Just add tubes - High End Headphone Battle Teil 2

Just add tubes - High End Headphone Battle Part 2

After the listening session last Monday, my customer / friend invited me again to test his Abyss 1266 and the Spirit Torino Valkyria in a new constellation.

More power!

Blog - Spirit Torino Valkyria

In addition to his dCS Bartók, he had borrowed the dCS Rossini Clock and a Viva Egoista 845, a 30kg monster from a tube amplifier, to further upgrade his already great setup .

Since my friend wanted to improve the subtle, somewhat artificially sounding midrange and vocal reproduction of his 1266, the Viva with its tubes should help here. In addition, he hoped the Rossini Clock would improve control and timing. Incidentally, the Viva Egoista 845 costs CHF 12,000, the Rossini Clock an additional CHF 9,000.

Spirit Torino Valkyria

I was particularly curious to see what this Ferrari would do with a tube amplifier with the sound of the Valkyria. The Valkyria is not lacking in musicality and emotions anyway, on the contrary. And the voice reproduction is probably the most sonorous and natural that I have ever heard.

Let's see ...


  • dCS Bartók (Roon Endpoint) 16,500 CHF
  • dCS Rossini Clock 9,000 CHF
  • Viva Egoista 845 tube amplifier 12,000 CHF
  • iPAD & Laptop with Roon Library

Blog - Spirit Torino Valkyria

Blog - Spirit Torino Valkyria

... but coffee first

Of course we didn’t miss the opportunity to strengthen ourselves with coffee and fine patisserie before the "hard work" of a listening session and to exchange news.

Let the engine warm up ...

The Viva used our coffee break to warm up.
Hot would be the more correct term, because the gigantic tubes of the Egoista produce more waste heat than a Ferrari on the racetrack.

Concerns about the expected electricity bill were raised, and after a while the regulators could not be used barely touch the much-used volume control. Well, if you want great sound, you obviously have to suffer.

There is (once more) agreement

After the session there was another exchange and we agreed again.
Here are my personal impressions:

Abyss 1266

  • Voices and middle section more natural and less artificial and sterile
  • Smoothes the entire frequency spectrum, resulting in a more relaxed sound
  • This also leads to a slight loss of detail and a small "veil"
  • more coherence, but largely collapsed sound stage


  • darker overall tonality
  • slight loss of detail and some "veil"
  • Loss of "energy" and drive
  • Sound stage roughly the same as without the Viva Egoista 845


While the Valkyria still sounded good with the additional Viva Egoista 845 tube amplifier, the overall performance was significantly better with the pure dCS Bartok. At the Abyss 1266, voices gained a more natural timbre and coherence improved as the soundstage collapsed. The Abyss also did significantly better with the Bartok alone. Both headphones lost in detail and air with the additional tube amplifier.

The Rossini Clock was easy to integrate / test because you could switch with just one button during playback. Our unanimous conclusion: It brings absolutely nothing.

Looking back, I would like something between the Bartok and Egoista 845: Something that is a little less direct and "harsh" than the Bartok and offers a little more "warmth", but still has resolution and airiness. Of course, heat does not mean the waste heat from the Viva ;-)

And now?

Maybe something like that "in between" will soon be at Audio Essence. In a few weeks I will get some demo devices of the best that Manufaktur Audio-GD has to offer:

The R7HE (Edition 2021), R2R DAC + HE9 amplifier, both with regenerative power supply. Di-20, a digital interface, will also be on display.

I would also like to take the opportunity to introduce Audio-GD to those of you who do not know the company.

More blogs & reviews from Spirit Torino

More is (almost) not possible - High End Headphone Battle - Audio Essence

Visit from Italy - Spirit Torino headphones

Headphones Showdown- Spirit Torino Super Leggera vs. Focal Clear

The Treasure Chest - Unboxing a Jewel

Elemental Force - Spirit Torino Radiante

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