Luckbad’s Current Gear – Late 2017
November 21, 2017 Luckbad 0
I’ve been known to go through gear rather… quickly. I’ll try something and turn it around within a week or so if it doesn’t sing to me. I even sell stuff I enjoy at times if I’ve overspent or if I’m particularly curious about something else out there. This has blown through more money than I’d like to admit, even if I do sometimes get the better part of sales (I almost exclusively buy used).
Some gear, however, manages to speak to me. Here’s what I have as of late November 2017. This is the gear of a basshead/audiophile who doesn’t like to compromise sound quality in favor of anything else, even bass. I love my bass, but I really enjoy mids and simply cannot stand enhanced treble. I’ve heard too much good stuff to like the junk anymore.
- Eddie Current Super 7: This is a tube amplifier that is pretty much unobtanium. It employs 7x 6SN7 tubes. I’ve had quite a few tube amplifiers at this point, and this is my favorite. It doesn’t commit sins of either commission or omission that many tube amps are guilty of. Really gorgeous with outstanding soundstage, dynamics, micro and macro detail. I’ve modified mine with improved capacitors and RCA jacks.
- Sonic Frontiers SFD-1 MKII SE+: When I really love a piece of gear, I buy it twice. In this case, I believe this is SFD-1 MKII #4 for me. This unit has maxed out upgrades and is simply beautiful. It has ample bass slam, good detail, good dynamics, and really appeals to my preferences. It requires a transport (no USB) and caps out at 48kHz because it’s from the ’90s. But man is it good.
- Lynx AES16e: This is a PCIe card that outputs AES to my SFD-1 MKII above. It’s really impressive and is competitive with the Focusrite Rednet 3 (though the latter might be slightly better). The Rednet is huge, red, and more expensive. For most, the Schiit Eitr is a better purchase (much better value), but I love the Lynx. I’ve owned its sibling, the Lynx E22, twice. It’s just as good.
- Sennheiser HD650: What kind of basshead headphone is that?! Well, it’s not. It is my oldest piece of audiophile gear. Beloved and nostalgic. It does just about everything right except for the so-so bass. The HD650 are the only headphones I’ve never sold. And I never will, even if I want to. They’ve been modded and have years of my nerd germs on them.
- JVC HA-DX2000: Now we’re talkin’. This, in my opinion, is the finest blend of basshead and overall capability out there. It’s the rare black variant of the JVC HP-DX1000 (they sound identical–I once had both simultaneously). Superb sub-bass without encroaching on the mids. Smooth treble, very impressive soundstage for a closed can. I’ve owned these exact cans twice, and the DX1000 2-3 times as well.
- Future Sonics Spectrum G10: Pretty similar sound to the above headphones. Listenable all day without fatigue, enhanced deep bass, smooth overall response. They also isolate very well and are comfortable. I fried my first pair and bought another as soon as I could. They’re my favorite IEMs for my purposes (they’re used at work).
- MHDT Labs Orchid: I have a soft spot for MHDT DACs. They’re really musical and are a joy to listen to. The Orchid is my favorite of the entire lineup. It serves as my secondary DAC for days when it strikes my fancy, although the Sonic Frontiers DAC is on primary duty. This will move to work at some point.
- LH Labs GO2A Infinity: Not great in the bass department, but overall good and it serves temporary duty until I can get a decent amp for work again and move the Orchid there. The company kinda sucks and The GO2A is not super reliable. Not really recommended, but I’m using it so it’s on the list.
- Incoming – Cavalli Audio Liquid Crimson: I got burned thinking I bought one of these a few months ago. It turns out I was scammed and lost all of my money. It was balls. But I managed to find one from a reputable source and should have it incoming shortly. I’m excited to try it out even knowing either it or the Super 7 will end up having to go.
Everything on the list above save the GO2A Infinity and Liquid Crimson (don’t have it yet!) get a recommendation from me. Years of basshead audiophoolery have led me here, at some magical confluence of musicality, technicality, and listenability.
The only other amplifiers I recommend highly for those looking at a more reasonable price point are the Garage1217 Project Horizon III/Sunrise III (depending on your headphones) and the Schiit Vali 2 (I prefer the G1217 stuff, but the Schiit is cheaper and is still great). A more reasonably-priced DAC is the Schiit Modi Multibit with a Schiit Eitr (I don’t love the Mimby without it).