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Bravo Audio - funny looking little tube amps

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ear8dmg, Sep 9, 2009.
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  1. money4me247 Contributor
    lol we are talking budget-fi, and your suggestion is to spend more money. ironic much? [​IMG]
    So I only got the HE400 d/t the $300 black friday sale & I only got the bravo v3 b/c i found em for $65. So for less than $400, I own an ortho pair of headphones and a tube amp. pretty cooolio :)
    Pretty sure I already hit the biggest bang for my buck right here. To upgrade my headphones, I'll have to go up to $700 for the HE500. To get a DAC, I'll have to throw down $100 at least. To upgrade to another tube amp, at least $200 (for project starlight) up to $400 (for lyr). So basically any equipment upgrade I make will be at least 25-50% of my current total cost, and I know for a fact that DACs/amps will not give you a 25-50% boost in sound quality ...so like you said: diminishing returns.
    however, tubes are relatively cheap. you can find some for $10. So they only need to improve the sound by 3% to be worth while for me. That is why I am asking about tube rolling/tube suggestions. I am actually perfectly happy with the sound already. Just want to be rollinggggg, because that was the whole point of buying a cheap tube amp. So I could try tube rolling & see what all the fuss is about w/o spending too much $$$.
    The nice thing about the HE400 is that it is easy to power (aka don't need an fancy expensive amp). don't really need a DAC for them either for them to sound good. They aren't like Sennheisers HD600/650 or Audeze or HE-500/HE-6 that people say require more high-end equipment to sound good. I was browsing the HE400 forums, there are pretty of people who experience silibance w/ HE400 paired along with $400 DAC/amps. The reason that there is a treble spike at 12k. You EQ that away, the issue isn't really noticeable anymore. I've actually only noticed the silibance on two tracks in my entire collection so far from 4 days of listening, so I imagine it is more a problem w/ the source than the headphones. They are a lot more revealing than my previous headphones, so that is why I never noticed the distortion before. I've also discovered a lot of songs in my collection are poorly recorded lol...
  2. UmustBKidn
    Well, yeah. I can be ironic, when it is appropriate [​IMG]
    But your point is well taken. So I am happy you found some good cans on sale. Nice work.
    If you don't own a DAC, then it would be my suggestion that you get one of those next. Personally, of the two DAC's I own, I would highly recommend the Schiit Modi. As long as you're going to be listening from music stored on a computer, that is. And yeah, it's going to cost you $99 bucks, but honestly bro, the Modi is the best damn DAC you are going to find for that price range. Hands down. Nothing else under 100 clams beats it.
    You will hear some differences doing some tube rolling without a DAC. But really, you are missing out on a whole different level of detail, that you just won't appreciate until you insert a DAC into your setup. I know, you won't believe it until you try it. But when you try it, you will come back and say yes, it is soooo much better.
    So, yeah. For you sir, a DAC is next.
  3. money4me247 Contributor
    good suggestion. a DAC is probably the next step in my next equipment upgrade. but I actually have an old AV receiver that I lent out to a friend, so I prob won't end up needing to spend anymore money.
    ahhh... that is where you are so wrong my friend. While the Modi might be the "best damn DAC" you can get for $100... that is looking at things from sticker price. What you need to do is find the best DACs in the price bracket that are slightly above your budget... and then you just wait for the inevitable sale. [​IMG] heh... welcome to the real world of budget-fi!!!
  4. ostewart
    Ocean tube:



  5. Cafofo
    Guys, i have a Bravo Audio V2 and wanna trade the energy source. I got an printer source with 32v in line, there´s any problem? I heard that printer source are good because there´s less noise than usually, that´s true?
    Model : HP 0957-2105
  6. DefQon

    Not going work since it is not a regulated ps and you'd need change all the capacitors to 35v + rated ones and increase the resistance of the cathode resistor so it doesn't take more than 6.3v. The only PSU improvemebt you can give the Bravo based amps is to build a 24-25v feedoff from a Sigma 22 regulated psu kit.
  7. money4me247 Contributor
    I was wondering if anyone here figured out a solution for EF shielding for these bravo amps. Mine crackles if my phone is nearby, wondering if there is a permanent fix rather than disabling data connection at home.
  8. DefQon
    Build an enclosure for it.
  9. mcandmar
    Not sure if you did this in the end but i picked up two IRF510's from ebay and they made an unbelievable difference to this little V2.  /insert hyperbole comments here ***
    Seriously, its a total transformation, replacing the output caps and resistors improved the clarity, replacing the tube changes its character, but replacing the transistors took it from a novelty toy to a really really nice sounding amp.
    Next challenge is the 24v power supply, the one supplied is an utter piece of crap.  I managed to quieten it down by fitting the components that were missing/bypassed on the PCB.  I.e. input and output chokes/caps.  But a decent linear 24v supply would make a world of difference, and the amp is so good its justified.
    For the $20 i paid for the amp, + $3 worth of caps/transistors its a bargain, and looks cute too..
  10. UmustBKidn
    I haven't looked lately. Work and life in general has been too busy.
    But I am curious why you chose the IRF 510 over the IRL 510? It was my understanding that the IRL 510 was the superior component (though I don't remember why right now).
    I guess one reason I haven't jumped on this sooner is that I just don't think I listen to my music loud enough to hear much difference. It's only when I'm doing what I'd call "critical listening" (with increased volume) that I am wanting something better. But as I mentioned, life has been too busy. Someone in my family needs a job to pay the bills, and so far it's been me lol [​IMG] I haven't put up a Christmas tree yet either. Oh well.
  11. money4me247 Contributor
    In terms of modding bravo tube amps... do you need to know how to sodder & all that jazzz?
  12. UmustBKidn
    Yes. Soldering skillz are necessary. So is a soldering gun. And solder. Probably also some solder wick, or a solder sucker.
  13. money4me247 Contributor
    .....soooo if i have no idea what you're talking about, modding my cute liddle bravo v3 is outta the question? [​IMG] 
  14. UmustBKidn
    Hah. Now that's funny [​IMG]
    But seriously, there is a whole world out there for DIY audio. There are even projects you can attempt, just to teach yourself things like soldering skillz.
    How would you react if I goofed up your amp? You'd want me to buy you a new one. And it's just not worth it to me.
    Besides, you wouldn't like my hourly rate. I'm not cheap [​IMG]
  15. mcandmar

    Because at the time the IRF is all i could easily get.  But your right the IRL is supposed to be slightly better.   The difference isnt to do with output volume but the quality of what you hear, with the 510 it has much more clarity and detail. I think its a faster part which would translate into better resolution.
    On a side note i picked up a Sylvania and GE tube for it which i tested out last night.  Oddly i think i prefer the Chinese tube that came with it [​IMG]
    @money4me247: There is only one way to learn, no better place to start than these budget amps [​IMG]
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