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Positive Feedback ISSUE 47
january/february 2010


Quickies, Part 2
by Robert H. Levi


Headphone Stands from Elusive Disc

Yes sirree, here are superb headphone stands made from gorgeous woods from around the world. I bought one in zebra wood. WOW! My new Ultrasone Edition 8ís look grand mounted on them and its so convenient to use. These are made for elusive disk and retail for $180Ö but talk to Kevin Berg and ask for the T.H.E. Show deal. Shaped like a large ankh from Egypt, they display your best cans in a way that inhibits dust to enter the head end side of the phones.

They come in dark, blond, stripped, and other fascinating wood patterns.  They are very stable and hard to tip over. What fun. Fits all cans I know of in production today. Ear buds need not apply. Iím getting another for my Stax Electrostats. Highest recommendation!


Alert for E.A.R. 834L, 864 and 868 Line Stage Owners!

Hereís a discovery not in the owners manual! I was listening to my headphone amp being fed from the tape out of my 834L line stage. The line stage selector switch was on one of my three tuners. As I finished listening to the program, I switched off the E.A.R. line stage first before the tuner. After a minute or two, the sound was exactly! the same. I had discovered the 834L did not have to be on for the tape monitor output [or home theater bypass] to be working!

The line stage was designed to be a pro switchbox for added inputs in systems needing more inputs. It doesnít have to be on for any of the selector inputs to work through the tape outputs. This is left out of the manual. The 834L doesnít even need to be plugged in! The volume control does not function and is out of the circuit for max purity.

The 864 and 868 tape outs also function with all high level inputs when the line stages are off. Only the internal phono stage requires the preamp to be on to work. Very cool.

The top of the heap 912 has a different circuit and works only when on. You could add a 834L or 864 or 868 from their tape out to a 912 input for a zillion total inputs if you have tons of sources you want all hooked up at. I just like my solid state headphone amp plugged to the  preamp tape out without using time on my main E.A.R. preamp tubes. The headphone sound may even be a tiny bit quieter with the main preamp off.

I spoke with Tim de Paravicini at CES and he confirmed all of the above. He also confirmed that he sort of left this out of all the manuals. Enjoy!


KingRex Headquarters Headphone Amplifier in Combination with Ultrasone Edition 8 Headphones

The KingRex HQ-1 is $895 worth of pure, high powered, intensely musical pulchritude in hand finished richly manufactured red twin metal cases. If you can afford the E.A.R. HP4 at $5000, go for it. If you canít, hereís your choice.

The HQ-1 will need premium interconnects, an upscale balanced cable for the power supply, and an upscale power cordÖall of which you probably haveÖand then the heavens open and your headphones sing. Go to their website and read about the premium parts they use. I donít see how they do it for the price.

What headphones you ask! If you can afford the price tag, $1499, then the German made Ultrasone Edition 8 cans are the best non electrostatic headphones extant. Closed cans [wonderfully quiet], they sit comfortably and snugly on your head and are a musical tour de force. More neutral than Grado, more detailed than AKG, more extended than Sennheiser, and a lot better than any Sony, the Edition 8ís are individually numbered, made of Ruthenium, have ultra advanced titanium drivers, and are covered in Ethiopian sheep skin with a French milled carry tote. After 200 hours break-in, you will know. They ARE the best yet conceived.

I bought them as I could not live without them! By the way, they work well into any IPOD or Benchmark or whatever, but plug them into a HQ-1 and hear what this hobby is all about! Both an audiophileís and a recording engineerís dream cans.


Dynaco AF-6 AM-FM Tuner Revisited

Yes, you read it right. I bought this piece for $50 off Ebay. These were made from 1972 to about 1979 and mine was a kit. All I did was put some lubricant into the controls, put on a good half wave indoor antenna, and a pair of $3000 single ended Kubala-Sosna Emotion Interconnects [because I can.] It worked perfectly and sounds sweeter and smoother than any of my solid state Marantzís including the ST16 at $650. Quiet and sensitive, it is a joy to use. Maybe a hair behind the $6500 MD108 overall [surprisingly just as quiet], but for $50: WOW! Mine is 35 years old and sounds like it was made last week!

I am surprised by the fleshy mids, extended highs, and solid bass of the Dynaco. Easy to tune with an excellent meter to guide you. I like the nice big, bright analog dial thatís easy to read from 10 feet away. Dynaco may not have used premium parts, but they used good parts that were very dependable and yielded their house sound. It sold for $250 as a kit, $350 wired back in the day. Audio Classics even has an unopened NOS Dynaco AF-6 Kit for sale for $699!

The AF-6 is solid state of course and easy to mod. I donít plan to do anything except put some gold Cardas connectors on it. What a find. It even has wide/medium/narrow adjustments and their own AFC called Dynatune that works great and does not color the sound. How sad they are extinct. No worries. As long as you have Ebay and Audiogon, the Dynaco AF6 will live long and prosper.

Bullet proof and cool looking, you canít go wrong with this baby. Iím listening right now with my super-duper Ultrasone Edition 8 Headphones and the performance is top notch. I wouldnít mess with the Dyna FM-3 tube tuner as these are obsolete. The Dyna AF-6 is the ticket to ride. It was their last and best effort! Dynaco RIP