RS-1 & Aria - end of the line and what next?
Jul 17, 2008 at 5:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

RubberDuk

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\o there.

I've owned my RS-1 and Aria for a while now, and while the Aria was a convenient purchase at the time, it's hardly an ideal match. And I'd like to try something new.

I've fallen in love with the convenience and ease of USB DAC. I don't think I will want to give that up and purchase a soundcard. Also while I'm rather sure I'd enjoy 'tubey' sound, for a number of reasons a tube amp just wouldn't be practical for me. My only source is my computer. Ideally I would have both USB and amp in the same package(like the Aria), but such all-in-one solutions don't seem to grow on trees - not ones deemed a good match for the RS-1 anyway. So separate devices are fine too.

I'm something of a bass head (and I intend to get the C-Pads, though mostly for comfort reasons). I listen to a LOT of music and a lot of different genres. The most important genres are metal and electronic (EBM, industrial, psytrance, synthpop etc).

So far I've been looking at the KECES DA-151 USB DAC. Seems like a good choice for the price and a good match for the RS-1 from what I've read.

Now, what to pair it with? Common suggestions for the RS-1 seem to be Gilmore Lite, Little Dot, ECSS and of course the RA-1. Naturally I'll need 230V compatibility.

Let's say my estimated budget is about 700$ (500$ for amp, 200$ for DAC?) or so. I'm a sucker for "best bang for buck" type of deals, but I'd also like a setup I won't need to upgrade for a long while. Used stuff is preferred, though most deals in FS -section tend to be ConUS/Can only
frown.gif


I'm grateful for any input, advice and suggestions you might have for sure. Thanks for everyone who made it through the long post
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 6:23 AM Post #2 of 16

Wil

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I cant comment about DACs cause i dont use one.

But with the RS-1, tubes are highly recommended. I power my RS-1 with 2 tube amps ( one a el-84 variant and the other a 6922 variant.) both sound lovely.

I've never liked the sound of the RS-1 on most SS amps, so i reckon u can give tube amps a shot
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 6:28 AM Post #3 of 16

HeadphoneAddict

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Well, my best amps for driving my RS-1 are my Woo WA6 and then my TTVJ Millet Hybrid Portable, both tube amps, but they sound great with them. Unfortunately also no DAC. My Woo however is maxed, which brings the price to over $1000 from the baseline $570, not leaving a lot of money for the DAC.

The TTVJ is $449 new, and the sound is wonderful and doesn't need upgrades or mods. It is also very small, and you can take it with you, like an RA-1. I did a review here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f36/ne...ml#post4024605

There seems to be some increasing interest in the Glow Amp One which has USB DAC and drive headphones or speakers, but again it is a tube amp ($488). I think mrarroyo has one and really likes it, and 6moons did a review: 6moons audio reviews: Glow Audio Amp One

The following options are not the best, but not bad at all.

The Nuforce Icon does a fairly good job with my RS-1 for $199-249, with USB DAC included, but it is not stunning like the WA6 or TTVJ amps. But you have to use a 1/8" to 1/4" headphone jack adapter. I have my thoughts posted somewhere in the following thread if you search it: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/nuf...ng-one-317395/ 6moons.com also reviewed it: 6moons audio reviews: NuForce Icon

The Travagans White for $290 is very good with USB DAC and analog input, but you'll want to swap the LM4562 opamp for an AD8397 or LT1364 for the RS-1, but even better is to build a small 2:1 adapter and use a pair of OPA627 in it. The White DAC seems to be a little more detailed than the Travagans Green, which also sounds nice. I reviewed them here: REVIEW: Travagans "Green", "Red" and "White" with "Colors" thrown in for good measure. - Page 8 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

I would still recommend the WA6 ot TTVJ with a seperate DAC. I would get one of those two amps and look at the Blue Circle Thingee as the USB DAC. http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/bl...hingee-229110/ with a review here: GoodSound! Equipment Review -- Blue Circle Audio USB Thingee Digital Converter (5/2008)

The other popular USB DAC around here is Trends UD10.1 seen here GoodSound! "Equipment" Archives and the PC Link Pc Link
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 7:08 AM Post #5 of 16

RubberDuk

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Thanks a lot (once again) HeadphoneAddict!

Well, here's the thing. Originally I had nothing against tubes per se, but after reading the tube FAQ it started to seem a lot less appealing.

I'm on and off my computer a lot, I use it a lot and I'd kind of feel stupid leaving the amp on all day, and continuously turning it on/off apparently isn't good for the tubes. Furthermore I'm not overly enthusiastic about the thought of fiddling with tubes, replacing broken ones and studying which ones are suitable for my amp. All in all they started to seem kind of.. sensitive. They do look sexy though
smily_headphones1.gif


I've actually read a lot of the TTVJ thread (does it work without the battery? Seems like a waste to continuously charge a battery in desktop use). Also, if/when the tubes break, where will I get new ones? That uses some kind of micro tubes, right? Looked briefly into Glow, have to check it again and look into your other links. I do realize most RS-1 owners swear by tubes.. but then many also seem to listen to different stuff than I do.
KECES DA-151 USB DAC Review

Still, I'll continue reading and searching.

Addendum:
If I were to get a WA6, pimping it would probably not be an option. Any idea of how stock WA6 would compare against TTVJ? Will have to read more about Glow as well.. some posts suggest problems with the DAC... and What!? 120$ for shipping of a Glow :O


[size=xx-small]And for those with spare time:
Last.fm
Exterminate Annihilate Destroy by Rotersand
Loser by Ayreon
Electronaut by VNV Nation
Winter Blues by Logistics
The Illusionist by Scar Symmetry
Language of the Future by 1200 Mics
Destroy Everything You Touch by Ladytron
Another Planet by Pendulum
Another Night by Camel
Needled 24/7 by Children of Bodom


(I can't sleep and I'm passing time, nevermind me
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)
(Sorry about YouTube -quality)[/size]
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 10:24 AM Post #6 of 16

RubberDuk

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The Glow gives me a mixed impression, and their ridiculous shipping price puts me off it..

Now, is the TTVJ really *that* good? I mean, it's a portable amp - a desktop amp would seem to make more sense to me since I don't really need portability. I do like its simplicity though, since all the tubes out there confuse me

People do seem to like the WA6, but it's a bit pricey for my budget. So no upgrades for me. Is it still worth the money?
 
Jul 17, 2008 at 11:49 PM Post #7 of 16

HeadphoneAddict

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RubberDuk /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Glow gives me a mixed impression, and their ridiculous shipping price puts me off it..

Now, is the TTVJ really *that* good? I mean, it's a portable amp - a desktop amp would seem to make more sense to me since I don't really need portability. I do like its simplicity though, since all the tubes out there confuse me

People do seem to like the WA6, but it's a bit pricey for my budget. So no upgrades for me. Is it still worth the money?



Yes, the TTVJ is magic with Grados, and pretty darn good with everything else. I would suspect it is at least as good as a stock non-modded woo WA6. I totally disliked my friend's Grado PS-1 and the TTVJ makes them sing like angels such that I wanted a pair for myself. He tried to buy my TTVJ and I refused.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 12:44 AM Post #8 of 16

Pricklely Peete

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You could try a Little Dot MK V and add a Yulong DAH 1. 600-655 US not including shipping for both but the DAC can be used as a headphone amp in case your on the go....just thought this combo meets your criteria to a T. They can be had in the native voltage you require so that's a plus...

A solid combo for the money IMHO.

Peete.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 5:12 AM Post #9 of 16

jinp6301

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I really liked the Pico with the RS-1 when I tried it. Much better then the Aria imo. and maybe you should look into getting a good high current amp, I really like my m^3 with my 225s but there are obviously many many options available
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 5:18 AM Post #10 of 16

panda

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if u are a basshead, get an audio valve rkv with low Z adapter and flat pads. it's a damn good amp with some serious horsepower... those usb dac things aren't going to get you very far in terms of fidelity. they're just awfully convenient. if you want to step up the quality, you're going to have to invest in a good stand alone dac.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 5:29 AM Post #11 of 16

HeadphoneAddict

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You could try a Little Dot MK V and add a Yulong DAH 1. 600-655 US not including shipping for both but the DAC can be used as a headphone amp in case your on the go....just thought this combo meets your criteria to a T. They can be had in the native voltage you require so that's a plus...

A solid combo for the money IMHO.

Peete.



But, how does it sound with the RS-1? They can be picky about the amp synergy. I have tons of amps that drive the RS-1 acceptably, but only a few excel at driving them wonderfully.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 4:03 PM Post #12 of 16

Dash

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I would get a USB DAC (like the Keces) and then use the Eddie Current EC/SS. Nice footprint for desktop use and the EC/SS has amazing synergy with the Grado but apparently works well with just about everything.
 
Jul 18, 2008 at 5:25 PM Post #13 of 16

inthecup

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Quote:

Originally Posted by HeadphoneAddict /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Well, my best amps for driving my RS-1 are my Woo WA6 and then my TTVJ Millet Hybrid Portable, both tube amps, but they sound great with them. Unfortunately also no DAC. My Woo however is maxed, which brings the price to over $1000 from the baseline $570, not leaving a lot of money for the DAC.

The TTVJ is $449 new, and the sound is wonderful and doesn't need upgrades or mods. It is also very small, and you can take it with you, like an RA-1. I did a review here: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f36/ne...ml#post4024605

There seems to be some increasing interest in the Glow Amp One which has USB DAC and drive headphones or speakers, but again it is a tube amp ($488). I think mrarroyo has one and really likes it, and 6moons did a review: 6moons audio reviews: Glow Audio Amp One

The following options are not the best, but not bad at all.

The Nuforce Icon does a fairly good job with my RS-1 for $199-249, with USB DAC included, but it is not stunning like the WA6 or TTVJ amps. But you have to use a 1/8" to 1/4" headphone jack adapter. I have my thoughts posted somewhere in the following thread if you search it: http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f5/nuf...ng-one-317395/ 6moons.com also reviewed it: 6moons audio reviews: NuForce Icon

The Travagans White for $290 is very good with USB DAC and analog input, but you'll want to swap the LM4562 opamp for an AD8397 or LT1364 for the RS-1, but even better is to build a small 2:1 adapter and use a pair of OPA627 in it. The White DAC seems to be a little more detailed than the Travagans Green, which also sounds nice. I reviewed them here: REVIEW: Travagans "Green", "Red" and "White" with "Colors" thrown in for good measure. - Page 8 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

I would still recommend the WA6 ot TTVJ with a seperate DAC. I would get one of those two amps and look at the Blue Circle Thingee as the USB DAC. http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f46/bl...hingee-229110/ with a review here: GoodSound! Equipment Review -- Blue Circle Audio USB Thingee Digital Converter (5/2008)

The other popular USB DAC around here is Trends UD10.1 seen here GoodSound! "Equipment" Archives and the PC Link Pc Link



Would this work for me....Laptop >>> Pico (used for dac) >>> TTVJ Millet Hybrid Portable >>> RS1.
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 1:15 AM Post #14 of 16

HeadphoneAddict

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I haven't tried that combination - I typically use the Pico to feed a Dark Voice 336i but that sounds much better with my Edition 9, D2000 and HD600 than it does with my RS-1, mainly due to the current tube selections that I have in it. I have tried feeding the WA6 with the Pico and it works very well with the RS-1.

I will however go ahead and try your combination this weekend, and repost back in this thread. I suspect (95% sure) that will be a good combination. Most of my TTVJ > RS-1 listening is with the iMod via ALO portable V-Cap dock to TTVJ.
 
Jul 19, 2008 at 1:23 AM Post #15 of 16

Covenant

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jinp6301 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I really liked the Pico with the RS-1 when I tried it. Much better then the Aria imo.


I actually didnt like the Pico with RS-1 at all. Granted I only tried the combo briefly at a meet, but the linear neutrality of the Pico didnt seem to bring the RS-1 magic to life the way a good tube amp can.

Having heard the RS-1 out of Melos amps before something was definitely lacking with the Pico.
 

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