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Bakoon HPA-21 headphone amplifier - Page 11

post #151 of 589

Haidar just posted a link to another current mode heaphone amplifier, the Questyle CMA800 - http://www.head-fi.org/t/675239/questyle-cma800-current-mode-amp.  

post #152 of 589

Along those lines, this should be right up Macedonian Hero's alley.  Key buzz words are Current Mode Amplification... 

post #153 of 589
Originally Posted by jacal01 View Post

Along those lines, this should be right up Macedonian Hero's alley.  Key buzz words are Current Mode Amplification... 

Not the most impressive looking amp and the specs are a bit on the weak side if one is looking to power orthos. Seems over priced too...but not HPA-21 over priced.


The DAC section looks pretty good though. For portability, I'd go with the new Centrance:



Edited by MacedonianHero - 8/12/13 at 6:06pm
post #154 of 589

Man, there's just no pleasing you, is there?  Looks like you're firmly stuck in the voltage driven (or pulled) system impedance laden high bias cook 'em if you got 'em Class A amplification realm.  For your orthos.  Forever for the orthos.  wink.gif 


Actually, I doubt if this Chinese amp is overpriced.  They seldom are, relatively.  But I'd be curious to know what you're using for a cost/value yardstick.  Component quantity?  Circuit topology?  Bias to output amperage?  Moar power? 


I don't think this USB DAC/amp is portable; more along the lines of a desktop.  At a distortion spec of 0.0004%, I wish it were. A little portable current sourced DAC/amp offering fidelity at that level would be a fox among the hens. 

post #155 of 589
Originally Posted by DarKu View Post

Great review CanDude, here it is my review also, I liked it a lot.

Very transparent, having a multi layered sound and smooth as a tube amp, I will miss it that is for sure smily_headphones1.gif

thanks for this great review, but one point in your conclusion make me nervous to buy it: " cons : Extreme linearity attenuates a bit of musicality". 


Indeed, this is not the first time I read such a thing about the HPA-21 !   it is THAT bad ?  ( we are here to enjoy our music, not to "analyse" it !!)

post #156 of 589
The thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/649056/two-high-end-bakoon-headphone-amp-japan-version-discussion-and-appreciation-thread was more or less hijacked for Bakoon HPA-21. I felt that one of the best headphone amplifiers in the world needed its own thread so please continue to post discussions, reviews etc. of Bakoon HPA-21 in this dedicated thread.

Your Bakoon HPA-21 is made in Korea
The ones my friend bought is made in Japan
Bakoon has two different manufacture
Original Bakoon is from Japan , I think the word hijacked is not correct .
In this case these two country have their product line .
Japan Bakoon look classic style
Korean Bakoon look modern style



Edited by rudi0504 - 8/16/13 at 8:04am
post #157 of 589

I'm a little late in on this thread, but I do remember middlesky saying they preferred the Japanese verison of this amp more than the DarkStar.






Today I have chance to listen HE6 via Bakoon HDA 5210 Mk3, and it's definitely the best headphone amp I ever heard for HE6, even compared to DarkStar. This amp also a monster power amp like Darkstar, it can drive HE6 only via "low current" output.


Compare to DarkStar, I feel this amp is more full bodied, has better midrange presentation, smoother treble, more bass punch, and has the same 3D feeling, though the DarkStar still take the lead in term of width and depth soundstage. I don't think this amp is cleaner or has better detail presentation than Darkstar though.


But with the price it's offered (less USD 2000), I think this amp is simply amazing!

post #158 of 589

It's too bad the Japan always on powered by the wall model is hard to get.  Being better than the $200 DS... not saying much however ;)  Fully aware RSA puts it in what they figure is a $3000 case but the amp... $200.  Google gain clone.

post #159 of 589
Originally Posted by Solude View Post

It's too bad the Japan always on powered by the wall model is hard to get.  Being better than the $200 DS... not saying much however ;)  Fully aware RSA puts it in what they figure is a $3000 case but the amp... $200.  Google gain clone.


Never heard the darkstar before, is that how a lot of people see it? Just a trashcan product with nice casework? That seems hard to believe. Skylab's review of the darkstar seemed pretty good especially when considering the HE-6. He said it was the best amp he'd heard with the HE-6 at the time.  That sounds significant to me.

post #160 of 589

Not saying it sounds like crap just that it's a gain clone which is well regarded as something that punches above it's price tag.  47 Labs used to sell them for lots too until someone cracked the case ;)

post #161 of 589
Does someone has news about their to-come battery powered DAC ? Associated with the HPA-21 this combo can produce a very convenient set-up transportable around the house or... Under the patio ! :-)
post #162 of 589

After much reading and research, I have decided to order one of these units.


Can't understand the hate towards the HPA-21 demonstrated by some members here,

without even listening to it.


I will reserve judgment until I hear it for myself. I had thought that I already purchased

my "last" amp with my fully upgraded WA5LE, currently running Royal Princess 300B's,

but I can't help but be drawn to the HPA-21. I love to hear all the detail that

lies within the recorded music. But so far everything I tried that could do that was 

just too bright for my taste. I thought, after many years of my quest, that I had found the

best listening experience possible for me. And I do love my setup.


But, I want to give the HPA-21 a real honest listen. After all, I believe this

current-mode circuit is the only thing I have not had the pleasure to try yet. And I have

tried many different amps and headphones, which usually means me purchasing it

and living with it for a while before I decide if it will stay with me, or get sold.


And so it will be with the HPA-21.


I can't wait to take delivery!

Edited by banger - 9/9/13 at 9:43am
post #163 of 589

I may have discovered a reason for the voltage output in addition to the current output on the HPA-21.  It appears that when you have headphones plugged into both outputs at the same time, the current flow increases through each output for a given volume level, and especially through the current output.  It almost analogous to removing a plug on output flow, that tangible.  I don't know if it's a quirk of the current gain/output methodology or just this particular amp's design topology, but I think it works more efficiently with both HP outputs loaded. 

And this may be subjective, but it also seems like the music is richer, more full, lessed veiled, as well, but this may be a function of the volume level, since this can be duplicated with one output at a higher volume setting. 
Another subjective impression is that in some ways the voltage output might be a touch more euphonic with some headphones, even though perhaps less revealing, than the corresponding current output.  I find with my current setup, my LCD-2s plugged into the voltage output and TH900s plugged into the current output, that I will periodically put on the LCD-2 cans for the "easy listening" pleasure.  Certainly I'm not losing any SQ, I feel, from the LCDs being plugged into other conventional voltage output amps.
Bottom line, if you want ensure moar power for your orthos with the HPA-21, plug a set of headphones into the other outlet.     
Edited by jacal01 - 9/4/13 at 6:41am
post #164 of 589
Originally Posted by Dr. Roberts View Post


I have the schematics which I am certainly not going to publish here.

But are available If you know where to look.


The input stage is a high impedance voltage to current converter.

the next stages are usually referred to as current conveyors and are open loop

back to back balanced current mirrors (basically Wilson current mirrors with tweaks)

feeding an adjustable resistor for gain. Then an open loop no voltage gain class A



A number of different companies are using this kind of circuitry these days with

great results. Bakoon,krell, audio-gd, ayre...  Its takes a lot of parts. Distortion typically in the

.002% range. No TIM. Very fast.



From one of the main men himself.



I'm not familiar with Audio-GD since I have never been interested in purchasing one of their amps. From Solude's comments apparently they utilize different circuit designs in their line. I was referring to the commentary above which if memory serves, was in response to a posting having to do with the the SATRI circuit. Again, high praise indeed from the man that designed two of the most popular and best sounding amps on Head-Fi.

post #165 of 589

Yeah, the audio-gd current driven amplifier is about the only one that I don't presently possess.  I now have the Bakoon HPA-21, the Krell Phantom III and the Questyle CMA800, which now gives me the unique opportunity to evaluate a goodly portion of the current gain/output HP amplifiers currently available.  Should be interesting to see if I can discern differences at their various price points.  Already I can tell the the lower end CMA800 has very near the clarity of the HP-21 with just this weekend's preliminary comparisons.  I haven't yet brought the high end Krell on line.  But since they all offer minimum output signal distortion, I'm starting to get the impression that the main point of differentiation between the various current loop amplifiers may well be the relative analog-like mids body/texture/timbre that each one lends to the music.  Again, very preliminary impressions at this point, so discount everything I've said here.


I'm not sure why I elected not to buy one of Kingwa's current amps.  I bought his Master 7 DAC, but not the comparable amp to take advantage of his ACSS version of the SATRI interconnect circuit.  Probably because I was already targeting the Krell Phantom current loop preamp for the DAC to feed into, since the ACSS circuit is compatible with the comparable Krell CAST current interconnect, but as it turns out the Phantom III offering forewent their usual CAST input option, and so left me with only the usual XLR and RCA voltage interconnects to choose from.  C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? 

Edited by jacal01 - 9/10/13 at 7:06am
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