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How does this unit sound: warm, neutral or bright?
It's hard to say. Amps are not designed to colour sound, however distortion can make interactions sound warm or bright, and distortion can come from many things which becomes hard to predict. Distortions that causes variations of even 1 decibel at the right spot in the frequency range can cause an arbitrary output to sound warmer or cooler.
Thank You for the answer.
The x7s is a class a amp. I own this from the last drop and will tell you that it is MUCH warmer than the schiit stack that I also own. I have enjoyed the sound so much more that I am in the process of selling my schiit stack.
Thank You. This is good to know.
Did You experienced the same findings as "starvoice" did (a few posts up)?
What headphones do You power with X7S?
I have done some research and it seems this amp does not like low impedance headphones. I would also like to know if you had any problems with this amp on certain headphones and have any hiss/hum problems?
No problems here. I can run a pair of SHP9500s without any hum/noise. I just checked on a pair of Status CB-1 and I am not hearing any issues with it either. It also boils down to how you have gain controls set on the bottom of the device. Hope that helps, as those are the most efficient cans that I own.
Well, if I was looking to go balanced with a 32ohm headphone I would probably just use a DAP, or look at the SMSL SAP9.
I haven't had any issues using SHP9500s or Status CB-1, but I also don't own any other cans that are less efficient than those.
I primarily use this with my HD650's, Sony MDR-Z7's and HE-400's. I'll be honest though... the balanced piece is a bit of a joke if you're expecting this to sound different from the 1/4 inch input.
There is a big difference in power delivery from the XLR, and that is VERY noticeable.
I am actually going to be selling my x7s, as I recently purchased an emotive a-100. That thing is a freaking beast class a amp at 50watts per channel, that also happens to have a fantastic headphone out at the front. Oh, you can also place jumpers to run the full 50watts directly to the headphone out and run HE-6's no problem.
It costs $229 and will be my sole amp here shortly.
If anyone wants to buy an x7s in silver just let me know ;)
This amp has a relatively high output impedance which would have a low damping factor for low impedance headphones.
But this will not give you hissing or humming issues. Low damping factor, long story short, would give you uneven power delivery across the frequency range, this results in some colouration in the sound you hear.
It's up to the person whether they can tolerate this colouration. Some might even prefer some colour to a completely neutral tone.
Reason you don't hear much difference between 1/4 and XLR output is it's not a fully balanced design. Balanced output on the X7S is only useful for the power it gives, it doesn't have any other advantage.
I appreciate the feedback on these two cans, especially, as I have them both. They're my "beaters." I have Elears and the HDxx's on the way as well as some Stax to try. Will be interesting to see how they sound with my unbalanced NFB 11.28 amp. I'm really considering this combo, too, to drive the balanced cans. I've also been looking at the DIY community, including www.dalaudio.com for a custom, balanced amp build.
Stax wont work on the X7s as they're elctrocstatic....
Yep, I was referring to the Elear and HD6xx only.