Hello Holman, you have bought the two most sonically invisible audio gear available. That can be either an asset or a curse. They will magnify any inadequacy you have in your system. They will also glorify your best equipment.
This quest for the right gear needn't be expensive. First off you have to rid your mind of any notion cables are just cables.
All power cables must be fully shielded. Belden cables found at Parts Express do nicely. You can spend all you want on commercial cables.
Conversely, interconnects are less critical. Speltz ICs are as good as anything I have had in my system, and they are cheap.
On the other hand, speaker cable choices are crucial. I have found NOTHING works as well as thin copper ribbons. You DON"T want to use anything that has but the scantiest insulation. That is because hose dielectrics are terrible capacitance bleeders. You will hear it like a shhhh. I use copper ribbons teased from ribbon inductors, also found at parts express. To insulate against shorts (a short will blow out your amp module) I just loosely wrap the ribbon with kitchen saran wrap. Really, you should try this cheap recipe. Otherwise, you will need to spend a bundle on commercial ribbon cables.
The digital source is very important as well. Your power duo will prove all oversamplers (95% of players) will sound atrocious. This is not the fault of your preamp or amp. It is just their telling the real truth about such players. You want the music signal to be as direct as possible, and not messed with. CD player's deficiencies pronounce themselves to your ear's displeasure.
What I did was buy an Audio Note 2.1 DAC kit. After I finished building it, I sent it to Henry for improvements. Now it is a giant killer DAC. Everything is pure and good to great depending on the recording.
Get everything right, and your highs will be fully extended, bass will be tight or blooming like you never heard before, and mids will articulate everything human about voices.
Get everything, or just one thing, wrong, and you will find why there are those that shout out how horrible class D is. Just know, perfection is attainable and with power, on any speaker load.
If you don't believe me about any of the above, just ask Henry. He knows.
Can't help much, but I did have the preamp in my system for two weeks. It's very good after 1-2 hour warm up...maybe even ("more than very good").
It runs warm (hot)....just like the old Krell Ksa-250 I had it mated with. I liked it a lot.
I have never heard the amp.
I should temper my former thoughts. I am talking about Henry's gear in conjunction with Apogee Scintillas. I have heard the H2O on Gallo speakers that applied a different costly cable strategy. The sound was quite convincing. One thing, though. The Gallo owner heard his Modright Sony 999 SACD player on my system. Afterwards, I switched the source to the AN. Now the Gallo owner has a very fine player that can go through all steps of oversampling.
The other equipment I will be using with the H2O amp and preamp is Penaudio Serenade speakers and Audio Note transport and DAC.
EXCELLENT!!! The speakers are wonderful.
Which DAC are you using? Henry transformed my former One.1 from a dark mush to a bird chirper. The transformation in my 2.1 was just as startling after Henry got through with them.
The AN folks don't think much of diodes, and install chincy stuff. BIG mistake. The diode plays a crucial part in getting the full music spectrum.
I am using a PSA Lambda transport, also modded by Henry. I love it's sound. Before, it was dark sounding, like the stock AN DAC.
I'm using the CDT-One transport and the Audio Note One 1x Signature Dac.
Ahhhhhh..... I urge you to get the 2.1 kit eventually. How are you with a soldering iron? The rewards are really big. Sometimes there are better AN DACs here on audiogon. Here is one 3.1:
There was a 2.1 for sale too, but it was sold. With Henry's mod, you needn't go higher than the 2.1.
Late with an answer, but the H2O eqipment is superb. I have the Fire preamp, a pair of Sinature H2O stereo amps in bi-amped configeration with Duetta Signatures. I also run a pair of Vanderstein subs coming in around 90hz. Front end is a Muse Model 9 Signature. I use Signal power cables, Nordost flatlines on the top panels and silver sonic cables on the bass panels. The newest addition is a PS Audio Power Plant Premier. That was a very noticable change. (suprised me)really makes the background noise go black. Henry's equipment is so revealing that good material sounds great, bad CDs,sound just that. I put away my tube equipment for Henry's designs and have not looked back. Hnery's stuff sounds extremely natural to me. IMO
I probably need to upgrade my front end and add a newer dac.
I guess cables could be changed, but that is a nver ending deal. Hope you enjoy Henry's designs as much as I do.
Hey Jjerry, it was lonely ......
I am elated you like the HHO gear. I am getting flogged at the Apogee forum.
Do me a favor, and make my ribbon SCs. I will mail you the simple instructions. Then turn your amps around to shorten the distance. You will make good money on your other cables.
As for a DAC, you can't go better than buying or building the Audio Note 2.1 DAC as I have been preaching. Ask Henry what to change the diodes out with. Just that little change and...... Oh my God.
I have horns on now - Forme d' arte by Andrea Giuffredi. The trumpet is triumphantly searing, but never uncomfortable. If you can find it, it is a must have.
Oh, there are some natural Scintillas up north in Vancouver. They would be a rewarding buy. Just don't get them restored. I did that, and am selling them to someone with Classe' or Krells. Luckily, I still have my old guys.
What don't you like about restored scintillas?
Don't get him started again.
Just read any of muralman's other threads. Everything is the same.
nos, scintillas, h20, home made speaker cables, my system is best, ad nauseum.
Souphero, the restored Scintillas will sound almost just like the older ones on any amp capable of running well at 1 ohm, and that is a precious few. A lot of folks are enjoying them. With say, a Krell, the top gains a bit of pepper. That's nice for a sleepy class A amp.
With my amps, the salsa on top turns into tobasco. Any instrument with a sharp report was a painful listen. Zakir Hussain playing his tabla sounded all the like of lead pipes smacking each other.
It has nothing to do with, "Tired ribbons," a retort I hear too often. Henry Ho has freshly ribboned Scintillas, only with natural Apogee ribbons. His sound like mine.
Audiofeil, [dealer] what are you doing here? You don't own the H2O. You are just a spoiler.
I can attest that the H20 Fire is a wonderful preamp.
I've spent the past year auditioning many preamps and as far as solid state goes, I haven't found anything better. The Fire is incredibly musical, warm and fully fleshed out, with wonderful extended highs.
Over a year ago, I had a chance to play with Henry's prototype version of the Fire. I still regard it as one of the best solid state pre-amplifiers I've happened across south of the 10k mark.
It's worth noting that his Signature 100 amp is awesome. To be honest, its one of the only class D amps (and the only ICE amp) that I hold in high regard.
All in all, Henry makes some damned fine gear. I just wish that he'd put at least a hint of effort into creating something tha resembles an established business model, instead of holding the "lone man working in his garage when he can" image.
"Lone man working in his garage when he can".I love it Rumadian.That is one of the reasons I bought a amp and preamp from Henry.I know who built them and if there is problems you can go back to the source.I have been in this high end audio stuff since I was 20 years young.Now that I'm 57 years old I have NEVER had the service from any audio shop that I've had from Henry.I'm truly grateful that I have discovered Henry Ho and H2O audio.
Hi Holman, Henry heard my system there. Ask him what he thinks of it. There may have been a break in issue, but maybe not.
Regarding equipment that I run with the H2O gear, I can't tell you much about cables and such except that it is worth experimenting with speaker cables with the H2O amplifiers. Cables with high capacitance don't sound very good with the H2O amps.
While I don't use the H2O amplifier in my main system anymore, I too have been listening to a lot of preamps, both tube and solid state, and I can't find anything I like as much as the Fire. If you have a long run of interconnects between the preamp and the amp, then I would recommend a decent shielded pair.
I have generally preferred a good tube DAC over the solid state DACs I've tried with the H2O gear. I have particularly enjoyed the MHDT Labs Havana and the Wavelength Cosecant V3.
I'm glad to read that more people are hearing the Fire.
Hi Alan, I respect your advice. My experience has shown me shielding couldn't be more important for the power cables on all components. Oddly, I have had no problem at all with my Speltz ICs on a three meter run.