HIFI-STARS, Sept. 2018, Prof. – Dr. Frank Lechtenberg, ( translation germ / english )
For the head …
That’s just a haptic high end! In front of me the Audio Valve Solaris builds in its noble housing with full insight into the inner life. I have the Solaris in the version with USB converter card, so the DAC option in front of me. In addition, there are the regular analog inputs for line signals. Input 1 and 2 each share a pair of XLR and RCA jacks, of which, however, only one pair per channel may be used. In addition, the inputs 3 and 4 come as unbalanced RCA inputs. Directly next to it, the Solaris also receives signals from a MM pickup at the phono input. Another cinch couple passes a line signal to a recording device and the pre-amp output can be tapped on a balanced XLR pair. Even high-efficiency speakers can be driven directly from the Solaris, as appropriate speaker terminals are also available.
The heart of the headphone amplifier from AudioValve Kassel but are of course the 4 solid headphone sockets on the front, which are likely to drive all currently conceivable, high-quality headphones. In addition to two lockable combi Neutrik jacks for 6.3 mm plugs and XLR, the Solaris also offers connection options for 4-pin headphones (Sennheiser) and a 5-pin Stax connection with bias supply voltage. For this report is mainly a Shure SRH 1540 used, the current dynamically-closed top model of the American manufacturer. Proven concept
The Solaris is based on the Luminare and the RKV 3. The 1982 first introduced RKV series also comes from the OTL circuit of the headphone amplifier. The abbreviation stands for a (tubular)
Output stage without transformer. The goal of this circuit: low distortion, low attenuation factor and low internal resistance with a large bandwidth. With a mode switch, I can choose whether I want to pass the transmitterless signal directly to my headphones or – for low-impedance headphones – send to a step-down transformer. For electrostatic headphones, there is a step-up transformer mode.
My Shure headphone is currently in OTL mode. The music is fed in CD resolution from the computer via the USB converter. This transducer was developed by Manfred Penning for the Solaris as well as the RKV 3 and the Luminare and can be retrofitted in case of doubt. It accepts PCM and DSD data in all popular resolutions. If installed, it is located on input 2 of the Solaris. This input is automatically switched from analog to digital as soon as 5 volts is applied to the connected computer via the USB cable. Cleverly solved. Incidentally, the converter accepts the data exclusively via USB, there is no S / PDIF input.
The Jasper Somsen Trio is playing his “Solar Suite” from the album “A New Episode In Life Pt. II “. The JazzTrio has delivered a well-mixed recording in which piano, bass, and the lightly played drums are allowed to tell their musical story on an equal footing. At the same time, the Solaris provides me with that open and dynamic way of playing that I like about this album. Even with minimal volume over the headphones, I’m completely in the recording in it. Deep frequencies remain as present as the clear, transparent centers and heights presented with an exemplary ease. For some of my competitors in this category I had the feeling that I had to turn up a bit more, not so with the Audio Valve. He plays quietly so completely that it is a pleasure. What are the musicians doing there? The dynamics in recording and playback is almost banned. The piano strings are depicted plastically. I hear how it goes in the treble briefly and crisp and how the left hand stimulates the longer strings with the piano mechanics. Below, the woody full-bodied double bass communicates with me. Again, I get the complete bandwidth delivered, so low frequencies from the instrument body and high, clear and distinct frequencies from playing on the strings. If, like me, you’ve been lucky enough to hear a good-sounding drumming in Natura, you’ll be able to appreciate what Solaris is getting out of the recording here, assuming a good headset. Holgraphic and clear
Goosebumps are on Paul McCartney’s “Kisses on the bottom” album. The always sympathetic Sir Paul is wonderfully close to me, without being intrusive. The excellently recorded record experiences an almost holographic work-up via the Audio Valve, but always remains relaxed. Once again, all instruments are mapped with the same care. The Solaris provides the crucial part more in terms of space, control, musicality and control, simply simply more quality in the playback.
Let’s take another look at the technical details. The ECL 85 multi-system tubes used in the circuit can be used flexibly since they are triode and pentode at the same time. You can do pre-amp and power amp tasks while working with relatively low operating voltages. In the past, they were often used in tube televisions. In the Solaris a possible Heizungsbrummen this TriodenPentoden type is suppressed with a corresponding control circuit. The control grid characteristic of the tube is also smoothed. After an operational amplifier to control the LF signal, the first tube amplifies the signal as a triode, the second ECL 85 provides the phase reversal for the two series-connected power tubes in pentode mode. In between, the signal for the pre-stage output is tapped via Elko and made available after a voltage divider on the XLR sockets.
The transformer used (for the corresponding output variants) is a so-called autotransformer, ie a transformer with only one coil without galvanic isolation. Audio valve developer Helmut Becker has opted for a model of the German manufacturer Pikatron from the Taunus. Incidentally, the Solaris is consistently built in double mono. All this the headphone amplifier presents clearly visible through the openings and transparent areas of the case. This is how pie-clean processing looks!
Even more connection …
Since the tube circuit outputs a good 8 watts per channel, the Solaris can also be used as a classic integrated amplifier. Solid speaker terminals are available. To do this, either the Stax mode (louder) or the IMP mode (quieter) must be selected and the balance control pulled out. Then the speaker outputs are wired. With two times 8 watts output power, a good look at the efficiency is worthwhile when choosing a box. In fact, it is synonymous s.einer Quad S4 Standbox (88 dB), but the more like amplifier from 30 watts. With small occupations in the jazz area, the Solaris still works perfectly well, only with more complex or more energetic music, he has to back a little behind the own services at the headphone sockets. But what works just as well as the headphone amplification, is its already mentioned possibility to work as a preliminary stage. There are stably screwed, balanced output sockets on the back of the Audio Valve. When I connect them to my “Graham Slee Proprius” monos, I hear the same musicality and blinding speed as over the headphones. As the Solaris even comes with a simple but working volume remote control, nothing stands in the way of its use as a control center for the complete chain.
Let’s get back to the overhead operation. This time is an analog source of the Zuspieler, specifically a HiRes player, which I have connected via a corresponding NFKabel. Roger Waters’ “Amused to death” is up. Immediately, the Solaris has my attention. The expansive, warm keyboard surfaces in the opening piece “Th e Ballad of Bill Hubbard” float through the binaural sound. Percussion, voice samples and electric guitar are easy to forget, fi nd their own place. I particularly like the way I hear the different reverberation spaces on the respective instruments selected in the studio. This makes the event extremely vivid. The drumming in “What God Wants Part I” literally draws my head. This has energy while maintaining cleanliness in all frequency ranges. Here once again makes a high-resolution Kopfh örer like my dynamic Shure SRH 1540 paid. But even an electrostatic headphone, which I hear in the same piece with Helmut Becker in Kassel as a counter sample, is first and foremost controlled by the Audio Valve Solaris, with the same openness, musicality and control as the more widespread dynamic models.
In a nutshell
The excellently processed Audio Valve Solaris DAC does not only look much better in reality than in photos, it brings the connected headphones – no matter which type – to maximum performance. With the additional USB converter and the wide range of connection options, the Solaris is truly a statement in the segment of high-end headphone amplifiers. I can fully recommend him (provided appropriate change).
REVIEW: HiFiMan Susvara Review from Amos Barnett
AudioValve, the music machine
You could seldom find a product which will be over 35 years continuous developed. This could only exist if the technology during all trends and fashions changes survives and the purpose of the product is timeless. It´s about the Solaris from AudioValve.
If AudioValve’s portfolio meantime includes now nearly each amplifier in the hi-fi segment – preamps, power amplifiers, phono preamplifiers and power amplifiers, all in tube technology, of course – headphone amplifiers are one of the company’s core products.
So began the AudioValve story with a tube headphone amplifier, short RKV, which Mr. Becker introduced in 1982. Now offers AudioValve the RKV in the third generation as RKVIII. New comes the Luminare, which with balanced connections and a connection for electrostatic headphones according to Stax specifications offers more connection options for different headphones, as well as the Solaris, which could combine RKVIII and Luminare and offers even more connection, so that it can also be used as a preamp or even as a power amplifier, the Solaris has inherited from the RKVIII also speaker outputs. A high-quality DAC board is available for all models, which adds a USB input to the devices – which is also included in our test device.
If you want more than already extremely high “series quality” of Audio-Valve, you can also order the Solaris as a “Limited Edition”. For these devices, all components are selected by hand to 1% tolerance, in addition to a few elaborate tuning measures are used.
The Solaris can therefore be described as the top model among the headphone amplifiers from AudioValve. The top position is mainly a result of its variety of the connection. The “heart”, the actual amplifier circuit, is the same for all headphone amplifiers from AudioValve. It’s about a tube circuit, with four ECL85 working in a Class A circuit per channel. The ECL85 is a relatively “modern” tube that came on the market in the early 1960s. It consists of two systems, a triode and a pentode, and was originally designed for use in televisions. The tube is quite common and in the nearest future, the availability of replacement tubes is in any case guaranteed. Whereby the probability, that the tubes have somewere to change, is very low. Helmut Becker has equipped each tube with a circuit that continuously monitors the quiescent current, so that the tubes always work optimally regardless of their aging state. The circuit itself is designed for transformerless operation (OTL) and delivers a power of 8 watts per channel – far more than ever a headphone needed. In the OTL mode, the Solaris can use the powerful output stages headphones with impedances between 25 and 1000 ohm drive and drive them both unbalanced and symmetrical. For balanced connection, a 4-pin XLR jack and two combi jacks are available, to which a balanced headphone with two 3-pin XLR plugs can be connected. Unbalanced, two headphones with 6.3 mm jack can be connected to the same combination jacks. For lower impedance headphones, there is the “low-impedance” mode.
This is used a step-down output transformer, which allows to operate headphones with an impedance from 3 ohms on the Solaris. At the same time, a signal and supply voltage for the normal (= not pro) headphones from Stax are available at the Stax connection socket. When switching to Stax mode, the Solaris provides the necessary voltages and signals for Stax Pro headphones.
Alternatively, a dynamic headphone with an impedance of 16 ohms can be connected. In all cases, for headphones with very low efficiency you can increase the amplification factor by switch. Also as far as the sources are concerned, the Solaris is easy to connect. Four line inputs, two of which can be balanced or unbalanced, allow the connection of DAC or CD player, tuner, tape machine or whatever. In addition, there is a phono input for MM pickups. Since such a variety of connections would suit a veritable preamplifier, the Solaris also has corresponding outputs. So you can operate a power amplifier or active speakers with him.
Passive loudspeakers can even be connected to the speaker terminals on the rear panel – the 8 watts that the Solaris can deliver, delivers amazing volumes. Incidentally, the volume can also be controlled using the enclosed remote control. Also noteworthy is the built-in DACBoard. This is anything but a simple off-the-peg solution or a standard component purchased in Asia. It was developed by Manfred Pfenning, who was also active in the field of digital technology for other well-known names such as Restek or BMC Audio. An XMOS processor receives via USB signals up to 24-bit / 384 kHz or DSD128 and leads them to further conversion, whose details AudioValve does not mention. The USB input is parallel to input 4. If a digital signal is present, input 4 automatically switches to the USB input; If no digital signal is present, the analog input 4 is active.
In the test, the Solaris DAC had a lot to do. The entire range of high-end headphones featured here – starting with the MrSpeakers magneton magnetostatic, with an impedance of only 13 ohms, marks the lower end of the test field via the conventionally dynamic AudioTechnica ATH-ADX5000 with an impedance of 420 ohms to to the electrostatic MrSpeakers Voce, which needs a supply voltage of 580 V and a corresponding processed music signal – was allowed to give an idea on the Solaris.
In addition came my familiar working headphones. Also as sources everything came from the laptop with JRiver over a high-quality external DAC up to the MM-equipped turntable for use. And how does Solaris DAC sound? Especially in any case. But it´s not so easy to explain. Tonally sound neutral many headphone amplifier or they bring the tonal tuning of the connected headphones to advantage, without imposing a noticeable own stamp on it. Of course the AudioValve behaves properly in this regard. Dynamicly it´s like a “pow”, as a headphone just could provide , as headphone amplifiers could.
Writing about resolution or detail rendering is just as idle. Rather, I wrote something about the different headphones. If there is one thing that distinguishes the sound of Solaris equally on all headphones, it is a truly remarkable accuracy, with which it seems to dedicate itself to every sound, every acoustic event. It’s like looking at a modern TV with the latest UHD and HDR technology from an old TV with PAL video standards. Similar to the pictures, every detail seems more sharply outlined, each (sound) color is finer and cleaner graded, dark parts of the picture (the bass) are darker and still show structures and gradations, where somewhere long ago indifferent deep gray prevails. Also, the lights, the heights, radiate in a way and still show gradations, where you have previously seen nothing but uniform white. The whole thing, however, only true, if you make it aware. Because in the beginning you are simply overwhelmed by the overall impression. That’s exactly what Solaris is all about. He presents his overwhelming sound characteristics as a matter of course. Not the details are in the foreground, but a clear, pure overall impression, which one without a magnifying glass.This is in my opinion the main difference between hi-fi (high fidelity) and high-end – no more questions.
May 2018 – Dr. Mertens, EAR-IN
original pdf review see below …..
Audio Valve Solaris DAC
That was my first thought as I unboxed the beautiful yet Industrial Audio Valve Solaris Headphone Amp/DAC. If you like your Audio equipment to be bland and understated, look elsewhere. This is big, funky, beautifully built, black metal, glass and chrome. An Audio Harley Davidson. If ever a piece of kit was oddly named, this was it.
It’s actually a fully featured Integrated Amp, 12w per channel, with 5 unbalanced and 2 balanced inputs, balanced pre-outs, 4 headphone outputs and a single USB input. Due to the complexity of my speakers, I’m only using the pre-outs and USB features for the main body of the review. The pre -outs are feeding my Audiomanufacture 4 channel DSP power amp.
I approached this review with a degree of scepticism. I’ve been seduced by valves before, their lush siren like mids with shimmering tops, but eventually return to the sturm und drang of Solid State.
I’m a drummer and a bass player, so the rhythm section and how the system keeps this tight and coherent is paramount to me.
After tracking down and installing the drivers, I let the Amp warm up for a couple of hours before starting any listening. Last month I spent 3 days at High End Munich, and was disappointed by the choice of music of many of the manufacturers, playing it safe with female vocals, at one point it was like an Eva Cassidy fest…..it sounded good but doesn’t challenge the system.
I started with the built in USB DAC with more challenging female vocals, early Joni Mitchell whose high register could break a glass and Aimee Mann, who with an inferior system can sound like she’s got the worst head cold ever. And then a firm favourite, “Inconsolable” off the Jonatha Brooke and The Story “Plumb”, where it can all fall apart when the piano and big kick drum come together in the final minutes.
I’m pleased to say it was a thumbs up, vocals were lively but not strident, huge, lush but not with overblown mids, with deep tuneful bass. As a drummer, tight and dynamic snares and sizzling cymbals are something I always demand from my system. So 2 choices seemed appropriate, “Trampoline” off the Joe Henry disc of the same name and the title track off the Ben Harper “Fight for your Mind”. The latter having not only drums with real snap but tight, punchy bass and sleigh bells….bring it on 🙂
Another win, it had almost all the snap of my solid state but without any doubt better mids.
I decided to finish off the digital test with a bit of speaker blowing Rock, the fab four, no….not The Beatles, Jimmy , Robert, John-Paul and Bonzo, the mighty Zepp.
I have a High Res 24/96 version of one of their greatest albums, 1975’s “Physical Graffiti” . Warming up with “Kashmir” Bonzo’s almost metronomic drumming unpinning what is actually a North African chord progression, the guitar and strings all well separated but gelling , with Percy giving it his trademark Yeas and Woos, quite a journey.
And to finish, may I recommend one of their under-rated but brilliant tracks, ” In my time of Dying”. It opens with Jimmy’s shimmering but edgy almost threatening slide guitar and then we are joined by Robert, quite subtle but with detail and nuance. It builds into speaker shredding crescendos, the slide cuts through like a chain saw, Robert howling like a Banshee, Bonzo is attempting to turn his Ludwigs into firewood and as always JPJ keeps it all together with fleet fingered nimble but tight and punchy bass.
This track has been the nemesis of many a system……but it rocked and never lost its grip and timing.
Mightily impressed for valves……
On to Vinyl, my OL TT/Arm , Shelter M/C and Perreaux phono stage linked via balanced cables into the Solaris. This can be a bit lean but not a bit of it here. The pre wrung out detail on LPs I’d not heard in 30 years. The debut LP from Joan Armatrading , suddenly Kenny Jones’s drums had a new dynamic and cymbal and snare drums, deep in the mix, would magically appear.
I must have got through 20 or 30 well-loved LPs and was bowled over by the new level of detail I was hearing. I’m close to thinking that the Solaris pre works better with my vinyl rig than my current solid state pre and that’s quite a statement.
There is one criticism, and it’s not audio based really…..the remote is truly awful. It’s basically a clicker you get with electric garage doors, button A for down, button B for up. It’s clunky, noisy and the steps are too big. I’m amazed that a company who spends so much time and effort on aesthetics would supply, possibly as an afterthought , such an awful remote.
I’ve been living with the Solaris for a week or so now and I am loving its detail, soundstage, and just sheer musicality. You start off listening to the HiFi but very quickly get drawn in and are soon just loving the music. This is an excellent and very well featured amplifier. It sounds and looks marvellous.
I’m extremely impressed by this valve amplifier and if Elite Audio were to ask me to try a standalone pre, I’d be very very happy !
Audiovalve Solaris – Um dos melhores amplificadores de auscultadores do mundo.
Graças à Audiovalve, temos um amplificador que permite amplificar qualquer auscultador, STAX inclusivé. O Audiovalve Solaris permite ligar 2 auscultadores via jack 6mm, 1 via 4 pin balanceado e 1 STAX. Permite ainda ligar um par de colunas e fornecer até 12W por canal, graças a 4 válvulas 6GV18 por canal. O Solaris permite ainda usar os auscultadores em modo baixa impedancia (menos de 100ohm), alta impedancia em modo OTL (Output Transformer Less) que, como o nome indica não utiliza transformadores à saída, e ainda o modo STAX com bias a 580VDC. O amplificador tem 5 entradas RCA line-level, 1 entrada Phono MM e 2 entradas XLR.
O Solaris permite assim amplificar auscultadores com impedancias de 3ohm até 145 000ohm (!), tornando-se assim não só uma referencia em termos de qualidade de reprodução como também de versatilidade e, neste caso, na ferramenta perfeita para comparar diferentes auscultadores.
Trata-se de uma construção dual mono com transpormadores Pikatron para os andares de saída e um toroidal para alimentação da etapa de pré amplificação. A Audiovalve, pelo Sr Helmut Becker, alega que o Solaris é linear do 15Hz até aos 100 000Hz! O bias das válvulas é ajustado de forma completamente automática.
Esta será das reviews mas difíceis de escrever até hoje. Quem já teve a oportunidade de testar auscultadores high-end poderá constatar que não existem auscultadores perfeitos. Quando oiço sistemas hi-fi com colunas, em geral, considero que o equilibrio tonal está quase sempre satisfatório ou muito bom e interessam-me avaliar características que considero mais difíceis ou que mais frequentemente falham: transparencia, dinamica, sensação 3D, precisão temporal, ritmo e impacto. Nos auscultadores acabo por avaliar muitas vezes “à moda antiga”: graves, médios e agudos. É muito frequente observar auscultadores com desiquilíbrios tonais pronunciados, mesmo em faixas de preços que não deixavam adivinhar tal defeito.
Os tres auscultadores em análise utilizam metodos de transdução muito diferentes. Os Focal Elear são auscultadores eletrodinamicos: utilizam um altifalante com movimento pistonico, semelhante a uma coluna de som monovia. Os Audeze LCD-3 são auscultadores planar magnéticos: filas de magnetos criam um campo magnético que faz vibrar uma fina membrana de mylar. Os STAX SR-007MK2 são eletroestáticos, utilizando a eletricidade estática criada numa rede metálica para excitar um fino diafragma. Poderão examinar melhor as diferenças visitando estes sites: 1, 2 e 3.
Os Focal Elear são substancialmente mais baratos (PVP: 990€) do que os Audeze LCD-3 (PVP: 2259€) e do que os STAX SR-007 MK2 (PVP: 2600€) mas foram incluídos neste comparativo por achar que são bons representantes da vanguarda dos auscultadores eletrodinamicos e a um preço acessível. Em vez de caracterizar cada auscultador talvez seja mais fácil descrever como tocam diferentes músicas.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Tin Pan Alley (Album: Couldn’t Stan the Weather)
Esta é uma faixa muito completa, com um grave profundo, agudos impactantes (com o puxar da corda violentamente) e nota artística elevada. Com os Stax SR-007, o Stevie toca magistralmente. Quase que o sentimos a respirar, a música parece até parar em pequenos momentos. O palco sonoro forma-se em torno da cabeça, como se fosse uma núvem, em vez de vir apenas dos auscultadores. O grave do baixo é muito musical e apesar de ter uma extensão limitada, é rico e não é monotónico.
Com os Audeze LCD-3, temos imediatamente um incremento grande na extensão do grave. Temos também mais impacto nas cordas. Em comparação com os STAX, o palco está mais confinado aos auscultadores e temos um som mais “preso”. O detalhe e a rapidez são formidáveis embora não exatamente ao nível dos STAX. É fácil caracterizar os Audeze como mais dinamicos do que os STAX mas eu tenho algumas dúvidas. Se fizermos uma analogia com a imagem, a dinamica seria análoga ao contraste e o impacto análogo ao brilho/luz. Se tivermos mais luz na imagem não temos necessáriamente mais contraste. Os STAX parecem ter mais silencio, mas não têm tanto impacto. Ambos auscultadores permitem ouvir a níveis de SPL absurdos tal o nível baixo de distorção.
Os Focal Elear são por comparação mais limitados na largura de banda. A extensão no grave fica perto dos Audeze, e superior aos STAX, mas abaixo de ambos em extenção de frequencias altas. O som não é tão harmonioso e tem tendencia a endurecer a volumes mais altos.
Dee Dee Bridgewater – Slow Boat to China (Album: Live at Yoshi’s)
Esta faixa não é particularmente musical para mim mas graças à dinamica avassaladora permite testar várias características de auscultadores (e colunas).
Aqui a diferença de impacto entre os Stax e os restantes é bem notória. Sendo os Stax bastante limitados nesse aspeto (mas ajudam bastante a ouvir a faixa pois a pandeireta a bater nos ouvidos não é especialmente agradável). Com os Audeze em especial, a pandeireta parece estar a bater dentro dos ouvidos de forma assustadora, especialmente considerando que podemos aumentar o volume sem sentir o endurecimento (mas podemos ficar surdos).
Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat (Album: The Essential)
Nesta faixa os STAX SR-007 sobressaem relativamente aos restantes. A sua capacidade de transmitir a melancolia do Leonard, a separação dos instrumentos e vozes é incrível. A certo ponto, quando entra o coro, temos a sensação que temos de facto uma senhora a sussurar em cada ouvido. Tanto com os Focal como com os Audeze, a apresentação é mais densa e mais localizada, fazendo perder um pouco a magia que se ouve com os STAX.
Arctic Monkeys – Are You Mine (Album: AM)
Com hard rock / heavy metal, penso que será muito subjetivo. A mim agradou-me a forma como os STAX permitem separar o melhor possível a “confusão” da massa sonora e permitir uma audição vibrante e musical, sem causar cansaço. Quem preferir uma experiencia mais impactante irá preferir os Audeze ou os Focal.
Liam Payne – Strip That Down
Esta faixa tem um grave profundo, que precisa de um subwoofer num sistema com colunas, para se conhecer verdadeiramente. Os Audeze aqui são os grandes vencedores e os STAX incapazes de “chegar lá abaixo”, ficando os Focal mais perto dos Audeze do que dos STAX.
Na verdade, o verdadeiro vencedor da extensão do grave nesta música foram os Meze 99 Classics que, por apenas 309€, podem muito bem ser a opção ideal para quem ouve mais este tipo de música.
Os SR-007MK2 são muito leves e extremamente confortáveis. São diferentes de tudo o que já experimentei. A experencia de ouvir música com eles é muitas vezes caracterizada de éterea (em reviews profissionais e de utilizadores). Tenho de concordar. A sua construção leve e “solta” combina bem com a sua apresentação sónica e por vezes faz-nos esquecer que estamos a ouvir música com auscultadores. A música ‘aparece’ de uma esfera imaginária à volta da cabeça. São extremamente rápidos, permitindo ouvir detalhes que nunca tínhamos ouvido e especialmente o silencio entre notas. Dão um insight formidável às capacidades artísticas e interpretativas dos músicos. Tonalmente são extremamente equilibrados dos 60-80Hz para cima (estimativa!), sendo mais limitados do que a maioria dos auscultadores na extensão do grave. São auscultadores que permitem ouvir horas a fio pois apresentam baixíssima distorção e não parecem cansar minimamente.
Os Audeze são bem mais pesados do que a maioria dos auscultadores que já testei. A sua colocação na cabeça sente-se. Se se tornam desconfortáveis ao fim de algum tempo é algo que ainda falta testar. No entanto, as suas almofadas de pele assentam muito bem à volta da orelha e oferecem conforto e ‘aconchego’. Não tendo a ‘magia’ dos eletroestáticos, conseguem ser auscultadores mais perfeitos. Têm uma largura de banda enorme, com um grave bem profundo e agudos bem altos. Tonalmente diria que têm um pouco de ênfase na gama média-baixa tornando os um pouco mais ‘escuros’. O som é por isso detalhado e rápido como poucos auscultadores dinamicos conseguem fazer (nenhum que eu tenha experimentado) mas impactante, encorpado e com um registo de frequencias baixas ao nível dos melhores. Se os STAX apresentam um som etéreo, os Audeze apresentam um som bem mais denso.
Até aqui talvez tenham ficado com uma sensação negativa em relação aos Focal Elear. Comparando com os STAX e Audeze eles ficam abaixo em todos os parametros que possamos analisar. Felizmente ficam também abaixo, e muito, no preço. Por 990€ (PVP) são auscultadores ainda no domínio do ‘acessível’. Para além disso, com um impedancia de 80ohm não exigem tanto do amplificador como os Audeze (110ohm) e muito menos do que os STAX, que precisam de amplificadores dedicados. Estão entre os melhores auscultadores dinamicos que já ouvi. A sua construção é formidável e assentam na cabeça de forma anatomicamente perfeita. Não oferecem a sensação solta dos STAX (há quem goste e quem não goste), e assentam de forma mais aconchegada. São por isso muito confortáveis. Tonalmente são muito equilibrados embora mais limitados nos extremos, do que os Audeze. Não são auscultadores para bass heads e a sua resposta em frequencias altas também não é tão extensa como os eletroestáticos ou planar magnéticos mas no geral, e especialmente para o preço, são muito muito bons e difíceis de criticar. Que sequer possam ser comparados com os Audeze e STAX já é muito indicativo.
Dos quatro auscultadores aqui referidos (incluindo os Meze), se fosse obrigado a escolher apenas um, escolheria os Audeze LCD-2. Se pudesse ter dois possivelmente optaria pelos STAX para audições focadas mas teria (e tenho) uns Meze 99 Classics para ter junto do PC com um Audioquest Dragonfly para uma utilização descontraída como ver videos Youtube, música pop, gaming, etc. Se tivesse um orçamento mais limitado escolheria os Focal Elear.