PCStep Appreciation, Impressions and Comparisons thread.
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FlySweep

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The DAC section is wonderful so far.  I hate to be the 'hype' guy.. but man.. I'm loving this thing so far.  I know I might still be in the honeymoon period but I've owned/listened to enough stuff by now that I know when I'm going to like something and when I'm not pretty damn quickly... and this is clearly something I am going to enjoy.
 
Listening with the HE-400 now and my goodness, it sounds terrific.  You'd be hard pressed to think this big of a sound from the HE-400 is coming from such a diminutive amp.  It sounds effortless.. a portable amp has no business sounding this good.
 
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caracara08

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can someone point me to an external power supply to use with this? Also, might be a stupid question but if there is a rechargeable 9v battery in there, will using that power supply also charge that battery or do I need a separate charger for the battery?
 
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fuzzy1969

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It needs a 6-15v regulated DC power supply, I cant really recommend one as the mains in the UK is different. The internal battery doesn't charge, if you got some 9v rechargeable's then you would need a external charger.
 
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caracara08

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Quote:
It needs a 6-15v regulated DC power supply, I cant really recommend one as the mains in the UK is different. The internal battery doesn't charge, if you got some 9v rechargeable's then you would need a external charger.
 
Thanks for the reply!  Dont have much experience with portable dac/amps :)  even my O2 was specially made to use external only.
 
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FlySweep

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I'd appreciate a link to a US-compatible, 15VDC, linear power supply, too.
 
The bass response on the PCSTEP is just awesome.  Of course, it hits accurately & only when the music calls for it.. but, man, can it deliver a wallop!  The depth the entire sound possesses is pretty special.  One more thing (I mentioned this earlier).. this amp drives the HE-400 with ease... not just getting it loud enough.. but it has excellent control, dynamic range, and extension.
 
I'm getting a strange urge.. an urge to give Jan more of my money.. Quickstep, here I come?
 

 
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fuzzy1969

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Something like this would do the job, but its 12v max..
 
http://www.amazon.com/Velleman-Compact-Universal-Adapter-Supply/dp/B00068U44I/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363763819&sr=8-3&keywords=15+dc+regulated+power+supply
 
There are 15v about, a lot of the the universal laptop/netbook power supplies have a 15v setting eg.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Adapter-15V-18-5V-19-5V/dp/B004I5ERUW/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1363763954&sr=8-33&keywords=15+dc+regulated+power+supply
 
Something I would do as a precaution is use a multimeter on the output to make sure its a steady/regulated supply especially at 15v, as with these things there are some high quality headphone amp power supplies that cost a fair amount more.
 
@FlySweep I have to admit Im pretty intoxicated with the sound coming out of this little combo Im thinking about a quickstep as well.
 
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FlySweep

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Quote:
Something like this would do the job, but its 12v max..
 
http://www.amazon.com/Velleman-Compact-Universal-Adapter-Supply/dp/B00068U44I/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363763819&sr=8-3&keywords=15+dc+regulated+power+supply
 
There are 15v about, a lot of the the universal laptop/netbook power supplies have a 15v setting eg.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Adapter-15V-18-5V-19-5V/dp/B004I5ERUW/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1363763954&sr=8-33&keywords=15+dc+regulated+power+supply
 
Something I would do as a precaution is use a multimeter on the output to make sure its a steady/regulated supply especially at 15v, as with these things there are some high quality headphone amp power supplies that cost a fair amount more.
 
@FlySweep I have to admit Im pretty intoxicated with the sound coming out of this little combo Im thinking about a quickstep as well.
 
Thanks for the links.. I'll look into them.  I'm definitely getting a QuickStep (not sure yet if I'll pull the trigger on it now or in a week or two).. but my PCSTEP is certainly not going anywhere.  It's simply fantastic.  I've used it almost constantly for the last two days.  Did some A/B'ing between the amp sections of the PCSTEP & UHA-6S MKII (ODAC used as the mutual DAC for both).. I'll have those thoughts up later.
 
The PCSTEP's DAC & amp work flawlessly with my Galaxy S3 (via OTG cable), too.. which was the primary reason I got it.  The UHA 6S MKII's DAC+amp worked with my S3 as well.. and while the Leckerton portable is a terrific device (arguably my favorite portable until the PCSTEP came along), I prefer the sound of the PCSTEP's DAC+amp with the S3.
 
I feel it's important to mention how impressive the PCSTEP's built-in DAC is, too.  Such a feature is sometimes treated as an afterthought in portable DAC/amp combos.  Jan did a really nice job with the implementation and there's a pleasing synergy between the DAC & amp sections.  It's limited to 16/48, but that's not an issue for me as much of my music is HQ MP3 (or HQ streaming via my MOG subscription).  In the 2SD/QS thread, Jan mentioned he had modified the DAC chip to get markedly better performance out of vs the more standard implementations of it.  Even when I'm going portable with my laptop, I've usually resorted to having a separate (portable) DAC and (portable) amp (or a USB-to-SPDIF converter w/ the UHA-6S MKII).  With the PCSTEP, I love having a very competent USB DAC & amp in one box.
 
I'm still amazed by how the PCSTEP can drive my HE-400 with such authority and power.  I've got a nice desktop rig not more than a few feet away and I haven't had the slightest of urges to run to it since the PCSTEP arrived.  Not saying the PCSTEP is better, just that it's performance is so very captivating.  I can't imagine what the QUICKSTEP is capable of.
 
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Quote:
 
Thanks for the links.. I'll look into them.  I'm definitely getting a QuickStep (not sure yet if I'll pull the trigger on it now or in a week or two).. but my PCSTEP is certainly not going anywhere.  It's simply fantastic.  I've used it almost constantly for the last two days.  Did some A/B'ing between the amp sections of the PCSTEP & UHA-6S MKII (ODAC used as the mutual DAC for both).. I'll have those thoughts up later.
 
The PCSTEP's DAC & amp work flawlessly with my Galaxy S3 (via OTG cable), too.. which was the primary reason I got it.  The UHA 6S MKII's DAC+amp worked with my S3 as well.. and while the Leckerton portable is a terrific device (arguably my favorite portable until the PCSTEP came along), I prefer the sound of the PCSTEP's DAC+amp with the S3.
 
I feel it's important to mention how impressive the PCSTEP's built-in DAC is, too.  Such a feature is sometimes treated as an afterthought in portable DAC/amp combos.  Jan did a really nice job with the implementation and there's a pleasing synergy between the DAC & amp sections.  It's limited to 16/48, but that's not an issue for me as much of my music is HQ MP3 (or HQ streaming via my MOG subscription).  In the 2SD/QS thread, Jan mentioned he had modified the DAC chip to get markedly better performance out of vs the more standard implementations of it.  Even when I'm going portable with my laptop, I've usually resorted to having a separate (portable) DAC and (portable) amp (or a USB-to-SPDIF converter w/ the UHA-6S MKII).  With the PCSTEP, I love having a very competent USB DAC & amp in one box.
 
I'm still amazed by how the PCSTEP can drive my HE-400 with such authority and power.  I've got a nice desktop rig not more than a few feet away and I haven't had the slightest of urges to run to it since the PCSTEP arrived.  Not saying the PCSTEP is better, just that it's performance is so very captivating.  I can't imagine what the QUICKSTEP is capable of.
 
exactly what I wanted to hear! mine should be here any day and I will be using it with my S3 as well.  
 
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tobyblh

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Mine is on the way,
tho it was shipped a week ago.
After reading this thread, I can't wait to listen to it

Have anyone tested how long it can work?
I just simply don't want to bring an extra battery with me, considering it is a 9V giant.
 
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caracara08

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Quote:
Something like this would do the job, but its 12v max..
 
http://www.amazon.com/Velleman-Compact-Universal-Adapter-Supply/dp/B00068U44I/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1363763819&sr=8-3&keywords=15+dc+regulated+power+supply
 
There are 15v about, a lot of the the universal laptop/netbook power supplies have a 15v setting eg.
 
http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Adapter-15V-18-5V-19-5V/dp/B004I5ERUW/ref=sr_1_33?ie=UTF8&qid=1363763954&sr=8-33&keywords=15+dc+regulated+power+supply
 
Something I would do as a precaution is use a multimeter on the output to make sure its a steady/regulated supply especially at 15v, as with these things there are some high quality headphone amp power supplies that cost a fair amount more.
 
@FlySweep I have to admit Im pretty intoxicated with the sound coming out of this little combo Im thinking about a quickstep as well.
 
Yeah I looked at both of those but wasnt sure if there is a better option out there... something better made without all the unnecessary tips and what not.  If anyone can point me to a nicer one ( I heard Triad power supplies were good but im not sure) I would greatly appreciate it. 
 
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Quote:
Mine is on the way,
tho it was shipped a week ago.
After reading this thread, I can't wait to listen to it

Have anyone tested how long it can work?
I just simply don't want to bring an extra battery with me, considering it is a 9V giant.
 
Ive had about between 6 to 7 hours approx with a supermarket long life alkaline using the hd650's and it still seems to be holding out ok.
 
Quote:
 
Yeah I looked at both of those but wasnt sure if there is a better option out there... something better made without all the unnecessary tips and what not.  If anyone can point me to a nicer one ( I heard Triad power supplies were good but im not sure) I would greatly appreciate it. 
I think this one got mentioned on the stepdance thread as being a nice supply. A lot of the headphone amp manufacturers make nice power supplies some putting out 24v dc so look for one that puts out 6 - 15v dc regulated.
 
http://www.itemaudio.co.uk/kingrex_psu.html
 
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caracara08

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now thats a power supply lol.  I was actually looking for a good wallwart.  
 
anyone have experience with these batteries?
 
http://www.amazon.com/Maximal-Power-Combo-MaximalPower-Rechargebale/dp/B007VIZRAW/ref=lh_ni_t?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER
 
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My PCStep arrived yesturday! Thanks again to Dr. Meier for this fantastic deal. This is my first Meier Audio product by the way.
 
- Build quality is absolutely fantastic. This cannot break and I feel confident throwing this into my backpack! No special care needed at all. No plastic even in the battery backplate.
- I fully agree with FlySweep´s comments. Amazing for such a little box. I could actually be happy using this as my desktop source with IEMs. It´s a clear step over iPods, smartphones and PC soundcards.
- The DAC (I´d guess the amp part is wire with gain style) has a warmish punchy tone that pairs well with slightly bright dynamic headphones, in other words most portables. This is the typical Burr-Brown sound signature.
- I can also confirm it works perfectly, plug & play with the Galaxy S3 with an USB OTG cable. Even without batteries in full USB powered mode.
- Overall sound signature is clean, controlled and balanced with a low noise floor. Running out of USB mode, in low gain mode there is no hiss up to 90% of the volume control with very sensitive IEMs.
 
The main star of this product is the volume control. It´s amazing: perfect channel balance and still a nice mechanical feeling. Comparisons to volume pots aren´t fair, there´s no comparison at all. The 30 volume steps are a lot for portable use considering input voltage will be lower. Its main competition is the HRT MicroStreamer/AudioQuest DragonFly´s volume control where the system volume settings determines the analog resistors (this also has good channel balance). The Meier Audio solution is more advanced: with system volume control you can easily accidentally push volume to max with one misclick and get 120+ dB from your IEMs. As the PCStep has a volume pot (without its downsides) it won´t be as easy to accidentally get too high volumes, although of course you still have to be careful as with any headphone amplifier. To me this is a major plus and the best volume control system in the market for highly sensitive/low ohm IEMs.
 
PS: I have a Concerto for a weekend loan here too!
 
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caracara08

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My PCStep Arrived today as well.  Loaded a http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007VIZRAW/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 battery in there as I havent chosen an AC adapter as of yet (if thats not a good battery please let me know).
 
Background:  I spend a few hours at work a day listening to my W4R straight out of my S3 using Pandora One.  I use speakers at home for a little bit and then before sleeping, I use the DX100 and W4R.   The down side is that at work and home, I have to use 1 ear only as I need to hear/talk on the phone at the same time.
 
First impressions:
 
Build Quality:  Not too sure how I feel about the battery door.  Its very loose it seems unless I am doing something wrong.  The usb slot is also rather loose.  I am using the suppled USB cable right now as I wait for a shorter cable I purchased.  The rest of the case feels good.  
 
Sound: Believe in burn in or not, I first plugged in my W4R and the sound seemed a bit thick in the mids and highs.  Bass is tighter be a little lighter than straight from the S3.  I believe in some burn in.. not 500 hours but a couple hours, or maybe longer.    As I listen more (maybe 1.5 hours on it), I feel like the sound is becoming more realistic... instruments sound more real than initial listen.
 
Other:  I get an occasional soft pop sound randomly.  Also when turning the volumn pot, I get tiny little pop sounds... is that to mark each step of volumn? i dono. Also a little bit of static at the far end of the volume pot. 
 
 
I can see potential in the sound... I am gonna leave it burning in for now via my dx100 line out to the W4R and listen again before sleeping.  
 
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