CEntrance Ampersand balanced portable headphone amplifier
Feb 13, 2022 at 11:12 PM Post #76 of 131

mgoodman

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Hi Mr.Goodman. I'm really considering getting the Ampersand, but do you have any plans on creating a separate DAC to go with it? I saw the HiFiM8V2/Ampersand stack, but the HiFiM8 seems to be more oriented as a "swiss army knife". Was wondering if you think you could get even more performance on a dedicated DAC product to pair with Ampersand?
How about this?

https://centrance.com/store/DACport-HD-p53351211

Right now we have 20% off for Valentine's Day on anything in the store, so the DAC is almost free through Monday. Coupon code VDAY20.
mention this thread and we will throw in this cable for free:

https://centrance.com/store/3-5-mm-to-3-5-mm-Shielded-Stereo-Cable-1M-3-ft-p337787053
 
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Feb 14, 2022 at 5:43 PM Post #77 of 131

HeadphoneAddict

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The headphone amp on DACport Pro is not colored, so it's a safe choice for line out.
If the DacPort Pro amplifier is similar to that of the HiFiM8 V2 then I can absolutely believe that. It’s a wonderfully transparent amp. If I had the DACPort Pro I’d still want to try the XLR output as my source if I could, but I’m sure the headphone output is also good.

I am still going to look for cables to try use my desktop Perfectwave Mk 2 DAC with the Ampersand, just to see how it sounds - this would be the same cables one would need if using the DACPort Pro.

I probably won’t use it that way long-term, because I do most of my MacBook listening with a portable DAC and amp, with my MacBook on a folding TV table. My desktop DAC and amp are connected to my gaming PC (5950X/3080Ti).

So far Ampersand is fantastic with the balanced 2.5mm output and the 4-pin balanced output of the HiFiM8 V2, as well as the 2.5mm balanced output of the BlueDAC. The BlueDAC sound is ever so slightly punchier than the M8, by a small degree, but it makes the HD800s slightly more fun to listen to with that combo with EQ.

The Palab M1 Mini 4.4mm output is very nice source to feed the Ampersand with my darker sounding headphones like HD600 and HD6XX.
 
Feb 14, 2022 at 5:45 PM Post #78 of 131

HeadphoneAddict

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My gaming PC with ESS DAC on front panel feeding Ampersand.
 

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Feb 14, 2022 at 10:12 PM Post #79 of 131

Alexnova

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How about this?

https://centrance.com/store/DACport-HD-p53351211

Right now we have 20% off for Valentine's Day on anything in the store, so the DAC is almost free through Monday. Coupon code VDAY20.
mention this thread and we will throw in this cable for free:

https://centrance.com/store/3-5-mm-to-3-5-mm-Shielded-Stereo-Cable-1M-3-ft-p337787053
Thank you very much for your generous offer.

I actually purchased the DACport HD earlier this month from the store. I love it and I just purchased the Cerene DB a few days ago too.

I didn't realize you guys sold this as a "HiFi bundle" :smiley:
 
Feb 21, 2022 at 4:16 AM Post #80 of 131

BasilFawlty

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Just tested my Ampersand with my M8 yesterday and can just say WOW! Sound is clear natural and my Audeze LCD-4 really needed the extra boost from Ampersand. Was on the edge with the HiFi-M8 V2 but now a perfect combination. I love the real volume button on the ampersand and with the tray (console) I got from CEntrance they are sided by side instead of a clumsy stack.

I didn’t know that to be able to enjoy Apples Lossless I need to use a cable since Bluetooth isn’t able to transfer lossless audio yet. So when at home I use the combination and when traveling just the M8 with my Audeze Sine20 electrostatic IEM.

the only negative - when you found the perfect system - you loose the interest to experiment with other brands/products! I use CEntrance at my desk as well, the old system with two speakers and I added a small subwoofer.

So at least for me the Ampersand was a great addition for my “heavy” electrostatic headphones and I love CEntronics thinking out of the box with a stand that holds both the preamp/DAC and the Ampersand side by side. Congratulations Michael to a real hit!

will come back when used it for a month or so.
 
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Feb 21, 2022 at 6:14 PM Post #81 of 131

HeadphoneAddict

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Just tested my Ampersand with my M8 yesterday and can just say WOW! Sound is clear natural and my Audeze LCD-4 really needed the extra boost from Ampersand. Was on the edge with the HiFi-M8 V2 but now a perfect combination. I love the real volume button on the ampersand and with the tray (console) I got from CEntrance they are sided by side instead of a clumsy stack.

I didn’t know that to be able to enjoy Apples Lossless I need to use a cable since Bluetooth isn’t able to transfer lossless audio yet. So when at home I use the combination and when traveling just the M8 with my Audeze Sine20 electrostatic IEM.

the only negative - when you found the perfect system - you loose the interest to experiment with other brands/products! I use CEntrance at my desk as well, the old system with two speakers and I added a small subwoofer.

So at least for me the Ampersand was a great addition for my “heavy” electrostatic headphones and I love CEntronics thinking out of the box with a stand that holds both the preamp/DAC and the Ampersand side by side. Congratulations Michael to a real hit!

will come back when used it for a month or so.
I agree that you sometimes lose interest when you have the perfect system, but getting to try new things also can rekindle a lost interest in listening to music in the first place.

I think you meant planar magnetic instead of electrostatic?
 
Feb 22, 2022 at 8:42 AM Post #84 of 131

newworld666

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It's still a bit early for me to be totally comfortable with the new Ampersand, but after spending a long time comparing it with my Less BX2, I was surprised that a much smaller unit as the Ampersand was giving very comparable sound quality results, and even be a bit more powerful :scream::scream:.

Now I am spending for a few days some more hours to compare my target "on the way" combo which is intended to be the "Sony WM1A (Low Gain) + Ampersand" + Vision Ears EXT or DCA Stealth against my already impressive but still a bit too bulky FIIO M17 + DC12V3A Powerbank for enhanced audio mode.
I am listening some nice Hires tracks coming from some DSD like Hiromi Hueara / Manu Katché or hires flac from Ibrahim Maalouf ...
Again, I am impressed that such a small Amp unit can really be comparable to a FIIO M17 even connected to an external power unit of 12V/3A.

Last August, after mgoodman said, they needed to rework a bit the design of their Ampersand, as it was really falling short with DCA Planars (Noire), so from that annopucement, I was not expecting anymore that this amp would provide enough power with low impedance and low sensitivity Headphones. So these last ten days, are really a surprise to drive so nicely the 23 Ohms 92db of the DCA Stealth ...

Till now, I was thinking the Less Bx2+ and Fiio M17 were probably the only more or less portable units able to drive the DCA Stealth and HEDDphone One => clearly the Ampersand can manage it very well too.

For people who do appreciate, like I do, the Sony WM1A with some custom firmware (MrWalkman), it can be directly plugged with the 4.4mm in low gain to the Ampersand and drive the DCA Stealth with an impressive sound quality from ultra low frequencies to high frequencies. It can even work in an enhanced mode for CD quality with some DSP DSEE-AI.. with no hiss at all or any harshness ...
Then on the way, when I am no more in a plane train or hotel, I just unplug the Ampersand and DCA Stealth from the WM1A and I switch to a Vision Ears EXT or Sennheiser IE900 to be plugged to the 4.4mm output (High Gain) and I can walk in the street be in the bus/underground with the WM1A in my shirt pocket and IEM in my ears, which is much more difficult with the bulky FIIO M17.
I would already say, even if I need some more weeks/months to discover fully the Ampersand, that at least, it's worth to give a real try to this amp for people who need a portable solution beside their usual pocketable DAP to drive most of the difficult headphones to drive .... worth to do :L3000: :L3000: :L3000:
 
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Feb 22, 2022 at 10:06 PM Post #86 of 131

HeadphoneAddict

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I posted the case I use in the HiFiM8 V2 thread, and I have two for my M8 V2 and Ampersand. The elastic band is starting to stretch out and loosen though - it still works unless I try to put something much smaller in the case and then it's too loose. I'm going to look for something that can hold both.

Canboc Hard Drive Carrying Case

IMG_1613.JPG


Also fits with the CEntrance protective cover that will help keep the volume from changing if you bump it and blowing out your headphones (in my case mostly good for preventing you from knocking off the volume knob or scratching the top if you drop it).
IMG_1614.JPG
 
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Feb 23, 2022 at 12:40 AM Post #87 of 131

rodel808

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Received the Ampersand today. I didn't realize how small and light weight the device is yet how powerful it is. Tested with the following cans: Sennheiser HD580, Aeon Noir, Hifiman HE6se v2. They all sounded great and to my surprise even the HE6se didn't feel underpowered. It also sounds much more transparent compared to my desktop amps, Matrix Audio HPA3B, Schiit Lyr 2 and Ray Samuels Audio XP7. Quite pleased with this purchase. The only complaint I have is that the protective cover hides the VU meter but really is not a big deal. I might take a drill to the cover and make some holes aligned with the led to allow it to shine through.
 

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Feb 23, 2022 at 3:32 PM Post #88 of 131
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So I'm here listening to the CEntrance + HEDD gear that I mentioned in the CanJam NYC 2022 preview video:

CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2 (bass and treble boosts engaged) ▸ 2.5 mm output to 4.4mm input ▸ CEntrance Ampersand (~11:00 volume; high gain) ▸ XLR output ▸ HEDD Audio HEDDPhone

F••k me. The above system hits almost every headphone audiophile sweet spot I can think of. Thanks to both tone controls on the HiFi-M8, and the ample output power of the Ampersand, I am getting impactful bass, very present mid-range (inherent to the HEDDphone I think), and much air and sparkle up top. Imaging is very precise, and the separation afforded by this chain's impressive detail/resolution capabilities is sublime for symphonic works.

New York Philharmonic, New York Choral Artists, Alan Gilbert: Mass in B Minor, BWV 232: IV. Gloria in excelsis
https://song.link/us/i/659361748

That very capable detail and resolution also helps a great deal with piano and percussion, especially in terms of texture.

Cameron Graves: Adam & Eve
https://song.link/us/i/1189249472

Taylor Eigsti: Get Your Hopes Up
https://song.link/us/i/1581690391

That said, this rig is also immensely satisfying with my guilty pleasure music as well.

Doja Cat (featuring SZA): Kiss Me More
https://song.link/us/i/1486263180

I didn't think that an AMT driver would have the warmth and visceral bass that I'm hearing with this track, but I'm pleasantly surprised that in this rig, it does. :relaxed:

I have to say, I'm astounded by what this rig is capable of... all the more so since it's in a portable (or transportable) form factor. I could easily imagine many a Head-Fier making this rig their endgame, serving double duty as a desktop and portable rig, because it has the sonic chops to be just that for the vast majority of listeners.

Weight could be an issue for some though, as the HEDDphone by itself weighs over 40% more than the HiFi-M8 V2 and Ampersand combined. That said, weight hasn't been too bad for me thus far. I've been listening to Audeze since 2013, with some Abyss thrown in, so I've been training for this moment nearly my entire Head-Fi life.

But yeah, this synergy is mighty impressive... and that this entire chain can be had for below the price of a single flagship headphone right now blows my mind.
 
Feb 23, 2022 at 3:44 PM Post #89 of 131

mgoodman

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Just tested my Ampersand with my M8 yesterday and can just say WOW! Sound is clear natural and my Audeze LCD-4 really needed the extra boost from Ampersand. Was on the edge with the HiFi-M8 V2 but now a perfect combination. I love the real volume button on the ampersand and with the tray (console) I got from CEntrance they are sided by side instead of a clumsy stack.
...

So at least for me the Ampersand was a great addition for my “heavy” electrostatic headphones and I love CEntrance thinking out of the box with a stand that holds both the preamp/DAC and the Ampersand side by side. Congratulations Michael to a real hit!
Many thanks for your comments. Really appreciated!
 
Feb 23, 2022 at 3:48 PM Post #90 of 131

mgoodman

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Received the Ampersand today. I didn't realize how small and light weight the device is yet how powerful it is. Tested with the following cans: Sennheiser HD580, Aeon Noir, Hifiman HE6se v2. They all sounded great and to my surprise even the HE6se didn't feel underpowered. It also sounds much more transparent compared to my desktop amps, Matrix Audio HPA3B, Schiit Lyr 2 and Ray Samuels Audio XP7. Quite pleased with this purchase. The only complaint I have is that the protective cover hides the VU meter but really is not a big deal. I might take a drill to the cover and make some holes aligned with the led to allow it to shine through.
Glad you like the sound. I will cook up a better cover, with LED holes. Thank you for the suggestion!
 

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