Curious to hear how this amp performs though. It should compete with other top level amps
Edited by Dubstep Girl - 9/27/13 at 8:24pm
The Zout depends on what output tube you use...if I recall correctly it's around 100 ohms using a 6080, and as low as 50 ohms using a 6528.
I also added an "IEM" mode that trades gain for output impedance, so you can drive 16 ohm IEMs. This is done with a simple resistive alternator, no magic. So the gain is dropped by ~15dB, and Zout is lowered to ~10 ohms.
Although many would argue this amp is only good for higher impedance headphones (over 150 ohms), personally I find many lower-impedance phones (like Grados) sound better with a higher source impedance.
Looks like a wonderful amp! How would you recommend dialing this in for Grados (say RS-1)? Would you use IEM mode? The 6528? Is the input impedance 50k ohms?
I understand. It IS expensive. Hopefully you believe me when I say that the selling price is based on the cost to build - it is really not the same as the Little Dot amp with an enormous profit margin.
The unfortunate reality is that you just cannot build something in the US at anywhere near the cost (using locally sourced parts) in China. Fabricating the metal chassis for this amp costs me almost the same as what the entire Little Dot amp costs you to buy!
Chinese manufacturers seem to be able to live on very thin profit margins as well.
Every time I've tried to do anything "affordable", I've lost a ton of money. Best leave that to China, I'm afraid. So the stuff I build is at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Maybe a cool concept may be to just built the amp chassis-less and pot in into some sort of clear temperature resistant polyurethane and just have the tubes, transformers, and input/output/power jacks exposed?
Would make repairs near impossible though.
I'd suggest using a 6528. The only downside is that they get really hot, and sometimes make some funny mechanical noises. A 5998 would be an option as well.
The IEM position might be attenuated too much for Grados, depending on how loud you listen, or it might be OK.
Input impedance is 50k, yes.
Could you talk about the preamp ...to me, that is what adds enough value to make this statement piece somewhat justifiable. i.e. ...I'm wondering how this would sound in front of my Stax system (SR007, Omega II), AND serve as a speaker preamp AND a dynamic headphone amp, when and if I decide to go that route. Have you voiced this with speaker/preamp function in mind too?
A few comments about this amp for potential buyers.
I have a Pinnacle and love it. My Pinnacle also has the TKD volume control that Pete put in for me and I love it because it's continuous and sound great and allows me to get a perfect level with phones
on any sensitivity or impedance (I'm too OCD to deal comfortably with steppers).
Also, the Pinnacle, and I assume this amp, runs very cool, cooler than any tube amp I've had, about as cool as solid state in terms of ambient heat, so I can sit close to it with no problems
and it doesn't heat the area around it at all that I can sense.
So, based on my experience with the Pinnacle, which has made all the phones I've thrown at it sound very good to awesome (all the usual suspects), if I were in the market for an amp, this would be the first on my list to try.
In time I may be able to arrange for the Teton to travel to you and maybe a few others in the UK but for the next few months it will be on my loaner program here in the USA.
I am really excited - the Teton lands at TTVJAudio today. As of right now I will not mind if it runs a bit hot - it is 40 degrees outside and a little warmth would be appreciated
I will get a small listen in today and maybe some more tomorrow and thenit will be packed and readied for the trip to Denver for CanJam RMAF! I hope ot post some impressions but I am swamped preparing for RMAF so they may have to wait a few days...
Since no one else has posted impressions in this thread, I will give mine from RMAF...
I tried HD800's, Beyerdynamic T-90s, and Audeze LCD2s on this, all from the TTVJ headphone table.
The impression I got from it overall, and I remember saying this repeatedly, is that it is FAST. When I say fast, I mean that there is not the slightest hint of smudging of the signal, and transients and dynamics are all intact. Also, the detail level is very good.
On the HD800s, the Teton has less bass than the ALO Studio Six, which I listened to immediately before it, also with HD800s. My preference with those particular headphones would be the Studio Six, because I think HD800s would be too bright for me on the Teton. There's a lot of personal preference in that statement though. The treble detail of the combination is stellar though, so if you dig treble detail, it may be just the thing.
On the Beyer T-90s, this amp was just sublime. I thought the combination had excellent synergy. I hogged this amp and the T-90s for two entire Mark Knopfler songs, and was just thinking "Wow".
The LCD2s were also excellent on the Teton. Same impressive sense of speed, but with a great sense of fun.
My overall impression, as I said, is one of impressive speed and absolute lack of murkiness. As Pete Millet implied in his post, I would agree that synergy with a particular pair of headphones could be really important with the Teton. My favorite synergy of the three headphones I tried was the Beyerdynamic T-90.
My two cents,