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Hifiman EF2A USB DAC/Amp appreciation thread

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

I am a regular lurker and sometimes advice seeker who has been using the HD598 and Hifiman EF2A for over a year now. I just wanted to start this thread to point out how great the EF2A is as a beginner level single box desktop amp/dac solution.

 

I will point out the deficiencies upfront too. It probably has too much gain for low impedance headphones however, once the tubes burn in (at least 100 hours) the painful spikiness goes away. Also, the DAC unit is really basic and it will only handle 16/44 CD quality audio.

However, keeping in mind the beginner level distinction, I think it is a really competent amp/dac offering in the sub $200 range. I would love to hear what other headphones people have tried with the EF2A and your tube rolling experiments. I have shied away from tube rolling till now, but now I am ready to jump in.

post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 

Has anyone compared the EF2A to the Aune T1? I wonder what the aune(as Dac) and EF2A combo would sound like...

post #3 of 36
Thread Starter 

Noone appreciates their EF2A even a litle bit?

post #4 of 36

Yeah I was just wanting to ask that, these two amp dacs are on the top of my list, although i might just go for a e17 just for the portability. Tell me if you find out anything about the difference in sound between those two tube amps. :)

post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lithium1085 View Post

Noone appreciates their EF2A even a litle bit?

It's OK. I would suggest RCA 5654 tubes with them as I think they sound much better than the crap Chinese ones - clearer and darker. 

post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post

It's OK. I would suggest RCA 5654 tubes with them as I think they sound much better than the crap Chinese ones - clearer and darker. 

Thanks a lot mate :)

post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 

I have heard good things (not by personal experience) about the russian 6J1P-EV and the mullard CV4010 tubes as well. I am sure that the aune's DAC would be better than the EF2A(since its almost the most basic possible).

post #8 of 36

I'm using a matched pair of Jan-GE 5654W tubes with this little amp. For $20 or so it's makes a big difference.

 

A lot of people complain about the gain problem and some of the mushiness in the sound. It's not perfect but my take on it is different. If you want a BMW, but go and buy a Chevy (and you're disappointed), what were you expecting. The HifiMan is a Chevy. It gets you there and back without any problems or complaints. The gas mileage is pretty good, too. For <$200 I think this is a really good piece of equipment. I've been listening to tubes for 20+ years, currently own three top notch preamps, two great tube amps, and have bought and sold a handful of hi end units along the way. While this little unit doesn't compare to the output I get on my all time favorite Audible Illusions preamp, it works just fine when I'm sitting here listening with my AKG's. I prefer it over my Xonar ST sound card and, frankly, don't care if it's not perfect. 

 

Get your tubes and really burn them in. I think you'll find the EF2A is quite capable and a value at it's price.     
 

post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 

I totally agree with you there.....Its great value for its price. I just need a good DAC to link up with it now.....
 

post #10 of 36

I just purchased this AMP and am interested in seeing how it runs. Its Interesting to see what else everyone has to say. Any suggestions for a newbie?

post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by swm1 View Post

I just purchased this AMP and am interested in seeing how it runs. Its Interesting to see what else everyone has to say. Any suggestions for a newbie?

 

Welcome to Head-Fi!! It really is a great little amp. Wonderfully smooth tube goodness. What kind of headphones are you going to be running through it?? 

post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swm1 View Post

I just purchased this AMP and am interested in seeing how it runs. Its Interesting to see what else everyone has to say. Any suggestions for a newbie?

Just enjoy it with a nice pair of headphones!

post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lithium1085 View Post

Just enjoy it with a nice pair of headphones!

Agreed... I would stick with higher impedance cans tho. They sounded amazing with my Denon's but I had to keep the volume very low to stop my head from exploding. So smooth though. I wish the DAC would have been a little better but still its a great starter tube amp that looks and sounds great.

 

Enjoy

post #14 of 36

How would this unit work with Senn HD558s. These seem pretty to drive from a Fiio e7, would they be overwhelmed by the high gain of this unit. I have most of the Flacs on my iPad at 16 bit "cd quality" I have a few at higher rates. What happens if I try to play these through the HF2A, no sound?

post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teb1013 View Post

How would this unit work with Senn HD558s. These seem pretty to drive from a Fiio e7, would they be overwhelmed by the high gain of this unit. I have most of the Flacs on my iPad at 16 bit "cd quality" I have a few at higher rates. What happens if I try to play these through the HF2A, no sound?

I have the HD598 (which I believe has the same driver) and they work good with it. However, the gain is a little high for these headphones and the workable volume is pretty small. If you already have an amplifier, i don't think you will benefit too much from them. The DAC on it only supports CD quality. I have tried a few 24/96 WAV files and there is playback. However, I believe windows is downsampling to 16/44 on the fly. 

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