Headphone System Update

Headphone Rig #1:

Mivera Superstream
MSB Select DAC II w/ USB & Network Inputs
Mjölnir-Audio Carbon CC Amp
Stax SR-009 & SR-007 Mk1
Headphone Rig #2:
Mivera Superstream
Mivera Purestream DAC
Mivera Purevolume passive pre
Focal Utopia
Mjölnir-Audio Carbon Amp
Stax SR-007 Mk1
Both rigs have access to separate Roon [Synology 2416RP+] and Daphile [Mivera Superserve] servers located elsewhere in the house. The DACs and streamers are fiber isolated from the rest of the network. All equipment is on PS Audio Powerbases or Stillpoints. Analog equipment is plugged into the P5 directly. Digital equipment is plugged into the Powerbases, which are then plugged into the P5. Power is via PS Audio AC-12s or Cerious Technologies Graphene cords. ICs are Belden ICONOCLASTS. Everything is placed on a custom Mapleshade Samson 5 finished in satin black lacquer.
The DirectStream used to be part of this system, but I placed it and the DMP in my speaker system once I finished my evaluation of the DMP.

Great rigs there Palerider. What are your impressions of the Utopias? Which amp do you use to drive those?

@speeddeacon sorry I did not see this sooner. The Utopia headphone os very nice. I prefer it to my LCD-4 and HD800, as well as a few custom cans I have. It has excellent speed, depth, and detail. Nice tonal balance. It’s no Stax, but it’s no slouch. It’s being driven directly by the Mivera Purestream DAC, with volume control by the Mivera Purevolume passive pre. A superb combo.

Very nice. I’m not familiar with the Minerva gear so didn’t realize the DAC had a built in amplifier. I should have figured it out though.

I haven’t heard the new Focal cans but have read a great deal about them. My headphone guy, Drew Baird, really loves them and since you and I have similar tastes I wanted your impression too. One of these days I’ll probably upgrade my now old generation T1’s and those will be on my must audition list.

It doesn’t have a built-in amplifier per se. It’s just that its gain stage is 4 Weiss OP2-BP op amps. They produce enough gain to drive the Utopia. It really is an impressive combo. The fact that this combo sounds so good next to my Stax/MSB/Carbon stack is pretty impressive. I still prefer the Stax, but for dynamic headphones, the Utopia is my clear winner. I probably won’t unload the LCD-4 just yet, but between the Utopia’s superior comfort, and greater sense of airiness, I am not listening to the LCD-4 very much. If I didn’t have the Utopia, I would be quite happy with the LCD-4, but I do. And the comfort factor is not small; it’s a big difference, and probably impossible to factor out. There are people who swing the other way on these two cans, but that’s what this hobby is all about.

High praise indeed to even be mentioned in the same conversation as your SR-009s. Since I have a dedicated listening room I find I don’t listen to my headphone rig much anymore so would have a hard time justifying that level of headphone purchase, but it I ever can I would like to pick a pair of the Utopia’s for sure.

I haven’t tried the Utopias jacked into the BHK pre-amp yet. That could be interesting. Sometimes, even in my listening room, I like to put on the cans. I have a couple of headphone tube amps on the way, a Megatron and a T2, and I plan to locate one in the main listening room, so I can have at least one set of Stax in that room.

Have you heard the Msb stat amp on your stat 009

If I may ask you a few questions

is the USB mqa ready I did the upgrade a few weeks back ?

also did you do the new red book filter it’s a real boost for red book ?