Best way to spend ~$400 on an amp ??
May 10, 2004 at 1:41 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 27

raaj

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Hi Guys..

I've been on a crazy buying binge lately trying/buying everything from Grado SR-225s to Senn HD600 to Ety ER4S, and amps like Xin Supermini v6.2c, Gilmore Lite and Headsave Ultra Meta42..

However, I am increasingly feeling the need to settle down for the time being. Instead of having a butt load of comparable gear in the same price range, I would rather conslidate my investment and move a notch or two up the quality ladder. My gear is listed in my sig.

I want to settle with a portable amp and a good home amp, and stick to one pair of canalphones (I'm very satisfied with my Ety ER-4S for now) for portable and isolation-sensitive use; and one very good headphone for home use (this would be one of the higher-end Grados/Alessandros or Senn HD600/Sony CD3K). I'll get a decent-fi home source in the next few weeks.

The choices I have in mind so far are:

Portable amp: Xin Supermini v6.2c (This one sounds great for it's purpose and price. I'll upgrade to a Xin Superdual when it comes out)

Home amp: This is where I would like to consolidate my ~$400 investment in the Gilmore Lite and the Ultra Meta42 into something very capable and versatile at a price point of $400-$450. Maybe it makes more sense having one GREAT $400 amp than two GOOD amps in the sub $250 range
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What would be a wise investment in view of my choice of the headphones mentioned above?? Please offer some suggestions.
A good spec'ed PPA springs to mind from what I've heard so far. But there are more than a few PPA builders.. but all PPAs are not built the same, right?? Some suggestions?? No disrespect meant to any PPA builder by inviting comparisions, but, if I had to choose one builder based on form, function, price and quick build time, who would it be??

Any other choices besides a PPA?

The search function throws up too many threads making finding the right comparisions and opinions a very time consuming affair, so please chime in with your inputs.

Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated, and seriously considered.

Thanks amigos !!

-raaj
 
May 10, 2004 at 3:27 AM Post #2 of 27

ooheadsoo

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My personal choice is the wooAudioI tube amp. It's an OTL design, sounds great with my HD600. It'll work as a preamp too, if you want it to. The price is $390 + $10 shipping.
 
May 10, 2004 at 3:31 AM Post #3 of 27

Norbert

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I have Senns, Grados, and the ATW-1000 and love my corda HA-1 amp with all of them. Unfortunately this is disconntinued might I suggest:

CORDA HA-1 MkII EUR 375,- / $ 440,-

" The HA-1 MkII is one of the latest additions to the CORDA amplifier family. It is a small stationary headphone amplifier that offers a minimum amount of luxury but a maximum of sound. Of course a natural crossfeed filter is regarded to be a must for relaxed listening. The one in the HA-1 MkII has three settings (stereo, low, medium). A heavy duty 1/4" headphone jack and a very sturdy enclosure will provide you with listening pleasure for many years to come. "

I gotta say, if this has a similar crossfeed, your headache days are over.
 
May 10, 2004 at 3:37 AM Post #4 of 27

Andrew_WOT

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Just get a new external PSU for Lite from Justin (should be available in 4-5 weeks I guess) and you'll get V2 sound quality for the fraction of a price
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May 10, 2004 at 4:58 AM Post #6 of 27

sacd lover

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Singlepower ppx3. This amp plays way out of its league although its close to $500 now. You might also check out how well the Eddie Current hd 300 is received once the 12 waiting the amps arrival can audition the amp. The hd 300 is around that $400 price point too.
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May 10, 2004 at 4:58 AM Post #7 of 27

Norbert

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The PPA is the amp of the moment. I had the pleasure of listening to a ppa at the last Chicago meet. It is a great amp. Don't think you can go wrong with it. However I did not have a chance to put it head to head with a Corda. My Corda was several states away. However I'd be curious to put a ppa together with a Corda and hear if there is any significant difference because IMHO the Corda can stand up to it.
 
May 10, 2004 at 5:04 AM Post #9 of 27

gsferrari

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raaj - just hang in there until the meet and then you will get to listen to a LOT of stuff before you make up your mind.

Dont buy anything when there is a meet around the corner.

I think you SHOULD get a PPX-3...dont believe my ears? You dont have to believe my ears - there will be a PPX-3 at the meet and you can see for yourself
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Until then - forget this place...

Cheers!
 
May 10, 2004 at 5:04 AM Post #10 of 27

raaj

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gpalmer
The PPA will probably sound a lot like your Lite, how much do you like the Lite?


Gpalmer..

I've just got the Gilmore a week ago, and it is still in the burn-in period.. But from the initial impressions using my Grado SR-325 and the NJB3, the sound seems to be a tad too bright.. but this might be a problem with my source, so I would like to wait a little while longer before I really try to form an impression of the Gilmore Lite sound.

As a frame of reference, I compared the sound to my Headsave Ultra Meta42 (with 4 buffers per channel, AD8620 Opamp, Panasonic 1000uf/25V caps, Elpac PSU), and my initial impression was that the Gilmore sounded very different from the Meta.. I can't say for the better or the worse, since I am not very experienced to categorize their sound as good or bad. I will need to spend more time listening to the amps to be able to judge them, but as of now, I am more used to the Meta42 sound, and the Gilmore sound is different.

My 'urge to settle down' has more to do with seeing how I will not be able to do justice to have more than one audio component per usage scenario: thus, I would like to have one set of phones and amp for portable use, one (at the most 2 phones and 1 amp) for home use. If I could consolodate my ~$400 investment in the two amps into a single $400 amp to get better quality, then, by all means, I would like to give it a try.
 
May 10, 2004 at 5:05 AM Post #11 of 27

sacd lover

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kugino
i've heard great things about the ppx3...mikhail has been so helpful in answering questions and it's supposed to sound great with all your headphones. i'm getting one soon...


You will be one happy head-fier.
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The ppx3 is more musical than you can imagine.
 
May 10, 2004 at 5:17 AM Post #12 of 27

gpalmer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by raaj
I've just got the Gilmore a week ago, and it is still in the burn-in period.. But from the initial impressions using my Grado SR-325 and the NJB3, the sound seems to be a tad too bright.. but this might be a problem with my source, so I would like to wait a little while longer before I really try to form an impression of the Gilmore Lite sound.


I have found with all the Gilmore's it takes quite a while for the sound to really get where it's going. For me the Lite took better than a month of 24X7 before the bass really started developing. If you've only had it for a week, I wouldn't judge it yet by any means.
 
May 10, 2004 at 5:19 AM Post #13 of 27

gsferrari

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A serious setup would be as follows :-

1] jpelg has a Sony NS-500V going for cheap in the Source For Sale section - snap this up - this could be the single biggest improvement you can make ($140.00)

2] Get a Singlepower PPX-3 NOW and forget about the amplification part - this is a sensational amp. Wait until the meet to hear it.

3] Get a Sennheiser HD-600 / 580 headphone to complete the setup.

4] Suitable interconnects and a power conditioning system

Your source is crap...sorry but thats a fact...

The Gilmore is probably sounding bad because of your source - this just has to go
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May 10, 2004 at 5:26 AM Post #14 of 27

raaj

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Quote:

Originally Posted by gsferrari
raaj - just hang in there until the meet and then you will get to listen to a LOT of stuff before you make up your mind.

Dont buy anything when there is a meet around the corner.

I think you SHOULD get a PPX-3...dont believe my ears? You dont have to believe my ears - there will be a PPX-3 at the meet and you can see for yourself
wink.gif


Until then - forget this place...

Cheers!



Yeah, I am very excited about the meet too..

I am just trying to hear how people would spend the money, and then audition the most recommended amps at the meet. But, knowing my ears, I would need to spend some top-quality-time listening to the sound to say which one I like, and I don't think a meet would provide that much time. Anyway, I'm going to persevere with the Gilmore Lite till I can better judge it's sound after due burn-in.

Quote:

Andrew_WOT:
Just get a new external PSU for Lite from Justin (should be available in 4-5 weeks I guess) and you'll get V2 sound quality for the fraction of a price


Any ideas about this approach, guys ??

Quote:

gpalmer:
If you've only had it for a week, I wouldn't judge it yet by any means.


Yeah, I'm not rushing to pass judgement on the Gilmore sound. My upgraditis is more from curiosity about sound in the PPA price range, rather than disappointment with the sound of the Gilmore Lite.

This is the 'why have two good amps worth $400, when I can probably have better sound in a single $400 amp
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'
strain of upgraditis.
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May 10, 2004 at 5:32 AM Post #15 of 27

some1x

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I have spent the last week with the wooAudio tube amp. It is an excellent amp for the HD600, but does not match well with my lower-end MS1. I believe the wooAudio is optimized for higher impedance phones. That said, if you decide to get a HD580/600/650, then definitely consider this newcomer in entry-level tube amps.

I think there is a lot of potential for sound tweaking with different 6922 tubes; but atm I'm too broke to start experimenting with more tubes
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