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Project Sunrise II Kit Review

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  1. Alberto01

    So, what is the best tube to get, if someone is just going to get one tube instead of tube rolling?
  2. ukemaxxer
    Currently, the two I like best are the vintage 6N23P, and the Mullard ECC81. I don't think you would be dissapointed with either of those.
    Get to know the characteristics of the stock tube first though. Most people on the various forums recommend the 1960's tubes over the newer produced ones. But it all comes down to individual tastes.
  3. PanamaHat
    What dacs do you guys use with this amp? I'm using an odac right now, but I'm not sure if I'm squeezing all the potential out of this amp.
  4. jonny564
    Im using a Bifrost, I think the odac should be fine with the sunrise. obviously there are some small gains but for the price im not sure its worth it. I have listened to both dacs on my amp side by side and the difference was minimal.
  5. Alberto01
    Thank you. Please give me a link for each of those tubes. I guess that "vintage 6N23P" does not refer to a specific tube made by one manufacturer, but refers to a group of tubes made several decades ago by several manufacturers. Is this right?
  6. adani
    I wonder how would Horizon pair with FiiO E17, used as a dac-only. Unfortunately, I cannot audition any other sources before purchase, so any advice will be welcome. Is it worth saving for something like Bifrost, provided I'm on a tight budget?
  7. Micaiah
    Thought I'd throw in my two cents regarding DAC's: I have a Project Horizon amp and am using a Ross Martin DAC with it (Laptop>Mapleshade usb cable>Ross Martin DAC>Darwin IC's>Project Horizon amp>Beyerdynamic DT880 600ohm) It also has SPDIF in, and Toslink in as well as balanced and RCA output. I think it was around $230 and I'm very happy with both amp and dac. Both are a huge bang for the buck.
    The DAC was recommended to me by another audiophile who had a couple DAC's over $1000 and felt the Ross Martin was more musical and enjoyable to listen to. I had to agree with him after hearing it. I also have a Peachtree iNova integrated ($1800) for my speaker rig which has the excellent Sabre ESS 9016 dac chip in it. I've run the iNova dac output directly into my Project Sunrise amp and have found that while there was a little more detail and a slightly more precise soundstage, it was more clinical sounding to my ears in comparison to the Ross Martin.
    The main downside to getting a Ross Martin DAC is I think he works alone and is very busy. The website was somewhat confusing to me and communication and delivery are a little lacking. I think I was told it would take 4 weeks and it took 6 weeks to get. I started getting a little nervous after 4 weeks and my emails asking for an update went unanswered. I tried to tell my self that at least it wasn't too much money to loose but it finally came. Once I got it though it was worth it and I've been very happy with it ever since (I think it's been about a year).
    There might be a better DAC out there for the money but in my setup I'm more than satisfied that I don't care to waste money and time looking anymore. Just have to be prepared to wait a while to get it but it's very worth it in my opinion. Just my experience to maybe help others avoid loosing large amounts of money like I have because more money doesn't always = better sound.
  8. adani
    Quite interesting stuff. Do you have PCM1794A model? I already have the same chip installed in my iRiver H140 as an ultimate upgrade for a portable rig, and I like it quite a lot.
    Btw, my Horizon kit arrived today [​IMG]
    Very decent packaging and PCB.
  9. Micaiah
     Yes, it's the PCM1794A version.
    Very Exciting! I didn't realize that you hadn't listened to the Horizon yet. I still remember the first time I turned mine on after building it and bracing myself for a let down like other stuff I had high hopes for. The let down never came. [​IMG]
    Just curious, what headphones do you plan to use with it?
  10. adani
    TBH, I just gave the kit to a much more experienced guy to assemble it for me [​IMG]
    I plan to use Sennheiser HD600. Right now I power them with by FiiO E17 and sometimes with my portable rig, which is, while quite outstanding in quality, delivers only about 10-15 mW @ 300 ohm. So there should be quite an obvious improvement.
    Having read all the good stuff about the DAC you suggested I really cannot help myself but order one [​IMG] Just curious - they are selling two variations "PCM1794A DAC LME49710 49720" and "PCM1794A DAC + ADA 4898-1-2  Op Amps". Is there really much difference between these two in terms of sound signature? The second version is a bit more expensive.
    Btw, did you have an opportunity to compare it with Bifrost?
  11. Micaiah
    Well the Project Horizon will have tons of high quality power to drive your HD600's. I've always wondered how it would sound with Sennheisers HD800. Someday, because of how happy I am with the Horizon and Beyer DT880's, I plan to try the Beyer T1's. Will have to save up for a while though.[​IMG]
    If you get a RMA DAC I really hope you like it. I'm a little hesitant to recommend things because everyone has different tastes in audio equipment just like they do in music. On the other hand, even if a Ross Martin DAC wasn't someones favorite (usually compared to something several times the price), I've never heard of anyone hating it.
    I've never heard heard the Bifrost unfortunately. It's not that I wouldn't upgrade if I found something better than the RMA DAC. But I'm satisfied enough to know that there is probably something better out there and to not try and find it. The next upgrade is T1's for me. I think my setup is worthy of them but there's only one way to find out.[​IMG] 
    Almost forgot you asked about the difference between the two DAC versions. I can't really say being that I haven't heard them. I just found the email that Ross originally sent me when I requested info initially, asking him for advice on which would be more transparent. Here's his response:
     as far as a dac goes just a single unit with usb (since you already have a headhone amp)would blow you away. the dual units have more inputs and maybe 1 or 2 db more of stereo separation. but it's already over 100db with the single model. i recommend the unit with the lme op amps . they rival any precision op amp around and are very transparent. i hope this helps.. thanks so much for your interest!! ross
  12. adani
    Thanks a lot for your response and for the info on RMA dac. Will post my initial impressions with the setup once I have Horizon assembled are ready to rock [​IMG]
  13. Kamakahah
    I was thinking of picking up a Horizon kit for my first DIY tube amp. It would be paired with my Mad Dogs. Has anyone tried this pairing before? How did it sound? I'm currently using a magni/modi stack.

    Side question: what are your thoughts on the upcoming starlight/ember?
  14. Micaiah
    I've been thinking about getting a pair of Paradox headphones, plus I've been getting the urge to build another Garage1217 amp but of course I can't try before i buy. I'll probably just play it safe and use the money (when I have it) on Beyer T1's for my Horizon. The T50RP's/Mad Dogs/Paradox are 50 ohm headphones so the Project Sunrise II would be a better fit. The Sunrise II amp is recommended for 32-300ohm, the Horizon is recommended for 150-600ohm. I did use my AKG K702's  (62 ohms) with the Horizon and they sounded the best that I've heard them. Not sure if they would sound better with the Sunrise II but the K702's over all sound isn't really for me anyway.
    I emailed Garage1217 regarding powering Fostex T50RP based headphones a few weeks ago asking if there upcoming headphone amps would be a better match for the Fostex based 'phones. Their response is below:
     Glad you are enjoying your Horizon! Ember will have more power than both Horizon and Sunrise II. For example around 50ohm, she will put out more than 4w. It will be quite a beast and cover 16-600ohm. Sunrise and Horizon will still be the choice for many audiophiles as they are class A designs so it comes down to what topology one prefers. And just to note, Sunrise II puts out PLENTY of power at low impedance. My T50's are out for mod right now at a buddys, prior to shipping them out, Sunrise was a flawless match for them.

    So it sounds like the Sunrise II might be worth considering for you Mad Dogs. If you do, please let us know how you like it.
    I would like to build the Starlight someday as a gift for someone (Ok, so maybe I'd try it out for a while before wrapping it up). It sounds like it's a cheaper option to the other amps but still very good I'm sure.
    The Ember evidently doesn't run in class A mode like the Horizon and Sunrise but I'm not sure how that's going to affect the sound. I would guess it might easily run power hungry headphones like Hifiman's HE-6 and other planar headphones that soak up whatever juice they are given.
    I just remembered Garage1217 sent out a newsletter last week. For those who didn't get it, below is a copy that includes some more info on there upcoming amps:
    Project Starlight, the new budget legend is almost ready for release! Starlight is a low cost, Tube - Opamp hybrid which allows you to roll both 6V and 12V tubes as well as roll opamps. Starlight has variable output resistance and manual bias adjustment all in a compact chassis. Excellent quality components are used throughout such as Vishay / Dale resistors, Panasonic FC capacitors, Bourns Pro Audio potentiometers and all gold plated rca sockets, tube socket and headphone jack.. The PCB retains a beautiful gloss black mask just like our other designs. Project Starlight is designed to blow your socks off at a super affordable price! Now accepting pre-orders. Only $149.99 + shipping for a kit or $189.99 + shipping for a fully built and tested amplifier. Shipments of built amplifiers and kits expected to ship March 1st.
    Project Ember is almost finished. Ember will be our most advanced amplifier to date. Featuring auto bias, auto voltage selection (your tubes are now plug and play) 6v and 12V tube rolling, 3 output resistance settings, Pre-amp outputs, input gain selection and a powerful OPA output stage that can power the most demanding headphones. Overall very original to the market, nothing quite like it, just like our other designs!…
    Hope that helps some.
  15. Kamakahah
    Thanks for the info. I wish I could see the output power/resistance for the starlight. When I asked a similar question the Mad Dogs review thread I got this informational feedback and then a bunch of nods towards the Lyr. 

    I love Schiit products. My Magni/Modi are doing a fantastic job with my MDs, but i'd like to experiment with a DIY project and tube amps. So the Sunlight II seems like a good fit. More importantly, the Lyr would cost me ~$500 after taxes and shipping (which is roughly the cost of my entire current setup). The Sunrise II kit on the other hand would only be ~$205. I'm using the Alpha pads, which are supposed to be a little less power hungry than the dog pads.  I wish I had more details on the Starlight as its price fantastic. I wonder if it could drive the MDs close to the Sunrise II.
    Thanks again for the feedback.
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