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ALO/ Red Wine Audio Desk Top Headphone Amp (Amphora) W/ PHOTOS - Page 2

post #16 of 202
Thank you for your answer Vinnie.
All is perfect.
post #17 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by suikodenii
The way I understand it both inputs are run via VCAPs in the signal path. Is this really necessary?
YES - I just edited my reply to Lamenthe above to clarify, and I'll paste it here:

If you choose the standard Amphora (i.e., without the iMod/iPod version) and want to use your 5g/5.5 iMod - you actually can use a standard LOD to connect. The Amphora already has dc blocking caps on the input (we are using premium Vcaps at noted above). The Amphora requires the input caps to also block dc voltage from going back to the source (from the amp) - so the Vcaps will be there for both standard and iPod/iMod versions.

Quote:
I already own an ALO large cap Imod dock and in that way would have 2 Caps in the signal path. For this setup no caps in the amp would be the preferable solution I guess. And - already owning the large dock - I would not want to go for the amp with built in iMod dock.
You can still use your iMod dock (especially if you are using more than one amp, you'll want to keep it), but the Amphora already blocks the dc offset voltage of the 5g/5.5g iMod via the internal Vcap, so you can use a standard LOD with the 5g/5.5g iMOd into the Amphora.

For best results, the iPod version of the Amphora will feed the line-out directly to the Amphora internally (avoiding an external cable and the connector to the amp) - you simply dock it in and press play!

I hope this makes sense...

Vinnie
Reply
post #18 of 202
[QUOTE=Vinnie R.;5436282]YES - I just edited my reply to Lamenthe above to clarify, and I'll paste it here:

If you choose the standard Amphora (i.e., without the iMod/iPod version) and want to use your 5g/5.5 iMod - you actually can use a standard LOD to connect. The Amphora already has dc blocking caps on the input (we are using premium Vcaps at noted above). The Amphora requires the input caps to also block dc voltage from going back to the source (from the amp) - so the Vcaps will be there for both standard and iPod/iMod versions.



I would have thought that the caps in my large dock already do protect the source as well and would have thought that most other sources would offer that as well.
But what I take from this is that you do not recommend having at least one of the input path without caps in the amp.

Another item I would like to understand is in respect to the power supply.
Most people clearly see the range of mobile amps available today to be inferior to home amps due to the fact that they can not deliver the same power - even the ones running off one of even 2 9V batteries.
Now I understand that the Amphora is targeted as a home amp so I would be curious on how it holds in regards to wall wart powered amps.
Is the batterie used in the Amphora that much superior to whatever is available in available mobile amps today?


Thanks for taking the time to look at this. - Chris
post #19 of 202
I feel highly honered to be probably the second person to hear what I assume is the final version of the Amphora. The unit I received via express mail yesterday is serial number 000 / 100, implying to me it's designated pre-production.

For starters it is small but beautiful. But the real beauty is in the sound.

The battery logic is pretty much identical to the original Signature 30, with a couple big improvements:

- Battery life is claimed be in the 24 hours range, significantly longer than its bigger brother driving speakers.

- The charger / wall plug is small and light, and easier to hide compared to the large wall wart that accompanied the Signature 30.

- And the most meaningful difference: Unlike the Signature 30, Amphora's battery technology is not adversely impacted by deep discharge (FYI: The addition of SMART to the .2-series products, prevents deep discharge for the newer Signature 30.2 & Isabella).

All the switches and plugs look and feel as good as the photos above imply.

How does it sound and is it a good value?

Let me start with value. I've only owned a few fairly high-end headphones, including the AKG K1000s. But I've attended a few Headfi meets. And have heard enough to know that most headphone rigs (under a couple grand) don't begin to come close to a well crafted 2ch system. They sit squarely between an iPod running Etymotic 4Ps and good 2ch. Nice for listening, but clearing lacking if you've been spoiled by sonic artists like Vinnie and Louis (Omega).

Back to value: I own an Isabella with headphone output. And believe that as a headphone amp it plays in the upper stratosphere. Adding the headphone output to an Isabella runs $500 -- IMO an absolute steal to add headphone capabilities to an already outstanding linestage/DAC.

Enter the Amphora. Here you are looking at the same $500 heaphone stage used in the Isabella. But to this add the CNC wood case, Goldpoint stepped attenuator (...what, maybe $150 product???), the battery and powersystem, and an assortment of high quality switches and jacks, and get it to the consumer for about a grand. I've never been in manufacturing, but keep in mind this is handmade in the USA quality, backed by RWA's reputation for unbeatable warranty / customer service... so in my mind pricing appears to be more than fair.

But how does it sound?

One word: Wonderful. Eight words: Every bit as good as Isabella's headphone out. A short sentence: Using ALO re-cabled AKG K702, and fed by single-end ICs from the Isabella, this combo will go head-to-head with the vaulted AKG K1000s driven by a $3,000 Signature 30.2. Seriously. [The now discontinued K1000s -- when properly amped -- are considered by many to be the gold standard for dynamic headphones.]

Saturday the Amphora / ALO K702 will go head-to-head with Signature 30.2 / K1000s hardwired with Moon's Black Dragon cable at CanFest in Charlotte. Both will be simultaneously driven by the same source / linestage, so the test will be about as even as it gets.

I truly love the K1000s / Sig 30.2 combo, but have a sneaking suspicion the Amphora / 702s will gain more than its share of admirers.

Watch Headfi for user feedback on ALO / RWA's new wooden beauty.

Kent
post #20 of 202
Can I play?

I will be eagerly waiting at my door for it's arrival.

Vinnie, you say that due to the V-Caps in the path, an ordinary LOD is suitable with an iMod.
Can I still use my iMod LOD, without a degradation in sound. My ALO Jena LOD is so fantastic, I would hate to use anything else.

You two guys are the epitome of what Head-Fi stands for. Great insight when creating this project. 2 steps ahead of the pack.
post #21 of 202
Quote:
I would have thought that the caps in my large dock already do protect the source as well and would have thought that most other sources would offer that as well.
But what I take from this is that you do not recommend having at least one of the input path without caps in the amp.
Hi Chris,

The caps on the input of the amplifier stage are required.

Quote:
Most people clearly see the range of mobile amps available today to be inferior to home amps due to the fact that they can not deliver the same power - even the ones running off one of even 2 9V batteries.
Now I understand that the Amphora is targeted as a home amp so I would be curious on how it holds in regards to wall wart powered amps.
Is the batterie used in the Amphora that much superior to whatever is available in available mobile amps today?
It is not a question of the Amphora using a battery that is "that much superior." The battery that we are using in the Amphora design will always provide enough power to drive the Amphora ampliifer stage to max power (until the battery shuts after > 24 hours off because the voltage drops low and you need to recharge it). This has already been tested and proven. The Amphora amplifier stage never calls for more power than what the battery can provide (again, when the battery is charged) - so this is not an issue.

In other words, if we substitute the 9V battery with a gigantic 9V power supply that can deliver hundreds of watts of power, this is not going to offer more power to the headphones because the headphone amplifier is never requiring this much power. The 9V battery provides all the power that this design needs.

I much prefer using battery power vs. using an power supply. Using battery eliminates transformers, ac/dc conversion, and noise from the power line (battery provides isolation).

Hope this helps answer your question.

Vinnie
Reply
post #22 of 202
I don't see a place to plug in my IEC power cord (private joke with Vinnie). Brain fart moment.
post #23 of 202
Hi Kent,

Thank you for posting your initial feedback, and thanks again for bringing the Amphora to Southern Can Jam!

Hi Aaron,

Quote:
Vinnie, you say that due to the V-Caps in the path, an ordinary LOD is suitable with an iMod.
Can I still use my iMod LOD, without a degradation in sound. My ALO Jena LOD is so fantastic, I would hate to use anything else.
Yes - you can still use your iMod LOD. You might actually prefer the sound using the iMod LOD vs. a standard LOD - so if you get a chance, try it both ways. The caps in the iMod LOD have their own sonic flavor and you may prefer it. The ALO iMod docks are really good so give it a try!

Quote:
You two guys are the epitome of what Head-Fi stands for. Great insight when creating this project. 2 steps ahead of the pack.
__________________
Thanks!

Vinnie
Reply
post #24 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by suikodenii View Post
Most people clearly see the range of mobile amps available today to be inferior to home amps due to the fact that they can not deliver the same power - even the ones running off one of even 2 9V batteries -- Chris
Chris, I am just technical enough to be dangerous. So let Vinnie correct me if I'm off the mark...

Ever notice that many of the expensive headamps and stereo amps have big power supplies, often filled with big expensive capacitors?

Why? Capacitors store current (not shear voltage or power, but a steady source of clean reserve current). For years now Vinnie had done nothing but battery powered products, the majority targeted at home users...

His designs are clearly tuned to appeal to music lovers (over being analytical or edgy, for the sake getting "good specs"). They've also gained numerous awards and a loyal following of music lovers / audiophiles who have discovered just how musically involving his designs are.

So back to batteries -- battery operation does two things:

1.) It completely eliminates any grunge or junk associated with the stuff your power company delivers to your AC outlets.

2.) The batteries act as a ready reserve of high quality current (like the capacitors in those pricey amps).

One other difference between Vinnie's design and the typical portable amp: Vinnie has his own secret sauce for amplifying the musical signal while consuming minimal amounts of power (bear in mind that Isabella even runs vacuum tubes on pure battery power!). So while portable products may use batteries, none that I am aware of approach the amplification stage as does RWA.

So I recommend people compare Amphora with other headamps running $1,000+. While I won’t claim to be an authority on headamps, I'm pretty confident the Amphora will fair well against all comers. And if Amphora holds up to the standard set by other RWA products, there's a good chance it will take on amps costing even 2-3X, and prove a worthy competitor.

Certainly Saturday's event in Charlotte will help establish a baseline for where this amp fits into the marketplace
post #25 of 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by immtbiker View Post
You two guys are the epitome of what Head-Fi stands for. Great insight when creating this project. 2 steps ahead of the pack.
I second this.

Thanks for the initial review Alwayswantmore. I didn't think it was possible, but now I'm even more excited for this amp to finish production.

I call 007/100

Any estimation on the official sale date (or does that come with Southern CanFest)?
post #26 of 202
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamenthe View Post
I second this.

Thanks for the initial review Alwayswantmore. I didn't think it was possible, but now I'm even more excited for this amp to finish production.

I call 007/100

Any estimation on the official sale date (or does that come with Southern CanFest)?
Oh man thanks you guys!

On the sale date, its hard to pin down at the moment. I am very busy finishing the enclosures and assembling the hardware at the moment. The Ipod versions are taking longer than I thought they would but we are shooting to have some for sale some time the first half of next month or so.

Both Vinnie and I are really looking forward to the feedback from happy customers.

Ken
post #27 of 202
You mean, you guys aren't looking forward to feedback from un-happy customers?
post #28 of 202
this looks to be a great product. Ken you metioned that the ipod versions are taking a bit more time is that including the imod version?Will there be 100 standard and 100 ipod/imod units? I hope I will be able to scrounge the cash together to buy one of the imod amps and hopefully before the proposed Vancouver meet as I would like to share the amphora with others. I wish you guys the best of luck with yor new amp I am sure it will be a big hit.
post #29 of 202
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by slypher View Post
this looks to be a great product. Ken you metioned that the ipod versions are taking a bit more time is that including the imod version?Will there be 100 standard and 100 ipod/imod units? I hope I will be able to scrounge the cash together to buy one of the imod amps and hopefully before the proposed Vancouver meet as I would like to share the amphora with others. I wish you guys the best of luck with yor new amp I am sure it will be a big hit.
The ipod and the iMod versions are the same thing, thats the beauty of the Amphora!

The 100 we are making are loosely half imod and half non imod versions, so 50 each.

Thanks

Ken
post #30 of 202
Thread Starter 
If your in Portland there is a Head-fi meet in March,

PDX Head-fi meet

I will bring a Amphora, along with a mess of other gear.

Ken
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