Dark Amp?
May 5, 2011 at 12:01 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

Erieg

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I am having a problem with brightness, well sure with intellect, but more importantly in the amps I have purchased. The first amp I bought was a Rx MKII and the highs were so strong I could only take it for about 15 minutes before I wanted to rip my IEMs out of my ears and smash them with a Marilyn Horne CD.
 
I poked around a lot on this site and came to the conclusion that what I was looking for was more bass. I read some more and settled on the Headstage Arrow 3G. It's an amazing little amp and I got bass but when I turn up the volume to enjoy the bass the highs are once again too high.
 
I am currently using a set of custom IEMs and the Algorythm Solo and I have read that the solo puts out a high output (how a DAC puts out a hot signal I am not sure but oh well). What I have decided is I need to find a "dark" amp so dark that the highs disappear completely and I feel like I am listening to karaoke. Kidding.. sorta.
 
So my question is this. What is the darkest amp you have run across? By dark I mean that it taps the highs way down and leaves a mellow sound behind. Any suggestions? I am serious about dark.. not neutral like the Pico Slim.. but dark, dank and to some depressing.
 
May 5, 2011 at 2:23 AM Post #2 of 15

estreeter

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I really think you are going about this the wrong way - the end result is very unlikely to be what you are looking for. This is one of the reasons that neutrality is highly valued in audio components. It all starts with the phones.
 
May 5, 2011 at 4:09 AM Post #3 of 15

Nuwidol

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What IEMs are you using?

The darkest amp I ever owned was the Graham Slee Voyager. The only IEMs I could use it with were the notourisly bright ER-4S. Anything else just sounded dull & boring through it. Thing about the Voyager though is it's huge & ugly.
 
May 5, 2011 at 11:02 AM Post #4 of 15

Erieg

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I am using "Quads" from 1964 ears. The funny (or sad) thing is that if I go straight to the iPod/iPhone the sound is much different. Muddled but the horrid brightness is gone. This is why I am concentrating down stream.
 
May 5, 2011 at 11:10 AM Post #5 of 15

tink97

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Good Morning Erieg,
 
If it helps any I have used the quads with TTVJ slim and found it to be on the nice side of warm and not too bright sounding.  I am currently using my quads with RSA protector and for me it sounded a little less warmer than the slim, though I really bought it to eventually use it for balanced.  Both of these amps sounded good to me with 1964 quads. Anyways i hope that helps a little.  Have a good one
 
Tink97
 
May 5, 2011 at 12:54 PM Post #6 of 15

Erieg

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I have really been toying with the idea of the TTVJ Slim. I guess I am gun shy now. They do have a 30 day return policy though. I guess the point of this thread is to see if there are any other amps that fall in to the "dark" category before before I order another amp.
 
May 5, 2011 at 2:11 PM Post #7 of 15

Nuwidol

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I listened to the TTVJ Slim for a while with my JH13's & although it didn't seem overly dark to me, it was definitely on the warm side of the scale.

One thing I do remember from it was the glorious sounding mid range. Vocals were absolutely sublime. A very impressive little amp.
 
May 5, 2011 at 5:52 PM Post #8 of 15

FlatResponse

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Erieg, have you tried using the EQ on the iDevices? Amazingly it seems to work with the CLAS, although I can only guess how. The effect isn't subtle though, so either my ears or brain are completely scrambled, else it's actually doing something... 
 
I also have the CLAS and was finding it bright, even into HD650s with their reputation for being dark. Treble Reducer is working well with my setup. The amp is the AHA-120.
 
Paul
 
May 5, 2011 at 8:05 PM Post #9 of 15

Erieg

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Oh man! I haven't tried the EQ in a very long time. It always sounded like crap. I will give a try when I get home tonight.
 
May 5, 2011 at 8:46 PM Post #10 of 15

FlatResponse

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My guess is that the iDevice is sending something to the CLAS that it is using to change the tonal balance.
 
Let me know how you get on. The iPod Classic EQ graphs seem to be fairly easy to understand, the other darker options seem to be Deep and Small Speakers.
 
I'm not generally an EQ fan, all of the 'big' system amps I've had in the last 25 years (Naim, with the same 250 power amp) don't have tone controls and I haven't missed them. The CLAS/iPod does seem to need to have its treble toned down though, at least to my ears. Once you do this, it's ridiculously good for such a small system, and has no right to work this well. But with my rig; iPod Classic 160G->CLAS->AHA-120->HD 650 it's too bright unless you use EQ. It does have the Naim signature of Pace, Rhythm, and Timing (aka PRaT) however. And for anyone that thinks I'm over doing the comparison, it is NOT as good as my full sized system, but it's not nearly 10x worse either, and that is is approximately the price difference.
 
I hope this works out for you; using EQ was a lucky find that I would have never expected to work. I'd left it set on my iPhone before having the amp and CLAS, and realized that it worked better than my new Classic 160G at standard settings... some investigation and experimentation then revealed why!
 
By the way, HD 650s are not in any way slow with the system mentioned above. They can Rock if you put a good amp behind them... I'm a child of the original punk era, so I understand thrashing guitar chords! 
wink.gif

 
Marquee Moon is a much album better than Never Mind the B******* though.
 
May 6, 2011 at 12:53 AM Post #11 of 15
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If your headphones are too bright for you, you're using the wrong headphones. That's just the way it is. :)
 
May 6, 2011 at 1:07 AM Post #12 of 15

estreeter

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Quote:
If your headphones are too bright for you, you're using the wrong headphones. That's just the way it is.
smily_headphones1.gif


Finally, thankfully, some sanity. Probably not what someone with custom IEMs wants to hear, but exactly what I was trying to say in my earlier post. 
 
 
May 6, 2011 at 2:45 AM Post #13 of 15

Uncle Erik

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Agreed. Equalization can help somewhat, but if headphones/IEMs don't suit you, sell them and get ones that fit your tastes. Amps are only a small part of the equation and you're much better off with headphones/IEMs that suit your tastes and a neutral amp.
 
May 6, 2011 at 2:11 PM Post #14 of 15

Erieg

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Funny thing is that if I go straight out of my iPod/iPhone the IEMs aren't bright. It's only when I have the CLAS and Arrow in play.
 
Jan 19, 2012 at 4:36 AM Post #15 of 15

cardozo

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Excellent post!
 
After nearly three years in this "audiophile" world , I found the perfect headphone for me is the Westone UM3X (or some other unknown to me, but having the same characteristics of UM3X). I also discovered that I like a warm, analogic, colorful and full sound, with well defined highs, but harmless. I hate bright/sharp sound!
 
Several amplifiers that had just passed to me have the characteristic of being very clear and sharp. The philosophy that "amplifiers should be a wire with gain" does not apply to me. For my taste, the amplifier should color the sound. I am definitely not a purist, though I not like to mess with the equalizer in my sources.
 
After time and much experimentation, between headphones, amplifiers and sources, the setup that comes closest to what I like, in the moment, is the Samsung Galaxy S with VoodooSound  + Westone UM3X without amplification. But I want something better, with these caracteristics that I find in my current setup.
 
Some help?
 
Cheers,
 
Peter
 

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