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August 18, 2019, 02:40:48 PM

Author Topic: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?  (Read 3771 times)

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Online Deke609

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Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« on: July 05, 2018, 01:53:30 PM »
Hi all - what Bottlehead amp would you recommend for the Audeze LCD 4 (200 ohms)?  I think I saw a post from Doc B. suggesting that the Crack, with a 5998 in place of the 6080, can be paired with cans having a input impedance as low as 70 ohms.  But I've read on other forums that the LCD 4s are power hungry - so I'm not sure if this would be a good paring.  I built a heavily modded Crack w/Speedball (w/ Tung Sol 5998) and love it, and so will try it with the LCD 4s for sure, but do others think another amp would be superior - e..g., S.E.X.? - perhaps even a Kaiju or Stereoamour if they can can be modded for output to cans?

I have no technical or theoretical knowledge about audio circuits and the like - just a guy that loves good sound and DIY soldering projects :)

thanks in advance,

Derek

Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 01:56:00 PM »
S.E.X. is a sure bet. Mainline might have enough power, but I have not tried it with the LCD4. Another sure thing would be the Neothoriator. I do have one available.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
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Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 05:59:01 PM »
Many thanks Doc.

The Neo is intriguing but outside my price range. So the S.E.X. it is.  But I am still concerned about driving the LCD 4s to their full potential. 

What do people think about running dual S.E.X. monoblocks, one for left channel and one for right?  Is that doable? Maybe with gross and fine attenuators on both to get matching volume?

If the dual monoblock approach makes sense, my next question is: Do I get and build 1 S.E.X. now in stereo configuration to see how its sounds, and then convert to monoblock if I think the headphones need more power, or just build the dual monoblock configuration from the get go?  Would the conversion from stereo to monoblock be an entire rebuild with newly sourced parts? If yes, I'd rather just start with the dual monoblock project. 

many thanks again,

Derek

Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 06:41:51 PM »
Start with one. It's probably plenty of power. If you feel you must have more power you could build a Stereomour II with DC filament supply and make up a binding post to whatever-your-headphone-connector-is adapter
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
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Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 07:40:16 PM »
Thanks Doc.  Order for S.E.X. placed.
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 08:10:22 PM »
Thank you!
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2018, 01:28:37 PM »
Doc - Apologies for belaboring the issue, but I know myself: even if the S.E.X. sounds great paired with the LCD 4s, I'll always be wondering what they would have sounded like driven by the Stereomour.  So I'm almost decided on replacing my S.E.X.order with an order for the Stereomour with all upgrades.  The only thing holding me back is a question about noise floor.  In a 2015 thread, Paul B. stated that the Stereomour should not be used drive headphones with an input impedance of 62 ohms b/c the noise floor would be too high.  I don't know if Paul B's answer predated the the DC filament upgrade or whether he would have given the same answer in respect of the LCD 4s.

The LCD 4s, to which the amp I build will be dedicated, are a different beast: 200 ohms impedance and sensitivity of 97dB

For comparison: the LCD 3s (which I will not be using) have an input impedance of either 100 or 50 ohms and sensitivity of 102dB

The BH description of the DC filament upgrade includes the following:

"This supply will reduce the already exceptionally low noise floor of the AC heated Stereomour II amplifier to levels acceptable for use with the most sensitive horn speakers. Its installation is recommended in particular for use with speakers above [email protected]@1M sensitivity. "

That sounds like a good match for the LCD 4s with their sensitivity of 97dB.  Am I wrong about this? I can live with a faint hum at quiet spots in the music in exchange for greater dynamics.   

many thanks in advance,

Derek

Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2018, 02:02:12 PM »
Yes, the Stereomour II with the DC filament supply will work well and be very quiet. The comments from 2015 are about an earlier version of the kit that did not have the DC filament upgrade. You will of course have to make up some sort of adapter to connect the speaker cable binding posts to your headphone cable. Your best bet is to contact Eileen tomorrow (queen at bottlehead dot com or 206-451-4275) when she is back in the office and she can help you with upgrading the order from S.E.X. to Stereomour II.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2018, 02:08:30 PM »
That's great.  Thanks a million, Doc.  I will contact Eileen tomorrow as you suggested.
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2018, 05:20:13 PM »
Those comments I made were indeed about the Stereomour I, which would work OK on a very power hungry headphone like the K1000, but would be too noisy for much else that was on the market.

The Steremour II with the DC heater upgrade will be significantly quieter and capable of driving just about any headphone you can think of.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

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Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2018, 05:39:58 AM »
Thanks Paul.  I've put in my order for the Stereomour II with all 3 upgrades. 

Even if there is noticeable hum, I think it will be worth it just to hear what the LCD 4s are capable of when there is tons of power on tap.

Worst case scenarios: either (a) I thereafter engage in endless modding/tweaking in search of an even lower noise floor (which would be fun - so not that bad of a scenario); or (b) I have an excuse to get a nice pair of bookshelf speakers.

And who knows, maybe you guys at BH will come up with an upgrade that lowers the noise floor even further, or, dream of dreams, converts the SII into a headphone amp for power hungry cans.  :)


Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2018, 05:44:45 AM »
The modifications to allow something like the Stereomour II with all the upgrades to work on a headphone like a Grado would involve adding two resistors per channel to pad the output down and keep the amp loaded.  I generally recommend a pair of 16 ohm and a pair of 1 ohm resistors to accomplish this.

For what you're doing, you may not need any resistors at all.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

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Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2018, 10:54:01 AM »
Many thanks Paul. I'm really looking forward to the Stereomour II with the LCD 4s.  Once I've got the amp running and settled in, I'll be sure to post about the results. 
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Online Deke609

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2018, 05:30:59 AM »
Paul - Just following up about using resistors to lower output and keep the amp loaded.  Is there an optimal range of load that needs to placed on the amp for it to sound its best?  I.e., does the amp need to perform a minimum amount of "work" before it comes into its own?

Not an urgent question - I'm simply trying to educate myself about what all the "stuff" in the amp actually does.  At present, I have only a very rudimentary knowledge and am trying to improve on that.

many thanks in advance,

Derek

Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Stereomour IIs (2A3 [EML 2A3 Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B] - both fully upgraded)  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Audeze LCD 4 - Which amp?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2018, 08:39:34 AM »
If the resistor values get too large, you'll lose damping of the headphones and the bass will get lumpy on you. If the resistor values are too small, you'll load the amp down and it will distort.

Using about twice the intended load seems to be a good trade-off between these issues.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man