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Phil Bishop
08-01-2010, 10:34
Folks,

Wondering if any of you may have advice/experiences on the above Q.

I currently have a Beresford Caiman feeding a Graham Slee Solo headphone amp and use Senn HD650 and AKG701 phones.

Yesterday evening, I tried the headphone socket on the Caiman and, to be honest, via the AKGs I thought it sounded as good, if not better, than via the Solo.

Have any of you similar experiences - is the Caiman headphone output really that good? If so, I may be thinking of selling the Solo!

...and another quick Q - has anyone compared the Caiman to the Benchmark?

Phil

Eckythump
08-01-2010, 10:58
Hello there Phil

I tried a Caiman for the first time last night using AKG K701 headphones I have had for a year or so now. I have previously used a high quality solid state headphone amplifier from Meier Audio and currently have a Little Dot MKIV tube amplifier. I also recently went to a Headfi forum gathering and tried the AKGs with various other amps.

I'm waiting for a Merdian CD transport to arrive so hooked up the Caiman to the PC to test it with some favourite FLAC tracks I use (Radiohead - In Rainbows). I must say I was equally impressed with the performance of the Caiman. Once I had got over the quality of the DAC I tried to guage how well it was driving the headphones. Obviously it has been a few weeks since I heard through solid state amplifier and my aural memory doesn't last that long but as far as I can tell you would have to spend a lot of dosh to beat it and it would only be adding a little 'finesse' to the sound.

I'll reserve my final judgement for now as I'm still in my 'honeymoon period' with it but I can say I would not look to spend money on another solid state amplifier. Tube amps add something to the sound so it will be interesting to try that out this weekend.

Phil Bishop
08-01-2010, 11:07
Phil,

Thanks so much for the quick reply - interesting how so many of us plough similar furrows - I, too, looked at the Little Dot at one stage.

I will be interested in your longer-term view. Have you ever heard a Benchmark?

Phil

Eckythump
08-01-2010, 11:53
Phil,

Have you ever heard a Benchmark?

Phil


Sorry, only for around 15 minutes so that doesn't count.

I promise to keep you posted.

Themis
08-01-2010, 12:44
has anyone compared the Caiman to the Benchmark?
I did, but not side-to-side. I tested the Benchmark DAC1 and DAC1 USB models.
The Caiman is more neutral. And much cheaper. ;)

But I didn't test the DAC1's headphone amp.

leo
08-01-2010, 13:03
Folks,

Wondering if any of you may have advice/experiences on the above Q.

I currently have a Beresford Caiman feeding a Graham Slee Solo headphone amp and use Senn HD650 and AKG701 phones.

Yesterday evening, I tried the headphone socket on the Caiman and, to be honest, via the AKGs I thought it sounded as good, if not better, than via the Solo.

Have any of you similar experiences - is the Caiman headphone output really that good? If so, I may be thinking of selling the Solo!

...and another quick Q - has anyone compared the Caiman to the Benchmark?

Phil


Which Solo do you have? I have heard one of the newer SRGII's and find it a lot better amp than the older 2007's

Saying that I dislike both HD650 and K701 cans, I find them extremely veiled and sickly , especially the 650's

BTW the Caiman is very good, I really need a dedicated amp though because I have more than one source , out of all the dedicated amps I tried the SRGII was my favourite

Phil Bishop
08-01-2010, 15:11
Which Solo do you have? I have heard one of the newer SRGII's and find it a lot better amp than the older 2007's

Saying that I dislike both HD650 and K701 cans, I find them extremely veiled and sickly , especially the 650's

BTW the Caiman is very good, I really need a dedicated amp though because I have more than one source , out of all the dedicated amps I tried the SRGII was my favourite

Leo,

I assume I have the latest Solo with the separate PSU as I bought it mid-2009. Surprised at your comments re the HD650 and AKG phones as they seem to be universally aclaimed (that's why I bought them) - what do you use? I don't have much experience of other phones, but if the AKGs are veiled I wonder what I may be missing!

In the limited comparisons I have done so far, the headphone output from the Caiman seems to be just as good as my Solo, but I intend to experiment more. If my findings are confirmed, a Solo may be coming up soon on the "For Sale and Wanted" page!

Phil

webby
08-01-2010, 15:22
Hello there Phil

I tried a Caiman for the first time last night using AKG K701 headphones I have had for a year or so now. I have previously used a high quality solid state headphone amplifier from Meier Audio and currently have a Little Dot MKIV tube amplifier. I also recently went to a Headfi forum gathering and tried the AKGs with various other amps.



I'd be interested on your thoughts on the Little Dot amp. I've been thinking of upgrading my headphones, plus a DAC purchase may be due. Most of the cans I've shortlisted would apparently benefit from a headphone amp, but would a Caiman, and it's headphone amp kill both birds so to speak?

Phil Bishop
08-01-2010, 15:44
I'd be interested on your thoughts on the Little Dot amp. I've been thinking of upgrading my headphones, plus a DAC purchase may be due. Most of the cans I've shortlisted would apparently benefit from a headphone amp, but would a Caiman, and it's headphone amp kill both birds so to speak?

Lee,

I suspect there is a very steep declining returns curve on DACs and I imagine most mortals would struggle to tell a marked difference (if any at all) between a 200 Caiman and models costing an order of magnitude more. Given the functionality a Caiman offers plus what appears to be a headphone amp that sounds indistinguishable from my Slee Solo it would appear to be a "no brainer" for you to try.

The only other contender out there I would like to try is a Benchmark, but you could buy three Caimans for the price of one of these.

Phil

StanleyB
08-01-2010, 16:47
Just for the record, and a guide, for those who intend to use the headphone amp on the Caiman as a serious listening method:
the Caiman headphone amp section has been designed, and modified with the aid of the HD650, K701, & HD800.

leo
08-01-2010, 23:42
Leo,

I assume I have the latest Solo with the separate PSU as I bought it mid-2009. Surprised at your comments re the HD650 and AKG phones as they seem to be universally aclaimed (that's why I bought them) - what do you use? I don't have much experience of other phones, but if the AKGs are veiled I wonder what I may be missing!

In the limited comparisons I have done so far, the headphone output from the Caiman seems to be just as good as my Solo, but I intend to experiment more. If my findings are confirmed, a Solo may be coming up soon on the "For Sale and Wanted" page!

Phil

Hi Phil,

Lately I use HD250 linear II's (no longer made), a lot of folks don't like these because their pretty ruthless and can sound nasty if the amp and source isn't up to it so their not something I'd recommend to everybody :) The HD800's like what Stan uses are supposed to be excellent, I've not tried those yet.

Problem is having chance to try and compare cans before buying

Leo

Phil Bishop
09-01-2010, 11:07
Stan and Leo,

Thanks for replies. I will keep my eyes open for some HD800's, but have a feeling they are quite expensive. I believe Graham Slee uses the 650's as the reference for his gear and Stan uses the 650's and AKG's which is why I have confidence in them. Both sets of phones also had an excellent write up in "Sound on Sound", the pro-audio mag, recently.

Phil

Themis
09-01-2010, 12:14
The Senns 650 are very nice headphones. Not the best, but very-very good indeed. ;)

leo
09-01-2010, 12:20
To me 650's are like artificial sweetners :lolsign: just my opinion of course:ner:

webby
09-01-2010, 12:25
To me 650's are like artificial sweetners :lolsign: just my opinion of course:ner:

Alternative?

Themis
09-01-2010, 12:34
To me 650's are like artificial sweetners :lolsign: just my opinion of course:ner:
I guess every single high-end headphone is an "artificial sweetener".
Most people can't listen extensively to monitor headphones. ;)

leo
09-01-2010, 12:48
Alternative?


I'll let you know soon as I find something which is easily avaialble, I'd prefer K701 a little more over 650 although still find those far from ideal to deserve a full recommendation , AKG's can also cause some amps problems to drive properly too

leo
09-01-2010, 12:49
Most people can't listen extensively to monitor headphones. ;)

Those with poor source and amp I'd agree;)

leo
09-01-2010, 13:07
BTW as said earlier, these are just personal opinions, I did try to live with HD650 for a few months, I tried various amps and sources and came to the same conclusion, VEILED :eyebrows:

Anyway those who love them thats fine, just like marmite:lol:

Phil Bishop
09-01-2010, 14:41
I thought the HD650's sounded a bit "dull" at first compared to the AKGs, but now I don't so much - I believe both sets take an age to break in?

The Senn HD800s are a grand! OK, I will hold fire on those for a while - on an economy drive this year!

Phil

Phil Bishop
16-01-2010, 23:05
Well, to conclude (maybe) this thread, I have spent a further couple of weeks swapping phones (650's and 701's) around between the Caiman phones output and the Slee phones output and have detected differences, but none which lead me to say one is better than the other...which basically means the Caiman phones output is a good as a 450 Slee Solo as far as I can tell. So (as most of you know already) the Caiman DAC/headphone amp/pre-amp is, in my opinion, an out-and-out bargain.

Phil

Alex_UK
17-01-2010, 07:38
Many thanks for posting your conclusion Phil. I'm hoping to upgrade my headphones this year and good to know that the Caiman can cut the mustard, so to speak (well, it's certainly hot! :doh: sorry! ;))