OPPO 970 w/ Denon AH-D5000: DarkVoice 337 or Singlepower Extreme?
May 10, 2008 at 3:20 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

moredes

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Hello All,

I've been reading a ton of posts on this site and I think I've narrowed my choices down to two. I'm in Podunk, USA... the only way I'll see (or hear) the qualities of a headphone amp is to buy it outright on the blind. A 500-mile drive wouldn't get me any closer to seeing a headphone amp live.

With that in mind, I list my set-up in order to give those who'll share their advice with me, an idea of my audio ''standard'':

60G 4th Generation IPod
OPPO 970
Denon AH-D5000


Krell Showcase Processor
2 McIntosh MC-2105 amps
Fosgate Audionics FAA1000.5 amp
BW Nautilus 805s fronts
w/SVS PB12-Plus2 sub

I've narrowed my choice of headphone amp to either the DarkVoice 337 or the SinglePower Extreme, I think. (Any dissenters, please post your reasoning, I'm a real fish when it comes to headphone amp requirements. [I only know what I like in 'quality'].)

I think I'd prefer to keep to USA-made goods (just to ''buy USA''; I spend enough at Walmart and Lowe's), however, quality is most important. So, given the two choices, which would you prefer, and why?

Thank you.
 
May 10, 2008 at 7:20 AM Post #2 of 16

LeChuck

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DarkVoice 337is made in China, unless I'm mistaken. It's a great amp, but I can't comment on it for use with the D5000's, I only listened through HD 650's.

One thing you want to be mindful of, however, is that the D5000's are extremely extremely sensitive. If your amplifier/source have anything approaching a high noise floor, you're going to hear it.

You're also going to want something with either adjustable gain, or low enough gain so that you can get past 1/4 on the volume control without frying your ears.
 
May 10, 2008 at 11:23 AM Post #3 of 16

tfarney

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I, too, would be buying sound unheard, based on specs and rep. But if I had the Dennons and was looking for an amp, I'd also be looking to add on a pair of 650s or 880s or 701s at some point really soon. Variety is the spice of life and nothing changes the listening experience more than drivers. With that in mind, I'd look to an amp with extreme versatility. I'd be tempted to try one of these:

Galen Carol Audio: Headphone Amplifiers

Great specs, great looks, great build quality, fabulous reviews, and a 3-way gain switch on the back to take you from Dennons to wherever you might go. There's another switch that changes the amp from Triode to Ultralinear mode. There are even a set of speaker terminals so, at some point, you can try out some high-efficiency speakers with the wopping 2.1 watts per channel of the ultra-linear option.

Excellent and easy-to-find tubes. From here, it looks like a no-brainer in the $800 range. Chinese, though.

Tim
 
May 10, 2008 at 11:25 AM Post #4 of 16

Gradofan2

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If you haven't already done so... search for Skylab's comments about his experiences with both with the D5000s - in one of the D5000 threads.

As I recall, he likes both really well with the D5000s... but... seems to prefer the Extreme by a slight margin.

If it were me... and budget were not an issue... I'd get the Extreme.

While I've got the DV332... and it sounds fairly good with the D5000s... I guess I'd just prefer the security of having a "local" service center, when it costs so much to ship the DV337 back and forth to China (at your expense).

On the other hand... the $500+ price premium for the Extreme (now $1200), could pay for a few trips back and forth.
 
May 10, 2008 at 11:40 AM Post #5 of 16

xenithon

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Whilst I understand that the "made in the US" factor may be influencencial in terms of supporting your local country's market (for which I have no qualms at all), I am not sure that it holds the same weight in terms of serviceability.

The reason is that - over and above the fact that the price differential would cover a handful of back/forth amp trips overseas - you'd probably also get your amp back earlier with those back/forth trips to China than you would sending it in to SP for service.

I am not trying to knock SP in terms of their products or quality (which are not in doubt at all); but one thing to bear in mind is the excrutiatingly long wait times for service (and often for new amp builds too if not in stock / off-the-shelf).
 
May 10, 2008 at 12:16 PM Post #6 of 16

tfarney

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Quote:

Originally Posted by xenithon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Whilst I understand that the "made in the US" factor may be influencencial in terms of supporting your local country's market (for which I have no qualms at all), I am not sure that it holds the same weight in terms of serviceability.

The reason is that - over and above the fact that the price differential would cover a handful of back/forth amp trips overseas - you'd probably also get your amp back earlier with those back/forth trips to China than you would sending it in to SP for service.

I am not trying to knock SP in terms of their products or quality (which are not in doubt at all); but one thing to bear in mind is the excrutiatingly long wait times for service (and often for new amp builds too if not in stock / off-the-shelf).



Given the shipping cost to China and the wait times at SP, I wouldn't send either of them back for service. They are, in the end, point-to-ooint wired tube amps - simple and very easily serviced. Find a schematic and guy locally who knows how to take apart and reassemble a vintage Vox or Fender guitar amp and you'd be in business.

Tim
 
May 10, 2008 at 1:01 PM Post #7 of 16

Gradofan2

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tfarney /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Given the shipping cost to China and the wait times at SP, I wouldn't send either of them back for service. They are, in the end, point-to-ooint wired tube amps - simple and very easily serviced. Find a schematic and guy locally who knows how to take apart and reassemble a vintage Vox or Fender guitar amp and you'd be in business.

Tim



Absolutely... if you can find an honest local repair shop to test the components, and replace them - it would no doubt be less costly. There's just not that much that's costly to repair, unless its a bad transformer - and you might get Darkvoice to send you a new one to be installed locally.
 
May 10, 2008 at 1:30 PM Post #8 of 16

mrarroyo

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Singlepower amps are not P2P anymore. At best they are a hybrid of PC and P2P. With the upcoming amp due in August by Craig of Eddi Current for about $1,500 SE or $2,000 balance I would consider it if the money was available.

Another great option at $750 would be the Mapletree Ear + Purist HD.
 
May 10, 2008 at 1:40 PM Post #9 of 16

sacd lover

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I would recommend the Extreme to anybody. Even with the ever increasing price due to parts cost increases, the amp is a bargain. To make a point, the sound quality is up there with any SE amp you can name, for example, the Zana Deux which currently retails for $2,000. Moreover, again compared to the Zana, you get twice the power and many more tuberolling options.

The Extreme is both very powerful and dead quiet. I had the very first Extreme and one and a half years later the amp remains noise and trouble free. I have used the amp with low 32 ohm impedence Grados, the low impedence and low sensitivity AKG 701, medium 120 ohm impedence Senn 595s and the high 300 ohm impedence Senn 580/600s. The amp drives any impedence without braking a sweat. Moreover, the amp just sounds right and the amp is very tolerant of different source equipment and cabling.

Tubes are cheap and readily available. Plus, with the addition of a SP tube socket adapter you can roll in many different and inexpensive gain tubes. I have used approximately 10-12 gain tubes ranging in gain from a mu of 17.5 to a mu of 48 without noise or hum .... and I have a very high gain source.

Finally, the amp has a nice single box 12" wide x 9" deep footprint that seems to fit well whereever I want to put the amp. I have yet to find anything I can fault with the amp.

HPIM0144.jpg


HPIM0139.jpg
 
May 10, 2008 at 3:09 PM Post #10 of 16

xenithon

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Is there any particular reason you prefer tubes? I think the D5000 could do with authority which some SS options could provide. And, if you want to keep it "US made", you could always look at the likes of the Headamp Gilmore Lite or GS-1.
 
May 10, 2008 at 3:12 PM Post #11 of 16

Gradofan2

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Quote:

Originally Posted by xenithon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Is there any particular reason you prefer tubes? I think the D5000 could do with authority which some SS options could provide. And, if you want to keep it "US made", you could always look at the likes of the Headamp Gilmore Lite or GS-1.


Except... for the unfortunate fact... that... they "jes ain't available."
 
May 10, 2008 at 4:03 PM Post #12 of 16

xenithon

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Ok....point....taken
wink.gif


So, you need something which
- has some authority (required by the D5000)
- is US made and of high quality
- if need be can be serviced without shipping overseas (coughDVcough) or waiting a year (coughSPcough)
- is readily available
- it seems you are levitating toward tubes (and thus you'd probably want a more SS sounding tube amp rather than the syrupy, overly lush variety)

Eureka.....

wa6_left.jpg


And if budget allows, the upcoming SE version should be spot on methink
biggrin.gif


EDIT: just to add, I have suggested either the above or the GS-1 as they would, IMO, be better options than the two in the poll. Apologies in advance if those are the only two you would consider.
 
May 10, 2008 at 4:49 PM Post #13 of 16

musicmind

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Gorgeous photo Xen, and a x2 on your recommendation of Woo.

The WA6 (with its recent upgraded power supply), or the larger WA2 should be on your list IMHO, both are beautifully constructed amps made in the USA, and can be delivered without any lengthy wait. I'm sure the Extreme is a great amp and has been recommended by many experienced head-fiers, though I haven't seen anyone compare the Extreme and the WA2.

Lechuck, I recall you had a WA2 earlier, I wonder if you can give any feedback about how it sounded compared to the DV337?

Thanks.
 
May 11, 2008 at 4:53 AM Post #14 of 16

moredes

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Thanks to All for your advice. I had offered the two choices (DarkVoice vs. Extreme) based on my *search* results of some of the threads on this site, Multiple recommendations, price, reputed quality, and ability to perform well with the low impedance of the Denon 5000 were the main attractions.

As it turns out, I stumbled on a Singlepower MPX3 SLAM for sale through a Google search; it was selling for less than a new Extreme (which I understand is going for $1200 base). I spent the last 5 hours reading up on the unit--I hope I made a good choice, because I bit the hook and bought it. I just have to get back to the States and await delivery.

I should say that I didn:t ignore the Woo Audio unit, I just didn:t see Xenithon:s advice until I:d committed to the SP. And to TFarney--I should be so lucky as to be able to stable a bunch of headphones. This addiction is a ways down on my list of addictions, and I:d have a tough time explaining multiple phones, especially since there:s no *sharing* with a set of phones.
eek.gif


Soooo... what is it that a Mullard tube does, that:s so much better, anyway?
rolleyes.gif
redface.gif
 

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