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HeadAmp AE-2 impressions (w/ burn-in updates) (over) - Page 7

post #91 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
It's mind-blowing how much better the AE-2 is over the AE-1! There's absolutely no question, the AE-2 is a leap from it! I can't believe I ever put up with the AE-1 - not that it's bad, but man, after you hear the AE-2 there's no going back! Air and space is so much more audible, and the treble is actually refined and not messy. It also captures timbre accurately instead of fuzzing it out.
Howdy Pal!

If I haven't said it anywhere yet, it was great to see you at HeadFest, and of course I really enjoyed your last batch of pics!

I've posted a few times in the HeadFest threads that I was really happy with how much Justin improved the AE-2, not only over the AE-1, but even significantly over the SQ of the (hurried) prototypes I heard and liked a few NY meets. ago.

As I've posted before, the AE-2 more than holds its own with the best portables. Of course I'd love to hear it side-by-side with some other portables in different setups in a quiet space, but I was very happy to have had the opportunity at HeadFest to hear the final product (apparently thoroughly "burned in" from the sound of it).

I listened a bit through 701s, but then changed the dip switches to low gain and listened a while with my ES2 IEMs (which was more practical given the level of happy background chatter around me) via my 80G Video iPod via ALO Jumbo Silk Dock. Whereas the prototypes were very smooth with contiguous frequency spectrums and a relaxed presentation, the show amp I heard had even greater extension bottom to top, much more dynamic presentation, the kind of deep, layered, immersive imaging I love that gives you a sense of the space around performers.

I really felt that the AE-1 sometimes presented some instruments and voices all wrong, and was inconsistent depending on the recording — guitars presented beautifully, but saxes and horns often sounding odd (as an example). It also had a mid-bass prominence that besides its presence being disturbing, also seemed to impinge on the midrange. Sometimes imaging was okay, and sometimes I felt that with certain live recordings it had an artificial/exaggerated separation of instruments as though an energetic, well-blended live performance sound was turned into a close-miked studio session.

Anyway, rather than continue with the limitations I'd found in the AE-1, I'll say that AE-2 has none of them and is really a very different amp that presents instruments and voices so naturally you're sucked into the performance. (I would have said "drawn into" but sucked into is so much more dramatic.)

Asr - when I listened to your amps (great opportunity) — pristine and beautifully stacked/set up — I spent a fair amount of time comparing your AE-1 and AE-2. I was very perplexed and was trying to find time to write to you, but this thread may have cleared up the odd results I found.

In your meet setup your AE-2 sounded very much like your AE-1, despite the fact that Justin's AE-2 sounded glorious and very different from yours. I was trying to find a tactful way to ask if there might have been something in your setup that was interfering and leveling the field between the 2 amps.

Now it would seem that your AE-2 simply had not had the necessary play time before the meet to present it at anywhere near its optimal sound.

BTW - I don't care if the AE-2 has an AD8397 or XY1234 opamp, since I simply listen to an amp for its sound quality, whatever its body is composed of — and the AE-2 is marvelous. The technocrats can thrill in dissecting it, which of course won't change its sound.

I am so glad your AE-2 is finally on the path to arriving at the sound I heard from Justin's.

Fun, ain't it?

I can't really write a more extensive critical essay about the new amp because I only heard it for a relatively brief period under meet conditions, and I don't have one to study in depth — so I can't "wax poetic" or write in any detail, but I think I've at least conveyed how good I feel it is, and how very enjoyable it is to listen to.

Congrats on owning and enjoying a really splendid amp.
post #92 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM324 View Post
GreatDane,
May I ask what LOD or mini-mini are you using?
ALO Bling Bling. There is a pic of this on page 1, post #16.

Thanks Romanee.
post #93 of 142
I just wanted to thank ASR, Romanee and everyone else that's posted further impressions in the last little while, it's really appreciated and it's making the decision to try and stretch my budget to obtain one of these much easier.

Having owned a GS-1 I can attest to the it's excellent sonic attributes and Justin's build quality is simply outstanding. The AE-2 seems to follow suit in both these realms as well as added flexibility with the rear RCA's which makes it look like a bargain to me.
post #94 of 142
Ordered my AE-2 today

I ordered the gray (new color) with mirror polished finish. I'm anxious to spend some quality time with the AE-2 and Hornet to compare.

At the meet I was very impressed with the AE-2. IIRC I listened to the silver one and the bronze one and the silver sounded more developed or maybe had more hours on it. I was really impressed with the bass, it had more power and impact than the Hornet but I don't know that it was as tight or defined. Does anyone know how many hours those demos had on them?

Anyways, it impressed me enough to sell my Super Macro IV and order one so I'm counting down starting today... one month to go!

If anyone has one with 200+ on it please post impressions!
post #95 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74 View Post
Ordered my AE-2 today

I ordered the gray (new color) with mirror polished finish. I'm anxious to spend some quality time with the AE-2 and Hornet to compare.

Anyways, it impressed me enough to sell my Super Macro IV and order one so I'm counting down starting today... one month to go!

If anyone has one with 200+ on it please post impressions!
Congrats!

Is there a pic of this new color somewhere? (gray)

" it impressed me enough to sell my Super Macro IV"


Mine has around 170 hours. I can't say that it's still changing,my auditory memory isn't good enough for that. I was in love at 10 hours.
post #96 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74 View Post
Ordered my AE-2 today

I ordered the gray (new color) with mirror polished finish. I'm anxious to spend some quality time with the AE-2 and Hornet to compare.

At the meet I was very impressed with the AE-2. IIRC I listened to the silver one and the bronze one and the silver sounded more developed or maybe had more hours on it. I was really impressed with the bass, it had more power and impact than the Hornet but I don't know that it was as tight or defined. Does anyone know how many hours those demos had on them?

Anyways, it impressed me enough to sell my Super Macro IV and order one so I'm counting down starting today... one month to go!

If anyone has one with 200+ on it please post impressions!
I ordered one yesterday as well, I went black but with a brushed silver volume control. I'm sooo looking forward to hearing this with my E500's.
post #97 of 142


If you look down to the very bottom left and go up one to the right it's the dark gray one next to the blue one.
post #98 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeride74 View Post


If you look down to the very bottom left and go up one to the right it's the dark gray one next to the blue one.
WOW! That's going to look sweet!!!

I didn't even know he had more options available, I noticed on the order page it states only black so I just asked about getting the brushed silver volume control for something a little different.
post #99 of 142
It's pretty new... hope you don't mind me posting that Justin
post #100 of 142
Hi wakeride74, I'll wait for your impressions with AE-2 + ES2!
I have the AE-2 + UM2 and I'm thinking to upgrade with the ES2. My AE-2 has around 200 hours of use (or more), but I can't help you about impressions becouse my english is worse than poor! (and also I think that I don't have a super-analytical ear).
All that I can say is that iMod>ALO Cryo>AE-2>UM2/HD650... WOW!!
post #101 of 142
Based on this I cannot wait to get the AE-2 that I am being loaned to review - should be fun!
post #102 of 142
Thread Starter 
100-hour update!

The sound of the amp is very slowly but surely improving. It's developing into a micro-GS-1 of sorts. I still don't know how Justin managed to work this from the AD8397, it's amazing! Maybe I need to hear another AD8397-based amp again? Very open and clear with no overt spikes in the FR.

Frequency balance is now very even across the board, though with some slightly relaxed upper treble, some metallic tendencies on the wrong kind of music, a slight lower-mids recession, and of course the bass is merely in line with the other portables I've heard so far. There's a smoothness to the vocal range that makes female vocals sound especially velvety & sweet on the K701.

Soundstage still as 3D.

Burn-in continues...
post #103 of 142
ASR as I read your post my wallet ran away!
post #104 of 142
Thread Starter 
'Tis safe for your wallet to come back you know, since you'll have one coming to you in due time.
post #105 of 142
Thread Starter 
Well now that I have a pair of IEMs (ATH-CK7) I finally tested the AE-2's claim of reduced noise floor, along with Low Gain!

First the noise floor. It's true, the AE-2 no longer has hiss! The CK7 picks up a fair amount of hiss from the AE-1, but nothing on the AE-2, it's dead silent! This is only on Low gain though, because if you increase it to Mid or High, there is some hiss revealed.

Low Gain is also very useful with the CK7. Mid Gain works fine with the CK7 actually, but Low provides even more control.

So versatility seems to be the amp's middle name!
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