Let this be a lesson for all the audio tail-chasers out there. Sometimes people just need to realise what great sound they already have. It's not the grass that's greener, it's envy.
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Have all of these new pieces broken in yet? I was amazed at how bad my new Creek Classic 5350SE sounded when I got it new. A freind was over and was polite but I could see the disappointment on her face as well. I played the creek for several weeks and it just bloomed. Very musical, fast, deep, tight. Easily what I expected from the "Stereophile" recommended component rating. It just needed time to break in. This same friend was over last weekend and thought I had upgraded my amplifier and could not believe the sound was comming from the same unit as before.
Before you trash the system, I suggest you try a set of 'phones with higher impedance. The 650's, some models of Grado, and the top AKGs all have very low input impedance. MAYBE if the output impedance of your headphone jack is a bit high, that would explain the lack of bass.
ONE other hypothesis: try going back to the 650's original cable. If your current cable's wires were reversed, putting one side out of phase with the other, you'd get EXACTLY the results you're describing.
You need to let us (or your dealer,therapist,etc) why you wanted to go from such a differnet transducer i.e the Von Schweikerts to a headphone?If it were and issue that you needed quiet in the house you might have done what a fellow did in a virtual system recently posted which was ditch the he man rig and go for a Cain&Cain with nearfield drivers and flea power since he wanted to listen at lower levels because he just had a baby and wanted lower volume without sacrificing dynamics.Break in maybe as suggested.A swap out hear or there to get what you want MIGHT do it but maybe you thought it was going to sound like $20K Senheisser tube unit.Though different in a variety of how music is recieved some folks for years insisted that electrostatic headphones (usually STAX) were THE BEST and PUREST way to listen to music.Me I'd rather a basic $10K rig with maybe Maggies or the new Quads or better yyet the plethora of $20K speakers from Ariel or $100,00K set up's by Martin Logan or Wilson.Maybe Chucki has the bestb idea for you.Of if you can swing the new model 99 (?) Von S speakers made for the SET crowd.On the cheap there are some well regarded $500 Omega's using Fostex drivers though the Cain & Cain while tall have a small print and everybodyn loves 'em especially for the price.My guess is no cable,interconnect,or headphone will make you happy.
Sympathy and best of luck rising from the ashes
Pawlowski6132 again, as was mentioned before, I don't think it's the gear. How long have you burned it in? I haven't found a cable or piece of equipment that doesn't come into its own only after many, many, sometimes a hundred or more hours of break in. I have cables that needed two hundred running hours, no less... but it has been worth it. Hang in there. To say you made the right choices... only your ears can be the ultimate judge of that. LOL Cheers!
You are comparing apples with oranges. There is no soundstage with headphones, there is nothing in front of you, it is all between your ears. There is no real bass with headphones. Real bass is felt as well as heard, and you can't get the feeling part from phones.
They are what they are. They serve a purpose but they can't replace speakers.
Besides, I can't relax at home when I'm listeming to headphones as I always have this paranoid feeling that someone is sneaking up behind me and I can't hear them. I like them for air travel though.
I agree with you, "What the hell were your thinking?" It's not surprising that you're not happy now since you were never able to clearly articulate why and for what purpose you wanted to change your system. Changing things just to change will get you nowhere faster than the rest of us.
Herman is partially right, headphones do not soundstage like speakers, but they can have deep bass. In fact, headphones are capable of far better bass reproduction than speakers because they are not effected by room modes.
What were you thinking, indeed.
Seriously, as the other posters have asked, what were/are you trying to accomplish with your new system? It seems a fairly radical departure from the system you had.
You might try KR 300BXLS tubes to replace the Sophia's. In my experience, the KR's have more weight and bass than the Sophias.
By the way, I'll bet the Cary SLM-100's made a great combo with the VR4jr's.
Pawlowski6132: I hope you were not EXPECTING headphones to deliver good bass and soundstaging like a quality loudspeaker can...no? Headphones can be great, especially with things like detail. But, they can't move room air for good bass and don't project a soundstage like speakers. The presentation of the two transducers is completely different.
Thanx everyone for your excellent insights and sage advice.
First of all, what I neglected to to explain initially was that I sold my system because it simply was too large for my room (13x11x7) which I was forced into AFTER I assembled the system. I just could not treat the room effectively. So, I took that situation as a cue to also experience the SET sound I coveted for so long. I listen to primarily acoustic music (Jazz, Classical, Blue Grass, etc.)
What became painfully apparent, as many of you pointed out, is that I should have adjusted my expectations accordingly. It's clear now that I won't have the wind knocked out of me or experience any three dimensional aural effects - for now anyway. And I was pretty dissapointed while that realization was setting in.
However, last night I settled in for a long night of listening (and a nice Shiraz). The third CD I popped in was the Stan Getz/Joao Gilberto recording of all those wonderful Jobim songs. Rather than the usual dejected sigh, my ears perked up! By the third track I had heard an ambience of the recording, texture in the voices and details in the drums that I don't recall EVER hearing. Very exciting. I scrambled through my CD collection...
As you might guess, my initial dismay distracted me from the resolution and timbre definition which was lacking in my original system.
So, in conclusion, I still miss my bass and am resolved to ultimtely finding a set of speakers. I'm intrigued by the Cain & Cain Abby's. does anyone have any experience with these and the Cary 300SEI - in a small room!! How 'bout a pair of monitors??
why would you give up VR4jr speakers?????
I agree - headphone systems have their benefits, but nothing compares to lifesized soundstage in front of you (as apposed to miniature in your headstage). I enjoy headphones very much, but I have my rig for the full effect.
If money was an issue than I understand, but if you just got fed up and went headphones then you reep what you sew. I'm sorry it ended up this way.
Maybe try Grado phones as Senns can be analytical and well boring... I have senns and grado (600 & RS-1) and listen to both almost equally.
Pawlowski6132, I heard the Zu Audio Tone monitors at Zu Audio's Los Angeles demonstration in September. I was very impressed. They are 101dB sensitive, and cost $1795/pair.
I haven't heard them in my room, but if I was in the market for some very sensitive and relatively inexpensive monitors for a small room, these would be strong contenders.
I understand much better now. Money is a good reason to back off. Good decision. Also, a small square room like your size led me to a 2 year doctorate (not really) in acoustic treatment and I realized how tough it was to get the jr's to work in a small room. It can be done, but it's very difficult. I would heed others advice and look into the Cain speakers, get tubes, and look into room treatment when you have the cash. If your room/system was anything like mine the brightness/harshness is horrible, but it wasn't attributed to my system. It was the size of the room. Some blankets or treatment can solve that.
Headphones can be enjoyable. I listen to them regularly and enjoy them. You just have to realize they won't give you the same sensation, but they will eliminate the room problems caused by all loudspeakers in all rooms, so in taht sense, they are superior.
Anyway, hang in there, you have the rest of your life to get the system you want, so don't stress, just enjoy what you have now.
Onhwy61, I agree that phones are capable of excellent bass that you can hear, but to get the full effect you need bass that you can feel. How about headphones and a sub? Still no soundstage though.
Pawlowski, As for speakers I think you are on the right path exploring high efficiency speakers but not because of a small room, rather I think that they sound the best, and you will need them for the amp you have.
Monitors that will work well with an SET amp are a rare breed. To get any bass out of a small cabinet they must be inefficient. To get bass out of an efficient driver takes a big cabinet. In a small room with your amp you need a high efficiency speaker in a moderate size cabinet like the Lowther medallion and a small sub. http://www.lowther-america.com/