Niimbus Ultimate Series US4/US4+/US5/US5 Pro Headphone Amps - by Lake People
May 15, 2018 at 4:48 PM Post #61 of 1,237

fdg

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The status led is red for some seconds during powering on.
Afterwards it turns white to display correct operation.
Any failure caused by DC or overload will disconnect the headphones from the amp.
This again is displayed by the satatus led turning red.
 
May 15, 2018 at 5:30 PM Post #62 of 1,237

zhgutov

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Is Red led of line out for pre-fader, and white for post-fader? Is it 3-position button?
Or maybe it is 2-position for post-fader only (because "relay" volume is nearly perfect),
and the purpose of Red led is to simplify operation when there is no external light?
 
May 15, 2018 at 6:32 PM Post #63 of 1,237

fdg

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The leds for "headphone out" and "line out" show white light for engaged operation,
red light for disengaged operation (mute).
The switching between pre/post fader is made by software menu - like in V281.
Via software also a dimming is possible.
 
Jun 7, 2018 at 10:10 PM Post #66 of 1,237

project86

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Pardon the terrible pics - quick update of what I've been messing with for the past week or two.

20180605_124215.jpg

Being fed via XLR from my ModWright Oppo 205:

sms200.jpg

The sound is bold, punchy, and incredibly dynamic, with perhaps the best low-end extension and control I've ever heard from a headphone amp. Detail is excellent too, a step up over the V281 (which is already fantastic). I need a lot more time for listening (and better pics, obviously), as well as more direct comparisons to my beloved V281.

Part of me hopes it doesn't really add much to the conversation, as I do find myself a bit uncomfortable with the price. We'll see.
 
Jun 8, 2018 at 6:31 PM Post #68 of 1,237

townes

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If I only wouldn't be interested in this amp, then the front plate design wouldn't disturb me at all.

But as it is now, this looks quite messy to me. Not something I would call a careful and clean visual design. For example:
The text left of the volume knob would better be removed (it doesn't serve any purpose)
"Phones" and "Line" instead of "Phones Out" and "Line Out" explaines it all and looks better.
Last but not least the bulge of the front plate, behind the volume knob looks like an afterthought to me. What makes it even worse: the top is an arc and the bottom a cutted arc.
Why not a slightly smaller volume knob or a slightly higher front plate, so that this bulge could be avoided?
 
Jun 10, 2018 at 8:46 AM Post #71 of 1,237

roskodan

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haha yeah, pretty sure the e-x2 is not the bottleneck :9

i see what u did there, -7dB lower noise than the v200 and 0.4dB volume steps, must be nice with iems. hopefully no trouble from the relays, tubes etc.
 
Jun 19, 2018 at 10:59 AM Post #72 of 1,237

omniweltall

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Pardon the terrible pics - quick update of what I've been messing with for the past week or two.



Being fed via XLR from my ModWright Oppo 205:



The sound is bold, punchy, and incredibly dynamic, with perhaps the best low-end extension and control I've ever heard from a headphone amp. Detail is excellent too, a step up over the V281 (which is already fantastic). I need a lot more time for listening (and better pics, obviously), as well as more direct comparisons to my beloved V281.

Part of me hopes it doesn't really add much to the conversation, as I do find myself a bit uncomfortable with the price. We'll see.
I thought V281 was overpriced for what they were. "A step up over V281" is really not that impressive to me. To put things into perspective, at this pricing for one solid state amp, you could almost get a Yggdrasil + Afficionado/DNA Stratus.
 
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Jun 19, 2018 at 12:36 PM Post #73 of 1,237

project86

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Yes, I often have a tough time justifying almost any gear in this price range. But then I think of how much enjoyment I've gotten out of my Resonessence Labs Mirus Pro Signature, Pass Labs HPA-1, Merrill Audio Thor monoblocks.... if something will serve your system well for years, it might be worth the expenditure.

Also keep in mind different folks have different takes on value, as well as different preferences. Personally I would not buy the Stratus for the price they ask. It's a nice amp but just doesn't do it for me.
 
Jun 19, 2018 at 1:08 PM Post #74 of 1,237

omniweltall

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Yes, I often have a tough time justifying almost any gear in this price range. But then I think of how much enjoyment I've gotten out of my Resonessence Labs Mirus Pro Signature, Pass Labs HPA-1, Merrill Audio Thor monoblocks...
These gears all have one thing in common....poor values. There are other much better options out there.
if something will serve your system well for years, it might be worth the expenditure.
There is also such thing as sensible price/performance value.
Personally I would not buy the Stratus for the price they ask. It's a nice amp but just doesn't do it for me.
I'm not surprised. You probably won't like the Afficionado too.

And at USD5-6k range and a solid state amp with nothing groundbreaking, it is not looking good so far. But let's see. When it does come out, there will be raving reviews on how this is the next best thing since hot chocolate.
 
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Jun 19, 2018 at 6:46 PM Post #75 of 1,237

project86

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These gears all have one thing in common....poor values. There are other much better options out there.

I suppose that depends on perspective. Expensive? Absolutely. No denying that.

I prefer to judge based on similarly priced competition. I've done many, many direct comparisons in each of these cases, and this gear comes out ahead imho. I kind of doubt you have done the same, but there's always a chance you have, and we simply disagree. That's fine too.


There is also such thing as sensible price/performance value.

Very true. To that end, I'd run Roon ROCK on a NUC, feeding a Cayin iDAC-6, then out to a Rupert Neve RNHP, driving HD6XX and maybe a 64 Audio A3e CIEM. The whole system costs less than a V281, or a DNA Stratus for that matter. It makes excellent sound and covers all the bases.

We could go even lower using Massdrop Cavalli stuff, and their little SDAC, or Schiit's lowest models, etc. All great values.

The fact that they exist doesn't necessarily have anything to do with statement-level gear on the other end of the price spectrum. Is the Eddie Current Studio a terrible value because the Black Widow exists? Nope, apples and oranges.


I'm not surprised. You probably won't like the Afficionado too.

Not sure why you say that. I owned and loved the Balancing Act for a while, and the Super 7 was great too. I definitely prefer EC amps to DNA amps, based on a reasonable sampling of different models over the years.


And at USD5-6k range and a solid state amp with nothing groundbreaking, it is not looking good so far. But let's see. When it does come out, there will be raving reviews on how this is the next best thing since hot chocolate.

Wait, you need groundbreaking new technology in your amps? But you are a fan of Eddie Current designs? I'm confused.

I think you may be underestimating the complexity of the Niimbus amp. 60+ transistors on board, 7 Watts and 30+ Veff output capabilities, a custom 256-step attenuator using magnetically operated reed relays (which is indeed ground breaking in terms of audio products, as far as I know)....

Whether or not the price is justified remains to be seen. But it seems your mind is already made up, based on experience with the V281. And again, that's totally fine, we all have different preferences.
 

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