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So, I'm looking for that perfect amp... - Page 55

post #811 of 915
OK - I am at a little cross-roads in my portable listening right now.

Essentially I am very happy with my DX50 & Leckerton UHA-6S Mk ii with arguably one of the better set of OPamps the OPA627s going into Super fi Pros or Sennheiser HD 600.

I had decided to try an alternative amp and the opportunity of a secondhand D12 or PB2 came up. I decided against the PB2 because to be frank I didn't understand this balanced out stuff and it seems complicated and potentially pricey. The D12 with Topflight kit sadly never materialised so I am back to square one and not sure what to do.

I think I want the flexibility to roll my opAmps for fun, inquisition etc. rather than rolling the Amplifier itself. I know that you can roll amps with the Leckerton but out of Nick's choices, I seem to have got the best (or at least the most expensive).

So I am back to finding an Amp with OPamps to roll and it still seems to point to an Ibasso one. The Fiio e12DIY seems to be too small to give enough flexibility and the e11 I saw really didn't impress me.

So some thoughts from others would be helpful:

1. What other headphone amps would allow easy amp rolling apart from Ibasso?

2. A more powerful amp seems to increase the range of OPamps that one can use? Is this true? Does it matter?

3. Is Balanced really better than single ended? Is it relatively cheap to buy the cables etc. to make my headphones work properly

4. ibasso PB2 or D12 - for those who have heard both, which one?. Is SE out of the PB2 inferior to the D12?
post #812 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
 

The QStep is very good and it does give you a better soundstage than any other single ended portable amp I've tried. The PB2 might be just 5% better but sometimes those 5% really make a difference - like icing on a cake, just the final touch. 

 

Honestly, had the QStep been in the same boring shape as the PB2 and R1 and had it been rechargeable like those, I probably would have stopped chasing the perfect amp right there. 

 

I could point out that if people just bought the more expensive amp first, i.e. the Pico Power which has a pretty good form factor, they wouldn't be spending even more money buying multiple amps and recabling everything. But then, you have a great kit and you actually love the DIY recabling, right?  ;-) 

 

(Pico Power does require dual externally charged 9 volts. It works for me but I can see where some might prefer internal charging.)

post #813 of 915
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by highfell View Post

OK - I am at a little cross-roads in my portable listening right now.

Essentially I am very happy with my DX50 & Leckerton UHA-6S Mk ii with arguably one of the better set of OPamps the OPA627s going into Super fi Pros or Sennheiser HD 600.

I had decided to try an alternative amp and the opportunity of a secondhand D12 or PB2 came up. I decided against the PB2 because to be frank I didn't understand this balanced out stuff and it seems complicated and potentially pricey. The D12 with Topflight kit sadly never materialised so I am back to square one and not sure what to do.

I think I want the flexibility to roll my opAmps for fun, inquisition etc. rather than rolling the Amplifier itself. I know that you can roll amps with the Leckerton but out of Nick's choices, I seem to have got the best (or at least the most expensive).

So I am back to finding an Amp with OPamps to roll and it still seems to point to an Ibasso one. The Fiio e12DIY seems to be too small to give enough flexibility and the e11 I saw really didn't impress me.

So some thoughts from others would be helpful:

1. What other headphone amps would allow easy amp rolling apart from Ibasso?

2. A more powerful amp seems to increase the range of OPamps that one can use? Is this true? Does it matter?

3. Is Balanced really better than single ended? Is it relatively cheap to buy the cables etc. to make my headphones work properly

4. ibasso PB2 or D12 - for those who have heard both, which one?. Is SE out of the PB2 inferior to the D12?

 

I used to have the D12, but it's been so long that I am in no way able to give any advice on the sonic performance. I found the R1 and Quickstep slightly better than the single ended output of the PB2, but the balanced output gives me the best parts of the QS & R1 with improved imaging. By the way, the HD600 is not only very easy to recable, along with the HD650 it is said to gain a lot from going balanced. My HD595 noticably improved - Separation, imaging and punch was better with the balanced output, along with an overall greater sense of authority. I must admit I'm itching to get the HD650 again... :rolleyes:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cooperpwc View Post
 

 

I could point out that if people just bought the more expensive amp first, i.e. the Pico Power which has a pretty good form factor, they wouldn't be spending even more money buying multiple amps and recabling everything. But then, you have a great kit and you actually love the DIY recabling, right?  ;-) 

 

(Pico Power does require dual externally charged 9 volts. It works for me but I can see where some might prefer internal charging.)

I actually disagree. While I'm all for the Buy The Best And Only Cry Once approach, that would mean you'd miss the joy of the journey. (Op)amp rolling is a great way to find your preferred sound signature and if you buy used you can often sell again with little or no loss. I'll be putting my Quickstep up for sale and as I bought that one new I'll have to accept a loss. 

post #814 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
 

I actually disagree. While I'm all for the Buy The Best And Only Cry Once approach, that would mean you'd miss the joy of the journey. (Op)amp rolling is a great way to find your preferred sound signature and if you buy used you can often sell again with little or no loss. I'll be putting my Quickstep up for sale and as I bought that one new I'll have to accept a loss. 

 

Really I was just playing with you. I think that many of us are enjoying your journey as much as you are.  :-)

 

(I am also not immune to the accusation of meandering through equipment. I love the journey too.)

post #815 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post

 

 

I actually disagree. While I'm all for the Buy The Best And Only Cry Once approach, that would mean you'd miss the joy of the journey. (Op)amp rolling is a great way to find your preferred sound signature and if you buy used you can often sell again with little or no loss. I'll be putting my Quickstep up for sale and as I bought that one new I'll have to accept a loss.

I directly went to top and got SE5way, so I missed the journey and its joy. Still a happy chap in here though :etysmile:

post #816 of 915

It's rather difficult to settle in just a single amp. I for one wants to get hands on. I believe you can never give an impression about a single gear if you only have one and nothing to compare to. In less than 6 months I can't believe I already acquired 5 different amps/dac.

 

The journey really is satisfying especially after you learn what you really like. Of course it left a big hole in my wallet :)

 

For now I rotate these amps,

 

M8 - Exclusively serving desktop amp duties for balance out to my T1. Source is Ipod classic or my macbook. This was my first portable setup.

 

UHA-4 - My daily on the go workhorse paired with DX50/JH16.

 

O2 - If I want critical listening while away from home I bring this along instead of UHA-4. Or serves desktop duties if I want to use iems at home. Also good and capable amp for T1 in single-ended mode.

 

-----

 

I might put up C5D and PHA-1 up for sale soon. It's a shame I really want C5D paired/stacked with DX50 because it measures and look nice together with DX50 but UHA-4 for me beats C5D on clarity, bass details/impact/tightness, soundstage and transparency.

 

The only sin PHA-1 has over M8 is it does not have a balanced output :) But this is my first amp before I joined head-fi. 

post #817 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post

I used to have the D12, but it's been so long that I am in no way able to give any advice on the sonic performance. I found the R1 and Quickstep slightly better than the single ended output of the PB2, but the balanced output gives me the best parts of the QS & R1 with improved imaging. By the way, the HD600 is not only very easy to recable, along with the HD650 it is said to gain a lot from going balanced. My HD595 noticably improved - Separation, imaging and punch was better with the balanced output, along with an overall greater sense of authority. I must admit I'm itching to get the HD650 again... rolleyes.gif

As regards the D12, I am tempted to see if by having dual WM8740 DAC chips it would provide a better sound signature than the single WM8740 DAC of the Dx50 by using the Coaxial out/in of both units. Also amp rolling on the D12 would be cheaper than the PB2 as you only need half the number of OPamps. And I do want to try the Muses which are expensive.

On the other hand should I try the balanced out sound ......I think I need to investigate the costs of a buying a rebalanced cable.
post #818 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post

I used to have the D12, but it's been so long that I am in no way able to give any advice on the sonic performance

From looking at the D12 thread, I seem to recall that you found electrostatic interference a problem with the D12 amp. Did you resolve that by changing the opAmps?

Does the PB2 suffer from the same problem?
post #819 of 915
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by highfell View Post


From looking at the D12 thread, I seem to recall that you found electrostatic interference a problem with the D12 amp. Did you resolve that by changing the opAmps?

Does the PB2 suffer from the same problem?

I found another solution: I changed my mobile network. Turns out that yes, the D12 was sensitive to interference, but my phone was fighting so hard to maintain a signal that the radios were going full tilt at all times. Got another provider with better coverage at work and the problem went away. 

 

I'll be posting my Quickstep for sale today. Best portable single-ended amp I've ever heard, but the PB2 in balanced mode is just that tiny bit better. 

 

Edit: In case someone wants to try out the R1 or the QS, here are mine up for grabs:

R1: http://www.head-fi.org/t/698918/heir-audio-rendition-1-price-drop
QS: http://www.head-fi.org/t/700248/meier-audio-quickstep

 

Some like having a selection of amps around, I prefer having just one :smile:


Edited by Sorensiim - 1/14/14 at 1:07am
post #820 of 915

Da***it Soren, QS and R1 are both tempting but I gotta save more to upgrade my dap :frown: Wish you luck on your sales man.

post #821 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post
 

Da***it Soren, QS and R1 are both tempting but I gotta save more to upgrade my dap :frown: Wish you luck on your sales man.

 

****** I just got myself a QS :)

post #822 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varoudis View Post
 

 

****** I just got myself a QS :)


lol he sold both of them. That goes fast. I still wait someone to buy my good old GMP 8.35D so I can raise my funds for dap upgrade. Being a poor master student sucks :D

post #823 of 915
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varoudis View Post
 

 

****** I just got myself a QS :)

 

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post
 


lol he sold both of them. That goes fast. I still wait someone to buy my good old GMP 8.35D so I can raise my funds for dap upgrade. Being a poor master student sucks :D

Yeah, for some odd reason, both went within a 15-minute window, both are off to the UK it would seem. 

post #824 of 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorensiim View Post
 

 

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Yeah, for some odd reason, both went within a 15-minute window, both are off to the UK it would seem. 

 

Any idea about batteries? I totally forgot about it!

post #825 of 915
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Varoudis View Post

Any idea about batteries? I totally forgot about it!

There's some pretty serious power cleaning circuitry in the Quickstep so I used an old Dell PSU with it at my desk. Want me to throw that one in the box as well?
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