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REVIEW: Go Vibe Petite DAC/AMP vs. D1

post #1 of 133
Thread Starter 
*I originally posted this in the Computers as source section but thought to myself, it's primarily an amp review/thread, so I decided to post it here. please delete the other as you see fit..."

Didn't see many people had this, and it's a shame, because MANY MANY people are missing out. I can't comment on how it compares to a Pico or Predator, but I can't imagine it getting much better seeing as how this fairly surpasses the D1(modded) in both aspects.

I have around 30 hours on this, and the SQ hasn't changed much, if at all. Which is a good thing, as you're not forced to sit and wait 800 hours for your amp to blossom. Unkle Wilson, aka Jaben Audio has told me the little amp has been so popular it's sold out before they got the chance to see the effects of burn-in. Even the demo unit was shipped out the demand was strong. Wierd I haven't heard that much about this amp other than that one thread. Shame too, cause this amp is a BEAST.

The amp came in a padded pouch. Comes with a nice braided USB cable, mini-mini IC, a velvet pouch and what I thought a nice touch was, ALL the specs. From harmonic distortion on 32 ohm loads all the way up to 1K ohm loads, to SNR, to battery life, to USB SNR, EVERYTHING....and all of these in BOTH gain modes (9.5 high and 6 low). And to top it off, when you turn the paper over, it has GRAPHS of all figures done on an Audio Precision SYS-2722. Impressive and a nice treat for all you graph junkies.

Also, it has a good explanation of how the amp functions as well as approximate times for charging. Examples:

The amplifier uses plus minus power to get it's optimum status. Each channel has dual amps to provide current in order to assure the audio's separation performance and instantaneous output current.
4 AAA batteries provide power and has a USB charging circuit NI-MH and alkaline batteries if they don't have enough power. The batteries of charging 1 hour can provide 10 hours and those charging 10 hours can make them full enough.
...The DAC's chips analogue power is received from the batteries, which blocks noise from the USB power to interfere with the audio channel from the DAC.
Well, here are some pics of the Petite:

Ergonomics and appearance.

This amp should look familiar. I'll let the pictures below speak for me:

Amp on top:

Yep, you see right. It has the same look as a Tomahawk. It's actually SMALLER, but it utilizes what appear to be the same pot and power switch, even same jacks. But aesthetically, it's the same, even with the faceplate being slightly larger than the body. The rear uses the same screws and plain flat plate with only cut-outs. Only differences in the casing is on the underside and side there are grooves, rather than it just being smooth and obviously the screen printing. It being so small also prohibits you from using the larger jacks, like the giant Canare F12s. My F12 BARELY fit but I couldn't use the volume knob. Neutriks fit rather nicely though.

Also, it uses 4AAA batteries for power. Which with Alkalines give over 100 hours and with 850mah rechargeables you get around 70. Pretty crazy.

Amp – When used as JUST an amp source was laptop Apple Lossless ->Keces 151 DAC -> **amp** There will be a review of the Keces DA-151 here shortly, but per manufacturers request, I not review it solely until about 800 hours. IMO it has pretty much flattened out as far as changes go, but to be 100% sure I'll just wait till 800 hours. I've got about 600 more to go, lol.

Anyways, back onto the review.

Treble – Slightly dryer but still fairly on the warm side. A little more forward than the D1, with it being a LITTLE sparkley-er, if not slightly brighter on -CH and -S words on vocals. Cymbals decay a little better, but subtley. Handles snare hits excellently. Not a hint of grain like a lot of newer amps. It's never fatiguing nor harsh, but can surely sparkle. Brings out the highs in UM2's VERY NICELY.

Mids – Definitely more forward and pronounced than the D1, making it the D1's looking recessed a little by comparison. Especially upper mids. This amp REALLY does well with it's midrange. Which makes this an AWESOME rock can. Listening to 30 seconds to Mars is nearly orgasmic. This amp makes the DT770's “recession” a lot less noticeable. Great synergy with those cans.

Bass – Heavier and weightier than the D1. Not necessarily more, or punchier, but the bass carried more weight on things like drum kicks and upright bass. It resonated bass lines better, but again, not necessarily “better” but it had more weight and seemed more organic. It seems like more of the newer amps are tailoring to the bassy side. Around the SR71 era, it was about neutrality and flat response, nowadays amps are more aggressive and punchy. This amp is NO EXCEPTION. It strays away from the prior GoVibes in that it's not as relaxed as the V6 and V5 that are more relaxed. This amp sounds REMARKABLY similar to a Move. Maybe a smidge more aggressive. It's like a smoother sounding non-M Hornet with weightier and heavier bass. Again, not necessarily more, but it carries the bass better. Very authoritative and organic.

Soundstage – It's a weird thing. The soundstage is very wide, but it's not TALL, almost like you're listening in a large wide studio, rather than in a Hall in an open field. Doesn't sound very live performance, rather like all the sound rushes at you fairly planar. Which isn't a bad thing. I'm more of a live performance kinda guy so it's not completely of my preference, but there is no smearing of instruments or anything. The amp doesn't seem challenged in representing fast paced music and allowing you to still separate everything. But it sounds like you're listening in a well acoustically set-up room, rather than in an open theater or concert, if that makes any sense.

As DAC – Same as above, but obviously, the Keces DAC is eliminated.

As a DAC/AMP all of the above qualities are as said. I did my best at A/Bing them, but since you have to restart the Foobar OR iTunes, as well as cycle (turn off then back on) the unit, you can't get an IMMEDIATE back to back like I could against the D1 by just unplugging cables and plugging them back in. But as much as my ears wanted to hear a difference in the SQ (ala Meier Move), there was no difference I could hear. In AFI – Love Like Winter, the footsteps at the very beginning of the song sound different when the D1 is used as a DAC/AMP or as just an amp, even subtley. It's very clear though, I was hard pressed to hear the difference and am writing it off as such, I can't hear a difference. Same goes for the heavy bass note in Aqualung – Brighter Than Sunshine...it carried the same weight and impact.

Very impressive. No change in SQ as a DAC was a HUGE surprise to me. Especially in a package as small as this. It has a fairly industrial look to it with just straightforward red text, but I dig it. It's like a low key Tomahawk, that sounds better, lol.

I haven't added the amp to my large review yet, as Jaben wanted to hear my impressions before my other pieces came in (Xin SMIV and Reference), as there really isn't a guarantee as to when those arrive other than "next week". Also, I want to do some more back to back listening before adding it to that review, as well as just for the sake of it, more burn-in and really, to see if how much battery life I get at about 1/3 max volume (I leave it playing all day and night).

But as I suspect, with out listening to the Xin offerings, I will say it would look like:

1. Graham Slee Voyager
2. Go Vibe Petite
2. Hornet non-m (original)
2. Meier Corda Move
3. Portaphile V2^2(maxxed)
4. MisterX XP w/8397
5. iBasso D1 (amp only with rolled opamps)
5. Tomahawk
6. Hornet M
7. LaRocco
8. Porta Corda9
9. SR71
10. Go-Vibe V6
11. TTVJ Millet

The only reason I can't tie it with the Voyager is the Voyager is a little better in all aspects and has a Countour switch. Also, as JUST AN AMP, the Voyager is infact a better amp. As a complete package though, the Petite is BETTER than the D1. Maybe it's just not as pretty Like my review says, the only reason the D1 is as low on the lists as it is, is because it's so big, it's had it's opamps rolled (it's needs them to be rolled to sound awesome) and for anybody remotely nervous about opening up their amp and playing with the guts, it's just a turn-off. But with the Petite being so small and sounding so big, it's a CLEAR winner in a total package. I haven't heard the Pico or Predator, but again, I can't see them offering the same price : performance ratio as the Petite, let alone SQ. Especially since it sounds the same as both a DAC and as just an amp.
post #2 of 133
Is this the latest Go-Vibe product that made by Jaben?
post #3 of 133
Yes, one version with DAC and one without.

Originally Posted by Capunk View Post
Is this the latest Go-Vibe product that made by Jaben?
post #4 of 133
whats the price of the petite? is it more towards the pico or its around the d1?
post #5 of 133
Originally Posted by kamal007 View Post
whats the price of the petite? is it more towards the pico or its around the d1?
i'd say it's pretty close to the price of a headsix.

Great review oicdn, now I'm itching to replace my headsix just to get the DAC out. Man.......
post #6 of 133
Thread Starter 
IIRC, the price is $175 + shipping. You have to PM Uncle Wilson or goto the Jaben site in order to get it, but yes, this is the newest Go Vibe.

It's definitly one of my favorites as it sits. Punchy, smooth and SMALL. DAC to boot...can't lose, especially for the price.
post #7 of 133
Just a heads up for everyone thinking about using this to drive big cans. I was reading the Jaben forums and someone that has it said the instruction sheet that comes with the Go-Vibe Petite recommends only 16 to 120 ohm phones.

Go-Vibe Petite at Jaben
post #8 of 133
Thread Starter 
I don't have anything above 80 ohms right now, and I can't get past 9 oclock without it being stupid loud in high gain.

Not to say this amp can "power anything" but it puts out enough juice for an 80 ohm can just fine. There are MANY portables out there with a gain less than 9.5 and people are powering some pretty demanding cans with them....
post #9 of 133
Is there the amp-only version of it?
post #10 of 133
Both the USB DAC and the Amp are powered by the batteries? Is the 70-100 hour battery life with both those being used at the same time? If so, that would beat both the Predator and Pico in battery life.

Oh, and how about some pr*n pics? You going to open her up and show us the innards or what?

post #11 of 133
Nice review. I am curious. On the soundstage are you saying that there is no real height or body to the singer or instruments but there is width? How is the depth?
post #12 of 133
Sounds like a nice amp/dac... Nice to have some options to choose; d2, petite, uha-3, for example. Thanks for a great review!

OICDN, you said this amp sounds nice with the dt770s, which is great because I going to order those cans... But what about using this amp with IEMs? I have E2Cs, and I think I'm going to use that setup when on the move. So, is there hiss?

And another thing I'm wondering is that does an amp (this one or amps usually) make the sound louder. Or does it just make the SQ better? E2Cs are very sensitive IEMs and I'm already using just a little bit of the volume with my mp3 player. Sometimes I feel like it's not quiet enough, or I mean that I would listen it with less volume if I could.
Of course using a line-out would solve the problem, at least I guess so. But then I should by a new player, like an Ipod... what a nice excuse
post #13 of 133
Somebody need to compare it with Go-Vibe 7, amp vs amp.
post #14 of 133
Thread Starter 
The amp is powered by 4 850maH AAA batteries. As far as battery life goes, I'm sitting here on the beginning of day 3 (continuously on, overnight, etc.) with it being at 1/3 volume on battery power only, in high gain going to DT770 80 ohms...and it's still going strong.

In a concert, you feel surrounded by the music, and it coming from you at all levels of height and width. This well, it sounds like it's coming from a source or band and grouping in a nice acoustic room where you can pinpoint the instruments...I can't quite explain it other than the analogy of it sounding more studio than concert.

It does well with IEMs on both gain levels, although, I listen on high gain and noticed about the same amount of hiss as your RSA variants in high gain. It's VERY small. The floor is still very black in high gain.

Speaking of RSA variants, he paints over the opamps with red paint as well. I would take a pic of the innards, but they all came out blurry because my camera doesn't have a macro mode

I will/can elaborate more, but I have to goto class....
post #15 of 133
Would this be comparable to an RSA Tomahawk or the RSA is a class above the govibe?
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