Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Little Bear B-2 Portable Amp
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Little Bear B-2 Portable Amp

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Two months ago I began my quest to find a portable amp solution.  I wasn't quite ready to sink a ton of money...basically trying to find a cheap solution.  So I did my research on good old eBay.  So in my under $100 search I found several cMoy based amps.  I read that many of the cMoys by JDSLabs and Bioscience Geek had really good reviews but I couldn't get over the fact that the guts were packaged in a tin.  I wanted something in an aluminum case that could get me some compliments like, "Wow...what is that lump in your pants...pretty impressive."  So the choice came down to the Little Bear B-2.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4OP-chips-Rechargeable-portable-Headphone-Amplifier-amp-JRC4556-2604-NE5532-2134-/110961293704?pt=US_Pro_Audio_Amplifiers&hash=item19d5cef988

 

Here is what you get for $60 and a month wait for it coming on the slow boat from China.  By the way I am Chinese and the wait was painfully long but well worth the wait.  You get a cMoy based amp encased in a hefty black aluminum case. (Stuff this thing in your jean pocket and you may get some looks from some chicks...) 

 

 

So it's what's inside the package that counts right?  Right away I see big knobs I want to get my hands on them.....on the amp that is.

 

 

 

Now there is a reason why there are two knobs that you can get your fingers tips on.  This allows you to slide out the internal board to swap out the OP chip.  When I first opened up the case there was a little black bag that had three other OP chips.  Yes three additional OP chips.  I did not see that in any of my other searches. JRC4556/BB2604/NE5532/BB2134.  

 

 

 

The JRC4556 came  installed.  I listen to each of the OP amps briefly and settled on the BB2604 with my Alessandro MS-1's.  One word of warning.  Make sure you use a IC pulling tool or you can end up with a seriously bent pin.  Being the cheap person that I am I took a pair of sharp foreceps and bent both tips inward to get under each side of the chip.  When inserting the chip take extreme care to line everything up and GENTLY seat it in.  Also note the little notch on the chip to make sure you don't insert the chip in backwards.

 

The other thing you will notice in the picture is the blue brick.  Cann't tell if it is LiPo or NiMh...but either way it's rechargable and hasn't heated up or blown up (for those worried about Chinese rechargeables) in the past month of use.  As far as I know $60 doesn't get you a cMoy with a rechargeable battery pack....BYOB (battery not beer).  One thing that was different from the other designs was that when I plugged in the power adaptor to charge the unit, everything turned off.  At first I thought that this was a defect.  After sending a message to the seller, whom I must say was pretty quick in replying to my questions, I was reassured that this was normal.  The design of the circuitry is to divert power to recharging the battery when the adaptor was plugged in.  This is different from the other amps which allows for a increase in voltage when both external and internal (battery) power is used.

 

So the important thing is how does it sound?  Well I would have to say that the unit needs a couple of hours to get burned in.  Whether it is psychological or not...."it just sound beddur.."  Initially I had a little scratchiness with the volume which eventually went away permanently after a couple hours of listening.  There is a good amount of clean power from this box.  I don't hear any background hiss...just clean sound.  Note I am not going to give any incite to whether this is a warm or cold sounding unit.  I think this may depend on the OP amp that is installed.  What I can say is that everything sonically is brought several notches compared to the head out from my ipod touch.  Oh..by the way I realized what a difference the line out from the ipod into the amp made compared to using the head out.  As for what kind of cans this baby can handle?  I trialed monoprice IEM 8320, Alessandro MS-1, Sony v6, and AKG 240S.  All did very well.  Compared to the amp on the FiiO e17, this trumps it on power.  It may not have the fancy treble and bass adjustments but it packs a punch.  I can  not keep the cans on with the knob turned more than half up.

 

Overall I would say that this is the best $60 I have spent.  A decent rechargable portable with extra OP amp chips and a charger in a light purple felt bag.  Didn't care much for the purple sack...but cann't complain.  One gripe I can say is that the input and headphone jacks have slightly larger openings.  When plugged in there is slight play.  Also the large nipples...no I didn't say that..knockers....uh...screws next to the input and headphone out jacks can be a problem with large diameter plugs.  I would say anything larger that 1 cm in diameter will not clear the screws unless you replacement with a smaller screw.  Please note I have no affiliation with Little Bear Audio nor am I getting any type of comp from them.  I was too lazy to take my own pictures and they had great shots so I used theirs with permission.  Oh...please for give any typos or gramatical errors...me ah Chilese.  Thanks for reading my first review.


Edited by hchanrn - 3/23/13 at 7:04pm
post #2 of 26
When I was searching for an amp not long ago (which ended up being C&C BH) this was another option I was considering at the time. Can you speak anything about the soundstage, detail, and clarity? I know the battery is rated on this at about 160 hours which the seller said is reality.
post #3 of 26

Funny, I was looking at this on ebay yesterday, but couldn't find anything about it on head-fi...

 

What are the dimensions? Any idea about the weight?

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post

When I was searching for an amp not long ago (which ended up being C&C BH) this was another option I was considering at the time. Can you speak anything about the soundstage, detail, and clarity? I know the battery is rated on this at about 160 hours which the seller said is reality.

The sound stage for me with any amp is dependent on the set of cans I am listening to and the source of material.  On my Alessandro MS-1 I get a wide, open staging with live concerts.  A sense that I am on the stage.  For me the staging didn't seem to change with the amp that I was listening to.  As for detail and clarity,  This unit leans slight more towards the bright side.  With jazz sax i.e. Chris Botti, the brassiness from the sax rings out just enough with out being harsh.  With Yo Yo Ma there is a warm presence but I would say this might be dependent on the OP amp used.  Clarity....I can hear yo yo ma sucking in air while playing, live concert tracks....voices of stage helpers communicating in the background.  The clarity is basically there.  The highs hold up well and I do not hear any break up....the lows, depending on the set of cans stay intact with a nice punch.  On my sony v6 I can feel some of the sub sonic bass with Low from Flo Rida.

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post

Funny, I was looking at this on ebay yesterday, but couldn't find anything about it on head-fi...

 

What are the dimensions? Any idea about the weight?

I believe I am the first one to review this unit on head-fi.  Anyone else out there with this unit?  He hasn't sold many units because there is not much publicity on little bear products.  I would say a definate try.  I would say what the heck?  Shipping would basically be half the cost of what they charge for the package.  Dimensions 4" x 2 1/2" x 1"....weight...same at one D cell battery?  I don't have a postal scale so cann't be sure.

post #6 of 26

I emailed the seller and here is his reply:

 

 

"size:10*6.5*2.2CM (not included knob parts)
weigh:225g"

 

so i guess it is a little longer if you take the knobs into account.

post #7 of 26

This is 60 bucks amp?  How the hell did the chinesse get anything from this sales?  Always coming out with cheap and at least decent product

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrias View Post

This is 60 bucks amp?  How the hell did the chinesse get anything from this sales?  Always coming out with cheap and at least decent product

I call this kinda stuff the 2 buck chuck of head fi gear.  I also want to mention that on the circuit board is has little bear audio printed on it.  So their own product.  Usually what I have found is that once something good comes out someone else out there (in China)  copies the design and re engineers their own version.  So I think this is the first version.  Anyone out there...correct me if I am wrong.

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

Opps...one major correction to my review after doing some research.  The design of this amp I believe is a mini3...not a cMoy as I mentioned before.  Please feel free to comment and discuss.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Okay....actually the more I look at the board lay out....the more I cann't tell what this is.  Alien technology?  Anyone out there can figure this one out?

post #11 of 26
Interesting anybody else herd this?
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hchanrn View Post

Okay....actually the more I look at the board lay out....the more I cann't tell what this is.  Alien technology?  Anyone out there can figure this one out?


Been looking at this amp. What about parts quality? What brand caps/values? What is the part# on the other opamp soldered to the board? Might give us a clue to the circuit type. Thanks for the review. Thanks, satwilson

post #13 of 26

Many thanks for an interesting review!

In fact I had purchased this amp a few months back, and found it to have quite a good clear and open sound. Solidly built and quite attractive. What is truly amazing is that the battery in it lasts and last for quite a very long time. Had asked seller whether replaceable batteries are available in case the installed battery no longer keeps the charge and he answered that they were for quite a reasonable price, which is good to know as the battery replacement is easily replaceable, without having to solder any wires to the board.

However, I have made a quick search on ebay and it seems that for some reason or other these amps are no longer available (at least at the moment) on ebay.*

*Edit: Have rechecked ebay again on the 24th September, 2013, and these amps are again available.


Edited by Rosario - 9/24/13 at 12:36pm
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by hchanrn View Post
 

Okay....actually the more I look at the board lay out....the more I cann't tell what this is.  Alien technology?  Anyone out there can figure this one out?

 

Looks like a very simple PCB with rather standard components (they pass through the PCB and are not surface mounted like other high end portable amps). This remind me the PCB I used to build and sold when I was younger; hence the rather cheap price.

The most important however is the sound and how you like it :)

post #15 of 26

I got one of these as well.. I was lucky to win an auction. I think i got it for around $25. Currently I am using it with my Allen & Heath XD2-53 and the onboard soundcard until the Sabre U2 dac arrives. I must say it is quite a nice amplifier. Comparing it to my brothers Objective O2 I find that it might be lacking a bit of  sound witth, and the bass I slightly more boomy while the O2 has a more precise and tighter bass. I can't wait to test it with the new DAC. If it's worth it I might get an O2 as well!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Little Bear B-2 Portable Amp