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Best high end headphones for AK240 - Page 2

post #16 of 22

I had a brief look at the AK240 dedicated thread and I think the OP is best advised to ask his questions there.

He's more likely to get relevant answers to his questions there, rather than here.

 

A few snippets from the thread to put at ease some of the opinions here, I'll just put 2 quotes from Vinnie R. (aka Vinnie Rossi, founder of Red Wine Audio aka high end battery powered DAC, amps and miscellanea, and as I understand it owner of an AK240 along with other portable amps).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post
I think you can get a powerful enough amp for IEMs inside a DAP.  I also believe the sound can be refined to get to the level of a high quality external amp (again, for IEMs) from a good DAP.  This also eliminates the need for a cable and the plugs/jacks to connect a DAP to an external amp, which is an advantage.  Whenever you can shorten the signal paths, eliminate connectors and plugs, etc. - this is a good thing IMHO.

 

But to drive something like Audeze LCD-3, Senn HD800, HiFiMan HE500, etc. with the authority of something like the ALO RX3 or RSA SR71B, you need more voltage swing than what the AK240 is rated for.  With a 3.7V battery, the only way this is done is with DC-DC converters on board to make larger voltage rails (e.g. +/- 10V).  The AK100/120 does this up to +/-3.3V I believe, and it's good, but not at the level of what something like the SR71B delivers, as it has higher voltage rails, much more capacitance on the rails to deliver higher output current, and does not need to use a DC-DC converter chips (which step up the voltage from the battery, but have much more limited output current compared to the battery).  Lower impedance voltage rails gives you things like bass that hits harder and tighter and more defined, more open sounding mids, a top end with better decay, etc.  Power supply implementation is HUGE because what you are feeding your headphones IS the power supply rails (modulated to mimic the input signal, with some level of distortion that is inevitable).  

 

And even if it could be done very well for an all-in-one, I find that different headphones sound best with different amps.  So having the flexibility to change amps does allow you to find one that sounds BEST with your DAP and headphones.  But if you happen to find the amp inside a DAP sounds best, then you are in good luck and can travel with one box (true "portable").  And if you want that all-in-one even though it is not as good as a separate amp, then you live with the compromise.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post
 

 

I'll save you the suspense and say that IN MY HUMBLE BIASED OPINION (aren't all opinions biased? ;)), the amp output stage of the AK240 is not on the same level of the SR71A or SR71B.  

That's all I'm going to say about it for now...

 

 

Footnote: SR71B is a balanced portable amp from Ray Samuels Audio, rated as one of the best portable amps out there and direct competitor to the ALO RX.

Jury's still out on which is the better amp, the general consensus being the RX edges the SR71 a bit on sound quality but tends to produce some hiss with ultra-high sensitivity IEMs (but is reportedly quiet with the majority of full size headphones).

I will not continue to offer any more input on this matter since I'm completely out of my depth compared to the content of the dedicated AK240 thread.

So again, I'd recommend the OP to post his messages there.


Edited by James neutron - 3/19/14 at 1:49pm
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by James neutron View Post
 

Footnote: SR71B is a balanced portable amp from Ray Samuels Audio, rated as one of the best portable amps out there and direct competitor to the ALO RX.

Jury's still out on which is the better amp, the general consensus being the RX edges the SR71 a bit on sound quality but tends to produce some hiss with ultra-high sensitivity IEMs (but is reportedly quiet with the majority of full size headphones).

 

Ray makes his products loud as hell and he's very proud of that fact.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by James neutron View Post

I copy/pasted the manufacturers' published specifications. And I agree, both are misleading.

Nonetheless the fact remains the AK240 delivers less "juice" than the Fiio 139$ portable does.

If anyone is comfortable to drive their high end headphones with 2.1V rms ... well it's their choice.

 

As to Alo RX you should have a look at what that amp is actually capable of and compare to what the DAP is capable of (amplification wise).

 

The manufacturer's figures aren't necessarily misleading, the way that you presented them is. P-P amplitude and RMS amplitude are completely different ways of expressing the voltage. The way that you stated the values was at best ignorant, and at worst deliberately confusing.

 

I took a look at ALO's stated specs for the latest model of the RX. They claim that it'll do 320mW (RMS) into 32ohm, if you spend 2 minutes with our good friend Ohm's Law you will find that the output voltage at that impedance is 3.2V (RMS). So, somewhat higher output voltage, but hey, it's no Schiit Lyr (6W, yes full watts, into 32ohm). 

 

Another thing, if output voltage was the only factor in determining how well an amplifier worked with a set of headphones, we'd all move to Europe and hook our headphones right up to that sweet, sweet 240V mains power. But alas, there's a little more to it than that. It is a gross oversimplification to reduce an amp's capabilities to how much "juice" it puts out. 

 

Quote:
 If anyone is comfortable to drive their high end headphones with 2.1V rms ... well it's their choice

 

Ok, so tell me exactly the minimum output voltage you would be comfortable driving "high end headphones" with. 

 

One last thing to consider is the dubious accuracy of manufacturer-provided specs. The manufacturer is trying to sell you the product, they know that some people think of specs as the word of god, so they put together specs that make their product look good. Sometimes the person who is putting together the web page doesn't know the first thing about electronics, and accidentally misrepresents the figures. Sometimes they intentionally choose confusing units or measurements. I'm not saying that manufacturers lie about their specs, but I am saying that you should take the figures with a grain of salt.

 

EDIT: To be clear, I'm not saying that orthos are a great match for the AK240, what I am trying to say is that spouting your opinion as fact, without the electronics knowledge or listening experience to back it up, is obnoxious.


Edited by logwed - 3/19/14 at 3:16pm
post #19 of 22

All right, you've both had your say. Why not take it to PM or Sound Science and let OP get back to us about what he learns on those other threads?

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 

Decided to go with ak240 w/ balance adaptor, alo mk3 and lcd-x .... had a local seller that had an experience with the lcd-x. he said the 3 would be a winning combination. :D 

 

sorry for the noob questions :D haha god bless

post #21 of 22

Enjoy your new setup!

post #22 of 22
I tried my lcdx with my ak120->the intruder amp (basically the same amp as sr71b).
I really didn't like it in comparaison to my gungnir/mjolnir stack. There is a huge difference in term of detail, soundstage, mid-treble/treble frequencies and separation. I will never use ak120/intruder again to drive the lcd-x.
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