Isabellina HPA - Owner's Thread and Impressions

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  1. cj3209
    Here you go.


    Red Wine Audio
    What happens when you take an Isabellina HPA LFP-V Edition, remove Isabellina dac, and put it in a smaller (10" x 6" x 3") enclosure - offered with our single-ended or new balanced headphone output stage? 12Vdc output option for Wadia iTransports, Pure i20s, etc.? Did I mention at a MUCH LOWER PRICE - with all the LiFePO4 battery and LFP-V tube stage goodness? Customers have been asking for this for a long time, and next month, it will happen!
  2. mrarroyo Contributor
    Thanks. Will it have the tube buffer output stage?
  3. Paul Meakin
    Has anyone tried using the HPA RCA outputs as a feed to a Stax energiser/amp?
    I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work, but it would be nice to be certain.
    If so, how did it sound? I have the Stax 006t so I'm wondering if this might be too many tubes in the path... the 006t is not at all aggressive with my Lambdas. I'm assuming that the HPA tube stage is before the output RCAs...
    I'm looking for an elegant way of running dynamic and electrostatic headphones from the same system, i.e.
    iPod/i20 and Mac/PC -> HPA -> Dynamic/Ortho OR Stax 006t/Lambdas
    Thanks for any help.
  4. mrarroyo Contributor
    I have fed an SRD7 from the rca out of an Isabella. The sound was very good, better than my other sources, however it was a while ago and I have not tried it since. Personally I like to keep my "battery" powered gear unconnected from my mains powered gear, call me crazy if you will. :wink:
  5. Paul Meakin
    Thanks, I hadn't thought of trying that approach, i.e. energizer only.

  6. mrarroyo Contributor
    Paul, I forgot to mention I have a Signature 30.2 LFPV-Edition. It is the 30.2 which drives the Stax energizer box. Sorry for the omission.
  7. Paul Meakin
    Have I understood correctly that the SRD7 needs speaker outputs?
    If so, it's not the right option for me. I want to be able to use RCA/pre-amp outputs,
  8. mrarroyo Contributor
    Yes, the Stax energizer boxes were intended to be fed from the speaker output of amplifiers.
  9. Vinnie R.
    We can increase the gain in our new balanced output stage to drive K1000s with no sweat.
    For STAX, it sounds like there also needs to be a high voltage (but low current) bias feed, correct?
    If this is the case, I don't see why I can't add this to an Isabellina HPA with Balanced output option.
    I would need the pin configuration of the jack, and this would be an LiFePO4 battery powered, tube hybrid
    stax amp (with a 12Vdc output option for the Pure i20, Wadia iTransport, etc.) and it would be totally
    If there is interest, please start a new thread in this forum.  Something like "IC: Red Wine Audio Isabellina HPA
    STAX Edition." 
  10. mrarroyo Contributor
    Vinnie, I have an energizer box modified by spritzer. I can send it your way for  a month so you can use to assist in the work of modifying the HPA. Send me an email if you wish to borrow it. Cheers!
  11. Vinnie R.


    Just posted some info on the upcoming Red Wine Audio Corvina here:

    Hi Miguel,
    Thanks - are there enough STAX owners out there would would consider buying an Isabellina HPA "Stax Edition" ?
    Since I do not own Stax headphones, do they all pretty much use the same bias voltage and pinout for their plug, or do they have multiple versions that have different amp power requirements and bias voltages?
    Thanks again,
  12. mrarroyo Contributor
    Good questions Vinnie, as I understand it there are two versions of stax ear speakers. These are either biased as 230 volts (old version can) or 580 volts (newer version can). Each bias uses a different pin out (see pic below), the 230 V is on the left and the 580 V is on the right. The SRD7 I own was modified by spritzer to improve its performance and it has both type of outputs. I understand there is an "stax mafia" which is very active so there may be a want for such a product. Perhaps they will chime in.
  13. tuberock
    After LOTS of research, I finally made the plunge into the audiophile community and my Isabellina HPA arrived on monday! I was impressed by the detail and care with the packaging it came in. Which was only a precursor to the actual product and the sound that it reproduces. I have a apogee ensemble. Which I use to record music and it has decent DA and headphone amp. But after getting my Denon AH-D7000 headphones, I was curious about upgrading my sound further. There are a lot of great choices. However the benefit of a great all in one DA, amp, and power supply really intrigued me. If it could be pulled off without compromise. This would save a lot of money for upgraded interconnects ,power cable and power filters. This could run thousands for the gear I wanted. I'm happy to say, their is no compromise. In fact the shorter signal path and battery power supply I believe is part of the reason why the HPA sounds so good. I got a basic unit with no upgrades with the intent to upgrade as I get more money. The only thing I changed was the tube to a Dario Miniwatt. I run it through my mac pro using Pure Music.
    Right out of the box the unit sounded very similar to the ensemble in quality of the sound. It had a less soundstage and was more muddy and congested. However with zero burn in it was close.
    After 10 hours of burn in it began to really open up and it had more depth, clarity and micro detail than the ensemble. Which put a smile on my face. I listen to all types of music. Which they all sounded better, until I listened to Tool's Undertow. It was definitely lacking in drive and impact. This really worried me because the only review I read that was not 100% positive compared it to the tranquility se DA. He said the isballina DA was to polite, and intimate. Lacking the edge for rock. Knowing it was very early in the burn in process, I was going to try listening again on tuesday.The burn in takes at least 100 hrs according to Vinnie the maker of the HPA.
    After 20 hrs of burn I listened to Tool again. I was instantly sucked in. The sound-field the micro detail and drive were all there. In fact I felt like I was there. Listening to them live, but with SOOOO much more clarity!  Their is no distinction between the right and left headphones. Rather a real sound field of music  encompessing you. With each instrument in there own definitive space. I just sat and listened to all my music like it was the first time. The music sounded unbelievably real and natural. We all have different tastes and preferences so I can respect the reviewer. But to me the HPA does it all from mellow to extremely hard music flawlessly. This justifies the price beyond any doubt for me! I now have over 50 hrs and it slowly continues to get better. I cant wait for it to be completely burned in.
    The customer support and help that Vinnie from Redwine Audio has given me is topnotch. Its amazing to be able to sit and talk to him personally. I give the HPA the highest recommendation possible for anyone considering a product in this price range or should I say any price range!    Hmmmmmmm..... now maybe a better transport? The quest begins!

  14. korzena
    Anybody compared Isabellina HPA/ Isabellina DAC to Havana DAC? 
    What were the main differences soundwise?
    p.s. Is there a separate thread about  Isabellina DAC (not Isabellina HPA)? I cannot find any...
  15. leesure


    You should check out Skylab's review of the Audeze Edition Isabelina HPA wherein he compares the Isabellina DAC section to the Havana...
    "This decision was furthered by the fact that the [Isabellina] AE's DAC was much better than the MHDT.  I like the MHDT quite a bit, actually, and think it sounds very good, especially for the money.  But the MHDT is much less neutral than the AE.  I like the Havana’s “sound”, but it has a sound, for sure, regardless of tube rolling.  It isn’t neutral.  And that was the primary trait that impressed me about the AE’s DAC – it was extremely neutral and stunningly transparent."
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