Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Two Mint Tin Amps head to head, PenguinAmp vs Seaber - good money savers here
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Two Mint Tin Amps head to head, PenguinAmp vs Seaber - good money savers here

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
FIRST:

You don't need to buy used for a GOOD inexpensive amp, and if money is an issue I would recommend the "cMoy bass boost" that is reviewed here on head.fi - I won't call it cheap because that implies low quality. It is only $40.99 on ebay!

SOUND: It's only needed about 48 hours of burn-in, and started to sound very good after 12-24 hours. Out of the box it sounded a little grainy with closed in sound stage. I have to tell you gentlemen, "the closed sound stage and graininess has left the building." (get it, Elvis has left th... nevermind). I don't typically use the bass boost, but it does add clean smooth non-boomy i.e. non-peaky bass to headphones with less bass than the Shure E500 or Denon C700 (such as the ER6i, E4c, SE310 and more.)

FEATURES: It is designed to run off the headphone jack, and you can add the optional gain switch for about $5 to get both less hiss at zero volume with hi-volume IEM's and the power to drive HD600's too. Just tell him what headphones you wish to use. It does a good job with my IEM and Ultrasone HFI700 DVD, and then flip the switch to use my Sennheiser HD600 (the PX100 sound better this way too, and he says it is set up for the Senn 280 pro that I was originally going to get which I am guessing is in-between the two I actually bought).

He has redesigned the circuit board to allow for a volume control, but I don't know what that will cost when it comes out in a few weeks. But, most people on this $40 budget will be using the headphone out and not a $80 cryodock. He can also add a volume control to the current circuit board, but the cost will go up (guessing $10 or more) as he has to source the pot's separately. he will also customize the case, and LED color/brightness to suit you.

I bought a 9v 1000ma power adapter that shuts off the battery when I am using it at home, and it automatically turns on when you plug in your source. When away from the power, I can still plug in a power plug to shut off the amp if I don't want to unplug the source.

see other reviews and feedback here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showth...3&goto=newpost

ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/cMoy-Amp-Headpho...QQcmdZViewItem

NEXT:

I also have a little bit more costly PenguinAmps cMoy from ebay that is fantastic. It hasn't needed any burn-in like the Cmoy bass boost - it uses the acclaimed AD8397 opamp, and uses two rail-splitters instead of one to handle the extra current.

It is $89 on ebay and ships from germany. It comes in a nice looking unique Penguin Mints case, which I did not know was available in the USA (see post #4 below). This has an on/off switch that will let you A-B compare amped and unamped. With the iPod headphone set at 50%, and the volume knob set at 12:30 - 1:00 o'clock you can switch the amp on and hear NO change in volume or sound quality - it's not adding ANY coloration to the sound of the source!

I spent 3 hours listening last night with my HD600's and I was totally drawn into the music with NO complaints about any part of what I was hearing. It sounds a little different from the cMoy bass boost, a little quicker and punchier (without bass boost on or with it on, the cMoyBB isn't as quick to my ears, but it isn't bad at all). The sound field is very broad and you can hear the placement of the different instruments as if you were sitting down at a table in a jazz club, in the front row 8 feet away, and the musicians are on a 3 foot tall stage.

It is powerful enough to drive my Sennheiser HD600 quite well from the headphone jack, and quite loud from the ipod dock connector's line out (ALO Cryo Dock). It has a volume control so can be used with either type of input (headphone or line-in). This one has a 9v NiMH battery charging circuit instead of a battery disconnect like the cMoy bass boost. He claims 25 hours on a charged 250 MaH 9v battery. I have resisted spending $12 on a 150 MaH battery and am looking for a longer life one. The good news is that my 9v power adapter for the CMoy bass boost will work with this by switching to a different tip that I have. DO NOT TRY TO CHARGE ALKALINE BATTERIES - NO POWER ADAPTER TILL YOU GET A RECHARGABLE.

If I had to pick between the two amps for sound I'd pick the Penguin, as it sounds closest to my Tomahawk, but it isn't as good as the RSA TH yet. Maybe burn-in will give it the bass of the Tomahawk or the sound-stage, we'll see. BUT with the difference in features I had to have both.

Seeing as I have THREE iPods - I paired my 8gb Nano with the Tomahawk, the cMoy bass boost with my 1st gen 2gb Nano, and the PenguinAmp with my 80gb 5.5G iPod video. My iBasso D1 is still burning in at 196 hours and I am not listening to it, but it is paired with my iRiver I120 and Sony D-EJ2000 which both have optical out.

penguin amp links

http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZwww-penguinamp-com

http://www.penguinamp.com/
post #2 of 26
Wow...I am glad we share the same burn-in experience. Reading your observation exactly mirrors my experience. Good comparison!
post #3 of 26
Which one would you recommend for my UE SF3s?
post #4 of 26
Quote:
"It comes in a nice looking unique Penguin Mints case, not available in the USA."
Nope - Penguin Mints is born and bred on the West Coast, good 'ol USA. Seattle is the company headquarters:
http://www.peppermints.com

Their mint tins are almost as good as the mints (I'm hooked on the Cinnamon ) and the original mint tin DIY headphone amp - made by forum user Apheared - was put in a Penguin's tin. Using a Penguin Mints mint tin is a longstanding DIY tradition. These are Alien DAC's:



Sorry for the slightly off-topic, but it seemed pertinent.

Here's Apheared's in 2001:


Apheared, you are definitely going to get huge mention in my article addendum. The only reason I have delayed adding you is that I wanted to prepare an article for the DIY Showcase of your "greatest hits" amps. Of all the "mini" amps you made, the Penguin Mints is easily the most stunning - a feat of intricate construction and a gorgeous case!! If only more people would house their creations in these kinds of colorful tins. You buy them for the contents (most times anyway) and the case is for free.
BTW, the boxes for the Penguin Cinnamon Mints and Light Mints are terrific too!! - Chu Moy (CMoy), 1/18/2001.


The two guys that started it all ...
post #5 of 26
You could build your own CMoy--check Tangentsoft audiologica--Use 470 uF electrolytics and .22 uF for C1 (the input cap to the op amp), ALPS 097 potentiometer for volume control. If you later put it in a larger case you could add a buffer op amp , crossfeed, etc. That's DIY!

Very much info here and Headwize re CMoy DIY...quadruple your fun.

For a first project you do not need many tools, but learn to solder and identify parts.

F
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm gonna have to order me some mints now.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I corrected my review in regards to tin history.

I singled out these two because they seemed like they did things in their own unique way that added something special to the CMoy that I could never do myself. No training or aptitude for electronics, put me on the Enterprise and all you'll hear is "D***it Jim, I'm a doctor not a magician".
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I corrected my review in regards to tin history.

I singled out these two because they seemed like they did things in their own unique way that added something special to the CMoy that I could never do myself. No training or aptitude for electronics, put me on the Enterprise and all you'll hear is "D***it Jim, I'm a doctor not a magician".
Nah - I did a thread jack - plain and simple. Sometimes I can't stop once a fun fact is found - my fault.
post #9 of 26
Thanks for the reviews! I was actually looking at the Penguin amp earlier, but thought it was too expensive for something I just wanted to test out. For the first amp, you mentioned buying a 9v 1000ma power adapter that shuts off the battery... can you give some details on that?
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
No training or aptitude for electronics, put me on the Enterprise and all you'll hear is "D***it Jim, I'm a doctor not a magician".
Thanks for the reviews, HeadphoneAddict, and thanks for laugh I got from your Star Trek joke.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I bought a 9v 1000ma power adapter...
Just one point to make about your power adapter and review of the cMoyBB.

Today I received the cMoyBB I bought on eBay. From what I understand from the paper I received with it, the cMoyBB optionally operates with an AC/DC adapter that outputs a measured 9v to 24v; however it sounds best with more volts than less within this range. So it seems a 9v power adapter would least represent the sound quality the cMoyBB has to offer. It also states in this paper that use of a high quality interconnect cable makes a difference.

I've only had my cMoyBB running for a few hours with the 9v battery and bass boost selected. My interconnect looks kinda cheap, but it will do for now. However, I soon expect to obtain a non-switching (non-regulated) AC/DC adapter that ouputs a voltage somewhere between 17v and 24v.

What stuck me first about my cMoyBB is how LOUD it is capable of playing... WAY louder than I ever would want to drive my HD580 for fear of damaging them. The second thing I noticed right off was the bass. My SoundBlaster Live! card cannot fill in the bass at all with my HD580, and the cMoyBB does this quite noticeably. No further observations of my inexpensive system until after burn-in and I get an AC/DC adapter.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dimm0k View Post
Thanks for the reviews! I was actually looking at the Penguin amp earlier, but thought it was too expensive for something I just wanted to test out. For the first amp, you mentioned buying a 9v 1000ma power adapter that shuts off the battery... can you give some details on that?
Radio Shack universal 9v 1500ma ac to dc adapter, with interchangable tips, using the 2.5mm male power plug.
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Time View Post
Thanks for the reviews, HeadphoneAddict, and thanks for laugh I got from your Star Trek joke.



Just one point to make about your power adapter and review of the cMoyBB.

Today I received the cMoyBB I bought on eBay. From what I understand from the paper I received with it, the cMoyBB optionally operates with an AC/DC adapter that outputs a measured 9v to 24v; however it sounds best with more volts than less within this range. So it seems a 9v power adapter would least represent the sound quality the cMoyBB has to offer. It also states in this paper that use of a high quality interconnect cable makes a difference.

I've only had my cMoyBB running for a few hours with the 9v battery and bass boost selected. My interconnect looks kinda cheap, but it will do for now. However, I soon expect to obtain a non-switching (non-regulated) AC/DC adapter that ouputs a voltage somewhere between 17v and 24v.

What stuck me first about my cMoyBB is how LOUD it is capable of playing... WAY louder than I ever would want to drive my HD580 for fear of damaging them. The second thing I noticed right off was the bass. My SoundBlaster Live! card cannot fill in the bass at all with my HD580, and the cMoyBB does this quite noticeably. No further observations of my inexpensive system until after burn-in and I get an AC/DC adapter.
The funniest part is, I AM a doctor (okay, albeit a disabled, part-time and soon to be retired at 45yr old)

Also, all I did was buy the tips for a 9v adapter that I already had for powering a vintage Sony CD player. Now I have real Sony power adapters, and can use this one for both CMoys. The penguin can go to 18v, so it's time to upgrade and then I can power both with the 18v, or charge the one with the 9v while blasting the other with the 18v.

Also, since these are PORTABLE amps, my review was done entirely under BATTERY power.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jewman View Post
Which one would you recommend for my UE SF3s?
Probably the Penguin. I hear the Super.fi 3/5 are strong on the bass, but I haven't gotten my S.F 5 pros to test yet.

The ER6i or Sony EX51LP probably need the CMoy bass boost because the bass is too weak even with my 700+ hour Tomahawk or 200 hour iBasso D1.
post #14 of 26
That is funny.

I'm neither the McCoy nor the Scottie type, but from what I understand from the paper I received along with my cMoy, the measured output from a non-regulated adapter will be greater than its labeled rating. Quoted from this paper, "Therefore, an unregulated DC adapter may actually supply much more voltage than anticipated and quickly fry your cMoy amplifier."

Thought I should mention that before you expect your cMoyBB to get 18v but instead possibly gets more than 24v. My guess is your 9v AC/DC adapter has a measured output of around 12v, but there's probably no way to know for sure how much an unregulated adapter outputs without using a voltmeter. So I suggest checking with John, aka blackinches, before upping your cMoyBB to 18v.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Probably the Penguin. I hear the Super.fi 3/5 are strong on the bass, but I haven't gotten my S.F 5 pros to test yet.

The ER6i or Sony EX51LP probably need the CMoy bass boost because the bass is too weak even with my 700+ hour Tomahawk or 200 hour iBasso D1.
Actually the SF3's are known for lean but accurate and detailed bass (for their price). Would you still recommend the PenguinAmp?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Two Mint Tin Amps head to head, PenguinAmp vs Seaber - good money savers here