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Isabellina HPA - Owner's Thread and Impressions

post #1 of 529
Thread Starter 
All,

Ok - most of the Isabellina HPAs from the 1st production run have shipped this week (as promised!)

Ken of ALO Audio and I would like to start this thread for Isabellina HPA owners and for the posting of listening impressions.

Right now, I am listening to a pair of HD800s (thanks for lending them to me, Ken!) with my Isabellina HPA. I must say that I'm really blown away with this combo - this is absolutely stunning! I'll have to post more about this soon - too busy listening right now! It is going to be a late-night listening session for sure, and the perfect way to relax from such a busy week

Most importantly, I want to thank you all again for all your interest, support, and enthusiasm (and patience, of course) during the entire Isabellina HPA process, starting from day 1. This has been an extremely rewarding experience for me, and I'm really looking forward to hearing your impressions and appreciate all your posts and feedback!

Happy listening, always!

Vinnie
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post #2 of 529
I received mine today and had a chance to listen for a couple hours straight out of the box. It started of a little congested but started to open up a little. The sound otherwise was smooth and detailed. It needs a lot more burn in which is what it is doing right now. Ill listen again when it has about 10 hrs on it tonight.
post #3 of 529
I got mine today too and had the same initial impressions, with more emphasis on the "smooth." I then ran it into a Zana Deux (which is also still burning in) and was blown away by the combination. Counting the burn-in hours . .

BTW, how to make sense of the serial number?
post #4 of 529
Thread Starter 
double post - sorry
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post #5 of 529
Thread Starter 
Hi KingStyles,

Thanks for your post.

YES - please allow your HPA to burn-in. There are Vcaps in the signal path, afterall! In the User's Manual, I make mention to the burn-in period and how important it is to perform before doing critical evaluation. The sound will open up substantially within the first 100 hours (this is true for the dac and headphone stage), the bass fills in and the top end opens up and gets nice n' sweet!

Mine has over 200 hours already, so I'm testa-fying!

Also - it would be great if you guys can mention the headphones that you are using (just so we all have a reference and know what is really giving good synergy). Thanks again!

Quote:
BTW, how to make sense of the serial number?
Here is an example:

HPA020003807F

The serial number is "003" in this case, and the RCA outputs are FIXED.

Another example:

HPA020014807V

The serial number is "014" and the RCA outputs are VARIABLE.

Best regards,

Vinnie
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post #6 of 529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post

Also - it would be great if you guys can mention the headphones that you are using (just so we all have a reference and know what is really giving good synergy). Thanks again!
GS1000s tonight. But again, it's still early . . . More later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post
Here is an example:

HPA020003807F

The serial number is "003" in this case, and the RCA outputs are FIXED.

Vinnie
Yahoo! I've always wanted to be #1 in something . . .
post #7 of 529
Vinnie,
First off....Kudos to you for a great headphone amp! i have two sennheiser headphones, the HD600 and the HD800. I have only listened thru the HD800 and my initial impressions are extremely favorable. From the moment i plugged in my HD800 and started listening i was like 'WOW'! Right from the get go i found the sound to be perfect. the whole range of sound coming from the Isabellina HPA from the bass thru to the highs are balanced in a way i haven't heard before thru any headphones or amp period.
I have owned the Grace Design M902 and personally found it to be too bright and harsh. i have also owned the Davry Engineering DA11 and found it be too soft and lush(heavy sounding is my best thinking for it). the only other amp I've owned was the firestone Little Country 3 and Spitfire 24 tube amp/DAC Separates which i found to sound good but, i didnt like having to have four separate pieces including their dac plus all the associated cables and plugs to make it all work.
Update: it has been 6 hours since i first started running my HD800 thru the Isabellina HPA with lossless WMA off my computer using the included USB cable. the soundstage continues to find me awed! i can't believe my long journery in search of the perfect amp, an all in one solution that sounds like the best tube amp you'll ever find, but taken one step further with a NOS(New Old Stock) DAC. I'll leave it up to Vinnie to elaborate on the NOS if any of you guys have questions on that end. Btw, my Isabelina HPA is serial # 002
I'll post again after i get to around 100 hours of burn in and let you know what i think. but at this point in time i see Vinnie becomming very busy building the Isabellina HPA's for the forseeable future.
Again i want to thank Vinnie for a... let's see a (quoting 3dgameman.com here) Totally Kick Ass Product!!
joe
post #8 of 529
I was using the d7000s. I will also have a offramp3 coming in monday to hook up to it and hd800s coming in friday to listen with. Its going to take a couple of weeks of burning in to sort out all these signatures. Luckily I had the isabellina before so I have an idea with that one. I already liked the bass and thought it was as strong as anything Ive heard at our meet last sunday and its only going to get better.
post #9 of 529
I have #007. I need a gun shooting out a treble cliff or something on the top of this.
Quote:
it has been 6 hours since i first started running my HD800 thru the Isabellina HPA with lossless WMA off my computer using the included USB cable.
Dont limit your amp with the stock usb, take a look at the lotus usb cables. Any of the three will be an improvement.
post #10 of 529
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post
I was using the d7000s. I will also have a offramp3 coming in monday to hook up to it and hd800s coming in friday to listen with. Its going to take a couple of weeks of burning in to sort out all these signatures. Luckily I had the isabellina before so I have an idea with that one. I already liked the bass and thought it was as strong as anything Ive heard at our meet last sunday and its only going to get better.
Looking forward to hearing all this at the next Seattle meet. I guess if it you got it before the one we just had, it wouldn't have had proper burn-in.
post #11 of 529
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

take a look at the lotus usb cables. Any of the three will be an improvement.
"Locus," right? Lotus makes cables, but do they make usb cables?
post #12 of 529
Ill have it burnt in ready to go for the next meet and hopefully a couple of other toys. Im looking forward to hearing all your impressions. Good news is my whole setup will be off grid which makes it easy for hookup. I could hook it up in the bed of my truck.
post #13 of 529
Sorry I meant locus. Once everything settles down Ill try to do a/b comparisons of the locus and stock and with and without offramp.
post #14 of 529
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post
Sorry I meant locus. Once everything settles down Ill try to do a/b comparisons of the locus and stock and with and without offramp.
I'd really appreciate that. I see in May post that Whiplash carries a "Spotlight" Locus that is cheaper than the polestar . . . not sure how that one fares. Looking forward to your A/B.
post #15 of 529
Vinnie,

Again congrats on the Isabellina HPA, I know how hard you have been working on them - beautiful work! Hey glad to hear the HD800 and the Isabellina HPA is a killer match! ok now send my HD800s back, just kidding









Ken
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