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Toucan and Boomslang (IBasso Audio) Balanced Review Thread - Page 6

post #76 of 330

first post after such a long time hiding around. how would you owners compare the pb1 to other amplifiers of the same price range? it's ability to drive high impedance headphones and a brief description of it's sound characteristics? 

 

and could i check, what did the package come with? did it have some adapters or jacks for termination purposes? 

post #77 of 330

i feel (my opinion) it outshines many amps even in the immediate price range above it.  (portable).  i still need to do a sitdown witht he PB1 vs the asgard but i think it would be pretty close.  coming from a portable amp that says a lot. 

 

package came with no connectors. gotta buy them for 9$ each. comes with charger, pleather case, rubber feet, warranty card, i think a mini-mini too.

post #78 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFlight View Post


... although I have found that low gain is suitable for all of my phones, including my K340 and HE-5LE, hence I rarely change the setting from +6 anymore. 



Could you explain the benefit of using low gain (+6) rather than +15? is it just volume? or are there sonic differences?

post #79 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorhandle View Post





Could you explain the benefit of using low gain (+6) rather than +15? is it just volume? or are there sonic differences?

 

It keeps me from using just the very lower portion of the volume control travel.  With the phones that I am using, matching the gain to the performance requirements of the phones seems to me to deliver smoother, better balanced sound.  YMMV!
 

post #80 of 330

Ah ha, nicely explained thanks.

post #81 of 330

HiFlight,

 

I see that you have both the Protector and the PB1. How would you compare the sound of the two? I'm particularly interested in their balanced outputs and how well each pairs with the HE-5LE (which I also have).

post #82 of 330

Is it possible to mod iPod 5.5 gen for balanced output?

post #83 of 330

Very curious about this too...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoeiii View Post

HiFlight,

 

I see that you have both the Protector and the PB1. How would you compare the sound of the two? I'm particularly interested in their balanced outputs and how well each pairs with the HE-5LE (which I also have).

post #84 of 330

 I'd be curious how the PB-1 compares to the D4 too.

 

 I did a strenuous comparison between the modded D4 and the Audio-gd Sparrow, with the sparrow edging out the D4 in the solidity of its presentation, the deepness of its bass, and the smoothness and sensuality of its upper register without losing details.  But perhaps the PB1 would upend that, seeing that it's balanced...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hasanyuceer View Post

Very curious about this too...
 

post #85 of 330


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoeiii View Post

HiFlight,

 

I see that you have both the Protector and the PB1. How would you compare the sound of the two? I'm particularly interested in their balanced outputs and how well each pairs with the HE-5LE (which I also have).

 

I have listened to both in balanced mode with a variety of music.  Both of these amps are very capable performers and can easily drive the HE-5LE.

 

The differences are are fewer than one would expect considering the large difference in price.  When comparing the two, I tried to balance the volume by ear as closely as possible, and swapped inputs from my H120 after listening to each for about 15 or 20 seconds of the same music selection. 

 

I also tried both using Low gain on the PB1 and Mid gain on the Protector.  While both could provide a reasonable listening level at this gain setting, it was obvious that high gain on each would be more appropriate, as the at lower gain settings, the Protector was running at about 4PM on the volume setting vs 2PM on the PB1.  At the highest gain setting on both, my listening levels were about 10PM on PB1 vs 1PM on the Protector. 

 

Subjectively, both are tonally correct, and present the instrument harmonics and overtones quite accurately.  The differences when playing music that does not have a great deal of dynamic range are not great.   For background music or casual listening where one is not devoting much attention to the music, both sound rather similar.   Differences between the two amplifiers become more apparent when listening at higher volume levels, and when listening to recordings which incorporate a wide dynamic range with many transients, especially low frequency transients such as kick drums, tympani, etc.  

 

It is here that the 10 volt greater voltage swing of the PB1 compared to the Protector makes itself apparent.  Bass transients are sharper and overall bass seem to me to be better controlled than in the Protector.   In busy selections with many different instruments playing at differing volume levels, the PB1 is better able to put space around each instrument and render better individual musical details and nuances.    Soundstage is wider in the PB while imaging is very good with both.

 

It is difficult to assess the accuracy of the imaging as so much depends upon the studio mix when recorded.  I did listen to a couple binaural recordings and both amps portrayed accurate instrument placement.  It is in the areas of soundstaging and accurate stable imaging that the benefits of the balanced outputs are most readily apparent when compared to listening to the SE outputs of both amps. 

 

Overall, I like the detail and sense of space that the PB1 delivers.  The PB1 will reveal shortcomings in the recording such as sibilance to a greater extent than the Protector. 

 

I much prefer the all-metal Hirose connector used in the PB1 balanced output.  They are much easier to solder than the plastic ones used in the Protector and are considerably easier to attach and remove. 

 

Some final comments that summarize my impressions are as follows:

 

Size/Portability:   Protector

Ease of gain changing:  Protector

Ease of volume changing:  PB1

Depth of bass:  PB1

Control of bass: PB1

Transient response: PB1

Susceptible to sibilance:

PB1: more

Protector: less

 

Can use both BAL and SE simultaneously:

PB1: Yes

Protector: No

 

Balanced + SE inputs:

PB1: Yes

Protector: No

 

Choice of case color: 

PB1: Yes

Protector: Yes

 

Warranty:  Protector (lifetime)

 

Ability to drive HE-5LE:  Both

 

My personal preference happens to be the PB1 due to its increased headroom and dynamic range for the type of music to which I most frequently listen.  Others may well prefer the more compact size of the Protector. 

 

Regardless of ones personal preferences, much credit should be given to both RSA and iBasso for bringing to market these well-designed balanced portables that can equal or exceed the performance of many desktop amplifiers!  

 

 


Edited by HiFlight - 8/28/10 at 2:22pm
post #86 of 330
Thread Starter 

HUGE thanks to HiFlight for his contributions to the thread...as well, heard from IBasso, another delay from TI for the chips for the Boomslang...soon, I am patient but am very excited for this set!

post #87 of 330

wow great write up Ron. youre spot on about the PB1. never had the protector so cant comment on the rest.

post #88 of 330

Wow HiFlight/Ron.

 

Many thanks for that very comprehensive comparison. A very illuminating comparison. I am in your debt. It is comparisons like that which make HeadFi such a wonderful forum.

 

I never thought that I'd be able to use portable amplification with the HE-5LE, much less a balanced one. But looks like Toucan here I come!

post #89 of 330

And any recommendations for an adaptor to 4-pin XLR from the Toucan balanced out? Does this require DIYing a cable at present or are there adaptors available that can be bought off the shelf?

post #90 of 330
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roscoeiii View Post

And any recommendations for an adaptor to 4-pin XLR from the Toucan balanced out? Does this require DIYing a cable at present or are there adaptors available that can be bought off the shelf?


I made my own Hirose>4-pin XLR.   As long as you have a female Hirose socket available to unscrew the male connector,  it is a very straight-forward DIY project.  The Hirose used in the PB1 is much easier to work with than the tiny right-angle pins in the plastic connector used in the Protector.

 

I think Whiplash Audio is now making adapters for the PB1...you might drop Craig an email or PM to be sure. 

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