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Aune T1 USB Tube DAC+Amp Discussion Thread ***See first post for FAQ***

post #1 of 5707
Thread Starter 

Hey folks! I'm surprised this wallet-friendly device hasn't really been mentioned much here on head-fi. I recently stumbled upon a thread over at rockgrotto that basically raves about it, so I decided to order one from Aune on ebay. It just came in today. I'm listening to a FLAC rip of the new Pinback album as I type this, and I'm seriously shocked at how good this thing sounds. It sounds good, really good, like light-years-better-than-anything-else-I-have-ever-heard-no-contest good.I haven't done many reviews, and I literally just started listening to this device, so let me present you some brief points worth mentioning.

 

  • I recently had the Audioquest Dragonfly in my possession and the Aune T1 absolutely obliterates it.
  • Other sources I have experience with include the Sansa Clip+, IPhone 4, Sony S639f, S: Flo 2, Ibasso D1, and HRT Headstreamer.
  • The amps I've had have all been solid state. Solid state amps that I've tried include Ibasso D1, Channel Islands Audio VHP-2, AMB Mini3, Digizoid ZO v1 (not really an amp but acts as one), and Audioquest Dragonfly
  • What my experience means is that either 1) I'm blown away because I was born to listen to tubes and didn't know it until now, 2) The Aune T1 is ridiculously good for the price, or 3) a mixture of both 1 and 2.
  • The headphones that I use are a Symphones Magnum v4 build that I put together myself.
  • The tube I usually use in the Aune T1 is a Genalex Gold Lion, but I sometime use a Voskhod 6N23P "rocket logo" tube. 
  • See more in depth tube impressions below.

 

That is pretty much all I have for now. I don't want to be one those annoying people that just raves about their gear simply because its new--I feel truly compelled to inform everyone here that the Aune T1 is in my opinion the REAL DEAL at only $200 shipped.

 

For those who don't like to read, here is my review in picture form:

 

 

 

plus

 

 

 

equals

 

 

 

 

 

 

-UPDATED 7/31/13-

********Here I will address some questions that seem to pop up frequently in this thread*************

 

Q: What types of tubes will work with the Aune T1?

A: 6DJ8, ECC88, 6922, E88CC, 7308, 6N23P, 6N27P, 6N11, 6N1P, 7DJ8, PCC88, ECC189, 6ES8, E188CC, ECC86, 6GM8, PCC189, 7ES8, Cca, CV2492, CV10320, CV5231, CV5354, CV5358, M3624

 

 

Q: Where can I purchase the Aune T1?

A: I purchased mine from the official Aune vendor on ebay (auneaudio) but there are numerous vendors to choose from. I have not heard any negative reports yet from any particular vendor but YMMV.

 

Q: Does the Aune T1 come with a tube? 

A: Yes, the Aune T1 does come with a 6N11 chinese tube. 

 

Q:What is the "upgrade version" of the T1 that some ebay vendors seem to be selling?

A: The "upgrade version" on the T1 is identical to the regular version, but it comes with a better tube. My advice is to get the regular version, then invest your money in some good NOS (new old stock) tubes.

 

Q: What tube should I buy for the Aune T1?

A: See the end of the FAQ for my personal tube impressions.

 

Q: Does the Aune T1 DAC utilize the tube, does the T1 headphone amp section use the tube, or do they both use the tube?

A: The Aune T1 is a USB tube DAC with a solid state headphone amp. What this means is that if you want the benefits of the tube, you must use the USB Input of the T1.  The amp section of the T1 does not use the tube by itself. Technically, you could bypass the DAC of the T1 and just use the amp but this type of use is not really what the T1 is for. One thing you can do is use the T1 USB input then hook up a different amp to the RCA out of the T1. This will give you the benefits of the tube and allow you to try a different/more powerful amp (though I think the amp in the T1 is quite good).  I personally have a speaker amp hooked up this way so I can use my headphones and some bookshelf speakers at the same time from one source.

 

Q:What headphones are adequately driven by the Aune T1 amp?

A: Almost every headphone I have tried with the T1 works very, very well. 

 

Here is a list of headphones that I've used on the T1, and I think sound great:

Sennheiser HD800

Sennheiser HD650

Hifiman HE-400 

Beyerdynamic DT880 and DT990 (250 ohm versions)

AKG K702 Anniversary

AKG K550

Symphones Magnum v4 and v5 (my favorite headphones)

I imagine that Grado headphones would make an excellent match with the T1 since the Magnums sound so good on it.

The Beyerdynamic T1 sounds good on the T1, but I personally found that it benefits a little in the bass department with the extra power from my speaker amp (I terminated the Beyers to banana plugs).

 

Headphones that needed more power than the T1 could offer:

Audeze LCD-2

Hifiman HE-6

 

Extra Notes:

 

If you change the cord or adapter then don`t forget to change it to one that has a FUSE in it!

IMPORTANT! - UK plug fuse should be changed to something between 0,5A - 3A fuse because in stock it comes with 13A fuse which is way too much!

http://rockgrotto.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=talk&thread=8297&page=15#125152

 

****TUBE IMPRESSIONS****

 

Genalex Gold Lion E88CC:

Given some time with the Genalex and comparing it to my precious Voskhod, I have to say I’m quite impressed and that I think I’ve found a new favorite tube. The Genalex has many of the qualities of the Voskhod I like, such as intimate mids and vocals, but the Genalex is able to deliver this to me with more clarity and soundstage. The extra clarity does make the T1 sound more digital and less analog than the Voskhod, but I still think it is ultimately a superior sound. At first, I thought the Genalex had punchier bass, but after adjusting to the sound, I realized I was mistaken and that the Voskhod was more tactile in this respect.  Then, I thought perhaps a gain adjustment would make a difference, and lo and behold, +8 did just the trick in bringing the Genalex bass up to where I wanted it. Good times!

 

Russian 6n23p Rocket logo

This tube is intimacy to the max. Warm, but not muddy. Forward sounding. Output volume seems higher than the other tubes I’ve tried. Very musical and engaging tube. It’s a fun listen for sure but it comes at the cost of some soundstage. Has a very punchy midbass but doesn’t have as much presence in the lowest bass notes. Has a kind of addictive tube sound.

Purchased here: http://www.boiaudioworks.com/6N23P

 

Russian 6n23p-eb

Very nice detailed sound, great soundstage and imaging. Less aggressive than the rocket logo. Has very, very good lower bass presence. Kind of a U shaped sound signature compared to the rocket logo. Overall, very good. Whether or not I prefer this or the rocket logo depends on my mood.

Purchased here:  http://www.thecableco.com/Product/Russian-Military-6H23N-EB--Single-

 

Matsu****a 7dj8

This tube ended up being a pretty big disappointment. Upscale Audio hyped it up majorly, but I found this tube to sound dark, very dark. Lacks resolution and just sounds a little “off.” I do not recommend it. Sounds like I’m listening to a cheap mp3 player instead of a piece of nice audio equipment.

Purchased here: http://www.upscaleaudio.com/products/Matsu****a-%7B47%7D-National-PCC88-%7B47%7D-7DJ8.html    <------this link won't work because head-fi edits out the s-word...lol

 

RCA labeled Amperex 6dj8/E88cc

This tube is very nice. It’s kind of a middle ground between the two Russian tubes. It’s kind of laid-back in a way that is unlike those tubes, though. This tube is balanced sounding, maybe a little soft in the low end and a tad polite in the treble. It’s pretty natural sounding. Good soundstage and imaging.  Overall a nice tube that maybe doesn’t have the addictive character that the rocket logo does and doesn’t have that ultra controlled low bass of the 6n23p-eb, but it does a lot right and sounds great overall.

Purchased from head-fi for sale forum.

 

Amperex 7308  Gold Pin

Alright guys, I finally got my hands on my Amperex 7308. This tube is the real deal no doubt about it. The first thing that stood out when I popped this tube in was man this thing sounds HOLOGRAPHIC. I've never heard anything have this much soundstage but still retain such smoothness. It's well balanced and dynamic with excellent details in the whole sound spectrum. Despite this, I decided to use the Rocket Logo 6n23p as my primary tube. The Rocket Logo has this addictive aggressive sound that I just can't shake. I believe that out of all of the tube I tried, the vast majority will prefer the Amperex 7308, but for me...Rocket Logo all the way...makes my Magnums rock so, so hard.

Purchased here:http://www.upscaleaudio.com/products/Amperex-7308-vintage-gold-pin%21.html

 

 

ALSO SEE SALVATORE'S HELPFUL LINKS BELOW (VERY INFORMATIVE):

 


Edited by joeq70 - 12/14/13 at 11:41pm
post #2 of 5707

Did you get the Voskhod 6N23P tube with the amp or was that a separate purchase?

 

Also, how does it sound driving IEMs?


Edited by 4 cm - 10/23/12 at 10:13pm
post #3 of 5707
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4 cm View Post

Did you get the Voskhod 6N23P tube with the amp or was that a separate purchase?

 

Also, how does it sound driving IEMs?

 

I purchased the tube separately from http://www.boiaudioworks.com/ If you buy the T1 on ebay, you can order it without a tube or with a tube for some extra money (extra $15). The listings are all different, but I went with Aune because I felt better about going with the company that makes it rather than a reseller. However, I imagine the resellers are fine, too. Unfortunately, I find all IEMs to be extremely uncomfortable...my ears just can't take them, so I don't have any IEMs to try with it.

post #4 of 5707
Subscribed. I'm pretty much interested in this DAC/Amp since the price is pretty much not too expensive (extremely wallet saving actually biggrin.gif).
post #5 of 5707
Thread Starter 

Not a lot of interest it seems...that's ok, though. I just want stop by and say that after a week of listening to the Aune T1, I wholly reaffirm my positive impressions about the device.

post #6 of 5707
Congrats on unearthing a gem and loving it without spending loads!!

It was in my consideration when I was shopping for a tube amp.. But I opted for another DIY built tube amp only as I didn't need the DAC function, and also it was cheaper..

I never listen to T1 before but I guess it will be good! I have always been particularly impress of audio products made by the Chinese at a fraction of the cost.. And in the example of aune, they definitely do look gorgeous as well!! cool.gif
post #7 of 5707

Good thread. This DAC is a real gem. I read only good things about it.

I've no experience with Magnum cans. Can I still consider them Grados (at least in sound sig. department)?

My cans at the moment are HD598, Alessandro MS1 and some cheap AKGs.

Can you give more impressions about how this DAC works with your Magnums or maybe some other HPs?


Edited by northerntiger - 11/2/12 at 3:55am
post #8 of 5707
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by northerntiger View Post

Good thread. This DAC is a real gem. I read only good things about it.

I've no experience with Magnum cans. Can I still consider them Grados (at least in sound sig. department)?

My cans at the moment are HD598, Alessandro MS1 and some cheap AKGs.

Can you give more impressions about how this DAC works with your Magnums or maybe some other HPs?

I think you could place Magnum and Grado in the same ballpark, but they aren't all that similar. Compared to the SR line and RS line, for instance, the Magnums have a much better soundstage and bass and a warmer signature. However, the Grado influence comes through in the way mids are presented and the overall "vibe" of the sound. Still, Magnums have their own distinct thing going on.

 

I sold off all of my other headphones to put together my magnums, so I don't have any other cans to test out on the Aune T1. I'm going to try out the MS Ultimate mod on my Magnums when the jumbo pads come in just for curiosity's sake.

 

That being said, my original impressions stand...love this DAC/AMP. 

post #9 of 5707

suscribed!

post #10 of 5707

I've just gotten this DAC+Amp two days ago, and unlike the rest of the internets I've gotten a defective unit. I actually bought it from another forummer in a local forum.

 

The DAC unit has a channel imbalance and the left channel louder than the right channel. Switching modes between DAC+Amp, Amp alone, and DAC alone, I found out that the DAC part of it is the defective one.

 

A simple re-balancing from the sound control center fixed it up.

 

 

I am still discussing with the previous owner about it, and he is hinting that he had only used the amp part fed through an external CD player, that kinda explains how he does not notice the DAC part has a channel imbalance.

 

For the fun part, the sound

 

Oh my god I am melting in my chair listening to it. It is so good. I have never used a proper amp before, and I've been only using a FiiO E11 for the past few months when I started. This tubeamp blew them right out of the water. The highs are so sparkly and has some sort of organic feel to it. The vocals are massively emotional, I can feel her every breath and every time her lips move. I am pairing it with a Goldring DR150 with a Vero 150 cable. Everything just 'fits'. The relationship is between the components is like a love story. Everything is a lot more beautiful.

 

If you have the money, go out, and buy it (unless you shop online), and plug it in. Melt in your chair, you deserve to have Norah Jones sing for you after a hard day at work/school.

 

But don't feed it with low quality songs though. They're pretty forgivable, but don't push it too much.

post #11 of 5707
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq70 View Post

I think you could place Magnum and Grado in the same ballpark, but they aren't all that similar. Compared to the SR line and RS line, for instance, the Magnums have a much better soundstage and bass and a warmer signature. However, the Grado influence comes through in the way mids are presented and the overall "vibe" of the sound. Still, Magnums have their own distinct thing going on.

 

I sold off all of my other headphones to put together my magnums, so I don't have any other cans to test out on the Aune T1. I'm going to try out the MS Ultimate mod on my Magnums when the jumbo pads come in just for curiosity's sake.

 

That being said, my original impressions stand...love this DAC/AMP. 

 

Thanks for the clarification. I hope it'll shine with my cheap MS1 too.

Have you noticed any channel imbalance btw.?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

I've just gotten this DAC+Amp two days ago, and unlike the rest of the internets I've gotten a defective unit. I actually bought it from another forummer in a local forum.

 

The DAC unit has a channel imbalance and the left channel louder than the right channel. Switching modes between DAC+Amp, Amp alone, and DAC alone, I found out that the DAC part of it is the defective one.

 

A simple re-balancing from the sound control center fixed it up.

 

I am still discussing with the previous owner about it, and he is hinting that he had only used the amp part fed through an external CD player, that kinda explains how he does not notice the DAC part has a channel imbalance.

 

For the fun part, the sound

 

Oh my god I am melting in my chair listening to it. It is so good. I have never used a proper amp before, and I've been only using a FiiO E11 for the past few months when I started. This tubeamp blew them right out of the water. The highs are so sparkly and has some sort of organic feel to it. The vocals are massively emotional, I can feel her every breath and every time her lips move. I am pairing it with a Goldring DR150 with a Vero 150 cable. Everything just 'fits'. The relationship is between the components is like a love story. Everything is a lot more beautiful.

 

If you have the money, go out, and buy it (unless you shop online), and plug it in. Melt in your chair, you deserve to have Norah Jones sing for you after a hard day at work/school.

 

But don't feed it with low quality songs though. They're pretty forgivable, but don't push it too much.

 

Wow, nice info and great solution to the problem.

I see you have JVC HA-S500 as an avatar. Have you tried them with the DAC?

post #12 of 5707
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by northerntiger View Post

 

Thanks for the clarification. I hope it'll shine with my cheap MS1 too.

Have you noticed any channel imbalance btw.?

 

Wow, nice info and great solution to the problem.

I see you have JVC HA-S500 as an avatar. Have you tried them with the DAC?

I have not noticed any channel imbalance at all. I am using this as both as a DAC and Amp via USB. Sounds amazing!

post #13 of 5707
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post

For the fun part, the sound

 

Oh my god I am melting in my chair listening to it. It is so good. I have never used a proper amp before, and I've been only using a FiiO E11 for the past few months when I started. This tubeamp blew them right out of the water. The highs are so sparkly and has some sort of organic feel to it. The vocals are massively emotional, I can feel her every breath and every time her lips move. I am pairing it with a Goldring DR150 with a Vero 150 cable. Everything just 'fits'. The relationship is between the components is like a love story. Everything is a lot more beautiful.

 

If you have the money, go out, and buy it (unless you shop online), and plug it in. Melt in your chair, you deserve to have Norah Jones sing for you after a hard day at work/school.

 

But don't feed it with low quality songs though. They're pretty forgivable, but don't push it too much.

What tube are you using with your unit?

post #14 of 5707
Quote:
Originally Posted by northerntiger View Post

 

Wow, nice info and great solution to the problem.

I see you have JVC HA-S500 as an avatar. Have you tried them with the DAC?

Yes I do own one, they don't really pair well I must say. The highs weren't as sparkly, there is absolutely zero sibilance unless the track has a lot of sibilance, and the speed is slower. I used to love how the S500 has no sibilance, but after my DR150 showed me what proper sibilant can do I absolutely love them. The tubeamp improved a lot of the bass quality, for the S500 it means more and more bass. It's not really overwhelming it's just that I like my bass a little tamer.

 

I doubt other people has channel imbalance, I've looked everywhere and scoured all over the internets, but I cannot find anyone with the same problem as mine. Pictures of the internals show how the unit is made up of good quality materials, components and good soldering.

 

Now my S500 is more of a portable headphone than a desktop listening headphone. They're apples and oranges as the S500 is also good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq70 View Post

What tube are you using with your unit?

It is a Russian tube, Electro-Harmonix 6922EH. I have never used any other tubes before in case you want to ask how they compare with other tubes.

 

**edit: So I've talked with the previous owner and he said the unit was fine when he was using it, and was fed through USB as well. We're setting up a meeting so he can test out the unit with his own equipment. I believe he is using an M50 IINM.

 

***edit: Added the name of the tube Electro-Harmonix.


Edited by penmarker - 11/9/12 at 10:47pm
post #15 of 5707

This thread cost me $198. But can't wait to hear the T1. Another friend bought one and brought it to my attention (he doesn't have his yet), but this review pushed me over the cliff. I also ordered the other tube mention, and look forward to comparing them.

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