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Some love for the (forgotten?) Total Airhead..

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I picked up a Total Airhead from HeadRoom back when the price dropped to $99 just because I thought it was too good a deal to pass up, and I'm a sucker for portable amps. I was lucky enough to get one of the cool transparent ones and quickly mated it with a vintage PCDP via the line-out and used it w/a pair of SR60's as my "fun rig" for rock & alt rock music. I love it and it enjoys equal time in the rotation w/my Tomahawk & maxxed-out Portaphile.

The other day I plugged my recabled 2005 DT-880's into this rig (for the first time) just for fun, and I was quite impressed with the results! The amp, powered by 4 AAA batts - not a wall-wart, drove my DT's with ease. I prob only had the volume dialed to 1/3 it's capabilities and it was loud, crisp, clear, & involving. In fact, it basically turned my Beyer experience into a Grado experience, because my DT's were reproducing music with the same sound sig as my Grados - all of the above-mentioned characteristics w/an in-your-face presentation and smaller soundstage and a bit less separation. I know some folks hate when words like "fun" are used to describe a product or a listening experience, but I normally use my DT-880 rig when I want a "serious" listen, so it's good to know I can have some fun with the most comfortable cans on the face of the Earth! Especially when they can be notoriously difficult to drive properly.

With all the love going out to our DIYers' & small companies for their portable amp contributions (rightfully so), let's not forget about the big boy - HeadRoom - who has added so much validity to, and so many options to - our hobby. It would be nice to see their products mentioned once in awhile in comparison when the FOTM amps come (& go) up for review.
post #2 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by zombieDave View Post
I picked up a Total Airhead from HeadRoom back when the price dropped to $99 just because I thought it was too good a deal to pass up, and I'm a sucker for portable amps. I was lucky enough to get one of the cool transparent ones and quickly mated it with a vintage PCDP via the line-out and used it w/a pair of SR60's as my "fun rig" for rock & alt rock music. I love it and it enjoys equal time in the rotation w/my Tomahawk & maxxed-out Portaphile.

The other day I plugged my recabled 2005 DT-880's into this rig (for the first time) just for fun, and I was quite impressed with the results! The amp, powered by 4 AAA batts - not a wall-wart, drove my DT's with ease. I prob only had the volume dialed to 1/3 it's capabilities and it was loud, crisp, clear, & involving. In fact, it basically turned my Beyer experience into a Grado experience, because my DT's were reproducing music with the same sound sig as my Grados - all of the above-mentioned characteristics w/an in-your-face presentation and smaller soundstage and a bit less separation. I know some folks hate when words like "fun" are used to describe a product or a listening experience, but I normally use my DT-880 rig when I want a "serious" listen, so it's good to know I can have some fun with the most comfortable cans on the face of the Earth! Especially when they can be notoriously difficult to drive properly.

With all the love going out to our DIYers' & small companies for their portable amp contributions (rightfully so), let's not forget about the big boy - HeadRoom - who has added so much validity to, and so many options to - our hobby. It would be nice to see their products mentioned once in awhile in comparison when the FOTM amps come (& go) up for review.
Though I don't have the latest version Total AirHead, I do have the latest version Total BitHead, and still love it.

At their current prices, HeadRoom's Mobile Line is, in my opinion, easily one of the best value lines in Head-Fi'dom, especially the Total BitHead with its quiet USB DAC, and gain-adjustable amp that drives just about anything I hook up to it.


post #3 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jude View Post
Though I don't have the latest version Total AirHead, I do have the latest version Total BitHead, and still love it.

At their current prices, HeadRoom's Mobile Line is, in my opinion, easily one of the best value lines in Head-Fi'dom, especially the Total BitHead with its quiet USB DAC, and gain-adjustable amp that drives just about anything I hook up to it.


Sorry, but seeing how it sounds outright worse than MacBook Pro's and iMac's headphone out - it is almost worthless. The only advantage the Bithead has soundwise over my laptop is that it is quiet and can make me def using anything but K340.

All the home and the rest of the amps from the portable line from HeadRoom are really nice amps though, I just don't find Bithead/Airhead lines are on the boat with the rest of the herd.
post #4 of 30
$99...???

I paid like $200 when I bought mine back in Feb. 2005...! At $99, I think I'm going to buy a backup and maybe even a couple for my best friends - that's really a nice price & I'm glad to see Headroom still makes and sells them

As I'm not a headphone-amp collector, I'm still very happy with my TAH (as well as my ety ER4Ses)
post #5 of 30
Mine isn't even Total. It's just an old Airhead, and I think it adds some girth and wamth to my iBook's headphone out, and seems to drive my HD580s just fine. A bit slow compared to my more powerful amps, but quite listenable - the kind of slow people pay good money for in other equipment. I don't really feel a driving need for a better portable amp. I know they're out there, but I seriously doubt that the audible improvement would be worth the investment to me. Yes, Headroom doesn't seem to get their share of love around here. I'm not sure I get that.

Tim
post #6 of 30
In 2001 the Airhead was my first headphone amp, which I paired with the HD580's. I still have both.
post #7 of 30
i have a total bithead, and a macbook pro. i think the bithead is a step up from the macbooks output, in my opinion. however with a macbook using optical out seems to be the best way to go for me thus i upgraded my dac/amp.

but i still use the bithead on other computers via usb to drive speakers.

i think it is well worth the 150.00 they offer them for.
post #8 of 30
I had a 2004 Total Airhead and ended up returning it as I much preferred the Ray Samuels offerings of that time. It is a decent amp for the money however and I'm surprised it doesn't get mentioned around these parts more often.
post #9 of 30
Plenty of love for the Airhead from me! My first and only amp.
post #10 of 30
I've got a Bithead on order. $150US for both a portable (and powerful!) amp and DAC? That's in my budget.
post #11 of 30
I'd be a lot more interested in the Headroom portables if they weren't in that horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE enclosure with the input and output jacks at the most awkward angle possible.

Edit: The new iBasso D2 "Boa" is competitively priced vs. the Bithead and has a much better physical layout. As for sound I have no idea though.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Traveller View Post
$99...???

I paid like $200 when I bought mine back in Feb. 2005...! At $99, I think I'm going to buy a backup and maybe even a couple for my best friends - that's really a nice price & I'm glad to see Headroom still makes and sells them

As I'm not a headphone-amp collector, I'm still very happy with my TAH (as well as my ety ER4Ses)
Yeah, me too...Feb 22 '05. I got the clear one, and on the PCB, you can see the hand written date of manufacture...mine was made a week prior to my purchase. The Total option was at that time still an option, and I'm glad I went with it. I was pissed to see that they only have the Total now, and at half the price I paid, but oh well...I suppose at the time it was ahead of the curve. Performance wise, I love it...not the greatest amp, but able to do the job, and the crossfeed is great. It's a match made in heaven for my Ety ER-4p's.
post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Monkey View Post
and the crossfeed is great.
I totally agree

After doing a lengthy A/B with my best source music, I never went back!
post #14 of 30
Sorry to trash anyone's party, but the Total Airhead is simply not a good portable amp. I bought one about 2 years ago just as I was starting to get into the headphone thing, and very quickly discovered that it was very fatiguing to listen to, at least with Grado SR6Os. In fact the headphone out from my old Sony portable CD player sounded better. Perhaps this amp works better with other phones but overall I was very disappointed in it. I later bought a Headamp AE2, which is so far ahead of the Airhead that you can't begin to compare the two. Of course the AE2 is more expensive but then again, why throw any money away on an amp that is painful (for me) to listen to even if it is cheaper? Moreover the ergonomics of the Airhead are horrible - the in and outjacks are strangely placed and it's even hard to change the batteries...and it has that weird funky look that seems to characterize almost of the HeadRoom amps - I guess some people like it, but I don't.
post #15 of 30
It's not a BAD portable amp either, if you discount the ergonomics. Yes, the jacks are in lame locations, but I think it was designed with their bags in mind, as they all have openings in those same locations. It may also be a question of synergy, twsmith...I haven't heard your SR60's, but for driving Etys, Shures, and even my Senn 590s it really sounds good. And at $99 (now), comparing it to something like a CMOY may be a fairer comparison.
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