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Headstage Arrow HE: Reviews, Impressions, Perceptions & Sensations - Page 3

post #31 of 3077
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellenback View Post
I've read somewhere that a player's optimum output is between 11 and 12 (o'clock) on the volume dial. Seems your ears tell the same story. There is likely some variance between players...
Good to know. Yeah, about half on both devices is working quite well. 2:00 O'clock (2/3) on the Arrow if I'm feeling like risking marginally dangerous SPLs.
post #32 of 3077
Thread Starter 
I got almost another hour before the battery died. Call it 30 hours total. I'm now enjoying the extremely thoughtful "EDIT>>charge & play" feature.
post #33 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediaogre View Post
I got almost another hour before the battery died. Call it 30 hours total. I'm now enjoying the extremely thoughtful "change & play" feature.
Forgive my ignorance, but what's change and play? Do you have a spare battery? Or do you mean charge and play?
post #34 of 3077
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rehabitat View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but what's change and play? Do you have a spare battery? Or do you mean charge and play?
Durr, sorry about that. I was typing quickly. Yeah, I meant "charge & play". (Edited)
post #35 of 3077
First, I am a burn in believer for amps (electrons are moving parts err, particles ). I thought the Arrow sounded pretty bad with my CK10 and CK90Pro out of the box and the Shadow easily outperformed the Arrow.

So, after continuously playing music since Monday I have had a little time to compare the Arrow (low gain, lowest impedance, no bass boost, no crossfeed) with the Shadow, I am impressed with the SQ with a iPhone 3G as the source.

The good..the Arrow sounds great, and there is a warmth or something that I can not put my finger on yet that I like better than the Shadow. Space is on par if not better and the detail levels seem about the same. And that is with the Shadow having 500+ hours on it. Plus, I like the form factor better than the Shadow, even thought the Shadow is smaller.

The bad...my iPhone interferes with the Arrow causing it to make poping and clicking noises every so often. They aren't that loud, but still. There goes that perfect size match. I guess I still have my 5.5g! Also, when playing while charging from my computer there is audible noise. When charging from a wall charger while playing it is fine though. The auto on/off function is not silent.

And the USB-DAC-Cable is performing well also, standing up to the uDAC so far. Plus I found a possible mod for it in the computer audio forum

More impressions as I get time.
post #36 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
The bad...my iPhone interferes with the Arrow causing it to make poping and clicking noises every so often.
I infer from this that the Shadow does not suffer from interference from your iphone. Is this correct because I have heard of other amps (can't recall which ones) that suffer from the same problem unless the iphone is in flight mode?
post #37 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by rehabitat View Post
I infer from this that the Shadow does not suffer from interference from your iphone. Is this correct because I have heard of other amps (can't recall which ones) that suffer from the same problem unless the iphone is in flight mode?
That is correct, the Shadow does not suffer from interference.
post #38 of 3077
OK, some additional listening notes (source DIY 5.5g):

The Bass boost is nice with the CK10 (not that I think the CK10 needs a bass boost ), high for trance and low for everything else.

Amazing space with the IE8. I really didn't notice any difference with the crossfeed settings. Maybe with a different IEM with a smaller space to start.

I compared a little more with the Shadow and the Arrow seems more detailed, clearer, and a little warmer when paired with the IE8 (gain @ min, imp @ low, bass boost off, crossfeed off).
post #39 of 3077
Quote:
I really didn't notice any difference with the crossfeed settings.
Try it with some hard panned L/R recordings (like Beatles original stereo) and you will notice a drastic difference. Cross-feed is quite subtle (as I'm sure you're aware). It can seem to reduce stereo separation as it feeds a lttle of each channel into the other. I find the early Beatles stereo recordings almost unbearable with headphones unless I use crossfeed.


Quote:
The bad...my iPhone interferes with the Arrow causing it to make poping and clicking noises every so often.
What volume level/headphones are you using when you hear "noise"? (I'm pretty sure the Shadow is restricted to low imp/IEMs if you want any volume) but please correct me if I'm wrong.
post #40 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellenback View Post
Try it with some hard panned L/R recordings (like Beatles original stereo) and you will notice a drastic difference. Cross-feed is quite subtle (as I'm sure you're aware). It can seem to reduce stereo separation as it feeds a lttle of each channel into the other. I find the early Beatles stereo recordings almost unbearable with headphones unless I use crossfeed.
I guess I will have to try some more songs, but I don't have a lot of the Beatles in the rotation.

Quote:
What volume level/headphones are you using when you hear "noise"?
Maybe 1/4th or so volume (lowest gain). Haven't really played with the volume to see if the sounds get louder or quieter with the volume. And it doesn't do it all the time, I was listening to my iPhone for a while before it started making the noises, and then it was consistent.
post #41 of 3077
I really want to know how this compares to the ALO Rx. So if someone has both I would like to see some impressions. I know there is one guy on here that will soon have both.
post #42 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
Also, when playing while charging from my computer there is audible noise.
Update: using a USB cable with a choke eliminates the noise while charging.
post #43 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
I compared a little more with the Shadow and the Arrow seems more detailed, clearer, and a little warmer when paired with the IE8 (gain @ min, imp @ low, bass boost off, crossfeed off).
That's a very interesting observation and sounds quite promising, although it must be said that with the exception of some very high end tube gear, detail and clarity are often regarded as opposing qualities to warmth. I don't doubt your opinion and indeed I hope to observe the same combination when I start to play with my amp after it arrives.

Reading these pages it seems that the quality of solid state amplification has improved exponentially in the last decade, and based on recent impressions the Arrow is a good example of this. I also observe that headphone amplification is the ideal format for these improvements, perhaps in large part due to form factor. The broader audiophile community appears to be enjoying a renaissance of vacuum tube based technology and hybrid designs abound, so it's exciting times for all!
post #44 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by rehabitat View Post
That's a very interesting observation and sounds quite promising, although it must be said that with the exception of some very high end tube gear, detail and clarity are often regarded as opposing qualities to warmth. I don't doubt your opinion and indeed I hope to observe the same combination when I start to play with my amp after it arrives.

Reading these pages it seems that the quality of solid state amplification has improved exponentially in the last decade, and based on recent impressions the Arrow is a good example of this. I also observe that headphone amplification is the ideal format for these improvements, perhaps in large part due to form factor. The broader audiophile community appears to be enjoying a renaissance of vacuum tube based technology and hybrid designs abound, so it's exciting times for all!
IMO warmth can contribute to clarity, but detail is completely separate and there is what I will call apparent detail and actual detail. First, when the sound gets too warm, I do think it affects clarity. The differences I am hearing are subtle, but I have heard them with many IEMs on consecutive nights, so I believe they are there. Second, apparent detail is dependent on the frequency response, as an upper mid/lower treble boost will bring details to the forefront, making the details easier to hear. Actual detail (or resolution) is irrespective of frequency response, and this is where I think the Arrow bests the Shadow.

And yes, great times when a $200 amp compares with a $400 amp!

Looking forward to your observations when you get yours
post #45 of 3077
Quote:
And yes, great times when a $200 amp compares with a $400 amp!
I believe for many people this is the most important factor re: impressions of the Arrow (and the main reason why this thread should be in the right place with portable amplification). Many people cannot afford several portable amps for their headphones and want to buy the one that is the best for their set-up. It has already been stated somewhere in one of these two threads that Robert uses HD650s while AverageJoe (at times at least) uses IEMs. The Arrow has come out shining on both ends of the spectrum and this is no small feat in itself. I personally have not heard a better all round, truly portable amp. Is it perfect for every HP/DAP combination? I doubt any amp is, but to my ears the Arrow is certainly the best you'll get for your money (and often more) with most portable set-ups.
I am not really very adept at describing intricate details of soundstage, resolution, warmth, clarity etc. It has been shown both here and elsewhere that these terms mean different things to different people (even if they do have an objective definition). As far as my understanding of these terms goes, the Arrow excels at them all.
When the Arrow has been compared to other amps (by either myself or others) it has usually been to amps costing $100 -> $200 more and it has come out as at least equal in most respects and better in some. IMO this makes the Arrow a no brainer for someone on a budget or anyone looking for real value and SQ. The money saved would be better spent on music! It has been hotly debated whether very low impedance IEMs even need external amplification. Only the person using them can decide this and it seems the Arrow is an inexpensive way to begin experimenting.

If anyone knows how to get this thread moved to the proper section, it would be a service to anyone looking for a great portable amp. It would also give the Arrow some of the exposure it deserves as one of the best (ultra) portable amplifiers.
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