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REVIEW: PenguinAmp Caffeine portable headphone amp w/BASS BOOST - Aka HEADSTAGE LYRIX - Page 2

post #16 of 138
Thanks for this excellent review.
post #17 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbulack View Post
A very well-written review based on careful listening and comparison - just the way I like 'em. I own a JSeaber cMoy with Bass Boost and Volume Pot. After 48-60 hours of use, I very much enjoy the cleanness and transparency of its, albeit pleasantly bloomy, sound. Reading your description of the Penguin Caffeine Amp, I ordered one last night. I tremendously enjoy the qualities of the sound through a well-designed and elegantly simple amp. The anticipation while I await the arrival of the Caffeine Amp is delicious.
This weekend my brother-in law was talking about wanting to buy some Bose headphones for his iPod. But, he couldn't find a place to listen to them first and he was struggling to come up with over $100 for phones.

He listened to my ipod via dock line out through the PenguinAmp Caffeine with the Beyer DT231 headphones that I was trying to sell here on head-fi. Needless to say, I went home without the headphones and he left with some free DT231 (can't sell stuff to family) and a napkin with the URL to buy a PenguinAmp Caffeine

If he doesn't buy a Caffeine right away - after you evaluate yours, if you decide to sell it let me know because he might buy yours if he hasn't gotten around to getting it yet.
post #18 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
.....If he doesn't buy a Caffeine right away - after you evaluate yours, if you decide to sell it let me know because he might buy yours if he hasn't gotten around to getting it yet.
IF I decide to sell it (neither likely nor impossible), I'll be sure to let you know.
post #19 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbulack View Post
A very well-written review based on careful listening and comparison - just the way I like 'em. I own a JSeaber cMoy with Bass Boost and Volume Pot. After 48-60 hours of use, I very much enjoy the cleanness and transparency of its, albeit pleasantly bloomy, sound. Reading your description of the Penguin Caffeine Amp, I ordered one last night. I tremendously enjoy the qualities of the sound through a well-designed and elegantly simple amp. The anticipation while I await the arrival of the Caffeine Amp is delicious.
The Seaber is a good amp, hampered by the lack of volume control, and a slightly too agressive bass boost for some headphones. I tried to get the v1.50 with volume control, but missed catching it before it went up on ebay by a few hours.

I may consider buying one later, but money is tighter these days since I have gone on 100% disability. I sold a few things and I have already bought a HEADSIX ($165) to show support for Jan Meier and Head-fi, as well as winning a Headstage Lyrix Pro on eBay ($113.50). But, after reading about 50 pages of controversy between Jan and Robert I wont be doing a comparison review of their two amps. It took me 2 months to stumble upon all the threads about that.

I will leave it up to each person to decide who to buy from, and I will report on each based on it's own merits, but I just won't pit the two against each other and re-ignite the fight. I prefer to stay neutral and un-biased. I did offer to by the Cafeine Pro evaluation unit (could have pretended it was free and not offered), and while waiting to get a reply I decided I liked Robert's amps enough to buy the Headstage sight-unseen, or should I say sound-unheard.
post #20 of 138
Thanks for the excellent review.
I bought an older version of the Penguinamp Royal (in the black tin can) from a head-fier, and I have been very pleased with it, but now I'm tempted to get the bass boost caffeine after reading this! I knew that you were doing this review soon but I guess I should've waited
post #21 of 138
I wonder how the "economy" Caffeine affect on E500? The bass boost may give E500 some over-bass.
post #22 of 138
Great review! I've only recently ordered some HD580's after signing up here a few days ago, which pretty much cleaned me out.

I think I may be able to afford the caffeine amp tho - so I've ordered it. As it will be my first amp, I will be using it at home, and out and about.

One question, it looks like it will run with a 12v or 15v adaptor - do know the polarity if this connector at all? Normally centre is +ve.
post #23 of 138
Thread Starter 
You can open it and flip a switch to turn bass boost on or off. The caffeine with bass boost on is compatable with more headphones due to only 8-9db boost and the low crossover or pivot point. It did't make bass heavy head/earphones (like the E500 or Ultrasone HFI700 or Denon C700 or PX100) sound bad but they certainly don't need it, so just switch off boost. However my HD600 love the boost, as do my ER6i, and even Livewires and iGrado. The Seaber was a bit stronger on the bass boost and tended to overdrive bass heavy phones.

I'll have to double check, but pretty sure they take + center tips. I only set my multi-use AC for 9v so if unregulated it wont go over 18v.
post #24 of 138

USB DAC

Thanks for the review. I just ordered the Caffeine as my first entry into the world of headphone amps. I also have ordered Etymotic ER-4Ps.

I have a few questions: 1) what is getting changed as the amps are burned-in? I can pictue breaking in a ball glove or shoes but can't picture it with electronics. 2) Do you know anything about the USB DAC that is available with the amp? I ordered one since I plan on using the amp with my notebook a lot.
post #25 of 138
Thread Starter 
Burn-in - capacitors form and electrons align, and current flow is improved, etc...

The three changes I have heard with burn-in time on these is (1) soundstage improves, although the Royal and Penguin were better than others out of the box (2) any grainy-ness or harshness in mids and highs smooths over (3) bass gets louder first (with the royal too much for a few days) then it levels out and becomes punchier/more controlled/whateveryoucallit.

I don't know a lot about the USB DAC other than it should be similar to the Penguin DAC cab;e, which I have on the way as well, for testing. I bought the Lyrix USB and Penguin DAC cable myself before shipping, instead of offering to buy after testing, so I'll be stuck with them
post #26 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeHunt79 View Post
..
One question, it looks like it will run with a 12v or 15v adaptor - do know the polarity if this connector at all? Normally centre is +ve.
YES, positive center for the tip.

I also just ordered their power supply since it is a decent price and known to work with the product.
post #27 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caribou679 View Post
per the pics, the Caffeine looks like it is sealed, so no possibility of op amp rolling there?

Do you know if with the The Headstage Lyrix Pro op amps rolling is possible?

regards,
Both the Penguin and the eBay version of the Headstage CANNOT ROLL OPAMPS. I emailed them and you have to request that at the time of the order for an extra $20.

The Lyrix photo on the eBay auction was for the "total" version on the main website, but since the auction DOESN'T say opamps are socketed or can be rolled, don't be upset if you didn't email them asking about that feature first. I had to make the same guesses as everyone else until I emailed.


Quote:
There will be a "total" version with gold caps, 4-channel circuitry and opamp rolling. It will cost $20 more as the standard version.
post #28 of 138
Get review, for a newbie like me it was excellent. Easy to understand and really informative. I posted a thread about being totally lost as to what amp to get (only one person replied ) and this just adds to the confusion.

Do you have any experience with the C&C box+? Im wondering if the price difference is worth the SQ benefits.
post #29 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I don't know a lot about the USB DAC other than it should be similar to the Penguin DAC cable . . .
Actually it was the Penguin DAC cable that I was talking about. (You can tell by my moniker how much I know about this subject area ) I will be interested to hear your opinion of it when you receive it.
post #30 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
YES, positive center for the tip.

I also just ordered their power supply since it is a decent price and known to work with the product.
Exellent - I've got quite a few walwarts lying around gathering dust, and just wanted to make sure I don't plug it up and find it's the wrong polarity.

I really can't wait now, I hope postage from Germany doesn't take too long.

Also, I think the penguin DAC cable should have a similar sound to the AlienDac, as they both use the same DAC chip onboard.

I went for the AlienDac kit in the end, as I quite like soldering.
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