SuperMacro+ER-4p: worth it?
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pablor

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Hi guys, I'm currently using a 4G iPod with Ety ER-4Ps. This combo sounds fantastic for a lot of my music, but I'm now considering a headphone amp. The only one I'm really interested in is the SuperMacro 3, but I could do with some advce.

First, how much of an improvement will this be? I realize this is an incredibly subjective question, but just go ahead and give me your thoughts. Feel free to quantify the unquantifiable and hazard a percentage improvement. Just what you feel off the top of your head - I just want to get an impression. I guess I'm hoping for an overall fuller, richer sound and particularly better bass.

Second, I've heard you can request a higher bass boost than the standard 5 db. I appreciate full bass and can find the Etys lacking on cetain kinds of music (esp. rock). Is the 5 db boost enough for those who like a bit of low end? Does anyone have experience of what level you can go to without overly distorting the sound? BTW, I listen to a wide range of music, from rock to acoustic to jazz, occasional classical but not much.

Third, would the 627 opamps be a worthwhile addition? I've heard they're particularly good for the low and high ends.

Any thoughts on these questions would be warmly welcomed.

Regards, Pablor

Well, I did it. Read my impressions at the end of this thread.
 
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jjcha

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Honestly, I'm not a Ety or SuperMacro guy (I went the Shure/SR-71 route) but I feel very comfortable saying you ought to just buy the SuperMacro v3. I've borrowed the version 2 with the 627 opamps, and while I think the SR-71 was meaningfully better with my rig and preferences, there's no doubt the SuperMacro v2/627 is a strong performer. I imagine the v3 is better.

I'll say this - side by side, a good amp only improves the sound by maybe 2 or 3%. It's subtle. But even though it's subtle, it's also significant. You latch on to the improved sound, so it sounds like a 10/15% improvement that you just don't want to live without.

If you're curious, and can afford it, I think you ought to try it. There are others who think the hit to portability isn't worth it. I dunno, I think it is worth it. Once in a while I get lazy and just use just the iPod/iRiver. But for the most part, I pack in the entire portable rig and miss it when I don't.

Dunno, just my $0.02.

Best regards,

-Jason

Quote:

Originally Posted by pablor
Hi guys, I'm currently using a 4G iPod with Ety ER-4Ps. This combo sounds fantastic for a lot of my music, but I'm now considering a headphone amp. The only one I'm really interested in is the SuperMacro 3, but I could do with some advce.

First, how much of an improvement will this be? I realize this is an incredibly subjective question, but just go ahead and give me your thoughts. Feel free to quantify the unquantifiable and hazard a percentage improvement. Just what you feel off the top of your head - I just want to get an impression. I guess I'm hoping for an overall fuller, richer sound and particularly better bass.

Second, I've heard you can request a higher bass boost than the standard 5 db. I appreciate full bass and can find the Etys lacking on cetain kinds of music (esp. rock). Is the 5 db boost enough for those who like a bit of low end? Does anyone have experience of what level you can go to without overly distorting the sound? BTW, I listen to a wide range of music, from rock to acoustic to jazz, occasional classical but not much.

Third, would the 627 opamps be a worthwhile addition? I've heard they're particularly good for the low and high ends.

Any thoughts on these questions would be warmly welcomed.

Regards, Pablor



 
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cpw

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I own iPod>pocket dock/imp>SR-71/TBH>ER-4P/S.
I always use the ER-4P straight out of the iPod when walking or on public transport (usually only in Europe).
I airplanes and hotel rooms when on the road I always use an amp (TBH from laptop/SR-71 from iPod).
I feel the amp makes a big difference. This is not to say the the ER-4P don't sound great right out of the pod- they do.
But I actually look fwd to air travel from time to time cuz it's the only time I really use my full on portable rig. There seems to be more "space" around the instruments, the bass seems deeper and things just generally sound less "congested".
When going "commando" (ER-4P ampless) I find myself rocking out alot. When using the amp, I find myself searching for the lossless files in my iPod and really enjoying the resolution and details of the recordings.
It's a subtle difference in SQ and you may be disappointed at first after spending the dough on an amp but once you spend some time with one, you won't go back (my prediction).
CPW
 
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Jon L

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Having lived with 4G iPod and ER4P as well as SuperMacro v.1 and v.3, with both 3dB and 5dB bass boost, all kinds of op amps, I'll say this much.

4G iPod + ER4P sounds pretty dang good! Especially with vocal-heavy music, it's heavenly already. ER4P's are very easy to drive and iPod is plenty as far as power needs.

Now, the problem is iPod's EQ settings that boost bass are crap. If iPod had user-adjustable EQ to boost the bass a bit, I would have recommended you stick with ampless ER4P. In the important midrange, an amp, even a good amp, does not make whole lot of difference.

However, with SM v.3, the impedance switch gives you ER4S, which does have more extension top and bottom, more resolution, more technically correct audiophile sound. With well-recorded music, ER4S can be awesome but will reveal more flaws in bad recordings.

Throw on the bass boost of SM in ER4S mode, and you're in a whole another universe. The bass boost not only transforms the bass richness, impact, power, there's major gains in lower-midrange richness and taming the treble resolution of ER4S.

Oh, do not get more boost than stock. It would be too much.

627's are definitely worth it as well.
 
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rab10

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pablor
... Second, I've heard you can request a higher bass boost than the standard 5 db... Third, would the 627 opamps be a worthwhile addition? I've heard they're particularly good for the low and high ends.


Read this thread "SuperMacro-3 a review" It will answer almost all of your questions and more. The SuperMacro v1.0 some felt that a higher bass boost was necessary than the standard. With the SuperMacro v3.0 Dr. Xin has improved the amp greatly and adjusting the standard bass boost is not necessary.

The SM-3 completes, and fills out the complete sound. from the ER4P IMO.
The bass boost and impedence switch is what all ETYMOTIC users need.
You will notice a BIG Difference. The WOW Factor is definately there.

There are many opamps (read the review linked above, and there are other posts that you can find with a search,) that will amplify the way the SuperMacro sounds towards your liking so you will have lots of flexibility
to obtain the particular sound you seek. Opamps 627, 637, 604, AD8610, AD747 (and more) have all been reviewed to sound great in the SuperMacro v3.0.

Yes the SuperMacro will take some investment, but you will see that this portable amp is very flexible and powerful to support even the most power hungry headphones. AC+Battery Power, internal battery recharger, included AC power adapter, additional sound feature switches, opamp upgradable It is loaded with features.

Look into the Portaphile V2.0 or the Go-Vibe if you don't want to spend that much, and if you can afford it Ray Samuels Emmeline SR-71. Do a search there are tons of information available here, that has already been discussed.

"SuperMacro+ER-4p: worth it?" HECK YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Good Luck!
 
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phillevy

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I added a SuperMacro V1 to my ER4P/Iriver H340 combo a few months ago not knowing what kind of improvement to expect (I thought it would be subtle) - I was totally amazed and would say the improvement was like a major hi-fi upgrade - even my kids could tell the difference! I now have a V3 with default opamps and find it even better as far as imaging, but more fussy of recording quality - it is brighter in the mid-range than the V1, but I think this may be down to the opamps (I intend to try 627's) and also the increased detail coming through. Also the V3 needed more time to run in. In all cases however, when I now don't use the SuperMacro it seems like a veil has been added to the sound and this is when I appreciate all that it does!
 
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Jonoh

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pablor
...First, how much of an improvement will this be?...I guess I'm hoping for an overall fuller, richer sound and particularly better bass...

Second, I've heard you can request a higher bass boost than the standard 5 db. I appreciate full bass and can find the Etys lacking on cetain kinds of music (esp. rock). Is the 5 db boost enough for those who like a bit of low end?...

Third, would the 627 opamps be a worthwhile addition? I've heard they're particularly good for the low and high ends.

Any thoughts on these questions would be warmly welcomed.

Regards, Pablor



Hey Pablor,
I have this combo.

IMO, the difference with the line out and SM vs staight out of the Ipod is not subtle. It is a dramatic difference. It is indeed an overall fuller and richer sound and bass has a lot more impact.

The bass boost is too much for my tastes. With the amp, the bass is fast, tight and hard hitting IMO--it's not big like a good full sized can. With the boost on, it dominates too much for me. YMMV

The 627s are a noticiable improvement over the stock opamps. Note decay is more than I have ever experienced with my headphones and it has become an addictive sound for me.

I found that the SM seems to expand the soundstage of the Etys beyond, ever so slightly, my ears. Etys have a small soundstage with very good seperation and detail that IMO makes up for it. However, with the SM, I gte more soundstage then ever before. It is bigger and fuller and a nice addition.

The impediance switch is also good so all in all, I think the SM is one of the best suited portable amps for ER4P owners.
 
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pablor

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Guys, thanks a lot for your helpful replies. Really interesting to hear a variety of experiences. And Jason, thanks for daring to venture a percentage. But I guess I will never really know unless I try it for myself. Looks like it's a done deal for the SM3!

Best regards, Pablor
 
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A month ago I would have said no, that an amp wouldn't do much to improve the already excellent Ety/iPod combination. Now I have to say that the SM3 is an absolute revelation. I can even use my favorite DT880 with iPods without giving up a thing--even in a direct comparison to the HA-2. Few things in my long life have brought such unequivocal gratification--a Dino Spider, a PowerBook, my third wife, and now the SM3!

How's that for an endorsement?
 
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pablor

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Spad, that was an epic endorsement!

Here’s an update to my post, made when I was deliberating over whether to spend some money on a SuperMacro amp.

In true Head-Fi spirit, the result was of course a foregone conclusion. I ordered the amp, with OPA627 opamps and the four switches. This amp’s many features have been reviewed at length and far more competently than I ever could, so I won’t attempt to say what’s already been said. I just want to let you know how this choice worked out for me. So here are my impressions.

Firstly frustration. When my amp was delivered, I powered it up with anticipation…and it didn’t work! The only thing to be heard was some faint crackly distortion. I sent it back to Xin, who I must say fixed and returned it very quickly.

So I powered up the (hopefully) fixed amp expectantly on its eagerly awaited return. Nothing wrong this time. Very much nothing wrong. My first thought was, quite simply, “holy +?*&” (insert your choice of expletive).

I’m using this amp with Ety ER-4Ps, and I must say it’s been a true revelation. I’ve always loved their detail but found them lacking in guts with some kinds of music. The most startling discovery was that, contrary to popular belief, these babies can do bass. The bass boost helps a lot here of course, but they actually deliver rich, deep bass that I can feel. That was unexpected.

Another huge plus is the high impedance switch, which effectively converts 4P to 4S. This really smoothes off all the rough edges. I haven’t done any detailed comparison as yet because I simply haven’t wanted to stop listening to the 4S.

I am awed by the sound I’m getting. The words that spring to mind are rich and smooth. A bit like me (yeah right Mr comedy…). And full as well. Stuff that sounded good before sounds even better. And stuff that didn’t sound good now does. The major change being that rock music now…rocks for want of a better word.

I had wondered how much difference an amp would make. For me, with these phones, it’s a stunning difference. I’m now doomed to carrying a small brick around in my pocket, but I don’t care. I never want to listen to the iPod without the SM3 again.

These are my impressions after just a day of use. This amp is supposed to sound even better after a period of burn-in, especially with the 627 opamps. Could it really sound better? I can’t wait to find out.

I’m also looking forward to trying it out with some other phones (like the Grado SR225s and HD25-1s I have on the way…). In fact, it might even stop me buying the custom IEMs I’ve been planning. Or just slow me down a bit, more likely.

Thanks for listening. And if this a choice you’re considering, just do it. You won’t regret it. Cheaper than additional wives and Ferraris too.
 
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StevieDvd

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Happy to hear you like the Supermacro but a little thing to check.

Xin usually includes various other opamps when he sends the amp out. I'd asked for OPA627 but had neglected to state for them to be fitted as default(by filling out the purchase options correctly) so I had been listening to mine for a while before I checked the other opamps supplied. So you may wish to check the ones supplied don't include the OPA627 else you could have some other opamps inside without realising.

Happy listening.

Steve
 
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Spad

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Pablor, the 627 seems to be an especially good match for the ER4P. I found the lower end to be a bit overblown with other 'phones such as the DT880, HD600, and CD3000. Not bad at all, but just slightly more emphasized than I like.

I plan to slowly (every two weeks or so) roll through the most favored opamps. I just finished a two week stint with the 627 and am now using the 797 which strikes me as better balanced with my current fav, the DT880. The K501 is also a fine match with the 797 when the gain and bass-boost switches are activated.

This SM3 is the most fun I've had since my hair started turning pink!
 
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ER-4s and supermacro v1 with my ipod at work? Could I ask for anything more ever? Can't hear people bitching at each other, Can't hear any loud machines, It's just me my music and work goes by 10x faster with this setup for me. Its a great choice for the ER-4 models!
 
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I know this post is late, but I don't visit much.

ER-4P, Pana CD-570, SM-V2 (w/627's) Quick comments.

-SM V2 replaced a JMT mint amp, for me
-Difference amp / no amp is NOT subtle, 4P, 4B, or 4S. Almost no portables produce the mW's to push a competitive sound with an amp.
-The SM V2 excels at clean bass, full sound stage and signal-to-noise, IMO.
-The 627's aren't that detailed. On contrary, I think cymbals and stuff like guitar frets or ambient music in general are not where it excels. Sometimes they even sound "wet" to me, which is too bad.
-My old mint amp did better high treble and was more accurate, at the expense of bass, some soundstage, and harshess / ear fatigue.
-If I had SM V3, I'd definitely roll thru the likes of the AD8620 opamp
-627 takes strong vocal / lead recordings, like Noah Jones, that can sound harsh on other setups and delivers them as warmly and musically as I think one could hope for.
-Impedence switch is Sweeeeet!
-Bass boost of 10db would be an absolute sacrilidge to a crossover designer, but Ety's seem week on the road and 6db, despite being a lot to the afformentioned types, seems to flatten things a bit.

I listen to all kinds of music and tune my piano as a hobby. I am not trying to brag about that beyond saying that the nuances in musical reproduction are incredibly broad in the upper harmonics, where instruments get their signature. I lean toward trying to retain as many as possible, and that "airyness" that borders on the harsh to some.

Great amp. Great forum!

Chris
 
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ajt976

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Awww, damnit! My ER-4P's just arrived today you swine!!! And I just sold off my two portable amps!!! And now you show me this this?!


*hangs head and trots off to visit the Xin website*

I should have known better, I guess it'll never end...
 
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