Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › REVIEW: PenguinAmp Caffeine portable headphone amp w/BASS BOOST - Aka HEADSTAGE LYRIX
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

REVIEW: PenguinAmp Caffeine portable headphone amp w/BASS BOOST - Aka HEADSTAGE LYRIX - Page 5

post #61 of 138
Yes that was very helpful. I also came across your other review where you compared the Macbook analog out and the USB DAC:-

Step Two - Mac with Headstage DAC: Plugging the Headstage DAC into USB, the Mac sound control panel shows a new source, "USB audio DAC". Selecting the source in the Macbook control panel allows instant switching between headphone out and DAC.

With the Mac, the Headstage DAC improved the sound, and the Mac's improvement was repeatable, and welcome but not dramatic. The difference in sound between analog audio out and USB audio DAC was subtle, and took time (3 hours) to be convinced that the differences were repeatable, and this was tested with all my music selections.


My only concern is that if a listener as experienced as you could be convinced of a difference only after several hours of listening, then would the difference be perceptible to me at all. Also, is there a cheaper DAC of comparable performance to the Headstage DAC?
post #62 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sohels View Post
Yes that was very helpful. I also came across your other review where you compared the Macbook analog out and the USB DAC:-

Step Two - Mac with Headstage DAC: Plugging the Headstage DAC into USB, the Mac sound control panel shows a new source, "USB audio DAC". Selecting the source in the Macbook control panel allows instant switching between headphone out and DAC.

With the Mac, the Headstage DAC improved the sound, and the Mac's improvement was repeatable, and welcome but not dramatic. The difference in sound between analog audio out and USB audio DAC was subtle, and took time (3 hours) to be convinced that the differences were repeatable, and this was tested with all my music selections.


My only concern is that if a listener as experienced as you could be convinced of a difference only after several hours of listening, then would the difference be perceptible to me at all. Also, is there a cheaper DAC of comparable performance to the Headstage DAC?
None of the DAC's were burned-in at that time, and I stated the hours on them was low (12 for the D1, 18 and 24 for the DAC cable and Lyrix amp). I came back later and noted with over 200 hours on them the difference between analog and USB DAC was better.

As I have used the DAC Cable and amps with DACs for hundred of hours more, they have made the difference all the more notacable.
post #63 of 138
Thread Starter 
Also it was that it took 3 hours to be able to listen to 6 music selection with three amps and three DAC's in several combinations, and to be able to put into words what I was repeatably hearing.

I wasn't a very fine-tuned tester then, it was something new for me. I was still more of a "sit back and enjoy the music, oh darn, I was supposed to be paying attention to that section of the music, oh well..." kinda thing.
post #64 of 138
Ok, thanks.
post #65 of 138
Seems both the Caffeine Ultra as well as the DAC cable are out of stock, and will be available again sometime next month.

In the meantime, I've been reading about other cheap DAC's and it seems that the TBAAM (Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro) seems to be excellent at $20. I couldn't find any comparison with the Headstage DAC though - any suggestions as to which is better?
post #66 of 138
Thread Starter 
Robert emailed me yesterday that the USB DAC will be back in stock around the weekend or close to that, but the Ultra will be closer to a month because my review has sent him so much unexpected business.

I have a $29 Behringer USB DAC that finally shipped the other day, after a 1 month back-order at audiomidi.com and I'll have it by next week. There is also one at Sys Concept Inc. Fiber Optic Products Attenuators, Patch cords, Laser Diodes, Connectors, MP3, Toslink, Hybrid Adapter and more for about $29 that I haven't decided to try yet.
post #67 of 138
Is this the Behringer USB DAC that you mentioned?
Behringer UCA202 USB Interface from zZounds.com!

I see a volume control, which I assume means that the output signal is amped. On further reading I found that the TBAAM's output is amped as well. Now as I understand it, the purpose of the DAC is to bypass the Macbook's internal headphone amp and I doubt if the basic amp in the Behringer would be better than that of the Macbook. So ideally, the DAC should output a 'clean' unaltered (or unamped) signal, right? Does the Headphonia USB DAC cable do this?

EDIT - Nvm, I found the answer.
post #68 of 138
Hey all!

This is my first post on the head-fi forums but I have been browsing through these parts for a while now, which resulted with me purchasing a pair of Beyer 770 250oHm edition so far(to my delayed remorse).

Anyways, I am interested in purchasing the Penguinamp "Caffeine" ultra as my first amp and I was wondering if it is able to drive the 250 oHms of the 770's sufficiently with a Creative Zen Vision:M, and iPod Nano 3rd gen being my portable sources?

Cheers!
post #69 of 138
Like many of you i decided to order the caffeine and it will be my first entry into the world of headphone amps as well.

I ordered it at penguin amp site but I didn't get any notice from them until the moment (it was one week ago). How long did it usually take you to get the amp? My plan is to make it work with an AKG K701 (good enough? This is what I can afford for the moment...)

Thanks a lot and keep on enjoying it!
post #70 of 138
I thoroughly enjoy the sound from my "royal" amp, great from the word go and getting better with age. Great review headphoneaddict, i've been interested to see how more experienced amp users rate the penguin amps, so thanks for your views.

My box is a little bashed now, it would be nice if i could recase it in a hammond enclosure or something a little tougher than the mint tin.
post #71 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickyboyo View Post
I thoroughly enjoy the sound from my "royal" amp, great from the word go and getting better with age. Great review headphoneaddict, i've been interested to see how more experienced amp users rate the penguin amps, so thanks for your views.

My box is a little bashed now, it would be nice if i could recase it in a hammond enclosure or something a little tougher than the mint tin.
I still use my caffeine in my guitar bag, yet several other amps like Tomahawk and Super Macro 3 have been sold. RE: the last few posts.

PenguinAmps will sell you a pre-drilled extra case for a low price (3 bucks I think). I even have a spare.

This will drive 300 ohm HD600 or 16 ohm IEM, so it is versatile and inexpensive to keep as a band around use anywhere are not worry kind of amp.
post #72 of 138
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickyboyo View Post
I thoroughly enjoy the sound from my "royal" amp, great from the word go and getting better with age. Great review headphoneaddict, i've been interested to see how more experienced amp users rate the penguin amps, so thanks for your views.

My box is a little bashed now, it would be nice if i could recase it in a hammond enclosure or something a little tougher than the mint tin.
I still use my caffeine in my guitar bag, yet several other amps like Tomahawk and Super Macro 3 have been sold. RE: the last few posts.

PenguinAmps will sell you a pre-drilled extra case for a low price (3 bucks I think). I even have a spare.

This will drive 300 ohm HD600 or 16 ohm IEM, so it is versatile and inexpensive to keep as a bang-around use anywhere are not worry kind of amp.
post #73 of 138
Thread Starter 
Just for grins I swapped my Caffeine Pro into my iMod 5.5G portable setup that I was using with my HeadSix,and it sounds great. Switching back and forth between the Caffeine and the $185 HeadSix proved they are almost identical sounding


I knew there was a reason I kept this amp.
post #74 of 138
Hmm, I'm wanting to purchase a headsix at the moment, but got offered a cheap Caffeine by somebody on the forum ($55-ish)

Should I go for it?
post #75 of 138
Thread Starter 
I answered that in the other thread where you posted about it.

If it is the AD8397 opamp version, when fully burned in it sounds quite similar to the Headsix and you will be happy with it. In some ways I thought the Caffeine was a little better, like with the deep bass and high treble extension, and the bass boost is a killer feature, as is the easy to adjust gain settings, and charging capability with a NiMH 9v and a 12-16v wallwart.

See what Blutarsky had to say about my Caffeine Pro here: Colorado Springs 7/13/08 Mini-Meet Report! Apogee mini-DAC vs Duet shootout, HE60/HEV70 vs HP-1000 vs PS-1 and more! - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blutarsky
Scott: The $59 Caffeine Pro was better with ES2 than Lyrix, and as good as the Lyrix with Grados (better than the D2 with the wrong opamps). The budget amp of the mini-meet for sure! Just goes to prove that you don’t always get better or more enjoyable sound with each dollar spent. My biggest recommendation for the students / budget conscious out there goes to the Caffeine Pro.
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) › REVIEW: PenguinAmp Caffeine portable headphone amp w/BASS BOOST - Aka HEADSTAGE LYRIX