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Project Ember Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by razrr1275, Aug 7, 2013.
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  1. nwavesailor

    I went from a Vali 2 to a Starlight and I'm have been very happy with the 'basic' Garage 1217 amp!
    I enjoyed the Vali 2, but I have so many more tube and opamps to use that the Starlight has been a very nice step up for me.
    Just had the USPS deliver a pair of 6P5G to try later today as well as a pair of 6L5G in route. I'm anxious to see how they compare to the Visseaux 6J5G, Fivre 6C5G and NU 6F8G I've been using lately.
  2. Tunkejazz

    Those Fivre's are not cheap...how do you like them compared to your V's?
  3. nwavesailor

    Sorry for the delay, Tunkejazz.
    The V's have a bit more top end or sparkle to them, not bad, just more there. The Fivre 6C5G may dig a bit deeper in bass. Sorry, I'm not good at the A / B / C tube comparison thing.
    I could easily live with the  'V' 6J5G, Fivre's 6C5G, 6F8G, your version of the Raytheon 6SN7 / VT-132 or perhaps 6P5G........just had the 6P5G for 2 days so I'm still giving them time and figuring out their sound.
  4. Tunkejazz

    Thanks! I may give the Fivres a shot 
  5. nwavesailor

    Tunkejazz, as you are moving into the Euforia camp I doubt you will now snag a pair of the Fivre 6C5G. You will have a new batch of Euforia tubes to chase!!![​IMG]
     I have been using the Fivre's for a couple of days now and they have a very nice balance. Not to much 'tizz' on top but go deep with nice feel and detail.
    I may go in the direction Astral Abyss mentioned in the Ember tube thread and try some of the Tung Sol 6J5G's that he liked better than his 'V's.
    Tunkejazz likes this.
  6. Tunkejazz
    Well...I will still keep the Ember in my office :)
    But I am beyond broke at the moment to afford sourcing more tubes. I found a guy that also sells Raytheon 6L5 on ebay. It got me curious, but never took the step of ordering them (10 USD each).
  7. nwavesailor
    Posting this in the Ember tube rolling thread
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  8. Tuneslover
    Well my wife and I have returned from our month long road trip throughout the U.S. I ordered a Project Ember way back in April and had it sent to my uncle's place in Idaho. So after 2 months of patiently waiting to hear this headphone amp I have it setup at home and am finally enjoying my Ember. It came with an RCA Cleartop 12au7 and I have had them burning in now for about 40 hours. This burn in time also allowed me to warm up my Modi Multibit because it has been turned off and unplugged while we were away. I have listened-in periodically and am thrilled from what I have been hearing, however I will do more critical listening over the next few days and report back. I also brought back with me from the U.S. a Schiit Sys which will be handy for comparisons with my Vali 2.
  9. nwavesailor
    I had a Vali 2 before I bought a Garage 1217 Sunrise. IMO, the Sunrise is a far better hp amp. I was thrilled with the SQ of the Sunrise from the very first track I played and knew it was a keeper. After trying a variety of opamps (not something you can do with the Ember) and dual 1940's vintage Tung Sol 6J5G, I'm set!
  10. DavidA
    I love the Sys, makes it easy to compare DACs since I use it in reverse, currently have Bimby and UD-301 hooked up to the Sys and the output is split to Ember, Lyr2 and BH Crack.

    A friend let me use her Vali2 for a few days and its not in the same league as the Ember from my limited time with the Vali2 due to the adjustable output impedance of the Ember which to me is one of the biggest issues of trying to match amps to headphones.
  11. Tuneslover

    So it's been a few days since my original post (see above) regarding my Project Ember. I have had a wonderful time over the last 3 or so days listening to the Ember sampling a variety of music and rolling my modest collection of tubes. In short this is one heck of a nice sounding amp, that's for sure.

    Today I decided to perform a "shoot-out" between the Ember and my Vali 2. I selected the cut entitled "DOCTOR" from Wishbone Ash - Live Dates II CD for it's excellent recording and dynamics. It's a digital FLAC 16/44.1 rip from the CD, from my FiiO X5ii DAP, coaxial output into a Modi Multibit. The analog out from the Modi went into a Schiit Sys which allowed me to toggle between the amps. I decided that I liked the Elektro-Harmonix 6922 the best due it's satisfying bass punch while still keeping the treble detailed and clear. I only have 1 of those tubes so I had to move the EH tube between the Vali 2 and the Ember. Both analog cables feeding the amps were AQ Chicago. I used the HD650's as my preferred headphone. After deciding on which cut I would use to compare these hybrid amps, the method to perform my comparison was to listened to the entire song on 1 amp and then repeat the same cut on the other amp. I repeated this comparison 3 times, noting the sound at each listening session. I intend to do more 1 song comparisons over the next few days but I must confess I find sticking to one good song helped keep my thoughts more focused. Things start to get confusing when using more songs during a comparative listening session.

    I hadn't heard the Vali 2 for almost 2 months, and conversely, was now slowly becoming familiar with the Ember sound having played with it for the past several days. I decided to start with the somewhat unfamiliar Vali 2. To my astonishment the Vali 2 presented itself as a very good sounding competitor that I initially thought wasn't that far off in sound quality in comparison to the Ember. I did notice right off the bat that it had a warm character with good bass. Yes I recalled that very satisfying Vali 2 sound. Switching over to the Ember was a revelation, equally good in the bass department but the bass plucking revealed good definition that the Vali 2 was not able to reproduce. Same with the dual lead guitar licks (Yeah! Wishbone Ash!), lots of clarity and detail. Furthermore, the Ember had superior soundstage width and depth which painted a much more live-like auditory picture of where the instruments and vocalist were located on the stage for this live performance. Conversely the Vali 2 had a slightly rolled off high's sound that was less clear sounding when making a direct comparison with the Project Ember. I was able to follow the vocals very easily with the Ember but the Vali 2 seemed to have the vocals recessed which made it difficult to understand what the vocalist was singing.

    Repeating this one track comparison a couple of more times solidified, to me, my initial assessment. Now considering that the Project Ember is roughly twice the price of the Vali 2 it should come as no real surprise that it should sound superior. However I wouldn't say that it's twice as good sounding, in fact the Vali 2 is an excellent sounding amp relative to it's price. A few other advantages that the Ember gives you is the adjustable output impedance, a superior soft mute during initial amp startup and a much better volume control. Aesthetically, both are nice looking amps but I absolutely love seeing the guts of the Ember, as well as, the blue LED glow under the tube!

    I really like the Vali 2 because it is indeed a terrific amp for only $169, however now that I own an Ember I can't realistically see myself choosing the Vali 2 very often especially that I also alternate between my Jotunheim and Lake People G109S. I suspect that I will be selling the V2 in the near future.
  12. Tuneslover
    image.jpeg My bedside system.
  13. Tunkejazz
    It is great that you like your Ember.
    Can you imagine how much better it can get with a Raytheon 6sn7gt (flat plates, with support polls)?? :)
    Tuneslover likes this.
  14. Tunkejazz
    BTW, about 1.5 years ago I bought the last pair of Visseaux 6J5 from eBay seller yitry (Langrex). I have put in total approximately 130h on them, but I always found them a bit too polite for rock music so they have been collecting dust for quite a while. Instead I have been using a Raytheon 6SN7GT that seems to pait better with my headphones and taste.

    If anyone wants to buy them please pm me, I will only ask for the amount I paid, £30 per tube+shipping. They go for a LOT more on ebay nowadays (> £90 per tube).
  15. DavidA
    @Tuneslover , love the "Stack" but I would be so afraid that I'll knock over the Vali2 or Ember when plugging in a headphone. I have my Ember stuck to my listening table with Velcro so I can plug and unplug without holding it.
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