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[Impression] Travagan's Colors (aka Dogbone) featuring FiiO E3

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I get one of these because I need something small enough to be placed in my pocket together with my DAP while I am moving around the house. Kind of an ultra-portable solution.

Here are some spec:
No volume control (designed to be used with DAP's phone-out)
Rechargeable Li-ion battery, 100mAH, 3.7V (last 12 ~18 months, replacement plan in future)
Operation over 24hrs in single charge (4hrs to full in first charge)
16ohms / 80mW max on each channels
10Hz~55KHz ; -/+ 1dB (32 ohms Loading)
Fixed gain of 2.5
Charged via mini-USB (w/ overcharge protection)
Switch on/off automatically when headphone is inserted/removed.
Four different colors: Green, red, gray, white.

Accessories:
Leather case
Two interconnecting cables (10cm + 60cm)
lanyard cable
Three sized elastic bands
Mini-USB cable

^you can take the whole PCB out, but quite difficult to put back in. Unknown opamp.


For something that cost me only ~$50, the Travagan's Colors certainly comes with a lots of goodies.


Sonic impression: (iriver clix2, flat EQ)
While Colors is probably one of the best looking/packaged small amp around, it is not designed to compete with other larger sized counterparts. I use it to drive my PK1, iM716 (HD mode) and MX90vc. A quick A/B-ing reveals that Colors is less detail and, more noticeably, less in the bass department when compare to other portable amps I have. This result is of course expected, when giving the consideration of its small size.

For all the three 'phones, iM716 is the most difficult to drive (probably better off with Bass mode, or amped Bass mode); PK1 sounds better, but still lack a bit in bass for my desire. MX90vc sounds pretty good, definitely improved the most out of the three. Over all, I think the improved SQ of (PK1 + Colors) is acceptable, especially if EQ to increase the treble and bass response. However, you will get the best result with a more sensitive 'phone (than PK1).

IMO, Travagan's Colors will be good as an inexpensive startup amp for newbie. For those who are serious about getting into the headphone amp market, you can probably find a better sounding DIY'ed amp on the same price range (just less colorful and not as many accessories). For me, it will be my ultra-portable solution from now on

[EDIT]

Yes, it is the ultra portable mini amps show down.

FiiO E3 bass boost is quite obvious going against dogbone. What FiiO lacks is the detail of dogbone. With better detail, dogbone spots a wider soundstage. Also worth noticing, E3 introduces hiss and even a very slight bit of distortion while dogbone is dead silence with high sensitivity IEM like SE530. Overall, I still prefer dogbone. However, I guess I can't complaint much after considering the price of E3.

Here is a basic frequency response graph for those who are interested.
post #2 of 23
Thread Starter 
+Small size, great for small DAP w/o line-out
+Great accessories
+Rechargeable
+Good minimalistic design
+Improves SQ over most DAPs' headphone-out
-Could get better SQ from (larger) amp of same price
-Less suitable for very demanding headphones

Summery:
Great as a startup amp or ultra-portable solution for DAPs with small output (as it has intended to be), but won't replace any larger portable amps any time soon.
post #3 of 23
looks interesting, what gain does it have?
post #4 of 23
The unit has an input, output and a usb charging port. As for the gain, I am unsure as it only comes with a default gain. However, considering the size of it, i guess its only suited to iems.
post #5 of 23
Could you maybe pull the amp out of the bone so we can see what components are used? Just curious.
The leather case is......interesting.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-cee View Post
looks interesting, what gain does it have?
Gain is 2.5 fixed
Quote:
Originally Posted by simpleworld View Post
Could you maybe pull the amp out of the bone so we can see what components are used? Just curious.
The leather case is......interesting.
Sure. Here are more live shot.

^ The opamp is right under the '3.7V' marking, chip model scraped off.

^ Here is my ultra-portable rig
post #7 of 23
cool, looks interesting.

still undecided about the leather pouch though.

then again, can't really complain considering the price

where did you buy it from?
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by d-cee View Post
where did you buy it from?
Jaben.

I was hoping to get myself a Sleek Audio SA6 (not in stock yet) but I am am quite happy for my new toy... until the upgradtitus hits again
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
Gain is 2.5 fixed

Sure. Here are more live shot.

^ The opamp is right under the '3.7V' marking, chip model scraped off.

^ Here is my ultra-portable rig
This is helpful, don't know how I missed this... Thanks.

Now, go do the IM716 Podectomy with 47 ohm resistors, asap
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Now, go do the IM716 Podectomy with 47 ohm resistors, asap
With all the IEM (TF10, RE1, SA6) I have now, podectomy isn't really my top priority as iM716 is currently assigned to collect dust. I'll reserve the project for future when I get really bore
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Bump. Added a small impression of FiiO E3.
post #12 of 23
As you know, I did a review of the Colors myself, and still have the "dog bone". My son has been using it with an iPod LOD and using a Shure volume attenuator to control the volume, and it works great. I haven't been able to find out if this affects battery life but he has no complaints regarding that.

I have also tried plugging my $40 Headstage USB DAC Cable into the dog bone, and on my Mac the DAC volume is software controlled. This sounds very good - making the combo the cheapest USB DAC amp combo in my stable that is worth owning.

EDIT - Woo Hoo - this is Post #4545 (just a nice looking number is all). I think my 1 year anniversary is tomorrow?
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 
Here is a basic frequency response graph for those who are interested (also added into the OP).
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
Here is a basic frequency response graph for those who are interested (also added into the OP).
Wierd - the Colors I have here doesn't sound -5 db down at 50Hz
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Wierd - the Colors I have here doesn't sound -5 db down at 50Hz
That could be the side effect of my crappy sound card. I'll try to redo the graph again on different gear to see if any thing will change or not.
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