Preamps

Discussion in 'Preamps' started by sphinxvc, Sep 21, 2016.

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  1. fierce_freak

    fierce_freak Friend

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    Thanks everyone. I'd prefer the balanced but my current amp only has single ended in (suppose I could use an adapter).
     

  2. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Unpaid LH Labs volunteer - Admin

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    I use this with a gungnir multibit. It's pretty good for $50.
     
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  3. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

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    It's been a while since I did my SYS vs. Saga comparison, but I never got around to sharing my notes. I did comparisons at 3 different volume levels, low, medium, high. Used my phone's DB meter and test tones to roughly volume match. At low volume, it was tough to tell what the difference was, basically all you heard was a bit more decay, and maybe more engagement with the Saga. At medium volume, you started hearing more nuances out of Saga, timbral intonations were better, you heard the air around a mike more, and could picture the musicians and their instruments better. At high volumes, the Saga made you feel the power and energy behind crescendos, while the SYS made you think, "ow, turn that down!" Bad loud vs. good loud basically. It's like when brass comes off harsh and makes you wince on a poor system, but sounds startling and appropriately bright on a good one. With the tube buffer activated, the Z-axis opens up more, vocals sound a bit forward (maybe just part of tube-enabled holography, resolving the singers closer?)
     
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  4. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    @sphinxvc: Thanks for the write-up! Would you mind sharing roughly what dB level the low, medium, and high volumes were?
     
  5. neogeosnk

    neogeosnk Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Probably a stupid question but could I stack the Saga on top of the jotunheim? Or would it be too hot? I know the jotunheim doesn't really get too hot but just wondering if anyone has this setup.
     
  6. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    Official answer would be to keep them side by side. Real answer is that it might be fine. Does the Jotunheim feel warm when you touch it? If it's not too hot the gap between them might be enough.

    My answer is to keep them far apart. I mean why are they near each other in the first place? The Saga is a remote controlled device while the Jotunheim is a headphone amp that should be near you. I would keep the Saga on the equipment rack and run long cables to the Jotunheim in active mode. After all, why get an active preamp if you are not going to use it?
     
  7. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master East

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  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    Just a list I made of volume controls. Not exhaustive or any comments on effect on audio

    Passive:
    log potentiometer
    fake log potentiometer
    double linear potentiometer
    rotary switch stepped attenuation
    relay based stepped attenuation
    chip based stepped attenuation
    Balanced shunt attenuation
    TKD ladder
    Auto-former or transformer based
    Light variable resistor

    Active:
    passive + active buffer (most active preamps)
    potentiometer after gain stage (the O2 amp arrangement)
    variable gain feedback (Peter Baxadall circuit)
    tube buffer

    Other:
    Digital volume control
     
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  9. kirayamato

    kirayamato Friend

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    Hi sorry if its already answered but are preamps good with headphones aswell ? as in if you add it to ur dac,amp chain does it help the sound or are they really for speakers.
     
  10. Yeskey

    Yeskey Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    I use the jotun as a preamp for my Project Polaris and through uncritical listening, the Polaris sounds about the same to me. The only downside(?) is more knobs to turn. I suppose this can be tested by volume matching the amp and preamp + amp, then listening for any differences. I'll try this in the morning and will get back to you if I find any significant changes.

    I know that @atomicbob does something similar with the Val2 + jotun in the system synergy thread, so he can shed more light on this topic.
     
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  11. Yeskey

    Yeskey Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Alright, because of free time this late at night. I volume-matched my jotun+polaris and polaris itself within .2 dB and listened to kanye west. From a relatively short session, the polaris itself presents a larger, fatter bass presence and is subtly more treble-forward compared to the Jotun+polaris. My preference is with the Jotun+polaris because the bass sounds cleaner and blends more easily with the rest of the spectrum. (The bass on the Polaris-alone sticks out like a sore thumb)

    Takeaway is that preamps can affect sound sigs on headphones. For better or worse. (In this case, Jotun + polaris sounds good)
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
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  12. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    Usually I think it's best to avoid extra components in the signal path. Or in other words, the best preamp is no preamp. However in a headphone amp the volume is usually controlled by a potentiometer which can have problems with channel imbalance. In that case I do think using an external passive stepped attenuator(like the Saga) can be an improvement. If you do volume control with a preamp you should leave the headphone amp on MAX and do all the volume control with the preamp.

    I believe Doug at ECP Audio even makes headphone amps in a power amp configuration so you can use them with a preamp.
     
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  13. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    Very good hp amps make for great pres. Not necessarily the other way around.
     
  14. Cspirou

    Cspirou Friend

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    I t
    i think he was talking about adding a preamp to a headphone amp. Not using a preamp as a headphone amp
     
  15. msommers

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    Another preamp to keep an eye out for is from Modwright. Hard to find but excellent value
     

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