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Three-way Review: HeadAmp AE-2 vs RSA Hornet M vs Rockhopper Mini³ - Page 2

post #16 of 53
OMG, I wonder why the Mini-3 is too big ??
This is a far cry from what I saw on AMB website. Theirs is almost the same as a credit card. I intend to pair it with my D2 but their real size is unexpected
post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lil' Knight View Post
OMG, I wonder why the Mini-3 is too big ??
This is a far cry from what I saw on AMB website. Theirs is almost the same as a credit card. I intend to pair it with my D2 but their real size is unexpected
The real size is not changed. This particular build from Rockhopper has the plastic bezel around the front and rear panels (for scratch/bump protection) which makes the amp "look" bigger than it is. The photos at the Mini³ website have the custom engraved aluminum panels but no plastic bezels. For dimensions of the case see the dimensional drawing PDF.
post #18 of 53
Nice little review Asr! looking forward to further mini^3 impressions. Should be very interesting, with a top-tier CD deck and K701.

It should be noted that the mini^3 is considerably cheaper than the other two amps. At $125 (versus ~$400) they occupy two different price classes. When you factor in price, the AE-2 and Hornet should whallop the mini.
post #19 of 53
I'm actually pretty surprised to see how your impressions stacked up. COMPLETELY different from what I was expecting. I listened to a Mini^3 and wasn't too enthralled to be honest. Again, I'm thinking maybe it was the unit I heard because I didn't even feel it was worth adding to my review cause it was embarrassing to hear compared to the praise here. Maybe I need another unit like I did with the TH I heard first.

In anycase, it's refreshing to read your opinions. I was expecting the Hornet to do a little better, especially against the AE2...I didn't like that amp at all...then again, I heard it WAAAAAAAY early on, and my memory is a bit vague, as were my ears pretty untrained. I just remember going "why would anybody buy this? It does nothing to the music....it's an external volume knob."
post #20 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by amb View Post
The real size is not changed. This particular build from Rockhopper has the plastic bezel around the front and rear panels (for scratch/bump protection) which makes the amp "look" bigger than it is. The photos at the Mini³ website have the custom engraved aluminum panels but no plastic bezels. For dimensions of the case see the dimensional drawing PDF.
Thanks Very helpful
post #21 of 53
Appreciate your breakdown on these three amps ASR, I've been looking at the Mini^3 and the AE-2 might be fun to try out on my desktop for I've not run a desktop amp at my office before.

With the rash of Amp/Dac portable combo's looming I might be better off getting a Dac'd amp for my first DTA?

THX again for posting your impression;-)
post #22 of 53
Thanks for the very informative reviews of these 3 amps. Quick question re burn-in of the Headamp AE-2. I have about 100 hrs to date on mine, and while I've likewise been very impressed by the soundstaging, air and overall clarity of the AE-2, I still feel there is some constriction of the overall sound - loss of impact or a slight "thinness" (as compared to my reference GS-1). How much change should I expect to see as burn-in progresses? I don't expect it to sound identical to the GS-1 but it would be nice if the sound could become just a wee bit more full-bodied while retaining all of the other great features I've heard to date.
post #23 of 53
Wow... now I REALLY want the Mini^3 LOL I think they'll go really well with the PK1s...
post #24 of 53
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elnero View Post
I do wonder at the wisdom of solely using the K701's for review purposes (especially now, given the disturbing trends thread). Considering these are primarily portable amps and the K701's are said to be fairly hard to drive primarily home headphones would the results be skewed in any way when easier to drive portable oriented headphones are used? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I think you were wrong to use the K701's if that's your overall reference tool, just at the wisdom of not including at least one other headphone that might be more reflective of what would typically be used with these amps.
The reason I use the K701 for reviewing is primarily because of its sound, I disregard the fact that portables can't drive it well. It lets me hear pretty much everything - bass, treble, soundstage & imaging, detail, attack & decay to a small extent, etc. Most people want to know how an amp sounds and the K701 is great at showing that, more than any other headphone I've used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oicdn View Post
In anycase, it's refreshing to read your opinions. I was expecting the Hornet to do a little better, especially against the AE2...I didn't like that amp at all...then again, I heard it WAAAAAAAY early on, and my memory is a bit vague, as were my ears pretty untrained. I just remember going "why would anybody buy this? It does nothing to the music....it's an external volume knob."
Wire with gain, I mentioned that. As I've said before, the HeadAmp sound is an acquired taste and much depends on your source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twsmith View Post
Thanks for the very informative reviews of these 3 amps. Quick question re burn-in of the Headamp AE-2. I have about 100 hrs to date on mine, and while I've likewise been very impressed by the soundstaging, air and overall clarity of the AE-2, I still feel there is some constriction of the overall sound - loss of impact or a slight "thinness" (as compared to my reference GS-1). How much change should I expect to see as burn-in progresses? I don't expect it to sound identical to the GS-1 but it would be nice if the sound could become just a wee bit more full-bodied while retaining all of the other great features I've heard to date.
Probably not much change I'd imagine. I still hear a bit of your complaint at 400+ hours in my AE-2. And that full-bodied thing you get from the GS-1 is unique to it.
post #25 of 53
Hrm interesting. What is the build of your mini^3 as there are quite a lot of variations even between simply just performance edition and battery-life edition.

I've only heard one so far but my builder is sending me another 2-3 with different opamps/capacitors between this week and next for me to select from. The one I have right now even with minimal burn in has decent details (Not the most), killer separation and soundstage for a portable amp. Most of all though the impact/decay/reproduction in bass/drums/cymbals is incredibly good. I like it a lot even though the opamp used (AD8066) is not generally thought to be a very good headphone solution... and I certainly wouldn't use it with full sized headphones, but with IEMs its to date my favorite amongst all portable amps I've heard (Sans the Pico).

The headstage I'm getting from it is pretty nuts.
post #26 of 53
Interesting impressions, although pretty different from the impressions I've gotten between those three amps. Some of the descriptions of the Mini^3 as 'compacted' or smearing details more closely resembled what I found with the Hornet than with the Mini^3, which I liked considerably better between the two. The Mini^3 I built and have been using for over a month now hasn't had a problem either with detail, speed, or overall soundstage and imaging. The AE-2 is very good as well, and I didn't have an outright favourite between it and the Mini^3.
post #27 of 53
Icarium, I don't know who your builder is, but a Mini³ with a AD8066 in it is not a Mini³ anymore. I designed it to have two versions (high performance and extended runtime) with specific, carefully chosen opamp combinations based on a number of criteria, and a lot of testing. While the AD8066 is a nice opamp its maximum output current of 35mA with +/-5V supply is less than half that of the extended runtime edition's LMH6643/LMH6642, and much, much less than the performance edition's AD8397/OPA690.

My endorsed builders should know to use only the designated opamps, because there is no output buffer in the design, thus the opamp combination is the heart of the amp. I wanted to make sure that there is no confusion when someone refers to a Mini³ high performance or extended runtime edition, what that really means...

The officially endorsed builders do have some options when it comes to choice of resistors and capacitors, but since there is no coupling capacitor directly in the signal path, the SQ should only be minimally influenced by them.
post #28 of 53
Yeah I wasn't really calling my amp a high performance and extended runtime version for certain. I was curious if Asr's is either since those are the two conventional builds.

I didn't realize that my amp no longer was a mini^3. Well that's good to know.

I originally wanted it to have the 8397 in my build, but my builder has had issues with chips dying and put in the 8066 to get it to me before I went on my recent trip to Hawaii. I've been told it would be vastly underpowered for anything except possibly IEMS which thankfully is all that I was planning to use with it.

Hrm I wonder what I should call it from now on.
post #29 of 53
the high performance version can drive full sized cans reasonably well for a portable amp. It didn't have any problems with my HD580's and is a very good amp. I slightly preferred my Tomahawk to it, but considering the price the mini3 is not hard to recommend!
post #30 of 53
Thread Starter 
I was specific in identifying the Mini^3 as Rockhopper's, what more info needs to be provided? I did just add that it's the 2-gain model though.

And I've also just added a paragraph at the end to hopefully clarify a few things.
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