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REVIEW: PenguinAmp Caffeine portable headphone amp w/BASS BOOST - Aka HEADSTAGE LYRIX - Page 3

post #31 of 138
Very neat review!
post #32 of 138
Great review. I already own the original Penguin Amp (the Classic, which is in the same tin as the Caffeine with bass boost). And now I am hankering for the newer model. Where will it all end? Listening to the Classic right now, in fact.
post #33 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
.....And now I am hankering for the newer model. Where will it all end? .....
Newer models and newer products will always be appearing, offering real increases in value, so it's not likely to end there. For each of us, it ends exactly where we say "Stop". Each of us can say "Stop" anytime we want to ..... and with the price of ever-increasing quality and convenience dropping steadily ..... it can be a hard sell that the time has come to want to.
post #34 of 138
Its about time someone reviewed these. Thank you.
post #35 of 138
Thread Starter 
Shipping from Germany on my first two orders was about 15 and 17 days respectively.
post #36 of 138
Mine arrived in the post today - and I've been listening to it for 10 mins so far, and it sounds excellent listening to 320 MP3's.

Bear in mind this is my first headphone amp. The first thing I done was to throw a Lithium 9v PP3 in there, and plug it up to my Nokia and my HD-25 concorde's.

I'm currently listening to the My Downfall album by Venetian Snares - and the crazy panning seems to be a lot wider, and the whole sound seems more involving somehow... It's hard to describe really. I haven't really had a chance to play around with different sources or settings or anything yet... I really like the bass boost tho, it sounds very natural and it seems to boost the bass and not the harmonics.

I guess it can only get better now with a bit of burning in... I'm also awaiting a copper hd-650 cable to arrive from the US to replace my steel HD-25 cable which should also help SQ a little.
post #37 of 138
I have been looking at this amp and it seems like it would be loads of fun, easy to use and just the right features. I hope to get one soon.
post #38 of 138
Thread Starter 
KILLING FIVE BIRDS WITH ONE POST:

1) Replying to a previous question again:

Shipping on the Headstage Lyrix USB DAC Pro Total only took 7 days from time of order, 6 of which was shipping. Luftpost is getting faster. My Meier HEADSIX arrived in 6-7 days too.


2) I have that promised DAC Cable Review posted here http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/re...-lyrix-265223/ - I listened to the Headstage (penguin) external (and internal) USB DAC with the Meier Headsix amp, the D1 amp, and the Headstage Lyrix Pro Total amp (with and without internal DAC). [EDIT - fix links after the great crash of 2007]

3) The Lyrix (commercial version of the Caffeine) has three options that can be combined in many different ways. If you get the Lyrix Total Pro, you can add the DAC cable later for about $39 shipped. This gives the same sound, but a lower entry point.

There is the basic model, just called "Lyrix".
"Pro" adds bass boost, crossfeed and gain.
"Total" adds nichicon finegold caps, socketed opamps, and 4 channel circuitry.
"USB" adds the DAC section.

Only after I recieved mine did I discover the newest feature of the Lyrix that I have. It is the ABILITY TO RUN THE AMP WITH AC POWER WITHOUT HAVING TO REMOVE AN ALKALINE 9V BATTERY - THERE IS A NEW SWITCH IN THE BATTERY COMPARTMENT TO TURN OFF THE CHARGING CIRCUIT!

4) I've bought and listened to the Headstage Lyrix USB Pro Total and it does everything the Caffeine does, just better. I have returned the D1 to stock for the comparisons that I needed to do.

(a) Without any burn-in, the Lyrix Total amp section is definitely better than an iBasso D1 when stock,
(b) the stock D1 DAC section is better than the Lyrix DAC or external USB DAC,
(c) BOTH DAC's are better than analog input, and
(d) I haven't tried the "modded" D1 with rolled opamps (amp or DAC)against the Lyrix or Headsix yet.

5)If you get a Headstage, instead of Caffeine Pro with bass boost, DO the "total" and "pro" amp section options:

(a) Why "Pro" option package - bass boost, crossfeed and gain only comes with the "Pro". I didn't need this until I tried the Er6i, then I had to flip the bass boost switch - the ER6i don't sound as good in the D1 or Headsix as they do with bass boosting amps (unless the D1 is driving them via it's DAC). I also find the gain switch to help drive the HD600 to louder volumes - something the D1 can't do without rolling in new opamps. I am still undecided on crossfeed, as I am having difficulty detecting a difference when on or off. The other two features however are a "no-brainer".

(b) Why "Total" option package - sound. The 4 channel circuitry and finegold caps make a difference, and not once was I feeling the need to use bass boost or crossfeed to "improve" the sound when using HD600, Livewires, or HD25. It's like adding the best of the Royal and Caffeine together, and then some.

(c) Why "Total" reason number two - opamp rolling. While I like the more forward yet wide open presentation of the Meier HEADSIX a little better, the socketed opamps in the Headsatge "Total" version will allow me to try different opamps in my headstage. I can try to attempt to achieve the type of imaging that I prefer, like I am doing with the D1. The Headstage is already closer to my goal than the stock D1, which it beats hands down. I have not been able to try Lurix stock vs the "modded" D1 yet, and that wouldn't be fair if I couldn't likewise roll the Lyrix opamps.

I have 6 different LR opamps to try, 3 or 4 different pairs of buffer opamps to try, and 3-4 different DAC opamps to try. I have only tried the OPA2111 and AD8397 in the D1 so far, with AD8656 in the DAC, with huge results. The Headstage uses the AD8397 like the Caffeine and Royal, but I don't know if the HEADSIX uses the AD8610 like the Move, and I don't care because it's amp section sounds good just as is. The Lyrix is just as good, just "different" in the sound-stage presentation, while the stock D1 is a little too distant.
post #39 of 138
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
I have been looking at this amp and it seems like it would be loads of fun, easy to use and just the right features. I hope to get one soon.
Brand new, the sound very quickly becomes a treat to listen to. After about 100 or so hours of use, the sound opens up and fills out to where I am really pleased and impressed with it with the PK1 earbuds I use at work. Until the sound opened up, I found the Bass Boost to be a nice feature to have. After the sound opened up, I find that I no longer use the Bass Boost. I've measured a current draw from the 9V battery at 43 mA. Battery life is not nearly what Xin portable amp owners would expect, but I've got spare 9V rechargeables, and a decent 9V charger so that's a non-issue for me. The fullness, depth and spaciousness of the sound through the Caffeine Amp with the PK1's at work comes really close to what I've come to expect from my home amp and cans.
post #40 of 138
Thread Starter 
I plan to order 1-2 of those 500mah 9v batteries mentioned in the HeadSix thread.
post #41 of 138
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: I have been testing my new Lyrix Pro and Headsix, and will be adding them to this review shortly, along with the Tomahawk.

Don't forget to see http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/re...-lyrix-265223/ for more info on what to expect.
post #42 of 138
Quote:
I am still undecided on crossfeed, as I am having difficulty detecting a difference when on or off.
Yeap, it isn't really as evident as it seems. It took me a while to notice the difference. It helps with some recordings, but I'm fine with it off.

Just to help you out: somehow, the music goes "in" or isolates in your headphones when you switch it on. the airyness will be gone when you switch it on. the volume slightly goes down.
post #43 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by only500made View Post
Yeap, it isn't really as evident as it seems. It took me a while to notice the difference. It helps with some recordings, but I'm fine with it off.

Just to help you out: somehow, the music goes "in" or isolates in your headphones when you switch it on. the airyness will be gone when you switch it on. the volume slightly goes down.
Did you see in the other thread I linked to that the crossfeed works now that the amp has over 200 hours on it? I said I could hear some instruments center themselves in some program material. I also prefer to leave it off. Wierd how it needed burn-in to hear the change...
post #44 of 138
Thread Starter 
post #45 of 138
Sorry to kick, but I just ordered a "Penguin Caffeine". I live in Europe and payed immediatly via PayPal...what delivery time can I expect? It says 3-5 days after shipping confirmation...but how long does shipping confirmation take ??
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › REVIEW: PenguinAmp Caffeine portable headphone amp w/BASS BOOST - Aka HEADSTAGE LYRIX