PPA vs Emmeline HR-2 with Senn 650's
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photobob

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I have a New PPA from ITZBITZ that I love!!!!
I ordered it with the Steps power supply and bass boost.
I tweaked the bass boost to 1/3 power, so that it is more of a bass "nudge", which is perfect for the Senn 650's, at it brings out one of their strong suits-bass response.
I was considering the Emmeline HR-2 as an alternate and was wondering if anybody has compared these 2 amps with the Senns. The Emmeline HR-2 is a few hundred dollars more.
Like everyone else (blessed with the ability to appreciate good sound or cursed with this obsession) , I was curious as to the path not taken.

BTW, I would strongly recomment Chris to build or tweak your existing amp. His craftmanship and customer service is superb!
 
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gpalmer

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I haven't compared the two amps, but the HR-2 is a wonderful combination with the 650.
 
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oneeyedhobbit

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I've heard both. I own a PPA and got a chance to briefly compare it to the HR-2. Even in that brief period, the HR-2 blew the PPA away, in every respect. Now don't get me wrong, the PPA is a nice amp (especially with the steps power supply) but the HR 2 is faster, more dynamic, and tighter at the extremes (highs and lows). Bear in mind that this was only a limited comparison.
 
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purk

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I have the same question too. I believe that a stock PPA w/o discrete buffer, copper wiring, Step is on par with the XP-7. So the all out PPA should be an even draw with the HR-2.
 
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oneeyedhobbit

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My PPA does not have the diamond buffer or the power supply, otherwise it is pretty close to "all-out." It was smoked by the HR 2, though I have heard that the diamond buffer/power supply make a big difference.
 
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Sean H

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Quote:

Originally Posted by oneeyedhobbit
My PPA does not have the diamond buffer or the power supply, otherwise it is pretty close to "all-out." It was smoked by the HR 2, though I have heard that the diamond buffer/power supply make a big difference.


Huge. I've heard a doobooloo Elpac unit and while good is not the same as my PPA/STEPS/Discrete buffer. Going from memory of my home audition of the HR-2 a while back I think it would be hard tell a difference between my OPA627 (silky/smooth/but deailed) amp with the HR-2, virtually same sound signature, including degree of background noise (seemingly zero) and impact/speed.
 
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lindrone

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I'm very surprised that anyone found that they sound alike at all. HR-2 has a much darker, warmer, smoother presentation than the PPA. PPA is silky, smooth.. but in a very light way, it doesn't add any extra warmth to the sound the way that HR-2 does.

If PPA is silk, then HR-2 feels like velvet.... It depends on what type of sound signature you want. With Sennheisers, already warm headphones, you can opt to enhance the warmth even farther with HR-2, or to tone it down and get more treble clarity with PPA.

If memory serves me correctly, HR-2 is also very apt at creating good 3d imaging as well as soundstage. PPA is good as well, but falls a bit short in this compartment.
 
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xtreme4099

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hmm... its would very difficult to say the one is better than the other as there is no one stock ppa, with the ppa's buffer choices, and comparing lets say an hr2 with ad797 as stock, with ppa and opa627 is not a accurate comparison, however a more fairer comparison can be made by using the same opamps which is what the ppa and hr2 share in common, opamp rolling, and even then its not a complete comparison, the ppa being a diy amp.
 
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ITZBITZ

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I haven't heard the HR-2, so I can't help much here. I will, however, say that there is an audible difference between various PPA configurations. Of course, the biggest difference is heard going between the various op-amps. With the OPA627, you get warmth. With the 637, you get warmth + detail, With the AD8610 you get detail, and LOTS of it. Add the discrete buffer and you get a very clean 3K-20K without the washing sounds in the treble.

The thing about the PPA that always grabs me is the extreme channel separation. The wideness of the soundstage with well recorded music is just amazing. The difference between the PPA and other amplifiers I've tried is so vast, it's almost surprising.

I can see where another amplifier that uses the same basic components (op-amps, buffers) could sound different, but I would avoid characterizing it as better or worse as it really depends upon the source material, headphones and the ears of the listener. What sounds good to one may sound terrible to another (consider recent CD3K vs. HD650 wars, or other similar battles that have no victor).
 
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Sean H

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lindrone
I'm very surprised that anyone found that they sound alike at all. HR-2 has a much darker, warmer, smoother presentation than the PPA. PPA is silky, smooth.. but in a very light way, it doesn't add any extra warmth to the sound the way that HR-2 does.

If PPA is silk, then HR-2 feels like velvet.... It depends on what type of sound signature you want. With Sennheisers, already warm headphones, you can opt to enhance the warmth even farther with HR-2, or to tone it down and get more treble clarity with PPA.

If memory serves me correctly, HR-2 is also very apt at creating good 3d imaging as well as soundstage. PPA is good as well, but falls a bit short in this compartment.



I think others are echoing the fact that there really is no definite and defined "PPA sound" as it's dependent on what kind of PPA you are talking about here. doobooloo unit I heard had OPA637's and Elpac power supply which sounds very different from my PPA that has OPA627's, STEPS linear power and the LaRocco discrete buffer board. The linear PSU and discrete board bring the dead quiet, black noise floor that's talked about with the HR-2. The OPA627's, as illustrated by ITZBITZ, are warmer (and I find them detailed too), smoother, richer. A PPA with AD8610's sounds quite different too. Even OPA637's in my PPA made it sound VERY detailed. To me my particular PPA sounds very much of my memory of the HR-2.
 
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oneeyedhobbit

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I certainly don't mean to undermine you Sean (you're PPA vs. HR 2 comparisons do have me curious), but I don't really believe that tests relying on your sonic memory are any good. Quite frankly, I give them next to no credit, unless the person making the comparison has incredible ears. I really prefer a side-to-side A/B, if anyone has done that?
 
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Sean H

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Why is it I'm being challenged in this thread? Am I saying things that are that controversial or farfetched? I'm stating an opinion not throwing down the law. I remember that the HR-2 sounded very much like my current PPA sounds, that's my opinion and I'm not trying to convince anyone that I'm right or wrong. Next to no credit? Whatever.
 
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oneeyedhobbit

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Sean,

You are evidently misinterpreting me. I'm not intending to "challenge" you. I have nothing at stake, in fact, if its true that a PPA is comparable to the HR 2 all the better for me (who owns one). Its simply that in my direct A/B comparison there was no comparison. I admitted that my PPA was far from maxed, and am looking for objectivity, so that down the road I can make a more informed opinion (i.e. sell my PPA and buy an HR 2, or just upgrade my PPA). Also, I find that sonic memory simply isn't as accurate as a direct head-to-head, I don't mean to insult you.
 
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