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The Headcase Stax thread


thrice
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That is just pure win.  Can the powerful amps damage the headphones?  Yup but we account for that.  Cavalli, Woo Audio and others don't give a shit about this so yeah...people should take care with those. 

This is pretty much the same BS as when I was laughing at the Jade crackling new out of the box.  Fang claimed that the film was supposed to do that as it was coated with nanoparticles (read dust) which was somehow supposed to make it better.  The Shangri-La has the same BS so again, nobody with any clue has been involved with the design.  The King Sound sets also squeal like there is no tomorrow but they don't charge 50K$ for them either... 

Seriously, I might setup a Patreon account or something like that for people to donate so I can buy this shit and rip it apart for the world to see.   ;) 

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2 hours ago, spritzer said:

Seriously, I might setup a Patreon account or something like that for people to donate so I can buy this shit and rip it apart for the world to see.   ;)

 

No, absolutely Don't do this! Here's the little background. Back in 2010, there's a guy, well, he's the admin from a forums which discusses the electronics, and out of curious, he just cracked two of the Hifiman DAPs open. He found there're tons of xxx inside of them ("some parts are fake goldbricks, some parts are old used parts which came from other gears").

The result is Dr Fang Bian gave several phone calls to this guy, according to this buddy, Dr Fang just shouted at the end of line endless, and "if you don't drop the whole sxxt, I will find someone to KILL YA!!!" That guy immediately called the police and posted everything on the net. But, hey, Dr Fang didn't stop, man, they kept arguing for a year, and these kinds of threats, he not only received once, he received a few times during their argument.

For your own safety, this sounds serious.


Side story, last year a thief successfully stole two thingys at the Dr Fang Shop, of course Fang became angry, he announces that he will and must fight that thief, in person. So he told the world through every possible way, he's gonna stand at the center of a public piazza (at a specific day), they will fight "with their big fat fists".

finally that day comes, the day of fight, everyone thinks Fang wins, cos he weighs more than 200 lb. But the thief of course, doesn't appear.

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7 hours ago, mtoc said:

Here's the whole story:

After making the declaration that I mentioned previous, Dr. Fang Bian proudly lent the HSL suit to a guy who is a SR-009 user since the beginning. After several days auditioning, the dude reports back: Stax 009 (with the HSL amp) easily sounds a lot of better than the Shangri-la (with the HSL amp).

And then Dr Fang Bian became furious, really scared the xxxt out of us. He told us we simply need more listening experiences. Stax doesn't sound like real at all, they sounds like you are in heaven, too Tibet-ish, too clean (note: maybe too Shangri-la). His reference setup is the HSL suit plus a PCM63 DAC cos this setup sounds like real, like the reality, like the sound from the Chicago Concert Hall which he often visits. But at this time already nobody listens to him.

According to him: the HSL amp doesn't use output trannies on purpose, and the vol control was based on relays.

Well, Chicago Symphony Hall has had its critics about its sound quality since it was renovated in 1997 - see the Wikipedia article, so who knows what he regards as "ideal" live sound.  And of course, the sound of a concert hall in recording, which, except for the occasional live recording, is done with nobody in the audience, sounds different from the sound at a live concert packed with people.  Live sound is actually notoriously variable.  The sound in the front rows can be drastically different from the sound in the upper balcony - I remember sitting in Boston Symphony hall in the upper balcony decades ago at a concert which sounded like a muffling blanket had been placed over the whole orchestra.

 

So, no output transformers.  Input transformers maybe to boost the gain?  Or current source loads on the 6SN7s to boost their gain to the max?  And incidentally, I found a Bell 300B spec sheet that shows current/voltage curves to 700 volts, so it can put out about much voltage as a 6SN7GTA if properly driven - more current, though.

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Funny how he tries to discredit (?) Stax for "sounding like you're in heaven" when they made the DAC Talent that used... guess what? That's right, PCM63s. Has he even heard or does he know anything about pre-bankruptcy Stax? 

Edit: I would love to see Fang try to get in a fist fight with Birgir.

Edited by mypasswordis
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54 minutes ago, JimL said:

I remember sitting in Boston Symphony hall in the upper balcony decades ago at a concert which sounded like a muffling blanket had been placed over the whole orchestra.

 

Thanks for your reply, I made a typo. The hall he often visits is actually this Boston Symphony Hall, not the Chicago one.

Edit: he also visits the Chicago hall, but not as often. Anyway these two are his favorites, seems like.

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I believe Kevin tested some 300B's at Stax voltages and they were really, really unhappy.  Fang naturally claims they are some special snowflake tubes but who in their right mind would believe that?  They are most likely the bone stock Psvane garbage rebranded.  This is a 400V tube max and since it is a DHT, there are some major issues to contend with.  The earliest datasheet I found is this one and it states it is a 450V max tube but the later ones all state 400V.  That means the tubes probably weren't happy at 450V.  I'd be interested to see the 700V one though I'm sure it is a typo.  The modern tubes certainly aren't built to take that level of abuse.  

If there are no output transformers then this is probably similar to the WES setup, hell it might even use chokes as the output load (as that should in theory boost the voltage swing but brings in a fuck-ton of issues) but simply a quad of single ended amps which all drift like mad.  Now you could drive the tubes with resistor loads off a 600V supply but yeah...it will be pretty fucking bad.  No heatsinks large enough to take the current of the 300B's to be seen. 

Ohh and I would never get in a fistfight with anybody for the sheer fear of being able to kill them with a single blow.  It's not easy being a giant...  :) 

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23 hours ago, spritzer said:

Seriously, I might setup a Patreon account or something like that for people to donate so I can buy this shit and rip it apart for the world to see.   ;) 

 

20 hours ago, mypasswordis said:

Edit: I would love to see Fang try to get in a fist fight with Birgir.

 

These two gave me a new idea which is combination of them. :D

Edited by Sechtdamon
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2 hours ago, spritzer said:

 If there are no output transformers then this is probably similar to the WES setup, hell it might even use chokes as the output load (as that should in theory boost the voltage swing but brings in a fuck-ton of issues) but simply a quad of single ended amps which all drift like mad.  Now you could drive the tubes with resistor loads off a 600V supply but yeah...it will be pretty fucking bad.  No heatsinks large enough to take the current of the 300B's to be seen. 

It's single ended input. Should be more like the all-triode design. 

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5 hours ago, spritzer said:

I believe Kevin tested some 300B's at Stax voltages and they were really, really unhappy.  Fang naturally claims they are some special snowflake tubes but who in their right mind would believe that?  They are most likely the bone stock Psvane garbage rebranded.  This is a 400V tube max and since it is a DHT, there are some major issues to contend with.  The earliest datasheet I found is this one and it states it is a 450V max tube but the later ones all state 400V.  That means the tubes probably weren't happy at 450V.  I'd be interested to see the 700V one though I'm sure it is a typo.  The modern tubes certainly aren't built to take that level of abuse.  

If there are no output transformers then this is probably similar to the WES setup, hell it might even use chokes as the output load (as that should in theory boost the voltage swing but brings in a fuck-ton of issues) but simply a quad of single ended amps which all drift like mad.  Now you could drive the tubes with resistor loads off a 600V supply but yeah...it will be pretty fucking bad.  No heatsinks large enough to take the current of the 300B's to be seen. 

Ohh and I would never get in a fistfight with anybody for the sheer fear of being able to kill them with a single blow.  It's not easy being a giant...  :) 

Here's the Bell Telephone data sheet I found dated 1950: http://www.mif.pg.gda.pl/homepages/frank/sheets/084/3/300B.pdf.  It says 400 volts max DC, but also shows the current-voltage curves going out to almost 700 volts.  And they were designed as power output tubes to drive transformers, so I would expect them to swing AC peaks up to almost twice B+.

 

With either resistors or current loads you would have to dissipate as much power in them as in the tubes, and with a 300B running at a typical dissipation of 20 watts (55% of max, a good conservative operating condition) that means 80 watts in the resistors or current sources - similar to a DIY T2, but with much less voltage swing.  I would think even output resistors would probably need significant heatsinking.

Edited by JimL
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2 hours ago, joehpj said:

It's single ended input. Should be more like the all-triode design. 

Possibly, but the all-triode used 12AX7 tubes, which have 5 times the voltage gain of a 6SN7, and 6S4A output tubes, which have 4 times the voltage gain of a 300B tube.  All that extra gain allowed the all-triode design to have some overall feedback to stabilize the design.  With the 6SN7 and 300B tubes, there just doesn't appear to be enough voltage gain to get the overall gain needed plus a little extra to allow overall feedback.  Without overall feedback the result is drift.

7 hours ago, mtoc said:

 

Thanks for your reply, I made a typo. The hall he often visits is actually this Boston Symphony Hall, not the Chicago one.

Edit: he also visits the Chicago hall, but not as often. Anyway these two are his favorites, seems like.

Ah, well, Boston Symphony Hall generally has excellent acoustics - I have enjoyed several concerts there. But as I mentioned, there was one occasion in one location when the sound was like listening to speakers with blown tweeters.

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On 12/25/2016 at 0:53 AM, mtoc said:

Dr Fang Bian a few days ago says the BHSE and these kinds of "DIY" or half-diy amps is the main reason that, let a lot of SR-009 get burnt, these amps are simply overpower. Should be extremely careful with, or simply avoid. And then he says his new cans, HSL, is on another level.

I cannot think of a reason why I would give a flip on a comment coming from someone that thought to use 300B as output tubes on an ES headphone amp and charge $50K US for it.

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1 hour ago, JimL said:

With the 6SN7 and 300B tubes, there just doesn't appear to be enough voltage gain to get the overall gain needed plus a little extra to allow overall feedback.  Without overall feedback the result is drift.

 

That stock tubes are indeed 300B + 6SN7. "The one and only in the whole world."

Like a snake oil advertisement. Found a high-resolution pic on HF: http://cdn.head-fi.org/5/56/56c7faf6_DSC_6063.jpeg

Does it have input transformers? I guess so.

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Before I believe anything written by mtoc and his claims, an actual link or reference should be posted here to steer away bs from real BS.

I'm willing to bet if somebody had internal shots and overall outside shots of the Shangri la you can get it built for 1/8th of the price in China.

Edited by DefQon
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from the 280 watts total power consumption and 24 watts going into the 300b filaments and another 12 watts going into the 6sn7 filaments the maximum going into the plate and plate resistor would be about 55 watts.  so 20 watts into the tube and 20 watts into the plate resistor seems possible.  that would be 80 watts going into that heatsink, it is going to get extremely hot.  likely 10 watts into the tube and 10 watts into the plate resistor.  Notice the trimpot thing on the back for dc control, so definitely no self bias. And big capacitors between the front end gain stage and the grids of the output tubes.

Still going to drift like crazy, and most of the gain is likely the input transformer. or there is some solid state inside, unlikely.  Or interstage transformers.

Definitely worse than Mikhail's attempts. And looking at the tube data sheet, extrapolating for -100 grid bias the distortion is going to be over 5% with no extra gain for feedback.

Definitely euphonic

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6 hours ago, DefQon said:

I'm willing to bet if somebody had internal shots and overall outside shots of the Shangri la you can get it built for 1/8th of the price in China.

Um.  I think it IS built in China.  Now, being first generation Chinese American, I have nothing against stuff being built in China.  They can build cheap junk, if that's what you're willing to pay for.  Or they can build quality goods, if that's what you're willing to pay for, and have the quality control to make it happen.  Seems like Dr. Bian is charging quality prices for stuff without good quality control.

 

4 hours ago, kevin gilmore said:

Definitely worse than Mikhail's attempts.

Well, Mikhail had the advantage of starting with a good circuit (the SRX).  He just didn't know how to implement it, and his tube rolling capers screwed it up even further.  JMHO.

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12 hours ago, JimL said:

Here's the Bell Telephone data sheet I found dated 1950: http://www.mif.pg.gda.pl/homepages/frank/sheets/084/3/300B.pdf.  It says 400 volts max DC, but also shows the current-voltage curves going out to almost 700 volts.  And they were designed as power output tubes to drive transformers, so I would expect them to swing AC peaks up to almost twice B+.

They are indeed designed as transmitter tubes but that is of little use for audio, Class B and all that.  As you push the tube further past its max op point it starts to compress more and more and yup...more and more distortion.  Let's say the tubes could run at 500V, no way to implement a CCS for them in that chassis and you burn up most of the voltage in the plate loads. 

Another point, yup this has nothing in common with the GES.  Much closer circuit would be the Eddie Current Electra and we all know what a massive clusterfuck that was.  Didn't work and drifts like mad. 

Also, weren't we going to permaban mtoc after he showed up with an another account during his last ban?  I mean I can't take this level of retard any longer... 

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8 hours ago, spritzer said:

They are indeed designed as transmitter tubes but that is of little use for audio, Class B and all that.  

Actually, if you read the 1939 Western Electric data sheet here:  http://www.tubebooks.org/tubedata/we300a_b.pdf

it says:

"Classification:  Moderate power filamentary triodes for class A service.

Application:  Audio-frequency amplifier in positions where power outputs of approximately ten watts or less are required at relatively low plate voltages."

So, not transmitter tube, not Class B.  Sheesh!

 

in fact, in the 1930s, Western Electric was a major supplier of equipment to movie theaters in the U.S.  They had two amplifiers that were commonly used to drive their speakers, the Model 91, which used one 300B tube as the single ended output, and the Model 86, which used two 300B output tubes push-pull.  If you watch U.S. black and whilte movies from the 30s you will quite often see Western Electric credited with some aspect of the sound reproduction.

Edited by JimL
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4 hours ago, JimL said:

Um.  I think it IS built in China.  Now, being first generation Chinese American, I have nothing against stuff being built in China.  They can build cheap junk, if that's what you're willing to pay for.  Or they can build quality goods, if that's what you're willing to pay for, and have the quality control to make it happen.  Seems like Dr. Bian is charging quality prices for stuff without good quality control.

It is indeed built in China but you know what I'm saying when I saw get it built in China by 3rd party small-time manufacturers there such as those that replicated Kevin's Krell headphone amplifier boards into very cheap builds on ebay etc.

I've only seen physical photos of the two versions of the 300B amp, the prototype presented at last years meet (was it RMAF or Canjam?) and the new one with the crazy heatsinking that looks like a basin, there is no way the thing represents $50,000USD worth of value, it's not even using fancy shit and materials that the new Orpheus uses. I mean stuff the amplifier full of Duelands and V-Caps and you still won't get to that figure.

It definitely seems like Fang Bian is indeed charging through the roof prices of an amplifier without good quality control, considering Hifiman's history with constantly fixer upper revisions to headphone models, early adopters will most likely see a drop in value once Shangri-La v2 comes out.

Lets look back at the original Jades which was around $2k (after currency translation here), I've heard, held and seen one in person in my own hands and that shit was worth $500 at most with quality that doesn't even touch my 30 year  old Lambda Pro.

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I think Fang knows he will sell so few and the dev costs per unit will be silly. One of the motives to build the thing may be to jump on the 'flag ship' system thing, as when done right can promote the image of a company as it seems to have done with the HE1. Lets face it many car manufacturers have been doing low run insane spec models for years. It also sounds like it is becoming a big blow back. Anyone who buys the thing will probably have a lifetime of returning it for repairs if indeed the integrity of the design is already compromised. That would of course nuke the image of the company, so it comes full circle. Then the resale of it would be dog poo. 

It sounds to me as he has gone down the wrong path using 300Bs. The EL34 is double the output? He hasn't quoted the swing current, maybe it is running under a 323 spec for example. Might work but no doubt sound compressed? It would be key to get one of the guys on here to hear it, not sure if that would ever be possible?

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