Echo Indigo or Total Bithead for my laptop?
Feb 7, 2005 at 4:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

rkw

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I want to improve headphone playback on my laptop and need easy portability. I did a search but could not find a comparison of the Indigo vs. Bithead. Anybody tried both of them? What other options should I consider?

Frustratingly, Stereophile published online reviews of the Total Bithead and the Echo Indigo IO within a month of each other, but did not compare the two!
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 5:39 PM Post #3 of 15

calaf

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dthiep
Total BitHead is a headamp while indigo is a soundcard. For your laptop Indigo is better.


better in which sense? The TBH is a headamp AND a (output-only) USB soundcard, the Indigo is a PCMCIA soundcard (one-way or two-way according to the model) with a headphone out. Since I have never heard either I can't comment on how they sound, but feature-wise they are rather different beasts. It is hard to say one is better than the other without knowing how they are going to be used. The TBH is arguably more flexible as it does not occupy a precious PCMCIA slot and reportedly works on any operating system. If you are looking for good value, I would also recommend considering a m-audio transit or sonica. These USB cards are very compact and provide a bit-perfect optical out. They only have a line out though, so you'll need to feed their analog out into a portable amplifier.
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 6:13 PM Post #4 of 15

plus_c

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I'm not sure if I'd call a PC Card slot "precious", I'm finding that my USB ports are much more used than the PC card slots. That said, I have a very similar question, although my decision is between the M-Audio Transit and the Indigo. I've heard very positive things about both, and I'd use them primarily for output. As I'm a college student, price is kind of a factor, but then, I also don't own an amp at the moment. I saw the Total Bithead recently, but it seems kind of expensive...is it worth it?
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 6:44 PM Post #5 of 15

rkw

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I don't see the Indigo and BitHead as being fundamentally different beasts, just that Indigo is PCMCIA vs BitHead is USB. They are both soundcards with headamps. Indigo IO is now their base model (includes analog-in for recording; playback-only model was discontinued).

All I'm really looking for is something to plug in a headphone, that gives me an improvement over my laptop's built-in soundcard. My primary usage will be at work where I listen with earbuds (E888 and ATH-CM7). I might occasionally use a Sennheiser 580 at home.
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 7:01 PM Post #6 of 15

PFRfan

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I'd like to see a comparison myself. I've been using an Indigo IO for about a year, and love it. But I've wondered about the sound quality differences. Unfortunately, I've not used the kind of headphones that are a good test - Sony MDR-7506, Senn PX100 and Shure E3c.

If somebody has any experience with both, I'd like to hear about it.
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 9:32 PM Post #8 of 15

Snoodge

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get a M-Audio Transit!

I <3 Mine...
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 9:49 PM Post #9 of 15

markmaxx

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If I may I would like to ask a couple of questions.(I am new to all this)
Quote:

Originally Posted by calaf
The TBH is a headamp AND a (output-only) USB soundcard, the Indigo is a PCMCIA soundcard (one-way or two-way according to the model) with a headphone out.


I would also recommend considering a m-audio transit or sonica. These USB cards are very compact and provide a bit-perfect optical out. They only have a line out though, so you'll need to feed their analog out into a portable amplifier.



What does PCMCIA stand for?

How does the USB sound card like the M-Audio or Sonica work with a amp,on a laptop? IE;..Is it in a external box that hooks to the computer via. the USB port. (so their would be 2 boxes one the DAC. and the other the amp.)

Thank you Mark.
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 11:06 PM Post #10 of 15

rkw

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Snoodge,
The Transit has an analog output jack described as "line-out/headphone". How is the power and quality with headphones directly plugged into the Transit? I don't want to use it as a line-out and also need to carry a separate amp.

Mark,
PCMCIA is also known as CardBus and (I believe) PC Card. It is the slot about 2 inches wide found in most laptops where you can plug in an accessory peripheral card. These days, USB is much more popular and manufacturers create their products as USB peripherals instead of PCMCIA peripherals. You are correct about USB sound cards. They have external DACs that typically produce line-level analog output and need separate amp for headphone or speakers. The Indigo and BitHead are sound cards, but also have integrated headphone amps.
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 11:08 PM Post #11 of 15

dallasstar

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From the RightMark benchmarks, the TBH seems to be a mediocre soundcard in comparison to the Echo Indigo. TBH is about on par with an Audigy 2 ZS. I do not remember where I saw these benchmarks, but I'm sure that the dynamic range was approximately 90dB.
 
Feb 7, 2005 at 11:35 PM Post #12 of 15

the terabyte

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Snoodge
get a M-Audio Transit!

I <3 Mine...



for what its worth, i greatly prefer my indigo to my transit (the transit is much too "light," though it does seem to be more detailed). the added bonus of the amplifier that can power the ER-4S very well makes it a no brainer to me. the only reason i have the transit is for optical out.

i know some prefer the sonica to the indigo, so obviously this is a subjective thing. thus, take this all with a grain of salt and try to hear them both if you can. i can't comment on the bithead.
 
Feb 12, 2005 at 2:53 AM Post #15 of 15

gychang

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guess my setup is not very high quality with the sound blaster card but it is a marked improvement from the built-in sound of my thinkpad. I am satisfied with my $40 investement in the external USB box.

gychang
 

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