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Matrix M Stage vs Little Dot MKV

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone,

 

I recently bought the AKG K701 headphones, and so far I am loving them.  I recognize the need for an amp with these headphones, and I have narrowed it down to these two.  While I have heard great things about both of them, I have yet to come across a thread where they are compared directly.

 

If anyone has heard both, or knows which one sounds the best when paired with the AKG's, please post and let me know!

 

Any input is greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Alex

post #2 of 30

Well the Matrix review thread is FULL of feedback regarding the great pairing of that amp with the 702s-I just ordered mine based on that! Couldn't say regarding the other amp though, but the AKGs are known to respond much better to solid state amps for the most part.

post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 

I know, just reading all of those threads about the Matrix M Stage - K701 pairing gets me super excited, but then I read threads regarding the Little Dot MK V and it also sounds amazing.  They both have similar power outputs and so they should both drive the AKGs really well, but I'm just curious to see if anyone has compared them directly and can say which is better.

 

post #4 of 30

Well if money isn't an issue, just get the Concerto and call it a day! $670 shipped, and supposedly drives pretty much any headphone amazingly well. In fact I plan on eventually getting one as my be-all-end-all amp when I get the funds. Assuming it will be an improvement over the Matrix with my 702s specifically! Anyone compared them yet with the AKGs?

post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 

Cost is definitely an issue.  I do not want to spend much over 300 dollars, so I've been looking at amps such as the Matrix M Stage, the LD MK V, and the Headroom Micro Amp.  I also need a DAC but that is a much less pressing issue than which amp to buy.  How do you like your Matrix with your AKGs?

post #6 of 30

I just ordered the Matrix on Monday, so I expect it to be here by next Monday or possibly Saturday! My Asgard arrives today, but I'll be sending it back tomorrow probably. I'll post impressions of the Matrix when I get it.

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 

Okay sweet thanks man.

 

Anyone else know of how these two amps perform with the AKG K701??

post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 

bump.  i'm anxious lol

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post

I just ordered the Matrix on Monday, so I expect it to be here by next Monday or possibly Saturday! My Asgard arrives today, but I'll be sending it back tomorrow probably. I'll post impressions of the Matrix when I get it.


You should tell us what you think of the two comparatively, since I'm highly considering either of those. The MK V also looks tempting, although I'm slightly deterred by the lack of reviews here. I also haven't had the greatest of luck with LD products, so...

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by clarinetman View Post




You should tell us what you think of the two comparatively, since I'm highly considering either of those. The MK V also looks tempting, although I'm slightly deterred by the lack of reviews here. I also haven't had the greatest of luck with LD products, so...


Definitely. I won't get the M-Stage til this weekend at the earliest, so my impressions will come early next week at the earliest. My Asgard came today, and one thing I can say so far is that it has plenty of power to drive both my 702s and DT 990/600 beyond the deafening point lol. I notice the clarity is better on both phones, bass obviously, but also the speed and separation of all the notes/lyrics if that makes any sense. Like when I'm listening to a VERY fast Eminem song, I can seriously hear every single syllable and word, without them running into each other whatsoever, like there's a more definite beginning and end of each note. I honestly wouldn't have thought about that with my other amps, but it kinda jumped out at me on this Asgard with both phones. It's nice to hear the Beyer for once not sounding completely anemic like it did on my D1 and uDac lol. The uDac is acting my dac in this situation, using .05 cent rca interconnects that probably came packed in a dvd player of mine from 12 years ago ha.
 

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post




Definitely. I won't get the M-Stage til this weekend at the earliest, so my impressions will come early next week at the earliest. My Asgard came today, and one thing I can say so far is that it has plenty of power to drive both my 702s and DT 990/600 beyond the deafening point lol. I notice the clarity is better on both phones, bass obviously, but also the speed and separation of all the notes/lyrics if that makes any sense. Like when I'm listening to a VERY fast Eminem song, I can seriously hear every single syllable and word, without them running into each other whatsoever, like there's a more definite beginning and end of each note. I honestly wouldn't have thought about that with my other amps, but it kinda jumped out at me on this Asgard with both phones. It's nice to hear the Beyer for once not sounding completely anemic like it did on my D1 and uDac lol. The uDac is acting my dac in this situation, using .05 cent rca interconnects that probably came packed in a dvd player of mine from 12 years ago ha.
 


Very cool, thanks for your initial impressions. When you get the M-Stage, do you plan on doing any chip rolling? The stock chip is crap--OPA2134.

 

That's another advantage of the M-Stage, the socketed chip, whereas the Asgard has a discrete design so the sound can't be easily tinkered with... No idea what sounds better though, there seems to be a lot of debate of around here regarding that.


Edited by clarinetman - 9/23/10 at 11:14am
post #12 of 30

I plan on eventually doing the mod on the Matrix, but probably not for a while...so my impressions will be stock for each amp I guess. I totally want to roll the Matrix, but I've read that the biggest changes come from a few different mods that I believe require soldering, and I'm all thumbs when it comes to that! I know the opamps are plug-and-play swappable for the most part, but I've read that those sound differences are minor at best, idk. My first order of business is to get a nice dac better than my uDac. Any opinions on what dacs might work best with the Matrix/702 combo? I'd be willing to drop up to $1000 at most, and probably $300 (V-Dac) minimun. Is there a big jump in sound quality from say the V-dac/DacMagic to say a Ref 1/Dac19?

post #13 of 30

I bought Matrix M-stage three months ago. In stock condition it is fully capable to drive AKG 701. But BB OPA2134 is not something spectacular. It behaves almost like mono. My opinion is that this OPAMP is not worth listening. So I tried BB OPA 2107 which has huge sound stage (real stereo, very deep and wide) but it was slightly "metallic" (artificial). Next OPAMP which I tried, was BB OPA 627. It has less wide sound stage, but more deep than OPA BB 2107. And it sounds relaxing and very natural. I also tried AD797. It is faster than OPA62 and not so laid back. Sound stage is wide, but very shallow. Bass is tight. (OPA 627 has soft and warm bass). AD 797 is very sensitive to gain and voltage regulation. So if someone wants to play wit this opamp, then he must replace Cadj (WIMA - 150nF) with something slower and bigger (for example electrolytic cap 10 - 22 uF). And avoid LOW ESR caps like Panasonic FM...

 

Opamp (OPA627) is biased into class A with JFET and two resistors. My suggestion is to use 1000 Ohm resistor between Source and -Vcc. Why 1000 Ohm? Because when I used 470 Ohm, JFET died after two days. So 1000 Ohm is more safe solution. Resistor between opamp output and Drain is also 1000 Ohm . JFET is 2N5484.

 

After opamp rolling I tried to roll capacitors in output stage and in opamp stage. I tried Panasonic FC, Panasonic FM, (and combination of both). I seems that AD797 doesn't like LOW ESR Panasonic FM (mentioned before) because it makes buzzing noise when they are in the circuit. With Panasonic FC there is no problem. For OPA 627 it doesn't matter which capacitors are used. Replacing stock output capacitors with Panasonic FC makes sound stage more deep, and replacing capacitors (electrolytes) near opamp with Panasonic FM makes sound more defined (wider treble and deeper bass).

 

I removed bulk capacitors after rectifier (Nichicon KG) with Mundorf Mylitic. Mundorf Mylitic has better "punch" and more defined bass.

 

 

Changes were:

 

Opamp: Burr Brown OPA627 biased in class A, with JFET

Input capacitors: Mundorf Mylitic 63V, 4700uF

Output capacitors: Panasonic FC 25V, 680uF

Opamp capacitors: Panasonic FM 35V, 470uF

Regulator ADJ cap: "Crappy" 50V, 10uF

 

Difference between stock amplifier and modded, is about 70%. The biggest improvement was achieved with opamp replacement and capacitor combination. My advice to everyone is to try to combine different capacitors (opamp stage and output stage) for the best result. For example, all Panasonic FC made sound stage too rounded, all FM made sound stage too flat (and painful highs). But combination both of them was real deal.

 

Rest of equipment:

 

- PC source: Prodigy 7.1 LT

- DAC: Matrix Mini I (optical link)


Edited by BlaBlaBla - 9/27/10 at 3:19am
post #14 of 30

FC's with FM's, eh?

 

I'm already using FM's for the opamps.  I'm not liking the treble that much either.

 

Have you tried Chemicon KZH before or Rubycon ZLJ?

post #15 of 30

No. I haven't.

 

Two days ago , I ordered 8 Elna Silmic II, and 8 Elna Cerafine... I will try them when they arrive.

I think that Elnas are good capacitors, but not adequate for amp like Matrix (for output stage) because of temperature characteristic (85C). Problem is, that output capacitors are located between LM regulators and BD transistors (on the warmest place). Panasonic with 105C are better choice here.

Opamp section is little further. So opamp section is place where 85C capacitors can be installed. I have ordered few Muse KZ caps, also. But with very low capacitance - for filtering stage.

 

I had 820uF FM's. It seems that very low ESR tends to emphasize high frequencies. I can't find any better explanation, because FM's are capacitors with the lowest ESR (that I own). (I found, for bassy headphones like Sennheiser HD485, Panasonic FM's are good, but for crisp-high AKG 701 - very painful.).

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