Aries Cerat Genus: King of the hill headphone amplifier

Aries Cerat

Industry Expert
May 30, 2015
179
89
28
#21
#22

Thieliste

Active Member
Aug 31, 2014
275
25
28
France
#23
Hello

Here is impressions from a user of the HP you mentioned,that auditioned the Genus:

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/...-2018-with-a-full-ac-system.26574/post-555719
Hello

Here is impressions from a user of the HP you mentioned,that auditioned the Genus:

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/...-2018-with-a-full-ac-system.26574/post-555719
It's funny because Jambo is prett Michel on thé dame situation as i am. With histoire speaker system on hold.
Hello

Here is impressions from a user of the HP you mentioned,that auditioned the Genus:

https://whatsbestforum.com/threads/...-2018-with-a-full-ac-system.26574/post-555719
It's funny because Jambo is pretty much in the same situation as i am with his speaker system put aside and using his HP rig meanwhile.
The next two months are going to be crucial for me to determine if i can build my system at the end of this year or having to wait for another year or more:rolleyes:
 
#24
It's funny because Jambo is prett Michel on thé dame situation as i am. With histoire speaker system on hold.


It's funny because Jambo is pretty much in the same situation as i am with his speaker system put aside and using his HP rig meanwhile.
The next two months are going to be crucial for me to determine if i can build my system at the end of this year or having to wait for another year or more:rolleyes:
Can you build it in stages? And enjoy your headphones during the build. What are you changing out?
 

Thieliste

Active Member
Aug 31, 2014
275
25
28
France
#25
Can you build it in stages? And enjoy your headphones during the build. What are you changing out?
No it's going to be an all or nothing kind of situation, my speakers need monoblock power so it's going to be Impera II/Concero 65 combo if i go Aries Cerat.
I can still listen to my Kennerton Odin meanwhile coupled with my Hugo 2.
 
#26
No it's going to be an all or nothing kind of situation, my speakers need monoblock power so it's going to be Impera II/Concero 65 combo if i go Aries Cerat.
I can still listen to my Kennerton Odin meanwhile coupled with my Hugo 2.
Nice. Well I can tell you, the Genus Integrated is the best SET I have heard to date. The Concero 65s will be more of that goodness. Yes they are not cheap, but compared to other top SETs, they are very good value v performance. I would pitch that combo against the Kondo top units, no problem, and would say they are faster and more transparent.
 

Thieliste

Active Member
Aug 31, 2014
275
25
28
France
#27
Nice. Well I can tell you, the Genus Integrated is the best SET I have heard to date. The Concero 65s will be more of that goodness. Yes they are not cheap, but compared to other top SETs, they are very good value v performance. I would pitch that combo against the Kondo top units, no problem, and would say they are faster and more transparent.
Astro what kind of output are you using on the Genus to plug your LCD4 ?
Is it jack 6.35 or XLR ?
 
#28
Astro what kind of output are you using on the Genus to plug your LCD4 ?
Is it jack 6.35 or XLR ?
Hello Thieliste
It is a 6.2mm jack at the back. The amp is Single Ended. I have an extension lead that goes to balanced 4 pin female, the balanced configuration then a Y split then the LCD4 input jacks. I sit the balanced plug on my desk, and just plug in the LCD4s when I want to listen, works great.

Did I tell you is sounds Bl..dy amazing? More than that, best I have heard. Are you getting closer to a decision? I would like to be in the loop, and give you more advice if needed. Pic shows my LCDs with the basic lead, I now have the all silver Norne Druag, which is much better.

IMG_3950.JPG Aries_Cerat_Genus_09.jpg
The headphone output socket (red locking tab) is next to the speaker taps at the bottom.
 
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Thieliste

Active Member
Aug 31, 2014
275
25
28
France
#29
Hello Thieliste
It is a 6.2mm jack at the back. The amp is Single Ended. I have an extension lead that goes to balanced 4 pin female, the balanced configuration then a Y split then the LCD4 input jacks. I sit the balanced plug on my desk, and just plug in the LCD4s when I want to listen, works great.

Did I tell you is sounds Bl..dy amazing? More than that, best I have heard. Are you getting closer to a decision? I would like to be in the loop, and give you more advice if needed. Pic shows my LCDs with the basic lead, I now have the all silver Norne Druag, which is much better.

View attachment 48651 View attachment 48652
The headphone output socket (red locking tab) is next to the speaker taps at the bottom.
Regarding my future system build i will know more mid april if i can have the funds this year or later on.
I'm sure using world class HP with Aries cerat amp must be out of this world, i aleardy know how it sounds with my speakers.
 
Nov 23, 2015
40
58
18
#30
Agreed,low level signal quality is crucial.
When we developed our Genus we used the big horn speakers,which at 112db horn sections means that when low level information is reproduced,signal level is comparable to HP level signal.It is one of the reasons why it does perform as is does when driving HP,as it bettered five figure $$$ dedicated HP amps. Big unexpected plus since we design this to be integrated amplifier first,with the HP feature as bonus.
Seems it surpassed expectations of many in that regard.

Wish you the best with Antares, Graham

Cheers
Stavros
Only one way to settle this one. I hear plans are in the making for a showdown.
 

Stacore

Industry Expert
Feb 23, 2017
488
60
28
Gdańsk, Poland
stacore.pl
#31
Fantastic experiment Julian, thank you very much for sharing it! I'm myself a bit of a headphone guy (own 3 Staxes and 3 amps for them). What kept puzzling me throughout the years is why headphone amps were [up to until recently] so differently constructed compared to the speaker amps. They are brilliant as electronic engineering creations but not so much as sonic creations. For sure they measure great, but they seem to ignore all the experience accumulated in speaker amp design throughout the decades. With all the respect to designers like Kevin Gilmore, solid state current sources and sinks, servos, feedback loops etc are a well known sonically dangerous solutions, better avoided in top notch amps. Yet, looking at one of the most reputable amps - Blue Hawaii (BHSE) - the output tubes are surrounded by solid state electronics, the input being solid state altogether. Another icon - DIY T2 amp - apart from 8 tubes uses 250 (!) semiconductors. One of the reasons, apart from tradition and influential designs, why is it that so is perhaps amp's cost and weight- making a headphone amp using the same methods as a top notch speaker amp will cost and weight roughly the same. And indeed recently such amps started to appear commercially (Frank Cooter is here a noble exception but never heard his wonderful creations) at predictably high prices.

What your report seems to indicate is something I suspected for a long time - if you power headphones with a top class amp designed according to the best sonic practices (ignoring the cost), there will be a significant jump, some curtain will be lifted. Of course provided the source is top flying (not so common in headphone systems). I've been planning for a long time my own design, super simplistic - fully balanced 2 tube stage, DC coupled, DHT with no output transformer, huge cap power supply [all simulated, most parts there, just missing time...]. It'll be a size of a small fridge (or e.g. a Concero). Although you use magneplanars, me electrostats, your report is actually quite encouraging to push the design forward. As the first step I just got a BHSE to have something to benchmark against :)

Cheers,
 
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#32
Interesting Jarek. I know the BHSE well, I ordered it twice, but cancelled and got a nice DIY KGSShv Carbon instead. The BHSE does have EL34s on the final stage (of it's 4 stages). The problem with electrostatic amplifiers is the voltage, you need to swing 1,600 volts. It is very difficult to design an all tube electrostatic amplifier without the complexity and lots of heat (many tubes).

Kevin Gilmour has the Circlotron, and also a Megatron, which I believe is an all tube gain stage amplifier, but runs very hot, a space heater (as does the T2) , and in a complex circuit. Frank's low run DIY amplifier (owned by Jude at head-fi) runs rare tubes that are radioactive apparently, but safe. I think that is why Frank used those big tubes, to get the voltage swing. Interestingly, the Sennheiser HE-1 also has a final Fet stage in the headset. The Hi-Fi Man Shangri-La looks to be all tube using 4 300Bs, but it sounds poor IMO.

I haven't heard the T2 (Kevin version). Is is supposed to be top notch, and uses currently available parts unlike the original Stax T2, many of it's parts are now obsolete. The original T2 was a bad design, it got way too hot and proved unreliable. It also nearly bankrupt Stax. That is probably why there current amplifiers are so weak, playing it safe with small tubes inside the case. The current top Stax amp is the T-8000 but it is very poor sounding. It is based on an old design, so Stax seem not wanting to go forward on their amplifiers. Woo Audio WES is not great either, though I haven't heard the MK2. Oddly, the over complex Mal-Valve electrostatic and dynamic amplifier I heard at Munich 2018 sounded really good, but with 14 tubes was way too complex and got very hot. It also cost 15K euros which I though was crazy, the Genus is miles better for that price and is a full blown SET speaker amplifier.

If you run planers you open up things a lot. I had a top 009 system as you know, and went over to planers. For me, they give me a more accurate sound, real bass and super smooth treble details. Less 'in your face' treble than the 009 off the BHSE or Carbon amplifiers.

I would try the LCD4s out of the Genus, or the Viva Egoista. And the Abyss or Susvara are in the same league. To my ears, these 3 planers beat the Stax. It is a different presentation, but if you are used to hearing high end speakers, I bet you will agree with my choice.

I am curious what you decide to build. Some say you only need 3 Watts max for planers so could use the 2A3 tubes. But having heard more powerful amplifiers on the LCD4 I think 8 Watts is better. And bear in mind, the Abyss is about 50% less efficient than the LCD4, and the Susvara 50% less than the Abyss at least.

Keep in touch!
 
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Stacore

Industry Expert
Feb 23, 2017
488
60
28
Gdańsk, Poland
stacore.pl
#33
In simulations I'm getting a hefty 1200V with 2Vrms input out of just 2 simple tube stages with 2A3 (2 balanced stages per channel = 4 tubes per channel). Much more with EL34. It's a matter of approach, not impossibility...at least on paper ;)

Cheers,
 
#34
Interesting. Do you have the ability to design it from scratch, to need a circuit to base it on? The design of an electrostatic amplifier is a different animal to driving dynamics or speakers.

Caps need to handle higher voltage than normal for example. There also needs to be some form of protection at the output to avoid damaging the HPs. I would chat with Frank.

I would try and avoid the head-case forum for advice, they are super aggressive, or at least take care. :mad:
 

Stacore

Industry Expert
Feb 23, 2017
488
60
28
Gdańsk, Poland
stacore.pl
#36
Julian, its both old and new. I based the design on Romy the Cat's original Melquiades amplifier, but made it fully balanced and DC coupled. Would definitely like to chat to Frank if there is a chance. Munich - I'm afraid I'll hardly have any free time there.

Cheers,
 
#37
That sounds good. Please keep us posted on your progress. Headphones can get to the same lofty levels of the best speaker systems IMO, and at tiny amounts of that budget.
 

bazelio

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
679
140
43
California
#38
Is the Genus ever in demo at trade shows? I'd like to hear it with my modified HD800. I noticed it uses E280F driver tubes, which are what I'm using in my phono stage. I feel it is a great tube!
 
#39
I am told there will be a Genus and Kassandra in the lobby of the Aries Cerat demo room in Hall 1 at Munich. I am not sure which HPs will be with it. If you want more clarification, maybe PM Stavros or Michel (Belgian dealer) and they can confirm. I'd bring my LCD4s but I am worried they could get damaged on the flight over.

I will get to Can-Jam on the Sunday morning, see if there is anything interesting on the tube amps front.
I am with Stavros Wednesday till end of Sunday to help set up and run the room, they de-assemble it.
 

bazelio

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
679
140
43
California
#40
Ah, I should have clarified - USA trade shows.

I'd also like you to hear the Donald North Audio Stellaris amp with the silver Audio Note OPTs. I think it will drive LCD4's effectively (though I've never heard it with those cans). But it's the best tube amp I've heard with HD800s, and it's not even close. The way it fleshes out and creates 3D palpability not just to the stage in a macro sense, but to each individual instrument is really impressive. I've never heard the Viva unit.
 

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