Originally Posted by afhole
I was perusing portable headphone amps with the idea of making my iMac's output a bit more exciting (looking at the iBasso D12)
I noticed a lot of talk about 'Opamp Rolling'
'Rolling' appears to mean replacing, is this correct? Can anyone offer a brief explanation of Opamp Rolling for the ignorant such as myself, and also why on earth it is called 'rolling' and not upgrading or replacing?
Thanks in advance,
Yes, "rolling" means replacing. Don't really know how that term came to be. Different opamps lend slightly different flavors to the SQ, thus one is able to tailor the performance to one's own musical preferences as well as matching the amp to the phones.
Differences are rather subtle, not night and day. It behooves one to become very familiar with the stock sound of the amp before swapping opamps in order to have a baseline for meaningful comparisions. One needs to be careful to select opamps that are compatible with the amp, as some use dual-channel opamps while others use single-channel opamps.
If you choose an SOIC case style, the opamp must be soldered to an adapter that makes the SOIC opamp compatible with the amplifier DIP sockets. One can also use opamps with DIP case style directly without the use of an adapter. Not all opamps are available in both case styles. One also needs to observe supply voltage requirements when selecting different opamps to try.