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~$200 to play with, recommendations? - Page 2

post #16 of 38
I have a go vibe petite and its great with my MS-1's Got a D2 Boa comming for my PK1's and once it arrives ill drop in some info on how it goes. Ive read alot of good reviews on it, so hopefully its what i expect. BTW the petite is free shipping, but it comes with a rather average interconnect cable, the customer support is amazingly good with Soundcat/Uncle Wilson's. They replied to me each time within a couple of hours.
post #17 of 38
I would suggest saving a little bit more and trying for a used Hornet on the FS forum. I have seen them go for as little as 250.
post #18 of 38
Im in the same situation as the OP. I would want something around 200 that can push KSC35's all the way to D2000's. Can the C&C XO do that or the Go-Vibe Petite? I know the Hornet can but its like $70 more dollars than the 200 budget and thats if you can find one used.
post #19 of 38
Thread Starter 
I still haven't decided which I am going to go with. From my studying of opinion and reviews, I believe the Minibox-E+ is acoustically superior, but then there is the iBasso DAC. Bottom line is either of these will work great. I'm leaning toward the Minibox because of quality, but not having a DAC is making me hesitate... I've also heard both MiniBox and iBasso are coming out with new amps (who knows when, but I've heard rumor it could be soon). I've emailed both companies and I'll report if I get any responses. Until then, the debate continues.
post #20 of 38
Darkhaven, I recently purhased a used Headsix. You can find my impressions in the "Another cheap amp thread..." thread I posted here:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/y...69/index4.html

My understanding is that sonically it's a cut above the others amps you mentioned. I think you mentioned having reviewed Skylab's amp roundup, and it his highest-rated amp in the price range. Like you, I had read some things that turned me off to the Boa, and I thought that it would be overpriced with the euro-dollar conversion. Plus, I had some concerns with its stock opamp.

Other reading suggests it's in a higher class, as well. It seems fairly unique in that it uses the AD8610 opamp. When I researched opamps, trying to feel my way around in this new technical area, the 8610 was called perhaps the best opamp for portable applications. I'm sure this is a pretty subjective judgment, but in addition to its sonic qualities, it's low-current, so battery life should be a strength (100 hrs on a single 9v in the Headsix). Since I travel with this amp, I don't want to worry about a rechargeable battery. Even if internal charging is possible with an amp (so that no discrete charging dock is required), a wall wart takes up more space and weight than an extra battery will. Plus, I don't have to worry about degrading performance over multiple charges possibly affecting my sound. The construction is awesome, too. I love the brushed-aluminum look.

As far as "options" such as crossfeed, soundfields and such go, well, there are different schools of thought. Pretty much any extraneous circuit is going to be a potential noise source, so some purists avoid those altogether. I myself prefer to listen to CDs at hom via Pure Direct on my denon amp, which bypasses video and DSP circuitry and even shuts off the LCD on the front of the receiver. I must admit, though, that as an IEM user I was attracted to the idea of crossfeed. Some folks hate it though, and since I hadn't ever found listening without it fatiguing, I decided to forgo it in the interest of the best "pure" sound available on my budget (I paid $130US for the Headsix, when the top of my considered range had been a $125 Mini^3 from Rockhopper.)

I did note some crackle when adjusting the volume control, but I don't think that comes standard. It's a used amp, so perhaps the volume pot received a knock when the PCB was slid out to make an adjustment to the gain at some point in the past. Note that the crackle goes away when you stop adjusting the volume; no noise is introduced into playback. When I crank the amp all the way up with no source, there's a just-perceptible hiss in my UE super.fi 5 pros, but no noise at all at less than 3/4 volume.

By the way, the Headsix is a low-profit version of the XXS, identical but for branding; you can find partial specs for the XXS on the Meier homepage, here: Meier-Audio. Sonically, speaking, I don't think you'd be disappointed. I'm not an authority, since this is my first headphone amp -- and at any rate, you should take the word of a product's owner with a grain of salt since they are always tempted to justify their purchase -- but I'm a pretty good critical listener, and I like this little thing. An example: I'm listening to Muse right now. Previously, I've never liked them, but through the headsix, some of the fatiguing aspects of their music seem to be attenuated, and I'm quite enjoying this album.
post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post
Darkhaven, I recently purhased a used Headsix. You can find my impressions in the "Another cheap amp thread..." thread I posted here:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/y...69/index4.html

My understanding is that sonically it's a cut above the others amps you mentioned. I think you mentioned having reviewed Skylab's amp roundup, and it his highest-rated amp in the price range. Like you, I had read some things that turned me off to the Boa, and I thought that it would be overpriced with the euro-dollar conversion. Plus, I had some concerns with its stock opamp.

Other reading suggests it's in a higher class, as well. It seems fairly unique in that it uses the AD8610 opamp. When I researched opamps, trying to feel my way around in this new technical area, the 8610 was called perhaps the best opamp for portable applications. I'm sure this is a pretty subjective judgment, but in addition to its sonic qualities, it's low-current, so battery life should be a strength (100 hrs on a single 9v in the Headsix). Since I travel with this amp, I don't want to worry about a rechargeable battery. Even if internal charging is possible with an amp (so that no discrete charging dock is required), a wall wart takes up more space and weight than an extra battery will. Plus, I don't have to worry about degrading performance over multiple charges possibly affecting my sound. The construction is awesome, too. I love the brushed-aluminum look.

As far as "options" such as crossfeed, soundfields and such go, well, there are different schools of thought. Pretty much any extraneous circuit is going to be a potential noise source, so some purists avoid those altogether. I myself prefer to listen to CDs at hom via Pure Direct on my denon amp, which bypasses video and DSP circuitry and even shuts off the LCD on the front of the receiver. I must admit, though, that as an IEM user I was attracted to the idea of crossfeed. Some folks hate it though, and since I hadn't ever found listening without it fatiguing, I decided to forgo it in the interest of the best "pure" sound available on my budget (I paid $130US for the Headsix, when the top of my considered range had been a $125 Mini^3 from Rockhopper.)

I did note some crackle when adjusting the volume control, but I don't think that comes standard. It's a used amp, so perhaps the volume pot received a knock when the PCB was slid out to make an adjustment to the gain at some point in the past. Note that the crackle goes away when you stop adjusting the volume; no noise is introduced into playback. When I crank the amp all the way up with no source, there's a just-perceptible hiss in my UE super.fi 5 pros, but no noise at all at less than 3/4 volume.

By the way, the Headsix is a low-profit version of the XXS, identical but for branding; you can find partial specs for the XXS on the Meier homepage, here: Meier-Audio. Sonically, speaking, I don't think you'd be disappointed. I'm not an authority, since this is my first headphone amp -- and at any rate, you should take the word of a product's owner with a grain of salt since they are always tempted to justify their purchase -- but I'm a pretty good critical listener, and I like this little thing. An example: I'm listening to Muse right now. Previously, I've never liked them, but through the headsix, some of the fatiguing aspects of their music seem to be attenuated, and I'm quite enjoying this album.
Glad you posted that...i totally over looked it and now i want one but ive noticed that they sell very quickly and are kinda hard to get used..Ill keep searching though, thanks for opening my eyes.
post #22 of 38
My understanding was that the volume crackle on the Headsix is a common problem. There have been threads discussing it.
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by dir_d View Post
Glad you posted that...i totally over looked it and now i want one but ive noticed that they sell very quickly and are kinda hard to get used..Ill keep searching though, thanks for opening my eyes.
The Headsix does seem like a good bargain, particularly used! But at the brand-new price, or should no more be produced, requiring a move to the XXS, I think a 2Move might be a better deal, given that it has defeatable crossfeed and a DAC.
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Than View Post
My understanding was that the volume crackle on the Headsix is a common problem. There have been threads discussing it.
Thanks -- I'll do a search!
post #25 of 38
I too had about the same amount of Money to spend, and I did a lot of research.
I finally bought a Little Dot Mk. 1 off ebay for 120 bucks.

It's absolutely awesome, still burning in, and getting better all the time.

Highly recommended.
post #26 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by grifforama View Post
I too had about the same amount of Money to spend, and I did a lot of research.
I finally bought a Little Dot Mk. 1 off ebay for 120 bucks.

It's absolutely awesome, still burning in, and getting better all the time.

Highly recommended.
I am considering the Little Dot Mk 1 too, its a great price and people seem to like it.

On another note, how does everyone feel about the PA2VA2? It's won some design awards, although its so cheap ($60 on ebay). Can anyone vouch for the quality of this little guy and the Dot MK I vs. the iBasso D2 and MiniBox-E+?
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DARKHAVEN View Post
I am considering the Little Dot Mk 1 too, its a great price and people seem to like it.

On another note, how does everyone feel about the PAVA2? It's won some design awards, although its so cheap ($60 on ebay). Can anyone vouch for the quality of this little guy and the Dot MK I vs. the iBasso D2 and MiniBox-E+?
Just coming back to this thread.

It may be a different amp than the one you're mention, but it sounds close: the PA2V2 amp is a frequently suggested option for newcomers to this forum. It was suggested to me and I've seen it in other similar threads as well. But it is a down-market option. I suspect you won't get the sound you'd get from some of the others on your list. On the other hand, it could tide you over until you can afford what you really want...
post #28 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elladan View Post
Just coming back to this thread.

It may be a different amp than the one you're mention, but it sounds close: the PA2V2 amp is a frequently suggested option for newcomers to this forum. It was suggested to me and I've seen it in other similar threads as well. But it is a down-market option. I suspect you won't get the sound you'd get from some of the others on your list. On the other hand, it could tide you over until you can afford what you really want...
That's kind of what I thought. Any thoughts on the Littld Dot MK I?
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by DARKHAVEN View Post
That's kind of what I thought. Any thoughts on the Littld Dot MK I?
I've never heard it, but the little tube website lists it as out of stock, though an ebay seller may have some.

Spec-wise, it seems impressive enough, and it's far more attractive than many cheap amps, but it's significantly larger than the Headsix. Still smaller than my Zune80, except in thickness, though.

According to the website, it uses the LM4562 opamp. This is a pretty expensive chip, but the one reviewer I found for it called it excessively analytical. If clarity and precision is your top priority, that may make it a good choice, but he seemed to think it lacked musicality. Couldn't say, myself. If you PM me your email address, I will forward you an rtf document I put together from a variety of opamp reviews online. I found it pretty useful in evaluating different amps without being able to hear them.
post #30 of 38
I'm also looking for a modestly priced amp to drive my SE530 IEMs, I'm just curious why there hasn't been more mention of the RSA Tomahawk used, it seems you can find one for about $215. I my self am considering one of those, or a D2 Boa, Also in the mix if I go the Corda route I would pony up the $275 for a 2move cause the idea of a dac is alluring and probably the reason I haven't already pulled the trigger on a Tomahawk.
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