Mr. Speakers Mad Dog 3.0 - 3.2 Amp Pairing Recommendation/Discussion Thread
Sep 30, 2013 at 2:21 PM Post #91 of 419

kstuart

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It was mentioned somewhere in the mad dog thread that Dan recommends around 1W for the mad dogs to deliver optimum performance.

This is an internet myth.
 
Dan never recommended any particular power requirement.
 
What occurred is that someone mentioned that the amps they observed in use by MrSpeakers were all at least one watt.  In typical human fashion, someone processed this through their brain into "Dan recommends one watt".
 
Modern life is very complicated, and people are understandably desperate for any sort of simplification.  These power ratings are just the sort of oversimplification that people love, but fail to adequately describe the situation.
 
For example, all of these vintage amplifiers output power like 20W, 65W, 220W to speakers.  But to make those levels useful at the headphone jack output, there are resistors in series, so that it is possible to listen without having the volume control all the way down (!).   The mathematical power at these jacks is usually about 250milliwatts, yet these amplifiers provide headphones with all the sonic benefits of a large amount of power, especially dynamics and bass quality.
 
By the way, the official word is:
 
Recommended Equipment You can drive the Mad Dog off your iPhone, iPad or almost any other quality portable media device (note that some Android phones won't cut it at all).  That said, to get the most out of your headphones MrSpeakers recommends a good quality separate headphone amplifier and if possible a qualtiy source/DAC. 

 
Sep 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM Post #93 of 419

kstuart

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In another thread, there was this (note second hand) apparently stated this weekend:
 Dan said that the E12 is one of the few portable amps that can drive his headphones,

 
Sep 30, 2013 at 2:40 PM Post #94 of 419
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 Modern life is very complicated, and people are understandably desperate for any sort of simplification.  These power ratings are just the sort of oversimplification that people love, but fail to adequately describe the situation.

I think the simplest way to put it is the more power the better.   The worst thing that can happen is that you might not pass 12 o'clock with your volume knob!
 
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Sep 30, 2013 at 6:56 PM Post #95 of 419
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I had a very interesting experience with amps in Dallas.  We had Alpha Dogs on the Burson Conductor and the Schitt Mjolnir/Gugnir.  
 
It was virtually a 50/50 split as to which people preferred, and people had surprisingly strong reactions.  To rule out differences between the phones I had a few folks carry the phone from one to the other to reduce variables related to the phone and the effect was consistent.  
 
I had this experience in NYC last fall when two big name reviewers listened and one declared the Schitt was better.  As soon as he left, the other journalist said "No way, the Burson is better."  
 
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Sep 30, 2013 at 7:04 PM Post #96 of 419

MattTCG

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Which just goes to prove that "best" is a relative term. It will come down to what the individual prefers in the final signature. I bet that both amps sounded pretty darn good with the AD and the MD. 
biggrin.gif

 
Sep 30, 2013 at 7:21 PM Post #97 of 419

mikek200

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  I had a very interesting experience with amps in Dallas.  We had Alpha Dogs on the Burson Conductor and the Schitt Mjolnir/Gugnir.  
 
It was virtually a 50/50 split as to which people preferred, and people had surprisingly strong reactions.  To rule out differences between the phones I had a few folks carry the phone from one to the other to reduce variables related to the phone and the effect was consistent.  
 
I had this experience in NYC last fall when two big name reviewers listened and one declared the Schitt was better.  As soon as he left, the other journalist said "No way, the Burson is better."  

 
No 2 ears,...hear exactly alike...
 
Got into a screaming discussion with my hd800's ,once , declaring they are to bright
I never found them bright ,at all.
 
See you in November,at the meet..
 
 
Mike
 
Sep 30, 2013 at 7:37 PM Post #98 of 419
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  In another thread, there was this (note second hand) apparently stated this weekend:

 
Well to be clear, I think I said the E12 is one of the few FiiO's that can drive them, not one of the few.  It seems like the portable amp makers are all stepping up with more powerful offerings.  
 
Headamp, Ray Samuels, iBasso, Centrance and others all make some very nice portable amps with power to spare.  
 
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Sep 30, 2013 at 8:27 PM Post #100 of 419

gamefreak054

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Since its myth buster time, I would just like to ask if it is true that a sabre dac with its supposedly brighter sound sig would complement the MDs better than a wolfson dac?

 
Well you are going to get the whole "it depends how it is implemented", but judging by inherent qualities imo the sabre chip is a better pairing. Though if you like warmer qualities which Wolfson chips usually inherit than it would be a better choice. It comes down to preference. I have seen a lot of people try to avoid the warmer sound when it comes to audiophile stuff, however I personally do not mind a warmer sound at all. The DX100 uses the Sabre ES9018 chip, and I love the dac section of this player. I like it a lot more than most of the sound processors in our house that use wolfson chips. Of course the implementation comes into effect, but the dac sections of these processors do not seem to be as good at the fine details as the DX100.
 
Sep 30, 2013 at 9:35 PM Post #102 of 419

doublea71

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Dan,
 
Would you say that planar magnetic drivers respond better to an amp with more power? That's not a rhetorical question - I'm trying to determine if it is at least recommended because of the inherent qualities of the drivers in the MDs. It sounds like more power may not always lead to a better listening experience.
 
Sep 30, 2013 at 11:37 PM Post #103 of 419

kstuart

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  Dan,
 
Would you say that planar magnetic drivers respond better to an amp with more power? That's not a rhetorical question - I'm trying to determine if it is at least recommended because of the inherent qualities of the drivers in the MDs. It sounds like more power may not always lead to a better listening experience.

I own the HiFiMan HE-400 and the Mad Dog Universal 3.2 and have listened to both through a variety of amps, including several different vintage amps of varying power.
 
The latest vintage amp is a power amp with 300 watts per channel into 4 ohms (with a pair of resistors in series with the headphone jack).  To my surprise, the HE-400 sound far better than they have with any other amp (including the 20W and 65W vintage amps, the latter being recently restored and recapped).  People talk about this effect with the other HiFiMan planars, but not with the HE-400.  (I think that is true because the HE-400 is the least expensive planar, and so it is usually used only with inexpensive amp products, which by necessity are low power, so those people never experience high power amps, the way that HE-500 and HE-6 owners do).
 
Interestingly, the difference is not quite as dramatic with the Mad Dog 3.2, but I still prefer the Mad Dog in all cases.
 
In all cases, I used headphones only with headphone jacks, but here is a thread for using speaker amps with headphones (include HE-5000 planars);
 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/629352/he-500-lcd2-d5000-dt770-sr80-on-a-speaker-amp-emotiva-mini-x-a-100-project
 
Oct 1, 2013 at 12:34 AM Post #104 of 419
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  Dan,
 
Would you say that planar magnetic drivers respond better to an amp with more power? That's not a rhetorical question - I'm trying to determine if it is at least recommended because of the inherent qualities of the drivers in the MDs. It sounds like more power may not always lead to a better listening experience.

 
Quality usually trumps wattage.  The Burson with 250mW of Class A easily handled everything I played through it.  Some gear I have heard with way more power lacked the ease the Burson had, so all in all getting to wrapped up around Watts is less important than quality of the Watts, and that, is of course REALLY relative, which was the point of my post.
 
Sometimes my amp choice is driven by my mood.  
 
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