AV123 X-Head amp first impressions
Oct 20, 2008 at 7:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 37

wae5

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I received this amp a week ago and I’m very impressed with it.

What I like:

1) it's a very powerful amp. This is my first amp that drives the DT880 to its full potential. When I listen to a new amp I begin with the K501 and SR325i but this time I used the DT880 and I can’t stop listening to this combination. The X-Head has more than enough power to open up the DT880 and make it sing like it’s never sung before. The X-Head has a sonic black void, a very wide dynamic range and lots of impact and sparkle which I call PRAT.

2) It has 2 phone outputs that don't have separate volume controls. This makes it easier to compare phones but hard to share the listening experience.

3) It runs very cool. I hardly feel a difference between its off and on temperature.

4) It looks good. Its wooden roof took me awhile to get used to but it keeps me from putting things on top of it.

5) It doesn’t have a wall wart.

6) It has a mute button.

7) $199 plus $20 shipping. Thirty day no questions asked return policy. Three year warranty. It doesn’t get better than this.

8) Customer service. Luis (Ex308) made it fun to order it.

Things I’m less pleased with:

1) Up and down volume control buttons. These make it hard to tell what the volume level is.

2) It was shipped in a flimsy box. If you order one, ask AV123 to double box it.

I’m a classical music gear head who can’t hear above 11K Hz. I’ve said I prefer variety to owning the best so I have several good phones and amps. The X-head is the first amp that made me rethink this. I briefly listened to it with the K501, K701 and HD600 but I keep coming back to the DT880 because together they are my first unbeatable combination.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 7:55 PM Post #3 of 37

Robonaut

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Pics, please!
biggrin.gif
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM Post #4 of 37

Skylab

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mr.khali /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have read on the AV123 forum that a lot of the initial buyers are hearing some noise from their units. Yours is completely quiet? Which other amps were you using prior with your headphones?


I was sent a unit to review, but unfortunately after a few days of break in, it started to exhibit this problem - a buzzing from the right channel.

Too bad - my initial listening was very promising, and the amp is very pretty as well.

I suggest that people should probably hold off on purchasing one until this issue is resolved. I hope to get a replacement review sample soon.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:35 PM Post #5 of 37

wae5

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The up and down volume control buttons don’t make it easy to check for hum. When it’s turned on the volume is at its lowest level (thank God!) and since it has such a wide dynamic range, I’ve learned to start low and be cautious because I’ve been startled several times by how loud it gets. So I bring the volume slowly up until the level’s right but I never go beyond this because, unlike a normal volume control knob, I never know visually just how much further I could turn it up.

To answer your hum question I listened to the following phones and put their relative hum rankings in parentheses after their names with one being lowest. K501 (1), K701 (1+), DT880 (+1) HD600 (2), SR325i (3) and MDR-F1 (4). I assessed the hum by listening to just the amp and the phones.

BTW, someone with better treble hearing would be a better hum assessor than I am.

I have the LD MKIV SE, LD MKV, MK 1+ and several others that are listed in my profile. Before the X-head I liked the MKV best and I still may after the bloom of youth blows off the X-head amp because at my age I prefer being fickled.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:42 PM Post #6 of 37

Skylab

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Just my opinion, but a SS should not hum at ALL. I know AV123 is planning to fix this.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:42 PM Post #7 of 37

wae5

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Skylab /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I was sent a unit to review, but unfortunately after a few days of break in, it started to exhibit this problem - a buzzing from the right channel.

Too bad - my initial listening was very promising, and the amp is very pretty as well.

I suggest that people should probably hold off on purchasing one until this issue is resolved. I hope to get a replacement review sample soon.



I like it too much to send it back for a problem mine doesn't have at normal listening levels and what me worry with a 3 year warranty?
wink_face.gif

However, I'll ask AV123, if they fix this problem, may I send it back at their expense, if I decide to have this non problem fixed?
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 8:45 PM Post #8 of 37

Skylab

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wae5 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I like it too much to send it back for a problem mine doesn't have and what me worry with a 3 year warranty?
wink_face.gif



No need to if it isn't bothering you. Through the Kenwood K1000, though, it was loud enough to be easily audible over the music - not usable. Also, the hum was much more noticeable after 100 hours use than it was at the beginning.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 9:22 PM Post #10 of 37

Pricklely Peete

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Hmmm seems like some serious teething problems...they might have been better off delaying the launch and getting it right first....

Hopefully it's a quick fix on the production line.

Peete.
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 10:19 PM Post #11 of 37

tako_tsubo

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Oct 20, 2008 at 10:21 PM Post #12 of 37

mlschifter

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Hi All...

Quickie note...

The noise has been sorted and we are working with our builder to supply shielded transformers...

This noise is upsetting to me personally - but most don't seem to have it (strangely enough)...

All the best...

mls
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 10:24 PM Post #13 of 37

tako_tsubo

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Great Mark!!!
 
Oct 20, 2008 at 10:31 PM Post #14 of 37

Pricklely Peete

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mlschifter /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hi All...

Quickie note...

The noise has been sorted and we are working with our builder to supply shielded transformers...

This noise is upsetting to me personally - but most don't seem to have it (strangely enough)...

All the best...

mls



This is what I'd call a quick fix...good job.

Will those that bought Rev A be getting the Rev B amp by exchange through the warranty ?

Peete.
 
Oct 21, 2008 at 12:43 AM Post #15 of 37

Skylab

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That is indeed good news - I look forward to getting a second review sample. My initial audition indicated that this should be a terrific amp for the money.
 

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