Please Compare iBasso D10 to Grado RA1 I don't know what to do!
Aug 23, 2009 at 7:29 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

f00fighters

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Posts
506
Likes
13
I'm in a bit of a jam. I have the opportunity to return my D10 for a full refund as long as I ship it out by end of tomorrow, Monday 8/24/09. I have not been as satisfied as I thought I was with the D10 to suit my Grado 325is's. I have been trying various opamp configurations with the included kit, as well as opamps I received from hiflight. They all sounded great, but they were not the sound that I was looking for. I am looking for something to simply enhance the Grado signature, not change it completely, which I felt the D10 has been doing. There were times where I found configurations that sounded absolutely wonderful, but then as time went on... It changed. Either the sound stage got smaller, or my ears adjusted differently, I have no clue what happened.

Does anyone have experience with both the D10 and the RA1 for a full comparison? I felt that most of the D10 configurations take away from the upfront intimate sound that the Grado's are known for. They all create a great large sound stage, but it is kind of distant or airy. The closest opamp configuration i found to be suitable to an upfront and natural sound was simply the stock 4841 in my LR, and dummy buffers.


Should I spend the extra money and go for the AD744OBCA/EL8201 Topkit Opamps for the D10 and risk losing my opportunity for a full refund, hoping I will be able to achieve that upfront, highly detailed intimate, and realistic sound I'm looking for, or should I look else ware, perhaps the Grado RA1? I have been eying the RA1 for years. Right now, I run the D10 through optical to my Mac Pro with all lossless music. Timing is critical, I have to make a decision by tomorrow.
 
Aug 23, 2009 at 7:55 PM Post #2 of 16

rasmushorn

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Posts
2,420
Likes
736
Location
Denmark
I have heard the RA1 one time last year - and I was in NO way impressed. I think it is to much money for an amp which has nothing but its name/brand IMO :)

I love everything else from Grado - but I do not understand the RA1. I would rather stick with the D10 if I was you and forget the RA1.
 
Aug 23, 2009 at 10:03 PM Post #3 of 16

f00fighters

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Posts
506
Likes
13
I might stick it out with the D10, but the I swear the sound changes on this thing. It's mostly likely my ears playing tricks on me. I find myself swapping opamps every few days. There are times where I think I achieved wonderful sound, but then a day later, I'll listen, and it sounds different. Has that happened to anyone?
 
Aug 23, 2009 at 10:09 PM Post #4 of 16

jamato8

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 6, 2004
Posts
18,247
Likes
3,220
Quote:

Originally Posted by f00fighters /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I might stick it out with the D10, but the I swear the sound changes on this thing. It's mostly likely my ears playing tricks on me. I find myself swapping opamps every few days. There are times where I think I achieved wonderful sound, but then a day later, I'll listen, and it sounds different. Has that happened to anyone?


It happens to me all the time. Very, very frustrating. I am listening to an amp right now that I thought started sound mediocre and left it alone for a few days. There it is, the sound that first impressed me. I am not sure what to tell you. Sometimes I think it is just my ears or something is changed or settling. It isn't like I don't have many amps to check my impressions on and often it is the amp that has made a subtle shift but then something comes back and this is in comparison to others so it isn't just a "mood" or tired ears. There are so many variables.

I do know that burn-in can take longer than expected with even simple amps that just some surface mount caps and no large uf caps that need to be formed.
 
Aug 25, 2009 at 8:37 PM Post #7 of 16

punkaroo

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 2, 2009
Posts
847
Likes
29
The RA1 apparently has a couple bucks worth of el-cheapo parts in it. There's a thread on here about it.

If you can't return the D10, you can sell it on here for probably close to your purchase price (if not more) AND with your opamps. Someone will grab it quick.
 
Aug 25, 2009 at 8:58 PM Post #8 of 16

f00fighters

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Posts
506
Likes
13
I decided to ship the D10 back to iBasso for a full refund. Strangely enough, I had never really listened to my Grado SR325is's unamped. From the moment I got them, during 300+ hours of burn-in and extended listening, they have always been amped. Two days ago, I decided to try them unamped. I heard such clarity and detail, not to mention that up close, intimate feeling with my music, to the point that I was in awe. I suppose the 300+ hours of burn-in, greatly contributed to the highs and mids being more tame than before. There's no way I could justify the $300 cost of the D10, when I enjoyed the Grados more, unamped.

I'm probably going against the majority here, but I've decided to pursue a used RA1 for a lower price. I decided on it, because from what I've read, it doesn't change the sound signature of the grados, it just amplifies and enhances a bit, which is exactly what I'm looking for. If I enjoy the Grado SR325is this much unamped, I'm hoping to achieve the ultimate synergy with the RA1, even if it's a subtle improvement. I am open to try clones, but I couldn't find anyone selling one. So the hunt begins.

The D10 is a great amp, and has many different easy to mod flavors, but no matter what opamp configuration I came up with, it drastically changed the signature of the Grado. It took away from the essence and realism of what makes the Grado great.
 
Aug 26, 2009 at 2:04 AM Post #9 of 16

HeadphoneAddict

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Posts
17,429
Likes
797
Quote:

Originally Posted by f00fighters /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I'm in a bit of a jam. I have the opportunity to return my D10 for a full refund as long as I ship it out by end of tomorrow, Monday 8/24/09. I have not been as satisfied as I thought I was with the D10 to suit my Grado 325is's. I have been trying various opamp configurations with the included kit, as well as opamps I received from hiflight. They all sounded great, but they were not the sound that I was looking for. I am looking for something to simply enhance the Grado signature, not change it completely, which I felt the D10 has been doing. There were times where I found configurations that sounded absolutely wonderful, but then as time went on... It changed. Either the sound stage got smaller, or my ears adjusted differently, I have no clue what happened.

Does anyone have experience with both the D10 and the RA1 for a full comparison? I felt that most of the D10 configurations take away from the upfront intimate sound that the Grado's are known for. They all create a great large sound stage, but it is kind of distant or airy. The closest opamp configuration i found to be suitable to an upfront and natural sound was simply the stock 4841 in my LR, and dummy buffers.


Should I spend the extra money and go for the AD744OBCA/EL8201 Topkit Opamps for the D10 and risk losing my opportunity for a full refund, hoping I will be able to achieve that upfront, highly detailed intimate, and realistic sound I'm looking for, or should I look else ware, perhaps the Grado RA1? I have been eying the RA1 for years. Right now, I run the D10 through optical to my Mac Pro with all lossless music. Timing is critical, I have to make a decision by tomorrow.



I do not believe that those opamps will work better with the SR-325i, so returning it was a good idea. The SR-325i are tricky to amp.

You could look at the Head-direct.com HiFiMan EF2 USB DAC tube hybrid which is great with Grados (and Denon, Ultrasone and others). It really sounds like it was made for Grados and is very close to the EF1 and Cavalli CTH or a Millett SSH. It needs some burn-in for 200-250 hours for the best sound, and will get even better with some Raytheon 6AK5 tubes.

You would have the same DAC as in the Meier 3MOVE, so it doesn't suck. The Meier 3MOVE is actually also very good with Grados, but it's most expensive and can't be tuned or have the sound changed.
 
Aug 26, 2009 at 12:28 PM Post #10 of 16

rasmushorn

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Posts
2,420
Likes
736
Location
Denmark
I would like to know what you think of the RA1 when you get it.
 
Aug 26, 2009 at 1:15 PM Post #11 of 16

f00fighters

500+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Posts
506
Likes
13
Quote:

Originally Posted by rasmushorn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I would like to know what you think of the RA1 when you get it.


I'm waiting for someone to post one up for sale in the forums, but I haven't seen any in several months for an RA1. One guy PMed me offering one, but then apparently he lost it in storage. If you come across anyone selling one, send them my way! I'll continue to bump my ra1 want thread.
 
Sep 18, 2009 at 6:49 AM Post #12 of 16

rasmushorn

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 6, 2008
Posts
2,420
Likes
736
Location
Denmark
I can see you've got the RA1 now - was it worth the money? (I never really heard anyone actually like it that much.)
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 12:31 PM Post #14 of 16

wpfloridian

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Posts
19
Likes
10
I have had the Grado Amp alongside the Grado 125's and the GS1000 for a few years now...the little amp has to be commended for it's simplicity. I have taken my Grados to the CanJam and other meets....I have sampled awesome equipment with my Grados; there are other solutions that handle both headphones very well..some costing less than $100 to other amps being displayed costing in the thousands of dollars! In going back to your original question, I am content with the RA1, yes, Its handles my Grados very well, it is a complementary item to the "Grado sound" which is what you are looking for. Other solutions which impresssed me. I bought a small customized for Grados CMOY amp a few years back at ebay from "biosciencegeek" swapped the Opamp for a 637...I believe the little amp rocks! Cheapo alternative for traveling or enjoying the office. Ray Samuels has the Predator DAC/AMP..it sounds awesome..I was going to buy it until I heard of the D10. I believe the D10 beat it on a comparison in this site.. I am now wary of paying Ray Samuel $475 for it.. it got beat by the D10 costing half as much. I am curious to hear the D10 as a DAC (preamp) for my Grado amp though..hey guys, any impressions on the D10 as an DAC VS..other DACs??

If you've got money..Woo audio tube aamps drive the Grados well, Caiyin tube amps, both Ray samuels and TTVJ both have developed a beast of an amp both costing $5,000+ which I would trade either amp for my wife (just kidding).
My advice for Grados...the better the source...the better the resulting sound. Be patient and buy the Grado amp on Ebay for at least $150...it happens rarely but these opportunities happen. And get a good source for the amp. I am currently trying to find a good DAC revealing enough for my GS1000s under $500.00
 
Oct 3, 2009 at 2:11 PM Post #15 of 16

HeadphoneAddict

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Posts
17,429
Likes
797
Quote:

Originally Posted by wpfloridian /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I have had the Grado Amp alongside the Grado 125's and the GS1000 for a few years now...the little amp has to be commended for it's simplicity. I have taken my Grados to the CanJam and other meets....I have sampled awesome equipment with my Grados; there are other solutions that handle both headphones very well..some costing less than $100 to other amps being displayed costing in the thousands of dollars! In going back to your original question, I am content with the RA1, yes, Its handles my Grados very well, it is a complementary item to the "Grado sound" which is what you are looking for. Other solutions which impresssed me. I bought a small customized for Grados CMOY amp a few years back at ebay from "biosciencegeek" swapped the Opamp for a 637...I believe the little amp rocks! Cheapo alternative for traveling or enjoying the office. Ray Samuels has the Predator DAC/AMP..it sounds awesome..I was going to buy it until I heard of the D10. I believe the D10 beat it on a comparison in this site.. I am now wary of paying Ray Samuel $475 for it.. it got beat by the D10 costing half as much. I am curious to hear the D10 as a DAC (preamp) for my Grado amp though..hey guys, any impressions on the D10 as an DAC VS..other DACs??

If you've got money..Woo audio tube aamps drive the Grados well, Caiyin tube amps, both Ray samuels and TTVJ both have developed a beast of an amp both costing $5,000+ which I would trade either amp for my wife (just kidding).
My advice for Grados...the better the source...the better the resulting sound. Be patient and buy the Grado amp on Ebay for at least $150...it happens rarely but these opportunities happen. And get a good source for the amp. I am currently trying to find a good DAC revealing enough for my GS1000s under $500.00



The D10 as a DAC only is pretty good, but the line out volume level is fairly soft compared to my HR Micro DAC or Pico DAC-only, and seems a little less dynamic than using the headphone out jack to feed the bigger amp. Still, for the price it's hard to beat for sound and versatility.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top