O.G. DSHA-3F Review Roundup
<Please Note: These reviews were of the original DSHA-3F with amorphous cobalt input transformers installed. These will be replaced with reviews of the production DSHA-3FN with the same circuit and parts.>
“The amp in general has amazing driver control - I never felt like the driver was ever damped too much or little with either transformer. I can see why some people may decide to give up tube nervosa for this amp depending on their headphones, as the holography and slight euphony to the mids without loss of control that the [DHSA-3F] captures is really nice, and not something in comparison most of my other solid states can do, regardless of price.”
~Zach Mehrbach, President/Designer of ZMF Headphones
"Best technicalities deserving to its price (perhaps out-deserve in speed, microdynamics and plankton). A bit wet sounding. Lots of excitement. Very involving."
~Vtory, on superbestaudiofriends.org
"It's effortless, has lots of macro- and micro-dynamics, layers instruments precisely and just does not sound strained or artificial ever."
~Arnaud, on superbestaudiofriends.org
"…provides exceptionally high engagement factor. Start out with good intentions, going to listen to one or two tracks and then work on measurements, etc. Several albums later and time has disappeared, though in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Music is rendered in a seductively intimate, articulate presentation."
~atomicbob, on superbestaudiofriends.org
"Few things to note:
- It was said before and needs to be said again - the amp has an effortless sound.
- It's neutral, fast, clear, liquid, and resolving.
- Great air between instruments. It handles busy passages without breaking a sweat. Matter of fact, it's more of a stroll in the park for it.
- Great body and note texture. One of my issues with the SS amps is they sound too lean for my tastes. Mostly with high-z headphones. This strikes a great balance between lean and warm. Almost perfect.
- Tonality and timbre were spot on.
- It did great with pretty much all of my headphones. Favorite pairing was with the Auteurs. It presented this velvety smooth, addicting sound.
- If you're looking for a SS amp to replace tube amps. Or you don't want to roll tubes but enjoy a tubey sound this is a great option. It won't sound too warm or like mush. You don't have to roll top $$$ tubes to get to a good spot.
I found that it hit everything I wanted in an amp: fast, great micro/macro dynamics, detailed, air, separation, layering, holographic, pacing/rhythm, depth, width, and a tube like sound."
~Phantaminium, on superbestaudiofriends.org
"Very effortless, immediate, dynamic, highly resolving sound….it’s a fantastic sounding solid state amp with robust, tactile bass, excellent sense of dynamism and immediacy. While it doesn’t completely negate all the drawbacks of solid states such as expansive sense of stage depth, it still holds its own in terms of sheer technicalities and emotional involvement."
~tommytakis, on superbestaudiofriends.org
"The 3F accentuates the Utopia. More, more, more of everything. Sharper, faster, more detailed, and expanded micro and macro dynamics. The dead silence of the 3F and the Walnut allow the music to come out of nowhere. The bass texture and nuance is more notable. It's also very taut, not spilling into the rest of the mids and treble. There is a finer gradation in vocal texture and it's commanding of your attention. It's challenging to focus on anything but the music. It elicits emotion. For me, the Utopia intrinsically has all these traits. The 3F dials it up to 11."
~Failed Engineer, on superbestaudiofriends.org
"pop and transients
doesn't do this in an artificial simplified bad hi-fi audio-show way
Sounds pop out from the canvas providing a level of immediacy and realism that I usually only hear from good tube designs. Headstage is deep.
Headphones like the Utopia, Elex, Verite are "fast", responsive, and lively. What the 3F does is take full advantage of what these headphones can do.
The highs are present with just a small reduction in edge.
The low end is not warm.
The 3F is a neutral sounding amp in my book without the deficiencies of lean bass, lack of slam, lack of bite, excess sharpness or stridency.
Actually pretty damn good. I thought I might have preferred the HD600, but this didn't turn out to be the case. I don't mind lower Z from the HD650, in fact I prefer it. The HD58X worked well too.
it also works with the ZMF Verite which tends to be adverse to excess bloom, thickness, and mud."
~Marv, Owner www.SuperBestAudioFriends.org