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Mini review of Govibe Vulcan+ The Versatile Headamp with Hardware EQ! + the Mod!

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry if the review is not adequate. So that's why I called them mini review. This is purely my impression, so forgive me if there's a lot of miss spoken word in my review

 

Not to be mistaken with Govibe Vulcan that has DAC and Amp, Vulcan+ only is an amp only unit, and also more expensive one.

 

It has hardcoded hardware EQ on it

 

 

The first switch is impedance switch. If it goes below, it means the impedance is set to zero, if switch up (on), the impedance will up by 75ohm

Second switch is treble switch

The third switch (+/-) is gain switch. It has three position, off , low and high

The fourth switch is soundstage/crossfeed switch. If it's switch up (on), you'll hear a bit of left channel on right channel and the opposite. It will change the soundstage, a bit weird sounding IMHO

the fifth switch/slider is bass bar. Which will increase the bass the more you turn the right.

 

I was barely using those EQ. The only thing I usually use is bass slider and sometimes the gain switch. But usually the gain switch is on off position all the time.

 

Okay then, let's go straight to the review

 

Unit for reviewing

 

Cans

 

1. Kenwood KH-K1000
2. Yuin OK1
3. Yuin PK1

4. Sony MDR-E888 with filter mod

 

Source

1. Teclast T51 with 2.3 firmware, so it has more tight and rounded bass
2. Audio out straight from Sony Vaio with foobar and Wasapi

 

Ibasso Toucan amp for comparison (and also my DIY Soul Micro Premium and Soul SE amp)

 

 

After getting a slight review about this amp. I wonder why there is not a lot of review about it. The amp it self is quite costy. It cost US$385 in my country.

 

At first I was indecisive about buying it, since I can get a Graham Slee Voyager less than that. And there is alot of good review about that. This vulcan+ only got a slight description about it's performance, and there is no deep review at all. So when I was leaning on buying a graham slee voyager, I got a nice offer on second unit Vulcan+ for about USD200, So.. I decided to buy it.

 

After getting the unit. I try it right away. The unit is already burned in.

 

At first I was hook it up with my Kenwod KH-K1000 with head out from Teclast T51.

 

Oh, the vulcan+ itself is

 

Wow

 

The first thing I recognized is the impact. This baby is full of power. And the bass is tight and full!  I had to slider the bass slide to the midle.

When I try to turn on the gain, the soundstage and transparency improved, and also the highs. But it is to harsh on my opinion. When I try to turn on the treble boost, the amp becoming too bright for my taste.

 

I began to understand why there is not a lot of review about it.

Although the unit has great impact and good bass. It feels too veiled for me. The toucan has more open midrange for me. And also the vocals feels flat, not enganging. My soul has lush and enganging vocal to listen to. The toucan is quite close behind my soul. Perhaps because my soul use opa627 which is known to have nice touch on vocal and warm midrange.

 

The treble on vulcan+ is also just so so. It has good highs, but not as detailed as my toucan. And also the vulcan high is so harsh. Especially when gain and the treble boost was switch on, it becomes to unbearable. Toucan has the best highs of out my amp.

 

The Vulcan+ only wins on tight bass and great impact. It lack the proper lush and warm midrange I have on my soul, transparent mid and high that my toucan has, and also have a harsh high.

 

Honestly I was disappoint with my vulcan+, but I already like the impact and the bass. Not to mention the versatility it has (harcoded EQ)

 

So.. I decided to make a little mod

 

Here's the intern of the amp

 

 

After seeing the internal of the Vulcan, I try to change some of it's component. Mainly it's opamp and caps

I use OPA627 for amp, because my Soul has them, and I like them. And for caps I try to use Blackgate for it.

 

After hunting for the Blackgate caps, I have a hard time finding for blackgate with the same capacity yet with small size. Not to mention it's insane price.

The NX series alone cost US$200 each, and I need two of them. After searching some more, I got some old stock NOS Blackgate F series (those caps is almost 20 years old)

 

Because of the caps big size, I have to make some modification in order to fit them. I have to soldered them on low pcb area

 

like this

 

 

I have to make the modification on it's caing to be able to use them as usual

And here's the final mod

 

 

 

 

 

 

The result is Amazing!

 

The Sound is now more clear, more transparent! The headstage is improved a lot!

 

I try to pair them with my Yuin OK1 which is know to be bright more than my kenwood, and the high is more extended yet no harsh at all!

I'm a bit picky about harshness, and cannot tolerance sibilance at all. But with BG caps, it gives a nice clear and extended highs but in smooth way and no harsh at all.

 

The vocal and midrange is improved a lot by OPA627. It is now more intimate, more engaging and more lush than before. The mid is more warm and more transparent. My toucan still has more clear and transparent sound, but it is very close now. It is like the combination of my Soul amp with My toucan + Extra impact and bass.

 

It cost almost US$100 for the mod (OPA627, 2 BG Caps and WBT lead), but it's worth it.

 

It has more refined sound now, the kind that I like, yet with all those extra hard EQ stuff, so I can tweak anytime I like. Just when I hook my sony to it, I usually set the gain to low and anything to off to hear the best of it.

 

That's all folk, my little review

 

I hope it helps for those who likes to try this amp


Edited by nangryo - 10/11/13 at 10:53pm
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 

Just adding something missing

 

The reason why I bother doing casing mod for BG caps is because, at first, I'm just doing some opamp rolling.

Indeed, the sound is improved already. Mainly in vocal and mid. But still.. The sound quality is not where I expected

There is some veiled feeling in the mids.

And also the high is still harsh and not smooth at all.

 

That's why I go for the BG route. BG caps is known for its open mid and smooths highs. And also add touch of warmness in the vocal.

 

After doing the mods, as I describe in the first post, The combination of both mod is simply amazing. The synergized each other. The OPA627 and BG Caps.

That's why although I have to sacrifice for the case mod and a bit of bulky case. Its really worth it all :)

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