Looking to upgrade from the FiiO E10 Olympus 2
Dec 1, 2016 at 4:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

Slurry

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I've been steadily figuring out my listening preference while cycling through some entry level audiophile gear. Starting with the Beyerdynamic DT990 32ohm.  Really like those headphones, and developed an appreciation for more neutral mids, as apposed to the solid V shaped sound I had been mostly accustomed to. I purchased the FiiO E10 Olympus2 (E10K? not sure if those are the same) to go along with the 990, and really love the combination, which wasn't difficult since I had nothing to compare it to.  Then I saw the decent reviews for the RE-400, and figured a nice IEM would be good for times when I didn't want the bulk of the 990's on my head. The RE-400's were nice, but seemed a bit lacking.  Not bad, but knew they wouldn't be my goto, though.  Then I saw the RE-00's on Massdrop for $34.00 Whhhhaaaaat!!  Snapped them up and really love them.  Even bought a pair for my daughter. I eventually modded them by sealing one of the vents, and slapping some comply tips on them.  Again not bad,  Unfortunately IEM's turned out to be a total pain for me at work and home whith  people always wanting to talk the moment they see these things in my ears. I enjoyed the 990's so much that I purchased another pair, this time the 250 ohm Pro version.  WoooW! love these.  They pair fairly well with my LG V10, but sound awesome on the FiiO E10.  Also picked up a Massdrop Bluebox BrainWavz M5, which are sort of blah in comparison to the little bit I've had so far.  So I've tried a few IEM's and cans, but would really like to get a DAC that rivals the FiiO I currently have.  So that's my question.
 
I appreciate a neutral sound, but definitely like good presence in the bass.  The 990 250 Pro through the FiiO E10, for me, are about as close to a perfect balance as I have experienced so far. What DAC could you recommend that would be a nice stepping stone from the FiiO E10 Olympus2, and that would go nicely with the 990 250 ohm (my favorite goto for now)?
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 7:27 PM Post #2 of 18

Me x3

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Something like the Schiit Bifrost MB + Valhalla 2 should do the trick for you.
Or you can get DT1990 instead and plug it into your E10K.
 
Differences among headphones are bigger than differences among quality DAC/Amps
 
Dec 1, 2016 at 9:00 PM Post #3 of 18

PurpleAngel

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  I've been steadily figuring out my listening preference while cycling through some entry level audiophile gear. Starting with the Beyerdynamic DT990 32ohm.  Really like those headphones, and developed an appreciation for more neutral mids, as apposed to the solid V shaped sound I had been mostly accustomed to. I purchased the FiiO E10 Olympus2 (E10K? not sure if those are the same) to go along with the 990, and really love the combination, which wasn't difficult since I had nothing to compare it to.  Then I saw the decent reviews for the RE-400, and figured a nice IEM would be good for times when I didn't want the bulk of the 990's on my head. The RE-400's were nice, but seemed a bit lacking.  Not bad, but knew they wouldn't be my goto, though.  Then I saw the RE-00's on Massdrop for $34.00 Whhhhaaaaat!!  Snapped them up and really love them.  Even bought a pair for my daughter. I eventually modded them by sealing one of the vents, and slapping some comply tips on them.  Again not bad,  Unfortunately IEM's turned out to be a total pain for me at work and home whith  people always wanting to talk the moment they see these things in my ears. I enjoyed the 990's so much that I purchased another pair, this time the 250 ohm Pro version.  WoooW! love these.  They pair fairly well with my LG V10, but sound awesome on the FiiO E10.  Also picked up a Massdrop Bluebox BrainWavz M5, which are sort of blah in comparison to the little bit I've had so far.  So I've tried a few IEM's and cans, but would really like to get a DAC that rivals the FiiO I currently have.  So that's my question.
 
I appreciate a neutral sound, but definitely like good presence in the bass.  The 990 250 Pro through the FiiO E10, for me, are about as close to a perfect balance as I have experienced so far. What DAC could you recommend that would be a nice stepping stone from the FiiO E10 Olympus2, and that would go nicely with the 990 250 ohm (my favorite goto for now)?

 
You might consider to keep using the E10K as the DAC and get a Bravo Ocean tube (hybrid) headphone amplifier.
 
Dec 2, 2016 at 2:05 PM Post #4 of 18

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I like this idea.  So I would hook the audio out of the FiiO to the audio in on the Bravo Ocean? Could you share your thoughts on what effect this amp would have on the audio?
 
Dec 2, 2016 at 2:18 PM Post #5 of 18

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  Something like the Schiit Bifrost MB + Valhalla 2 should do the trick for you.
Or you can get DT1990 instead and plug it into your E10K.
 
Differences among headphones are bigger than differences among quality DAC/Amps

Probably a tad over my budget, for now, but I'll definitely add it to my wish list.
 
Thanks
 
Dec 2, 2016 at 3:35 PM Post #6 of 18

PurpleAngel

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  I like this idea. So I would hook the audio out of the FiiO to the audio in on the Bravo Ocean? Could you share your thoughts on what effect this amp would have on the audio?

So you would connect the E10K's 3.5mm line-output jack to the RCA input on the Bravo Ocean.
 
Beyerdynamic DT770/DT880/DT990 seems to improve when used with a tube amp and add more life into the audio.
 
Here is some great into on the Beyer headphones
http://www.head-fi.org/t/513393/guide-sonic-differences-between-dt770-dt990-models-more
 
Dec 7, 2016 at 4:21 PM Post #7 of 18

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After reading about a bazillion reviews, I'm leaning towards picking up the Bravo Ocean, mostly because it's less expensive than the Valhalla options.  Any idea if the Bravo Ocean build issues improved at all from the first ones till now? Read a lot of people who had issues, but they were all fairly old posts.  Not seeing too many recent posts about issues with these.  Not sure if that's good or bad though.
 
Dec 7, 2016 at 4:26 PM Post #8 of 18

PurpleAngel

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  After reading about a bazillion reviews, I'm leaning towards picking up the Bravo Ocean, mostly because it's less expensive than the Valhalla options.  Any idea if the Bravo Ocean build issues improved at all from the first ones till now? Read a lot of people who had issues, but they were all fairly old posts.  Not seeing too many recent posts about issues with these.  Not sure if that's good or bad though.

 
I would assume built issues have been resolved.
 
Dec 10, 2016 at 6:06 PM Post #9 of 18

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Purchased the Bravo Ocean and it should arrive in the mail this Monday.  Any thoughts on how the Ocean is likely to differ in sound from the first hour, as apposed to after 10 or so hours of operation? 
 
Dec 10, 2016 at 7:56 PM Post #10 of 18

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  Purchased the Bravo Ocean and it should arrive in the mail this Monday.  Any thoughts on how the Ocean is likely to differ in sound from the first hour, as apposed to after 10 or so hours of operation? 

 
Not sure what to say about burn in,
But give the Bravo Ocean a few minutes to warm up, before using it.
 
Dec 13, 2016 at 12:31 PM Post #11 of 18

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My Bravo Audio Ocean arrived! First impressions of the Ocean, OMG! I figured I was being unfairly biased so I let my son listen through my E10K alone, than switched to the Ocean. The ear to ear grin on his face was saying the same thing I was thinking.
Second impression, wow this thing can get a bit boomy in my 990's. Not totally unpleasant, but a tad bit too warm for me with the stock tube. Any suggestions on a less warm tube?
Third impression. My mids seem a bit more recessed, or is it just the bass overpowering the mids? Not sure.
What I like the most is how the audio seems so much more open and layered through the Ocean as opposed to the E10K alone. Great separation and soundstage. Mid and high detail is all still there, but with a smoother, more mellow presentation.
What I'm hoping will change. Low detail seems a bit lacking. It's there, but not at the same level of detail as the E10K alone. The combination of this stock tube and the 990 can get boomy to my ears. I've read a few posts that suggest that may change with tube use, and others that suggest this is the norm with tubes. From time to time I think I hear a tad bit of distortion when the low end bass gets loud, but not sure. I suppose time will tell. In the end I'm pleased with the purchase, if for no other reason than to get a taste of the possibilities. But on top of that, there is an unquestionable improvement in the audio quality, and the ability to tweak that even further with other tubes. I'd love to do a full review on this thing in a month or so. Thank for the suggestions.
 
Dec 13, 2016 at 12:59 PM Post #12 of 18

PurpleAngel

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So i'm guessing your OK with me recommending the Bravo Ocean to others?
The DT990 are strong bass/treble, which slightly over shadows the mids, but the mids are clear.
 
Replace the E10K with a DAC with a Sabre DAC chip
Hiifmediy USB or optical DAC, $42-$70
http://hifimediy.com/DACs/ready-made-dacs?sort=p.price&order=ASC&limit=15
 
Sabre DAC chips seem to be more detailed and less warm.
 
Dec 13, 2016 at 1:37 PM Post #13 of 18

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So i'm guessing your OK with me recommending the Bravo Ocean to others?
The DT990 are strong bass/treble, which slightly over shadows the mids, but the mids are clear.

Replace the E10K with a DAC with a Sabre DAC chip
Hiifmediy USB or optical DAC, $42-$70
http://hifimediy.com/DACs/ready-made-dacs?sort=p.price&order=ASC&limit=15

Sabre DAC chips seem to be more detailed and less warm.


Yep! I would totally recommend the Bravo Ocean to others. My LG V10 has a Sabre DAC. I'll have to give that a shot and see. Any tube recomendations that might pair better with the 990 and E10K.
 
Dec 13, 2016 at 1:59 PM Post #14 of 18

PurpleAngel

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Yep! I would totally recommend the Bravo Ocean to others. My LG V10 has a Sabre DAC. I'll have to give that a shot and see. Any tube recommendations that might pair better with the 990 and E10K.

 
I would say to improve audio quality you might consider getting different headphones, something with a more balanced sound.
 
Beyerdynamic T90 headphones.
Used, $250
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Beyerdynamic-T90-Stereo-Headphone-/302145606176?hash=item4659481220:g:~uYAAOSwiONYNG~V
 
Dec 16, 2016 at 4:19 PM Post #15 of 18

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After listening to this amp for about a week plus, I have a few question I was hoping you all could help me with. My typical configuration is to use TIDAL on my pc as a source, plugged into the E10K, with the line out to the line in of the Bravo Ocean, and listening through DT990 250 ohm cans.  Usually I have the volume on the PC turned to max, and the volume on the ocean at near 0.  After listening for several hours a day, on day 3 I think I was experiencing some ear fatigue. I've never experienced that with the E10K alone.  Could the sound out of this amp be irritating my ears? Then today, I decided to turn the volume down on the PC to about 6, so I would have a bit more control with the volume on the Ocean.  Turning the volume down on the PC and up to about 25% on the Ocean seems to sound better and different somehow, but I couldn't put into words how.   The other odd thing is that using the Ocean, it seems like I need to keep the volume much lower than when not using it.  It's as if there is just more sound coming out of the Ocean.  Not louder sound, just more of it. It's difficult to describe, but I'm hoping someone will be able to give me some insight into whats going on here.  So here are my questions:
 
Can I cause distortion through the Bravo Ocean if my PC volume is at 100%?
How likely is it that this amp, headphone combination is causing me some fatigue?
Would a different tube help? (can't get new cans just yet)
Does it make sense that the Bravo Ocean is putting out more sound than another output device when set at the same listening volume?
 

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