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Project Ember Review - Page 43

post #631 of 644

Just got my 7XX's!! It sounds great with the amp...like holy crap does it sound superb. Thanks to everyone for recommending this amp and thanks for all the help you all have given!

 

Also, I've got a 12au7 Tesla valve and a 12ax7 JJ valve (the stock one). Is the stock one worth keeping? Also I'm planing on buying the supercharger since I got the amp for just 200, since I want to try out some of the crazy valves, so maybe you guys can recommend some? And until my birthday which comes up in a few months I'm going to stick with my PC's onboard dac.

post #632 of 644

I'm no fan of JJ tubes myself but I hear that they do have some good ones. I love the 12ax7 tubes. Not a fan of the 12au7 though. I've had a few of those and though they sound fine I just prefer the 12at and 12ax and 12bh.

 

I'd say the JJ is worth keeping though as a back up or to remind yourself how much better your other tubes are from time to time.

 

Enjoy your new amp dude. It's a great one.

post #633 of 644

I received a JJ ECC82 (same thing?) with my Ember & it was OK but I'd already bought a couple of 6SN7's before the Ember & adapter arrived. It took all of one song with the Sylvania 6SN7GTA Chrome Dome to consign my JJ to the role @Amish states above. I'll keep it as a back-up but I hope to never have to use it in anger.

 

The JJ does sound energetic. I'll give you that, but to me it sounds like it's trying too hard. Perhaps that would be good for certain genres but not for my tastes.

post #634 of 644

Hi everyone, while I know the Ember's already been reviewed I'm putting in my two cents (or more but who's counting) on the Ember 2.0:

 
Unboxing, it was packaged very well - enough so that the tube was just fine, which I surprisingly saw was in the unit during transit. Looks very clear & pretty in real life compared to any photos.
 
Initial impressions: Using the stock-tube, I was already impressed with the sound. It was set to medium gain and for some reason I got the impression that the beat of the song I was listening to was somewhat disjointed from the rest of the song. Everything seemed colored perhaps just a smidget too much, with a very subtle distortion. Still however even with the stock tube, it sounded better than my previous amp setup, which was the Capella amp with a Magni 1 as a pre-amp into it via 3.5mm to RCA cable - and I really (thought) I loved that setup too, so that's saying a lot about the Ember; better detail retrieval and soundstage perhaps.
 
Next I went ahead and popped in the Sylvania 6SN7 tube that I ordered separately (6SN7GTB Sylv. yellow print, silver top tube) with the 6SN7 adapter which I also ordered from Jeremy. And this is when the magic started - literally something changed within me and it really made my day! Playing a song that I've used to compare other hi-fi setups at a headphone meet, I instantly began to think this sounds on par with the best sound I've ever heard, and then, WOW, it really hit me: I had one of those rare moments where time sort of stops - I'm transported into some netherworld existence and all my hair stands up with goosebumps all over my body and I can only speak jibberish. Now of course I'm not saying this is the world's best tube or anything, but this was my personal reaction. To put it into more technical terms, everything was more vivid and lifelike with more detail retrieval all across the spectrum. A piece of a recording that previously game me the impression it was mastered badly on previous amps, all of a sudden sounds cohesive and pleasing. I'm not quite sure if the soundstage seems bigger than the stock tube, but I can only seem to describe this tube with Ember 2.0 as refined and vivid! Wowza. Oh and big thanks to those who had recommended this tube. I owe you one sometime.
 
Now onto more tweaking: (The headphone I used mostly throughout this several hour test was the HD 650.)
  • Gain settings (output resistance): two jumpers, one on each side towards the front for each L / R channel, which can be pulled out while the music is playing and put into place for low, med. or high gain settings. I found the low gain on all cans to be somewhat thin and not as refined overall, and the high gain to be perhaps a bit overdone on the dynamics and/or bass; but yes, like others have said, medium is usually the way to go! This setting gives good PRAT (pace, rhythm & timing), dynamics/punch and detail.
  • Input attenuation: these are the jumpers towards the back right which have two settings, one for each L / R channel and are set to W/AM (with module) or WO/AM (without module). Upon A/B'ing these 2 settings twice, the only difference I noticed was that the volume was maybe around twice as much on the 'without' setting and rotating the volume knob makes more sound. So I preferred its' default setting.
  • Capacitor bypass jumpers. (AWESOME ALERT!!!) These are the two jumpers spaced about 2" apart, in front of the tube; one for each L / R channel. Wrongly assuming 'more is better', I reluctantly switched the settings (from the stock "TC" to "BP-C" on both sides) expecting nothing. Initially I didn't know what changed, but a few seconds later I started noticing more... umm... more of everything! Those little crackly nuances 'plankton', instrument separation was improved moreso! I then A/B'd this to with the capacitors,  only to realize, that (IMO anyway), without a doubt I can hear more detail and refinement without the capacitors! Furthermore I compared with the capacitors on and with the Magni 1 daisy-chained via headphone-out to the Ember (which I previously though was the winner), but realised the caps-bypassed option on with the Ember connected directly gave better clarity / rhythm. It also seems the rhythm is slower with the caps. Not to say things sounded faster without, but moreso 'right'.
 
I also compared the way the Ember 2 performs on two closed 'cans (caps still bypassed), the Beyer. DT 150 and SoundMagic HP 100, and although this finally 'woke up' the DT 150, I was more impressed overall with the performance of the HP 100; this being a low-impendance 'can somehow sounded more refined with the Ember's hi-gain setting: vivid, fluidic textures, strikingly clear micro-details and deep sub bass. A finding of myself and others though on these two cans BTW is that they seem more suited for vocal / rock / classical than electronic music. HD 650 really synergises amazingly with the Ember 2.
 
Anyway this amp is good enough to make me wanna sell the last 2 amps I've purchased, and, already having two sets of 7193 tubes and an adapter on the way, I'm wondering if I should be 'afraid' of how good the Ember will sound with them.

Edited by DecentLevi - 7/2/15 at 1:01am
post #635 of 644

yes you should be afraid....:beerchug:

post #636 of 644

levi your review while a little simplistic ( incorrect terminology) is conflicting,  you say"  but realised the caps-bypassed option on with the Ember connected directly gave better clarity / rhythm. It also seems the rhythm is slower with the caps. Not to say things sounded faster without, but moreso 'right'."  which is it, you say rhythm is slower with the caps on then say it is not faster without the caps..........

post #637 of 644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
 


Teac UD-301 or Bifrost for the Under $500 choice, just my 2 cents

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard51 View Post
 


read about caiman mkII of stanley beresford.... quality /price ratio... i had his other dac and this is a very good one....:ph34r: and also the emotiva stealth dc1 dac...very good reviews about it

 

Thank you both. I will check those DACs.

 

Another thing is when i connect the FiiO X5 or X3ii via line out as standalone player, i get a scratchy volpot. I've been told that maybe the FiiO players have a little DC...whatever that is....

 

When i connect both players via line out as a USB DAC the noisy volpot is gone. Weird...


Edited by jaxz - 7/2/15 at 6:58am
post #638 of 644

I've been telling people for a long time now that the Ember hits way above it's price point. It truly is an outstanding amp.

post #639 of 644
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amish View Post

I've been telling people for a long time now that the Ember hits way above it's price point. It truly is an outstanding amp.

+1
post #640 of 644

@DecentLevi, great review

You have the terminology of gain and resistance mixed

post #641 of 644

In my testing of the 3 different jumper settings, the only one that seemed to yield a similar result to when adjusting the gain settings on previous amps, happened to be the jumpers on both sides towards the front of the Ember. It seemed that only those two in the front seemed to change the dynamics / sound characteristics, etc. It seemed strange to me that these are labeled output resistance, when to me it seems like the effect of a gain stage. So are you saying the one in the back is the true gain setting? 

 

Yes I realised when writing that it seemed a bit conflicting, but what I meant to say was that in my test, the rhythm seemed slightly slower with the capacitors, and without, while it didn't seem faster than it's supposed to be, it sounded slightly faster than with - probably an effect of faster attack/release etc.

 

Also if you want to help me with a question about a tube, please click here to see it on the other thread.

post #642 of 644
I gave you a breakdown of the different options available here..

http://www.head-fi.org/t/702826/project-ember-tube-rolling/530_10#post_11732878

You should read it.
post #643 of 644

@DecentLevi

 

Just in case you haven't got it already the manual is available here..

 

http://www.garage1217.com/MANUALS/EMBER%20MANUALS/EMBER%20II%20MANUAL%204-4-15.pdf

post #644 of 644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DecentLevi View Post
 

In my testing of the 3 different jumper settings, the only one that seemed to yield a similar result to when adjusting the gain settings on previous amps, happened to be the jumpers on both sides towards the front of the Ember. It seemed that only those two in the front seemed to change the dynamics / sound characteristics, etc. It seemed strange to me that these are labeled output resistance, when to me it seems like the effect of a gain stage. So are you saying the one in the back is the true gain setting? 

 

Yes I realised when writing that it seemed a bit conflicting, but what I meant to say was that in my test, the rhythm seemed slightly slower with the capacitors, and without, while it didn't seem faster than it's supposed to be, it sounded slightly faster than with - probably an effect of faster attack/release etc.

 

Also if you want to help me with a question about a tube, please click here to see it on the other thread.

I see where it can seem like the output resistance is miss labeled but think of it like this, if you have 3 different headphones of similar efficiency but different impedance,  say 32, 300, and 600 ohms and you drive them of the same amp, the highest impedance one will sound the softest while the lowest will sound the loudest.

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