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Bakoon HPA-21 headphone amplifier - Page 31

post #451 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleheadMay View Post
 

 

As I am considering the Japanese Bakoon, which seems to have the same volume control problem, I am worried.

In the other thread this has been said as well, not much volume control with the TH-900, some people use it at no more than 1 on the dial setting.

On the other hand, both the Japanese and Korean Bakoon amps are said to be just about the ideal amp for the TH-900.

IMO having so little volume control must be really annoying. And I do not want a dac with volume control, I hate multiple volume controls in the chain.

So how can an amp/phones combo with so little volume control be a great match? Not trying to be negative here, just looking for an explanation as I am really interested in this amp.

That's absolutely not the case with the HPA-21. Low z can are more current hungry so there is incredibly precise and wide volume control with the TH900. Out the the current output I usually listen at around 12'o clock for modern recordings with a DAC with standard 2V Rms output. And there is plenty of room to play with between 10pm and 2pm on the volume dial.

 

About the HD800 and T1, the mid-bass was obviously boosted and the overall presentation sounded very unnatural. It was a short shop demo so take it with a grain of salt. But the feeling I had was that the music  didn't sounded right somehow.


Edited by zenpunk - 8/13/14 at 5:15am
post #452 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post
 

Simple solution:  just turn down your DAC output so that you get virtually no sound leak at 0 volume and you get all the range of volume adjustment you like (7am to 7 pm).

 

By the way, in my experience, I rarely have to crank up the volume of any amp beyond 1 o'clock for most of my listening except when the amp is really under-powered for the headphones (e.g. most amps with the HE-6). 

 

No, I meant position 1 on the dial setting, not 1 O'clock. People in the other Bakoon thread were using it either at 1 on the dial (1 person) and another between 1 and 3). That would be around 7-9 O' clock, which is veru little.

Like yourself I usually go to about 1 O' Clock on most amps. On the HP-A8 I go between -20db and -5db with no amp gain applied since that affects SQ IMO. So the A8 must be underpowered.

 

As for the Dac, my next Dac will have no volume control, which is exactly what I want. If I would connect the Bakoon I would set the HP-A8 to direct out since I do not want two volume controls in a row, just like I set my computer's volume and music player's volume to maximum, always. A volume control affects the sound, so the less you have, the better it is.

 

So in that case, with a Dac without volume control, is it true one would have so little margin on the Bakoon amp with a TH-900 or are people listening at really low volume? And in case it is true, how then could the Bakoon be a great match for the TH-900?

 

In any case, having to pump up the volume to 90-95% like I do now with the A8 isn't ideal either, but if what I read about the Bakoon I'd get the opposite, which may not be desireable as well. 

 

Happy with any info I can get on this and do correct me where my reasoning is wrong. There must be something wrong if so many people find it a match made in heaven with the TH-900.

post #453 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenpunk View Post

 

 

About the HD800 and T1, the mid-bass was obviously boosted and the overall presentation sounded very unnatural. It was a short shop demo so take it with a grain of salt. But the feeling I had was that the music  didn't sounded right somehow.

Thank you for the comments on the HD800.

 

It's interesting that I view the same sound as an improvement!

 

I always thought that the HD800's bass, while deep and taut, was on the lean side and lacking somewhat in weight and impact compared to live music--I am thinking tympani not rock.

 

With the Bakoon HPA-21, the amount of mid-bass or upper-bass was just enough to provide a better foundation to the sound and a more satisfying bass impact.

 

It is good to know that others may not necessarily view this as a good thing. 


Edited by Justin_Time - 9/1/14 at 5:53pm
post #454 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenpunk View Post
 

That's absolutely not the case with the HPA-21. Low z can are more current hungry so there is incredibly precise and wide volume control with the TH900. Out the the current output I usually listen at around 12'o clock for modern recordings with a DAC with standard 2V Rms output. And there is plenty of room to play with between 10pm and 2pm on the volume dial.

 

About the HD800 and T1, the mid-bass was obviously boosted and the overall presentation sounded very unnatural. It was a short shop demo so take it with a grain of salt. But the feeling I had was that the music  didn't sounded right somehow.

 

Thanks for getting another view, puts my mind at ease a bit.

 

This post and the post below, as well as the part of the post from Justin_Time I quoted a bit higher on this page made me wary.

But I guess the problem is with higher impedance rather than the sensitive Fostex?

post #455 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleheadMay View Post
 

 

No, I meant position 1 on the dial setting, not 1 O'clock. People in the other Bakoon thread were using it either at 1 on the dial (1 person) and another between 1 and 3). That would be around 7-9 O' clock, which is veru little.

Like yourself I usually go to about 1 O' Clock on most amps. On the HP-A8 I go between -20db and -5db with no amp gain applied since that affects SQ IMO. So the A8 must be underpowered.

 

As for the Dac, my next Dac will have no volume control, which is exactly what I want. If I would connect the Bakoon I would set the HP-A8 to direct out since I do not want two volume controls in a row, just like I set my computer's volume and music player's volume to maximum, always. A volume control affects the sound, so the less you have, the better it is.

 

So in that case, with a Dac without volume control, is it true one would have so little margin on the Bakoon amp with a TH-900 or are people listening at really low volume? And in case it is true, how then could the Bakoon be a great match for the TH-900?

 

In any case, having to pump up the volume to 90-95% like I do now with the A8 isn't ideal either, but if what I read about the Bakoon I'd get the opposite, which may not be desireable as well. 

 

Happy with any info I can get on this and do correct me where my reasoning is wrong. There must be something wrong if so many people find it a match made in heaven with the TH-900.

There nothing wrong with the "quality" of the sound of the Bakoon HPA-21 with the TH-900 regardless of the volume position,

 

You are referring to the convenience of having a wide range of adjustment.  That all depends on your DAC output.  Just check that out to see if it is compatible with the Bakoon HPA-21 low-setting gain. Given the lose standard on DAC output and headphone impedances (compared to say speakers), it is no surprise that this kind of mismatches happens.  I think it would be wise to   

 

Still I think that Bakoon could have done a far better job picking the ranges of their low and high gain (or have three ranges if necessary like the HeadAmp GS-X Mk2).  Bakoon gave me some story about the way that their volume control is designed for best sound quality making it difficult to suppress sound leak at 0 volume and to have a wider volume range for each gain setting.  They offered to add resistors to reduce the gain for the HD800 and TH-900, but then the lower gain would not be workable with other slightly less sensitive headphones.  And the change is hardwired!  I thought that engineers are suppose to work out these kinds of problems first before putting out products for the consumers.

 

Sometimes I find it hard to put up with this kind of nonsense (especially with long-distance communication).  But I guess if you like the eggs, you have to put up with the chicken.  

post #456 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin_Time View Post
 

That all depends on your DAC output.  Just check that out to see if it is compatible with the Bakoon HPA-21 low-setting gain. Given the lose standard on DAC output and headphone impedances (compared to say speakers), it is no surprise that this kind of mismatches happens.  I think it would be wise to   

 

Sure, but how? Anything I can find with tech-specs because there is nothing to demo here in Belgium.

 

Still I think that Bakoon could have done a far better job picking the ranges of their low and high gain (or have three ranges if necessary like the HeadAmp GS-X Mk2).  Bakoon gave me some story about the way that their volume control is designed for best sound quality making it difficult to suppress sound leak at 0 volume and to have a wider volume range for each gain setting.  They offered to add resistors to reduce the gain for the HD800 and TH-900, but then the lower gain would not be workable with other slightly less sensitive headphones.  And the change is hardwired!  I thought that engineers are suppose to work out these kinds of problems first before putting out products for the consumers.

 

My thoughts exactly. And I am intersted in the GS-X as well, but there lately people are reporting hum-problems when stacking the amps. I wonder how bad these problems are though, but I also wonder why a commercially available integrated amp doesn't have that kind of problems, or why a HP-A8 with Dac doesn't have that as well. I'm perfectly happy to spend a few K on an uber headphone amp but I'd love it if it didn't have any problems then.

 

Sometimes I find it hard to put up with this kind of nonsense (especially with long-distance communication).  But I guess if you like the eggs, you have to put up with the chicken.  

 

Long distance communication and the ridiculous import taxes and hassle here in Europe (or Belgium) at least.

 

Anyway, thanks for helping me out.

Also Zenpunks post gave me hope again since I will only be using the amp with the TH-900 and similar cans.

And if I buy the Bakoon it will be the JP version with UL boards and non-linear volume control (winging resistance attenuation, whatever that is) so I hope this one will give even greater control over the volume.

post #457 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleheadMay View Post

Anyway, thanks for helping me out.
Also Zenpunks post gave me hope again since I will only be using the amp with the TH-900 and similar cans.
And if I buy the Bakoon it will be the JP version with UL boards and non-linear volume control (winging resistance attenuation, whatever that is) so I hope this one will give even greater control over the volume.

Yes, that will do it. It will suppress sound leak at 0 volume and allow a wider range of adjustment at higher volume. Bakoon claims that the other volume control preserves the purity of the sound better. I am in no position to verify that.

Bakoon designed their amp to accept a certain range of input voltage. As long as your DAC output is toward the low end, you will be fine even with the Korean version. Yeah, your only choice is to check the specs.

As to the GS-X Mk2, the potential hum strongly depends on how you stack the two pieces--you can use vibration-control feet to get some distance between them--or put them side by side. It all depends on your system. I am lucky. I can stack them which ever way and never get any hum even if I tried. You can also make sure that you have a single common ground for everything in your system.

You may also want to consider using fully balanced input and output (not possible with the Bakoon) to eliminate any AC hum problem. That is what I eventually did.

Cheers,

J_T

PS: you may want to check my (very long) post in the High-End Forum discussing the selection of cables and amps for four headphones. There is some discussion of the sound of the Bakoon and GS-X that may be of some use to you.
Edited by Justin_Time - 8/13/14 at 7:02am
post #458 of 561

Thanks JT, very helpful. I'll try to find that post but I'm pretty sure I laready read it if it was the one inclding the EAR HP4.

Also thanks to Zenpunk for sharing your experience with the amp.

post #459 of 561

I'm sure it has already been discussed, but is there a consensus opinion of how the T1 performs with the HPA-21?

post #460 of 561

I was also greatly disappointed to realise that the Bakoon doesn't seem to bring much to the table when using the PM-1.

It is also the first planar I tried that  IMO sounds better out of the voltage output, which really surprised me but tells a lot...

post #461 of 561
Quote:
Originally Posted by zenpunk View Post

I was also greatly disappointed to realise that the Bakoon doesn't seem to bring much to the table when using the PM-1.
It is also the first planar I tried that  IMO sounds better out of the voltage output, which really surprised me but tells a lot...
About the PM-1?
post #462 of 561

I've moved all the posts about the HPA-01 to this thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/731884/bakoon-hpa-01-headphone-amplifier

 

Some of the discussion might be a bit disjointed as a result.

post #463 of 561

Leben fan here.

 

I have the HPA-21 with LCD-3 and it keep ups with the Leben CS300xs, which is saying a lot. 

 

It's glass smooth and utterly grain free. 

 

In my setup, the Leben is more open and has that magic that makes you want to keep listening, so I prefer it.

 

But the Bakoon is up there.

post #464 of 561

What is everyone's favorite DAC source for their HPA-21? I'm still using the DAC section of my Burson Conductor (which the Bakoon bumped from amplifying duties). 

 

Have heard good things from Head-Fi'ers about the Chord products, and I'm awaiting my fully-tweaked LH GeekWave and dock next spring, but was wondering what my friends have found synergy in connecting to their HPA-21's. 

 

Thanks!

post #465 of 561

I am using Audio GD NFB3 connected through ACSS output. Top sound for peanuts...:D

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