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Project Ember Review

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by razrr1275, Aug 7, 2013.
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  1. Tuneslover
    Indeed it is, I have the HD650 (with Dekoni pads) and HD6XX and I generally dedicate these headphones to Ember.

    I hear the Bottle Head Crack is another extremely good match.
  2. Rhamnetin
    The Ember II seems overpriced to me (I do own one too). I really don't see what technical improvements it has over the Schiit Magni 3. It's just more configurable due to gain switches and the like as well as tube rolling.

    The Bottlehead Crack (especially with the Speedball upgrade) is the way to go and you can find built ones for sale here on Head-Fi and on other sites plenty often. It is a very different type of amp than the Ember II, but ideal for high impedance headphones like the HD 650, and I've found that the HD 650 and HD 600 really need good OTL or OTC tube amps to sound their best (my HD 6XX bores me out of the Ember II). Also the Bottlehead Crack might be the only tube amp for the price that runs the tubes within their specification (but who knows).
  3. Tuneslover
    Hmmm I really like the HD6XX with my Modi MB and Ember II and I certainly don't find them boring as you put it. I'm curious what headphones do you find exciting with the Ember? Thanks.
  4. Rhamnetin
    Well at that point we are really just talking about other headphones. The Ember II is not bad and it can drive an HD 650 just fine, don't get me wrong. I just think it's overpriced, it seems to me in the same category as the Schiit Magni 3 but with tube rolling (but if you spend money on tube rolling with this amp, then you could have instead gotten something much better).
  5. Tuneslover
    Well I can't disagree with you that the Ember might be considered a bit pricey, especially compared to the Vali 2 that I also owned. Although the Vali 2 sounded quite good I find the Ember to be a superior amp and after 6 months I ended up selling the Vali 2 because I absolutely preferred the more spacious and better detail retrieval I was getting from the Ember. The Ember is more versatile and configurable allowing a wider array of 12V tubes which the Vali 2 can't do. As for headphones I prefer the HD650 (with Dekoni pads) and HD6XX (stock pads) the most of my headphones but I'm interested in knowing what other headphones pair well with the Ember. What other headphones have you tried with the Ember?
  6. Rhamnetin
    To me it is vice versa: finding an amp for a headphone, not the other way around. But I have used the HiFiMan HE-560 and ZMF Blackwood with it. It's a rather neutral sounding amp to me, more on the forward side I suppose, so most headphones should have good synergy with it.
  7. HOWIE13
    HD650 is a 'forgiving' headphone in that it can match, electrically and sonically, many types of amps, including Garage1217 amps. Which amp will give you the best sound for your money will depend on how you like to hear your music. I'm afraid there is no substitute for auditioning, though these forums can help you to short list. Schiit allow you 15 days to audition, but I don't think Garage 1217 do. I enjoy my HD650 with Vali2 and Ember, with the latter being more versatile, and expensive. If you enjoy different genres of music and aim to use different headphones, either now or in the future, then I would say Ember is potentially a very good option for you.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  8. techboy
    I would get Ember with Sonarworks or Kameleon.

    Ember + Sonarworks/Kameleon + HD 650 is hard to beat.

    I prefer it by a huge margin to my MCTH which in itself is supposed to beat pretty much everything under $500/600 or so.
  9. Rhamnetin
    I think an Ember II + HD 650 is quite easy to beat, same for the Cavalli Tube Hybrid knowing the design and build quality issues that plague their amps (though the Massdrop ones are supposedly much better).

    I find the HD 650/600 very genre limited. Great for chamber music, pretty good for larger classical ensembles though lacks the sound stage and imaging and layering to be great, probably very good for pop and jazz, mediocre to lackluster for rock and metal and rap due to bass rolloff and lack of impact.

    Essentially those headphones are not ideal for any fast or hard hitting music. They are not well rounded at all I say.
  10. techboy
    If you don’t like the HD 650, that’s your personal opinion.

    Assuming you only want the HD 650 the Ember is very good under 500.
  11. techboy
    And the problems you’re talking about with the 650 disappear when you add Sonarworks.
    Solrighal likes this.
  12. Rhamnetin
    And you thinking the HD 650 is hard to beat is just your personal opinion. I at least worded my opinion without using such definitive words.


    No, that's not going to transform the HD 650 into something it is not. It will not magically add the bass extension, bass impact, openness, and PRaT that it lacks.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  13. bugeyed
    I use my Ember 2 with HD 650 & H400i phones. I built an attenuator to use my Nighthawk. Without the attenuator, I was getting too much hum unless I connected the Ember Gnd to an earth gnd. I like the sound of the Ember for most all higher Z phones. The Nighthawks are 25 ohms Z & I haven't decided if I like them with the Ember + attenuator. I like the Ember more than my LD MK IV SE, but they are close. Depends on the phones & my mood. The LD does not work with the Nighthawks at all because of the low Z.
    My Ember with mahogany case.
    Ember 2 with case (3).jpg
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
    Ralf Hutter, koover and Rhamnetin like this.
  14. techboy
    Yes, that’s exactly what it adds. You clearly have no experience with Sonarworks. Try it before you comment further.
    Solrighal likes this.
  15. Tuneslover

    It's painfully clear to everyone that the HD650 and Ember combo is not your cup of tea...we got it! Perhaps you could share what headphones in your humble opinion are a good match with this terrific amp so that we can all benefit from your insight. Seriously. Perhaps the reality is that Ember is not what you consider to be "your" amp...that's fair. However please do enlighten us what your dream amp, headphone or DAC is. Seriously.
    Solrighal likes this.
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