Audionet Scientist Series: Humboldt Integrated vs Stern and Heisenberg Separates : Having Your Cake and Eating it Too?

heihei

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2017
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Hi Heihei,

I have a lot of respect for Paul's ear...he knows his trade very well. And he is utterly committed to super-elite level performance.

As for CH 10, yes from everything I have ever read, heard or been told directly, the 10 series excels at tonal density which is particularly intriguing to me. Interesting comment about Audionet dynamics relative to L1/X1/M1...adds some further insight into other comments I have heard from owners of the L1/X1/M1 series.
Interesting your use of the phrase "tonal density" re: CH 10-series.......I use the word "saturated" to describe the Audionet sound and wonder if they are closely linked. I think this is different to "harmonic richness" which is the phrase often used to describe class-A and/or tube amplification, but there is probably a grey area between the two. I wouldn't describe the Audionet as class-A sounding per-se, but the saturation gets you close, and at that point, the benefits of a non-class-A set of amps takes over (if that makes sense).

That "saturation" has allowed me to make other changes to the system, most notably going from GG2 to Pacific DAC, which is dryer sounding. With my previous Berning amps this didn't work, but with the Audionet has meant a big step forward. Likewise the use of Skogrand speaker cables.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Miguel, the founder of Tripoint, loves the Gryphon Mephisto and uses the term 'image density'...another way of describing a similar impression of the best of Gryphon sound.

I think saturation also works and I think I understand what you are describing in the Audionet sound. Very nice.
 
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nirodha

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Aug 11, 2010
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Got the Humboldt today. :). I don't think I can add a lot to all that has been written. Only one thing. 11 years ago I bought my Kef 207/2 after a great review by John Atkinson in Stereophile (and after having them a week on trial at home). JA mentioned that the Kef had an "inner glow". Like the music was "warmed up from the inside". Sorry.... can't explain this any further. This glow I recognized after I had bought them. But... as time passes on... some things disappear in one's experience. You get used to your sound and that's it. Until today. After connecting the Humboldt I noticed this "glow" again. There is an "aliveness" in the sound of the Humboldt which is extremely addictive. In short: I am one happy camper :)
 

KPC

Member
Dec 5, 2019
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Thanks for sharing. I just started my high end audio journey with Constellation Inspiration electronics yet to be hooked up. The Humboldt is my end-game target which I view as a sonic bargain when compared with the very best.
 
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nirodha

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Aug 11, 2010
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Thanks for sharing. I just started my high end audio journey with Constellation Inspiration electronics yet to be hooked up. The Humboldt is my end-game target which I view as a sonic bargain when compared with the very best.
Enjoy!
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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Got the Humboldt today. :). I don't think I can add a lot to all that has been written. Only one thing. 11 years ago I bought my Kef 207/2 after a great review by John Atkinson in Stereophile (and after having them a week on trial at home). JA mentioned that the Kef had an "inner glow". Like the music was "warmed up from the inside". Sorry.... can't explain this any further. This glow I recognized after I had bought them. But... as time passes on... some things disappear in one's experience. You get used to your sound and that's it. Until today. After connecting the Humboldt I noticed this "glow" again. There is an "aliveness" in the sound of the Humboldt which is extremely addictive. In short: I am one happy camper :)
Congrats!...that is tremendous news. For those who cherish it, inner glow is a form of 'audio magic'. Audio magic is rare and sometimes comes with flaws you have to look past to have it (limited bass or low power, etc). In this case, it sounds like Audionet magic does not come with such technical deficiencies...and if anything technically is exceptionally good.
 
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nirodha

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Aug 11, 2010
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Congrats!...that is tremendous news. For those who cherish it, inner glow is a form of 'audio magic'. Audio magic is rare and sometimes comes with flaws you have to look past to have it (limited bass or low power, etc). In this case, it sounds like Audionet magic does not come with such technical deficiencies...and if anything technically is exceptionally good.
Thank you! The only quibble is the low output of the Nagra Cd-player which means I have to turn the volume of the Humboldt way up. It is no problem for the sound, it just feels strange. I contacted Nagra and the output can be increased from 1 to 3.5 Vrms. But first I have to be sure that this doesn’t affect the sound(stage). Any input is welcome :)
 
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LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Hmmm...does greater voltage necessarily affect soundstage? I am no techie and further have no non-techie/plain listening experience with this. I would have thought higher voltage means a stronger signal coming thru from the source 'could' be a better way to run the system (all else being equal which it rarely is)? At the same time, all of these kinds of adjustments are designed to ensure they can fit into various systems and produce the same quality of sound. Is it difficult to switch? Do you have to send it back to the factory?
 

nirodha

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Aug 11, 2010
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Hmmm...does greater voltage necessarily affect soundstage? I am no techie and further have no non-techie/plain listening experience with this. I would have thought higher voltage means a stronger signal coming thru from the source 'could' be a better way to run the system (all else being equal which it rarely is)? At the same time, all of these kinds of adjustments are designed to ensure they can fit into various systems and produce the same quality of sound. Is it difficult to switch? Do you have to send it back to the factory?
Hmmm...does greater voltage necessarily affect soundstage? I am no techie and further have no non-techie/plain listening experience with this. I would have thought higher voltage means a stronger signal coming thru from the source 'could' be a better way to run the system (all else being equal which it rarely is)? At the same time, all of these kinds of adjustments are designed to ensure they can fit into various systems and produce the same quality of sound. Is it difficult to switch? Do you have to send it back to the factory?
Nagra wrote me it was a small procedure. It could be done by a dealer. It isn’t really necessary, it just “ feels” better. We’ll see.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Nagra wrote me it was a small procedure. It could be done by a dealer. It isn’t really necessary, it just “ feels” better. We’ll see.
Hi Nirodha, thanks for the update.
 

ICUToo

New Member
Sep 20, 2021
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Hello, all
My first post here.
I would like to thank you all for your comments over this topic. Partly because of these comments, I bought a Humboldt.
It is everything they say- the Stereo review is highly accurate.
This thing is dead-quiet.
No fuss setting it up.
The music is fabulous- tone-colour is dense, images have body and solidity to them, the power is palpable in the lower ranges- (the Heisenbergs must be absolutely SENSATIONAL!)
I have never heard a drum (high-hat or snare, for example) sound so real- the leading edge is real, the body and decay are real. My son played drums in the same room i now use for audio, so the suddenness of the impact, the rapidness of the noise , the ACTION of the drum is familiar, and the Humboldt is the only amp I've ever heard that gets it right.
Gryphon Antileon Sig was great, too, but lacked the tone colour to some extent, and made most recordings sound more similar than I think is real.
And, bizarrely, some recordings that I thought were hot, or bright, or thin, or crowded, are now MORE listenable, not less, despite what seems to be very, very high resolution.
When I think of a track to play, I put it on, then I think- no, wait, I have to hear how that OTHER one sounds.... but I can't stop, I have to listen all the way to the end of the current track, 'cos it sounds so real.
Lousy for background music, as it drags your attention into the music.
Heaps of power, but you have NO idea how loud it is until you leave the room- then you realise the whole family has been listening in. No distortion means no cues that the amp is struggling (or means no struggle), so you just turn it up to get more of a great thing.(you know what they say- my neighbours listen to quality music every night, even if they don't want to:))
I have had more goosebumps in the last week than in my whole life of audio. Exciting, dramatic, engaging, enjoyable. Fabulous PRAT, which i don't understand but definitely enjoy.
U2 Running to Stand Still, Bad
Coldplay The Scientist
Any Norah Jones track
Christian Lesbian Southern States Music (Indigo Girls)
Bach Cello Suites
Dire Straits etc etc etc
You name it- I've greatly enjoyed it through Humboldt. I've even started to like JAZZ because it sounds so good and there are lots of quality live recordings.
And when I'm done washing up after dinner every night, I head for the music room to enjoy more more more.
Wonderful stuff.
Bad parts:
-remote is milled aluminium with stupidly-sharp edges, and is quite uncomfortable to hold.
- battery holder in remote is cheap plastic, supposed to stick to the remote case by double-sided tape, which doesn't work (of course, as anodised aluminium is non-stick), batteries RATTLE, so I stuffed some cushion stuffing in to hold it still.
-On-off button illumination is off-centre and too bright- annoying!
-Screen dims to a bright blue-grey rectangle, I'd rather it went black, thanks
-crazy-heavy 61kg and hard to find a suitable stand (I use hardwood butcher block and 24 Isopucks)
I have zero criticisms of the amp's performance, it is great. Zero grain, zero glare, no compromise I can hear. I am sure there are better amps, but I haven't heard them. They will be a joy when I do, because this is wonderful.
 
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heihei

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Jul 24, 2017
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Great write-up, and I can relate to everything you say especially the bit about it being rubbish at background music! Every listening session is an event!
 
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Husk

Member Sponsor
Apr 21, 2010
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As an owner of the Stern, I absolutely agree with Heihel’s opinion of the remote. Hard to imagine a worse remote. Heavy, sharp edges, and it does not fit in your hand. At the very least , Audionet should add a second remote that does fit in the palm of your hand. With just vol up and down and mute.They could look at the VAC remote to see how it is done.
 

matakana

Active Member
Aug 26, 2020
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As an owner of the Stern, I absolutely agree with Heihel’s opinion of the remote. Hard to imagine a worse remote. Heavy, sharp edges, and it does not fit in your hand. At the very least , Audionet should add a second remote that does fit in the palm of your hand. With just vol up and down and mute.They could look at the VAC remote to see how it is done.
You can get a very tidy aluminium programmable remote on ebay for about £30.
 

musicfirst1

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Mar 8, 2015
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Nagra wrote me it was a small procedure. It could be done by a dealer. It isn’t really necessary, it just “ feels” better. We’ll see.
I would think posing the question (1v vs 3.5v i/o) to both Nagra and Audionet as to which is 'better' might provide insight. Assuming the Nagra is optimal at the 1v output, the real question is whether the Humboldt's performance may be diminished with lower input voltages.
 

nirodha

Well-Known Member
Aug 11, 2010
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I would think posing the question (1v vs 3.5v i/o) to both Nagra and Audionet as to which is 'better' might provide insight. Assuming the Nagra is optimal at the 1v output, the real question is whether the Humboldt's performance may be diminished with lower input voltages.
Hi, I "upped" the input on the Humboldt and that solved the "problem".
 

Lungholt

New Member
Nov 21, 2021
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Hi there
After reading your posts and some reviews I am considering replacing my bricasti m21 and m25 setup with the humboldt. Do you think its a good upgrade, considering the trade in price at 11500 euro. i would really be happy for any feedback. Br anders
 

Addicted to hifi

VIP/Donor
Sep 8, 2020
3,812
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Hi there
After reading your posts and some reviews I am considering replacing my bricasti m21 and m25 setup with the humboldt. Do you think its a good upgrade, considering the trade in price at 11500 euro. i would really be happy for any feedback. Br anders
Welcome to wbf.
 

Thieliste

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2014
558
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Hi there
After reading your posts and some reviews I am considering replacing my bricasti m21 and m25 setup with the humboldt. Do you think its a good upgrade, considering the trade in price at 11500 euro. i would really be happy for any feedback. Br anders
If your speakers are not too difficult load it would definitely be an upgrade.
 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
1,271
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Round Rock, TX
Great feedback on the Scientist series, however unless I missed it I don't see an example where anyone directly compared the Max and Pre G2 versus the Humboldt (same system, same room). It would be valuable to get feedback on the integrated versus the older separates in the exact same room, same speakers, same source, same everything and ideally A - B - A.
 
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