MrSpeakers Alpha PRIME: Impressions and Discussion Thread
Sep 16, 2015 at 12:45 AM Post #1,786 of 2,873

MattiasRobs

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The Schiit Lyr2 is an amp, not a combo.
 
I have Alpha Primes and have listened to the O2+ODAC with them and found it didn't have enough power for my tastes.  I have the Lyr2 and BifrostUber (a separate DAC) and as Reddog notes, it's a fantastic-sounding set-up.  I also have used a ALO International to power my Primes--before purchasing the Lyr2+Bifrost combo--and although it was better than the O2+ODAC to my ears, the International still wasn't enough power to make the Primes sing.  
 
Personally, I'd like even more power and am thinking seriously about the Mjolnir2 to replace the Lyr2 for my Primes.
 
If you can, get to an audio show or headfi meet to hear more of this stuff in person before buying.  

well im pretty new to this whole audiophile scene. im not really techy and dont get into the nitty griity of all the details since i dont understand most of it but trying to change that. Do you think the lyr2/bitfrost combo would be good for me. and i am wondering about the voltage i dont know what to pick do i go with 115vac or 230vac?
 
Sep 16, 2015 at 1:51 AM Post #1,787 of 2,873

muziq

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  well im pretty new to this whole audiophile scene. im not really techy and dont get into the nitty griity of all the details since i dont understand most of it but trying to change that. Do you think the lyr2/bitfrost combo would be good for me. and i am wondering about the voltage i dont know what to pick do i go with 115vac or 230vac?


There's not a person on Headfi who didn't start where you're starting, so don't be afraid to use the search function for any of your questions.  There's a LOT of information available here.  Makes for good reading to see how people have faced and solved problems and/or added to their knowledge to continue getting the most out of their rigs as technology evolves.  I've been on here a couple years and I learn new sh!t daily.
 
Voltage:  I see that you're in AB, so if you plan to remain in and/or use your gear there, you want to order 115v equipment.  Relocating to Europe or elsewhere?  You would choose a different voltage option.  Moving in the future?  No problem--you can add a step-up/step-down power transformer and continue using your gear.  I bought my Lyr2 at 115v but recently relocated to Saudi Arabia where the voltage is 220v, and am using a transformer with no problems whatsoever.
 
NOTE:  it's always good to check the voltage for any audio equipment.  Lots of computers, notebooks, etc are "dual voltage" and you don't really have to worry about them, but it's good that you're thinking about it.
 
Will it be good for you?  I can no more answer that than I can tell you what pizza to order tonight.  "Good" is subjective, based on your personal music preferences, how/when you like to listen, how loud you like to listen, etc.  If you read through the gazillions of reviews of the Primes and see what people are pairing it with, you'll get a pretty good idea of whether it might work for you and your needs.  That's about all I can say from a factual standpoint.  
 
My personal opinion?  Yeah, the Primes+Lyr2+Bifrost sounds frickin' great and I love it for pretty much every style of music I listen to (everything from avant garde orchestral to field recordings to Stan Getz to Amon Tobin to Kathleen Edwards to...) when I'm at home in my living room and no TV.  The option of rolling different tubes in allows me to tune the sound if I want, although I've been enjoying some Tekefunken E88CCs for just about everything recently.   I don't know anything about you, but I think you'd be in the minority if you didn't like the combo.
 
But opinions are like @ssholes--everyone has one and more often then not they stink.  That's why it's important, if at all possible, to get to a Headfi meet or show like CanJam coming up at RMAF soon if you have the ability.  If you can't, keep hunting around here for other Calgary-based Headfi'ers...I know you'll find a few.  
 
Sep 16, 2015 at 3:21 AM Post #1,788 of 2,873

psychogene

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I bought the Alpha Primes approximately 7 months ago as an upgrade from my Mad Dogs. I too am very light on my audiophile knowledge and not at all in touch with the scene but I can tell you what has worked for me when I purchased my Alpha Primes in case it may help you decide.
 
At the time I only had the Audio-GD 12.1 DAC/Amp that I had purchased a few years ago for about $300 and upon trying that setup at home for the first time I was quite content that the Audio-GD had enough power to drive the Alpha Primes but there is only so much a budget/entry level dac/amp can do for the Alpha Primes - the detail, clarity and soundstage was not using the Alpha Primes to their potential and the sound was quite different from when I demoed them at 'Addicted to Audio' on their $1k burson dac/amp. It was perfectly adequate for the Mad Dogs but upon moving up a tier or two to the Alpha Primes the Audio-GD 12.1 provided enough power but not enough quality sound for the Primes.
 
I went back to Addicted To Audio with the intention of buying something around $700-800 but I walked out with the Questyle Q192 Dac/Amp ($1300 approx) based on their recommendations and my own listening experience. I tried the bitfrost/lyr2 combo and that was also a great sound combo that I would not have any complaints if anyone went down that route but to me the Questyle Q192 was perfect for the Alpha Primes - enough power to drive them quite well and the detail/clarity/soundstage was a quite noticeable upgrade from my budget $300 Audio-Gd.
 
I have since purchased a secondhand X-Can V8P + PSU and upgraded the default tubes to a pair of Amperex Orange Globe ECC88 and for me personally I have achieved the sound I was looking for from the Alpha Primes. The X-Can with the tubes + Questyle Q192 give me a nice warm midrange and more than enough power to make the Alpha Primes sing with the slight mostly not even noticeable reduction of detail but maintaining more or less the same clarity.
 
I really do think if you have the budget to spend an amount that will justify the purchase of the Alpha Primes - that is a DAC/Amp that has enough power for the Alpha Primes (They definitely benefit from more powerful source) and gives it good clarity and dynamics so the end product is of course a more enjoyable listening experience. In short its best if you can not to go down the cheap route for the Primes - get a Dac/Amp that will last and may compliment future purchases.
 
Sep 16, 2015 at 4:54 AM Post #1,789 of 2,873

money4me247

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  well im pretty new to this whole audiophile scene. im not really techy and dont get into the nitty griity of all the details since i dont understand most of it but trying to change that. Do you think the lyr2/bitfrost combo would be good for me. and i am wondering about the voltage i dont know what to pick do i go with 115vac or 230vac?

@MattiasRobs, my opinion is going to be a bit different than many other people here who will be recommending buying more expensive gear, but I think if you are new, honestly the better bet for you is to get something much cheaper first. You should focus on more entry-level items that have a really high performance:price ratio.
 
For closed desktop headphones, the akg k553 is an excellent neutral orientated pair of headphones that is quite inexpensive. They don't require an amplifier either, but you can also get the odac/o2 for them if you are interested in exploring amplifiers/dacs. I do think the odac/o2 is a great choice for something coming from a more budget-orientated perspective.
 
that way you can begin to explore this hobby without overspending. it is actually a bit difficult to predict if a headphone will match your personal taste, so starting out jumping to an expensive pair of headphones that you haven't had a chance to hear can be a bit risky. I also think that the k553 offers basically an amazing value with its performance:price ratio and is a very well-balanced neutral-orientated headphone.
 
going that direction will let you first hear a neutral-orientated sound signature and see if that is to your tastes. some people actually enjoy more colored sound signature such as a v-shaped or bass-heavy pair of headphones.
 
I think it would be a bit foolish for you to jump into the hobby getting such an expensive pair of headphones and expensive amplifier/dac that is out of your budget range without having a chance to listen to a variety of different gear. the thing about this hobby is everyone has different preferences and you really need to explore a bit of different options to really know what will suit you best.
 
I owned both the k553 pro and mrspeaker alpha prime at the same time, and I would say realistically the sonic differences between these headphones will be quite subtle for people without extensive experience doing critical listening. both are pretty neutral orientated with extremely large soundstage and precise imaging. A slightly more precise sense of 'speed' on the prime with wider note spacing, but not really something that will impact musical enjoyment. more a pride of ownership type thing imo.
 
do note many people here who are offering recommendations have spent a lot of money searching through different gear and are offering their personal picks. it may not really match your tastes as well. that is why I think it would be wise to start with something more inexpensive to get a sense of your sound signature preferences first.
 
if you purchase a pair of expensive headphones, people will also be recommending some pretty expensive amp/dacs, so realistically you will be looking at almost double the price point. hard to say that is really worth it for someone just getting started in this hobby with a limited budget.
 
good luck & pm me if you have any questions.
 
Cheers!
 
Sep 17, 2015 at 8:43 AM Post #1,790 of 2,873

Klonatans

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Hi!
 
I know that they are meant to be driven by an amp, but I'm curious how well they could do with a DAP like AK100 Mk2 and how portable they are in terms of comfort. Just sent back to Amazon a just burned-in Beyer T5p and now looking for a pair of closed over ear portables.
 
Sep 17, 2015 at 10:24 PM Post #1,791 of 2,873

zachawry

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  Hi!
 
I know that they are meant to be driven by an amp, but I'm curious how well they could do with a DAP like AK100 Mk2 and how portable they are in terms of comfort. Just sent back to Amazon a just burned-in Beyer T5p and now looking for a pair of closed over ear portables.


Not sure about the differences in output between the AK100II and the AK120II, but my AK120II does a pretty good job of driving the Primes. Sure, they benefit from more power, but they sounded better than I would have expected from the little unit. 
 
Sep 18, 2015 at 3:56 AM Post #1,792 of 2,873

Klonatans

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Not sure about the differences in output between the AK100II and the AK120II, but my AK120II does a pretty good job of driving the Primes. Sure, they benefit from more power, but they sounded better than I would have expected from the little unit. 


Actually that's a first generation AK100 in 3 ohm version. And how bulky and subjectively heavy are they on one's head? Do they make ears sweating?
 
Sep 18, 2015 at 11:56 PM Post #1,793 of 2,873

gangnamstyle

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Hi all, poor student here that is about to buy an Alpha Prime. I know these things probably need an amp but the only amp I have is a FiiO E10K.... Is there something that is affordable I could buy to power them?
 
Thanks for the advice.
 
Sep 19, 2015 at 6:13 AM Post #1,794 of 2,873

Frosty3258

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Hi all, poor student here that is about to buy an Alpha Prime. I know these things probably need an amp but the only amp I have is a FiiO E10K.... Is there something that is affordable I could buy to power them?

Thanks for the advice.


The odac and 02 amp combo will rum them just fine and are fairly cheap. I have one with the primes and then moved to a cwntrance m8 which is about 3x more expensive and noticed little to no difference between the two.

Edit: could also look into the shiit fulla. I have no experience with it, and haven't heard much about it, but it looks interesting
 
Sep 19, 2015 at 11:26 AM Post #1,796 of 2,873

Sappy

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have some primes for sale in europe for a what i think really good price. loged them but now i am very tempted trying something open and i loved the sennheiser hd 800 sound and now need money to fund this crazy idea :D
 
Sep 19, 2015 at 7:29 PM Post #1,797 of 2,873

Frosty3258

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have some primes for sale in europe for a what i think really good price. loged them but now i am very tempted trying something open and i loved the sennheiser hd 800 sound and now need money to fund this crazy idea :D


I just let mine go for an lcdx, here in the us they are a very hard sell. Let them go for much less than I wanted to, almost just kept them and now wish I did. Along with the lcd x of course. Wish you good fortune in your sale :)
 
Sep 20, 2015 at 8:02 AM Post #1,798 of 2,873

Sappy

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I just let mine go for an lcdx, here in the us they are a very hard sell. Let them go for much less than I wanted to, almost just kept them and now wish I did. Along with the lcd x of course. Wish you good fortune in your sale :)


oh, interesting to hear. so the primes are out of hype area now i guess with the new ethers coming out. still this is the best closed headphone i have heard and there hasnt been much new competition in the last months.
 
Sep 21, 2015 at 11:41 AM Post #1,799 of 2,873

JerseyD

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@MattiasRobs 
 
Re: 115V vs 230v - This refers to the voltage and outlet style. In the US, 115V is a standard plug.  The choice is base primarily upon where you live and your home's outlets.
 
Re: Reasonably priced DAC-AMP combos that work well with the Prime - Two all-in-one units we carry that sound great with the Prime are the iFi Micro iDSD (at $500) and the CEntrance Hi-Fi M8 (at $700).  Both have enough settings to tweak the sound to your own liking. The iFi has a more versatile DAC while the CEntrance has a beefier amp. Both are highly recommended.
 

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