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Reconfiguring my portable rig - Random updates on the journey

post #1 of 204
Thread Starter 

*** EDIT ***

 

This started out as a Q and A post, apparently either poorly written or lame...  It is now an occasional chronicle of my reconfiguring.

 

My concerns with Portable gear:

I listen at low volume levels, and have trouble with the likes of the Headstage Arrow (too much gain.  Rob even modified one for lower gain, and still too much gain, not enough volume travel, channel imbalance).

 

Old Rig:

iPod Touch 4G, 64  gb

Leckerton UHA-4

 

New Rig:

EDIT - TTVJ Slim traded for a Pico Slim - see post #16

TTVJ Slim (Due 06/20/11)  Reasons - Digital volume and 0db gain, form factor, positive reviews

CEntrance DacPort LX (traded to standard dacport with amp due week of 08/1/11)  Reasons - 24/96 capable, highly rated, well reviewed.

 

Remaining Gear:

Nice LOD (Whiplash TWAG, If I recall correctly)

1964 Ears Quads:

•  Impedance: 46 Ohms at 1kHz

•  Sensitivity: 118dB SPL/mW

Beyer DT1350's, roughly 80 ohm's, fairly sensitive.

 

Past portable gear:

Headstage Arrow

Pico Amp/Dac

RSA Tomahawk

DIYMod

iMod

iPod Mini with CF card

iPod Photo

 

Impressions to follow.


Edited by aamefford - 7/29/11 at 7:19pm
post #2 of 204
Thread Starter 

6/20/11 - My TTVJ Slim arrived today.  I've only had a couple of minutes with it, so no impressions yet.  Briefly, the build quality is very good, using Headamp and RSA as the "Excellent" markers on the scale.  The Leckerton UHA-4 is somewhere between "good enough" and "Good".  I mention this, because it seems that the TTVJ Slim and the UHA-4 may share the same extrusion for the case, with the TTVJ Slim being longer.  It is a nice form factor, slightly wider than my touch 4G, and about the same length.  OK, here it comes - I'm sure a few have noticed my constant whining about volume control - the TTVJ slim on low gain with my sensitive iem's has at least 6 to 8 volume steps before it is too loud for my comfort, so low level listening with the sensitive iem's is excellent!!!  Yea! (EDIT - maybe not so much, at least for me.)  The LED that changes color with volume setting is very cool, the USB charging jack is located so that a low profile side exit LOD blocks access.  Boo!  Also, the LED will make a nice flashlight as well...  All in all, so far, so good!  Sound impressions will follow "later."


Edited by aamefford - 1/28/12 at 10:16am
post #3 of 204
Thread Starter 

Just a note that I took one for the team and ordered a CEntrance DacPort LX today.  Should have it next week (week of 6/20/11).  Impressions to follow.  If it as good as the standard DacPort, it will have been an easy one to take for the team for sure...

post #4 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

Just a note that I took one for the team and ordered a CEntrance DacPort LX today.  Should have it next week (week of 6/20/11).  Impressions to follow.  If it as good as the standard DacPort, it will have been an easy one to take for the team for sure...


I also took one for the team and ordered the LX as well. Did you get the $50.00 discount available on the first 50 LX's purchased? I'm also curious to hear your impressions on your TVVJ Slim once burned in compared to you old UHA 4. If anything I was planning on upgrading from my UHA 4 to the UHA 120. I just need them to modify the gain for IEMs.cool.gif
post #5 of 204
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

I also took one for the team and ordered the LX as well. Did you get the $50.00 discount available on the first 50 LX's purchased? I'm also curious to hear your impressions on your TVVJ Slim once burned in compared to you old UHA 4. If anything I was planning on upgrading from my UHA 4 to the UHA 120. I just need them to modify the gain for IEMs.cool.gif


Cool!  Yes, I got in on the $50 discount.  Mine should arrive next week, my TTVJ Slim tomorrow.

 

I'll be interested to hear your impressions of the DacPort LX.  I was waiting for it to release, as the standard Dacport wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I really didn't want a dedicated computer only DAC/amp, just a source.  If the standard dacport had a pure line out, I might have done that, as the amp is supposed to be really good.  I think blending it with the TTVJ Slim will work out well.

 

I looked briefly at the UHA 120, and panned it for my use.  My iem's border on problematically efficient, (as do all multi driver customs I think, at least for my low volume listening).  My headphone choices always seem to be pretty efficient closed cans, so I don't really need a quite powerful brick of a class A portable.  What I need is a slim form factor, good control over the headphones being driven, excellent resolution of all detail the source is able to provide, but without being too bright (reports of brightness are what scared me off the ALO RX) and most importantly, a very low gain setting available, with a digital or other very precise volume control.  Hopefully, the TTVJ Slim will provide this.  The UHA-4 checked every box save for the detail retrieval, I think.  The end result may be that the UHA-4 was just perfect, and my touch 4G is worse than I thought...  Either way, it justified a new amp, so I'm good with that!  All comparisons will have to be from memory, as I almost always sell before I buy.

 

*** Edit *** I re-read my comments above on the UHA 120 and it sounded like I was slamming it.  To the contrary, it sounds like an awesome amp - it just doesn't fit my current needs.  Apologies to the maker, and any fans out there!


Edited by aamefford - 6/20/11 at 10:43am
post #6 of 204

Yeah I do look forward to your impressions on the TTVJ Slim. Don't worry I know you weren't slamming the UHA 120; we all have a right to our own opinion and you may just be right about it being to powerful. (BTW is that why Blastone was banned lol for bashing the arrow?) You could also be right about the lack of synergy with your UHA 4 & ipod touch. Then again I think the UHA 4 synergizes quite well with my iPhone 4 but it may not only be based on that. I'm quite positive the headphones you are using with the amp+DAP will make a difference. Both the Sansa Fuze and iphone 4 work wonders with my UHA 4 and Sennheiser IE8 and IE7's. Very good detail retrieval and they both have different sound signatures which go great with the IE8's. The Sansa is warmer and the soundstage seems a tad bigger with it. The iphone 4 has a tad better separation and is more edgy if you will. Guess it just depends on the mood for preference but I generally like the fuze's warm sound better. Also you could have an older ipod touch, the 4th generations sound quality is superior to the older models. What I really love about this amp is it has this extra clarity on the mids and that really makes the IE8's shine since I feel the IE8s have a slight veil on the mids but with the amp, problem solved. I also got an upgraded cable on eBay for the IE8's and I can't believe how it sounds. So much more balanced, its a different monster now. Not looking to upgrade anytime soon; I honestly couldn't be happier at this point. The cable tightens the bass significantly and improves the highs and vocals (now that's what you call synergy ;).

 

I'll be mainly using the DACport LX at home with my Fiio E9 amp. As I know the E7 is a major bottleneck for this amp. For what you pay for the E9 it is a steal of a deal and I think its underrated for what it is capable of.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post


 


Cool!  Yes, I got in on the $50 discount.  Mine should arrive next week, my TTVJ Slim tomorrow.

 

I'll be interested to hear your impressions of the DacPort LX.  I was waiting for it to release, as the standard Dacport wasn't quite what I was looking for.  I really didn't want a dedicated computer only DAC/amp, just a source.  If the standard dacport had a pure line out, I might have done that, as the amp is supposed to be really good.  I think blending it with the TTVJ Slim will work out well.

 

I looked briefly at the UHA 120, and panned it for my use.  My iem's border on problematically efficient, (as do all multi driver customs I think, at least for my low volume listening).  My headphone choices always seem to be pretty efficient closed cans, so I don't really need a quite powerful brick of a class A portable.  What I need is a slim form factor, good control over the headphones being driven, excellent resolution of all detail the source is able to provide, but without being too bright (reports of brightness are what scared me off the ALO RX) and most importantly, a very low gain setting available, with a digital or other very precise volume control.  Hopefully, the TTVJ Slim will provide this.  The UHA-4 checked every box save for the detail retrieval, I think.  The end result may be that the UHA-4 was just perfect, and my touch 4G is worse than I thought...  Either way, it justified a new amp, so I'm good with that!  All comparisons will have to be from memory, as I almost always sell before I buy.

 

*** Edit *** I re-read my comments above on the UHA 120 and it sounded like I was slamming it.  To the contrary, it sounds like an awesome amp - it just doesn't fit my current needs.  Apologies to the maker, and any fans out there!



 


Edited by lee730 - 6/20/11 at 12:07pm
post #7 of 204
Thread Starter 

My touch is a 4G, and I had been quite happy with the sound.  It really boils down to one song that started this whole reconfigure!

 

Cowboy Junkies - "The Trinity Sessions", "Mining for Gold."

 

The song has an underlying rumble that I think is taped mining cars running on rails or mining vent fans.  It is eerily visceral with a good rig, such as my now down-scaled and departed D7000's and headroom uda, or a good mid-fi or better speaker rig.

 

It was conspicuously absent with the UHA-4/Touch 4G/Beyer DT1350 rig, and barely audible with the same rig and 1964 ears Quads.  All this seemed a good enough excuse to start this whole reconfigure.  I am not yet ready to blame the UHA-4.  It may well be the touch, or the synergy, or the DT1350's, though my Nova into the 1350's does bring the missing rumble forward again.

 

I view this positively - an excuse to juggle equipment.  Again!

post #8 of 204

Lol I'm trying not to juggle too much if possible. This hobby is gonna make me bankrupt otherwise :). What I do notice about the UHA 4 is that the amp is actually a bottleneck to the internal DAC. When I hook up the UHA 4 to the Fiio E9 amp and hook up my IEM's or Dennon 5000's to the Fiio it sounds quite better. Soundstage is improved and overall dynamics is up.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

My touch is a 4G, and I had been quite happy with the sound.  It really boils down to one song that started this whole reconfigure!

 

Cowboy Junkies - "The Trinity Sessions", "Mining for Gold."

 

The song has an underlying rumble that I think is taped mining cars running on rails or mining vent fans.  It is eerily visceral with a good rig, such as my now down-scaled and departed D7000's and headroom uda, or a good mid-fi or better speaker rig.

 

It was conspicuously absent with the UHA-4/Touch 4G/Beyer DT1350 rig, and barely audible with the same rig and 1964 ears Quads.  All this seemed a good enough excuse to start this whole reconfigure.  I am not yet ready to blame the UHA-4.  It may well be the touch, or the synergy, or the DT1350's, though my Nova into the 1350's does bring the missing rumble forward again.

 

I view this positively - an excuse to juggle equipment.  Again!



 


Edited by lee730 - 6/20/11 at 12:33pm
post #9 of 204

Well I just got my DACport LX today and I'm enjoying what I'm hearing so far. Not sure if there will be any major changes in sound signature with burn in. Will leave some feedback l8ter. Did you get your in yet?

post #10 of 204
Thread Starter 
I get mine tomorrow, fedex had in incorrect address, missing suite #. Not sure how I did that...
post #11 of 204
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

I get mine tomorrow, fedex had in incorrect address, missing suite #. Not sure how I did that...


Well I have some bad news to report. My DACport is defective straight out of the box. The damn thing constantly cuts in and out. So I have to either keep unplugging it and plugging it back in to get audio out of it or disable it and cut it back on. Very annoying to say the least when I paid $300.00 for this device come to find that it obviously wasn't thoroughly tested before shipped out. They will replace it but nonetheless its very irritating to have to go through this b.s. Just like my Sflo2 same old crap, different day :(. I tend to have very bad luck with electronics in general, not sure why though.

post #12 of 204
Thread Starter 

^^^ @lee730, we've had a bit of PM discussion on this - I hope yours can get sorted out.  Mine dropped completely out twice last night, had to restart itunes to get it back.  It was plugged into a powered USB hub that had a usb hard drive plugged in and was charging my TTVJ Slim at the same time.  The DacPort runs a bit warm, so I think it draws a fair amount of the available power.  I think this was the issue.  Anyway, when plugged directly into my macbook pro, it works just fine, and sounds excellent.  I let it run through the night this way, as my slim and DT1350's need a bit of time on them anyway.  It was running just fine this morning, so a good 8 hours straight.

 

 

So far, mine is working well.  I'll report back with some impressions once I get a bit of time with it.

post #13 of 204
Thread Starter 

A question came up via PM, how warm?  111 F, via the thermocouple on my trusty Fluke.  Warm for sure, cooler than my Macbook Pro when it is cranking on video conversion or something, and sitting in my lap.

 

As to sound - a nice, detailed, non fatiguing sound.  Note that I pretty much started this system from scratch, with nothing much other than a Hedphonia dac cable to compare to.  Headphones are pretty new, dacport LX is new, TTVJ Slim is new.  The combo works well together, and the rumble is back in "Mining for Gold" though not visceral as it was with the D7000's unless I crank it.

 

I am really happy with both my computer / home setup, using the dacport LX => TTVJ Slim => DT1350 / 1964 Ears Quads and my portable rig, as above but subing in my Touch 4G / iPhone 3GS.

 

The Dacport LX is a nice source to the TTVJ Slim.  Between the two, good detail, sibilance is well controlled, not too bright, not too warm.  From what I've read of the regular dacport, the LX sounds like the regular dacport without an amp, and with a true line out.  It works very well for me.

 

The portable rig is held back a bit by the itouch / iphone.  They are quite good, especially given how portable they are.  I use and LOD exclusively into the TTVJ Slim, and the dacport is better.  There may be better portable sources out there, but I'm pretty mac/apple-centric.  Any slight trade off in SQ is more than offset for me by the convenience and user interface.


Edited by aamefford - 7/2/11 at 9:18pm
post #14 of 204

Nice impressions! If you got more please let us all know!

post #15 of 204

Well CEntrance is gonna replace my unit so crossing my fingers (Other than the issues I had with the first unit I really loved the sound). Now just gotta get the Sflo2 battery charging issues sorted out then I'm in audio heaven ;).

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