or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › The RSA Protector balanced portable: Images and impressions 1st page, Please post your impressions . .
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The RSA Protector balanced portable: Images and impressions 1st page, Please post your impressions . . - Page 37

post #541 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by jelt2359 View Post
Tested the Protector single-ended with my TWag JH13s (sending in for recabling tomorrow). I can unambiguously say that this is the best I've ever heard any amp. Better than my D10, TTVJ Hybrid, iQube. It might be that I just prefer the RSA house sound more, but that was another reason I got this amp- to try out the RSA sound.

To my ears, the difference between this and my other amps is like the difference between my iPod and my Hifiman. The bass is very punchy and tight, and the mids and highs manage to be oh so sweet and refined. The combination of tight + smooth is unbelievably seductive. I might truly be at the end of my audio journey. I'm now perfectly satisfied.

(PS, because I travel a lot, I will never consider a home amp).
How does the Protector/iPod combo stack up against the HiFiMan HM-801? Hmm, at the end of your audio journey? Yeah, right... ; )
post #542 of 837
How much is the Protector? Price is not in the RSA site
post #543 of 837
$475 + shipping
post #544 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvu View Post
$475 + shipping
u forgot about the 3% paypal fee
post #545 of 837
normally how long do they take to get shipped your protector after purchased?
post #546 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
X3 - use your own ears, or wait for a more in depth review.

The Pico Slim is a fantastic portable for the size. I posted elsewhere that it's only 1/2" longer than my miniature iBasso T3, well above it in sound quality, and half as thick as the Protector. For a while I had stopped taking a portable amp with me for an iPod because I wanted something small enough to fit in my pants pocket when velcro'd or stacked with a Nano, iPhone or iMod. I ended up only looking at portable amps with USB built-in because the thicker amps available served me better being used with my Macbook Pro.

The thin Fiio E5 and iBasso T4 were not an improvement over the iPod, except in warming up the sound signature and giving more power - but not really hi-fi sounding as far as detail and soundstage. The T3 improved on that in terms of detail and transparency, and it could sound better than the iPhone 3GS headphone out, so I started carrying an amp again.

But I kept wishing for something that size that could match the P-51 (which is fatter like Protector). The Pico Slim is all that and more, based on the demo loaner unit I have here. It's a perfect match with my ES3X which can sound slightly aggressive paired with the P-51, and it gives a boost in the bass to them and my JH13Pro.

I'll be using Pico Slim as a portable with an iPod every where I go now, and Protector will be more likely to stay with my Macbook Pro using Pico DAC or DACport for source (at home or traveling). I see them filling two different needs for me. I am using the Protector A LOT with my HD600 and Macbook, rediscovering how much I still like them - I've missed using balanced HD600 since the PSU on my Sq Wave XL went bad, and then when my Sigma 22 PSU had a different issue that was causing problems.

Back to the amps in question: The Protector is slightly "harder or aggressive" sounding in the upper mids and lower treble like the P-51 Mustang, but also improved. The Pico Slim is slightly smoother in those upper registers and more refined, but has a upper bass hump instead which seems to resonate a tiny bit in my ears with the JH13pro. So, with the JH13Pro the Slim is a little more neutral in the upper mids and treble and the Protector is more neutral in the upper bass and lower mids. Switching to the Westone ES3X, which are what I used to audition the Slim at CanJam 09, I fell in love all over again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
Blutarsky, Sherwood and I did a mini-meet Saturday to listen to our custom IEM on the Pico Slim and Protector. Blutarsky owns the ES3X and Sherwood has JH13Pro, while I own both. Remember, the ES3X are a more forward and revealing IEM, and JH13Pro are a more laid back IEM with a little bump in the bass We all tried each amp with stock cable and with a 125 hour TWag cable. We used a single ended TWag adapter with both amps, and also tried them balanced with Protector.

Blutarsky thought the ES3X had a little better synergy with the Pico Slim because the mids and treble are smoother and not too forward while the bass is very strong (paraphrasing). Sherwood seemed to feel the Protector had a little better synergy with the JH13Pro because it filled in the mids and didn't bump the bass too much like the Pico Slim. I agreed with both of them, and it's interesting that they didn't read my post above where those were the same things I noticed when I compared them.

Interestingly, my bass heavy UE11Pro are not excessively bassy with Slim or Protector, as the amps seem to improve bass control so that it doesn't sound sloppy. Mind you, I can listen to any of these amps with any of my IEM and enjoy them; but many of us will have different preferences for which amp we grab first depending on their synergy with the IEM we own.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
So was the impression the same with the Protector in single ended and balanced?
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I'm including my previous comments for continuity and so I can link in my public profile to this one post that will have all my impressions in one spot, without making a new thread:

SE vs balanced didn't affect the synergy with the various IEM. I did feel the balanced mode was a little wider and deeper soundstage than SE mode, while Blutarsky agreed he felt the differences were not huge. I don't recall exactly what Sherwood said in that regard.

With HD600 the Protector balanced mode is noticeably better than single ended, and the synergy with HD600 is fantastic. The Slim struggled more to drive the HD600, but it did respectably well with the HD800 - the frequency response of the HD800 on the Slim was a little nicer than Protector with W-A cable, but not nearly as powerful as the Protector. With HD800 in balanced mode the Protector was slightly bright with my Warren Audio cable but powerful enough - I haven't had time to try the HD800 with stock cable and 4-pin XLR with balanced Protector yet.
I needed to re-write my most recent comments above, but wanted to save the original post above to show that I am not changing anything or back-peddling, but mearly clarifying what I meant to say:

The impressions were not the same using balanced vs single ended, and we listening to the Protector both ways. Balanced was better. But, SE vs balanced didn't affect the synergy with the various IEM. To me, the synergy is how well the frequency response characteristics of the amp and IEM mate with each other. The ES3X sound best on an amp that is a little more laid back in the mids as they have a bump or plateau in the 2K - 8K range and roll off some after that; and the JH13Pro sound best with an amp that is a little more energetic in the mids, as these IEM are a little less forward in the 1K - 5K range than the ES3X (fortunately the 6K peak is short and not very audible). I've always called the ES3X an HD800 in an IEM with it's more prominent and crisp mids, while I've said the JH13Pro are more like an O2 Mk1 in an IEM, with the bass a little more more prominent than it's mids.

However, I did feel the Protector's balanced mode gave all the IEM a little wider and deeper soundstage than SE mode; and while Blutarsky agreed with that, he felt the differences were not as huge as I thought they were. I don't recall exactly what Sherwood said in that regard. It's generally accepted that IEM have more headstage and less soundstage than full size headphones, because the pinna of the ear is not involved in imaging and so HRTF are out the window. I think that it's much easier to hear the benefits of using balanced mode with full size phones than with IEM; but the fact that the soundstage opens up and becomes wider, deeper and more transparent at all when switching from single ended to balanced with an IEM is more significant than I may have made it out to be. It shows that the amp's channel separation and micro-detail is improved in balanced mode; so that cues involved in air, ambience and space are improved, despite using IEM that only present the sound deeply in the ear canal.

With HD600 the Protector balanced mode is noticeably better than single ended, and the synergy with HD600 is fantastic. The Slim struggled more to drive the HD600 in terms of power, but Justin has made it clear that it is designed primarily with IEM in mind. The Slim did respectably well with the HD800 in terms of synergy, where the frequency response of the HD800 with Warren Audio cable on the Slim was a little nicer than Protector, but it was not nearly as powerful as the Protector. The Slim was mostly good for quiet to medium volume levels, where its frequency response matches the HD800/WA cable in a pleasant and enjoyable way at low to medium volumes. I would still take the HD800 balanced with Protector over single ended off the Slim, because of the improved soundstage, imaging and power.

It needs to be said that in my Warren-Aduio (AKA Fidelity-Audio) HD800 cable review I noted that the aftermarket cable increased the detail and treble levels of the HD800. This was easy to tune a full size tube amp to match it, but a solid state amp's state of tune is fixed and you can only tune it with the source and cables. I've always maintained that like to use a warm DAC and tubes with my HD800. Even with as much as I have gushed about my Nuforce HDP with HD600 and HE-5, it doesn't perform as well with my HD800 as my WA6 or ZDT (nor does my Amphora). So it's no surprise that with HD800/WA cable in balanced mode that the Protector was slightly bright - I haven't had time to try the HD800 with stock cable and 4-pin XLR with balanced Protector yet, but this should sound less bright.

Last night I did try the warmer sounding uDAC as source to the Protector/HD800/WA cable, and this was a better mach, just by changing my source. In another review I've noted that the uDAC is a better DAC via RCA outputs than it is a headphone amp; and I found that the uDAC RCA out was a nice match for the eXStatA electrostatic amp and SR-Lambda, HE-60 or Jade. Now I can add the Protector/HD800/WA cable to the list of amps that do the uDAC justice. I've been using the Protector with different portable sources like DACport, Pico DAC, and iBasso D4 DAC, until last night when I added the uDAC. At this point, I do plan to try the Protector with a desktop DAC like my Apogee mini-DAC, Nuforce HDP, PS Audio Digital Link III and PS Audio Perfectwave DAC. I'd like to see how well the Protector scales up with IEM and full size phones with a desktop source. With HD800/WA cable I suspect the DLIII and PWD will be the best match, but we'll see.

I know I will get more questions about Protector vs the Pico Slim here, but I wont be able to try the Slim further with these sources because the input jack broke and I have to send it back to Justin today. In the 4-5 months that it's been sent around the country as a demo amp it's probably seen a lifetime of plug insertions and removals, and it may have been accidentally abused as well. Some plugs really grab and hang onto the jack's contact springs, and my ALO jumbo cryo silver x iMod LOD may have been the culprit since I can barely plug it in and remove it from the Protector as well. I don't think this will be an issue for people who buy one, but I'm sorry I wont be able to provide more comparisons.
post #547 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericcis View Post
normally how long do they take to get shipped your protector after purchased?
There's currently about 200 Protectors made for the first batch and I'd guess at least a few of that batch are left, which are available for immediate shipping, after which it'd take probably 3 days to arrive. After the first 200 are completely gone though, I think he'll take a bit of time to get more out.
post #548 of 837
and for a plug, ill be bringing mine to our Dayton OH meet, and ray is letting me borrow his 2 x 3 pin xlr to protector adaptor for the meet, in case anyone was in the area and wanted to try it
post #549 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericcis View Post
normally how long do they take to get shipped your protector after purchased?
I ordered one Thursday and it shipped same day. FedEx estimated arrival is tomorrow
post #550 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidhunternyc View Post
How does the Protector/iPod combo stack up against the HiFiMan HM-801? Hmm, at the end of your audio journey? Yeah, right... ; )
I haven't gotten the new GAME IEM amp yet, and for now my HM-801 sometimes is a bit bass-shy of what I want it to be, and volume control range could be better. It is a very refined sound, however.

I haven't tried my iMod->Protector yet, and won't use my iPod anymore (why would I, with my iMod?) so I'm probably not a good source of info on this front.

Using HM801 + Protector makes it perfect, but I know that's not your question. When I am bringing my equipment around in a bag, HM801+ Protector is my first choice. For ultraportable uses only, HM801 is perfect. Simple, no ICs, great SQ.

Well, this is the end of my equipment journey. I'm gonna focus my efforts on finding good music next. Onward to music-fi!
post #551 of 837
I updated my post from 10PM last night, clarifying some points I made. I realized that I completely skimmed over jamato8's questions, and left some points un-clarified.
post #552 of 837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict View Post
I updated my post from 10PM last night, clarifying some points I made. I realized that I completely skimmed over jamato8's questions, and left some points un-clarified.
Wow, thanks for the update. Not only is it a good read but you conveyed very well what you are hearing in a musical tangible manner.
post #553 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by nc8000 View Post
I ordered one Thursday and it shipped same day. FedEx estimated arrival is tomorrow
thats great~
i have purchased on last Sat by paypal but i dont receive any mails from RSA till now~ i think they are extreme busy now
post #554 of 837

Protector vs/ Predator with JH16s

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post
It is what I believe. You believe what you do and I will what I do. So serious about such a very positive thing, music. It's all good. :^)

edit: Besides there were good things about hippies though I admit I was sadly in Vietnam at the time, twice, in that sad and horrible war but that is off topic.

Enjoying Leonard Cohen with the JH13's and soon the 16's and a few different headphones.
John, I just wanted to let you know that I've been following your reviews with great interest even though I've only recently joined the forum. As you can see from my signature, I've invested quite a lot recently in audio tech and my JH16s should arrive by the end of the week according to Jamie Harvey. I'm busy breaking in the Predator/Shadow with my Whiplash Twag cable (currently hooked up to a TF10) until the 16s arrive.

I would be very interested in hearing your impressions what would going balanced would add to the overall experience between the Predator->Twag->JH16 vs. a Protector->Balanced Twag->JH16 configuration.

Evan replacing the stock cable on the TF10s connected to the Shadow produced a jaw-dropping 1.5-hour "moment" for me...can't even imagine topping that further. Then again, I've been there before...

Thanks in advance!
post #555 of 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post
and for a plug, ill be bringing mine to our Dayton OH meet, and ray is letting me borrow his 2 x 3 pin xlr to protector adaptor for the meet, in case anyone was in the area and wanted to try it
Having Ray's other 2 x 3-pin XLR was a great help in letting me start my balanced amp burn-in a few days before I got my Whiplash Audio balanced 4-pin adapter. And Seamaster was kind enough to loan me his 2 x 3-pin Equinox HD600 cable, since all my balanced phones have a 4-pin XLR cable and can't be used with Ray's adapter.

I just wanted to publicly thank them for the loans, or otherwise my impressions would have been delayed further. I've sent back the Equinox cable, and will be sending the balanced adapter back today or tomorrow, unless Ray calls me and asks me to send it to another head-fi user who wants to do a review or a meet and doesn't have a balanced adapter.

I will probably wait until I have 300 hours on both the Protector and the cables before I post more impressions. At that point I would like to call burn-in complete, based on comments by Ray and Craig (although some have asked me to do 500 hours). I think this morning I hit about 225 hours on the amp, and 145 hours on the cables, and I am running the music through them non-stop right now, with a couple of hours break on the amp occasionally. I am burning in the SE adapter and 4-pin XLR adapter with my Apogee mini-DAC and CD player, and the amp with balanced JH13Pro with my Macbook (except when I take it with me and it's getting a break).
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › The RSA Protector balanced portable: Images and impressions 1st page, Please post your impressions . .