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Small Amp for HD650's - Page 4

post #46 of 91
Am going to suggest a "sleeper"........a Radii HAP-03 MK2 with tube power supply OTL. This amp energizes Senn hadphones superbly. Sorta like the earmax pro but even a touch better, to my ears. Also sold previously as a Moretto.
A perfect match for SENN 650s, and I have listned to most of the others above. IMHO
Dan
post #47 of 91
I was thinking of getting the Gilmore Lite, but in the end went for the Rega Ear in the end because it was cheaper, I could get it from the UK (I phoned up Lintone), it was in one box (I really didn't want the voltage converter) and the quality with the Senns is on a par to with the Gilmore Lite (contact "boodi" - he has heard them both with Senns).

I have HD600s. They're 300ohm cans and need a powerful amp to drive them well, which the Rega is. Also, lots of people in the UK say how it sounds better than the Creek 21 and MF X-Can.
post #48 of 91
All of the amps in your final list are outstanding but the more I read through all your posts in this thread, the more I feel the Rega Ear would best suit your needs. It's purported to drive the HD650 very well, it's compact, it's UK based (helps if you have to ship for warranty service), readily available (to you), and it's cheap.

I'll chime in a bit about the Ascent since there aren't too many impressions on this thread. I have an amp which was basically a prototype Ascent. The build quality is outstanding. It's compact enough to be quite transportable but it's not really portable (in the sense of an SR-71 or Bithead) but it does have the advantage of running on two 9v batteries. You could just purchase a UK power supply to run it off mains power. As for sound quality, it's very punchy and aggressive. The sound leans toward bright. And it's got plenty of power to drive the HD650. Actually I was surprised at how easily it drives those phones. I've owned a v1 Gilmore Lite (never heard v2), and the Gilmore had a more liquid and airy sound with great pacing. I won't say one is better than the other, since I'm going off memory with the Gilmore, but I think it mostly comes down to personal preference in sonic signature. I'd be surprised if Justin couldn't direct you to a UK power supply for the Gilmore Lite. Both Justin and Drew are great to deal with.

Anyway, all four are outstanding choices. Including the Porta Corda, but that one sort of sticks out as not fitting in with the other 3. Though it can run off AC, it's a very portable use oriented amp, whereas the other 3 are for home or transportable use. I've never heard the PKII, but the Corda line has an outstanding reputation here at head-fi and Jan is just awesome to deal with (and Europe based).
post #49 of 91
Thread Starter 
I take on board what you all have to say, particulary insomniac. So heres the deal as it stands.

I contacted Justin at HeadAmp he informed me that he simply has not been able to find a wall wart power supply for UK voltage and thus only sells the Gilmore Lite in 100-120V and not 220-240V as I would require. The dedicated PSU can be supplied in 220-240V format-but I can't afford to get that as well the amp. So Justin offers a step down transformer for the Gilmore Lite. Overall with the voltage converter and delivery it would cost me $334. Justin seems to be a guy I'm willing to buy off ,and the versatility, looks and size of the Gilmore appeals to me.

Whilst the Rega Ear is easy to get hold of here in the UK, it costs £150 ($285). Its definitely the best option for me in the UK, but I found it in the US for $180 at (http://www.a4audio.com/a4audio/cd-d...and&SGroup=Rega). Now it kills me to pay that much more here in the UK. But annoyingly maybe the voltage supply in the US is also incorrect for the Rega.

I also contacted Dr Meier in Germany-who by the way is an excellent guy. By his own admission he said that the Porta Corda MK2 was not the sturdiest amp. He agrees with you insomniac that 'that one sort of sticks out as not fitting in with the other 3' and 'it's a very portable use oriented amp' which is not my primary concern. Besides he informed me that in 3 months he is going to release the successor to the Porta MK2 which will also be a DAC connectable with USB. He reccomended the HA-1, but its out of my price range. Also to utilise the Corda's AC function which is reccomended for better performance Dr Meier says I would need to purchase my own external power supply and perhaps do a little soldering. The corda would be quite cheap for me though at $225-250.

I e-mailed Drew at Shellbrook, who has absolutely excellent service, about the Ascent. This I have to say perhaps has the most promise for me as there is no voltage problem and Drew seem to be an excellent guy. Is it a pimeta based amp or what though? for $300 this seems a good option. What I don't understand is why Drew can supply his product with universal worldwide voltage capabilites and Justin at HeadAmp can't? At this stage though it seems little is known about this amp?

I was also considering the SR-71 which I really like but its quite far above my price range. Also the headroom little which has no voltage problem, but apparently no good compared to the competitors.

I happen to be heading into florida on the 3rd of March and so can get all of these amps easily according to the respective sellers, and also regulary visit Germany, Bonn for work and can easily get the Porta Corda.

As you can see my descision involves many permuatations and is not straight forward at all. However when spending this much money I have to be careful and considerate.
post #50 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by digicom_t1
But I have a question. I noticed if you select an upgrade package with additional buffers, the capacitence goes down. Is this because they are not needed or just due to the size of the case he is using?
The stock amplifier has miniature op-amps and buffers soldered to the back of the main printed circuit board. This allows room for two large (1680 uF) and two small (1000 uF) power capacitors to fit, lying down, on the top of the PCB. If you order two extra soldered buffers, they fit on the top side under the large capacitors. If you opt for the amp rolling package, the sockets for the full-size op-amps and buffers go on the top of the PCB, leaving no room for the large capacitors (although any extra soldered buffers can stay). You're then left with just the two smaller power capacitors.
post #51 of 91
Apocalypse,

That's a pretty exciting tidbit of news that Jan is coming out with a successor to the PC Mk2 with a built-in USB DAC. Sounds like a Bithead type of product.

To answer some of your questions, my best guess why Justin can't find a UK voltage compatible power supply is that the Gilmore Lite uses a rather unique pin/jack for the power supply. It's not your standard AC jack. It's got more pins and looks somewhat like an S-Video connector. Feels sturdier, but it's not as universal and I guess you run into problems like yours. The Ascent uses a more standard AC jack. Finding a 220V power supply should be no problem.

My understanding is that the Ascent is a PIMETA based product. The price is pretty steep for a PIMETA but then it sounds better than any other PIMETA I've heard IMHO. And the design and build quality appeal very much to me.

Just throwing another option or two out there. You could have a PIMETA built by someone else for under $200. Or even a base PPA in your price range.

I'm sure you'll be happy with any of your 4 finalists, whichever route you go.
post #52 of 91
Now that you're almost decided, have you considered a DIY amp?

http://www.tangentsoft.net/audio
post #53 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpalmer
And just out of curiosity again, why does it matter to you
I really don't want an start anything here but I, like yourself, read something that "didn't strike me as a factually correct statement." That's all.
post #54 of 91

Unfavorable posts about Shellbrook

Beware of ordering from Shellbrook if you want it any time soon. He seems to be overwhelmed and having real difficulties. The most recent thread about problems at Shellbrook:

http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108099

If you search the forums there are plenty of other complaints going back to at least December. From all accounts he's a nice guy but he is seriously struggling and he just hasn't been getting the goods delivered.
post #55 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsc3
Beware of ordering from Shellbrook if you want it any time soon. He seems to be overwhelmed and having real difficulties. The most recent thread about problems at Shellbrook:

http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=108099

If you search the forums there are plenty of other complaints going back to at least December. From all accounts he's a nice guy but he is seriously struggling and he just hasn't been getting the goods delivered.
To be fair, here is another recent post from somebody who ordered an Ascent from Shellbrook on 2/6 and received it by 2/20, which is not bad in my opinion. The poster also seems quite pleased with his new amp.

http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=102094
post #56 of 91
Thread Starter 

Strategy!

I don't know what it is but I really want the Gilmore Lite from HeadAmp; although even with the premium price of the Rega Ear in the UK, its still cheaper than the Gilmore by $50 or so. Nonetheless I want to try my best at getting a Gilmore before conceding to the Rega!

First of all is the problem with the power supply completely separate to that of the amp? By that I mean is there only ONE Gilmore lite AMP, as in not a 100-120V and 220-240V version? So for example if I was to buy this ONE choice of Gilmore Lite would it work with the Gilmore Lite Dedicated PSU in its 100-120V and 220-240V versions?

If the answers to those questions are yes; then could I TRY to find a power supply in the UK which would work with the hypothetically universal Gilmore Lite amp?

The other option I was considering is purchasing a second hand Gilmore Lite amp for an obviously cheaper price; and then buying the Dedicated power supply in 220-240V new from HeadAmp (since I don't expect to get that 2nd hand! in the states). However I don't seem to be able to find any, and anyway what sort of price can I expect for a good one? If its close to $300 then theres no point.

The other question is are the warranties on these products really important, and if so would there be problems in me being UK based and buying the Gilmore?

By the way I'm so fed up with compatibilty issues with the US I'm thinking of moving there! LOL
post #57 of 91
Quote:
The other option I was considering is purchasing a second hand Gilmore Lite amp for an obviously cheaper price;
Don't know about you, but for me, buying used stuff just takes the satisfaction out of it. Besides, the guy selling the amp might have dropped it or his dog pooped on it, and as long as the power stays on, you'd have no way of knowing. Maybe one of the resistors failed and you still have sound coming out of both channels, and you think what you're hearing is a Gilmore.

I'd just shell out the $330 for the amp and the transformer. You get the full warranty, and satisfaction of knowing that you got a new product.

Quote:
By the way I'm so fed up with compatibilty issues with the US I'm thinking of moving there! LOL
We still use centigrade and miles, but we sure got cool toys!!
post #58 of 91
I thought you guys used farenheit, not that this is important in the context of things?

Since I have bought the Rega Ear, after looking at the difficulties of importing the Gilmore (34% import tax), I have to convince myself it is still a good choice. I have read in many places that the Sennheiser HD600s and HD650s work really well with the Rega Ear (better than the Gilmore) due to it's high gain. My question is - although the Gilmore Lite is a great amp, will it work as well with the HD600/650 as the Rega Ear, considering the high impedance of the Senns?
post #59 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apocalypse_HD650
First of all is the problem with the power supply completely separate to that of the amp? By that I mean is there only ONE Gilmore lite AMP, as in not a 100-120V and 220-240V version? So for example if I was to buy this ONE choice of Gilmore Lite would it work with the Gilmore Lite Dedicated PSU in its 100-120V and 220-240V versions?
the Gilmore Lite amp uses a 5-pin DC power input socket that supplies it with + and - 15 volts. the different versions of the dedicated PSU accept different wall socket voltages, but output the same + and - 15 volts to the Lite using the same connector as the one on the Elpac.
post #60 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by noname
I really don't want an start anything here but I, like yourself, read something that "didn't strike me as a factually correct statement." That's all.
You were either trying to start something or you really need to work on your reading comprehension. You came to a thread where a gentleman asked if there were other manufacturers for the Gilmore, got a response that there were other manufacturers and then try to find fault with someone asking who the other manufacturers were on the basis that folks can make them for themselves. D'Uh... pay attention here...
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