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About CYoung234

  • Rank
  • Birthday 05/16/1954

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Not Telling


  • Location
    West Chicago, IL
  • Occupation
    Electrical Engineer
  • Headphones
    AKG K501's (using K601 pads), Fostex T50RP (modified using liberal amounts of Blutak, wool felt and cotton balls), Fischer Audio FA-003 (soon) Head-Direct RE-0's
  • Headphone Amps
    L'espressivo Torpedo/ Siluro/ Salsiccia or whatever it ends up being called (as soon as Pars finishes it!)
  • Sources
    IPod, Oppo DVD Player, Modified Adcom GCD575, Thinkpad T61
  • Other Audio Gear
    Audible Illusions Modulus 2D Preamp, Counterpoint SA-220 Amp, Apogee Centaur Speakers
  1. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Not much traffic in this thread lately. I wanted to post to let everyone know that I have been listening to this amp for the last several weeks, and am quite happy with the way it sounds. It is a good matchup for my K501's, and really helps solidify the soundstage and low end on these cans. My 501's are the so-called bass heavy version, and with this amp and my source I am having a hard time figuring out why you would want more bass, at least for classical music. Or I was, until I got my pair of Fischer FA-003's back from Chris yesterday. I listened to some rock on them last night (Peter Gabriel Plays Live), and they sound great with the amp as well, and have more punch in the low end, so I guess for some genres more is better. But, at any rate, thanks for a very nice low cost tube amp design - the latest changes made really help the design, at least on my setup. Oh, by the way, Chris did add a blue power LED, and it is useful, because with the top cover on you really cannot see the LEDs inside too well. The tubes do glow, but the LED helps, especially if the room is brightly lit.
  2. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Actually, I am listening to the Tennstedt / CSO recording right now, and still go back to this one as my favorite. I really like the Concertgebouw / Bernstein recording as well, and do prefer their tempi in some spots, but hey, I live in Chicago and know a lot of these guys personally, so stylistically I have to recommend the CSO recording. The last time I performed Mahler 1, we used a lot of ideas that Herseth had in the 3rd movement for the trumpet parts. Sam Magad, the Music Director for the orchestra I was playing in, and the Concertmaster for the CSO at the time, was a pretty hard guy to please. His usual comments to the orchestra would be along the lines of "that was NEARLY good", meaning it would never actually be good. At any rate, at the next rehearsal following performances he spoke to me and made the simple comment "just like downtown" in reference to our trumpet playing - high praise indeed from him. At any rate, I would suggest that if you can, check out a bunch of recordings from your library to find out what you like best before you buy it. Finally, sorry for the thread hijacking; well, not REALLY sorry. At least I am using the Torpedo to listen to this stuff!
  3. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Okay - I checked out both recordings from the library to refresh my memory (the LSO / Solti and Concertgebouw / Bernstein). Things were pretty much the way I remembered them with the LSO / Solti recording. I will say that overall it is not a bad recording. I should clarify that my problem with the LSO is mainly stylistic - the principal trumpet player plays with a short pecking style that I find rather annoying. Listen to the first movement to see what I mean. Now, compare it with the other recording noted here - the Bernstein / Concertgebouw recording. Here, the principal trumpet players notes, while still short, have body and pop to them even at very soft volumes. Next, get a copy of the Tennstedt / CSO recording to hear Herseth play it. I will say that I personally really like the Bernstein recording overall - critics jump all over his fast tempo in the 3rd movement, but I actually liked it quite a bit. The sound is very good as well.
  4. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    It has been quite a while since I have listened to that recording. I am maybe a little biased, as I have never been a big LSO fan - I always found the brass section in that orchestra to be a little lightweight and bright for my tastes. More a quality of sound issue than volume. The recording I own is the CSO / Tennstedt live recording, which is pretty good. It reminds me of the live CSO performances I have attended of Mahler 1, mostly at Ravinia. One I would like to have a close listen to one of these days is the Bernstein / Concertgebouw recording, which is praised for great sound, but panned for being too beautiful.
  5. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Guilty as charged. I confess I have not had too much time to play around with different configurations in that regard. I did hook up just the Adcom this morning and listen to it briefly, and it sounds very good and actually has more gain than the outboard DAC. I will try out the CCS resistor change as well and let you know what I think before I give the preamp back to you to finish up. I assume I will need to unplug it before I start messing around, although as an electrician, I am pretty used to working on live power! Just kidding! Of course I will unplug it before putting the resistors in. In terms of overall dynamics, I think my speakers are slightly better, but that is mostly from memory. I really do not think that comment has much to do with the headphone amp, as I think it is simply reproducing the source. I am actually very happy with the amp - so no worries. It would be interesting to A/B it with the Gilmore at some point. You may want to do that as well once I give it back to you to see what you think.
  6. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Ha ha . I was often happy I was BEHIND the bell of my instruments (from a hearing loss standpoint anyhow) - unlike the poor french horn players who were sitting in front of me! As far as Shostakovich 5, I suppose I have played it too much. I don't find it as musically interesting as some of the other Shostakovich Symphonies, 1, 7, 8, 10, 13 and 15 in particular. I will defer to you on this one, as I have only owned these phones for about 9-10 months. I have not noticed that to be a problem so far - the overall balance and soundstage seems good. I listened to Chris' K601's quite a bit before deciding to get a pair of K501's, and prefer the 501's soundstage, as the 601's to me are a bit larger but seem to isolate the instruments a little artificially. Overall though, I still actually prefer my stereo system, but I do not have time to listen to it much when I would not be disturbing others.
  7. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Time for another listening update, after having this amp to try out for about one week. I am currently using a modified Adcom GCD-575 as the transport with an outboard DAC that Chris made. I spent a fair amount of time A/Bing this setup with my RE0’s driven by my iPod Nano, as well as both the K501’s and IEMs driven from my laptop and desktop. Music included: Shostakovich Symphony Nos. 1 & 7 – CSO / Bernstein – DGG 1987. I used all of the 1st Symphony because it is a gorgeous recording. I also used the 2nd movement of the 7th Symphony. I like this particular recording because I know probably 25% of the musicians on this recording personally, having played with many of them. I have a decent idea of how they sound live, having heard the CSO perform on numerous occasions. Great brass playing. I even have a couple of funny stories about this recording, but I digress… Shostakovich Symphony No. 15 – CSO / Solti – Decca 1998. Another very well recorded and performed work that I am very familiar with. Adolph Herseth is amazing on this recording, as he is very close to retirement, but still sounds great here. Tony Banks – Still and Strictly Inc. – I have listened to Genesis for years. Sheryl Crow – Wildflower. I do not really like any of her other albums, but I like this one. Well recorded. Okay, so now on to how things sound. I used the K501s with K601 pads for this test. Soundstage (headstage???) was excellent and stable. Instruments had body and position, and did not shift around. Tonally, I am very happy with how these phones match up with the amp and source. The high end was good and quite extended, no real trace of sibilance. Low end was actually quite impressive for these phones, given their reputation in some circles as bass light. I have never really felt they deserved that reputation, and this amp solidifies and extends very well in the lower octaves. Probably not for head bangers, but given my musical tastes they fill the bill quite nicely. Oh, and the thing the K501’s are known for, their gorgeous midrange, really shines. Great solid center channel effect. For example, Wildflower really really is centered on these phones with a wide but not unrealistic and deep soundstage. Another key is that I can listen to this setup for hours without getting fatigued. So, generally, very natural and realistic. Okay – now for what I don’t like. The main thing that is missing for me is the sense of scale and dynamics in classical music. This is for me what makes the biggest difference between live music and what I am hearing. The amp is very quiet – maybe it is just the source, but soft is not soft enough and loud is not loud enough. I never buy that I am there. Real life world class symphony orchestras can play so soft you can hardly hear it, yet it still has body and is alive. Recorded music just doesn’t do that, and neither does this setup. And at the other end of the spectrum, in real life, loud comes from nowhere, from total silence to WHAM! Again, this combination does not make me believe that I am hearing real life. I guess in all fairness, I should note that I have NEVER heard any type of sound system that came very close to real life, at least for large symphony orchestral music. For pop / rock / jazz / even chamber, it gets somewhat closer. The other thing that may need some work is the gain. I have to turn the volume up to about the 1:30 position with these phones, so I may need to have that changed somehow. Finally, I suppose I should introduce myself, as this is just my second post. My name is Craig Young, and I am Pars brother – actually his identical twin brother. I currently work as an electrical engineer doing electrical systems design and project management for large commercial and industrial construction. However, my major was music, and I played the trumpet professionally part time for over 20 years in regional symphony orchestras in Iowa and Illinois. During that time, I studied briefly with trumpet players in the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic and North Carolina Symphony orchestras. So, I have a love of classical music and of course, large-scale symphonic music. In connection with my comment above about recorded never matching live, I suppose my perspective is skewed, since a lot of my live music experience comes from sitting within the orchestra. But, enough about me.
  8. CYoung234

    Prototypers wanted

    Okay, time to venture out of "lurker mode" for a first post. I am the "brother" that Pars refers to, and he delivered the "Torpedo" yesterday. I spent about 3 hours listening to it yesterday afternoon, although not under critical listening circumstances, as I was (supposed to be) working at the same time. I used my laptop (Thinkpad T61) as the source with ITunes, and listened to a number of recordings I use to evaluate sound. I was using whatever tubes Chris had installed, and was using the 75 ohm setting on the CCS's. I found that with my K501's (3rd generation - the supposed "bass-heavy" ones), that the 300 ohm switch setting worked best. I did find that with the Thinkpad's volume all the way up that I had to turn the volume on the Torpedo up to about the 1:30 position. Incidently, this Thinkpad does a decent job of driving these headphones, but the addition of a decent amplifier solidifies the soundstage and improves the low end stability. In listening to the amp, I noticed a bit of distortion at first, but I think I needed to mess with the settings a little more. My general first impressions were good. The system was quite detailed, instrument separation was good, and I only noticed a little steeliness or harshness in the 3rd movement of Shostakovich 7 that I use to gauge that. I will try to get some time to listen under more critical circumstances to post further. I could hear the cooling fans on my desktop computer through my headphones, so things were not ideal by any means. I will hook up my CD player and external DAC (borrowed from Chris) to get a better front end for doing further listening. In the 3 hours, the Torpedo did not get too warm - the hottest spot seems to be the heat sinks near the tubes. The transformer did not get too warm at all.