Sennheiser HD 800 Review (vs Grado and Stax)

The HD800 headphones are currently Sennheiser's top end set of headphones. They claim to have the largest transducers and the most advanced driver technology of any current headphone on the market at this time. These are reference class headphones and a benchmark to compare many other headphones against. Premium parts have gone into the build, the transducer being encased by precision machined stainless steel and the ear-pads are claimed to be hand crafted from a high-quality microfibre fabric.

Sennheiser HD800

Audio HiFi Mains Cable DIY

Nothing invokes more of a mixed response in Hi-Fi circles than the concept of 'audio-grade' Hi-Fi mains cables. The idea of spending up to £1000 for a mains cable for many, myself included, seems ludicrous. Audio grade mains cables are very much a Hi-Fi thing and not so much in the pro-audio world were the only time a slightly more expensive mains lead would be used is one that has screening to stop noise radiating out of the cable and inducing on other near-by more sensitive audio carrying cables. This does have some engineering sense behind it.

DIY Audio HiFi Mains Cable
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Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier Review and Capacitor Upgrade

The Yulong A100 is a class A headphone amplifier from the far east. They are not a well known brand in the west but produce some higher end models along with this reasonably priced unit. I have used tube headphone amplifiers in the past and wanted to try a class A solid state. It is a compact well made unit with a brushed black metal chassis, thick aluminium front plate and nice vintage style VU meters. The knob is plastic however but it still looks very good and not particularly plastic looking. Phono sockets are again good quality gold plated but it does not have an audio pass through facility which is an opportunity missed I feel. An audio pass though would make it a little more system friendly since it could be daisy chained with the system main amplifier from the source.

Yulong A100 Headphone Amplifier

Teac VRDS Copland 288 Rubber Tray Repair

The Teac VRDS mechanism used in many high end players does not age well. The gears go soft and start to perish making the unit skip on playback or the tray fails to open and close. These gears are very hard to find now and expensive if you do manage to find some. Therefore unless you have a 3D printer and a good set of gears as a template then I would avoid paying too much for any Teac based cd player.

 

Removing The Tray Rubber

Copland 288
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Nelson Pass Labs B1 Buffer Pre-Amplifier Update DIY

Having sold the last B1 buffer I built I ended up building another. I had a spare pcb sitting around for a while and since it is such a good pre-amp, easy to build and the fact I had 90% of the parts already it was a situation of... might as well. It also meant I could use one of those nice aluminium cases from modshop in Italy to match my copland cd player and the lightspeed pre-amp case. Solid state builds such as this simple design do not have much to go wrong and testing is safe unlike tube gear. A big difference working on 18V here rather than 300V plus. The B1 is the ideal project for a beginner since it is safe and the parts are easy to fine along with 3rd party pcb's. Most parts can be found on eBay.

 

Matched Vs Unmatched

Nelson Pass Labs B1 Buffer
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Grado PS500 Headphone Review

For the past year I have been using a pair of stax lambda pro electrostatic headphones with my Copland 288 cd player in one of my setups. I sold my Martin Logan speakers and wanted something as good but more suited to a small room, able to be used any time of day or night and as loud as I wanted with minimal external noise. Quality headphones are very hard to better with similar priced loudspeakers. They also provide a highly involving listening experience. Their diaphragms are much lighter than typical dynamic speakers and so have timing and pace unmatched bar the very best speakers. Electrostatic speakers do try to overcome this problem by the use of lightweight film which only weigh a few mg.

Grado PS500 Headphones

Linn Turntable Valhalla Power Supply Repair

I recently helped a friend to repair a Linn Valhalla power supply pcb. It would seem that these are prone to particular failures and a common one is low motor torque in which the motor buzzes or vibrates since it is too weak to drive the platter. This turned out to be R32 (560k) on the board. R33 had also deteriorated with the ceramic body breaking up. I have uploaded the circuit as a png and pdf file which some may find useful.

If you are having motor problems I would first replace these 2 resistors R32 and R33. Failing that then the next step is to replace the small orange caps around the logic chips if the motor does not turn at all.

Linn Turntable Valhalla Power Supply
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Passive Lightspeed Attenuator Pre-Amplifier DIY

I have been working on building a light-speed attenuator pre-amp in a nice case matching to match the chassis used in the Nelson Pass F5 and F3 power amplifier builds. This is a scratch build rather than a kit. I needed to buy the case from Italy and 4 quad matched Silonex NSL-32SR2 from the states. Matched LDR's can be difficult to get hold of and to match these yourself requires buying a large quantity and constructing a matching circuit to test them all across the working range. Quite costly and time consuming.

Lightspeed Attenuator Pre-Amplifier
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Power Amplifier Speaker Output Headphone Adapter DIY

I was wondering if it was possible to drive a pair of regular dynamic headphones from a power amp such as my Class A F5. Sometimes I have periods of time without a pair of speakers such as if I have sold them and looking for something new to replace them with. In the meantime it would be nice to use a pair of headphones which quite frankly are hard to beat with most speakers. It seems that you need to spend quite a few more in pennies on the speakers to match even a modest pair of cans and once you are in the realms of higher end headphones then most speakers don't come close to the same levels of enjoyment and immersion in the music.

Speaker Output Headphone Adapter
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Grado RA1 Headphone Amplifier Clone DIY

Fancy making your own Grado RA1 amplifier clone. Well the circuit below is all you need. About £10 worth of electronic parts minus the case and regulated supply. Also very easy to make on veroboard or protoboard. The original circuit came from diyaudioprojects.com who I understand reverse engineered an original RA1. The design can be easily altered to use other better quality op-amps and more importantly E24 series preferred resistor and cap values.

The opamp used is the LM4562 or better still the OPA2134. You can use the cheaper original JR4556 but the OPA2134 should be easier to buy and is much higher quality than the JR4556.

Grado RA1 Headphone Amplifier Clone
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