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Thread: Beresford Caiman headphone output advice

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Reading, UK

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    Default Beresford Caiman headphone output advice

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date: Dec 2009

    Location: Lancashire

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    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.
    Last edited by Eckythump; 08-01-2010 at 11:08.
    Phil.

  3. #3
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    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

  4. #4
    Join Date: Dec 2009

    Location: Lancashire

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Bishop View Post
    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.
    Phil.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2009

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    I'm notAlone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Bishop View Post
    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.
    Dimitri.

    In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
    George Orwell

  6. #6
    leo's Avatar
    leo is offline Circuit Junkie & DIY Room Forum Leader
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Bishop View Post
    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
    Last edited by leo; 08-01-2010 at 13:05.
    Cheers,
    Leo

  7. #7
    Join Date: May 2008

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    Quote Originally Posted by leo View Post
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jun 2009

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    I'm Lee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eckythump View Post
    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?
    Lee

    Independent Apple tech support guy at Macnology

    Gear: iMac > ALAC > Airport Express > Beresford Caiman DAC > Mark Grant IC > Audiolab 8000S > Chord Rumour Speaker Cable > Dynaudio Audience 42 Speakers > Grado SR80 Headphones

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    Last.fm

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by webby View Post
    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

  10. #10
    Join Date: Feb 2008

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    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.

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