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I can answer questions about the Topkit via PM. It is against the rules for me to discuss them on the forums.
Hi. I was wondering if someone could explain (in layman's terms) the difference the Topkit makes to the D6 amp. I purchased a pair of Beyerdynamics DT 770/80 phones that are currently in transit to me. All I know about these phones is what I've read - they are slightly on the bassy side - some say to a much greater degree than others, but that's all I have to go on at the moment. I currently use a T3 with ES7's through my IPod, which is great for mobility, but I want better sound at home, which is why I want to use a better dac than my Mac Pro and Lenovo Laptop's provide. I'm not very experienced with audio (noob), but logic tells me that I want a very transparent amp that will not add any more bass to the mix. So I'm wondering if the Topkit would help move the amp closer in this direction or further away? I'm trying to stay under $300, but if the Topkit would significantly improve this setup, I'm willing to pinch a few more pennies. Sorry for my lame explanation, that's the best I could do Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.
IMO, it is hard to describe the some one experiences and made it yours in "layman's terms". Best way may be describing your own experiences with D6 stock first, and why you need improvement. Then, you can ask Hiflight for suggestion....my 2 cent..
You need to know that the humble opamp is both revered and reviled - in any case, they represent a much simpler and less expensive means of changing the sound signature of an amp than anything I can think of that involves a soldering iron - happy to hear otherwise. If there is a trap, its that you may become more obsessed with rolling opamps than actually listening to music, and isnt that the reason we all came here in the first place - the music ?
Well, being a musician and avid music lover, the only advantage I have - technical/engineering knowledge aside - is that I know exactly what I want to hear - I just don't know how to get their. I like detail and clarity, but I hate brightness. I prefer a warmer sound, but not at the expense of losing too much detail. What that means in scientific terms - I have no idea. I also love clear, punchy bass - I hate boom and muddiness - I simply like to hear the lowest frequencies in the cleanest manner. I wouldn't even know where to begin to look for this stuff on a spec sheet.
Most people would be happy to go to local store and take whatever products are available that best suits them. That's not good enough for me. Yet I'm not interested in getting a degree in audio/engineering either. I'm simply trying to narrow down my search of the mass products available to me on the internet to "best" fulfill my needs. So maybe I asked the wrong question? Perhaps I should have asked this:
in knowing what I'm looking for, is it worth spending 60 bucks to evaluate the difference that the Topkit makes compared to the standard D6? Maybe that wouldn't have ruffled any feathers?
It's a moot point now, HiFlight was kind enough to answer my question. And thanks estreeter, that was an interesting read and a smart reminder to "keep it about the music".
I've placed an order for a D6.
In the meantime, I have a question about the gain. According to the specs, it can generate 650mW into 32 ohms, and this equals a voltage of 4.56V RMS. (for a peak voltage of 6.45V, and peak-to-peak swing of 12.9V) With the gain on 10dB, this means the input would have to be 1.44V RMS, which seems very high, because consumer line level is only 0.316V RMS. I notice that my calculated input line level matches closely to the specified output line level of 1.5V RMS, too.
Is it the case that the D6 is simply not designed for consumer line level, and is intended to be used with typical headphone outputs of laptops and phones, etc? (although even then, my laptop measures at 1.28V RMS, and my phone is only 0.65V RMS - neither would be able to reach full scale output with the D6, IF my calculations and interpretation of the specs are correct)
Note that I assumed a very low output impedance. (I checked with iBasso, and it does indeed have a very low impedance in the audio range). Naturally I have also asked them for clarification on the gain - waiting for a reply.
I found some general info on gain as it applies to headphone amps, and there is no mention of the -10dBV standard, so I assume that standard is very old and not all that relevant. Nowadays the "redbook audio" standard is more common for home equipment, and that standard is 1.5V RMS. (which matches the line out of the D6!) However, for portable devices, an approximate recommended gain is 20dB, it says, which is a lot more than the D6 provides.
In fairness, I guess most of us would be more interested in the D6 as a DAC (with amp), rather than a plain amp - and that applies to me too.
Maybe there is a way to alter the gain, in any case...... EDIT: YES - they can in fact alter the gain for me.
p.s it seems I'm not allowed to provide a link to the site I am referring to. It also seems that most of us will know what site I am referring to anyway.
I got my D6 yesterday, I loved the way it cleaned up the sound on my DT770's, but when I installed the topkit today - Holy Crap! Batman! The detail and depth is amazing. I have a question though. I'm not thrilled about the hiss I now hear. I'm guessing this is due to the resistance of the headphones and the corresponding volume I'm listening at. I have a pair of 580's in transit and I'm thinking by playing these at much lower volume, my problem will be eliminated. Is that true? If not, what else can I do to fix this?
Just a small correction - the Redbook Audio standard is, apparently, 2V RMS, not 1.5V RMS. (the mistake was mine - not the reference)
I've continued on with my D6 order, in standard gain configuration. (10dB max). I could have ordered it with a higher gain, but given that I was wrong about the -10dBV standard, the higher gain is less important to me. Also, it seems there is some possibility I'll be able to modify the unit myself if I want to adjust the gain at some stage. (with the assistance from iBasso)
Of course, using it for USB audio, the gain issue is moot.
Hmm, is your DT770 the 32 Ohm version?
Nope. 80 ohm. And believe it or not, they actually sound a bit bright...and I still feel the recessed mid's. I'm using the 1678 opamp.
I may need to expand my search for the right headphones, might have to kick it up a notch, I'm now thinking about those Denon D2000's, which was my first preference all along, they're just out of my price range at the moment.
If you're picking up hiss with your 80 Ohm beyers, then I imagine it would be worse with the 25 Ohm D2000. The HD580 you have coming will likely not have this problem.
The 580's made my ears bleed...WAY too sharp on some material. What's the truth behind the D2000 - sparkly without being harsh or shrill and fatiguing? I've read both sides. I prefer a warmer sound, I don't like to feel my head buzzing after 15 minutes. Are the D2000's sharp and 'in your face' ? They seem kinda abrasive in some of the descriptions I've read.