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What makes RSA amps any better(or more $$) than my CMOY? - Page 4  

post #46 of 74

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by knubbe View Post


That is interesting. To be fair the selling point of the Arrow is its lower price relative to its competitors and its abundance of features.


To be even more fair, the Arrow's sound quality is extremely well-reviewed regardless of price, and it is very thin


Edited by grokit - 6/10/10 at 2:28pm
post #47 of 74
In my experience rsa is always responding like this. Almos every rsa post has him coming out with an attitude. That is why it's a chicken and egg. He is a controversial designer because he focuses on the machinery not on the communication skills. But I'd still own his amps
post #48 of 74
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by grokit View Post

One thing about RS's amps is you almost never read any complaints from people who own them, or hear of their poor build quality or technical failures. If anything the premium price would seem to purchase some peace of mind that you are getting a quality product based on a solid design that will last.


Quote:


Historically these posts have been deleted.

I wonder why??  If there are any complaints or history of RSA's products being faulty, it would be helpful for people to make informed decisions.  I am really interested in finding out why those posts were deleted.  I hope stuff like that does not happen at a regular basis.
 


Edited by High_Q - 6/10/10 at 2:46pm
post #49 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post

You are getting the highest quality military circuit boards, very high quality parts, a custom case and customer service that responds to any problems or needs. Couple this with quality sound that as I mentioned before, improves as you improve the source, and you have something you can enjoy both in sound and longevity. 


post #50 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post

 


To be even more fair, the Arrow's sound quality is extremely well-reviewed regardless of price, and it is very thin


Oh yeah didn't mean to disparage the Arrow's SQ. I really enjoyed it when I had it.

post #51 of 74
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by dcpoor View Post
Originally Posted by jamato8 View Post

You are getting the highest quality military circuit boards, very high quality parts, a custom case and customer service that responds to any problems or needs. Couple this with quality sound that as I mentioned before, improves as you improve the source, and you have something you can enjoy both in sound and longevity. 





I was thinking the same.  Military grade circuit boards, and of course we cannot forget the military grade wires for his interconnects that are advertised on the website. I won't comment any further for people that know better.  If people think military grade is the thing for them, its their money.


Edited by High_Q - 6/10/10 at 4:56pm
post #52 of 74

navships (John's Silver Wire Shop) wire is military surplus, yet many people say that their SPC wire is crap (though I am of a different opinion).

post #53 of 74

In defense of aftermarket amplifier, such as Ray's amplifiers, and your typical cmoy, there are several reasons why these higher end amplifiers should sound better.  For starters, the precision resistors he uses have a 0.1% tolerance meaning that if he uses a 10K resistor it's within 0.1% of that stated value.  These are much more expensive than the typical resistors used in a Cmoy which are usually 5% to 10% tolerance.  What this translates to in sound is that each channel will more likely match each other and give you greater stereo separation.  He also uses thin film resistors which to my ears sound better than cheaper thick film smd resistor, again these are much more expensive than what someone would typically use when building a Cmoy.  Then theres the power supply.  I don't know specifically what he uses but I am pretty certain it's regulated and will hold a steady voltage during driving of headphones.  If your cmoy uses a typical resistor voltage divider for your vitual ground, the basic power supply section of a typical cmoy, then you're not getting a good power souce for your amplifier circuit.  Even if you add in an IC driven virtual ground you might not be getting a clean power source as what's typically used in these higher end amplifiers.  This means that your amplifier circuit is straining to drive your headphones and clipping and distortions are probably occurring muddying up the sound.  Then there's the question if you're Cmoy is a simple opamp design without buffers.  Another sign that you're potentially not getting enough current to your headphones and potentially underdriving them.  I don't know Ray's amplifier design but based on how well his amps are received I believe he's taken this into consideration and building a circuit that will not fall short on driving your headphones.   Now, for that military grade circuit, it's just not the circuit board itself to take into consideration, it's the design of the board too.  From reading on his website, he separated signal traces and power traces from each other by placing all of each on a single side of the board.  In other words, the power lines are all on one side and the signal traces are on the other.  What this means, in theory, that you should get less noise leaking into the signal from the power line traces.  Also, each side has a full ground plane further reducing channel crosstalk and potential noise interferance.  A dual side board such as this is more expensive than a single sided one.  I don't think the typical Cmoy has this advantage. 

 

Knowing how a Cmoy is built, in it's simplest form, there are headphone driving limitations that will result in inferior sound when compared to more complicated designs. 

 

Now, all this is moot if you're happy with what you're hearing.  But from a design point of view, I can see where the money goes and why a higher end amplifier should sound better.   

post #54 of 74

Everyone's purchasing decisions and value perceptions differ, and have a lot to do with family budgets and lifestyle preferences.  Two portable amps with identical SQ (but with different features and support) might well occupy very different price points in the marketplace.  We can assume that the price points are market-determined ... manufacturers set prices to maximize profit, taking into account that a lower price will sell more units but a higher price will yield more profit per unit sold.

 

In other words, Ray's prices are "correct" -- they appeal to the people they are designed to appeal to, and are priced to optimally profit Ray, as they should be.  Everyone wins.  The invisible hand works since the portable amp market is efficient, thanks to the internet.

 

I have not A/B'd Ray's amps against cheaper alternatives, and certainly not against a DIY CMOY.  But the two amps I have listened to extensively (Predator and Shadow) have superb SQ, and hold their own against other portable amps I have a lot of flying time with: iQube and Mini^3.  Reviews by Skylab and others express similar opinions.

 

Here's why I and others gladly pay Ray's prices (and in fact consider the prices quite fair):

 

1. Ray ships goods almost immediately.  You pay, you get.  I like that a lot.

 

2. There is no assembly or other work required.  It all works out of the box.   I need that feature, I have no mechanical skills whatsoever.  I can barely peel an orange.

 

3. Ray gives you a wide choice of case colors, and will customize.  I like that too.  You might not care.  I do.  I do not enjoy handling goods that are ugly.  A company called Apple seems to understand that point as well.

 

4. Ray includes a carrying case, printed instructions, a nice box to ship the unit back if you have problems or sell it in the used market, etc. These all add to the value -- for me if not for you.

 

5. Ray supports his products personally over the phone.  This means: he gets on the phone himself.  I had a trivial question about charging the Predator -- Ray spoke to me directly (I did not even request this), not some dim customer service rep.  I have a high-end SACD Player/DAC.  It had a serious grounding problem with SPDIF.  I could not get a real engineer on the phone -- I got some idiot who spun a stupid analogy about a race car using premium gasoline, insulting my intellegence.  In the end Wadia admitted I was correct, but it took multiple emails and phone calls -- angry escalation through my original dealer.  You like that?  I don't.  I love Ray's customer service.  You will too. 

 

6. Ray's products have commercial fit-and-finish.  TSA never questions them when I fly.  You think you can get on an airplane with a hand-wired CMOY in a mint tint without a hassle? 

 

7. The products hold their value in the used market place.  I sold my Predator for a fine price, and the buyer loved the deal he got.  I wanted to downsize (literally, in size) to the Shadow, and I actuallly made money on the turn (see next point) -- this means with Ray's goods you can upgrade/downgrade for life.  What else in audio can you say that about?  Only the best brands.

 

8. Ray supports the community.  The community is important to me -- without vcoheda, bozebuttons, nikongod, md1032, el_doug, usg, spritzer, kerry, and many others (apologies to everyone I forgot)I would not be listening as well as I do, their advice as been both practical and priceless.  That's right, the community increased my SQ.  For real.  Without smaller MOTs like Ray, Jack Woo, Drew, Fang, Craig and the rest, the NY/NJ meets (and CanJams -- although CJs get the huge national vendors and others as well) would not be what they are, and I would suffer personally.  At a NY meet, Ray contributed a Shadow, which I won at auction, paying less that I sold my Predaor for (see 7 above).  On top of that, Ray took an hour out of his life to educate about 5 of us on the history of headphone amps -- that adds to the enjoyment of the hobby.

 

I would actually pay more for Ray's goods than he asks, because they are worth more to me.  You want to pay less, because they are worth less to you.  Long live price elasticity of demand, and the joys of responsible consumerism (re-use, re-sell, re-cycle -- but enjoy life!).

post #55 of 74

I'd agree with the last sentence. Everyone has their own benchmarks for every item in the market...

 

I guess one of the reasons he (or any one else for the matter) would get a little ticked if somebody jumped out and said his products are overpriced, not delivering, etc, is because he's one of those that actually contribute, and enjoys sharing (in this case, good sound).

post #56 of 74

I have never even owned an RSA product, but I will when the need arises. I have emailed him several times regarding very basic questions about this "head-fi" hobby and he has been responsive and extremely helpful, even though he never got a penny from me. 

 

I also feel that we should not overlook the benefit that this hobby receives from the publicity of a being in mag like stereophile. Sure, it put some coin in Ray's pocket, but it elevated the head-fi sector and encourages development and advancement herein. Just like the TSA coverage of CanJam. More exposure means more folks wanting to join the market and compete which should mean consumers win. 

 

As for the sound. Well, if it all sounds the same, why hang at head-fi at all? Again, I have never heard an RSA amp, but I have heard several headphone amps, including some portables and I could easily tell the sound between each. That is what makes head-fi fun no?.....

post #57 of 74

Pappucho, that was a better description of the subtle but verifiable differences between a cheap CMOY amp and a quality component with more complex circuitry than I could write at this juncture, and I already have referred to it in a couple of other threads, so thanks for that

post #58 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pappucho View Post

In defense of aftermarket amplifier, such as Ray's amplifiers, and your typical cmoy, there are several reasons why these higher end amplifiers should sound better.  For starters, the precision resistors he uses have a 0.1% tolerance meaning that if he uses a 10K resistor it's within 0.1% of that stated value.  These are much more expensive than the typical resistors used in a Cmoy which are usually 5% to 10% tolerance.  What this translates to in sound is that each channel will more likely match each other and give you greater stereo separation.  He also uses thin film resistors which to my ears sound better than cheaper thick film smd resistor, again these are much more expensive than what someone would typically use when building a Cmoy.  Then theres the power supply.  I don't know specifically what he uses but I am pretty certain it's regulated and will hold a steady voltage during driving of headphones.  If your cmoy uses a typical resistor voltage divider for your vitual ground, the basic power supply section of a typical cmoy, then you're not getting a good power souce for your amplifier circuit.  Even if you add in an IC driven virtual ground you might not be getting a clean power source as what's typically used in these higher end amplifiers.  This means that your amplifier circuit is straining to drive your headphones and clipping and distortions are probably occurring muddying up the sound.  Then there's the question if you're Cmoy is a simple opamp design without buffers.  Another sign that you're potentially not getting enough current to your headphones and potentially underdriving them.  I don't know Ray's amplifier design but based on how well his amps are received I believe he's taken this into consideration and building a circuit that will not fall short on driving your headphones.   Now, for that military grade circuit, it's just not the circuit board itself to take into consideration, it's the design of the board too.  From reading on his website, he separated signal traces and power traces from each other by placing all of each on a single side of the board.  In other words, the power lines are all on one side and the signal traces are on the other.  What this means, in theory, that you should get less noise leaking into the signal from the power line traces.  Also, each side has a full ground plane further reducing channel crosstalk and potential noise interferance.  A dual side board such as this is more expensive than a single sided one.  I don't think the typical Cmoy has this advantage. 

 

Knowing how a Cmoy is built, in it's simplest form, there are headphone driving limitations that will result in inferior sound when compared to more complicated designs. 

 

Now, all this is moot if you're happy with what you're hearing.  But from a design point of view, I can see where the money goes and why a higher end amplifier should sound better.   


Finally!  This should be stickied somewhere.

post #59 of 74

@wavoman - I tend to agree with about everything you said. RSA products, support, and purchasing service are great. Again, the SR71 is and has been a benchmark for me personally for many years. I just wish he didn't  do the Ray thing as he did in this thread.

 

Indeed, higher quality parts can yield better SQ, but that isn't always the case. His stuff is very nice and sounds good though, very good.

post #60 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

@wavoman - I tend to agree with about everything you said. RSA products, support, and purchasing service are great. Again, the SR71 is and has been a benchmark for me personally for many years. I just wish he didn't  do the Ray thing as he did in this thread.

 

Indeed, higher quality parts can yield better SQ, but that isn't always the case. His stuff is very nice and sounds good though, very good.


shigzeo, you have an SR71 but if I recall you were last using a T3D to AB the SFlo2 versus an iPod?

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