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Best sub100$ amp Xenos 0HA-REP? (with option of opamp rolling?)

post #1 of 144
Thread Starter 
I have searched the forum extensively to decide upon the best sub100$ portable amp as my backup amp.
  1. Xenos 0HA-REP
  2. Go-Vibe 5
  3. LDM+
  4. PA2V2

The contenders seem to be above amps. At least on paper(specs, Topology and design) and upon impressions of the others Xenos 0HA-REP seems to be winning the crown easily. It gives nice set of features too.



Andrea recently squeezed more out of the amp by rolling SMD opamps. OPamp rolling is a dream option for audiophiles.

http://www4.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=194527

I have mailed XENOS and the response is,

Quote:
Thank you for the feedback. We will consider changing the PCB to support a version with DIP socket allowing op amp swapping by the user.
So we will have OPAMP rolling in XENOS amps in future!

So then crown goes to XENOS as most cost effective sub 100$ solution?
post #2 of 144
Thread Starter 
I am all set to review and compare XIN IV and XENOS when they arrive. (Will it be a fair comparision?)
post #3 of 144
IMO no, specially with all the biases we all seem to have. Dr. Xin's Supermini 4 or the Micro for that matter should trounce the Xenos.
post #4 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo
IMO no, specially with all the biases we all seem to have. Dr. Xin's Supermini 4 or the Micro for that matter should trounce the Xenos.
No way, IMO. Multiplying channels indefinitely ( ) doesn't imply multiplying sound quality. (The Go-Vibe v5 is the very first instance that comes to my mind...)

The chips are what makes the REAL difference (and secondly, the power supply stage is crucial, but here all Xenos amps are traditionally very solid). Whichever amp featuring, say, AD8397 or LM6171/2 chips inside (like the Supermini & perhaps Supermicro too) couldn't possibly ever trounce my Xenos (for my ears), even in a 1.000.000 channel design
post #5 of 144
Kaushama,


great job!! I look forward to seeing our hopes of having op-amp rolling in Xenos amps come true... (possibly the upcoming 1HA, too ...thanks!)
post #6 of 144
Thread Starter 
Complexity of the design does not have a linear relationship to the SQ always! I am not going to say XENOS will sound better. How can I without hearing it?
But a good example is PA2V2. Very good amp with a very basic design.
PINT is another!
Very popular GAINCLONE with LM chiPS another very good example. A very expensive gainclone by a certain manufacturer only uses very few parts without PCB. Components are linked directly to get shortest signal paths. It is sold for a massive amount for its sound quality. The LM chip used does not have a better THD rating than other chips yet have surprisingly better SQ.
So i do believe its sometimes beyond linear logic of our mind. In fact too much components are thought to colour the sound in DIY audiophile communities.
post #7 of 144

My modded beauty :p

Blessed with a fancy brand name & a fancier enclosure, this exact amp would easily cost $300 or so, I say


post #8 of 144
Thread Starter 
I agree. When I look inside the 300$ range amps, number of components and PCB always amaze me. For example a well regarded amp for 350$, I am sure, must be having components worth 100+$ and with 100% addition for originality of the concept and labor should value around 200+$.
When some manufacturer gives bang for buck, it is always considered below par the best, though its performance sometimes exceeds the levels of high end stuff.
Sometimes It IS THE PRICE label make a product high-end. Again a good example is GAINCLONE amp.
post #9 of 144
For a certain $350 well regarded amp, I've learnt from a highly reputable source that the total cost of its internal parts plus the enclosure "can't possibly exceed $50".
post #10 of 144

Best???

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaushama
I have searched the forum extensively to decide upon the best sub100$ portable amp as my backup amp.
  1. Xenos 0HA-REP
  2. Go-Vibe 5
  3. LDM+
  4. PA2V2

The contenders seem to be above amps. At least on paper(specs, Topology and design) and upon impressions of the others Xenos 0HA-REP seems to be winning the crown easily. It gives nice set of features too.


Andrea recently squeezed more out of the amp by rolling SMD opamps. OPamp rolling is a dream option for audiophiles.

...

So then crown goes to XENOS as most cost effective sub 100$ solution?
No doubt your enthusiasm is fueled at least partially by Andrea's rave reviews Though being Headfiers I suspect we all do the same thing at one time or the other - overreacting to the new toys we got, especially something we have modded. Not all Headfiers share the same zeal for the stock Xenos, when compared to the Go-Vibe, so "best" is too strong a word, and the wrong adjective to use here, IMHO.

Besides, as Andrea himself pointed out, the chips just have different characteristics, for instance, sound stage and airy-ness may not as important to some listeners while they are criterion #1 for others. So I'm sure while Andrea agrees to your assessment, it does not necessarily sit well with others who have compared these devices listed above.
post #11 of 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea
For a certain $350 well regarded amp, I've learnt from a highly reputable source that the total cost of its internal parts plus the enclosure "can't possibly exceed $50".
Yes but that is the same with almost every product sold. I asked an engineer friend how much a headphone from Grado or Sennheiser line would cost to manufacture and it was something crazy like a average of 1000% markup of what they sell it for.
post #12 of 144

Disagree

Quote:
Xenos 0HA-REP seems to be winning the crown easily.
Owning both the stock Xenos and the stock Go-Vibe 5, I find the Go-Vibe superior in every way that I use as a criterion, soundstage, clarity, inner detail, and backround detail as well as overall timbre. The Xenos might have a slightly more fluid midrange, but the Go-vibe has greater clarity and detail which to my ears is more desirable. So, as with all things subjectivity and individual preference is crucial.
post #13 of 144
Thread Starter 
Double post>>>
post #14 of 144
Thread Starter 
May be, "the best" seems to be too strong! I agree, besides I have not heard it yet. But it seems, after going through most of the comments here, Xenos is having a small edge over GO-VIBE 5, which is highly regarded too. The products like XENOS always will have the disadvantage of not carrying exuberant case work, marketing and priCe tag.
The point of discussion is some of so called sub-100$ or whatever products carry value on par with their expensive siblings both by performance and raw value of parts. As frequently in the case in audiophilia, they seem to be biased towards high end gear partly by their bloated price tag.
post #15 of 144
Thread Starter 
And if Andrea's modded Xenos wins GO-VIBE 5, over stock stock Xenos, future XENOS will be better with OPAMP rolling capability. At least XENOS took it a point, when requested the option. So the competition between these two wonderful products will be intensified. End result will be better products in the range we all can afford.
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