Give me a DIY amp project for HD650
Nov 23, 2008 at 11:29 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

cribeiro

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Hello,

I was researching a bit looking for amp choices, and I stumbled across this sentence (not literal):

"if you go the DIY route, you can get the sort of performance of a commercial amp for 10-15% of the price".

This, combined with the dollar recovery in the last few months, made me think about it, since I do have the soldering skills (and finally also room in our new flat for a small "tinkering corner").

I have been spoiled by a Woo Audio 2, and it is also my experience that tubed amps sound better than transistor amps with the HD650. Which DIY project would you suggest in order to get the sort of performance I have experienced already?

Regards,

Alberto
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 12:13 PM Post #2 of 21

onform

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There area number of really good valve headphone amp projects you could give a go! If you put the time and effort in you will definitely be rewarded and for a lot less than any commercial equivalent.

I'm currently planning my first build too and as i have been following the development and prototyping and improving of the SOHA II http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/soh...hybrid-335003/ design this will be my first attempt at diy amp building. I have HD 650's as well and it is well documented that this combination is almost a match made in heaven.

There is a builders thread too: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/soh...thread-374941/

So you can follow everyone else's builds and learn by their mistakes.!!

If you want something a little more involved and of superior performance there is the BIJOU also by the same designer: RUNEIGHT, ( CAVALLI Audio);

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/bij...lifier-277541/

But if this is your first foray into DIY valve amp building the very high voltages may be a bit of a worry! Partly the reason i chose the SOHA II as the voltages are relatively tame in comparison. and as one can be built for as little as $150-200 i think, i'm in uk, you might want to cut your teeth on this first.

Here are the links to the relevant sites:

Cavalli Audio

Glass Jar Audio : Home

Note: the SOHA II kits don't show up on the glassjar site yet but if you contact him, (Jeff), he will get back to you quite quickly with details.

I'm sure there are a plethora of other amps about but to be honest i keep coming back to the Runeight designs because of the support and involvement he gives everyone including nubes like me..
tongue.gif
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 2:18 PM Post #3 of 21

fishski13

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i concur - if you want to go with tubes, Alex's designs are wonderful, and he is generous to share his knowledge with his support/involement in the build threads.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 2:34 PM Post #4 of 21

JamesL

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+1 for the SOHAII, although realistically, the parts cost should come out closer to $250-300 ($420 in my case)
I have all the parts waiting in a corner of my room, but I have way too unfinished projects to be starting on a new one. =x
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 3:39 PM Post #6 of 21

onform

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Quote:

Originally Posted by J.P.6 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'd go for a Starving Student if it's your first build and if you are looking to spend as little as possible.


Fair comment, but I think his aim is to get the best match for his 650's SQ wise. Although there are better sounding amps out there I think the SOHA II is currently the leading low voltage valve amp in SQ terms.

I know i have not heard it yet but i am basing this on the verdicts of a few experienced builders who have done A-B comparisons. Just my opinion though.
bigsmile_face.gif
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 6:27 PM Post #8 of 21

cribeiro

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Thank you all for the input. The Bijou sounds like the right thing for me then... I still have to do a lot of research (also on the other options) before buying the parts, but at least I have a direction to go now.

I don't have a tight budget, and I really want to get the best out of the cans. I am not put off by the complication of the project, since I have a solid base (physicist). The high voltages won't be a problem either, I can manage that.

Slightly off topic, but how do you think that a Zana Deux compares with the Woo Audio 2? And back on topic: how do you think it compares with the Bijou?

Regards,

Alberto
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 7:44 PM Post #9 of 21

cribeiro

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Now that I think about it... I still have half of the parts for a mint amp waiting to be put together
rolleyes.gif
I bought it long ago, did not have the room for a small "workshop" in our flat back then, and postponed it... It will be a good training for something of a more serious caliber
smile.gif
We moved to a new flat 3 weeks ago, and now I can arrange a "workshop-corner" in a third room. It will take time, since we are not fully settled yet...
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 8:26 PM Post #11 of 21

linuxworks

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why is the pimeta getting no love?
wink.gif


I've built a few (and even a ppa v1, with a ppa v2 on my bench next) and with decent opamps and buffers there's nothing at all wrong this this. its small, it drives my 580's just fine (and will drive 650's as well) and the design even allows for a bass control with just a pot and a cap (the feedback loop already exists, so its 'free').

can't beat the price for what you get. and given the size, you can mount PS's in the same box and be done with it.

early shot of my 'desktop' pimeta:

2948885236_f6465793de.jpg


it has a motorized pot and after that photo was taken I added IR remote to control the pot and the crossfeed setting.

total cost was probably $100 or less for everything. and it was trouble-free for my first real build.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 11:12 PM Post #12 of 21

MASantos

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If you really want to get the best SQ from the HD650 I wouldn't recomend any of the mid level amps such as starving student, pimetas, aikidos, etc. Go for something like an m3 or ppa or above(dynahi, b22) or if you're into tubes bijou.

I amped my hd650's with a pimeta for a long time(it was all I could afford) and I was getting good sound, but when I listened to the cans with higher end amps (I recall the b22 at headfest and headroom's balanced home) it just blows you away.

I say that if you have the skills and money go for it!
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 2:23 AM Post #13 of 21

linuxworks

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maybe my ears aren't 'up to it' but I cannot tell the diff between my ppa (v1) and my pimetas (2 of them).

to me, once you get to a basic level of circuit competance, after that its a tiny percent of a percent.

I doubt half the people here could double-blind tell the diff. but hey, if you NEED to overspend and overkill, be my guest
wink.gif


just realize its NOT needed. these are not electrostatic speakers, they're still JUST phones!

and btw, you can stack buffers on the pimeta and you can discrete-buffer it. even more so I'd think that in a double-blind test no one would tell the diff between a buffer upgraded pimeta and a ppa of any version.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 3:46 AM Post #14 of 21

FallenAngel

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Quote:

Originally Posted by linuxworks /img/forum/go_quote.gif
maybe my ears aren't 'up to it' but I cannot tell the diff between my ppa (v1) and my pimetas (2 of them).

to me, once you get to a basic level of circuit competance, after that its a tiny percent of a percent.

I doubt half the people here could double-blind tell the diff. but hey, if you NEED to overspend and overkill, be my guest
wink.gif


just realize its NOT needed. these are not electrostatic speakers, they're still JUST phones!

and btw, you can stack buffers on the pimeta and you can discrete-buffer it. even more so I'd think that in a double-blind test no one would tell the diff between a buffer upgraded pimeta and a ppa of any version.



Depends on the buffers you put into the Pimeta - I put a pair of Millet Hybrid dDB into a Pimeta and a Sijosae Class-A buffer on ground and it was definitely hard to tell it apart from my PPAv2.

Pimeta vs PPAv1 : not too much of a difference
Pimeta with discrete buffers vs PPAv2 : again, not too much of a difference

I would still say to go with the PPAv2 as it's an awesome amp and is better implemented than Pimeta with perfboard buffers.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 3:55 AM Post #15 of 21

linuxworks

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FallenAngel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Depends on the buffers you put into the Pimeta - I put a pair of Millet Hybrid dDB into a Pimeta and a Sijosae Class-A buffer on ground and it was definitely hard to tell it apart from my PPAv2.


thanks for the data point.

Quote:

Pimeta vs PPAv1 : not too much of a difference
Pimeta with discrete buffers vs PPAv2 : again, not too much of a difference


and there is so much variability in how to set it up. if you use single op amps on a dual-browndog chip adapter; if you use a good clean local power supply or a remote wall wart on a long cord; and of course how you implement the buffers (single, stack, discrete).

for a 'first build' I just see nothing wrong with starting at a pimeta. I bet most people would be happy to 'stay' there, too
wink.gif


I love design overkill. intellectually, I see the benefit of the other designs but I have to keep going back to the real world situation of what we are listening to (RECORDED music) and that we are using 100x better playback systems than the musicians themselves (and the techs) use.

I have a fully outfitted ppav1 (4 buffers per channel, maxed out). I have a minimalist pimeta. I really can't tell any huge diffs between the AMPS but I can tell a lot of difference in how one album is mastered vs another. I still maintain we are splitting too fine a hair when we go from high end to ultra high end...
wink.gif
 

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