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Synergy List?


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So I was thinking we could create some sort of synergy list. :D Basically, combos that work well? There are a few threads on Head-Fi of "ultimate rigs", but how about a list that also includes non-ultimate gear. Haha. Or generalizations (for example, the A-T woodies work well with blah blah). Of course, everyone's opinion is different so basically your list reflects your own opinion, and this compilation will be for fun. Medium-class rigs could also be noted. So for an example, devwild and a number of other members like the SA5K with the M^3 even though this setup isn't as high-end as a SDS XLR and HD650. The focus is synergy so this isn't necessarily limited to the highest-class headphones. The reason I brought this up was that I'm always browsing around and wondering about combos people like, but Head-Fi provides the answers through a number of different ways that are sometimes misleading:

- People's sigs. These are unfortunately limited, and people often don't think their own setup provides the best synergy. People often have more than one headphone as well, and usually there is no magical amp that works well with all headphones.

- Threads where a person asks something along the likes of: I have a #####, what's the best amplifier for it under $500? Sure, this sometimes works. But often the big-name members are too tired to respond or simply don't care. We then have people who respond who have only heard one or two amplifiers with the specified headphone and maybe a few other amplifiers with some other headphones, and then proceeds to makes a random guess on what would synergize best.

- Threads where ultimate rigs are posted. The experienced then chime in. But medium-class (more affordable) rigs are often neglected.

Uhm, so yeah. I typed up this thread before I went to dinner but hadn't submitted it yet. Now that I look back on what I wrote, I'm not exactly sure what I was trying to do. But oh well, this is Head-Case. I can be an idiot without being hurt. :laugh:

Considering the members here are Head-Case are not inclined to crazy fanboyism (crazy on the level that they can declare a rig awesome even if they have no idea what it sounds like) and the most of the people here have impressions and opinions that have been forged by a ton of experience, I'm sure the results in this thread may prove be rather interesting and respectable. :angel:

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Oh yeah, that reminds me. My couch rig, Onix XCD-88 (opa627) -> M^3 (ad843) -> SA5000

It's been enjoyed by enough people that don't normally care for the 5000 that I feel pretty darn confident with the synergy there, and am afraid to touch it unless I replace it all. ;D

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Maxed out Blueberry Audio Millet Hybrid + RS-1 ----- Just heard this at a minimeet the other day and it was fantastic.

Eastsound CD-E5 + Sol Headphone Amplifier + HF-1 ----- Listening right now, sounds like butter.

Wadia [forget which one] + Headroom Balanced Max + AKG K340 ----- Mommy? :o

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Hmm...

The best working and weirdest to me has to be

Sony discman d4 > Ray Samuel's audio sr-71 > Grado ps-1

Not sure how but its one of the best setups as far as the rite matched pieces go..

the ps-1 does benefit from the big badder amp and source yet it can easily be tamed and driven perfectly and effortlessly threw this rig...and after spending the money on the cans one may not be able to afford the source of high price..lol

also the sr-71 does the Grado rs-1 the best I heard..usually with the d4 disc man..

very musical setup with loads of detail and balanced sound that even Betty Crocker could not bake! the rs-1 has to be well controlled or it gets wacky and wacky quick..any other amp I heard is either to much or to little but the SR-71 has the perfect balance for the rs-1. the source can take advantage of the less picky grado source sound so you can easily walk out with a old school discman and have some great synergy!

NAD542 > Grado RA-1 > Grado sr-325 (silver) (bowls)

being the forward edge of the nad or just their house sound which ever it may be this is the source on a budget. Grado $300 block of wood actually (and rarely to my ears) holds its weight in gold as far as the pricing of itself goes in this setup also. the ra-1 lack of pure sound (or somewhat true quality) works with and for the silver 325's with their bowls on. no screaming highs from them with bowl pads and all the comfort one flat can only dream..

put the silver 325 with bowls in with a great amp and good luck cause the highs will make you bleed, but not here..balanced!

Computer usb > HR bithead > Grado sr125 with flats..

HR sound is not my personal taste but that's not to say anything is wrong with the Headroom sound.. the dac in the cheap and under rated bit head does a great low budget price with a mid-fi sound. the SR125's are one of Grados best bang for the buck can..pair these up and believe or not they match! its the setup of not the best sound but its enjoying and we have you nailed to your computer chair for quite awhile...lol

Meridian g08 > Headamp GSX > Sensaphonics 2x-s

the most perfect headphone to me and my ears is a son of a bitch on amps..and that is putting it nicely! the sensas will show you anything wrong with any amp or source if you have and give it enough time to do it. the GSX's sharp highs and the Sensas heavy lows work well they balance each other out nicely. there is a layer of Fatigue their (even more then then the bit head and sr125 setup) bit the clarity,depth,detail,imaging, and sound stage is dead on!

The Sensa's mesh perfectly with the hr2 also, tighter image,more musical,less fatigue,blacker background are some of the better points here.. at times it can get mushy,to warm/bassy also...

Meridian g08 > hr2 > Grado ps-1..

actually it not as much as the source but the hr2 and the ps-1 were made together from birth (actually that's true on one side). no other amp can give the ps-1 the support needed to achieve their best...some say the b52 (prototype) can do better..have not heard that one yet myself.

Meridian g08 > Wheatfield > Grado hp's..

not sure what Wheatfield but it was tube rollers. the pairing of amp and can here is just soooo tubey lush you can dive in!..

there is a lot more...I post later maybe

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I've actually recently settled on a best headphone/best amp pairs of my collection:

DT770/600 is the best headphone for my Radii HAP-03

I been using my DT770/250 with my Singlepower Supra/SDS/WE at home, and it's a veryfine match (but so is the HP-2)

The DT770/250 also goes well with the Wheatfield HA-2.

I forget what headphone I have been using with my Radii HAP-02 at work, it's another Beyer.

What can I say? I'm a Beyer nut.

Another couple of synergistic combinations comes from the Hirsch collection:

He used to have a pair of non-woodied CD3000's that he ran from an old X-CANS (modded -- caps, and possibly op-amps) that was a wonderful combination.

Also, the Fisher/Fischer/?sp driving the K1000's have always done it for me. He had a chintzy little standalone CD-ROM drive as the source -- not even transport into some sort of upgrade DAC, but the analog outs were the actual source! -- that he ran through some sort of analog harmonizer/excitifier or some such bullshit that raised the db passively or something -- and that combination sounded SWEET!

I think upgrading the cables on the K1000 is crucial to get rid of its criticisms (harsh highs).

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Alcohol makes all my gear sound better, I declare it to be the universal synergizer.

Is that so. ;D Maybe I should try this rig tweak sometime in the future?

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I find the PPA v2 (637/627) + STEPS, paired with a source on the warm side like my Denon DVM-4800, to be a great fit with my 650/Zu.

And that same Denon to my Millett Hybrid + Discrete Diamond Buffers + my woodied HF-1's also sound great.

I find the 650/Zu to sound OK with the Millett, and I've grown to enjoy the HF-1 with the PPA v2, but the pairing above is definitely preferred.

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Melos SHA Maestro (with the right tubes) + Grado RS-1

Singlepower Supra + Senn 650

Xin Supermacro v3 + Etymotic ER-4S

I own these combinations and feel like they synergize well. I have tried mixing them up, but these combos work best IMO.

Ditto re: EAR+ amp & Grado RS-1s -- I used to own that combo

Ditto re: KGSS (esp with Blackgates) & Stax Omega 2 -- have heard it and loved it

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FLAC > Dual Opteron 270 > K8N-DL > j.River Media Center > Algorithmix Linearphase PEQ > RME Fireface > SRM-717 > Omega II

or even

FLAC > Dell Inspiron 9400 > j.River Media Center > Algorithmix Linearphase PEQ > Focusrite Saffire > SRM-717 > Omega II

=

"Synergy" reduced to irrelevance.

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