New from Garage1217, the solid-state Project Polaris!
Jan 24, 2021 at 4:51 PM Post #1,786 of 1,820
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I mean I get numbers are important but I find these days people are obsessed over number and don't even listen to the device itself

Although I understand how many folks look at measurements and we take them very seriously, I can easily agree with what you wrote.

"everyone's ears are different".

...and yet we somehow communicate, understand each other perfectly and often agree how music and various audio products sound like :)
 
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Mar 7, 2021 at 10:57 PM Post #1,787 of 1,820

Hyde00

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I don't know how many people still follows this thread but....... I finally got my Modi Multibit and Asgard 3 (impulse buy) recently so now I can finally do a proper Asgard 3 vs Project Polaris comparison since I'm unable to find any info online.

I'll listen to both amps this week (both source from Modi Multibit) and update you guys as it goes.

But off the bat PLEASE DO NOT USE ATTENUATION MODULE (top right corner of Polaris). I'm using Denon AH-D2000 so the natural thing to do it's like "hey it's 25 Ohm I don't need that much power so let's run it with the attenuation module so it doesn't blow up my ears".

Then for the next few days (after I got Modi Multibit) I've been scratching my head like....... is it the Modi Multibit that doesn't sound good? The Polaris that doesn't sound good? Do I need more burn in time? Or am I just simply crazy? Some thing just doesn't sound right to me and I was like this close from selling the amp (I even took some pretty pictures so it sells better LOL). Then I remember Asgard 3 sounds better in high gain (all Schiit amps do), then I was like why don't I try taking off the attenuation module and see what happens. Yupe magic happened. It went from "I'll probably sell it" to "as it stands I like Polaris a bit better than Asgard 3".

Again I'll update progress throughout the week but any of you using attenuation module please bypass it. Though again I'm using Denon AH-D2000 (25 Ohm) so if you're using say like HD650 (300 Ohm) your results might vary.

PXL_20210308_032654465.jpg

PXL_20210308_032636877.jpg
 
Mar 9, 2021 at 4:56 PM Post #1,790 of 1,820

M-83

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a question perhaps somewhat silly, can the RCA output be connected to a sound bar for example? or can it be dangerous for the soundbar?
Out of interest, what's the reason behind the connection to a soundbar?

In answer to your question, I would guess you can connect the RCA line out to a line in in the sound bar, though I'm not sure about possible damage.
 
Mar 11, 2021 at 2:33 PM Post #1,793 of 1,820

Hyde00

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Okay so here's some update regarding Asgard 3 vs Project Polaris if anyone's interested.

I couldn't find any info while I was buying this so I thought would be helpful for the future generations if anyone's in the market for solid state amp in this price range. I'll include Dragonfly Red in the mix since that's what I'm upgrading from. Also dac used (except Dragonfly Red which has dac built in) is Modi Multibit. Headphone used is Denon AH-D2000 (so the same can be applied to TH610/TH900/TH-X00/E-Mu Teak...etc). Sorry I don't have any other headphones at the moment to test. Here it goes.....

Asgard 3
- $200 (no module)
- Biggest physical size, heavy too. Feels like having a phonebook / encyclopedia on my desk. Reason being power supply is inside the unit. Actually much prefer the foot print of other 2.
- Heavy volume knob, I'd say depending on preference some might find it too heavy.
- Gets pretty warm, not enough to be hot but definitely feel like a heat pack or something. More or less on par with Modi Multibit.
- High gain sounds better than low gain, low gain sounds vocal/treble recessed and less clarity. Also not as loud as I anticipated, low gain I can use 12 o'lock while high gain is about 9 o'clock. In comparison to Polaris at the lowest low gain I use about 9 o'clock too. Even though on paper Asgard 3 is more powerful, which I find weird.
- Soundstage isn't as wide as I thought it would be. I keep reading it has wide soundstage but it seems pretty average. Though I also suspect Modi Multibit doesn't have super wide stage either so it could be that.
- Imaging is precise, I'd say a little bit better than Polaris.
- Sound profile I'm a bit surprised, it's actually more relax sounding than Polaris. It has less treble and less bass and surprisingly forward vocal.
- I enjoy this for rock a bit more.
- However overall it has less texture than Polaris in all frequencies, has more of a clean and precise sound. Trade off is feels like there's less minor nuances.
- Feels fast.
- Overall not bad and as I mentioned more relaxed listen but less details.

Project Polaris
- $250 (prebuilt, acrylic top)
- About same size as Modi Multibit and pretty light too, power bar is on the cord so it reduce physical size on main unit.
- Smooth volume knob and weight is about just right.
- Stay cool even after listening for many hours.
- It comes with "attenuation module" with 3 gain settings (low, medium, high), attenuation module sort of works like a base gain then it multiplies the gain setting after (low, medium, high). Similar to Asgard 3, don't use attenuation module is reduced treble clarity and vocal clarity and in general just make things sound muffled.
- Soundstage is wider than Asgard 3, and because there's more treble on this unit so you can hear the room echo a bit better. Though still isn't as wide as I thought it would be, could be the headphone or could be the dac, not too sure.
- Imagine isn't as precise as Asgard 3 but still not bad.
- Sound profile..... surprisingly kind of more of everything compare to Asgard 3. More treble detail, more bass slam, slightly less vocal presence but more detailed vocal. Warmer mids.
- I enjoy this for acoustic songs a bit more.
- Because it has a lot of small details so relative to Asgard this feels a little bit more tiring to listen to, where it's like giving you all the information. On Asgard everything's a bit more dialed back and more relaxed.
- Feels slow somehow, maybe longer decay?
- I end up keeping this one since I like the smaller foot print better also this feels a bit more "special" as it does have a bit more of everything.

Dragonfly Red
- $200 (dac included, so effectively less than half price of other 2 options)
- Tiny, it's like usb stick.
- No volume knob, you have to adjust through PC volume. I use AutoHotKey to map volume shortcut from keyboard.
- Pretty much cold all the time.
- No gain setting, just volume from PC. Though still enough to drive most things out there, just probably can't drive 300 Ohm headphones well (I say probably since I don't have 300 Ohm headphones to test).
- Soundstage surprisingly not bad for such a small unit, not as wide as others but not too far behind.
- I will say imaging is probably Dragonfly Red's shortcoming, it's just okay but nothing that stands out.
- Sound profile....... very warm and rich and bassy. Has the most bass and deepest bass out of the 3 (surprisingly). Treble is exciting yet smooth. Just overall less clean and precise as the other 2 which make sense considering the size and price.
- I'd say most things sounds pretty good with this.
- Detail is surprisingly good I would say it's 90% there for half the price. Honest for most people I would say this is enough.
- Speed feels about right in the middle.
- Overall to be honest I think this is pretty good considering the size and price. If you don't have any demanding headphone this would probably be enough. I think we're just picky in this hobby so we'll chase for the final 5-10%.

Conclusion
As I mentioned I end up keeping Polaris because it sounds more rich and more detailed. Where as Asgard is more a very clean and precise type of sound, though a bit more relaxing (or boring, depends on how you take it) for longer listen. And as I mentioned Dragonfly Red is less than half price and gets 90% of the job done if your headphone isn't too demanding. But otherwise Polaris do have better....... everything over Dragonfly Red (except bass quantity, Dragonfly Red has more bass).

If I were to nitpick is that I'm not that big of a fan of the open pcb look. I know they offer aluminum top option too but it's not the same as having a fully enclosed unit like Asgard 3 (also looks good too). So if in the future they can offer a full metal enclosure that would be neat (yes I understand that adds cost, I guess we can't have it all).

All in all Polaris is a great unit (if you don't use attenuation module), oh though unfortunately solid state will never get that holographic imaging / soundstage vs a tube amp. So I'm gonna try a tube amp next and see where it goes, for now I'm keeping the Polaris lol (Asgard is going back, using 15 day return policy).
 
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Apr 6, 2021 at 4:28 PM Post #1,794 of 1,820

RedJohn456

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Finally found a garage 1217 thread, looking to try out some of their offerings but most reviews tend to be quite old. Is the project ember amp still competitive in 2021? I was looking for a pair of amps to complement my HD6XX and settled on Bottlehead crack and maybe Ember 2.1. I will probably adding the Neumann HDH20 to the daily use stable and they will be used with the aforementioned amps as well.

I will be feeding the amps via line out from my Aune S6 pro, iDSD Micro and Fiio E17k (surprisingly still one of the most neutral/flat dacs at this price point).
 
Apr 6, 2021 at 4:33 PM Post #1,795 of 1,820

M-83

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Finally found a garage 1217 thread, looking to try out some of their offerings but most reviews tend to be quite old. Is the project ember amp still competitive in 2021? I was looking for a pair of amps to complement my HD6XX and settled on Bottlehead crack and maybe Ember 2.1. I will probably adding the Neumann HDH20 to the daily use stable and they will be used with the aforementioned amps as well.

I will be feeding the amps via line out from my Aune S6 pro, iDSD Micro and Fiio E17k (surprisingly still one of the most neutral/flat dacs at this price point).
I can happily confirm that Ember 2.1 is competitive still. It's a stellar amp.

I use mine with the Modi Multibit DAC and Modhouse Argon MK2 T50RP headphone.

I think Ember could easily be endgame.
 
Apr 6, 2021 at 4:35 PM Post #1,796 of 1,820

RedJohn456

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I can happily confirm that Ember 2.1 is competitive still. It's a stellar amp.

I use mine with the Modi Multibit DAC and Modhouse Argon MK2 T50RP headphone.

I think Ember could easily be endgame.

Thanks for the reply, that is very reassuring to hear. Aside from the ember, which I am already smitten with, what are their other standout amps? Polaris is their top all solid state amp right?
 
Apr 6, 2021 at 4:39 PM Post #1,797 of 1,820

M-83

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Thanks for the reply, that is very reassuring to hear. Aside from the ember, which I am already smitten with, what are their other standout amps? Polaris is their top all solid state amp right?
No worries.

Polaris is their totl solid state amp yes. It's very good, but my view is that Ember is head and shoulders above it.

What you could do, is try and find a used Ember on head-fi. I got a great deal on mine when I bought used.
 
Apr 6, 2021 at 6:18 PM Post #1,798 of 1,820

RedJohn456

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No worries.

Polaris is their totl solid state amp yes. It's very good, but my view is that Ember is head and shoulders above it.

What you could do, is try and find a used Ember on head-fi. I got a great deal on mine when I bought used.

That's a pretty good idea actually, 2nd market might be the way to go for this. So those 2 are far above the rest of the line up? I am trying to avoid climbing the ladder as it were and go for their best one in one shot haha. Learned it the hard way that it works out to be cheaper in the end.
 
Apr 6, 2021 at 6:41 PM Post #1,799 of 1,820

M-83

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That's a pretty good idea actually, 2nd market might be the way to go for this. So those 2 are far above the rest of the line up? I am trying to avoid climbing the ladder as it were and go for their best one in one shot haha. Learned it the hard way that it works out to be cheaper in the end.
Yes I would think they are better although for clarity I have only heard Ember version 1, Polaris and Ember 2.1. I've no personal experience of the other G1217 amps.

They are all well reviewed, and I guess it's as much about synergy with headphones and a dac as it is about the amp spec.

In my personal opinion, Ember 2.1 is a brilliant amp and I can highly recommend it.

It's worth reaching out by email to Jeremy at Garage 1217 if you have any questions. He'sa great guy and very knowledgeable.
 
May 1, 2021 at 10:52 AM Post #1,800 of 1,820

Hyde00

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So guys I need some suggestion, I have this weird dilemma.

As I mentioned in my earlier review: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/new...project-polaris.725896/page-120#post-16232458

I started from Dragonfly Red and is looking for the desktop equivalent that's the same sound signature but higher resolution / depth..... etc. For those who don't know, Dragonfly Red has boosted treble which emphasize female vocal, guitar, piano, and boosted mid bass and sub bass. My current headphone is D2000 (bassy) and Modi Multibit.

Polaris definitely has higher resolution but the bass hits hard more in the mid bass the sub bass rumble is just not there (i.e. watching movie with explosion). I've since got Vali 2+ just to try tubes for fun and surprisingly Vali 2+ actually hits lower than Polaris with the stock tube.

So here we have Polaris that hit hard but doesn't hit low. Vali 2+ has amazing separation (because tube) and hits decently low but doesn't hit hard. Dragonfly Red that hits low and decently hard but just less resolution.

Now I'm debating I could either:

1) Get an hardware EQ like Schiit Loki or something. Lol yes I know I can also do software EQ but I kind of want to try hardware EQ.

2) Get Liquid Spark, I tried it briefly before buying Polaris. At the time I thought it sounded good and bass hits low and hard but overall sound a bit dry. I wonder if I should give it a second chance.

I read an Amazon review that this guy already owned the Polaris yet he still bought 2 more Liquid Spark because he like it so much.

"I have a few headphone amps, including the teac HA-501 and project polaris. This Monolith Liquid Spark is clean, quiet, and powerful. I like it so much that I just bought a second one so that I can compare different headphones using the same amp. I think of getting their other Cavalli amp ($700) but I am not really into tubes, and this one works SO good.
PS: Way better than the Schiit Magni 3 that I just sold."

Anyone have any experience regarding Project Polaris vs Liquid Spark? Or am I safer to just get a Loki and be done? What do you guys think? Also I hope it's not an issue with the dac, anyone with Modi Multibit can comment on if it's suppose to reach low?

Thanks!
 

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