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Just ordered an Audio-gd FUN Earth for my Denon HD2000 headphones

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hello head-fi'ers. I just joined the forum after a while of lurking.  Based on what I read from past posts I decided to order an Audio-gd FUN amp with the EARTH opamp option to drive my Denon HD2000's.  This will be my first headphone amp dac setup, so I'm looking forward to being amazed.  I should receive the HD2000's before the amp gets here, so I'll be able to do some comparison between the headphones with and without an amp.  I'm more concerned about the DAC than I am the amp itself, since the denons don't really 'need' an amp from what I've read.  My source is my macbook pro laptop and the headphone output is noisy, so I'm hoping the DAC is quieter.  My current phones are a pair of in-ear Altec Lansing rebranded Ultimate Ears Super.F1 3 Studio.

post #2 of 21

Welcome to Head Fi !!  Congrats on your amp/dac purchase.  I don't want to throw a wet blanket on your enthusiasm, but try not to let your expectations get too high. Many folks feel let down when they actually listen to an new audio gear purchase for the first time.

 

A lot of the "Huge improvements" you read about here are actually quite subtle.  But many headphone audio enthusiasts who've been listening to headphones for a long time can more easily detect the subtle differences. And for some a 2% increase in resolution is a "Huge improvement", even if it can only be heard on certain recordings.

 

 

Don't let this place get you tied up in a quest for perfection that will likely never get realized.  Spend only what you are comfortable spending and enjoy your music!!


Edited by cswann1 - 3/13/11 at 1:19pm
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reality check cswann1.  I'm trying to be realistic with my expectations, but any new gadget gets me excited.  If the dac gets rid of the background hiss coming from my laptop headphone jack I'll be happy.  Anything beyond that will just be icing on the cake.  The in ears are making my ears sore lately too, so the comfort will be a nice change.  My in-ear cable cover also came unattached where the bendy ear holder ends, so the wires are exposed now.  It was a good excuse to upgrade. :)  I'm guessing the difference will be bigger than the one I didn't experience after creating twisted pair Cat5 speaker cable for my home system. haha

post #4 of 21

Yes those background hiss issues should vanish with the Fun you bought.

 

CAT5 is great for interconnects but I'm not surprised you weren't wowed by using it for speaker cable. 

 

Here is an excerpt from Blue Jeans cable that you may find interesting/helpful.

 

"Speaker Cable:

speakercable.jpgSpeaker cable is a bit different from a lot of the interconnect cables we handle, in several respects. Because speakers are driven at low impedance (typically 4 or 8 ohms) and high current, speaker cables are, for all practical purposes, immune from interference from EMI or RFI, so shielding isn't required. The low impedance of the circuit also tips the balance of concern from capacitance, which is important in interconnect use, to inductance, which, while a concern, can be controlled only to a limited degree. The biggest issue in speaker cables, from the point of view of sound quality, is simply conductivity; the lower the resistance of the cable, the lower the contribution of the speaker cable's resistance to the damping factor, and the flatter the frequency response will be. While one can spend thousands of dollars on exotic speaker cable, in the end analysis, it's the sheer conductivity of the cable, and (barring a really odd design, which may introduce various undesirable effects) little else that matters. The answer to keeping conductivity high is simple: the larger the wire, the lower the resistance, and the higher the conductivity. We offer a few alternatives in large-gage speaker cable, either raw or terminated, as follows:.."


Edited by cswann1 - 3/13/11 at 3:08pm
post #5 of 21

Yeah twisted pair cables are only required for very high bandwidth high frequency applications (like networking).  Its intent is to reduce cross-talk and minimize RFI by twisting the cables around each other with the anticipation of the magnetic fields from the current cancelling each other out.  It works, but for speaker cables it just doesn't matter. 

 

Another oddity you see with speaker cables is really low gauge cables for short runs.  The opposite is actually true.  Thicker cables are required for LONGER runs.  The insertion loss (resistance) over distance is higher with thinner cables.  Of course, we're on an audiophile forum and many will disagree, but you should hear absolutely no audible difference in speaker cables as long as they're within spec for your impedance and distance. 

 

I'd have to agree with what cswann said about the improvements you'll hear being fairly minimal.  I do think you'll notice a 'relatively' substantial difference since you're coming from a built in sound card.  A dedicated dac/amp should improve your sound quite a bit.  The hiss will be gone, any other interference from the machine itself will be gone, the amp will have plenty of power, it'll be very neutral.  It probably won't be a "Oh my, what have I been missing" kind of experience, but it should have enough improvements that you'll want to keep using the amp :). 

 

Have fun with it... I just bought a used Audio-GD Compass and really like its performance and feature set for the price. 

 

 

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well I'm glad to hear that at least the hum will be gone and I may even get some sort of improvement, even if it is slight.  Another benefit will be that I'll have the ability to drive some 600ohm headphones if I ever add to my inventory.

 

About the speaker wire... Here is where I got the idea and instructions from. http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/triple_t_e.html  I had plenty of cat5 laying around and thought if nothing else they looked cool.  Stripping all those individually insulated wires was time consuming and not fun.  That was before kids and a wife. :)

 

dan1son, glad to hear you're enjoying the compass.  I see that you also have a total bithead.  I was considering the bithead but don't really need anything portable and the micro stack was too pricey.  How does it compare to the compass?

post #7 of 21

I actually bought the compass to use instead of the bithead for the HF-1s at home (also wanted DAC out for my speakers).  I ended up using the Fubar->DIY amp stack with the HF-1s at work instead of the HF2s (which I'm using with the Compass).  I found the bithead to be a tad bright for the HF-1s (which I find to be bright by themselves... so the match was a bit much). 

 

I do think the bithead is a perfectly decent piece of gear.  It sounds very nice with the MS-1s, ER-4s, and HF2s.  The Compass sounds a little punchier and not as bright on the top end, but the differences are very minor.  The configuration choices and pre-amp/dac out on the compass is the main reason I went with it.  Works great in my setup.  Push a button and the sound is routed to the speakers.

post #8 of 21

The background of the FUN is very quiet.  I hear zero hum/hiss.  Be sure to try to get your hands on some op-amps to tweak the sound.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks dan1son

 

sphinxvc, thanks for letting me know the FUN is nice and quiet.  Are the op-amps just the earth, moon and sun options, or can you actually get others?  I'll have to read up on op-amp rolling and try that out.

 

Man, I can't wait to get this puppy home... How long does it generally take after you paypal the money to audio-gd before your unit arrives?  I payed for it this last sunday, and Edwin said it would take a week.  I imagine that week is the amount of time before it's ready to be shipped out from China...  At least my HD2000s will be here later this week, so I'll have something to hold me over.

post #10 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by ssartsman View Post

Thanks dan1son

 

sphinxvc, thanks for letting me know the FUN is nice and quiet.  Are the op-amps just the earth, moon and sun options, or can you actually get others?  I'll have to read up on op-amp rolling and try that out.

 

Man, I can't wait to get this puppy home... How long does it generally take after you paypal the money to audio-gd before your unit arrives?  I payed for it this last sunday, and Edwin said it would take a week.  I imagine that week is the amount of time before it's ready to be shipped out from China...  At least my HD2000s will be here later this week, so I'll have something to hold me over.


I have seven, including the Audio-GD ones, HD650s seem to have the best synergy with the ADA4627-1 op-amp and the K701s best with the Moon (so far at least, haven't tried them all yet w/ K701s).  Unless you can solder them yourself, you'll need to get a DIYer to solder third-party op-amps to DIP-8 adapters for you.  

 

It took them about a week or two (can't remember) to ship the FUN out & once it arrived at the DHL facility in Hong Kong it took only 2.5 days to reach my door in NY.  I don't think there's a better piece of entry level gear out there at the price for trying out different cans.  I'd have written off the K701s I received today as too fatiguing if I didn't have the option to roll to a warmer op-amp like I did.  


Edited by sphinxvc - 3/15/11 at 11:11pm
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sphinxvc View Post

Quote:


I have seven, including the Audio-GD ones, HD650s seem to have the best synergy with the ADA4627-1 op-amp and the K701s best with the Moon (so far at least, haven't tried them all yet w/ K701s).  Unless you can solder them yourself, you'll need to get a DIYer to solder third-party op-amps to DIP-8 adapters for you.  

 

It took them about a week or two (can't remember) to ship the FUN out & once it arrived at the DHL facility in Hong Kong it took only 2.5 days to reach my door in NY.  I don't think there's a better piece of entry level gear out there at the price for trying out different cans.  I'd have written off the K701s I received today as too fatiguing if I didn't have the option to roll to a warmer op-amp like I did.  

 

Awesome!  Thanks for all the info.  I have no problem soldering some stuff, so the op-amps would be a great little DIY project.  Someday I'd like to build my own bottlehead or other type of DIY tube amp, but it doesn't sound like that would be the best option for the hd2000s.
 

 

post #12 of 21

Good choice on the Fun. Spread the word when you've spent time with it. Other members need to appreciate there are other bang for buck options out there other than a certain combo that gets touted as some sort of budget benchmark.

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

Good choice on the Fun. Spread the word when you've spent time with it. Other members need to appreciate there are other bang for buck options out there other than a certain combo that gets touted as some sort of budget benchmark.



Will do. I just got a message from audio-gd letting me know that it was ready and they had shipped it out.  I should have the dhl tracking info out of HK in a few days.  I'll post up my thoughts once I receive it and do some listening.

 

I also received my HD2000s wednesday.  It turns out the macbook wasn't causing the background hiss that I was hearing.  It must be the triple-fi 'phones that are noisy cause these Denons are pretty quiet...

post #14 of 21

The hiss could be due to the (higher?) sensitivity of the triple-fi. My MS-1i is a tad more sensitive than the HD650 and I can hear a soft hum when I plug it into my RA1 clone but it's virtually non existent with the HD650. Non of that should matter though when you get the Fun. Its background (at any volume) is black. A bottomless abyss.

post #15 of 21

Very Good choices.

 

Give it some time and let in set in slowly.

 

It is an evolving and progressive "wow".

 

 

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