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post #4201 of 4910

I bought AD797BR 3 weeks ago, and can say, that it's a good upgrade. Sound goes more aggresive, but there is a lot bigger soundstage, good clarity and overall it's better. Low impendance headphone is more sensitive to that op amp switching, that high impendance headphone. But now i still waiting for THS4032 abd LME49990 just for comparison. Think that THS4032 is good upgrade like AD797BR, maybe better (too many good feedbacks here), don't know, will see :)  All opamp were purchased on ebay and were delivered to (soviet) Russia.

 

Tested on HD650 and CAL!. Wish you make a right decision :)

post #4202 of 4910
hello!
i'm a new user, and i need help. i just buy a Xonar Essence ST, and now i would like to change the three amp; i read various configuration, for example 2xLME49860 + LME49720NA or 3xLME49720NA, but i need help to choose the best and cheaper configuration.
can you please help me?
Edited by leom81 - 3/16/13 at 2:14pm
post #4203 of 4910

Important question:

THS4032 or LME49990, which gets me more bass?

Thanks,

post #4204 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by derbigpr View Post

Ok, just a question for anyone using the STX with a AKG K701/2 in their setup, or a similar headphone (bright). Which op-amps are you using? I'm looking to replace the stock ones, both in the RCA output buffer and the two for headphone out. What I want is a plain out improvement of the sound. I'm not going to replace the op-amps if I gain one thing, and lose something else, etc.  

 

So, which op-amp will improve on the stock ones in a way that will elevate the sound quality up overall? I want an audible increase in sound resolution, detail, clarity, separation, etc. I'd like to keep the sound signature as neutral as possible, with possibly slightly more bass and smoother highs, but in no way do I want to lose the soundstage.


  LME49720 should fit the bill. I am using it for FA-011. I need to try   LME49990. I have read reviews that it is much warmer and fuller.


Edited by matbhuvi - 3/18/13 at 2:01am
post #4205 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by matbhuvi View Post


  LME49720 should fit the bill. I am using it for FA-011. I need to try   LME49990. I have read reviews that it is much warmer and fuller.

I'd love to know more about LME49990 warm/fuller sound as I'm currently using DT 990 Pro 250 with Xonar DGX. I feel that the DGX is still underamping the DT 990 Pro even on the highest gain (Exciter mode). I do get more than enough volume(preety loud actually) out using ASIO/Internal volume -12.5db but it doesn't sound better the ~$100 Beyerdynamic DTX 900 32ohm that used to pair with the DGX...long story short, I hope the STX+3x LME49990 will be the saving grace for my recessed/distant mid(vocal) and bright highs of the DT 990 Pro, though, it's only on its 3rd day burning-in.

post #4206 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by verde57 View Post

Important question:

THS4032 or LME49990, which gets me more bass?

Thanks,

 

I've tried both in the Essence ST. Definitely LME49990. Although, any of these compared to the stock JRCs might be disappointing in the bass department, unless you think the stock is too bass-heavy.

post #4207 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friskyseal View Post

 

I've tried both in the Essence ST. Definitely LME49990. Although, any of these compared to the stock JRCs might be disappointing in the bass department, unless you think the stock is too bass-heavy.

Good to know. How did you find the soundstage of LME49990. What about mids/treble, did you find any coloration from these op amps? Would you say the LME 49990 are warm sounding op amps, warmer than stock JRCs?

 

Do you think these would compliment well with the already v-shaped DT 990 Pro to smooth/tame the treble spike and bring out the mids without sacrificing soundstage?

post #4208 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friskyseal View Post

 

I've tried both in the Essence ST. Definitely LME49990. Although, any of these compared to the stock JRCs might be disappointing in the bass department, unless you think the stock is too bass-heavy.

 

Have you ever tried the LME49720 before? hows it sound compared to the LME49990 and stock amps?
 

post #4209 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud Spark View Post

 

Have you ever tried the LME49720 before? hows it sound compared to the LME49990 and stock amps?
 

Sorry i meant the AD797BR's*

Il definitely have to buy them if they're more detailed than the stock op amps.

post #4210 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiramisu View Post

Good to know. How did you find the soundstage of LME49990. What about mids/treble, did you find any coloration from these op amps? Would you say the LME 49990 are warm sounding op amps, warmer than stock JRCs?

 

Do you think these would compliment well with the already v-shaped DT 990 Pro to smooth/tame the treble spike and bring out the mids without sacrificing soundstage?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud Spark View Post

 

Have you ever tried the LME49720 before? hows it sound compared to the LME49990 and stock amps?
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloud Spark View Post

Sorry i meant the AD797BR's*

Il definitely have to buy them if they're more detailed than the stock op amps.

 

I'll give some brief impressions. I've wasted way too much money on op amps for this sound card. Also, I've taken the shield off the card so many times that one of the screws will no longer screw in. If you plan to try many op amps, I recommend leaving the shield off until you settle on a set, and then put it back on.

 

My headphone is the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro. [Clear, neutral, slightly warm, slight emphasis in the mid-bass and midrange.] It is a low-impedance phone so I am using the normal gain.

 

JRC2114 (stock): It's easy to find faults with these, but after trying out a bunch of op amps it becomes obvious how good they actually are, and might be the best choice for the majority of people. If you think the stock sounds great, don't assume you can get a better sound just because the op amps are replaceable. Someone here wrote that they were not able to find op amps that sounded as good as the stock, and I totally respect that. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that the card was designed for these op amps, or they just sound good in themselves, but they have a sound that is the most dynamic and "fun."

 

However, I initially found them to be extremely bass-heavy, and wanted a more neutral sound. They can also sound a little harsh, which I think is just part of having a dynamic sound. They exhibit a strange soundstage to me, where the bass presents itself close to me, in kind of a left-right fashion, whereas the mid and upper ranges are further away, and only directly in front of me, in a kind of back-forward fashion. I prefer a more even, "in your head" type soundstage.

 

LME49720: I got these for free from TI.com using my student account. They definitely have a different sound, but I don't think it is an improvement. They emphasize the upper and mid ranges at the expense of bass. Coming from the stock, they will seem bass-deficient. They do have more detail than the stock, but the lack of bass and the added fatigue make them inferior in my opinion. They are also less dynamic and "fun."

 

AD797BR: I bought these from audjade_chn on ebay. I do not recommend them. They definitely wowed me when I first listened to them. They are hyper-detailed and extremely energetic. They also have a wide natural soundstage. The first problem is that I think they are bass-deficient. As in, zero bass. Again, coming from the stock this will be disappointing because the stock's best quality is its bass. Next, the hyper-detail brings the most fatigue of all the op amps. Finally, after a week or so of installing these I got very loud, noticeable, static-y distortion coming through the headphone amp. It was so present that I thought something was going on outside my window (and my headphones are closed). It even continued when I turned off the song. I'm not sure if I just got a bad one, or this is the "oscillation" that was referred to in this thread, but clearly something was wrong and I had to remove these. Even if I didn't have that problem, I still would prefer the sound quality of the stock over these. For me, a waste of money.

 

THS4032: I bought these from hifiic on ebay. These are the first I would consider a possible upgrade over the stock. As expressed in this thread, they are definitely the smoothest sounding. They are closer to neutral and have a great natural soundstage. However, I still would like more bass. They definitely have present bass, it might even be neutral, but again coming from the stock, they disappoint in this regard. The smoothness of sound and lack of bass "punch" make these sound a little "flat" to me, and less dynamic and fun compared to stock.

 

OPA2107, OPA2137: I got these for free from TI.com using my student account. I looked for op amps that could possibly compete with the stock in the bass department. They don't, and I found them inferior everywhere else, too. Waste of time, do not recommend.

 

LME49990: I bought these from frugalphile on ebay. These are the ones I am going to keep in the card. They possess the bass, dynamics, and "fun" of the stock, along with the smoothness of the THS4032, and added detail as well. The bass is great: present, tight, and defined. My only nitpick is that they possess similar soundstage characteristics to the stock, in that the bass feels close and side-to-side and the midrange feels center and a little further away. Since the stock have this too, I can't really consider it a flaw of the op amps. I'm really happy with these and highly recommend them. Also, I found frugalphile's workmanship of the circuits to be higher quality than the others and another benefit is he's an American seller so you don't have to wait for your op amps to arrive from China.

 

Recommended: LME49990, THS4032, or JRC2114 (stock).

post #4211 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friskyseal View Post

 

 

 

I'll give some brief impressions. I've wasted way too much money on op amps for this sound card. Also, I've taken the shield off the card so many times that one of the screws will no longer screw in. If you plan to try many op amps, I recommend leaving the shield off until you settle on a set, and then put it back on.

 

My headphone is the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro. [Clear, neutral, slightly warm, slight emphasis in the mid-bass and midrange.] It is a low-impedance phone so I am using the normal gain.

 

JRC2114 (stock): It's easy to find faults with these, but after trying out a bunch of op amps it becomes obvious how good they actually are, and might be the best choice for the majority of people. If you think the stock sounds great, don't assume you can get a better sound just because the op amps are replaceable. Someone here wrote that they were not able to find op amps that sounded as good as the stock, and I totally respect that. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that the card was designed for these op amps, or they just sound good in themselves, but they have a sound that is the most dynamic and "fun."

 

However, I initially found them to be extremely bass-heavy, and wanted a more neutral sound. They can also sound a little harsh, which I think is just part of having a dynamic sound. They exhibit a strange soundstage to me, where the bass presents itself close to me, in kind of a left-right fashion, whereas the mid and upper ranges are further away, and only directly in front of me, in a kind of back-forward fashion. I prefer a more even, "in your head" type soundstage.

 

LME49720: I got these for free from TI.com using my student account. They definitely have a different sound, but I don't think it is an improvement. They emphasize the upper and mid ranges at the expense of bass. Coming from the stock, they will seem bass-deficient. They do have more detail than the stock, but the lack of bass and the added fatigue make them inferior in my opinion. They are also less dynamic and "fun."

 

AD797BR: I bought these from audjade_chn on ebay. I do not recommend them. They definitely wowed me when I first listened to them. They are hyper-detailed and extremely energetic. They also have a wide natural soundstage. The first problem is that I think they are bass-deficient. As in, zero bass. Again, coming from the stock this will be disappointing because the stock's best quality is its bass. Next, the hyper-detail brings the most fatigue of all the op amps. Finally, after a week or so of installing these I got very loud, noticeable, static-y distortion coming through the headphone amp. It was so present that I thought something was going on outside my window (and my headphones are closed). It even continued when I turned off the song. I'm not sure if I just got a bad one, or this is the "oscillation" that was referred to in this thread, but clearly something was wrong and I had to remove these. Even if I didn't have that problem, I still would prefer the sound quality of the stock over these. For me, a waste of money.

 

THS4032: I bought these from hifiic on ebay. These are the first I would consider a possible upgrade over the stock. As expressed in this thread, they are definitely the smoothest sounding. They are closer to neutral and have a great natural soundstage. However, I still would like more bass. They definitely have present bass, it might even be neutral, but again coming from the stock, they disappoint in this regard. The smoothness of sound and lack of bass "punch" make these sound a little "flat" to me, and less dynamic and fun compared to stock.

 

OPA2107, OPA2137: I got these for free from TI.com using my student account. I looked for op amps that could possibly compete with the stock in the bass department. They don't, and I found them inferior everywhere else, too. Waste of time, do not recommend.

 

LME49990: I bought these from frugalphile on ebay. These are the ones I am going to keep in the card. They possess the bass, dynamics, and "fun" of the stock, along with the smoothness of the THS4032, and added detail as well. The bass is great: present, tight, and defined. My only nitpick is that they possess similar soundstage characteristics to the stock, in that the bass feels close and side-to-side and the midrange feels center and a little further away. Since the stock have this too, I can't really consider it a flaw of the op amps. I'm really happy with these and highly recommend them. Also, I found frugalphile's workmanship of the circuits to be higher quality than the others and another benefit is he's an American seller so you don't have to wait for your op amps to arrive from China.

 

Recommended: LME49990, THS4032, or JRC2114 (stock).

 

 

This is such a great read! thanks so very much for bringing me up to date with these info, it feels good to be back in 2013 from 2011 where I was still reading on this thread..lol. I have to say many of the points you wrote are true and the same with others I read. Thanks a lot for summarizing/typing all of that, but I've got a few more question for you and anyone else who might be able to asnwer them.

 

1. From the infos I've gathered so far, the LME49860NA is a "cherry-picked" LME49720NA which is considered as an upgrade. It doesn't have the harshness that many find in the LME49720NA, and it's say to be a warmer sound. Since LME49860NA is missing from your summary, I'd love to know what you think about the 49860NA. It does offer in DIP8 spec unlike the single channel 49990MA that needs be soldiered on a DIP8 adapter. 

 

Since my headphone is Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro 250ohm, it's already got an excellent dynamic as in slight v-shaped in the freq spectrum with small bump at high freq 6k and climbs up with rather big spike starting at 9k-11k and then slowly tailor off with another small bump at ~12-14k at the expense of slightly recessed mids overall. I'd say my hearing is considered to be close to Golden ears and I'm indeed sensitive to all the notes across the freq esp the highs. I spent hours EQ the DT 990 Pro to what I'd considered to be perfect sounding and my result was very similar to the Golden Ear spec.

 

With all that said, I do appreciate a warmer sounding op-amps, the warmer the better with very little to no trade off of course. At least I don't want further coloration since the headphone is already "exciting" and engaging to listen. By coloration I mean certainly not emphasizing the highs, I'm definitely looking for better smoothness in treble and less harshness for comfortable longer listening sessions without sacrificing clarity, detail, image, soundstage, seperation, timbre...etc. I do want the mids to be brought slightly forward so vocals doesn't sound so distant to my ears as a result from the slightly recessed mids from the DT 990 Pro (Though, DT 990 Pro only has roughly ~50 hours burn in at this point and I've to admit it's under-amped by my current DGX soundcard on max gain exciter mode ~150ohm). In fact, I'm already noticing changes in its sound for the better. The most significant and noticeable change is that the sibilience that I originally spotted in the first few hours are almost completely gone, and the vocal is brought to be a bit forward, though it's still noticeably recessed.

 

I do, however, want to preserve the special sound signature from Beyers DT 990 Pro that's dynamic sounding. Basically I'm just looking for whatever that helps further improve the drawbacks of the DT 990 Pro while keeping its strengths (bass/treble) and distinctive sound signature. Say if the LME49990MA is the closest choice to what I'm looking for, would you still recommand it to me vs LME49860NA ?

 

Thanks!

 

DT 990 Pro Freq/EQ

http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/6059/dt990proeq.png


Edited by Tiramisu - 3/23/13 at 7:27am
post #4212 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiramisu View Post

1. From the infos I've gathered so far, the LME49860NA is a "cherry-picked" LME49720NA which is considered as an upgrade. It doesn't have the harshness that many find in the LME49720NA, and it's say to be a warmer sound. Since LME49860NA is missing from your summary, I'd love to know what you think about the 49860NA. It does offer in DIP8 spec unlike the single channel 49990MA that needs be soldiered on a DIP8 adapter. 

 

 

I also received the 49860 from TI, but since I did not like the 49720 I didn't bother testing it out. I have the same understanding as you, that it's a "cherry-pick" of the 49720, but I hardly think I would be able to discern a difference between the two. I assume they are mostly identical. If you love the 49720 then sure, try the 49860, but if not I would move on and try something else.

 

In fact, this is why I chose going with the AD797BR next, as I feared the 49990 would be too similar to 49720. I was wrong; the 990 is much better to my ears.

 

THS4032 would probably be the best compliment to a V-shaped can.

post #4213 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Friskyseal View Post

 

I also received the 49860 from TI, but since I did not like the 49720 I didn't bother testing it out. I have the same understanding as you, that it's a "cherry-pick" of the 49720, but I hardly think I would be able to discern a difference between the two. I assume they are mostly identical. If you love the 49720 then sure, try the 49860, but if not I would move on and try something else.

 

In fact, this is why I chose going with the AD797BR next, as I feared the 49990 would be too similar to 49720. I was wrong; the 990 is much better to my ears.

 

THS4032 would probably be the best compliment to a V-shaped can.


After some more cross reference searching on THS4032 and LME49990MA in the past few days, I've pretty much narrowed down to these two based on their positives to negatives feed backs in general. LME4562/720/860/797 are not an option for me.

 

So between LME49990 and THS4032, which one is less bright and smoother/warmer sounding without loss in clarity, detail, separation, sound stage, image, and better focus for vocal?

 

TIA :)


Edited by Tiramisu - 3/25/13 at 2:13am
post #4214 of 4910

Hi!

Im a belgian student and for me most things here a pretty new. Last year i earned some money with a student job and i decided to spend everything together with the money i saved.

I bought a dt770 pro 250 ohm headphone cause i heard so much good things about them it seemed like a great deal to me (€140). I also wanted something to power them so i bought an essence stx cause i see people here tell that they're really good for the money and that they have a good dac and decent opamps inside.

 

About the beyers: I absolutelly love them! They are so fantastic imo!!

About the stx: I think it's a good thing but I don't really understand the high price. My beyers were cheaper and they are so amazing! Of course i do hear the difference between the beyers being powered by my portable creative and my stx but i don't think the difference justifies the big price of the stx. The stx does produce a much a better sound but it's still kinda expensive for me.

 

Now, do you guys think it would be a good idea for me to mod my stx? or is that just plain stupid for a newb who thinks a decent dac/opamp is not worth the money?

post #4215 of 4910
Quote:
Originally Posted by arijspieter View Post

Hi!

Im a belgian student and for me most things here a pretty new. Last year i earned some money with a student job and i decided to spend everything together with the money i saved.

I bought a dt770 pro 250 ohm headphone cause i heard so much good things about them it seemed like a great deal to me (€140). I also wanted something to power them so i bought an essence stx cause i see people here tell that they're really good for the money and that they have a good dac and decent opamps inside.

 

About the beyers: I absolutelly love them! They are so fantastic imo!!

About the stx: I think it's a good thing but I don't really understand the high price. My beyers were cheaper and they are so amazing! Of course i do hear the difference between the beyers being powered by my portable creative and my stx but i don't think the difference justifies the big price of the stx. The stx does produce a much a better sound but it's still kinda expensive for me.

 

Now, do you guys think it would be a good idea for me to mod my stx? or is that just plain stupid for a newb who thinks a decent dac/opamp is not worth the money?

 


The Xonar STX is worth every dollar ~$180 in the long run, so in the end I've decided to place my order on it instead of 1. my existing DGX soundcard + external amp or 2. External DAC+AMP All-in-one unit or 3. Upgrade my existing sound card with better Audio chip and DAC built in + external amp. The Xonar STX option is far better than the above 3 scenarios I mentioned in terms of performance to price ratio and upgradability.

 

Xonar STX is known to have a high end DAC that's comparable to some ~$1,000 DAC external units as most people say, and the built in headphone amp is pretty decent and capable to drive higher impedance headphones. Take $180 and divide the price by 2 and that's like $90 each for DAC and Amp for desktop/stationary use. The value is much better than any of the 3 scenarios I came up with above. Plus, you could always upgrade the 3 upgradable op-amps on the card anytime down the road to keep you happy and satisfied from the itch again.


Edited by Tiramisu - 3/26/13 at 2:56am
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