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post #406 of 771
I just bought a TPA6120a2/ Alps hp amp from David at hotaudio40. This is a very good sounding amp!
I found the amp when I was researching what was available. Here is the link. http:RAGING MOOSE DIGITAL VOLUME HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER Digital Headphone Amplifier [RAGING MOOSE HEADPHONE AMP] - $149.00 : Zen Cart!, The Art of E-commerce
The amp is very well explained here, and David includes full documentation and specs from Texas Instruments on the TPA6120a2 op amp, which seemed impressive to me.
I am using it as a part of a portable reference library (I am a traveling professional musician) which consists of a 120 gig ipod and Sennheiser hd600s. I use a Monster Cable interconnect cut down to 4", and a 4' length of Silver Dragon for the phones. I have velcroed the ipod case to the top of the amp to create a simple single unit that sits on its end on a table so I can use the wheel easily.
The first thing I noticed is that the ipod sounds a great deal better through this amp. I had grown used to the compressed sound of mp3s, but even the lowest quality tracks I have sound much better, and the compression is hard to hear.
The amp has a S/N ratio of 120 db! No kidding! There is absolutely no amp hiss through the 600s at any volume! And the amp drives these phones up to painful levels. Digitally recorded music comes at you out of complete silence.
There is a large burn in factor with this amp. For the first three weeks or so, I could hear quite a opening up every few days. Now, after a month or so, the amp sounds much richer than it did out of the box.
Burn in is also a large factor with the Silver dragon cable, which I've only had for about 2 weeks. And this cable transforms the 600s into something MUCH better than they were.
The Alps digital volume control is very simple to use, and sounds exactly the same at any setting. No pots to get dirty!
It is hard to say what the "character" of the amp is, because it sounds completely different from production to production. It lets the music through without adding anything that I can hear. The bass is very defined, the midrange is rich and detailed; in fact this holds true all through the spectrum.
I am able to hear tiny details in recordings that I hadn't noticed before.
The amp is able to keep individual instruments in focus, even in dense groups, like symphony orchestras, or jazz big bands. If I need to latch on to an instrument or voice, I can always find it, no matter how busy things are around it, and it keeps its relative dynamic level (this dynamic stability is very rare in my listening experience).
The amp has a muscular quality in that dynamic peaks and valleys are given effortlessly, with a very rich,open sound. Nothing makes the amp sound like it is working hard. Combined with these phones and cables, it manages to be sharply analytical while being richly musical at the same time (something like the wacko speaker systems you find in record mastering rooms).
This amp uses 9v batteries, and it uses them fast. I use NiMH batteries, and I change them every day, to be safe. The unit draws 20 mA at rest, so don't leave it on by mistake! But this quality of sound from something that runs on one battery is something else!
David at hotaudio40 has put together a winner here, and the price is great!
I am rather new to the kind of systems that are discussed here at head-fi, but I have decades of experience with speaker-based audio, from vinyl to now. I have also decades of experience as a musician, and am familiar with the recording studio since the 70's. I find myself amazed that a system so small and relatively inexpensive can do a job that normally I would expect from speakers and amps costing thousands...
Technology just gets better!
Has anyone else in this forum tried one of these amps? I'd love to hear what they think.
post #407 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerboy View Post
The amp has a S/N ratio of 120 db! No kidding!
This does not apply to the usual 16bit/44.1kHz audio... 96dB is the maximum possible headroom for CD quality. Of course it would be possible for specific 24/96 tasks, but I doubt your MP3 player would be useful for that.
post #408 of 771

HotAudio40: a work in progress

"
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerboy View Post
I just bought a TPA6120a2/ Alps hp amp from David at hotaudio40."

I had that model for a while too.


"This is a very good sounding amp!"


I completely agree


"(I am a traveling professional musician)"


...me too but on different continents from you.


"The first thing I noticed is that the ipod sounds a great deal better through this amp."


I'm not a portable audio kinda guy except that I do use minidisc as my format for accompanying tracks.


"There is a large burn in factor with this amp."


I found that too though I had problems with what I thought to be very short battery life. I also fed the amp too hot a signal by running an independent DAC out of my computer and then into the HotAudio40 device. To compound the problem, I also occasionally ran the amp off the record-outs on my home stereo and off the line-outs on the mixing desk I use when performing. Distortion big time and drop-outs; it was a big old mess at times.


"The Alps digital volume control is very simple to use, and sounds exactly the same at any setting."


For me, this feature wasn't a good choice. Having the amp reset to half volume every time it starts up caused me a bit of grief but again, that was a user-related problem.


"It is hard to say what the "character" of the amp is, because it sounds completely different from production to production. It lets the music through without adding anything that I can hear. The bass is very defined, the midrange is rich and detailed; in fact this holds true all through the spectrum.
I am able to hear tiny details in recordings that I hadn't noticed before.
The amp is able to keep individual instruments in focus, even in dense groups, like symphony orchestras, or jazz big bands. If I need to latch on to an instrument or voice, I can always find it, no matter how busy things are around it, and it keeps its relative dynamic level (this dynamic stability is very rare in my listening experience)."

I completely agree. Not only that but when I used this amp with my fussy AKG K501s the skies opened up. The 501s never sounded so good and now that I have parted company with the amp, and haven't been able to afford a suitably muscular replacement, the 501s sit lonely on the shelf.


"The amp has a muscular quality in that dynamic peaks and valleys are given effortlessly, with a very rich,open sound. Nothing makes the amp sound like it is working hard. "

....see my little difficulty described above.

"This amp uses 9v batteries, and it uses them fast. I use NiMH batteries, and I change them every day, to be safe. The unit draws 20 mA at rest, so don't leave it on by mistake!"

It's a real little piggy!

"But this quality of sound from something that runs on one battery is something else!"

Yup. I miss it for sure.

"Has anyone else in this forum tried one of these amps? I'd love to hear what they think.
"


<<<PLEASE NOTE: all that is written above is a combination of drummerboy (in quotation marks) and my responses (no quotation marks) I couldn't figure out how to write a running commentary any other way>>>


Yo. Here's the thing for me: it was just the wrong product and I wear the responsibility for making what could perhaps be seen as an unfortunate choice. Undeniably great sound, cheap as chips, and tons of fun, I got really upset when the battery would go flat so soon and the amp would distort when I unintentionally over-fed it signal. To his credit, Dave sought to rectify the issue quickly and sent me another amp to replace my first one. When the issues arose again it was clear that my use of the product, though in no way intentionally disrespectful, was asking the amp to do something that it just was not created to do. These amps are obviously very good for portable audio use as many of you are discovering; just watch out if you want to take the amp outside the iPod-ish realm.

I don't know if he still does this, but for a while Dave put a disclaimer with the ads for those amps stating that they were not suitable for the kind of use I tortured the poor things with. His letters back and forth with me indicated that before my little mishaps, he didn't know about the issues I have related herein. Again to his credit, Dave refunded my purchase $$$ before I even asked; I held onto my loot and recently bought a HotAudio40 DAC Destroyer that I'm happily using as I write this.

I wanted to relay this little story for a while but I also wanted to give my experiences some breathing room. What I've got from my adventure is a sense that our good Mister HotAudio40 is an active participant in this process. He's not just pumping out the product and cashing the cheques; he's in there with us as we use the products and is evolving his creations constantly. And he really does care. That much was completely clear in how he handled me and my concerns. Things will only get better.
post #409 of 771
OK, tempted by one of the DAC1s, would this system work?:

My bedroom setup is going to be: Acer Aspire One [FLAC] USB –> USB DAC1 –> audio in to Darkvoice 332 amp –> Senn HD580.

Thanks.
post #410 of 771
That setup should work great. You will need a 1/8" mini jack to RCA cable. To connect the DAC to the AMP. I just ordered one from Blue Jeans Cable for under $30. Haven't received yet, so I can't comment on quality, but others here seem pleased with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spookygonk View Post
OK, tempted by one of the DAC1s, would this system work?:

My bedroom setup is going to be: Acer Aspire One [FLAC] USB –> USB DAC1 –> audio in to Darkvoice 332 amp –> Senn HD580.

Thanks.
post #411 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddoingwell View Post
"".....What I've got from my adventure is a sense that our good Mister HotAudio40 is an active participant in this process. He's not just pumping out the product and cashing the cheques; he's in there with us as we use the products and is evolving his creations constantly. And he really does care. That much was completely clear in how he handled me and my concerns. Things will only get better.
Hotaudio40 is truly one of the good guys. Not only does he put out a good product(s), but he is also open to ideas from those of us in the field and actively communicates individually or through head-fi. I'm glad that he's getting the support that he deserves.
post #412 of 771
i need a USB DAC and AMP for my ultrasone 780's. what could you recommend me from your range Mr. hotaudio? my budget is around $250.
im in the UK, so i also need to account for shipping.

how do these amps n dacs sound with something like the ultrasones?

thanks, looks like your gathering quite a reputation and following on here
post #413 of 771
Well for those headphones (ULTRASONE 780's), I'd recommend either the MARK IV or the SUPREME models as they have lots of power and would complement those phones very well.

The MARK IV and SUPREME are both USB DAC / AMPS.
This means that they are a combination of DAC and then AMP stage.

Plenty of power and lots of detail. 75mW into those phones.

The MARK IV is slightly warmer then the SUPREME which is slightly more detailed.

That choice would be a matter of taste and how the phones respond.

If those are very boomy headphones then I'd go with the SUPREME, and if they lack bottom end, then the MARK IV.

If you are looking for a "stand-alone" headphone amp.
I have those too, but none of my stand alone headphone amps have DACs built into them yet...

You most likely won't need an amp with the MARK IV or SUPREME, but of course you could always add one later if you wanted to

Oh, almost forgot, all items are shipped for FREE worldwide off my website store.

Thanks!
post #414 of 771
MARK IV < Mark VII

KNOBS FOR ALL
post #415 of 771
I own the Supreme DAC and would heartily recommend it. It uses the TI/BB 2702 which I believe is one of their top of the line chips. Its currently priced lower than what I paid on eBay. It also has a nicer build quality than the other DACs since it is enclosed in an aluminum case with plastic end caps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roosta View Post
i need a USB DAC and AMP for my ultrasone 780's. what could you recommend me from your range Mr. hotaudio? my budget is around $250.
im in the UK, so i also need to account for shipping.

how do these amps n dacs sound with something like the ultrasones?

thanks, looks like your gathering quite a reputation and following on here
post #416 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerboy View Post
I just bought a TPA6120a2/ Alps hp amp from David at hotaudio40. This is a very good sounding amp!.....

Has anyone else in this forum tried one of these amps? I'd love to hear what they think.
Drummerboy,
I have one of Dave's TPA6120a2 amps as well. I got it about month or so ago and I am still burning it in. I really like mine and agree with your comments even though I do not have a lot of other amps to compare this with. It is night and day better than dirrectly out of my IPOD!

I do find that it sounds much better with my Grado SR 60's, and even better with my new Denon D2000's, than with my AKG-K81DJ's. With the AKG's there is just too much of a good thing, the sound ends up being too energetic and in your face to enjoy for very long.

I was really surprised how well this little portable handles the Denon's, making for a very musical combination for around the house. I have an Audio-GD Compass on order that the Denon's are planned to be used with, but I am really enjoying this combination while I wait for the Compass to arrive.

I also agree that this amp has an appitite for batteries, but that can be improved with the use of iPower 9V pro lithium polymer 520 mAhr battery's. I get double the time out of these compared to the Ni-MH 260mah batteries that I started with. They are a little pricey, ~$20 each, and require a special charger, but worth it, if you like this amp and are bothered by the short battery life of the Ni-mh cells. I bought two batteries and the charger and I am quite happy with this set up. There is a 500mah version that is a little cheaper but does not deliver as much current. These also do not hold there charge as long when idle as the Ni-mh, but if you listen to your amp as much as I do that won't be an issue. These last longer than the battery on my 5.5G IPOD so it works out well.

I got mine here: iPower PRO Rechargeable 9V Lithium Polymer Battery 520mAh

Mark
post #417 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowlevelowl View Post
That setup should work great. You will need a 1/8" mini jack to RCA cable. To connect the DAC to the AMP. I just ordered one from Blue Jeans Cable for under $30. Haven't received yet, so I can't comment on quality, but others here seem pleased with it.
Thanks for the info, I have Chord Cobra RCA cables and have found a RCA => 1/8" converter, but would be interested in what your BJC sounds like. Will (have to) splash for the DAC shortly.
post #418 of 771
Could the USB1 be used as a stand alone DAC and then plugged into an amp, as seen below?

Code:
Macbook Pro > USB Cord > USB1 > Mini to RCA Cord > Amp > Headphones
or is the source coming out of the USB1 to powerful to be safely plugged into an amp?
post #419 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx7mark View Post
That is one SERIOUS battery
I'm going to have to get one of those.

It is PERFECT for the "RAGING MOOSE"... or any headphone amplifier for that matter.

Thanks for that!
post #420 of 771
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bomo.is.ooc View Post
Could the USB1 be used as a stand alone DAC and then plugged into an amp, as seen below?

Code:
Macbook Pro > USB Cord > USB1 > Mini to RCA Cord > Amp > Headphones
or is the source coming out of the USB1 to powerful to be safely plugged into an amp?
Yes, I do that all the time, but I find going to a 3.5mm to RCA splitter first and then to some nice RCA cables works better.

Like those Y type adaptors.
One solid piece.
3.5mm in, two RCAs out.

Like this:
http://cgi.ebay.com/3-5mm-Stereo-Hea...3A1%7C294%3A50

Then to some nice RCA cables.
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