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Looking for some entry level advice, mainly in desktop amps.

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I am looking for some entry level level advice in terms of a desktop amp. 

I am going to buy some new headphones. I have pretty much 100% made up my mind to get V-moda Crossfade. 

I am going with the V-moda because I can add the boom mic. I have been gaming with the Astro Mix Amp and A40 for years and ready for an upgrade. I have read pretty much everywhere, most 50$ headphones are better than the A-40s. 

I do want chat capabilities, so the ATH-M50 are out of the question. 

I plan to haul these headphones between work and home. 

At work I plant to use these 98% of the time for music. 

I am finally getting to my question: 

I use my iphone 5 as my music source at home, but could just as easily transfer my music to the computer. 

 

I have been looking at desktop amps and an really interested in all these tube hybrid amps. I am dying to get an entry level one and try out, see what all the fuss is about. 

I am looking at Bravo line, right there in my budget. 

 

It is the NUMBER 1 best selling desktop headphone amp on amazon right now. It is #13 out of headphones amps, but the other 12 are all portable amps which I don't really have a need for. 

(at home I use the Astro mix amp for gaming and have a small surround sound Yamaha for my computer sourced tv/music/movies). 

 

 

What differences will there between plugging my work computer or my iphone 5 into one of these Bravo amps?

What about non tube desktop amps?

(one last little question, should I really bother getting a few different tubes try out with the Bravo if I do end up getting one) 

 

 

Edit: 1 more question. If I could buy only one: Bravo v2 or Fiio V10 DAC/amp (for use with the computer at work) which should I get. I am asking from a hobbyist perspective. I just want to take the next step into "audiophile as a hobby" 

 

Thanks! 


Edited by gr34td3str0y3r - 1/22/14 at 8:47pm
post #2 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr34td3str0y3r View Post
 

I am looking for some entry level level advice in terms of a desktop amp. 

I am going to buy some new headphones. I have pretty much 100% made up my mind to get V-moda Crossfade. 

I am going with the V-moda because I can add the boom mic. I have been gaming with the Astro Mix Amp and A40 for years and ready for an upgrade. I have read pretty much everywhere, most 50$ headphones are better than the A-40s. 

I do want chat capabilities, so the ATH-M50 are out of the question. 

I plan to haul these headphones between work and home. 

At work I plant to use these 98% of the time for music. 

I am finally getting to my question: 

I use my iphone 5 as my music source at home, but could just as easily transfer my music to the computer. 

 

I have been looking at desktop amps and an really interested in all these tube hybrid amps. I am dying to get an entry level one and try out, see what all the fuss is about. 

I am looking at Bravo line, right there in my budget. 

 

It is the NUMBER 1 best selling desktop headphone amp on amazon right now. It is #13 out of headphones amps, but the other 12 are all portable amps which I don't really have a need for. 

(at home I use the Astro mix amp for gaming and have a small surround sound Yamaha for my computer sourced tv/music/movies). 

 

 

What differences will there between plugging my work computer or my iphone 5 into one of these Bravo amps?

What about non tube desktop amps?

(one last little question, should I really bother getting a few different tubes try out with the Bravo if I do end up getting one) 

 

 

Edit: 1 more question. If I could buy only one: Bravo v2 or Fiio V10 DAC/amp (for use with the computer at work) which should I get. I am asking from a hobbyist perspective. I just want to take the next step into "audiophile as a hobby" 

 

Thanks! 

I would SKIP SKIP SKIP the bravo amp, and instead get your self the Schiit Vali,  the Vali is a GREAT Tube amp and it's very afforadle. That said, it is best to use any amp with a Dedicated DAC, the one on your onboard pc are usally ... not to great, the iPhone 5 is accecptable, that said you could very well get along without an amp. 

 

I did for about a year, I drove my iPod  and onBoard PC Audio right into a Indeed G3 [Bravo Amp Clone] and I was content. That said how ever, if you can afford it, look into getting one of these Behringer UCA202, I use one with my Laptop and for $30 it is a BIG improvement over the stock DAC on your work pc, you would need a set of RCA cables to use it with you Computer [and it will work with any PC, as the drivers installautomatically  ] you can get a set of rca's here for about $6 Shipped I use that very cable, with about $2,000 worth of gear. My point being, the work... very nicely. MonoPrice sells cheapers ones for about 1/2 that price as well, but I like the Prieum Cable, built a little nicerand easier a a a a a a nicer and easier on the eyes [sorry my keyboard is being stupid] 

 

But the Vali and UAC 202 are well worth the about $150 they'd cost you, and I can ASSURE you, the Schiit Vali is BUILT better than, LOOKS nicer than and runs cooler than the Bravo Amp [not to mention the Schiit Vali sounds a lot better] 

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

you don't need to replace microphonic tubes? 

post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr34td3str0y3r View Post
 

I am looking for some entry level level advice in terms of a desktop amp. 

I am going to buy some new headphones. I have pretty much 100% made up my mind to get V-moda Crossfade. 

I am going with the V-moda because I can add the boom mic. I have been gaming with the Astro Mix Amp and A40 for years and ready for an upgrade. I have read pretty much everywhere, most 50$ headphones are better than the A-40s. 

I do want chat capabilities, so the ATH-M50 are out of the question. 

I plan to haul these headphones between work and home. 

At work I plant to use these 98% of the time for music. 

I am finally getting to my question: 

I use my iPhone 5 as my music source at home, but could just as easily transfer my music to the computer. 

I have been looking at desktop amps and an really interested in all these tube hybrid amps. I am dying to get an entry level one and try out, see what all the fuss is about. 

I am looking at Bravo line, right there in my budget. 

It is the NUMBER 1 best selling desktop headphone amp on amazon right now. It is #13 out of headphones amps, but the other 12 are all portable amps which I don't really have a need for. 

(at home I use the Astro mix amp for gaming and have a small surround sound Yamaha for my computer sourced tv/music/movies). 

What differences will there between plugging my work computer or my iPhone 5 into one of these Bravo amps?

What about non tube desktop amps?

(one last little question, should I really bother getting a few different tubes try out with the Bravo if I do end up getting one) 

Edit: 1 more question. If I could buy only one: Bravo v2 or Fiio V10 DAC/amp (for use with the computer at work) which should I get. I am asking from a hobbyist perspective. I just want to take the next step into "audiophile as a hobby" 

You might consider getting an Asus Xonar DG sound card ($20-$30) for the home computer and a Fiio E10 ($75) to use at work.

The V-Moda Crossfade is only 32-Ohm, I would think a tube or hybrid tube amplifier is a little overkill.

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr34td3str0y3r View Post
 

you don't need to replace microphonic tubes? 

No, the Bravo is equally as noisy not because of mircohpnic tubes, but beacuase of it's cheaper build quality 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

You might consider getting an Asus Xonar DG sound card ($20-$30) for the home computer and a Fiio E10 ($75) to use at work.

The V-Moda Crossfade is only 32-Ohm, I would think a tube or hybrid tube amplifier is a little overkill.

That's an option to, you do not need an amp for the V Moda, if your interested in tubes the Vali is the way to go, if you can live without hearing one then the E10 and DG Sound card are good options as well 

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

thanks for the advice. 

I have never heard a tube amp of any sort and would like to get an entry level one to just try out. I think about the vali. Its a little more than I am willing to spend,  BUT I just came into an extra 100 bucks this morning belive it or not, so I might just try it. 

 

So what you all think about http://www.amazon.com/HiFiMAN-EF2A-HIFIMAN-EF-2A-HEADPHONE/dp/B004357WL8 

 

What is the difference from using USB for output from the computer vs rca? any benifits? 

 

It seems from what I read tons of people are running 32 ohm headphones like the ATH-M50 with the Fiio e10 and love the way it makes them "sing"

 

I live in Japan and they don't carry half this stuff. Actually they don't carry 90% of it (they do have Fiio though). and I am out in the country side so no where close to go and try out some differnt options. 

I am however coming to the states for 5 weeks in a little while and going to pick up whatever I decide to buy there. I will be in Atlanta so surely able to find a place that will have a bunch of stuff to try. 

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

I know I don't need an amp for 32ohm cans, but I want to buy an entry level tube amp to see what its all about. I have never heard one before. 

What do you think about HIFIMAN - EF-2A HEADPHONE AMP. 

Are there any differences or benefits to USB input as opposed to RCA? 

 

Why are their so many people singing praises about the Fiio paired up with 32ohm headphones like the ATH-M50s if 32ohms cans don't need them. Its also a DAC. Thats the point right? 

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr34td3str0y3r View Post
 

I know I don't need an amp for 32ohm cans, but I want to buy an entry level tube amp to see what its all about. I have never heard one before. 

What do you think about HIFIMAN - EF-2A HEADPHONE AMP. 

Are there any differences or benefits to USB input as opposed to RCA? 

 

Why are their so many people singing praises about the Fiio paired up with 32ohm headphones like the ATH-M50s if 32ohms cans don't need them. Its also a DAC. Thats the point right? 

The Fiios come with very low impedance headphone amplifier (like 1-Ohm), which is a benefit for low impedance (32-Ohm) headphones.

A lot of stuff you plug headphones into does not have a low impedance, which is fairly normal.

It's just that a low impedance headphone amplifier should help bring out the details in audio.

 

USB is a digital connection, think of it as a pre-DAC audio signal.

Dual RCA jacks at analog audio, post DAC audio signal.

Unless your referring to the single RCA output that is called "coaxial", which is also a digital signal.

When USB cable is connected to a computer, it becomes the default digital audio output.

Coaxial requires you to go into the OS's setting and set the coaxial as default output.

post #9 of 20
The budget hybrids won't sound better than your current source IMHO:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-5/audio-quality.htm
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr34td3str0y3r View Post
 

you don't need to replace microphonic tubes? 


It's hard to do when they're soldered directly to the PCB. ;) 

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrindingThud View Post

The budget hybrids won't sound better than your current source IMHO:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-5/audio-quality.htm

I read that entire thing. From a bit of searching and talking the audophiles over at Reddit, audiophile pretty ******* HATE kenrockwell and is considered a massive d-bag. 

I don't know if that true. 

 

That is also why I ALREADY asked, should I leave my music on my iphone 5 or copy it to my computer? 

 

Think about it this way. I am looking for new hobby. That hobby is headphones and audio equipment. I want to have BETTER audio. What should I do? 

 

By your logic and Ken's logic there NOTHING I can do but plug my headphones into my iphone 5. I am done. I have reached the peak of audiophile quality? Nothing left to explore and try or improve? 

 

And like I said earlier, I am curious about this TUBE sound everyone is talking about. I want to be able to buy and try different tubes, etc. I have read nothing but GREAT reviews about just about every single hybird amp out there, cheap to expensive. Even the Bravo V2 has amazing reviews. On THIS website it has great reviews. 

 

"it's hard to do when they're soldered directly to the PCB. ;) "  I know that. but I thought tubes didn't last forever. 

 

I have to use the computer my work has...its actuly a laptop. the the only output I have is a 3.5mm. 

so let me ask this. Is there any benift between running 3.5mm to RCA to the amp vs running USB to the amp. 

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 

"The budget hybrids won't sound better than your current source IMHO:" 

So I am done? I should not bother coming here anymore.I have reached the PEAK of adoiphile. 

I mean that was quick. I was just trying to get into this hobby, and it seems I have already done all there is to do because I have an iphone 5. 

 

So that is my point. which I already asked in the first post. Should I just leave my music on my iphone and use a decent set of of headphones. 

Or should I trasfer my music to my work computer and try out some differnt amps? 

 

I am looking at this as a new hobby? 

 

"It's hard to do when they're soldered directly to the PCB. ;) " yes I know this, but I was under the impression tubes dont last forever. 

please remember I am a noob at this. 


Edited by gr34td3str0y3r - 1/23/14 at 7:18pm
post #13 of 20
The key word there was "budget". I think what people are trying to tell you is that buying a cheap little tube amp isn't going to tell you very much about tube amps - just like buying a '75 Gremlin doesn't tell you very much about high performance sports cars. But hey, if you want to buy a cheap amp just because it glows - go for it - have fun!
post #14 of 20
No, you're not done....you're just beginning and already a step ahead. You have a great source. Next step would be to get an amp that sounds better than your phone, not worse. I'd suggest doing a bottlehead crack...a very good sounding and versatile amp for a few hundred bucks. Now, if you're just looking at experimenting with some tubes for fun, that's completely different.

Your original post suggested buying a $62 tube amp.... I think people are trying to tell you don't do it, you'll be sad...it won't sound better than your $550 iphone5.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr34td3str0y3r View Post

"The budget hybrids won't sound better than your current source IMHO:" 
So I am done? I should not bother coming here anymore.I have reached the PEAK of adoiphile. 
I mean that was quick. I was just trying to get into this hobby, and it seems I have already done all there is to do because I have an iphone 5. 

So that is my point. which I already asked in the first post. Should I just leave my music on my iphone and use a decent set of of headphones. 
Or should I trasfer my music to my work computer and try out some differnt amps? 

I am looking at this as a new hobby? 

"It's hard to do when they're soldered directly to the PCB. wink.gif  " yes I know this, but I was under the impression tubes dont last forever. 
please remember I am a noob at this. 

Edited by GrindingThud - 1/23/14 at 7:32pm
post #15 of 20

I'm in agreement that generally speaking, entry level amps typically don't offer significant sonic improvements over the hp out of a decent source, unless that source is simply too weak to drive a particular headphone.

 

Buying and experimenting with headphone audio gear as a hobby is a never ending treadmill of losing money in my opinion.  But hey, it's your money and it's yours to do with as you like.  I think to really get a sense that you're getting significant audio quality improvements you'll need to go ahead and commit to some mid-tier stuff to start.  But in anything audio, for every product out there there is another product that does it 90% as well for 1/2 the cost.

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