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Rockhopper M^3 - The Review - Page 2

post #16 of 523
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootermafia View Post
I will now only compare the M3 to amps I actually own or have tested, not to how other amps might sound.
Thank you.

The only part that bothered me was the comments about the other amplifiers. I do appreciate you posting your review otherwise. It was well done. And you added a video. That's awesome.

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post #17 of 523
Thread Starter 
Haha, the video was mostly testing my new cheapo "hd" camcorder, it takes sorta 1080p whenever its autofocus decides to work...there's a few decent shots in there.
post #18 of 523
Thread Starter 
Bump for lots of new pictures.

Did anyone snag the last M3 that Stephen had?
post #19 of 523
i just got my rockhopper M^3 today with OPA637/627 and it's spectacular. compared to the headfive, there's an improvement in every department. most of the differences are subtle, but noticeable. the most noticeable (and not at all subtle) improvement has been in the bass. the effortless control and depth it exhibits is quite impressive. the second thing i noticed was the soundstage expansion, which was an unexpected, but very welcome change. all in all, i feel this amp is well worth its asking price (i don't usually say that for many things).

Edit: scooter i see you're expecting the sigma 11 to arrive soon. please do update your impressions and let us know how it affects the sound. i want to know if it's worth the $200.
post #20 of 523
Thread Starter 
Glad you like it and it's not just me...now I need to cash up for some new op amps. I will revise when the sigma comes and try to A/B it. While I'm not expecting the same difference between CMOY and M3, I am expecting things to clean up a little, maybe tighter midrange slightly and a touch more bass.

The M3 definitely improves with 100+ hours, none of the initial, rare bits of harshness. The AD8610s in mine are pretty aggressive and lift the "Sennheiser veil" that is now a distant memory. I will probably order the new op amps soon though, I liked what I heard when 627s were in the the CMOY, they really gave it some authority (as much authority as the 9 volt pipsqueak can have) and they are very smooth, refined, and analog-y, I think they're a good match for my Moodlab NOS DAC...they will really be able to deliver the goods in my M3.

Edit: those darned op amps are on their way. Grr...something that small should not cost what it does, but well worth the dough. They really are high fliers.
post #21 of 523
Thread Starter 
UPDATE: 1/12/09

The OPA627 is in the ground channel and the two 637s in the left/right.
Totally worth the money, these are the op amp for the M3. They have the same blistering power of the AD8610 but with greatly more refinement. The often harsh, brutal midrange is now replaced with smooth, even frequencies - lush but still detailed and not grating. Soundstage is greatly more detailed. It feels just like a warmer space with the precision of solid state but the musicality of tubes. I'm (lol wait for it) hearing things I never heard before OMG (sorry).

The best description of it is a controlled sound. The treble and midrange are reigned in to where they are doing what they are supposed to and not taking the wrong liberties. The AD8610 has a reckless, bombastic sound that is appealing for rock, rap, and electronic, but even these genres can greatly fatigue with this chip setup in the M3. Don't get me wrong, it's still very good but it takes a lot of getting used to. I only wonder how these chips sound with other headphones. And this is not psychological, I went through my reference playlist with the 8610s and I just finished going through it again after letting the amp warm up with the new chips. It is a very, very obvious change. These 627/637s are simply a superior product with tighter stats and performance capabilities.

This is only a $65 upgrade, lots of single tubes are much pricier than this. It also has made the M3 even more worth owning. If any M3 is available to you and it's within your budget, you would be insane to consider anything else.
It's like stepping up from Burger King to Kobe beef.
post #22 of 523
Try 3x AD843
post #23 of 523
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootermafia View Post
UPDATE: 1/12/09

The OPA627 is in the ground channel and the two 637s in the left/right.
Totally worth the money, these are the op amp for the M3. They have the same blistering power of the AD8610 but with greatly more refinement. The often harsh, brutal midrange is now replaced with smooth, even frequencies - lush but still detailed and not grating. Soundstage is greatly more detailed. It feels just like a warmer space with the precision of solid state but the musicality of tubes. I'm (lol wait for it) hearing things I never heard before OMG (sorry).

The best description of it is a controlled sound. The treble and midrange are reigned in to where they are doing what they are supposed to and not taking the wrong liberties. The AD8610 has a reckless, bombastic sound that is appealing for rock, rap, and electronic, but even these genres can greatly fatigue with this chip setup in the M3. Don't get me wrong, it's still very good but it takes a lot of getting used to. I only wonder how these chips sound with other headphones. And this is not psychological, I went through my reference playlist with the 8610s and I just finished going through it again after letting the amp warm up with the new chips. It is a very, very obvious change. These 627/637s are simply a superior product with tighter stats and performance capabilities.

This is only a $65 upgrade, lots of single tubes are much pricier than this. It also has made the M3 even more worth owning. If any M3 is available to you and it's within your budget, you would be insane to consider anything else.
It's like stepping up from Burger King to Kobe beef.
i can't comment on how they compare to the AD8610 (have them but haven't tried them), but the OPA637/627 do make the amp warm and smooth yet detailed. i'm glad to see you find them to sound the same. it's a good combination with my source which uses the AD8620BR opamps which are slightly bright and cold.
post #24 of 523
Thread Starter 
Yep, the OPAs sound good, and they're not a bad pairing to the (insanely bright) K701s. My dad was in town and the K701s I got him for Christmas came along with him, and I had never heard them before until now. They sound like a massive, airy version of my Sony MDR-F1s, except with a bit more warmth, closeness, and of course bass than I would expect from such a wide-open design. Pretty refined, they maybe pack a little more detail than my HD650s but I'm not about to cash in my Sennheisers quite yet...they do have an interesting quality though.

Anyone with K701s would be wise to choose an M3 but too bright of an op-amp would be a mistake. The OPAs are solid but you could go darker.
post #25 of 523
The same day I heard naamanf's M^3 with OPA627's at my house was the day I ordered the Pseudo Dual Power Supply for my Woo WA6 after comparing the two - I needed an upgrade to catch up (succeeded).
post #26 of 523
This amp is extremely transparent. I'm using my dad's Accuphase DP-500 with the m^3 and 580s and oh man, blows my Cambridge CDP out of the water. Not a contest at all.
post #27 of 523
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
The same day I heard naamanf's M^3 with OPA627's at my house was the day I ordered the Pseudo Dual Power Supply for my Woo WA6 after comparing the two - I needed an upgrade to catch up (succeeded).
yes but was the M^3 powered by a good external PSU?
post #28 of 523
Thread Starter 
My M3 is now more transparent than ever with the sigma-11 and the OPAs. Let me tell you now, the Sigma-11 was not a small upgrade with inconclusive results - it was 100% worth it and drastically changed the sound for the better.
post #29 of 523
I want to try something AMB as well. Nice amp you have.
post #30 of 523
Quote:
Originally Posted by grawk View Post
Try 3x AD843
Have you compared this to the 627/637 combo before?
I'm going to try the 3 x 843 soon, to alleviate some issues with gain and detail loss(?) with the 627/637 combo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scootermafia View Post
It's like stepping up from Burger King to Kobe beef.
That's a huge claim
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