Butte Review and new loaner program
Aug 18, 2011 at 4:17 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21


Headphone Vinyl Meister
Sponsor: TTVJ
Jun 21, 2001
HI All,
Tyll @ Innerfidelity has reviewed the Butte. It is the first press for the our new Butte amplifier.  You can read it here... http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/butte-headphone-amplifier-apex-hi-fi
Here is your chance to audition and write your own review of the Butte - I will take 6 loaner progam folks to try out the Butte in their own system. Same rules as always - e-mail me (todd@ttvjaudio.com) with your Head-Fi name, and all of your shipping and contact info. You will get the Butte for 2 weeks to use in your home. After your time is up you will send it to the next participant. You will also be required to write a review in this thread and anywhere else on Head-Fi you see fit.
I can send the Butte out tomorrow to the first one who signs up so hurry and you can be listening by next week!
TTVJAudio.com Todd Stay updated on TTVJAudio.com at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
http://www.ttvjaudio.com/ todd@ttvjaudio.com
Sep 30, 2011 at 10:45 AM Post #2 of 21


Sep 22, 2011
I sent an email, however this thread is about 1.5 months old...is this still happening?
Sep 30, 2011 at 11:03 AM Post #3 of 21


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 9, 2010
I don't know how many slots are left.  Just email Todd at todd@ttvjaudio.com
I emailed him a little over 2 weeks ago, received a couple days later, and will be sending back one of his units today.  I will post my review here in the next couple of days.
I sent an email, however this thread is about 1.5 months old...is this still happening?

Sep 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM Post #4 of 21


Sep 22, 2011
Awesome, looking forward to your review...very interested in the amp!
Thanks WNBC...
Oct 2, 2011 at 7:08 AM Post #6 of 21


500+ Head-Fier
Sep 8, 2010
Sent an email a couple days back, wonder if this is still on...
Oct 2, 2011 at 8:38 PM Post #7 of 21


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 9, 2010
[size=10.0pt]APEX HI-FI BUTTE REVIEW[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Equipment used:[/size]
[size=10.0pt](a) Apex HI-FI Butte – Loaner from Todd at TTVJ[/size]
[size=10.0pt](b) Foobar2000 > W4S DAC-2  [/size]
[size=10.0pt](c) Hifiman HM-601 portable player[/size]
[size=10.0pt](d) Marantz SACD SA-8003 player [/size]
[size=10.0pt](e) Sansui TU-717 receiver                                        [/size]
[size=10.0pt](f) Headphones: LCD-2 (60 ohm, 95 dB) w/ Norse Audio Norn cable, Fischer Audio FA-011 (160 ohm, 98 dB), Hifiman RE-262 IEM (150 ohm, 95 dB), Fostex T50RP (50 ohm, 98 dB)[/size]

[size=10.0pt]Initial impressions:[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Fewer frills lead to lower bills.  This is your blue collar amp, it pushes sound with no shortcuts and little compromise.  The Butte has a solid build, no cheap plastic feel here.  This little champ can be easily tucked away on a night stand or corner of a work desk.  Volume control is smooth.  The headphone input will hold your ¼” TRS connector tight. [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Right away I found this amp to be neutral and smooth.  Transparency and midrange clarity are delivered in spades with the Butte.  These are the major strengths of the Butte.  The midrange is where a lot of the magic happens for many of us and I found the Butte’s midrange to be natural and uncolored.  You can push this amp without any significant edginess/harshness at the top or bloat at the bottom.  There is no chance of amp-induced fatigue here.  In general, with all of my headphones and IEM I found the bass to be tight and controlled.  There is fairly good low-end weight and impact, but these are not the strengths of this amp.  The ability to convey inner detail as well as resolution at the high frequency range is a bit lower than some other amps I’ve used but nothing to make me wince, especially at this price point.  Above all, I found that the source and headphones can significantly make the Butte listening experience go from one that is laid back to one in which you are bobbing your head (discussed later).    [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Soundstage:   [/size]
[size=10.0pt]I found the soundstage to have a pleasant width and appropriate depth.  Describing soundstage and layering can be difficult and subjective but to me it was adequate.  I didn’t get the impression the instruments were on top of each other or too far away.      [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Driving Power (with DAC-2 as source):[/size]
[size=10.0pt]LCD-2 --- low (9 o’clock), normal (12 o’clock), very loud (3 o’clock), insane (6 o’clock)[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Fischer FA-011 --- low (9 o’clock), normal (12 o’clock), very loud (3 o’clock), insane (6 o’clock)[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Fostex T50rp --- low (9 o’clock), normal (12 o’clock), loud (3 o’clock), very loud (6 o’clock)[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Hifiman RE-262 --- low (9 o’clock), normal (12 o’clock), very loud (3 o’clock) , insane (6 o’clock)[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Favorite Butte + Headphone combos (with DAC-2 as source):[/size]
[size=10.0pt]1.   RE-262[/size][size=10.0pt],  Best synergy was heard here.  I felt this combo presented the dynamics and toe tapping experience that I didn’t have with the headphones.  Wonderful soundstage, not too wide, not too deep, just right.  RE-262 is a forward IEM yet the Butte kept the instruments and vocals properly spaced rather than pushing the sound far into one’s head.  The timbre of pianos, cymbals and saxophones were on point.  The articulation of vocals was fantastic.  More than adequate weight through the low end.  The Butte displayed all of the detail this IEM could provide.  I've never heard this IEM sound so good.      [/size]
[size=10.0pt]2.   LCD-2[/size][size=10.0pt], a solid pairing.  Would I buy the Butte if the LCD-2 was my only headphone and DAC-2 the main source?  Probably not.  The combination by no means sounded terrible but I felt that the LCD-2 was always at the tipping point of going from a pleasant listening experience to "wow, I forgot the time" type of experience.  Simply, I wanted a bit more attack.  And to be honest, in this hobby we are paying good money for ear-gasms whereas others who are not so fanatic could very well live with this combo for a long time.  Spoiler alert.  However, when I used a different source I did achieve the PRAT I was looking for with the LCD-2 and Apex Butte (discussed later).        [/size]
[size=10.0pt]3.   T50RP (bass-heavy mod)[/size][size=10.0pt], almost on par with LCD-2.  In fact, the excellent transparency of this amp made the Butte + T50 pairing better than that with my Schiit Lyr.  To my ear, the Lyr can be a bit more lush in the mids and low end which causes my modded T50RP to bloat a bit at loud volumes.  The Butte is leaner in the mid bass in comparison to Schiit Lyr.  These characteristics of the Butte may in fact benefit individuals with bass-heavy headphones. [/size]
[size=10.0pt]4.   FA-011[/size][size=10.0pt], the best way to describe the sound of this combination was thin and dry.  When pushed to moderately loud volumes there was more treble energy in these headphones than I could take.  If you’ve heard this headphone under properly amped conditions you know this is a “fun, liquid, v-shaped” headphone.  So while I can’t offer an explanation for the results I found the least amount of synergy in this pairing.  [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Favorite Butte + Source combos (with various headphones):[/size]
[size=10.0pt]1.   Marantz SACD player[/size][size=10.0pt] – this combination was the clear winner of the two week experience!  The Butte made me a believer rather than just a tester at this point.  I saved the different source combinations for the very end but I wish I had started here.  I could easily be content with my CD player, LCD-2, and the Apex Butte.  Throw away my computer + DAC-2 and live happily ever after, that was how good it was.  The LCD-2 came alive during this pairing, especially in getting across the treble details.  Details in the top-end were now dancing through the LCD-2.  The midrange became even more palpable with no cost to clarity and articulation.  The focus was now better and imaging stabilized.  The attack transients now had my full attention, which was my main complaint with the DAC-2 combo.  The dynamics + impact missing with the DAC-2 combo were present in the CD player + Butte.  All of this was completely unexpected because I slightly prefer the DAC-2 + Lyr over the CD player + Lyr.  For this reason I waited until the end to test difference sources, I figured it wouldn’t matter because the DAC-2 would always be better even via USB.  We could try and dissect the reasons why but it was pure joy to hear the Butte behind a solid CD player.  I would think that those who primarily listen to speakers and just want to throw a small headphone amp into the mix should seriously consider the Butte.  Of note, the FA-011 sounded better now but still not great.  LCD-2, RE-262, and T50 were thoroughly enjoyed with Marantz + Butte.    [/size]
[size=10.0pt]2.   W4S DAC-2 [/size][size=10.0pt]– my experience with this combo is detailed above.  The experience overall was good but not amazing.  Side by side with the Lyr and my headphones, I would choose the Lyr due to better synergy between DAC-2 + Lyr than DAC-2 + Butte.  I am believing the output power of the source is really determining my experience with the Butte.  The Marantz and W4S DAC-2 (unbalanced mode) have similar reported output voltage but I don’t know if the DAC-2 specs are RMS or peak.     [/size]
[size=10.0pt]3.   Sansui TU-717[/size][size=10.0pt] – I enjoyed this a lot and contemplated for a while whether it should rank 2nd or 3rd.  I imagine if the 717 had auxiliary inputs this would go 2nd because there was a tad more dynamics than with the DAC-2 + Butte.  As a testament to the neutrality and transparency of the Butte the sound I heard was exactly as if I was listening to the radio through speakers. [/size]
[size=10.0pt]4.   Hifiman HM-601 [/size][size=10.0pt]– last but not leastThe small form factor of the Butte combined with a portable DAP may be a selling point to many.  I did not use the Butte’s 2nd input (stereo mini) but rather the line out of the 601 to the analog inputs of Butte via a Blue Jeans Cable 1/8” TRS to RCA cable.  The warmth of the 601 did color the sound a little bit.  In comparison to the other sources there was a small hit to soundstage and image focus, not by any fault of the Butte.  A small reduction in resolution was mainly due to source rather than Butte.  While I would not buy the $499 Butte purely for use with my $249 DAP I could see how on vacation or work travel I would be very content with the combination.[/size]
[size=10.0pt]I primarily use tube amps so the Apex Butte loaner was an opportunity to hear the other side.  The Butte is a solid state amp that can deliver clean, transparent sound at a price that may rival higher-end SS amps.  If the LCD-2 is your main headphone and you already own the Schiit Lyr you’ll probably find that the Lyr provides a bit more dynamics and punch.  However, the world doesn't revolve around the LCD-2 so I can see how people who do not prefer tube associated warmth and mid bass weightiness would flock to the more neutral Apex Butte.  I am now a fan of the Apex sound and when I do get a solid state amp to complement my tube amp I will strongly consider the Apex line of products.  As the reviews for this amp do start to come out it will be interesting to hear the opinions of those individuals with a more diverse set of headphones than myself.      [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Transparency and clarity in the midrange.  Price-to-peformance, small form factor (office use / travel), and the power to drive most cans make the Butte a versatile amp for the office or home.      [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Synergy between Butte with one’s sources and headphones will significantly influence one’s experience.  [/size]
[size=10.0pt]First full review of gear after about a year into this world of better sound so take my comments with a grain or two of salt but I know what I hear, I hear what I hear, you may hear something different than me, but hear this, y’all come back now, you hear?  But really, keep in mind I mainly use tube amps which can be very different than their SS brethren which may color my expectations.  With that said, SS amps are a breath of fresh air that I will continue to explore.  [/size]
[size=10.0pt]Conflicts of interest and financial disclosure:[/size][size=10.0pt]  would love some but none in reality[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Thank you to Todd over at TTVJ for allowing me to enjoy this little amp for 2 weeks[/size]
[size=10.0pt]Availability:  [/size]https://www.ttvjaudio.com/store/comersus_viewItem.asp?idProduct=720
Close-up of T50s


Oct 3, 2011 at 7:55 PM Post #8 of 21


Headphoneus Supremus
Jun 10, 2009
Thanks again, WNBC - particularly interested in your experience with the RE262, although I don't have your sources. I'm increasingly of the opinion that some underestimate the importance of a good source to the overall experience, even though we constantly pay lip service to the 'source first' mantra. My MSII puts out a much stronger, cleaner signal than any of my portable sources (whether using a LOD or from the HP out) and that pays dividends with every amp I own. I dont know how strong the line-out signal is on the HM-601, but its definitely something I'd like to explore.
Oct 4, 2011 at 6:16 AM Post #9 of 21


Headphoneus Supremus
Jul 27, 2005
First I would like to thank Todd of TTVJ for the opportunity to listen to the Apex Butte in the convenience of my home with my music and cans. Second the quick impression ... this is one heck of a nice sounding amp! Made in the USA for $495 to boot.
The closest amp I have to compare the Butte to is the Graham Slee Solo SRGII with the PSU1. According to Graham’s website the Solo SRGII with the PSU1 sells for $434 BP about $671 USD. Or you can buy the Solo SRGII with a switching PSU for 314.25 BP about $486 USD.
Both units were fed from the same DAC (using RCA spltters), music and cables. The initial cans used were the HiFiMAN HE300 w/ the HE6 OCC cable and the Superlux HD661 and the Grado RS-1. The music was by Jim Hall, Jimmy Smith, and the Jazz at the Pawnshop CD.
I thought the SRGII and the Butte sounded very good and it was just a matter of preference in sound reproduction. The differences I heard were not pronounced and could be summarized by stating the Butte ...
1. The treble is a bit more extended.
2. The soundstage is a bit narrower.
3. Not as mellow sounding.
4. The music is presented closer, as in being in the front row versus the 10th row in a venue.
5. Great bass impact.
I moved to the Grado RS-1 with flats instead of bowls. The Butte has indeed a more in your face presentation, for now I prefer the mellower and warmer presentation of the Solo SRGII. I should mention that the sound differences are not significant and some/many may prefer the Butte's presentation. My wife listened to both amps via the RS-1 and depending of the music one amp sounded better to her than the other and overall she preferred the Butte’s sound presentation. She did agree the Butte has a slightly narrower presentation with a more extended treble.
The DAC used was the one included in the HLLY SMK-II via the fixed RCA outputs. The music was fed via USB from an iMac 21.5 using apple lossless files using iTunes 10.4.1
Once again thanks Todd for the opportunity and this is definitely great sounding amp which will make many users very happy.
Oct 4, 2011 at 10:28 AM Post #10 of 21


Headphoneus Supremus
Dec 9, 2010
I've read a lot of good things about the HE-300 and wish I had these to try with my Butte loaner because I don't have a great dynamic headphone.  Your experience mirrors mine with the ortho LCD-2 + Marantz CD player + Butte.  In that combo the bass impact was top notch, excellent treble extension and definitely not mellow.    
First I would like to thank Todd of TTVJ for the opportunity to listen to the Apex Butte in the convenience of my home with my music and cans. Second the quick impression ... this is one heck of a nice sounding amp! Made in the USA for $495 to boot.
The closest amp I have to compare the Butte to is the Graham Slee Solo SRGII with the PSU1. According to Graham’s website the Solo SRGII with the PSU1 sells for $434 BP about $671 USD. Or you can buy the Solo SRGII with a switching PSU for 314.25 BP about $486 USD.
Both units were fed from the same DAC (using RCA spltters), music and cables. The initial cans used were the HiFiMAN HE300 w/ the HE6 OCC cable and the Superlux HD661 and the Grado RS-1. The music was by Jim Hall, Jimmy Smith, and the Jazz at the Pawnshop CD.

Oct 11, 2011 at 10:45 PM Post #11 of 21


Modern Modder Man of Manitoba
HTML... uphill, both ways!
Oct 18, 2009
I was the first to review the Butte on the Canadian leg of its loaner program. Unlike most reviews, I'm just going to start off with my blunt and final impressions. Do I think this amp is worth the money? Nope.
Now that I've got that out of the way, read on for why. I will try to keep my writing concise and point form where possible. I will note that I was in the middle of doing my portables shootout (link) when I had the Butte, so they formed the majority of my listening time. However, I did spend time with more equipment and also organized a meet while I had the Butte so I could gather more impressions and try a broader range of equipment. For sources, I primarily used the lineout from an iBasso D10 fed via optical.
Additional equipment:
Not a complete list...
AKG K240 Sextett
Pioneer HDJ-2000
Audio Technica A900
Grado SR125
Sennheiser HD25-1-ii, HD25-13-ii, HD600
Beyerdynamic DT880/250, DT250/250, DT1350, T50p
orthos: Fostex T40v1 transplant, Yamaha HP3, SFI transplant, Realistic Pro30
UE700, UE600
Shure SE215
RE252, RE-zero
other amps/sources
iBasso D10
Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II (mostly used as usb/optical converter)
Audio-gd Sparrow
Esoteric transport & dac
Bottlehead Crack+speedball
various receivers
Form and construction
- surprisingly small: 135 x 109 x 51 mm
- lightweight - I forget to write down the exact weight, but when it was all packed up for shipping it came in at 1.06kg (and that's counting the box and power adapter)
- has a good solid feel to it
- a set of RCA and 3.5mm inputs on the back, with a button switch on the front
- one 6.35mm headphone jack on the front
- button power switch on the front
- standard barrel plug for power on the back
- inputs do not seem to be fully isolated from one another; signals may bleed over
A very plain looking amp, rather unassuming. Buttons and knobs are all in plain site and easily accessible. Along with the big rubber feet (which are bit oversized I think, but that's a minor aesthetic quip), there's enough heft to it to keep it from sliding around too much if you're prone to jacking in different headphones frequently.
- the included wallwart was an AC-AC adapter
- wallwart seemed generic, outputs 12V AC
I was a little surprised to find that the wallwart supplied in AC, which means the DC conversion takes place inside the amp. From a design perspective, it's a halfway point between doing all your power management in the same chassis, or taking the entire thing out. I guess it makes sense to at the very least take the big noisy transformer out and do all the fine detail work in the chassis.
general notes:
- feels like slightly better control in the low end, but also a little dryer
- bass rolloff slightly around 40Hz, seems more noticeable than the Bottlehead Crack
- gain is much too high for most iems
- performs better with high impedance headphones and orthos
- very slight channel imbalance at the very lowest volumes, also doesn't attenuate all the way
- bass rolloff seems to come slightly quicker than the Crack and D10
Well here's where things get a bit finicky. I was not blown away but this amp. If anything, I was a little underwhelmed. Sonically I didn't hear anything wrong per se. Sound across the bass/mids/treble felt relatively consistent. Staging was decent, though at times felt a little recessed.
When comparing a bunch of the portable headphones, my overall impressions were “it's ok”. Nothing really stood out, I didn't feel much energy, and I was bothered by many of the noise issues (see below). At times I also felt like my frequency responses were slightly wobblier than usual. With the high impedance and/or lower sensitivity cans, performance improved. Headphone response felt tighter, like the notes were hitting harder and with more definition. With orthos, performance was actually quite good, solid power and impact, and noise was negligible.
Considering the high gain and overall performance, I would say the Butte is geared more for the heftier non-portable cans. Having an adjustable gain would have been nice and would make it easier to use sensitive headphones, but that would be a design decision and I'm sure it doesn't have one for a reason.
- background is not fully black, even when sourced from a portable player (with negligible dc offset)
- inputs do not seem to be fully isolated from one another; there is bleedover
- cannot have one input plugged in at the back but nothing on the other; generates noise, even if “off”
- two types of noise: a static white noise, and another that sounded like faint blowing wind
- also highly susceptible to grounding issues
- low impedance/high efficiency headphones were most susceptible (T50p)
- sensitive iems were almost unbearable
This here was one of my main issues with the Butte. Sometimes it worked very well, but oftentimes I had serious noise problems. I've run through my fair share of amps and organized several meets, and I have never had the issues that I had with the Butte.
I could use the same source and one day it would be fine, and the next day (nothing touched) it would be incredibly noisy. In some cases, noise could be heard with softer music playing and volume at approximately 50%.
The inputs seemed to not be fully isolated from each other. Say you had your sourced plugged into input 1 but had your switch set to input 2; turn up the volume and you can still hear input 1.
There was also a very large amount of noise if one input was left hanging free. I suppose this could have been an electromagnetic interference issue, but the surroundings were exactly the same as when I've A/B'd other amps and I've never heard interference to such a large degree. Best case for reducing noise was to only have one cable and source plugged in at a time. Even with a second source connected but turned off, there seemed to be ground loops present.
I'm not sure how the shielding is configured in the Butte, but I wonder if somehow it winds up amplifying interference. On a couple occasions (and with different sources) I had noise so bad that it was impossible to listen to music, but moving or touching various components or the Butte would alleviate it. I was unable to fully isolate or identify this problem as it was not consistent.
- inconsistent noise from iBasso D10
- caused errors in the Esoteric DAC
At a meet we had an Esoteric cd transport and dac, a rather large double box affair. For some reason, it simply could not get along with the Butte. Every few seconds it would trigger some sort of click in the Esoteric and the music would briefly cut out. This did not happen with any of our other amps, and according to the owner of the Esoteric he had never seen that happen before either.
Performance with my other sources was spotty at best, as noted in the noise section above.
vs Bottlehead Crack+Speedball
- limited my comparison to high impedance cans
- Butte had better stage width but all the sound was pushed back further; Crack had a more forward but narrower stage
- Crack tonality felt richer, stronger treble, bass extension seemed lower
- Butte had a more resonant midrange
vs Audio-gd Sparrow (fed via optical)
- bearing in mind that the Sparrow used its own dac
- these honestly seemed very comparable and I had a lot of trouble telling any difference
- at times I felt the Sparrow even edged it out slightly in terms of instrument separation
- the Sparrow is slightly larger, but significantly cheaper and includes a dac
vs iBasso D10
- the D10 and feels veiled and lacks the headroom to play with the heavier cans compared to the Butte
- but I felt it handled the portable cans better and had a more dynamic and energetic feel to the music
vs Ortofon HD-Q7 (from memory)
- Ortofon brighter, much more upper energy, induced a Grado-esque love it or hate it feeling
- Butte trumps it for gain, solid if somewhat boring presentation
Overall I feel that the Butte is rather expensive for what you get. Even ignoring the issues I encountered (which could entirely be due to factors on my end... though I experimented with quite a range of equipment to try to minimize that), I did not feel that the sound quality alone would be worth the $500. The compact form is quite nice, but within that size and price bracket I'm now at the top end of the portable amp list.

Butte, Bottlehead Crack, Esoteric CD transport and DAC

Apex Butte and iBasso D10

iBasso D10
Apex Butte
Audio-gd Sparrow
RMAA comparative results vs iBasso D10
Draw your own conclusions, or not, whatever.
dynamic range
frequency response (swept)
frequency response (multitone)
intermodular distortion (swept)
intermodular distortion
stereo crosstalk
total harmonic distortion
THD (swept)
Nov 6, 2011 at 9:30 PM Post #13 of 21

Lester Mobley

New Head-Fier
May 3, 2010
Here are my impressions of the Butte, which I got after Armaegis.  Be warned that this is my first impressions post on Head-Fi so be suspicious of everything I have to say!  They will be short because I don't have enough experience to hear all the details of the differences between amps.  The Nuforce HDP is the only other amp I have so all my comparisons will be done against it.
Build Quality
First, I felt the unit was better built than my HDP, especially the faceplate.  The headphone jack feels a lot tighter and more solid and the metal volume knob is nicer than the plastic one on the HDP.  Although the feet do look large when I was holding the unit in my hands, they seemed fine when I put the Butte on my desk.  The size was quite nice and it didn't take up too much space on my small desk.
The headphones used for comparisons were the LCD-2s and I listen mainly to jazz and some classical.  I had the volume knob at about 1 o'clock to get approximately the same volume as on the HDP.
The main difference I heard between the Butte and the HDP was how bass notes were better defined on the Butte.  They seemed less round and blended together and each note was more precise and distinct.  The next difference I heard was in instrument separation and definition.  There was more clarity and better distinction between instruments on the Butte.  When listening to sections, they sounded much more like groups of musicians playing together than a mushy, indistinguishable sound.  I could also hear instruments coming from a more specific location.  Finally, I felt that the Butte produced a slightly more spacious and airy sound, making softly played drums sound more delicate.
Although I didn't notice the noise issue that Armaegis had, when I switched to input 2 with my HDP connected to input 1, I could still hear the music that was playing from input 1, though faintly.  One thing I did notice is a weird clicking noise every once in a while that I never noticed before with my HDP.  It was entirely unpredictable and I couldn't replicate it, but it could have been the Butte or my hard drive and I'm not quite sure.
In conclusion, the Butte definitely sounded better than my HDP and I enjoyed listening to it.  Concerns about my comparisons:  I do wonder whether having a different (and better) source than my HDP would have enabled a fairer comparison since I had to connect the Butte to the HDP outputs.  I also didn't precisely match volume between the two.  (And as always, there's the possibility of the placebo effect.)  The question of whether it's worth the money still remains and as someone on a student budget, I can safely say that I wouldn't spend the $500, but if I had more disposable income then I would consider it.  Without having heard many other amps, it's impossible for me to make a value comparison.
Edit:  I've now heard the clicking noise I referred to in my impressions with my HDP so it must be something with the source music or my hard drive, not the Butte.
Nov 7, 2011 at 1:18 PM Post #14 of 21


Sep 22, 2011
Great & thorough reviews here from listeners just like us...I like it!
Nov 13, 2011 at 8:15 PM Post #15 of 21


Pete Millet
Sponsor: TTVJ/Apex Hi-Fi
Feb 10, 2002
Just wanted to post a short note about the coupling heard when an unused input is selected on the Butte...
The Butte has a high input impedance.  When the input selector is set to an unused input, there is nothing connected to the amp except PCB traces.  Because of the high input impedance (I design in high input impedance intentionally, to decrease the distortion of the source driving the amp), the tiny capacitance across the input switch allows some signal to leak from the other (driven) input.
If two sources are connected, this doesn't happen, as the source impedance is orders of magnitudes lower than the impedance of the leakage across the switch.  In other words, if you connect two sources and mute one of them (or connect a shorting jumper across the unused input), you will not hear any leakage.

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