Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Reconfiguring my portable rig - Random updates on the journey
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Reconfiguring my portable rig - Random updates on the journey - Page 2

post #16 of 199
Thread Starter 

A few new changes - I contacted CEntrance about trading my DacPort LX for a regular DacPort with the class A amp.  I always have to disassemble my portable rig to spring my amp for computer listening with the LX, so I figured I'd go ahead and get the DacPort with the amp.  Per CEntrance, the LX is essentially the regular dacport with the volume set at 1 o'clock.  CEntrance was extremely accommodating with the trade, even though I'd had the LX for a month or so.  That covers computer listening changes, and should work fine with my DT1350's, though I'm not so sure that it will have a low enough volume for my iem's.

 

For the portable rig, I have a Pico Slim to compare to my TTVJ Slim (Thanks bwarfel!).  I like the TTVJ Slim's sound a lot.  It is excellent with my DT1350's, but the first volume step is right at, or just above my normal comfortable listening volume with my iem's and ipod touch, unless I use EQu, which has lower output.  EQu is a battery hog, though it is an excellent EQ program for the iphone and touch devices.  Hence the Pico Slim, which has the best volume control I have ever used for sensitive iem's.  The Leckerton UHA-4 comes in at number two for excellent iem volume control.

 

Alas, the Pico Slim doesn't have the same intangible, ah, musicality? Fun? Soul? that the TTVJ Slim does.  The Pico Slim is a great amp, and probably the one I will keep, as it is perfect with my iem's, and quite good with my DT1350's.  It is detailed, has a nice punch.  It is a bit clinical though.  The TTVJ Slim by comparison, has some magic fun factor, warmth and soul that gives just a bit of life to the music, at the expense of a bit of accuracy.  As I said, the Pico Slim is a great amp, but I really wish I could afford to keep the TTVJ Slim as well.

 

Anyone else have the opportunity to compare the two Slims?  I'd be curious to hear other's take on these amps.  Bottom line, both are really good portable amps.  The Pico Slim's volume control is the best I've found for iem's, and that will likely be the deciding factor for me.

post #17 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

Anyone else have the opportunity to compare the two Slims?  I'd be curious to hear other's take on these amps.  Bottom line, both are really good portable amps.  The Pico Slim's volume control is the best I've found for iem's, and that will likely be the deciding factor for me.


I had TTVJ Slim with DAC and Pico Slim with separate Pico DAC here awhile back. My recollection of the comparisons I made were a bit different than yours, I found the TTVJ to have a bit more punch in the midbass which gave it a fun quality but I found it a bit hard through the upper mids/treble and a little thin which gave it a bit more of a clinical/fatiguing sound. By contrast I thought the Pico Slim had a more relaxed full-bodied sound that I found I preferred. These impressions were consistent regardless of which DAC I used with which amp.



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.


The story that I was told by someone who knew the producer was they turned on the heat which caused the pipes in the church to make all kinds of noise. The recording was done using one stereo mike direct to tape so anything you hear in the recording was happening during the recording sessions, nothing would have been added after the fact.

 

post #18 of 199
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elnero View Post




I had TTVJ Slim with DAC and Pico Slim with separate Pico DAC here awhile back. My recollection of the comparisons I made were a bit different than yours, I found the TTVJ to have a bit more punch in the midbass which gave it a fun quality but I found it a bit hard through the upper mids/treble and a little thin which gave it a bit more of a clinical/fatiguing sound. By contrast I thought the Pico Slim had a more relaxed full-bodied sound that I found I preferred. These impressions were consistent regardless of which DAC I used with which amp.




The story that I was told by someone who knew the producer was they turned on the heat which caused the pipes in the church to make all kinds of noise. The recording was done using one stereo mike direct to tape so anything you hear in the recording was happening during the recording sessions, nothing would have been added after the fact.

 


To the first part, probably is the midbass bump that makes it a bit more lively.  I haven't listened to them enough to really draw good long term conclusions yet.  I suspect the Pico Slim will win based on the volume control.

 

As to the second part - Really cool, I did not know that.  It is pretty amazing to me how visible or invisible the sound of the pipes is, depending on what equipment I use to listen to it.  With my now departed Denon D7000's, it was right there, under the singing.

 

And last, I re-read some earlier posts where I said the TTVJ Slim had about 6 usable volume positions.  True, depending on overall gain of the song - I was listening to Dire Straights at the time, a quietly recorded album.  In general, the first setting from dead quiet is +/- just at comfortable listening with my iem's.  It is great with the DT1350's, which likely benefit from the mid-bass bump.

 

Thank you elnero for your impressions.

 

post #19 of 199

Aameford,

 

A little off topic, when you had your Ipod Mini did you ever have the chance to pair it with the Pico Slim? If so how was the sound?

post #20 of 199
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marvelousmarvyd View Post

Aameford,

 

A little off topic, when you had your Ipod Mini did you ever have the chance to pair it with the Pico Slim? If so how was the sound?


I had the iPod mini a couple of years ago, and sold it a while later.  I just received the Pico Slim on Tuesday, so I never had the chance to pair them.

 

post #21 of 199

Wow aamefford so you got the DACport now? Do you like it better with the amp sound quality wise? I just got back my replacement LX and mostly everything seems to be working fine now. I'm gonna try out a USB hub to see if the issue may have been caused by a lack of power to this thing. Since I found I'd only be using the LX at home and that I could save $100.00 of the base price of the DACport I opted for the LX instead and I am quite happy I did so. I really enjoy this unit through my Fiio E9 which gives a more neutral sound over the UHA 4.

 

Edit: And I seem to have solved that cutting in and out issue that you yourself experienced a few times. its quite funny honestly, the very USB hub you used which caused you this issue is what fixed my issue. Not sure why but I think my USB ports either couldn't give enough power to the DACport or it was overloading it. Now that I feel the DACport it is slightly warm but not extremely hot like it use to get whiled plugged into my area 51.


Edited by lee730 - 7/27/11 at 12:16am
post #22 of 199
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

Wow aamefford so you got the DACport now? Do you like it better with the amp sound quality wise? I just got back my replacement LX and mostly everything seems to be working fine now. I'm gonna try out a USB hub to see if the issue may have been caused by a lack of power to this thing. Since I found I'd only be using the LX at home and that I could save $100.00 of the base price of the DACport I opted for the LX instead and I am quite happy I did so. I really enjoy this unit through my Fiio E9 which gives a more neutral sound over the UHA 4.

 

Edit: And I seem to have solved that cutting in and out issue that you yourself experienced a few times. its quite funny honestly, the very USB hub you used which caused you this issue is what fixed my issue. Not sure why but I think my USB ports either couldn't give enough power to the DACport or it was overloading it. Now that I feel the DACport it is slightly warm but not extremely hot like it use to get whiled plugged into my area 51.


My Dacport should arrive August 1.  I found I was tearing down my portable stack every time I wanted to use the Dacport, and decided the $100 extra was worth it not to have to do that.  I started out thinking I would always use an amp, due to the iem's, but decided I almost always use my DT1350's at home.  I can always set dacport volume at 1:00, and plug into my Pico Slim when I do use iem's out of the computer.  As to the usb hub, I think I was just drawing too much from it - Dacport LX, seagate external drive, charging the TTVJ slim.  It may be fine if I don't do all of that.  I just never bothered testing once I figured out it was fine straight out of my macbook pro.

 

I'll post an update once I check it out for a day or two.

 

post #23 of 199
Thread Starter 

Quick update - I've traded the DacPort LX in for a standard DacPort with the class A amp.  It turns out that the gain on the dacport coupled with the sensitivity of the DT1350's has me using the very bottom end of the dacport's volume travel.  CEntrance uses a nice pot in the dacport, so channel imbalance goes away at just past audible volume, at least on my unit.  I am able to use it this way. I still end up plugging it into my Pico Slim most of the time for finer volume control.  The DacPort is otherwise dead on with the many reviews (positive ones at least) on line and at head-fi.

 

I have contemplated adding a bit of impedance to my DT1350's via resistors in some sort of pigtail cable between headphones and dacport, just to get a bit more volume travel.  So far, path of least resistance has won out and I just use the Pico Slim when necessary.

 

Quick note on the Pico Slim - if I recall, gain is 0 to 2, with the most finely graduated digital volume control out there.  It serves me as a fantastic attenuator to get hot source signals (ipod touch, dacport) down to the low volume levels I prefer, even with very sensitive multi-driver iem's

post #24 of 199
Thread Starter 

A quick note - components are still the same.  I have gotten away from using the Pico Slim with the DacPort almost completely.  The DacPort has enough volume adjustment to work for me, though barely, unless the recording is one of the Volume Wars victims...  (for reference, my constant gripe is enough volume control at low listening level with sensitive headphones and iems)  A lot of what I listen to is older stuff, so most of it is recorded with 0 db as the peak, rather than average...  Another note on that subject - Adele 21 is very well recorded, with LOTS of dynamic headroom.  Nice to hear!

post #25 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

A quick note - components are still the same.  I have gotten away from using the Pico Slim with the DacPort almost completely.  The DacPort has enough volume adjustment to work for me, though barely, unless the recording is one of the Volume Wars victims...  (for reference, my constant gripe is enough volume control at low listening level with sensitive headphones and iems)  A lot of what I listen to is older stuff, so most of it is recorded with 0 db as the peak, rather than average...  Another note on that subject - Adele 21 is very well recorded, with LOTS of dynamic headroom.  Nice to hear!


So you loving Adeles music too. She has some very good music. She also has some haters who obviously have no knowledge of what true music is. rolleyes.gif Still using my LX as my desktop rig. I've found my Xi-fi card pretty much unusable now as I can hear major his through my IEMs and my logitech Z-5500 speakers. I actually use an adaptor to feed my Z-5500 speakers using the Fiio E9 and DACport LX
post #26 of 199
Thread Starter 

Wow,  This is about the longest I've held still on a rig.  I'm getting the itch to try something new, but no real itch to sell anything.

 

I did add an iPhone 4s to my "stuff".  I signed up for itunes match, and have only the itunes match added 256 kbs songs on the 4s.  It sounds darned good!  The 3GS is touted as great sounding, but I like the 4s better.

 

Back to something new - closed, superaural (over ear), light, rugged, portable.  Big soundstage (understood, it's closed, but best I can do given closed), lush mids, smooth treble, fast, accurate, tight and controlled bass.  I want to stay $300 +/- or under, street or used price.  Prefer easyish to drive, or at least driven well by my DacPort, which seems to have impressive voltage swing for a bus powered unit.

 

ThunderPants? Will the DacPort drive ThunderPants? Eh, too pretty anyway.  I've sold 3 expensive woodcup cans for the same reason - terrified to mar them.

 

Any suggestions?  

post #27 of 199
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

Wow,  This is about the longest I've held still on a rig.  I'm getting the itch to try something new, but no real itch to sell anything.

 

I did add an iPhone 4s to my "stuff".  I signed up for itunes match, and have only the itunes match added 256 kbs songs on the 4s.  It sounds darned good!  The 3GS is touted as great sounding, but I like the 4s better.

 

Back to something new - closed, superaural (over ear), light, rugged, portable.  Big soundstage (understood, it's closed, but best I can do given closed), lush mids, smooth treble, fast, accurate, tight and controlled bass.  I want to stay $300 +/- or under, street or used price.  Prefer easyish to drive, or at least driven well by my DacPort, which seems to have impressive voltage swing for a bus powered unit.

 

ThunderPants? Will the DacPort drive ThunderPants? Eh, too pretty anyway.  I've sold 3 expensive woodcup cans for the same reason - terrified to mar them.

 

Any suggestions?  


Well if you look at my avatar you may have an idea of what I'm using ;). I modded my denon 5000s into open-back cans and I find them to match your description to a T. I tested this mod out before making it permanent and could not go back to stock; it is so much better than before. I was actually gonna sell my Denon 5000s before I tried this mod and now I've made it a permanent mod. I don't even have the slightest itch to upgrade to something like the LCD2 or HD800, I feel they have improved that much with this mod. What these open-back denons remind me of is the Sony EX1000s sound signature but everything is improved, sound stage is bigger, treble is more airy and detailed, bass is deeper, and has more quantity with excellent control, mids are lush and are very open.

 


Edited by lee730 - 12/22/11 at 4:01am
post #28 of 199
Thread Starter 

I thought I'd add an update on the iPhone 4s as a source.  Note that I ponied up for iTunes Match, and am using the 256 kbs material provided by this service, or Pandora as the only media on my iPhone.

 

It sounds surprisingly GOOD!

 

With my 1964 Ears Quads, I really prefer to use the EQu app.  One can reduce the gain by just sliding the whole spectrum down.  This helps immensely with my oft stated low volume listening habits.  I mostly use it set flat.  I will occasionally add +3 db from about 7K on up.  Sort of a sloped step function, just to add a bit of sparkle.  I do this quite rarely, though.  ***EDIT - EQu is a battery hog!***  The Touch 4G/Pico Slim with Apple Lossless is still superior, but by a much smaller margin than I had suspected.  This makes on the go listening a bit easier.  Funny, my iPhone in the Otter Box "you could almost drive over it with a truck" case is only very slightly wider than the touch/pico slim stack and is a bit thinner, but it is a uniform size, and not two things o-ringed together.  It really is easier to stuff in my pocket at work.  As for iTunes Match - I give it a big thumbs up for convenience.   I was going to transcode my whole lossless library down to a separate 256 AAC library just for our iPhones.  Match does this by default, and allows over the air music changes.

 

With my Beyerdynamic DT1350's - the iPhone is good, but not at the same level as with the quads.  The beyers are 80 ohm vs I think 46 for the quads, and are a bit less efficient.  It still sounds very good, and functional.  The Touch 4G/Pico Slim stack works really well with the Beyers.  It offers more "life" (PRAT maybe?).  The convenience factor is negated for the most part, as I usually just pull my DT1350's off and hang them on my computer monitor when I leave my desk, so the extra size and odd shape of the touch/pico slim stack is less of an issue.

 

Summary - iPhone / iTunes Match 256 media is a great combo with the quads.  The convenience more than makes up for any (very) minor reduction in overall sound quality.  The same setup with the Beyer DT1350's is still quite good, but just a bit flat.  The Touch/Pico Slim is noticeably better, and worth the little extra fiddling.  My best setup with the Beyers is my laptop and DacPort - now that sounds really good!  Same issue with convenience, though.  It sounds better, but is more fiddly.  I usually just grab the Touch/Pico Slim stack.


Edited by aamefford - 12/30/11 at 10:07am
post #29 of 199

Good to hear you are enjoying your portable set up. I just opted for the Studio V as I want the long battery life along with the Class A amp that comes along with it. This amp is comparable to the RSA mustang in sound and can also be used to power other DAPs all in one package. With 85 hours of flac playback I think this was a steal of a deal at half off price (175.00). Will mainly be using this with my FX700s, IE80s and my Custom TF10s once they are done remolding. Looking forward to moving up to the Starkey SA-43 eventually though.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

I thought I'd add an update on the iPhone 4s as a source.  Note that I ponied up for iTunes Match, and am using the 256 kbs material provided by this service, or Pandora as the only media on my iPhone.

 

It sounds surprisingly GOOD!

 

With my 1964 Ears Quads, I really prefer to use the EQu app.  One can reduce the gain by just sliding the whole spectrum down.  This helps immensely with my oft stated low volume listening habits.  I mostly use it set flat.  I will occasionally add +3 db from about 7K on up.  Sort of a sloped step function, just to add a bit of sparkle.  I do this quite rarely, though.  The Touch 4G/Pico Slim with Apple Lossless is still superior, but by a much smaller margin than I had suspected.  This makes on the go listening a bit easier.  Funny, my iPhone in the Otter Box "you could almost drove over it with a truck" case is only very slightly wider than the touch/pico slim stack and is a bit thinner, but it is a uniform size, and not two things o-ringed together.  It really is easier to stuff in my pocket at work.  As for iTunes Match - I give it a big thumbs up for convenience.   I was going to transcode my whole lossless library down to a separate 256 AAC library just for our iPhones.  Match does this by default, and allows over the air music changes.

 

With my Beyerdynamic DT1350's - the iPhone is good, but not at the same level as with the quads.  The beyers are 80 ohm vs I think 46 for the quads, and are a bit less efficient.  It still sounds very good, and functional.  The Touch 4G/Pico Slim stack works really well with the Beyers.  It offers more "life" (PRAT maybe?).  The convenience factor is negated for the most part, as I usually just pull my DT1350's off and hang them on my computer monitor when I leave my desk, so the extra size and odd shape of the touch/pico slim stack is less of an issue.

 

Summary - iPhone / iTunes Match 256 media is a great combo with the quads.  The convenience more than makes up for any (very) minor reduction in overall sound quality.  The same setup with the Beyer DT1350's is still quite good, but just a bit flat.  The Touch/Pico Slim is noticeably better, and worth the little extra fiddling.  My best setup with the Beyers is my laptop and DacPort - now that sounds really good!  Same issue with convenience, though.  It sounds better, but is more fiddly.  I usually just grab the Touch/Pico Slim stack.



 

post #30 of 199
Thread Starter 

@lee730, stop back by here and post an update on your impressions of the Studio V after you have lived with it for a few weeks and the new wears off!  I am curious about this and the Rocoo.  I'm really pretty Apple-Centric when it comes to portable source gear, just for the convenience of it - I am really pretty Apple-Centric in general...  Still, I am curious about a source and good amp combo - something Apple does not really offer.  Apple offers portable "good enough."  I'd really like to find and try portable "excellent" in one reasonably sized box.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Reconfiguring my portable rig - Random updates on the journey