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Project Ember Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by razrr1275, Aug 7, 2013.
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  1. Tunkejazz
    You need to buy the 6SN7 to EC88. I am not quite sure you can buy the adapter from any other vendor than Jeremy so that it works on Ember but I may be wrong. I remember some comments about this early on, but it could be when using 6SN7 to 12ax7.

    I bought a 6J5 to EC88 from a Chinese seller on ebay and it never gave me any trouble.
  2. sha007
    Hi is it safe to use a Se846 iem with project ember 2 since the earphone's impedance is only 9 ohm?
  3. wadi
    No. It will hum badly.
    sha007 likes this.
  4. sha007
    Thanks for the relpy. So which desktop amp I can use with the iem?
  5. Jearly410
    Ifi micro black label has iematch which will ensure zero hum or hiss.
    sha007 likes this.
  6. ericr
    I'll chime in with a more detailed perspective, so those with IEMs looking at the Ember wont be needlessly scared be away.

    First, for clarity, the Ember is safe to use with IEMs. It is capable of significant output power, so for the sake of your ears you won't want to be reckless with the volume knob. On the other hand, the high gain setting is great for hungry full size cans.

    Does the Ember hiss with IEMs (when properly configured)?

    22 Ohms - No (64 Audio U6)
    16 Ohms - No (64 Audio A12)
    9 Ohms - Yes (64 Audio a18)

    Does it hiss badly at 9 Ohms? To my ears the hiss is minor, but noticeable, in between song and during quiet passages. To be fair to Jearly410, when it come to hiss, one persons "minor" might be another's "badly".

    More Details
    I own two of the original Ember 1 amps that Jeremy at Garage1217 has modified specifically to deal with hiss when using my IEMs. These modifications are standard in the currently shipping Ember 2 (aka - rev 2.1).

    EricR's Project Ember IEM Use Guidelines*:
    *feedback & additions encouraged

    1) Use the Ember's low gain setting
    2) Use a low gain tube (I prefer the 6SN7 tubes, thankfully they are all low gain).
    3) Use an Input Attenuation module (IIRC it plugs into a socket on the back of the Ember 2, Garage1217 sells these).
    4) Rev 2.1 added a 4-way jumper on the Ember 2, one of the 4 possible settings resolves a hiss issue I was having (sorry I don't know the exact jumper placement). From the Blog at Garage1217.com:

    Now, we have 4 total settings:
    • Through cap + resistor = default setting / results in ultra low volpot scratch with certain tubes that are a little leaky
    • Bypass only the input resistor = This can lower background hiss on certain tubes like the 12ax7 / 5751 or 12at7 with ultra high efficiency headphones or IEM's
    • Bypass input capacitor = Some purists do not like an capacitor on the input side so we give this option to eliminate it. Usually results in volpot scratch with most tubes but does not hurt anything
    • Bypass the input cap AND resistor = For the purist that wants to lower background hiss on certain tubes like the 12ax7 / 5751 or 12at7 and not have an input cap
    Oh man that sounds so complicated, what do I do? HA! It is actually simple as it gets like most of our settings. Changes can be made in REAL time while listening to music or background levels. Literally move a pair of jumpers and listen to the change or lack of change. If you like it better, leave it. If you like it less, change it back. Yes, life can be that simple! As with ALL settings on our designs. There is virtually NO right or wrong. Just what sounds best to your ears and THAT is what matters.

    Thanks to a great customer Eric for helping spot the combination of things that increased hiss with his IEM's

    A few final thoughts:
    • YMMV, as ears and hearing will vary. Though the Ember is excellent and seems worthy of a trial.
    • I own a modified Ember 1 and haven't heard the Ember 2 yet (but this subject has me seriously considering upgrading)!
    • I don't have the SE846 either, though the impedance of my A18 Tsar CIEM is listed as 9 Ohms on the 64 Audio website.
    • An Input Attenuation module with higher value resistors (than those Jeremy soldered to my Ember 1) might resolve the 9 Ohm IEM hiss issue.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    Tunkejazz, Tuneslover and Jearly410 like this.
  7. bugeyed
    I tried my Ember 2 with the AQ Nighthawk headphones (25 Ohms) & was not happy with the level of hum I was hearing. I don't have the preamp outputs connected to anything, but noticed that, if I touch the gnd on the jacks, the hum is sufficiently reduced. Can ground to the Ember or is there another way to deal with the hum. I also hear too much hum with the HE400i (35 Ohms). Hum is present when using 12AU7 or 6SN7. Unit sounds fine with HD650 & other higher Z phones.
  8. Solrighal
    What gain setting are you using?
  9. bugeyed
    Set to low, w/am.
    I don't understand why grounding (touching jack gnd) helps with hum. Is it not adequately grounded through the power supply/brick?
    BTW I am not paying $45 for a 20dB attenuator that I can build myself.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2018
    Solrighal likes this.
  10. Solrighal
    That's how it should be set. When I used to use heavy interconnects that dropped down behind my desk I could occasionally cause a hum if I moved the cables. I only use high-impedance cans these days but even so I also find w/am to offer more than enough gain.
  11. ericr
    Something is not right. Contact Jeremy at Garage 1217 and I'm sure he will help you figure it out.

    Let us know what the problem was.
  12. HOWIE13
    Mains hum problems are documented with Ember-just Google 'Project Ember Hum' and you will get a flavour of the problems. It's very position, equipment and tube dependent. Mostly it's trial and error when finding a solution. I managed to remove a hum by connecting an earth wire between one of Ember's feet to an earth point on my CD player. Sometimes you can determine electrical equipment responsible for the hum, like a Freezer, and move it to a different socket. It's a pain to hear but very rewarding if you can eradicate it.
    Solrighal likes this.
  13. timjclark
    When I bought my Ember 9 months ago I had a bunch of electronic interference/noise and I was second guessing my first foray into tubes. In my home office I have a ton of stuff going on in there. After a full powerdown I found the offender, the base unit to my hands free phone headset. I moved it to the other side of my laptop and voila all was sorted. When I swap in a 12au7 tube I need to move the Ember a few inches to avoid some other interference source. The sound quality of the Ember is worth it IMO. Ymmv. Cheers y’all.

    DavidA, Tuneslover and Solrighal like this.
  14. erein1982
    Thanks for your post. I have an Ember on the way and am very interested in picking up a Polaris.

    I tested an ember and it drove my Hifiman Edition X v2 fantastically.
  15. Bruc3
    Im looking at buying an amp for my HD650. Is project ember a good match?

    Is there another amp i should consider for the money?
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