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OpAmps for the Viper-D2? - Page 9

post #121 of 126
Thanks for the contribution, sfmatt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmatt View Post
Quick note: took me a while to find that thread, should've been in the portable amps section...
That's strange... it used to be in portables. I'll send a request to get it moved.
post #122 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmatt View Post
Got some opamps this morning (2xLM6172, 2xLM4562), spent the day switching them around with the stock opamps as well.
Headphones: HD600, DT250/250 and SR80 (just a bit, they're way too bright to my ears).
Music: wav for Classical, Blues and Reggae, 192K for electronica (di.fm minimal, psytrance)
Player: Foobar, application and PC volume 100%

The tests were done with the Viper both used through USB and as an amp only fed by the headphone DAC of my RME 9632.

I've become quite an expert at switching opamps in 2-3 secs... In the end my 2 preferred combos:

Larry's LM4562/LM6172 is pretty surprising coming from stock. Much more in your face but warmer with more body/fullness to the sound. Better soundstage too.
Bass: more and deeper than stock, not as dry though, slightly rounder.
Mids: the most striking change, mids jump at you, they're rich and velvety at the same time. Very enjoyable.
Treble: more extension than stock but a tad harsh at times.

2xLM4562 is more analytical, not as cold as stock but colder than LM4562/LM6172. Soundstage is better than LM4562/LM6172, there's more separation. It's more airy but not thin at all, just not as "meaty" as LM4562/LM6172. Slightly less forward too (but more than stock).
Bass: more bass than LM4562/LM6172, it's dryer but more impactful on electronica. Unsure if it's deeper, both go low.
Mids: they're good, not recessed at all but nothing special either. They blend well with the rest of the spectrum so you don't notice them one way or another, which is good i guess but somewhat of a letdown compared to LM4562/LM6172.
Treble: slightly better extension than LM4562/LM6172 but smoother. No hint of harshness at any time.

In the end, both combos are a marked improvement over stock. It comes down to your personal taste and your headphones match.
I've settled on 2xLM4562 for now, I'll try LM4562/LM6172 again on a longer run later. Unsure about he battery life, LM4562s draw more than LM6172s so we shall see.

Many thanks to everyone on this thread for all their hard work.
The LM4562/LM6172 got me 17 hours, and was the one I stuck with for a while.

The LTC6241HV/LMH6655 sounded very similiar to the Predator but only got me 7-8 hours - weird. But, the highs were a bit smoother than the LM4562 or the Predator.
post #123 of 126
Will there be any different (in SQ) if I connect my D1 to the Compass?
post #124 of 126
I did not measure the battery life accurately but it seems on par with stock.

One big drawback with 2xLM4562 is periodic RFI with my cell phone. I didn't have it in my pocket at the time of my initial test so didn't notice but it's pretty annoying actually. I never had such issues with the stock opamps. Not worth reinstalling them but it will definitively be a consideration in my future rolling sessions.

greenarrow: I don't know for your DAC specifically but connecting the D2 to the headphone output of a RME9632 sound card yields a very noticeable improvement compared to the USB dac of the D2. If my laptop had a SPDIF output I would be very tempted by the D10 which I assume has better DAC performance through SPDIF than through USB.
It's too bad there don't seem to be any high-quality dacs that take USB inputs directly.
post #125 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfmatt View Post
I did not measure the battery life accurately but it seems on par with stock.

One big drawback with 2xLM4562 is periodic RFI with my cell phone. I didn't have it in my pocket at the time of my initial test so didn't notice but it's pretty annoying actually. I never had such issues with the stock opamps. Not worth reinstalling them but it will definitively be a consideration in my future rolling sessions.

greenarrow: I don't know for your DAC specifically but connecting the D2 to the headphone output of a RME9632 sound card yields a very noticeable improvement compared to the USB dac of the D2. If my laptop had a SPDIF output I would be very tempted by the D10 which I assume has better DAC performance through SPDIF than through USB.
It's too bad there don't seem to be any high-quality dacs that take USB inputs directly.
The Pico DAC/amp is very good as a USB DAC/preamp, but the DAC-only version should be able to avoid any worries about sound coloration as it leaves out the amp section. Pico DAC-only: HeadAmp Pico Upsampling USB DAC - Pre-Order Now at intro price - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

The D10 USB DAC is very close to the Pico via USB and matches it via optical (and with native 24/96 music can surpass it's detail). I fooled both Sherwood and Blutarsky into thinking they were listening to the Pico as USB DAC feeding my Woo GES and Stax O2, when it was actually the D10 via USB feeding it.
post #126 of 126
I'm back at it: I've been listening to 2xLM4562 for a while and have been very happy with the combination. Still I found the motivation to try to improve on it:
- I got my first desktop amp (a tube amp, the Jade) which I'm in love with. I ordered a few tubes and was impressed on how much they changed the sound signature of the amp. The Jade showed me how much better an amp could be and got me back into a rolling mindset.
- The D10 thread is many times more active than the D2 Viper ever was and there are constant improvements made. With the D2 being more powerful (150mW x 2 vs 100mW) it should be possible to make the Viper sound even better than the D10 (as an amp only).

So after a lot of searching and reading I ordered 2 new pairs of DIP opamps: LT1364 and OPA2111. It has been really fun trying a gazillion combinations but of course it greatly increased the likelihood of a misshap and I ended up frying one LT1364 Compared to the stock opamps or LM6172, the new opamps and LM4562 are considerably better. I tried some random combinations at first but pretty quickly it became clear that there were only 3 contenders: LM4562 and the 2 new opamps.
Both OPA2111 and LT1364 are airier than LM4562 and they have a better soundtage too, both more or less at the same level. Both also offer a deeper (lower) bass.
OPA2111 has the most bass of the lot, a tad lower than LT1364 (but really not by much) but it also has a mid-bass hump. It is also the brightest of all. 2 of them together and the sound becomes really too bright. It doesn't feel balanced even if better at higher volume but at low to medium volume the high end push is off-putting (to me at least).
LT1364 is the most natural of the 3 with a good bass extension, good treble but not bright and an excellent midrange. 2xLT1364 sounds really good. It never feels artificial.
LM4562 is the most different of the lot, it's not as open, doesn't go as low and the midrange doesn't sound as rich when compared to the other 2. Also sometimes it can sound "digital" or "plastic". Still it has some characteristics I prefer: the bass has some good punch (the other 2 barely), the treble is just right (in between the 2 others but somehow the lest aggressive) and it is more detailed (textures of violins or bass are richer for example).

After trying all the combinations the best ones use LM4562 because it combines well with the other 2: it brings them the impact they lack for the bass and gives them that extra bit of detail while keeping their extended range.
Mixing OPA2111 with the others tames it a little bit but not enough to my taste. I find the sound aggressive, it's ok for a while specially with LM4562 (the bass is nice) but quickly tiresome.

In the end my choice went to LM4562 (ground) + LT1364 (main): excellent soundstage, good extension, good detail and good impact, sounds excellent at low volume (important to me, I spend many hours a day listening to music through the Viper). The only drawback is that it is a little bit on the bright side, more so than either 2xLM4562 or 2xLT1364.
Note: curiously the reverse combination (switching them around) doesn't work very well, the bass is overemphasized and feels slightly distorted.

What next? I am not aware of any DIP opamps that woud be either a step up or sideways towards a signature I would enjoy more. As for non-DIP ones there's a few I'm curious about (ex: OPA2211A) but without hope for much improvement over what I've tried so far (if any) so I won't bother. Still there's a last one I really want to try: 2xAD797. I need to find a fellow head-fier to solder them on a brown dog for me though.
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