Help Me decide on one of these amps!
Nov 26, 2008 at 6:23 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

MikeW

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Hello Head-Fi,

I need to update my signature, all of that equipment has been sold, as of now I have no phones,amps or dacs.

I've decided I want Denon D2000 headphone's. Now I can't decide what amp/dac to get. Budget is 300-400 tops on amp/dac. I don't absolutely have to have a DAC right now, source would be an x-fi though.

Im thinking of one of these:

Octavart 01, 260.00 Shipped (Audiophile china)
Head-Direct EF1 320.00 Shipped
Travagan's White 290.00 + Shipping
Or possibly a Zero Dac /w Hdam

Im leaning towards the EF1 with the octavart a very close second... any other options?? I like tubes, I like solid state, I listen to everything. Headphones will be 25 ohm D2000's.
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 8:56 AM Post #3 of 13

olblueyez

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Denons are easy to drive but your source is the weakest link now so I recommend the Zero, it should do fine with the D2000. If you just go with an amp then the EF-1 is the way to go, IMO.
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 2:35 PM Post #4 of 13

MikeW

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Yeah im considering a Zero now, and maybe a Woo Audio 6 later, but it may be much later. Though the EF1 is on sale now for 299, and I can get a zero any day of the week for 99$ - 220$ (stock vs Hdam), so right now I could buy a stock zero and the EF1, for just the price of the EF1 next week...
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 2:54 PM Post #5 of 13

DaMnEd

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Quote:

Originally Posted by MikeW /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yeah im considering a Zero now, and maybe a Woo Audio 6 later, but it may be much later. Though the EF1 is on sale now for 299, and I can get a zero any day of the week for 99$ - 220$ (stock vs Hdam), so right now I could buy a stock zero and the EF1, for just the price of the EF1 next week...


From the amp perspective the EF1 sounds like the smart choice!

That 99$ vs 220$ is not fair, the 220$ version your suggesting has the shipping price included, and other mods (not only the HDAM).

And I would recommend you to AVOID AT ALL COST that seller(biglawhk), known as Laurence in this board, he has been making mistakes upon mistakes, the most recent: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/5043873-post7.html

Others mistakes include shipping units that kill headphones, opamps reversed, wrong opamps, etc., and he does not reply to warranty claims, he will just ignore you.

If your going to buy on eBay, the recommended vendor is: wsz0304 excellent service and truly warrants his products, proven very recently, just read the posts on the zero thread from the last days.

If you go the ZERO route, buy the stock unit and do the mods yourself, they are easy to do, inserting opamps in sockets is brain-dead easy, seriously. And buy the HDAMs from Audio-GD, more options and cheaper. The only worthwhile mod the 220$ version on ebay offers that you can't do easily is the pot mod, but that's not crucial (and can be "avoided" in other ways), and pretty much irrelevant if the DAC function is what you want.

Also consider the Audio-GD C-2C amp: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/rev...ot-mkv-383033/
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 3:24 PM Post #6 of 13

MikeW

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Yeah, I know about lawrence, he's hit or miss. I think i'd order it from Audiophile china (stock version) and upgrade it later to an HDAM. So EF1+ Stock zero would probably set me back 440$.. +200 for D2000's. Someone was raving about the synergy between EF1 and D2000's awhile back, that's got me excited about this amp, though im not to keen on it's looks. The Woo Audio units are very pretty. Other options i've seen thrown around are Shanling PH100, and another chinese made amp (CM C2??). The Octavart is a tempting little thing too, because of it's simplicity and price. Dac/Amp combo and be done with it, on the cheap too. Miguel (maarryo) loves his, but there's very little comparisons, he likes it better then the EF1 even, but Hiflight has owned both and claims the EF1 is easily better... /sigh

Edit: I also considered Little Dot, though it seems to be out-classed in every way by the EF1 for the same price. Also, lots of QC problems.
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 3:43 PM Post #8 of 13

MikeW

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I know what tube rolling is, but I don't really understand how you'd have alot of options with an amp like EF1. I think it can only accept one tube, so the only option is different brands?
 
Nov 26, 2008 at 3:45 PM Post #9 of 13

olblueyez

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Different brands make all the difference in the world, you will see.

12au7guide2zw7.jpg


The Amperex 7316 is beautiful, I think it would mate well with the Denon HP's. Its a ruggedized 12AU7. The ClearTop RCA it comes with is very dynamic and clear but not the smoothest sounding tube and from what I gather the Denon is slightly tipped in the highs.
 
Nov 27, 2008 at 1:24 AM Post #10 of 13

MikeW

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Ok after a lot of contemplating, I think im gonna go with the EF1 and a Pair of D2000's now, and when finances allow pick up a Stock Zero, and HDAM.
Thanks for the help guys.
beerchug.gif
 
Nov 27, 2008 at 2:42 AM Post #11 of 13

Mecc

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Thanks for posting that chart. It will be helpful in the future.

You made a good choice. The EF1 sounds awesome with low impedance phones. I have three: Grado GS1000, AT ESW10, Sony MDR-CD3000. I'll grab a D7000 in a month or so. I have two other hybrid amps: the little dot I+ and music fidelity x-can v3. The EF1 is easily superior. I have some impressions, but I don't want to derail the thread. Plus, my EF1 is pretty new (just got em).

I don't know how bad/good the x-fi is, but definitely upgrade that. I went from an audigy, to chaintech av-710, emu 0404, 0404 modded with blackgates, 1212m. Upgrading to a higher end external dac was my best choice concerning my audio addiction. I'm a discerning listener, so my audio journey is all about hearing the differences between various products at different price ranges. Don't forget, the most important thing is to enjoy the music.

You probably read a lot about the EF1 so you should know about the funky volume pot. The NOS RCA Clear top tube it comes with (mine was labeled Conn, which is an equivalent) needs to be deoxidized. The sound out of the box (after 30 min warm up) was very rich, warm and bloated. I spent several hours listening to it in this state and was wondering if this is what the tube sound was all about. I would have considered the tube warm / rich / smooth until I deoxit the tubes. There's no more bloat now and it sounds fantastic. I know why it's hi-res/clear/hi-end extension now. If you find your phones to be a bit harsh, you simply roll in a tube like the 7316. Be careful though, tubes can get quite expensive.
 
Nov 27, 2008 at 6:38 PM Post #12 of 13

mrarroyo

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MikeW, I wish I had seen this post earlier. I have both the O1 Amp/Dac and the EF1. Both from Head-Direct. Both are IMO outstanding units, which sound much better than their price would indicate. If you have not placed the order I will say that a lot will depend on your pocket book and what you are looking for. With the O1 Amp/Dac you have some money left over for the D2000, I believe that the Denon D2000 or D5000 bass sounds a bit better out of SS amps than tube amps. Luckily the EF1 is a hybrid so it does not suffer as much as a tube amp (in the lower price range we are talking about) would.

The EF1 is lush, warm, yet it has lots of detail and a great soundstage. You can roll tubes to tailor the sound a bit, although I am one of the few ones who likes the sound of the stock Chinese tube.

The O1 is fast, detailed, punchy, w/ great extension. It also includes a very good dac which can be fed via optical, coaxial, or analogue via rca's.

If you have children or a cat you may opt for the O1 Amp/Dac to avoid "accidental burnings". Also if you need the unit to be transportable the O1 Amp/Dac is a one box unit, no tubes to damage, and it has the built in dac.

Hope this helps.
 
Nov 28, 2008 at 6:50 AM Post #13 of 13

MikeW

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Thanks for the advice Mecc and Miguel, I've read most all of your post about the EF1 and Dac 01 already. I also read all of Hiflight's post, though this is the first i've heard of Deoxidizing the tubes. I was on the fence for awhile with the octavart/EF1. I am on a budget and with the EF1 I will have to wait on a source. It will be sometime after christmas, at that point i'll evaluate sources, but will probably grab a stock zero and mod it with an HDAM. Though im kind of put off by buying the pre-amp/headphone function of the zero when it will go completely un-used. It still seems to be the price/performance leader. I think headphoneadict was raving about the synergy between the D2000 and EF1, that kind of pushed me in that direction, a few people said it was very close to a Woo Audio 6 as well, im sure the WA6 sounds better, but it cost twice as much. I wonder how this will compare to my old Headroom Millet Hybrid, probably wont' sound quite as nice, but that setup cost me 1200$. (maxed/w DPS)
 

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