detail freak! Beta22 or Bijou?
Oct 31, 2008 at 4:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

CTY

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Hi folks,

First, a bit of history...
My first DIY amp was a SOHA (kit by Jeff). It worked out pretty well and I used it with my HD600, DT770 and some other cans which are long gone by now
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That was in the beginning of the year, IIRC. I then added JISBOS to the output, but didn't found it to make much of a difference to the AD op-amp I used before (Somewhere down the road, one of the JISBOS broke, I was too lazy to fix it, so I ended up with the op-amp again.

Then recently, a friend and me found a very simple schematic for a headphone amp on the 'net, which we modified and then perfboarded. It's a very simple design with just a few transistors, resistors and caps.

The problem is... altough this 'thing' as we like to call it
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, does not have the bass slam of the SOHA, but hell... it sounds way more DETAILED! So much that I now prefer it to the SOHA.

Enough of the history
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Now, I'm planning on a new long-time project... I want to go all-out and considered two of the current high-end offerings in the DIY scene, which seem to be the b22 on the SS side, and the Bijou on the tube side.
I'm leaning slightly towards the Bijou, mainly because I can get nearly all parts I need to build it from one supplier here in Germany. For the b22 I would have to use Jeff's kit, which is more expensive in shipping and maybe customs. But if you declare the b22 superior to the Bijou, that won't hold me off
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In particular, I want to keep the level of 'detail' I found with even that dead-simple amp design.

Maybe someone has compared these two amps and can fill me in
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Oct 31, 2008 at 8:18 PM Post #4 of 17

FallenAngel

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Definitely the Beta22 and as rds stated, be prepared to spend around $800 for an "average" build 3-channel. Somewhat more if you want fancy casing.

I have only one huge fault with the Bijou, that's the electrolytic output caps and it's the only reason I haven't built one yet. No matter how hard I try, I can't find a good quality cap for the output that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars.
 
Oct 31, 2008 at 9:43 PM Post #5 of 17

adamus

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dont let that put you too much.... it produces a beautiful sound. Not mega detailed, not mega thumpy, not mega holographic.....just very musical. Its my first amp that i struggled to review, you end up listening to album after album. Stunning amp.
 
Oct 31, 2008 at 10:12 PM Post #6 of 17

FallenAngel

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Quote:

Originally Posted by adamus /img/forum/go_quote.gif
dont let that put you too much.... it produces a beautiful sound. Not mega detailed, not mega thumpy, not mega holographic.....just very musical. Its my first amp that i struggled to review, you end up listening to album after album. Stunning amp.


I've heard it at the NorCal meet, wasn't impressed
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Oct 31, 2008 at 10:33 PM Post #7 of 17

Ferrari

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β22 is a true high-end SS amp, even building from stock parts. On the other hand, the stock Bijou with the electrolytics caps at the output is more of a low-cost tubes amp, fine for the price but talking about details at the level of β22… NO, it’s not in that league!
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As long as the electrolytics caps are at the output, forget about the details or the bass quality at the level of β22. FallenAngel is correct about this.

Even my Bijou -heavily modified and soundwise …far above all the standard Bijou’s around here- is not a counter party for my β22.
I love my Bijou as it is but I don’t compare it with my β22, simply because these are totally different kind of amps (SS versus tubes) and in totally different leagues. However, I can understand the sentiments of Bijou owners.
 
Oct 31, 2008 at 11:20 PM Post #8 of 17

nnotis

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As a fellow detail freak, I can say that my balanced β22 plus K1000s setup is the most detailed monitoring I’ve ever done above 50 Hz. I haven’t heard the Bijou, but I’ve auditioned some of the most ridiculously high end speaker setups. I had the very good fortune of listening to some of my tracks on the Wilson Alexandria X2 speakers, which are literally the price of a house. Above sub bass frequencies, they still didn’t sound any more detailed than my headphone setup. But at 50 Hz and below, I’ve never heard anything come close to their resolution.

In any case, I’m a fan of the β22. It’s also nice to know that it’ll let you get the most out of your source upgrades
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 12:37 AM Post #9 of 17

-=Germania=-

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The comments about the B22 always get me starting on whether to build one or not. I am looking for an "All in One" solution for Headphones and Speakers/Electrostatics.

The question is whether to go balanced or stay with the TRS and do Active Ground or 2 channel even! Then there is the cost......a rather hefty parts investment. I could be very happy with SS and as a rule I generally prefer SS. Tubes do give the opportunity to try a lot of different sound sigs in a single device.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 1:08 AM Post #10 of 17

compuryan

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I've heard the Bijou and I'd say it is decent for the budget amps sub $400, but it simply cannot compete with pricier amps. The B22 is one of the best headphone amps there is, without a doubt.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 8:12 AM Post #11 of 17

adamus

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completely agree gents. the bijou isnt in the same league as the B22, but it is a very capable amp with some serious charm.

bear in mind it not in the same league cost wise! (b22 at least 2x the cost).

My next project will go one of two ways, either the b22 (3 channel) or go for a OTL or tubes+tranformer.
 
Nov 1, 2008 at 1:09 PM Post #12 of 17

Skylab

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Yep, I agree as well. I have reviewed both the Beta22 and the Bijou, and the Beta22 is the detail king without question. I loved listening to both, and I would probably prefer to own the Bijou since I am not a detail uber alles kind of guy, but the Beta22 is wonderful.

If you want the best of both, get a RedWineAudio Isabella
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Nov 1, 2008 at 9:35 PM Post #13 of 17

pabbi1

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Well, I have heard a couple of b22 (one balanced), and they are absolutely outstanding.

I have my balanced Bijou enroute, so I should be able to do some critical listening next week against the BH - we'll see what's what then. The head to head with a balanced B22 will happen in January at the Dallas meet - with impartial observers weighing in.

Now, one option I could recommend is a SOHA II - very fast, very detailed, and, if BALANCED, would be something pretty special. And, yes, that is an upcoming project (custom iron acquired yesterday) for me with some better parts (attenuators, off board caps, etc). You could do a balanced version for < $500, depending on casing, connectors and attenuators.

That all said, no way to go wrong with a b22.
 
Nov 2, 2008 at 3:25 AM Post #14 of 17

-=Germania=-

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Pabbi,

The more read about the SOHAII, the more there is to like. As far as a balanced amp goes, it might be really worth delving into. I used to think that active ground couldn't possibly make enough of a difference in sound to be worth it....well it is safe to say that having the opprotunity to A/B the difference gave me a change of heart.
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Do you happen to know when Jeff at Glassjar is going to make the kits available? I got an email a while ago about what the price of a standard kit will likely be, but no idea of date.
 
Nov 2, 2008 at 6:05 AM Post #15 of 17

pabbi1

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No idea on Glass Jar - I am lucky enough just to get an early board to proof the production run. The one I built was for my brother on a Marine detachment in Afghanistan.

That said, we listened to it with a vinyl rig in Houston (and I off a cheap dvd the week prior, and it is a faster version of the MillettMax, not surprising as it runs around 100v. I'll go completely heretical and say it would be what a b22 hybrid would sound like, with all kind of tube rolling possibilities.

Alas, many other projects prior to that - IFF I ever entertain another dynamic amp, it will be a balanced SOHA II. But, to be clear, it is electrostats first... now the Stacker II is alleged far better than even SOHA II... and far more complex.
 

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