This thread is to discuss your current opinions and experiences with your oldest and crustiest gear.
- How have you grown?
- Have you learned anything?
- Do you still like your starter equipment?
- Are you embarrassed by it?
Make the dead sing and dance again:
A few weeks ago I dropped $9 on a new power supply for my Bravo Audio V2. I hadn’t used for a long time because the factory power supplied died. This was my first tube headphone amp (and I ran my HD-600s from raw notebook output before I knew better).
What did $50 for the amp and $30 spent long ago on a Groove Tubes GT-12AU7, plus $9 for a new power supply get me? I tested it with Focal Clears and Sennheiser HD-600s.
First, this is an insanely powerful, dangerous unit. Open construction always looks interesting, but isn’t practical in everyday use. Back in the day I shocked myself and zapped an old iPhone (and then got the red screen of firmware self-repair, requiring a full re-setup and app reinstall).
The power is crazy. With a standard DAC line-out, I barely cranked the volume a fraction of an inch (e.g., 7 to 8 o’clock position) for normal listening volume. One could likely blow the drivers of many headphones at the 12 o’clock position.
Using the factory tube there was no bass to speak of (in comparison with my newer amps), but the mid range tone was pleasant enough. The imagery, details, and separation were all weak. What killed it for me and has always killed me, is an ultra-high fingernails-on-a-chalkboard whine. I hear it more clearly as a single tone now, and used to perceive it as hiss (I now have more attuned ears).
In switching to the Groove Tubes GT-12AU7, the bass fell away even more and the mid and upper ranges became dominant. This is not a pleasant sound profile, but kind of replicates the Grado experience. It still had that horrible high pitched whine.
It’d probably be fine for use with dark headphones that can’t generate the painful high end. Overall, it was worth $9 to give it a listen again.