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VE RUNABOUT Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by nmatheis, Sep 10, 2015.
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  1. nmatheis Contributor
    Hello fellow headfi'ers. I'd like to introduce you to a new portable / transportable amp from VE, a relatively new Chinese company that's already started to shake up the earbud scene. In reviews, their flagship Zen earbuds have been compared favorably to mid-range Sennheiser headphones. In addition to the Zen, VE has unleashed a midrange earbud called Asura, an entry level earbud called Monk, and an IEM called The Duke. All of these have been released in a relatively short amount of time. I've been lucky enough to hear all of them and have been damn impressed with VE's initial efforts in this space. You're definitely going to be hearing more from these guys, so keep your eyes peeled.
    Breaking News: @Hisoundfi just released the first REVIEW of the VE RUNABOUT!!!
    Ok, back to RUNABOUT, which VE affectionately refers to as RA. That's much easier to type, so I'm going to adopt that shorthand name and call it the RA, too. So what exactly is the RA?
    Well, it's named after this:

    Being a Star Trek fan, I can deeply appreciate this! But, we're not here to discuss Star Trek. We're here to discuss the RA amp from VE, so on with the show...
    The RA was designed by VE to complement the Zen earbuds and Duke IEM. I've found that it does indeed complement both nicely and sounds great with Asura, as well. In fact, this relatively powerful, clean sounding amp has sounded quite good with whatever I've thrown at it. Following are some official pics and specs.

    Ok, so those of us who've been in the game for awhile immediately recognize that this looks more like a DIY amp than a lot of the current portable amp offerings on the market. What's going on here? Well, what's going on here is a lovingly-crafted amp designed by VE to meet their sonic criteria without compromises that would give you a smaller amp. The VE crew aren't messing around here, folks!
    VE's description of the RA:
    RUNABOUT(RA) is Venture Electronics' first portable amp. It is a classical OP + BUF design with two gain settings (Low Gain=3.4X, High Gain=5.7X). The output voltage swing is 3V RMS. Driving 32Ω @ 150mW and 300Ω @ 55mW, it is designed to work with most dynamic driver based earphones and headphones.
    RA uses a single 9V battery (6F22 type), DC to DC voltage boost, replaced by a virtual grounds / 3 channel headphone amp design. This is a very classic design and has been implemented in many successful amps from various established brands. While using TLE2426 as the power managing chip, we chose BUF634 to be RA's buffer & isolation chip. Not only it can effectively solve the capacitive load caused by self-excited oscillation and related issues, it also became the solid foundation of the implementing high-current OP / BUF for the amp section.
    he amp section consists of 2 x JRC4556AD, a low voltage, high output current OPA chip. Along with its input stage BJT design (similar to more popular OPA chips like OPA2604, OPA2132, etc.), this design offers less background noise and increased stability with low impedance audio source. RA uses a large negative feedback loop, and resistors are added between the OPA chips to regulate and isolate the current. The added bead design in the output section further ensures its stability.
    1. Output voltage swing 3V RMS
    2. 32
      Ω @ 150mW / 300
      Ω @ 55mW
    3. Low Gain=3.4X, High Gain=5.7X
    4. TI TLE2426, BUF634, JRC 4556AD
    5. VISHAY wafer chip resistors and MBB0207 series resistance
    6. BC Low ESR high current filter capacitor, opa pins SMD AVX tantalum decoupling
    7. Handpicked BI potentiometer
    8. Taiwan SH gold seal power switch, (life span=100k times)  (SPL amp also use the switches from SH)
    9. Japanese OTAX small sealed switch for
       gain adjustment
    10. TYCO fully shielded headphone jack
    11. KEYSTONE 590 battery shrapnel
    12. All RC components are hand-picked +SMIC soldering.
    Thanks for taking the time to check out the VE RUNABOUT. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it, fellow headfi'ers!
    golov17 likes this.
  2. golov17
    Thank you for this thread :ok_hand: I have to wait for my RA :bow:
  3. peter123
    Excellent initiative Nikolaus!

    I'm in with my Wokei style RA :wink:

  4. zhibli06
    nice thread!
  5. nmatheis Contributor

    Carbon fiber :blink:

    Woot, woot!!!
  6. peter123
    Carbon fiber ftw and @Wokei for president!
    Surely that picture is crappy enough for you :wink:
  7. Wokei
    Seem I was mentioned as the Black Carbon Fibre Master  ...LOL....FTW Wokei Style
    Any RA amp for me to do me magic on them ..muahahahahahahahahahaaaaa 
    Not RA but ....
    2014-08-3020.55.26.jpg 2015-03-1304.09.14.jpg
  8. mochill
    Mine is at my post office and hoping it comes today:laughing:
    Faisal63 likes this.
  9. mochill
    OH YEAH!!!!!!!!! RA out for delivery :grin:
    Faisal63 likes this.
  10. golov17
    Congratulations! :bouquet:
  11. nmatheis Contributor
    Have fun, mo!

    Report back in once you've had a chance to play with the RA.
  12. peter123

    Hey Mo how is it? You became as silent as the background on the RA :wink:
  13. mochill
    I almost cried sewing the destroyed box:cry:, but after opening it and seeing the amp was find is was happy :smiley:.the size is surprising too, nice and small:sunglasses: now when I get home at 11pm I'll report on sound:blush:
    Faisal63 likes this.
  14. mochill
    Holy black magic :sweat:, the timbre tone and textures and efffffing off the wall and details creeps out on a transparent soundstage :sweat:. Man do VE products rock:laughing:
    waynes world and Faisal63 like this.
  15. nmatheis Contributor

    Glad you're enjoying it, mo!
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