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Inspire IHA-1 tube headphone amp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by burn1, Oct 18, 2014.
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  1. atubbs
    GZ34 is indirectly heated. While they work just fine, Dennis recommends directly heated rectifiers.
    I'll admit that I struggled to find meaningful differences between the Sophia 274B and the EML 274B. I also will be honest in saying that I think I enjoyed the big bottle rectifiers more than the 5Y3GT but I don't know that this has anything to do with better sound, and perhaps it has everything to do with "BECAUSE OMG THEY LOOK SO PRETTY." The 6SN7/6BX7 tubes are another story entirely. Have rolled a dozen different tubes. Still really like the provided (upgrade) NOS 6BX7, had a lot of fun with some NOS RCA and CBS 6SN7. Thought the Sophia 6SN7 was crap. EH 6SN7 was crap. Worth rolling a bit but I honestly would recommend not going crazy: if you find some signal tubes you're happy with, stop dragon chasing. This amp is for listening.
  2. Bellasperson
    Ended up with same tubes as atubbs except my 6bx7s are Tung Sol. Have a Sophia 274b and EML 274b and use the EML because it looks better, otherwise cannot hear any difference. The IHA is a keeper but I will test a Eddie Current BA and North Audio Stratus because I am in denial that I have reached an end game situation.
  3. maricius
    Any experience with the Woo WA6SE, Decware Taboo MkIII, Dragon Inspire IHA-1, or something else? All these are Class A Output Transformer coupled tube amps (correct me if I'm wrong) that have sufficient power for majority of the planar magnetic headphones. I'm rather uneducated on tube types but if one could assume that the tubes that will be used in these amps are similar or the same, what are the characteristics of the amplifiers relative to each other? Price ranges are somewhat similar at $1190, $1695, and $1599 respectively. My budget for the amp is under $2000 with my iFi Micro iDSD as the DAC. The amp will be mainly driving the MrSpeakers Alpha Dog but comparisons on any headphones will be greatly appreciated. If there are other tube amps that compete at this price point, feel free to recommend. Thank you. I'm in no rush.
  4. Schopenhauer
    This sounds like excellent advice. It's certainly easy to get caught up in endless tweaking. But we're in it to listen. 
  5. Schopenhauer
    Out of curiosity, where do people tend to keep the knob? I do my best to keep it as around 12 when using the Alpha Dog, even though 0 gain is at 4. So that's a bit over 50%. Second question: Do y'all tend to use the volume knob on the Dragon as the master control? IIRC, Frank mentions using the digital control on his Hugo to adjust the volume after, presumably, setting the knob on the Dragon at optimal. I suppose I'm wondering where people think optimal on the volume dial is given such and such a headphone.
  6. maricius
    I've been reading quite a lot and I believe I'm set on the IHA-1 in a couple months perhaps? What I'd like to ask is if using a direct heating rectifier is truly at an advantage over an indirect heating with this particular amplifier. I understand there are various rectifiers of differing qualities and performance but I'd like to clarify if Dennis Had's claimed preference of direct heating rectifiers for the IHA-1 is due to some significant advantage due to the amplifier's design. 
  7. BlakeT
    I am using my preamp for volume control, with the volume knob on the Dragon turned all the way up.
    With my TH900's and W3000ANV's, my preamp volume is typically set in the 50-55 range.  
  8. adamaley
    Your denial will be my gain. I will hopefully be able to hear these two at CanJam, however, depending on how soon you get the Sratus in house, your comparative assessment of the two will be very helpful. I have also narrowed down my search for an amp to drive my LCD-3s to these two.
  9. Bellasperson
    The Balancing Act arrived this weekend. It is a very worthy amp. A very different take compared to the IHA. Which is better? neither, both . Both are excellent in different ways. The choice is a matter of taste. IHA is has a lighter, more open presentation. The BA is much more powerful and slightly more "tubey". The Stratus should show up in June. June is going to be a very good month.
  10. BlakeT
    Thanks for the comparison to the BA Bellasperson.   Very interesting.  Looking forward to your further comparisons to the Stratus when it arrives. I was about to order the Stratus when I stumbled upon the IHA-1.  
  11. Bellasperson
    Purchased a GoldPoint XLR switch so I can better A/B the BA and IHA.  One thing is clear. Dennis Had provides an unbelievable amount of sound quality per dollar. Not sure if has any sound impact that my IHA has xlr inputs as Dennis made it to play downstream of my SLP 05.  I assume the difference is minimal. Pretty amazing that it can go toe to toe with the BA which costs 2 1/2 times as much and is 4 times the size. 
  12. adamaley
    Any pics to show the size comparison?
  13. maricius

    Dennis Had seems like the type of guy to see balanced merely as a way of reducing noise over long signal paths. 
  14. Bellasperson
    Not sure on his motivation but he has balanced input and output on many of his Cary and Inspire designs.  With the balanced output from the SLP 05 and the the volume of the SLP05 set at 75% I can set the volume of the IHA at about 40% when driving the Audeze LCD3f (6bx7 tubes). I have found this combination best meets my listening needs. If I am listen to the BA with the SLP 05 set at the same level I can set the BA at about 15%. The BA is a real powerhouse compared to the IHA. Will try to get some picture of the IHA beside the BA this weekend.
  15. john57
    Any inside pics?
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