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Isabellina HPA - Owner's Thread and Impressions - Page 2

post #16 of 529
Yeah, congratulations with another fantastic product!
The Isabellina HPA looks really nice, and the initial impressions seems to show that the customers are well pleased with the sound they put out as well. Can only imagine how they will tighten/clear up after some burn-in.
post #17 of 529
Well my Isabellina HPA arrived yesterday (August 1st of 2009) Very fast shipping, thanks. The unit was very well packed and it comes with a nice set of instructions as well as an USB interconnect.

The unit is currently burning in, I am using an older Philips DVD Player via coaxial and it is driving a MarkL Modded Denon D5000 w/ Bubinga Wood cups. Straight out of the box w/ no burn in I found the sound a bit muddy and lacking definition/clarity. Bass is deep although a bit out of focus, treble is not very extended. Not worried since a lot of gear starts life sounding not very good only to blossom w/ burn-in. Vinnie recommends about 200 hours which may take about a week depending on how long the sealed battery lasts and how long it takes to charge (expecting a +/-2 hours charging time).

The unit has about 20 hours of burn in and I think there has been an slight improvement in the treble extension and quantity. Bass is still muddy, not much air between the notes, mids need to clear up.

Anyways I took a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.







post #18 of 529
Every time I read about these I think of Isabellina "HeadPhoneAddict" edition. I should be collecting royalties.

Anyways, congrats on the new DAC/amp. If I didn't already have a nice DAC to feed my Amphora I would have bought one of these instead.
post #19 of 529
Have been playing (not listening) for my Isabellina for 2 hours. I know that I need to burn it in for 100 hours. Please tell me if I should use pink noise, white noise or just play the sound tracks to burn it in? Also, do I need to burn in each of the inputs as well? Thanks.
post #20 of 529
I enjoy listening to the amp or headphones burning in. I like to hear the changes so music works for me!

Kevin
post #21 of 529
Thread Starter 
All,

Thanks for all your posts - much appreciated!

Quote:
Have been playing (not listening) for my Isabellina for 2 hours. I know that I need to burn it in for 100 hours. Please tell me if I should use pink noise, white noise or just play the sound tracks to burn it in? Also, do I need to burn in each of the inputs as well? Thanks.
I highly recommend that you just play music for burn-in, and listen to it and enjoy it throughout the burn-in process.

You don't need to burn-in the three inputs separately - they all feed the same NOS dac chip, analog output stage, volume control, headphone output stage, etc.

I do recommend that you leave headphones plugged and music playing during the burn-in process. The headphones provide the "load" to the headphone stage that allows electrical current to flow.


ONE MORE THING TO NOTE - Regarding SMART Board

Miguel had his Isabellina HPA burning-in for many hours (I think around 20 hours continuously) and he mentioned to me that the red power button light on the front panel then began to start to flash. This is NORMAL - it is the SMART module telling you that the battery voltage is getting close to the "trip point" where the SMART board is going to shut the unit down and begin charging (in order to prevent the battery from being deep cycled).

Also - for every 3 hours of use, it takes approx. 1 hour to charge. This is just an estimate, not an exact figure. Ideally, don't always run the battery down to the point where the SMART board shuts the unit down. I know you want to put on the burn-in time, but it is always best for the battery to just shut off the unit (allowing it to charge) as soon as you are finished listening. This will give you the most battery longevity...

All the best,

Vinnie

PS: Nice pics, Miguel! Thanks for posting those shots!
post #22 of 529
Vinnie since the USB input has on less conversion is it the best way to feed it the digital signal? I ask because my computer has a Chaintech AV710 soundcard. I can use the optical out of the Chaintech or the USB to feed the Isabellina HPA.

BTW, my computer is an older Dell "ruining" iTunes on Windows XP.

Oh, and I hope to post better pics in the near future.

Thanks.
post #23 of 529
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrarroyo View Post
Vinnie since the USB input has on less conversion is it the best way to feed it the digital signal? I ask because my computer has a Chaintech AV710 soundcard. I can use the optical out of the Chaintech or the USB to feed the Isabellina HPA.

BTW, my computer is an older Dell ruining iTunes on Windows XP.

Oh, and I hope to post better pics in the near future.

Thanks.
Hi Miguel,

Yes, feeding the Isabellina HPA with USB is the cleanest method and should sound the best, but also try the optical out of the Chaintech for comparison (does't hurt to try).

In iTunes, make sure you turn OFF the EQ, and set the volume slide bar (located on the top) to MAX.

Quote:
Oh, and I hope to post better pics in the near future.
Your pics are better than mine! :-)

Best regards,

Vinnie
post #24 of 529
I received my offramp with superclock4 in it today. I went ahead and hooked it up. I figured Ill just let everything burn in together. I was amazed at a noticable increase in detail and clarity. The bass was stronger and cymbals and drums stand out now and decay slower. My isabellina is now at about 50 hours and is getting better everyday of burn in. Just curious though, dont vcaps take more than 200 hours of burn in for them to really open up and settle?
post #25 of 529
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post
...
Also - for every 3 hours of use, it takes approx. 1 hour to charge. This is just an estimate, not an exact figure. Ideally, don't always run the battery down to the point where the SMART board shuts the unit down. I know you want to put on the burn-in time, but it is always best for the battery to just shut off the unit (allowing it to charge) as soon as you are finished listening. This will give you the most battery longevity...

...
Thanks Vinnie.

So basically the Isabellina shouldn't be run continuously and should run coninuosuly for 6-8 hours at most in any sessions, right? After SMART shouts down the Isabellina, will SMART switch it on again after fully charging up the battery? Finally, for the loading of the HP out, should I use a headphone with large impedance or a headphone with small impedance and how large is large?

Thanks.
post #26 of 529

OffRamp with Isabellina

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post
I received my offramp with superclock4 in it today. I went ahead and hooked it up. I figured Ill just let everything burn in together. I was amazed at a noticable increase in detail and clarity. The bass was stronger and cymbals and drums stand out now and decay slower. My isabellina is now at about 50 hours and is getting better everyday of burn in. Just curious though, dont vcaps take more than 200 hours of burn in for them to really open up and settle?
Hi KingStyles,

I'm interested in using the offramp V3 with the Isabellina as well. Just want to clarify a few things:

1. for the "increase in detail and clarity", what is the original input, the USB input or the coaxial input?

2. Are you using the BNC version of the offramp to feed the Isabellina or the Coax version to feed it?


Thanks.
post #27 of 529
I've got about 40 hours on the Isabellina HPA now and i have been listening thru my HD800 off and on during that burn in time. at the moment i am listening to led zeppelin second album and the song is moby dick. what really got my attention was the drum solo portion of the song. the clarity of all the individual drums, cybals. etc., brings back memories of when i saw them all those years ago(yeah...i'm old too!). I can clearly hear all the separate strikes of the drum sticks on the drums with such clarity that I felt like I was right there in front of the stage soaking it all in.
After 40 hours I find that the Isabellina HPA is continuing to solidify the big smile on my face and that I have no regrets whatsoever the decision to buy it. I am very happy that this to me is the all in one + USB connected to my computer solution that i've been looking for for so long. not having to buy a separate amp + DAC + whatever else means that i can now give my wallet a much deserved break!
I'll post more as i reach 100 hours of burn in.
cheers
post #28 of 529
I'm happily listening during the "burn-in" process with my HD650's. Yes, things are a bit dark and murky in the early goings (not helped by the "dark" nature of the HD650's), but I am already very pleased by the Isabellina's DAC and its synergy via USB with my MacMini. I have struggled to find a good DAC solution with my Mac and I think I have finally found the sound I want. Now once the "burn-in" opens up some detail, I will be thrilled. My only problem now . . . me wants to hear HD800's with the Isabellina!!!!
post #29 of 529
I was using a locus usb straight into the isabellina. Now Im using the usb into the offramp and a bnt to bnt cable between the offramp and isabellina. One nice thing about the offramp, it allows you to upsample to 24/96 if you want to.
post #30 of 529
I am very satisfied with the usb cable that Vinnie sent along with the Isabellina HPA. I don't want to start an oem versus custom cable war here. to each their own when it comes to choosing cables. enough said on that subject.
i'd rather put my money into the Isabellina, as i desired it to be my all in one device to end the multiple components merrygoround that i was on previously.
And after 40 hours or so, i can tell you that i am very very satisfied with what Vinnie designed and built. with sound and build quality this good, i think he will be very busy building just to keep up with the demand that i see the Isabellina HPA bringing in.
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