Fresh From The Oven: iBasso P5 "Falcon"
Dec 15, 2016 at 1:48 PM Post #376 of 388

HiFlight

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I bought a P5 Falcon from iBasso site after reading up this thread. When it arrived slightly more than a week ago, I excitedly tried it out. However after about 1.5 hrs of mid gain mid volume listening, it blew out my earphones! I was shocked this could happen.
I immediately emailed iBasso the next day and they replied quickly (and they have been responsive) and I sent the whole package plus PS back to iBasso. Long story short, today I received news that solder dust at a solder joint caused DC to be generated that damaged my earphones. 

Has anyone encountered such incident? I was like paranoid about such amplifier after the incident; what if it damage my hearing as well as a result of amp malfunction? Can such event 
happen?

I was just casually asked what solution I want. So should I ask for repair or a new unit? Anyway I have asked for an exchange. Not sure how this will progress. 


No product, regardless of quality, is immune from failure. This can range from the smallest electronic devices to the space shuttles! Given the overall quality of the P5 and its superb performance, I personally would give it another chance. Besides the quality of its products, iBasso customer service and support is among the very best in the industry.
 
Dec 15, 2016 at 11:25 PM Post #377 of 388

Brumas7

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No product, regardless of quality, is immune from failure. This can range from the smallest electronic devices to the space shuttles! Given the overall quality of the P5 and its superb performance, I personally would give it another chance. Besides the quality of its products, iBasso customer service and support is among the very best in the industry.

I agree that product failures could happen, especially audiophile products. It is probably me (I am still noob in the audiophile world) but it would be easier for me to accept if failure is isolated to just that product. It was a difficult decision of not hearing the P5 again but maybe another year there will be another product. At least my quest for upgrade was not too dampened :)
Yes, iBasso customer support on this had been very good.
 
To Paul (iBasso) - thanks for your response. If I had read your response and those of HiFlight above earlier it may just had swayed me to stay on course for an exchange instead - such is the lingering emotional attachment of good sound, hahaha. But anyway, to move on. 
 
Jan 21, 2017 at 3:23 AM Post #380 of 388

Quoth

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I did a slight journey during the last ten months amp-rolling my P5 in search of the "perfect" sound. I don't have a massive bunch of other equipment lying around to test against so this is basically my impressions using my ears, music and gear and not a real proper review but with a bit of luck it might help someone along the line. I'm not a pro on audio lingo either so bear with my feeble attempts to descriptions and enjoy the wall of text. :)
 
Source: Sony Z5compact (200GB memory card, Onkyo HF player) -> Mojo (Lossless or 24 bit tracks have been used in testing, mostly jazz and classical music).
Headphones: ZMF Ori Padauk, Oppo PM3, Sennheiser HD429
Cables: Forza Audioworks Android LOD, Claire interconnects and headphone cables (Claire Hybrid on the Oris).
 
Since I plan to use the P5 (trans)portable all tests are conducted using Powerex 230mAh 9.6V NiMH batteries, and by the way - they charge just fine in the P5 PS. In chronological order I tested:
 
OPA627 + Stacked BUF634 (Stock): Good tonality and pretty good soundstaging. What I really can't stand here is the aggressiveness of the 627. Way to "engaging" for my taste, but this is definitely one combo people will have differing opinions about. I can hear it's sonic merits, but it really isn't for me. I often felt exhausted after a listening session rather than relaxed.
 
NE5534 + transistor buffers (the second combo in the P5 box): Not bad at all, and certainly less aggressive then the OPA 627. I found the tonality and some other HiFi qualities of the OPA627 combo slightly better though (to far back in time for me to be more precise). In a choice between the two stock combos this however would have been my choice due to less in-your-face sound.
 
Muses02 + Stacked BUF634: I borrowed an unused Muses02 from a friend and Fiio uses this combo in the well-reviewed AM2 amp module so I had high hopes plugging this in. Very good tonality here from the muses02 and my favourite so far, but soundstaging was a let-down. Very wide left to right, but a loss of front to back depth compared to the other combos. This was mostly tested on the PM3s which are perhaps not soundstage kings either but it really sounded rather flat.
 
Burson V5i + Stacked BUF634: This combo I first tested on my PM3s and found it very enjoyable. Better soundstaging (more cube-like) then the Muses02 combo above however I had to turn the P5 to high gain and use plenty of volume to get good listening levels which put me off a bit (maybe the just 70db gain on the V5i plays a part?).I sat very happy with this for a while and then I bought a pair of ZMF Ori (The headphone formerly known as ZMF Omni) and now all I get is massive white noise from the V5i + BUF634 combo so back to storage with the V5i
mad.gif

 
The ZMF Oris needed the extra body from the P5 far less than the PM3s so here I actually considered selling it and just use the Mojo, but in the end I decided to see if I can improve the sound even further (was too late to send the P5 back to shop for a full refund anyway). Under all circumstances the P5 is slightly more powerful, especially with PS hooked up, and has a proper volume knob instead of silly plastic balls. So further down the head-fi rabbit hole we go:
 
Hiflight Topkit: Not really satisfied with the combos so far (on the Ori+Mojo combo the working options are no real improvements) I bought myself a Highflight Topkit and boy was I in for a treat. This really transformed the P5. Tonality has more or less always been fine on the P5 and this combo with the Oris was no exception - good from top to bottom (at least the way I like it... good solid body, nice midrange/vocals and polite but reasonable extended top end, good attack/decay of notes as well). The soundstage really opened up compared to the stock version, both in size and precision.
 
Muses02 + Topkit buffers and grounds: Now we're talking! Highflight mentioned in our conversations the buffers are the real stars of the Topkit and adding the Muses02 the improvement to soundstaging has indeed been kept and I feel the Muses02 has a slight edge in musicality compared to the Topkit L/R amps (I basically tap my foot and smile more but I can't really put my finger on it - this is ridiculously also how Muses marketing taglines from NJR goes but for once I actually agree on the buzz words). The difference is subtle though and I could have easily lived without the Muses02 if I had not tried this combo.
 
Since this was so utterly
atsmile.gif
I just had to try one more thing: Burson V5i vs Muses02:
 
Burson V5i + Topkit buffers and grounds: After previous experiences I was a bit cautious about the v5i and started with using my old HD429 as a sacrificial headphone and this sounded wonderful (no noise or anything), but moving on to the ZMF Oris I have horrible clicks, pops, high pitched noises, etc (not the white noise of the V5i+634 though). so this combo is a no go. I even think it smelled interestingly after a few seconds... Maybe it has to do with headphone impedance as well as buffer matching since the very easy to drive Senns worked fine? I have sold my PM3 so can’t retry with those phones, but at least Oris sends the V5i into "overload" for some reason.
 
As for the Burning question of V5i vs Muses02 I have no definitive answer. The V5i has the potential to be a killer OP amp with excellent sonic merits but it seems very picky on buffer and headphone combos so at least in the P5 my findings match those of ph0n6 - I would use it with serious caution... Using the HD429s and the Topkit buffers the V5i is more or less on par with Muses02, but since these are not the headphones I want to use I didn't test it extensively.
 
In the end I have bought my own Muses02 and use it with the Topkit buffers/grounds as a final solution. Compared to the bare Mojo there is a bit more body to the sound (this was far more needed on the PM3s then the Oris but still a change I appreciate) and I feel the soundstaging is a bit more natural, effortless and wider. All of the excellent prat and tonal qualities of the Mojo I adore are also preserved so this feels like a real win-win combo and the whole kit feels more like a decent desktop setup then a portable solution (a bit of a brick but no problem moving it around the house).
 
Jan 21, 2017 at 4:34 AM Post #381 of 388

T.R.A.N.C.E.

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Is anyone going to try BUF03 in the buffers? I've been meaning to, I will get around to it eventually, it's extremely power hungry at 18mA quiescent current compared to 7.3ma for LME49600, so say goodbye to battery life, but supposed to sound pretty nice (fyi even though it's power hungry it's not particularly powerful in terms of output).
 
Jan 21, 2017 at 10:19 AM Post #382 of 388

ph0n6

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Very detailed impressions. I tried a bunch of combo myself but never really have the perseverance to write about all of them haha. A thing I did found consistent on my findings is that bypassing ground gives a better left-right separation (which is consistent with nwavguy findings of crosstalk performance http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/05/virtual-grounds-3-channel-amps.html (Do note that my finding was before I research on the matters of active grounding so I think it's safe to say the placebo effect aren't there)). Another stuff is that the V5i does works fine with the stacking 634 (2 low bandwidth) buffer and the 49600 (low bandwidth also) and it sounds pretty good. Currently using the SS3602, I like the sounds but the offset voltage can be very annoying, especially with my low impedance cans (8 ohm).
Btw what's in the Hiflight topkit exactly? I supposed his buffer pair is 49600, in that case it's probably the best one :)
  Is anyone going to try BUF03 in the buffers? I've been meaning to, I will get around to it eventually, it's extremely power hungry at 18mA quiescent current compared to 7.3ma for LME49600, so say goodbye to battery life, but supposed to sound pretty nice (fyi even though it's power hungry it's not particularly powerful in terms of output).

Hmm the specs doesn't impressed me much, especially with that output current and 1/10 slew rate of the LME49600 (I supposed the buffer should have way higher slew rate than the gain stage opamp for stability reasons?)
 
Jan 21, 2017 at 11:20 PM Post #383 of 388

HiFlight

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.........................................................................SNIP.........................................................................................
Btw what's in the Hiflight topkit exactly? I supposed his buffer pair is 49600, in that case it's probably the best one :)
........................................................................SNIP..................................................................................


Buffer is LME49600 modified to fit neatly on a low-profile DIP socket. Ground is LT1010 also modified to correct non-standard pin basing and mounted on a low-profile DIP socket. I agree that bypassed grounds also work very well.
 
Jan 22, 2017 at 5:00 AM Post #384 of 388

Quoth

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 A thing I did found consistent on my findings is that bypassing ground gives a better left-right separation (which is consistent with nwavguy findings of crosstalk performance http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/05/virtual-grounds-3-channel-amps.html (Do note that my finding was before I research on the matters of active grounding so I think it's safe to say the placebo effect aren't there)).

 
Darn! One more thing to test then...
eek.gif
  I'll try bypassed ground slots and see if I hear another improvement. Initially I don't hear much change that can't be just placebo but I'll keep it in there and let's see over time... Certainly isn't a bad setup either.
 
It would be fun to try the Sparkos OP-amps but I'm a bit afraid of the heat buildup inside the enclosure affecting other components...
 
Jan 22, 2017 at 5:32 AM Post #385 of 388

T.R.A.N.C.E.

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  Hmm the specs doesn't impressed me much, especially with that output current and 1/10 slew rate of the LME49600 (I supposed the buffer should have way higher slew rate than the gain stage opamp for stability reasons?)

 
Hah specs aren't everything, the sound is what count's and the slew rate of the buffer does not need to be that high, no stability problems, 75mA is plenty enough for most hp's, even 250ohm Beyers or 300ohm Senns. I've ordered the BUF03 so will let you know how they compare to LME49600, I have high expectations because one of my pen pals speaks very highly of them even compared to LME49600.
 
May 13, 2022 at 5:47 PM Post #388 of 388

antdroid

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Several years later....

I found a good deal for a lightly used demo unit that was basically brand new and impulsively bought one. I love this little form factor, and it looks pretty nice. I'm using it as a small desktop stack for IEMs paired with the Cayin RU6 R-2R dongle. It's a tad out-dated now, but I still think it sounds pretty nice and elegant, and I like that it can be portable or it can be a desktop amp, though it doesn't have quite the power I'd want for my most demanding headphone (Susvara).

I did notice a few issues in this thread and found some quick solutions to it, in case anyone ever buys this amp used in the future.

Torroid Transformer EMI -- The torroid gives off a lot of EMI and the Power supply case isnt enough to contain it when the Amp is stacked directly on top of it. I discovered that the magnetic mounting pads that are used for magnetic phone mounts can be adhered to the bottom front of the amp and reduce the EMI buzz to almost nothing on my IEMs. I used two layers of it. I tried to shield the power supply itself, internally, but there wasnt an easy way to do that without custom making a round donut shaped metal part to block the noise.

The humming when you touch the volume knob. This bothered me quite a bit too. Basically it looks like the issue is that the Volume Knob/Pot isn't actually touching the chassis. It's floating on the hole cut-out, so it isnt actually grounded. I ran a wire from the nut/washer in the back to the threaded portion of the pot and that fixed the touch/hum issue completely. :)
 

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