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[Review] Headroom Total Bithead DAC/AMP: An oldie, but a goodie!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey Folks!

 

Headroom has sent me their well-known and respected Total Bithead portable DAC/AMP unit. This unit has been on the market for quite some time, but still can hold it's own in performance and useability against the new guys out there. I have always been curious as to what the Bithead lineup has to offer, and most importantly, what they sound like! I have been working on reviewing the TBH or HTB, as some of you may call it, over the past 10 days or so, and have uploaded my Deckhand Davy review of the product. I spent a little more time with this guy and the review is a bit more thorough and detail oriented than my other reviews...thus, it's a longer video! Even if you're not in the market for something in this segment, it should be a fun video to watch. I've tried my best to include all of the 'bells and whistles' to satisfy all of your senses (except for smell...but think of potpourri if you must), so please grab a snack and watch my review if you have some time to spare! gs1000.gif

 

 

Direct Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u97XipWhLxc 

 

bithead_review.jpg

 

Also, please feel free to subscribe, as there will be more reviews, as always. Also, check out my small library of avaiable reviews that I have done over the past year. :)

 

*I keep trying to embed my videos into my threads, but somehow I'm not doing something right...anyone have any idea if this can be done?

 

Regards,

 

-davy


Edited by mangamonster - 4/4/11 at 10:42pm
post #2 of 10

The HeadRoom stuff has kind of fallen off the radar here in the last couple of years, along with amps like the XP-7. I suspect that its all good gear, but many of us are frightfully cheap :)

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

The HeadRoom stuff has kind of fallen off the radar here in the last couple of years, along with amps like the XP-7. I suspect that its all good gear, but many of us are frightfully cheap :)



Yeah, there arn't any new threads or traffic concering the Bithead lineup here on the forums as of late. But, I think there are quite a few folks out there still using them. Funny thing that you mentioned that, as just the other day I was thinking about how the headphone genre has exploded over the past couple of years. Although I wouldn't consider headphone-philia to be that big just yet, it's amazing how much more offerings there are available to us now compared to a few years ago. :) I think the Total Bithead still has a good amount of appeal...it has just been slightly forgotten in the crowd of newcomers. Especially so since it's pricepoint is pretty reasonable now...I read some older  reviews and remember it being mentioned that the price was close to $300. Retail on the unit is around $150 now with free shipping....that's not too shabby!

post #4 of 10

Every once in a while, one will pop up on Ebay and sell for almost the retail price.  That means they're still popular.  People are keeping them rather than dumping them when something else comes along.

post #5 of 10

Great and thorough review. Thanks!

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks! :)


 

post #7 of 10

I wouldnt mind hearing some of the larger HeadRoom amps, but they seem expensive even when you compare them to other US-built gear from people like Ray and Justin. Just my 2 cents worth, and I am a self-confessed cheapskate :)

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by estreeter View Post

I wouldnt mind hearing some of the larger HeadRoom amps, but they seem expensive even when you compare them to other US-built gear from people like Ray and Justin. Just my 2 cents worth, and I am a self-confessed cheapskate :)



I went to a Houston meet a couple months back and had a chance to audition an HE-6 paired to the Headroom Micro Amp and in all honesty, it was the most amazing headphone listening experience I have ever heard. I don't recall what the source was, but I'm sure it played a major role as well in the synergy. The  most notable thing about that audition is that I will never forget the ridiculous amount of blackness in the tracks...intimate barely scratches the surface. It truly put me in another place.

 

And I'm in the same boat as you...that will be a setup I can only wish for. :(

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mangamonster View Post





I went to a Houston meet a couple months back and had a chance to audition an HE-6 paired to the Headroom Micro Amp and in all honesty, it was the most amazing headphone listening experience I have ever heard. I don't recall what the source was, but I'm sure it played a major role as well in the synergy. The  most notable thing about that audition is that I will never forget the ridiculous amount of blackness in the tracks...intimate barely scratches the surface. It truly put me in another place.

 

And I'm in the same boat as you...that will be a setup I can only wish for. :(


The Micro Amp? Not the Desktop or Ultra Desktop? That sounds like some serious power for something so little.

More relevant to the topic, I've had a Total Bithead for about a year now and I've enjoyed it quite a bit. I think the crossfeed is invaluable on a portable amp myself. I usually get headaches without it, especially on older stuff that's full of hard pans and on lots of classical as well. As nice as the stuff from RSA, iBasso, and others may sound and look, they're a complete no-go for me since they don't have crossfeed. At home, I can do it through software on my PC so it isn't important for a full size amp, but at work or on the go where I'd use a portable amp I usually listen to my D2+ or Pandora and need hardware to add the crossfeed.

I also like that it runs on normal batteries so you can always have an extra set with you. I use NiMH rechargeables in mine. They have a lower voltage than alkalines which may make a difference with high Z 'phones, but I normally used them with my SE530s so it didn't matter. The NiMHs may actually give a small performance boost to low Z 'phones since they have lower internal resistance and a higher rate of current delivery. I found it handled anything without a mountainous impedance curve quite well. Even the 600 ohm DT990s and DT770s (which have pretty flat curves) sounded great as long as you didn't want ear bleeding volume. (The T1 is a different story though...) I think the Bithead is likely being overlooked due to its overly plain casing. Its cheap by this place's standards and sounds plenty good too. I can't think of any negatives besides the fact that some people may say its ugly.

I just got a Practical Devices XM6 that is likely to replace my Bithead though. Its got the crossfeed I need to keep both halves of my brain together, is clearer sounding, and stronger as well. If you factor in all the extra features it looks like a steal compared to offerings from a lot of other companies. Most people consider all those extra features blasphemous though. I for one think that bass boost is for more than just the great unwashed...
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Yup, I was super surprised as well seeing the small Micro Amp power those puppies...I may have to get a loaner sometime down the road. Of course, He may have had the HE6's paired to something that I didn't see, but I was pretty sure that was the only amp he had staged that day. Thanks for the input! And you absolutely right. It's really interesting to see what great amps have been passed up or forgotten because of all the new equipment that continually comes out every year. I would definitely like to see the Bithead to have it's hardware updated and polished up a bit.

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