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Mini-Review: Portaphile V2^2 Maxxed - Page 3

post #31 of 48
Nice Review!
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
That reminds me of a point I've been trying to discern during my listening. What headphones are you using to gauge the amp's timbral complexity? I've been using the K701 predominantly but I just don't detect much timbral complexity with it - as far as I can tell it's quite a limiting factor in that aspect. I'm wondering if you're using the DT880 or maybe another headphone, as I don't find the K701 to be very good at micro-detail with aspects such as extremely nuanced timbre (and I'm a musician so I'm used to hearing it live).
Yes, I have been using the DT880-250/2005 (though I also spent a lot of time burning in a friend's new K701s and enjoying them way past the 400-hour mark). I've tried it with a variety of sources as well. The most frequent, of course, is my iPod 4G 40GB, though it's obviously not a great source and is itself a somewhat limiting factor, though I can still enjoy it a lot. I've also used Lossless files on Mac G5 2x2GHz tower > Toslink > Spitfire DAC > Zu Pivot RCA-to-Mini IC, Tibook 1.25GHz > USB cable > Fubar DAC Zu Pivot IC (for uniformity), Tibook > USB-to-mini-USB > MicroDAC > Zu Pivot IC, XRay Transport (Redbook&Hyrid SACD/CDs) > MUSE DAC > Zu Pivot RCA-to-Mini [this being the best source of the lot, and also great with the Hornet/DT880 combo]. (I have an X-DAC loaner which I didn't get to try with the PV2^2 before I sent it out). Perhaps the particular recordings, and the quality of the recordings also have something to do with perception of timbral reproduction.

Besides voices, one other area in which the Hornet seems richer than the Portaphile is with wood-cased instruments, especially the larger ones such as Piano, cello, acoustic string bass - which the Hornet presents with more weight and size. The Portaphile, however, still presents the most distinct and complex notes with percussion instruments. One little test I have is on Bob Dylan's "Love & Theft", track: "High Water", which has a repeating fast tympani run. The Portaphile recreates this with the best definition and most distinct notes. It also presents acoustic guitars with the greatest "twang" and most complex harmonic structure (at least to my ears).

I love the recent Alison Krauss/Union Station disk "Lonely Runs Both Ways" and listen to it often. Jerry Douglas' dobro is achingly beautiful with the Portaphile. What's interesting -- and obvious considering the unique strengths of the Portaphile and the M-Hornet -- is that with the M-Hornet Alison's angelic voice is at the forefront, while with the Portaphile the gorgeous guitars are featured with all their complex overtones, harmonics, attack/decay, and wonderful separation and layering.

Another benchmark recording for me is "Arturo Sandoval Live At The Blue Note" which has so many live instruments for a really demanding mix. I was present at one of the live sets used for this release and I know how the instruments, voices, and space sounded (WOW!). There's Sandoval's blazing trumpet, great sax, grand piano (I don't recall the size), drum set, electric guitar, string & solid bass and audience -- crammed into the small Blue Note stage and space with a very well setup sound system. The recording and post-production engineers didn't quite capture it, but it's very good nonetheless.

My Portaphile, with its plenitude of information & detail, is also great with the HD600 and 650, clearing away more subtle veils and almost turning the Senns into different phones, and the Senns compensate for/neutralize the lack of warmth in the Portaphile's mids.

I'll be very busy at work 'til rather late tonight, but if/when I come up with some more clear examples I'll post them.

BTW - aside from the Portaphile, the X-Ray transport > MUSE DAC brings the M-Hornet/DT-880 combo way beyond the performance level of portable players and surprised me with a stunning level of clarity, dimension, imaging and much more live-sounding reproduction than I'd previously heard from the M-Hornet. Somehow I don't recall such an exciting sound at the meets via Ray's lovely G08 player, nice tho' it was. Certainly the quiet bedroom venue has a lot to do with it, but not completely.

Too bad we can't compare our systems side-by-side. I don't think I can make it to the big San Jose meet, or I'd schlep some gear out there. Pity. That would be good fun (in addition to enjoying being in San Jose!).
post #33 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post
Besides voices, one other area in which the Hornet seems richer than the Portaphile is with wood-cased instruments, especially the larger ones such as Piano, cello, acoustic string bass - which the Hornet presents with more weight and size. The Portaphile, however, still presents the most distinct and complex notes with percussion instruments. One little test I have is on Bob Dylan's "Love & Theft", track: "High Water", which has a repeating fast tympani run. The Portaphile recreates this with the best definition and most distinct notes. It also presents acoustic guitars with the greatest "twang" and most complex harmonic structure (at least to my ears).
I definitely agree with this, as I find the V2^2 Maxxed's treble extremely precise, helpful for giving an excellent sense of blackness between attacks and giving it a crisper transient response. I might have to call it colored though, as the GS-1 doesn't sound like that, and nearly everyone agrees the GS-1 is extremely close to being fully transparent. Still, I'm finding it somewhat enjoyable, especially with the AD2000 (which I just got in yesterday back from Mercuttio). It's actually a really great amp for the AD2K, I'll have to put in some more listening time.

We may get a chance to compare setups yet Romanee, I'm thinking about attending that NYC Bi-Annual Meet, not entirely sure yet tho. Would love to see NYC again.

Anyway I'm not going to be able to post in this thread again until after Christmas so I'll have to hold off on further comments. All I'm going to say is that you might want to keep an eye on the Headphones forum for post #2500.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
I definitely agree with this, as I find the V2^2 Maxxed's treble extremely precise, helpful for giving an excellent sense of blackness between attacks and giving it a crisper transient response. I might have to call it colored though, as the GS-1 doesn't sound like that, and nearly everyone agrees the GS-1 is extremely close to being fully transparent. Still, I'm finding it somewhat enjoyable, especially with the AD2000 (which I just got in yesterday back from Mercuttio). It's actually a really great amp for the AD2K, I'll have to put in some more listening time.

We may get a chance to compare setups yet Romanee, I'm thinking about attending that NYC Bi-Annual Meet, not entirely sure yet tho. Would love to see NYC again.

Anyway I'm not going to be able to post in this thread again until after Christmas so I'll have to hold off on further comments. All I'm going to say is that you might want to keep an eye on the Headphones forum for post #2500.
Cheerio -- and a Very Happy Christmas!
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post
Wow! I have not been able to hear a current Xin amp, and every earlier amp I heard had technical problems. That's a wonderful offer.
The SMIIIv6 is currently listed in the FS/FT forums. However, I am willing to pull it off, which would delay my operation in progress. But nonetheless, taking one for the team, I would send it in for upgrade, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post
I'm not sure what would be the "ideal" op-amp in the SM IV. I expect the 627 may be lush and warm, but does it provide excellent layered imaging, separation, air, clarity and definition in addition to liquidity? Perhaps Filburt -- the Xin Maven par Excellence -- has some pertinent recommendations? I wonder if the modified AD744 that Larry & Phil have settled on for their "final" PRII is applicable to the SM IV?
I bought the SM with the SA5534 already installed, it sounds good, especially with the Darth's. But, I've heard that the 627 or 637 sound magnificent. I recall reading that the Xin Maxxed-Out Option for SMIIIv6 (2x opa637, 2x stacked Buffer BUF634 Hi-Current Mode, which I have, will bring the SuperMacro to an even better level. All this talk is tempting me to pull the SMIII off of the FS block and send it in for IV/637 treatment .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post
BTW - do you have the PV2^2 Maxxed with 1500uf BlackGate NX's + LT1210?
I had; however, had to let it go, as I have too many portables lying around collecting dust. At one time I had all four (SMIIIv6, MisterX XP, Portaphile Maxxed, Hornet (reg, now "M")), in my possession. Since I've made my portable amplifier decision, I've decided to tone things down a bit and set my sites on a dedicated desktop/DAC combo, specifically the Opera.

If I wasn't so mesmerized by the Opera, I'd keep the XIN SuperMacro. In the its current configuration it offers an excellent contrast to the RSA Hornet "M" and IMO would probably be a deadly combo with IEM's.

Edit: Change of opamp to 637 2xbuf--this is butter to my ears--SMIII no longer FS/FT. I wish that I still had my portaphile to compare, but as of right now I don't think it would be close.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post

...My Portaphile, with its plenitude of information & detail, is also great with the HD600 and 650, clearing away more subtle veils and almost turning the Senns into different phones, and the Senns compensate for/neutralize the lack of warmth in the Portaphile's mids...
hello romanee, i really enjoy your posts for it's detailed, yet insightful comments on the subject. i currently have the portaphile maxxed with all the trimming and think it's a keeper too. i use the hd 580 and am thinking of purchasing the westone UM2. i believe i read somewhere that you have the UM2. can you give me a thumbs up or down regarding the synergy between portaphile v2^2 and westone UM2?

thanks in advance.
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by takezo View Post
hello romanee, i really enjoy your posts for it's detailed, yet insightful comments on the subject. i currently have the portaphile maxxed with all the trimming and think it's a keeper too. i use the hd 580 and am thinking of purchasing the westone UM2. i believe i read somewhere that you have the UM2. can you give me a thumbs up or down regarding the synergy between portaphile v2^2 and westone UM2?

thanks in advance.
Hi! Actually I have the Westone ES2 custom IEMs, and the Portaphile -- set at LOW gain -- sounds beautiful with the ES2 with no perceptible hiss (unless you crank it up loud enough to destroy your ears). There's also a nice amount of latitude in the volume control. Low-level recordings play up to about 11:00 and high-level recordings play around 9:00-10:00.

I expect there will be similar synergy with the UM2s, but of course I can't comment from personal experience.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea View Post
I perfectly share your feelings about the Portaphile midrange, as well as those about the AD8397 midrange (when well implemented).

Just a slight but due correction... Say, for instance... you haven't heard my customised Xenos 0HA-REP (though the AD823 + LMH6654 customisation can be requested to Alberto directly, cost is $122) which notwithstanding the achievements I'm nonetheless planning on improving even further with new chips; I think you haven't heard any Xenos amp for that matter, especially the fresh new 1HA (which in truth you couldn't have).


And, Romanee, what was that Let's get the thread back on track. opening line intended to mean? I ask because, in my eyes, it did just ever-so-slightly taste of hypocritical...
Ooops! Sorry I missed your post, Andrea. No, I have not yet (unfortunately) been able to hear the Xenos amps. As you may know by now, I love to hear everything I can manage to get close to. As soon as I win a big lotto jackpot I'll buy all the toys.

Sorry if my "back on track" comment offended you. It wasn't hypocritical since it was mainly directed at myself, and it was probably incorrect anyway since our mini-discussion was related to the LT1210's function in this system.
post #39 of 48

synergy

hi, thanks for the prompt response!
thanks for correcting me on the iem you have...and as you mentioned, i would expect the synergy to be similar too.

have a great weekend and holiday!
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post
Ooops! Sorry I missed your post, Andrea. No, I have not yet (unfortunately) been able to hear the Xenos amps. As you may know by now, I love to hear everything I can manage to get close to. As soon as I win a big lotto jackpot I'll buy all the toys.

Sorry if my "back on track" comment offended you. It wasn't hypocritical since it was mainly directed at myself, and it was probably incorrect anyway since our mini-discussion was related to the LT1210's function in this system.
In fact, I envy you for being able to get your hands on all those toys without necessarily having to buy them all!

Thanks for the clarification about that line.
post #41 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrea View Post
In fact, I envy you for being able to get your hands on all those toys without necessarily having to buy them all!

Thanks for the clarification about that line.
...some day.....when I grow up and get a real job........

(chuckle - giggle - muffled guffaw )

And Best Wishes To You, Andrea, For A Healthy & Happy Christmas!
post #42 of 48
ASR- Im eagerly awaiting impressions with the AD2000's! Ill be getting the AD1000 soon. Have you tried playing with the switches?

Romanee- You have the ipowerus 500mah li-polys right? Does your real panel
actually screw closed, because when my screw is tight, the panel is kind of bent in the middle, otherwise if the screw is loose everything moves. Unlike stated earlier by someone that it is to fat, and the screws get in the way, mine are too long, and not fat at all. Just around 4mm too long..

Ill start listening more carefully and play with the switches, since Im almost getting to the 400 hour mark? Im guesstimating because the prev owner didnt keep track and only gave me a general burn in status..
post #43 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hYdrociTy View Post
ASR- Im eagerly awaiting impressions with the AD2000's! Ill be getting the AD1000 soon. Have you tried playing with the switches?

Romanee- You have the ipowerus 500mah li-polys right? Does your real panel
actually screw closed, because when my screw is tight, the panel is kind of bent in the middle, otherwise if the screw is loose everything moves. Unlike stated earlier by someone that it is to fat, and the screws get in the way, mine are too long, and not fat at all. Just around 4mm too long..

Ill start listening more carefully and play with the switches, since Im almost getting to the 400 hour mark? Im guesstimating because the prev owner didnt keep track and only gave me a general burn in status..
Machead told me at the last meet that iPower made the 500mAh Li-Po batteries narrower. Perhaps they made them longer as well! Mine fit perfectly in my PV2^2 - but just so with no air to spare. Some owners have noted that the iPower 500mAh were a tight fit width-wise. Your description may mean that you have the newest batteries that are narrower and apparently longer. Just my guess.

A note for all: I've found very minimal improvement with Wide Bandwidth ON, and then only with the best recordings, best source, and best cables -- and then only perhaps a bit more texture and air, if that. I now keep Wide Bandwidth OFF and get 8-9 hours playtime with the iPower 500mAh, and about 20 hours from Ultralife 1200mAh disposable Lithium 9V.

If anyone does prefer the sound with Wide Bandwidth ON in their system, by all means enjoy it. With an AC adapter battery life isn't an issue so I'd leave all ON in that case. Otherwise, just use Class A biasing on and enjoy more battery life.
post #44 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Romanee View Post
Machead told me at the last meet that iPower made the 500mAh Li-Po batteries narrower. Perhaps they made them longer as well! Mine fit perfectly in my PV2^2 - but just so with no air to spare. Some owners have noted that the iPower 500mAh were a tight fit width-wise. Your description may mean that you have the newest batteries that are narrower and apparently longer. Just my guess.

A note for all: I've found very minimal improvement with Wide Bandwidth ON, and then only with the best recordings, best source, and best cables -- and then only perhaps a bit more texture and air, if that. I now keep Wide Bandwidth OFF and get 8-9 hours playtime with the iPower 500mAh, and about 20 hours from Ultralife 1200mAh disposable Lithium 9V.

If anyone does prefer the sound with Wide Bandwidth ON in their system, by all means enjoy it. With an AC adapter battery life isn't an issue so I'd leave all ON in that case. Otherwise, just use Class A biasing on and enjoy more battery life.
Have you tried this iPower 500 mAh battery on The Hornet? Does it fit well? Can we use the charger supplied with The Hornet for the iPower 500 mAh? Thanks.
post #45 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post
Have you tried this iPower 500 mAh battery on The Hornet? Does it fit well? Can we use the charger supplied with The Hornet for the iPower 500 mAh? Thanks.
I am pretty sure that lithium polymer batteries can only be charged in a special charger. The hornet, I believe has a circuit that charges only nickel metal hydride batteries. I could be wrong though..as I accidentally charged one of mine in the NIMH mode accidentlly flipped on in the charger and thank goodness nothing happened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Samuels Audio Website
DO NOT charge 9 volts lithium ion rechargeable batteries in the Hornet as it is not designed to charge those batteries, doing so will heat the charging components and damage the amp.
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