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Where is the Earmax? - Page 22

post #316 of 350
I have just been using some new jj's in all 3 positions. I do have a ECC81 Mullard near NOS tube that I just installed in the center position. I still have a number of tubes, still in their boxes, that I've yet to test & several are in Silvania labeled boxes but so for several tubes I've tested had been stored in boxes that were of different brands than the boxes would lead one to believe. However the boxes were of the correct type of tube, at least, so far...

Are Silvania ECC81s the preferred driver tubes on the various Earmax models? Again until today, I hadn't viewed any Earmax related posts but I'd started to pull several near NOS Telefunken tubes I had been keeping as backups for other speaker amps. I have several versions. But if Silvania's are THE tube to have, then that will make it easier.

My Dad & uncle ran a Radio/TV repair shop in the 50s, 60s, & 70s & because of me, my family has retained almost all of their old tube stock & I have full access to it. So I can almost always find any American or even some British branded tubes from that era or before. However some of them are no longer in "pristine" NOS condition. What ever I pull, I need to thoroughly test to be sure they still are in good shape. Most of the time they are, but I've had some big disappointments on what are now very rare & expensive tubes these days. It has saved me a bunch of coin over the years & fueled my continued interest in tube based amps.

So anyway since I'm suddenly an owner of that little Earmax amp, I really want it to have the ideal tubes to make it sound it's absolute best. As I said earlier, I really want to see it fairs against the Crack/speedball unit I had obtained for my Sennheiser HDxxx cans. I want a bedside unit & I have WAF issues with the large Crack amp.+ an iStreamer dac to feed it so the Earmax would go a long way toward cursing that problem if it compare well at all soundwise. The Crack amp is shockingly good for the price but it is really too big for my bedside needs. Oh we'll... I need a crash course on Earmax amps & tube combos! Any help or advice will be sincerely appreciated. Meanwhile, I'll try to read every Earmax related post I can find plus do more web searches.
post #317 of 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoengJyh View Post

Me too. I love the sound from my HD800 out of the EarMax, but mine is EarMax Pro Silver Edition. 

L3000.gif , So great!

I would love to a/b the 3 (?) versions of the Earmax amp with various cans to see what each brings to tne table. Mine is for mainly headphones like,the HDxxx models & the 600 ohm Beyers only & the pro is for IEMs & easier to drive headphones right? Then the one above that is more of an allarounder??? Just guessing from the few posts I've read + some reviews I looked at tonight.

Anyway interesting. Neat little amp. Works great with the 800 & my 650 already w/o me even trying to use favored tubes. Very impressed & for $30 USD, super-duper impressed.wink.gif
post #318 of 350

I have the original Earmax amp. Does anyone know how to open the unit? 

post #319 of 350

OK thanks for that feedback. LOL you LOW-BALLED that poor old lady!!   I forget what I paid for mine 5-6 years ago, but it was de-valued by its seller too.  But not down to the $30 basement.

 

Yeah as I am finding out ECC86 tubes don't seem to be nearly as common as ECC81/88/83.  Amperex bugle boy, Mullard, and telefunkens seem to be pulling very high $$ at the moment.  The other thing that (I suspect) is throwing us into a tail-spin of sorts is that ECC8X  (series) tubes are predominantly guitar preamp valves and thats whats driving the popularity and prices skyward.  Bad for us that ECC83s aren't cheap... GOOD however in that guitar preamp tubes are typically driven into compressed overdrive distortion saturation.  So I speculate what makes a popular/trendy guitar preamp tube is not necessarily something well suited for head-fi application.... lower distortion signal gain/attenuation.

 

my amp came with a no-name ECC81 driver, that I replaced with a Sylvania... it seems to hum a little less.  The pair of AEG labeled tubes... I thought were telefunken but only ONE tube has the diamond logo on the base.  The other one has no diamond logo and has an "A" shaped getter... so I don't know what that thing is.  The channels sound the same, although every once in a while I get some channel imbalance.  But its only noticeable once in a while with my lower impedance cans, which I don't use with this amp.  So I'm looking to even things out from left to right a bit.

 

If I can track down a diamond-based telefunken (AEG labeled or otherwise), that at least looks like the one I already have... I'll be miles ahead of where I am at the moment.

 

@bubblegummy...  Mine just opened up with a chisel.  Over the years the adhesive had degraded enough, it split open very easily.  Its just a single-sided PCBA, easily traced with thru-hole components.  Japanese ALPS pot and ceramic tube sockets are the most $$$ things in there.  I can post pics if anyone is interested.

post #320 of 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

OK thanks for that feedback. LOL you LOW-BALLED that poor old lady!!   I forget what I paid for mine 5-6 years ago, but it was de-valued by its seller too.  But not down to the $30 basement.

Yeah as I am finding out ECC86 tubes don't seem to be nearly as common as ECC81/88/83.  Amperex bugle boy, Mullard, and telefunkens seem to be pulling very high $$ at the moment.  The other thing that (I suspect) is throwing us into a tail-spin of sorts is that ECC8X  (series) tubes are predominantly guitar preamp valves and thats whats driving the popularity and prices skyward.  Bad for us that ECC83s aren't cheap... GOOD however in that guitar preamp tubes are typically driven into compressed overdrive distortion saturation.  So I speculate what makes a popular/trendy guitar preamp tube is not necessarily something well suited for head-fi application.... lower distortion signal gain/attenuation.

my amp came with a no-name ECC81 driver, that I replaced with a Sylvania... it seems to hum a little less.  The pair of AEG labeled tubes... I thought were telefunken but only ONE tube has the diamond logo on the base.  The other one has no diamond logo and has an "A" shaped getter... so I don't know what that thing is.  The channels sound the same, although every once in a while I get some channel imbalance.  But its only noticeable once in a while with my lower impedance cans, which I don't use with this amp.  So I'm looking to even things out from left to right a bit.

If I can track down a diamond-based telefunken (AEG labeled or otherwise), that at least looks like the one I already have... I'll be miles ahead of where I am at the moment.

@bubblegummy...  Mine just opened up with a chisel.  Over the years the adhesive had degraded enough, it split open very easily.  Its just a single-sided PCBA, easily traced with thru-hole components.  Japanese ALPS pot and ceramic tube sockets are the most $$$ things in there.  I can post pics if anyone is interested.

Yeah, I for one would like to see the inside of it so pics would be great.

Regarding the poor little old lady,: she asked $40, for the lot - amp & al the tubes & I offered $30 & she took it ! Remember at the time I'd never seen the amp turned on, all the tubes were in boxes, unseen & untested so I easily could have been buying dead tubes & a broken amp so I too was at some risk. Anyway that's what I tell myself to lessen my guilt. I just took a shot & got lucky is really what I feel.

Tube wise I plan to read a lot of posts & see what combos others are using with the base Earmax like this one while I do some of my own tune rolling. I also want to try some of my other dacs with it (I'm just using my iStreamer now so it charges my iPod as I use it) . I will try both tube dacs & SS dacs to see what works best soundwise. I will try my EE minimal 1st cause you can go either with or w/o the tube in the signal path to see which works best & with my other amps, I've found that can even vary by type of music or even by song. Still, long term, since I plan dor this to really be a bedside rig, I likely will stick with the iStreamer (since it charges the idevice as it is used or use the icon HDP ( because it both sounds good & is also small). Again WAF issues here.

I finished testing all the tubes & all but one tested good. I thing the weaker telefuken must have been his go to driver cause it tested like it had some serious use. I did put it in & the sound took a step up from my Mullard so I'll use it until I roll in something that sounds better or until I have to replace it.
post #321 of 350

ok here you go...  Pretty simple.  I've been wanting to try powering it with a 24V AC power supply.

 

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/542233-REG/MG_Electronics_MGT24100_MGT24100_24VAC_100VA_Class.html

 

 

 

 

 

Anything mod-able in here?  The smaller black caps are 63V.

 

 

I *think* these are the power caps used in the earmax pro...  Might have to give these a try.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-2200uf-25v-85c-Philips-Series-Long-Life-Axial-Audio-Capacitors-NEW-/170971086869?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27ceabc015

 


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/16/13 at 7:31pm
post #322 of 350

Great pics.  Seeing the guts of the unit is really interesting. They do pack a lot into very little space.  Until I see what you did I'd pretty much assumed that the amp was unmodifiable.  Let us know if you if you do the power cap upgrade & what sound differences it makes.  I'm really only interested in driving my Senn's with it & not so much anything else such as IEMs or AKGs & the like so I don't want to do anything that will inhibit the great matching I get with my HD800s esp. But if it provides a sonic step up...  Anyway let us know.

 

I'm just starting the tube rolling process myself, so at least with this wee little amp, I am just starting the audio nirvana quest!

post #323 of 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post


 

I *think* these are the power caps used in the earmax pro...  Might have to give these a try.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-2200uf-25v-85c-Philips-Series-Long-Life-Axial-Audio-Capacitors-NEW-/170971086869?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27ceabc015

 

 

 

Hi Kramer,

 

The 220uF condenser (C3) is not really critical for the sound quality, but if the amplifier is very old I would change all the electrolytic capacitors.

 

The condensers on the signal path are C2 (0.47uF) and C4 (220uF) On my DIY version of this amp I have used Paper in Oil capacitors for C2, but they are too big to fit into the original Earmax.

 

 

If you are planning mods, it is worth to study this article: http://headwize.com/?page_id=433 and http://www.cavalliaudio.com/diy/cj/main.php?page=omj

post #324 of 350
I must have the original model cause the lady said her husband had had it since the mid 90s or a little later. It has a sn# 4009. Which might mean something to someone who knows Earmax/Brocksieper branded German amps. All I know is it sounds darn good with my HDxxx model headphones. It is the best $30 I ever spent!

I have a Crack/speedball amp that I've done some tube rolling with to find a combo that , to my ears, sounded best woth my HD800s & last night 8 A/Bed that headphone between that amp & this little Earmax & while I found I did prefer the Crack with the Speedball upgrade overall, there was not a huge difference. Also, as of yet, I have not done much tube matching in the Earmax. So It still could change eventually. Anyway I find it impressive that this tiny little amp is so darn good with hard-to-drive headphones. Two big thumbs up. Can't figure out why it isn't more popular.
post #325 of 350

OK thanks Ping... I think I'll just leave it stock for now then.  I think I can get more bang for my $$ with some tube rolling.

 

Thanks for that feedback Austin, nice to know its in the same ballpark as a tube amp + cans of that caliber.  FWIW mines serial number 3044018, with a sticker on the bottom "Audio Advancements, Lincoln Park NJ".

post #326 of 350
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post

OK thanks Ping... I think I'll just leave it stock for now then.  I think I can get more bang for my $$ with some tube rolling.

 

Thanks for that feedback Austin, nice to know its in the same ballpark as a tube amp + cans of that caliber.  FWIW mines serial number 3044018, with a sticker on the bottom "Audio Advancements, Lincoln Park NJ".


Mine also has the Audio Advancements sticker, but with the much lower (earlier) sn#.  I picked up a few tubes at the shop to roll in as time allows. So far, I'm noticing only small differences in the sound signature.  More a flavor change that really a better or worse situation.  But, so far, everything sounds pretty darn good. I did a lot of listening with the Beyer DT800 600 ohm tonight & it sounds really, really nice with this amp.  Kicked the dac level up a lot by moving my EE Minimax dac into the mix & everything jumped up a few levels soundwise from the iStreamer. But then it should since the Minimax is a really, really, nice sounding dac. And with the tube section engaged it really works well with the little Earmax. Long term though, as my late night bedside rig, I will use the iStreamer as it will charge my iPhone/iPod Classic/or Touch as it plays - a nice feature. Plus it still sounds very good & has a tiny footprint compared to my other dac gear.  If I want to kick it up a notch I can always use my dacport, as a dac front end but that means I have to use a battery charger too to power the dacport so because of WAF issues, that isn't likely to be a longterm solution. Still having a dac between the idevice & the Earmax ups the sound quality than would be there otherwise playing straight from the idevice & it's internal dac.

 

Again, after having listened to it a few nights now & having replaced the stock (or at least no name) tubes with nice NOS tubes, I find it shocking that this little amp isn't getting the buzz it deserves.  With the Senn HDxxx & Beyer headphones being so popular, this little OTL amp ought to be in high demand. I have the Crack/w Speedball upgrade, an amp with a huge following here (an deservedly so) & soundwise, this tiny Earmax is very, very close soundwise on those headphones.  I hear everyone looking for a good amp match for their HD800s & I never see this amp mentioned & the two are made for each other.  The HD650 sounds as good on it as I've ever heard it on a SE amp.  Though once you hear the 650 on a nice balanced amp, it is hard to listen to it in SE mode again - IMO. Still the Earmax totally removes the well known veil that so many other amps can't seem to do so it is a wonderful match.  Well, I'll get off my soap box & get back to some late-night listening with some new tube combos.  Boy did I luck out getting this little thing so darn cheap.  Garage & estate sales are gold mines if you know what your looking for but this may be my best GET ever.


Edited by AustinHorn - 1/22/13 at 11:41pm
post #327 of 350

thanks for that feedback.  Did you try GE branded tubes in either the #2 or #1/3 positions?  How did you like them?  I see them all over the place for considerably less $$$ than the other trendy tubes.  I just might pick up a set just of GEs for the heck of it.  Its nice to know tube type doesn't make a huge night/day difference.

 

I'm thinking about picking up a DT880-600 just for this amp.  The signature closely resembles my 701, but with some more bass, deeper extension and a little treble boost relative to the upper midrange.

 

Truth is I've had my Max for 4-5 years and never really tube rolled it or picked up the right cans for it (FACEPALM).  How does the amp handle THAT high of an impedance? Its hard to believe an amp that small can push enough wattage into a load that high.  But then again were talking about voltage swing an not current, so I guess it kind of makes sense.

post #328 of 350

Guys, I am a huge fan of the Earmax (Pro in my case) and the 600 ohm Beyer DT880s. They are made for each other.  :-)

post #329 of 350

Yeah FOTM madness and insanity still runs strong on HF.  Its always been that way to some extent or another.  I always try to resist it, demo and listen at meets first before I buy into anything.  But admittedly that's not always possible and then I just go for it and pray for the best.

 

I have a darkvoice 337 incoming that would also benefit from a 600 ohm headphone so, I think a beyer purchase is imminent.  But even then with my (relatively low impedance) K701 and A250 the earmax definitely thickens and rounds out the midrange with even order harmonic distortion.  My millet definitely does the same thing, when I set its bias for lower plate voltages.  Thats one of the great things about the Millet designs is you can easily and safely tweek bias voltages (and even order distortion) to suit individual taste.  I can't think of any other amp that allows for this.  But like so many other products, the Millet amps in general were FOTMs of the past... and today they go on un-noticed on HF.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/23/13 at 9:42am
post #330 of 350
Yeah, I really like my Beyers on both the Earmax & Bottlehead Crack. It sings really well on OTL,amps. I got to hear it on a Zana at a meet & knew then I had to get myself an OTL amp myself. It has a different flavor than the Senns, but it is such a good headphone when it is properly amped.

I've rolled several combos of tubes in & out of my Earmax in the last 3 days now & even rolled in asset of GE tubes & they sounded good. Not positive these are not rebranded tubes because of faded markings but what ever they are, they sounded pretty good. I have sorta settled on a Mullard in the middle with two Silvania's on the outside? That combo still sounds great with my 650, but ups the synergy level with the HD800 more than anything else so far. I'm still using the EE Minimax dac with it right now & will likely find it tough to go back to the iSteamer when I set it up in the bedroom, but guess I'll adjust. The HRT iStreamer really is a nice sounding dac for the price & a perfect match for any idevice, but it is still a big step down from the Minimax.
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