemed to have a slightly larger image in both width and depth. I thought the Yggy was a tad more dynamic; Bob didn't hear that one way or the other.
I then got all the gear hooked up to play all the headphones simultaneously and Bob began to survey the fieldhe's a copious note taker. In the end Bob's favorite cans in order were:
- Stax SR-007
- Audeze LCD-3
- Enigmacoustics Dharma
- Sennheiser HD 800
He brought his DIY-made AMB M3 along as his go to amp, but of the amps in the Big Sound system he especially liked the Simaudio 430HA. He goes into great detail in the video.
If you can't see the video, click here.
Tomorrow, Bob and I will explore EQing headphones. This will put my ideas about where neutral is to the test; should be very interesting.
AURALiC Vega DAC ($3499) and Taurus MkII headphone amp ($1899)
Simaudio MOON Neo 430 HA ($4300 w/DAC).
HeadAmp GS-X Mk2 ($2800)
Schiit Ragnarok ($1699) and Yggdrasil ($2299)
Burson Audio Conductor Virtuoso ($1495 w/PCM1793; $1995 w/ESS1908)
Woo Audio WA-234 ($15,900)
Antelope Audio Zodiac Platinum DSD DAC, Voltikus Power Supply, and 10M Rubidium Atomic Clock. ($13,045)
Apex High Fi Audio (TTVJ) Teton ($5000)
Eddie Current Black Widow ($1248)
Violectric V281 ($2299)
Bakoon HPA-21 ($2995) current output headphone amplifier.
KGSSSRE (Kevin Gilmore Solid State Special Reviewer's Edition E-Stat Amp ($Unobtanium)
Sennheiser HD 800 ($1599)
Audeze LCD-3 ($1945) and LCD-X ($1699)
JPS Labs Abyss AB-1266 ($5495)
Stax SR-009 ($4450) and SR-007 ($2350)
HIFIMAN HE-1000 ($3000)
Mr. Speakers Ether ($1499)
Enigmacoustics Dharma (~$1200)
Audio Zenith PMx2 ($1398)
Headphone stands by Klutz Designs