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Is the Total Bithead worth it over a PA2V2

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
While I don't have the "golden ear" of true audiophiles, I am growing better and better out picking out things in songs. My current setup is like this Flac rips->Foobar2000->ASIO->Creative SB SE->Senn HD555s. Loudness is not a problem, its just i want the next level of sound quality. Will a portable amp give me that? Im low on the budget since im just a student, so what should I go for? Is the PA2V2 good enough or should I save an extra $140 for the Bithead? Or should I instead invest in a Creative X-Fi Xtrememusic? (I game a lot). If the amp, my portable setup is 320kb mp3s->Dell DJ rev 2-> Kramer'd Koss KSC75s, though I use the home setup much, much, much more than the portable.
post #2 of 17
I can only speak for the Bithead as I own one. The huge advantage of it for me is that it is a DAC. I move it between workstations and a laptop pretty regularly.

The sound is the same all over as it is the same DAC/amp everywhere. That alone is worth its price to me.

It gives my iPod a noticeable bump to drive my Shure E2c's and it's necessary to run my DT880s off the iPod or off any of my computer sources.

I'm very happy with the quality of the signal I get with the Bithead.
post #3 of 17
Gonna ditto that. The USB DAC in the TotalBitHead really makes this a versatile device. It has a gain switch and drives both my UE-10pros, ER6is and Senn 580/650 with ease. It also has crossfeed, and 2 outputs (so 2 people can listen to the laptop movie on the plane.

Oh, yeah, I did mention the USB DAC function. Once you listen to the audio to a DVD on you laptop thru the TBH and decent cans/iems, you wont ever pay for the movie on the plane again.

In my opinion, owning both a TotalBitHead, and Hornet/Tomahawk, you would need to move up to that level to hear a huge difference in a portable amp.

Now the Xin super mini is in that price range, and might be a better sounding amp, but I have not hear one, and won't be definate on that. That amp has a great reputation here on HeadFi, and costs the same as the TBH, so I thought I would mention it.

HeadRoom is a great company though, lets you try the product, and answers the phone even if you can imagine that.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
So is the DAC on the Bithead better than that on a X-Fi XtremeMusic?
post #5 of 17
the tb is a nicely designed little unit, though there are better sounding portable amps. there are 2 other directly competing devices that i'm aware of - the optioned out headphonia, and the porta corda w/ usb. i haven't compared those so i cannot speak as to which might be the best. you can try searching for that. there is also, on the diy boards, an amp/dac unit but it must be powered from the usb port as it does not have batteries.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
I think were getting a little off-topic here, I dont want to spend $200 unless there is a MAJOR difference.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gautama View Post
I think were getting a little off-topic here, I dont want to spend $200 unless there is a MAJOR difference.
I have a Total bithead, and I think the sound is great. Especially when portable through a nice line out/ipod and my super.fi 5 pro headphones. At home I use the hd595 which also sound spectacular through the bithead.

I don't use the USB much, but it does work fine.

The only problem I've found is that since discovering this site and seeing all the other options with a similar price I wonder if I'm getting the best bang for my buck. I recently ordered the new Xenos amp to see. It's the same price and appears to be higher end. No USB though.

In retrospect, I'd probably have bought the Headphonia if I had known about it. Same price and looks like it might make better sound for my ears.

Or maybe neither would/will be better. We shall see!
post #8 of 17
It seems to me that the responses you are getting indicate a problem with your comparison - it might help if you first determne whether you need the DAC or not. If you aren't going to be using the DAC all that much, then a large advantage of the Total Bithead (and a big piece of the premium) is removed from the equation.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gautama View Post
I think were getting a little off-topic here, I dont want to spend $200 unless there is a MAJOR difference.
That's not a simple question with a simple answer. Your idea of a major difference and mine might be two very different things.
My gut tells me that you wouldn't consider it a major difference.
post #10 of 17
The versatility of the Total Bithead is definitely it's selling point. I love mine but I don't know if it's a great value at $200 as I haven't had many other dacs and amps to compare with. All I know is that it is far better than my audigy2, onkyo tx-sr302 avr receiver, and more satisfying than my iPod shuffle all going to the HD595s. All the features like high/low gain - great for driving iems as well as high impedence cans, crossfeed, dual headphone out, easy installation, no need for an interconnect when using from a pc save the usb cable, ability to be just a portable amp, and most importantly a dac and amp in one that you can bring with your laptop to enjoy good sound anywhere sells this combo.

EDIT: This is A LOT of features for $200 and the sound quality isn't shabby either.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post
It seems to me that the responses you are getting indicate a problem with your comparison - it might help if you first determne whether you need the DAC or not. If you aren't going to be using the DAC all that much, then a large advantage of the Total Bithead (and a big piece of the premium) is removed from the equation.
I don't think I'll need the DAC, since I will eventually upgrade to the X-Fi XtremeMusic for the vista workaround, EAX 5, and the headphone virtualization which I hear is really good. And I suppose the DAC on the X-Fi will be good enough for my needs. Im leaning towards the PA2V2 atm... The Bithead seems to be made up of a lot of features when all Im looking for is a inexpensive quality amp. I wont really need the onboard DAC since the amp will have very little portable use, and I personally do not like how crossfeed sounds, wont be using 2 headphone outs like ever lol. Unless I find a cheap used Bithead (or equalivelant), its the PA2V2 for me.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmm, hows the Xenos 0HA-RHP compared to the PA2V2 in terms of sound quality?
post #13 of 17
A DAC you need? For you, Total Bithead I recommend.

No DAC? PA2v2 you will buy.

Whatever. There are lots of options out there.
post #14 of 17
You might want to look into the Go-Vibe 5 as well. I haven't heard either but from what I've read it would be a toss up between that and the Xenos for that budget. They're both supposed to be "better" than the Little Dot Micro+ and PA2V2. Or you can look for something better used for cheap.

EDIT: Are you sure you want to use the already amped headphone out on your sb se and amp it again? It would probably be decent to just drive HD555s from an x-fi. The x-fi xtrememusic has an ok opamp and ok dac, all in all it should blow away the sb se. The x-fi would probably be the smartest upgrade at this point since you game a lot too.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
The X-Fi has an amp? Since when!?! If so X-Fi it is!
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