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Isabellina dac / headphone amp - Page 2

post #16 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
Are you sure you don't mean Isabella? Cause what you describe are exactly what Vinnie talk about in here, and which are an upcoming product.
My bad. I edited my initial post to correct this and a few other mistakes. I wrote my post at the end of the work day... add a few interruptions, push SEND and the result was less than perfect The modified post corrects a few of these boo boos. Kent
post #17 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alwayswantmore View Post
BTW: Some of the digital sources I tested and still use, are not very expensive.
Additional points:

While inexpensive consumer grade transports + RWA DAC sounded better than my old Wadia 830, the best sound possible from this rig is a properly configured computer via USB...

It turns out digital transports typically convert streaming signals to S/PDIF for transmission via optical or coax. Where USB streaming digital eliminates the S/PDIF conversion.

So yes, in the end a properly configured computer can take on even the most expensive CD transports*

Nice to know that computer-based audio may ultimately rise to the top of the heap.

Kent

* Check out 6moons review, where Srajan put a $30,000 CD transport against RWA via USB. He voted USB as the winner. I've done the comparison more than once -- but on much less expensive transports -- and came to the same conclusion. Not night and day, but with the right equipment the improvement from USB can be heard (like a 10-15% improvement).

6moons audio reviews: Red*Wine Audio Isabella

"What's undeniable is that Isabella the package -- particularly with the Isabellina option -- is the most ambitious Red Wine Audio product yet." -- from 6moons' review.

Disclosure: I'm a long-time RWA customer and have done some contract marketing work for Vinnie. All my RWA purchases were made PRIOR to entering into contract marketing work.
post #18 of 149
I'm simply too tapped out at this time to buy one of these. I am very happy with my PS Audio Digital Link III or Pico DAC feeding the Amphora for now, so I think this is a great idea.
post #19 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post
All,

The Isabellina dac has 3 digital inputs (USB, coax, and optical). Adding analog inputs will add complexity and cost because I'll need to pass the output of the dac (as well as analog inputs) to an input select switch. Doing all of this gives us a preamp. If you want a dac + preamp with headphone output, I already have this: Red Wine Audio Isabella (add dac + HP options). I know, I know - it is not cheap at $6k. But with the "Isabellina HP" (Isabellina with headphone output), I am hoping to keep the price less than half of that.

So in order to keep the cost down, I was hoping that most people would be fine with the 3 digital inputs, 1 set of volume controlled RCA outputs, and
one 1/4" headphone output. I would appreciate more feedback on this...

--------......
Vinnie
The problem with Isabella is that is the headphone jack is at the back. This is a big no-no to me as headphone listening is the centre of my music life.

I would like to have a headphone-centric version of Isabella with high / low impedance headphone jack on the front. And if the DAC + headphone amp can also accommodate even one analogue input and with the headphone jack in the front, this will be more appealing that the Isabella.

F. Lo
post #20 of 149
All,

Thanks for your feedback!

Hi fkclo,

For the proposed "Isabellina HPA" (Isabellina dac with built-in headphone amp), the headphone output jack will be on the front panel.

The front panel will have the on/off button, volume control, and headphone output jack.

Like the Isabellina dac, the back panel will have the 3 digital inputs (USB, coax, and optical), digital input select switch (this is a mini toggle switch), RCA output jacks, and the charger jack for the external battery charger.

The headphone output will be fine with low or high impedance headphones.

I'm still trying to gauge interest...

Thanks again,

Vinnie
post #21 of 149

Sound?

Vinnie--thanks for listening to the market.

As I understand it, the Isabellina with HP out will be identical to the Isabella, except for 2 things: output via transitor instead of tubes, and no analog inputs. I don't care about analog inputs (unless you could add a phono stage to the Isabella, making it the complete 1-box solution). I am curious about sonic differences between the tube output Isabella and the transistor output Isabellina, assuming the same source (say a high-rez USB file).
post #22 of 149
Vinnie,

The reason I need a analogue input is because the analogue out from my Emm Labs CDSA SE & Nagra CDP is reasonably decent already.

F. Lo
post #23 of 149
Hi Powderfinger,

Good questions!

The Isabella is a battery powered tube preamp has 3 analog inputs, a hi/low gain switch, remote volume control, 2 sets of analog outputs, and has the option to add in the Isabellina dac (USB, coax, and optical) and the headphone output stage. The Isabella headphone output stage is a separate board (as used in the Amphora), but in the Isabella tube preamp, it only acts as a buffer (no gain). The voltage gain comes from the Isabella tube stage.

So for the proposed "Isabellina HPA" (Isabellina dac with built-in headphone amp), we would feed the analog output of the dac to a volume control (I can use the same remote controlled Alps as used in the Isabella preamp), and then to the Isabella headphone board (which would provide both voltage gain and buffering). As mentioned above, there would also be RCA outputs (direct from the dac, and I can make them volume cotrolled as well - for those who would also like to use this product to directly feed a home audio power amp).

But there would NOT be:

- analog inputs
- hi/low gain switch
- tube preamp stage for voltage gain


Regarding the sonics - they are quite close! They use the same Isabellina dac and same Isabella headphone output stage. The tube stage (which would not be present) does add some more spaciousness, mid-range "bloom," and texture... as well as the ability to tube-roll, but you will still find them to have the same overall sound signature!

Best regards,

Vinnie
post #24 of 149
Quote:
Vinnie,

The reason I need a analogue input is because the analogue out from my Emm Labs CDSA SE & Nagra CDP is reasonably decent already.

F. Lo
Hi fkclo,

If you already like your sources, maybe you don't need the Isabellina dac. In this case, the Amphora would be all you need?

For the proposed Isabellina HPA, the idea is to just use your CD transport (or computer's USB output) as the source, but let the sound of the Isabellina dac take over

Thanks again!

Vinnie
post #25 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post
Hi fkclo,

If you already like your sources, maybe you don't need the Isabellina dac. In this case, the Amphora would be all you need?

For the proposed Isabellina HPA, the idea is to just use your CD transport (or computer's USB output) as the source, but let the sound of the Isabellina dac take over

Thanks again!

Vinnie
I have a copyright on "HPA" already - it stands for HeadPhoneAddict. Many people have set a precedent of referring to me as HPA already.

You must now pay me royalties to use that phrase on head-Fi. However, a single payment of one Isabellina HPA will grant a lifetime license to you and your descendants in perpetuity. I believe you already have my mailing address. Thank you for your time.
post #26 of 149
Here I thought that HPA stood for "Head PiPi Anonymous". Sorry, but I could not resist.
post #27 of 149
Quote:
I have a copyright on "HPA" already - it stands for HeadPhoneAddict. Many people have set a precedent of referring to me as HPA already.

You must now pay me royalties to use that phrase on head-Fi. However, a single payment of one Isabellina HPA will grant a lifetime license to you and your descendants in perpetuity. I believe you already have my mailing address. Thank you for your time.
Hahaha - I had a feeling something like this was coming!

Would you settle for just the knob?
post #28 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post
Here I thought that HPA stood for "Head PiPi Anonymous". Sorry, but I could not resist.
PiPi is cow in Hawaiian. We saw lots of them in Maui. 5 round trip tickets for my family to go to Hawaii would be sufficient payment as well.
post #29 of 149
All,

Getting back to the Isabellina HPA

Would there be an interest in a small headfi group buy for this?
With a small group (e.g. 10 buyers), I can price it better. The more buyers,
the lower I can price it.

In the meantime, I ordered some enclosures and boards, so hopefully
I will have a few built within a month and will post pictures..

Thanks again,

Vinnie
post #30 of 149
Vinnie, would you be willing to post a "ball park figure" if you had 10 buyers. Thanks.

Why do I ask? I have no money!
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