T-Amp > Audeze LCD-2 Surprise
Apr 10, 2011 at 12:25 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

ETAHL

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I just finish my balanced, 8 wire, silver/Teflon, DIY cable for my LCD-2.
I also made a set of adapters for speaker amp setup.
My balanced system is not yet completed, but I was able to test out a T-amp (TA2024) from my desk system.
Wow! Great results! It best my modded Matrix M-Stage. Plenty of power driving the LCD-2; listening level is achieved at 9 o'clock of the volume knob.
Who needs to spend big buck for fantastic performance. The T-amp is only 1/5 the price of the M-Stage.
However, do not try this with 1/4" headphone plugs, as T-amp cannot have a common ground between the headphone drivers.
A balanced type of cable is required, so as to not short circuit the T-amp.
The cost of T-amp is minuscule, please give a T-amp a try if you are re-cabling. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
I would like to hear the experiences of others who have tried T-amps with their headphones. T-amps might just be the inexpensive and high performance solution to power hungry orthodynamic headphones.
 

 

 
Apr 10, 2011 at 4:27 AM Post #2 of 30

ETAHL

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I spend the whole evening doing more listening of the T-amp and comparing it to my modded Matrix M-Stage.
The T-amp is definitely a level up from the M-Stage. The T-amp sounds more open and natural. The M-Stage sounds dark and smoothed over in comparison. The T-amp is not at all bright. The details are just clearer and has more texture. You get more sparkle and shimmer without added sibilance.
Sound-stage is significantly wider. Singers and instruments are better focused in space.
The bass is as strong as the M-Stage, with slightly better definition.

The only drawback I can see is that the T-amp is incompatibility with common ground headphone plugs, which make it out of reach of most factory headphone without re-cable or modifying the cable.
For an inexpensive amp, the T-amp is quite an amazing performer. It might be worth your while to modify or re-cable just to check out the superb performance of the T-amp for headphone use.
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 5:57 AM Post #3 of 30

castlevania32

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Nice ! I also had this idea of using my TA2024 as a headphone amp, but don't have the diying skills or material
frown.gif

 
Correction : i use a TA2020 like this one : http://cgi.ebay.com/TA2020-Class-T-Amp-Amplifier-Tripath-Chip-SA-36-Silve-/190515121016?pt=Car_Amplifiers&hash=item2c5b960b78
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 10:38 AM Post #4 of 30

nigeljames

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Do you have any hiss?
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 11:25 AM Post #5 of 30

JadeEast

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I've used a t-amp for a number of Orthos and a AKG k-340. While they were all driven well, my main concern was the rising frequency response of the Tripath amp into higher loads. If you are going to use a tripath based amp, I would suggest building a resistor network that will present the amplifier with an load closer to what it was designed for. 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 12:45 PM Post #6 of 30

ETAHL

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I have the TA2024 version from the same manufacturer, mine is the SA-36, non "A" version, which I got a year or so ago.
There are instructions and materials plenty on the net, should be an easy and inexpensive DIY project.
 
Quote:
Nice ! I also had this idea of using my TA2024 as a headphone amp, but don't have the diying skills or material
frown.gif

 
Correction : i use a TA2020 like this one : http://cgi.ebay.com/TA2020-Class-T-Amp-Amplifier-Tripath-Chip-SA-36-Silve-/190515121016?pt=Car_Amplifiers&hash=item2c5b960b78



 
There is a faint hiss, about half the volume of most tube amps I have heard, just barely audable on my LCD-2 with no source. The hiss increase slightly at max volume,
 
Quote:
Do you have any hiss?



 
I heard about that problem with T-amps, but with the T-amp that I have, I didn't hear any frequency response issues with the LCD-2. It sound very balanced and even. It might have offset the very slight darkness of the LCD-2.
 
Quote:
I've used a t-amp for a number of Orthos and a AKG k-340. While they were all driven well, my main concern was the rising frequency response of the Tripath amp into higher loads. If you are going to use a tripath based amp, I would suggest building a resistor network that will present the amplifier with an load closer to what it was designed for. 



 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 1:56 PM Post #7 of 30

JadeEast

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I heard about that problem with T-amps, but with the T-amp that I have, I didn't hear any frequency response issues with the LCD-2. It sound very balanced and even. It might have offset the very slight darkness of the LCD-2.
 


 

I was more concerned, in theory, that the T-amps output filters had been designed around an expected 8ohm load. I didn't hear anything particularly wrong using the Tripath amp, but without the ability to make proper measurements, I thought it best to be cautious. The amps have the possibility of DC offset, a rising high frequency response, and ultra high frequency switching noise getting past the output filter when driving headphones. Not that they don't sound good, there just may be some technical issues to be aware of.
 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 2:11 PM Post #8 of 30

El_Doug

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I was just about to convert my Charlize (2020) for use as a headphone amp - what kind of resistor network do you recommend? 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 2:55 PM Post #10 of 30

ETAHL

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Initially, I have the same concerns.
All the T-amp I own have DC offset adjust potentiometers. I double check the DC offset to make sure it is within 0 to 5mV. I also plug in a cheap headphone before connecting the LCD-2. Definitely do not want to damage the LCD-2.
tongue_smile.gif
  The LCD-2 is rated up to 15W, I am sure it is tougher than most headphones.
I am not too concern with the high frequency switching noise, if there is any, the high impedance and toughness of the LCD-2 should nib it in the butt. I'll check it with a scope when I get the chance.
Still listening to the T-amp; amazing stuff for cheap.
o2smile.gif

 
Quote:
I was more concerned, in theory, that the T-amps output filters had been designed around an expected 8ohm load. I didn't hear anything particularly wrong using the Tripath amp, but without the ability to make proper measurements, I thought it best to be cautious. The amps have the possibility of DC offset, a rising high frequency response, and ultra high frequency switching noise getting past the output filter when driving headphones. Not that they don't sound good, there just may be some technical issues to be aware of.
 



 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 3:05 PM Post #11 of 30

ETAHL

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Maximum 16ohm is recommended with T-amps, I suspect one would hook up a 16ohm, 10W power resistor in parallel with the headphone should do the trick.
Without the addition of any resistors, I could not hear any issues with frequency imbalance with my LCD-2 with the model of T-amp I have. It could be different with other headphones, or other T-amps.
Consider the price of T-amps, it is inexpensive to try and lots to gain.
o2smile.gif


 
Quote:
I was just about to convert my Charlize (2020) for use as a headphone amp - what kind of resistor network do you recommend? 



 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM Post #12 of 30

ETAHL

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My high power 50W TK2050 T-amp is a giant killer. Easily surpass my mid 90's Yamaha flagship amplifier/surround sound processor in sound quality. I use it over the Yamaha with stereo audio. Talk about value, it is only 1/25 the price of the Yamaha.
 
Quote:
T-amps always seem underrated.



 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 5:20 PM Post #13 of 30

sluker

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I have been using my TAMP-20 from HLLY (20w/ch) with my HE5-LE's and it blows the class A biased M-stage out of the watter. In fact it and my MiniWatt are better than both the M-stage and the LF339. 
I am about to pull the trigger on a pair of LCD-2's so I was wondering if this combo would work for them as well? Should I pony up for the xlr cable?
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 8:57 PM Post #14 of 30

JadeEast

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Quote:
Maximum 16ohm is recommended with T-amps, I suspect one would hook up a 16ohm, 10W power resistor in parallel with the headphone should do the trick.
Without the addition of any resistors, I could not hear any issues with frequency imbalance with my LCD-2 with the model of T-amp I have. It could be different with other headphones, or other T-amps.
Consider the price of T-amps, it is inexpensive to try and lots to gain.
o2smile.gif


 


 


I used a 10ohm 10W resistor parallel to the headphones. 
 
Apr 10, 2011 at 9:01 PM Post #15 of 30

ETAHL

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Quote:
I have been using my TAMP-20 from HLLY (20w/ch) with my HE5-LE's and it blows the class A biased M-stage out of the watter. In fact it and my MiniWatt are better than both the M-stage and the LF339. 
I am about to pull the trigger on a pair of LCD-2's so I was wondering if this combo would work for them as well? Should I pony up for the xlr cable?


If they work well for your HE5-LE, I don't see why they won't just as well with the LCD-2.
Getting the XLR cable gives you more flexibility. All you need to do is make yourself an adapter to go from XLR to banana plugs, and an adapter to go from XLR to 1/4" plugs. Now you can use any type of amp.
 
 
I have since added a 10ohm, 10W metal film resistor in parallel to each output channel of the T-amp. The load the amp sees now is about 8.3ohm. There are no sonic differences that I can hear with the resistors in place.
 

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