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REVIEW: Ray Samuels Audio SR-71B balanced portable headphone amp

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by skylab, Dec 20, 2010.
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  1. Skylab Contributor


    Thanks for the kind words, and enjoy the SR-71B - it's a fine, fine amp!
  2. r2ymond
    Should I get the Ibasso Boomslang DAC to hook it up with my SR-71B or wait for other DAC? 
    I'm stuck, help!
  3. Jalo
    If you want to have full balance set up from input to output in the portable domain, that is your only option and that is exactly how I did it.  If you just want to feed balance input into the SR71b, there are many options for desktop/fullsize units, but for portable balance Dac, the Boomslang is it.  The two sound very good together though.
  4. paNjaN
    Could you give the exact dimensions of the SR-71B? I'll be very gratefull! 
  5. Jalo
    There you go:
    Quote from RSA webpage  " With all that much circuitry, dual pots, double gain switches, two balanced connectors, two SE connectors, balanced & SE switch selector, DC input jack, on/off LED & on/off switch, this balanced amp must be real big in size, right? The truth is that it is shorter than SR-71A by ½”, 3.25” in length, .7” in height & 2.25” in width."
  6. paNjaN
    Looked through the official website and have not found the SR-71B dimensions. Are you sure this is certainly good info? 71B seemed to me biggest of the avaivable offers portable amp od RSA. 
    I wrote also to Ray, but for now without response. 

    P.S. Sorry for my english, which is not good. However, I hope you understand me :) 

    EDIT. >  Sorry, I have not read the NEWS. Thanks for your help.
  7. Jalo
    It's about 3.5 X 2.5 X 0.7.  I have it in my hand now.
  8. Severanth
    Jalo (or anyone that can help [​IMG]) did you make a DIY cable for the Boomslang to SR-71B inter-connect? 
    Is it off topic to ask what people are using as digital sources and DAC for SR-71B?  If there is anything that is known to avoid ie just no synergy, or someone didn't like, would be just as useful as setups people are enjoying.
    I use a 5TB NAS that acts as media server for the house.
    Mac Pro in the office. (accesses the NAS)
    MacBook Pro/Air, travelling. (not used for music b4, but might with a Boomslang if I bring balanced cans with)
    Ipod classic/touch/nano for mobile music.
  9. jamato8 Contributor

    I made up a balanced IC to go from the Boomslang to the 71B, works great.
    I use the MacBook Pro with the optical out to the Boomslang using the SysConcepts multi fiber optical cable and for real portable I will use an iRiver H120 or H140 that I have upgraded the HD to 80 or 120gb and the optical out. 
  10. Jalo
    Severanth, I bought an adaptor form Moon Audio using their Silver Dragon which sounded pretty good.  Other vendors like Whiplash or ALO can make the adaptor for you also. Like Jam said, you could use optical out of your Mac directly into Boomslang and it will sing for you.  It sounded very good from my computer--tosklink (optical) to Boomslang--SR71b--balance out to phone.  If you are using Ipod/touch/ nano for portable music, then at the very least, do LOD (line out) into SR71b and balance out to phone.  But I order a Cypher Lab Solo which will give me digital out into boomslang for better sound. However, it may not be a portable system for running, but you can using it on airplane or move it around on trip etc. There  is no synergy problem with your set up.   Either way. the sound can compare to many desktops systems.
  11. Vault101
    Great review!
  12. Severanth
    Thanks Jalo and Jamato8, much appreciated.  
    I had looked at Moon and Whiplash sites but hadn't seen that specific inter-connect.  I will also go have a mosey over at the DIY forums as I found the RSA 4 pin connect and get a lot of satisfaction adding a bit of myself to my gear.  
    http://www.mouser.com/catalog/catalogUSD/641/1139.pdf  this is the mouser link to the connector I believe, part is Kobiconn 163-191J-E.  Might help someone down the line. 
    The Cypherlabs Solo looks like a interesting option. 
    I also noticed Whiplash offering a IPod Wolfson DAC mod. One less box whilst traveling is quiet appealing.  Doesn't look like it is balanced out unfortunately. Have to weigh up the portability/sound quality and likely environment on that one.
    So glad I asked for input thanks again fellas.
  13. Anouk Contributor
    Hi Rob and others, Since this seems to be the only 71b thread around according to google, i was wondering if anyone has tested both the protector and 71b with single-ended input but with balanced headphones. I was wondering if used this way (the way i would use it on the go) if the 71b is still better? Thanks in advance, Greetings, Anouk,
  14. Anouk Contributor
    Hi, I would be using this amp with the jh16 with balanced twag cable. Or the stepdance with se twag cable. For me what I like in the 71b over the stepdance is that it has an internal battery that cn abe charged by the unit. I dont know what the size differences are about the two and what might be a potential problem for me are the two volume knobs on the 71b. I am blind and I am not sure if they click with each volume step. if not I would probbably drive myself nuts trying to balance them. Can anyone tell me wether or not the pots on the 71b are smooth or click with each step? Thanks in advance, Greetings, Anouk,
  15. jamato8 Contributor
    That is a tough one. I find them both to sound great. The Protector a little more aggressive, in a very good way and the 71B a little warmer dynamic but it depends upon what headphones. They both do great with the HDXXX phones in balanced and I find the 71B can drive the HE-6 with no problem with a nice open sound stage. You can also balanced right and left channel on the 71B with two set screws on the volume control. The reviews would be good to read to get a feeling for what to expect. 
    There is only one volume control on the 71B now and once it is set, with the set screws, you are good to go with the single control. It is a smooth rotation, not indentations or clicks.  Very easy and straight forward. The battery life is very good and the whole charging system is a delight. With the 3 gain settings, you would be able to dial in the gain you want for the JH16's. There is a gain switch for R and for L as the amp is truly kept quad mono in design. Pretty special. 
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