ECP Audio T4 Headphone Amplifier

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by TomB, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    My fault - the T4 production is still not ready. We've run into various little detail issues with the cases. Then too, I've decided to offer different parafeed caps (Auricap XO). I've also developed a Pelican-like case that can be used for the amp.

    Because I think the pre-purchase folks deserve extra, I will make those things standard for them - along with the Mullard tubes.

    Believe it or not, I'm coming down to the final wire with this batch of 6. I actually hope to have them completed this weekend, assuming the Auricaps arrive in time.
     
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  2. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    Also meant to mention - we will have a matching DAC, soon:

    [​IMG]

    I will have more pics later next to the T4. In this pic by itself, it's a bit misleading with regard to size. It's only 6" x 5" x 1-1/2" tall, sort of a Mini-Me T4 - very cute. ;)

    Amanero USB, 24-bit, 192kHz asynchronous USB, Cirrus Logic/Wolfson 8741 DAC chip with DSHA-like fully differential output stage and Lundahl output transformers. It uses a small, inexpensive AC walwart feeding linear-regulated power supplies on the PCB.

    Hopefully, BillD will be auditioning the Auricap-equipped T4 along with the Walnut X next week and will let us know what he thinks. :)

    P.S. The T4 loaner is on its way back to me. I'll be installing the Auricaps and then ship it to Theloniousnoop for his Arizona meet later this month.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
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  3. Jinxy245

    Jinxy245 Vegan Puss

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    Looks beautiful! Incredibly small too.
    Do you have a ballpark price yet?
     
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  4. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    No exact price yet - but the Walnut X will probably be closer to $1000 than the $2200 for the T4.

    Turns out the T4 loaner had a "dead" tube. Either it developed in transit, or I didn't listen to it enough before I sent it out - probably the latter. You can have a situation where a tube tests OK and may even match output (I'll have to check that to be certain). The sound will appear to be centered but after a period of listening, it becomes obvious that one channel has little to no dynamics.

    Anyway, I've got Auricaps in it now and two good Mullards. I'll get it to BillD on Tuesday. After that, it'll be shipped to Theloniousnoop for his Arizona meet later this month.

    The rest of the Auricaps came in, so I should have this batch of 6 finished, soon. There is one still not reserved with a pre-purchase. Those who pre-purchased will get the Pelican-like case, Mullard tubes, and Auricaps standard. The amp will also come with a complete Owner's Manual, allen wrench for the knob, a quality Phillips screwdriver, and a plastic spudger tool. The screwdriver and spudger are used to get the lid off when rolling tubes.
     
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  5. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Has anyone heard both the Liquid Crimson and T4? I'm planning to convince my wife to let me drop too much money on an amp and I'm starting to consider the options. I'd love to find a Liquid Crimson again, but I'm not fooling myself into believing that will happen.
     
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  6. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    Stop chasing the Dragon Bro!
     
  7. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Wish I could. Should've never sold the Liquid Crimson when I had to get a car. But I know there's actually better out there. I'll try to get my ears on a T4 at some point.
     
  8. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    The first batch of T4 are still in process of being built. There may be a prototype or two out but I very much doubt that the A/B comparison for which you ask exists yet. What do you find lacking in the Liquid Platinum you have?
     
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  9. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Oh! Thought there were a couple going around for reviews.

    The slam and overall dynamics, clarity, and speed all felt better to me with the Liquid Crimson compared to Liquid Platinum. The LP is almost as good as the Crimson, but I don't find myself excited to get home and listen to it. It's very good, but not top tier.

    Basically, I'm considering something in the price range of the T4.
     
  10. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    While I too eagerly await the T4 production units to show up in the wild, may I offer the following observation. Had Dr. Cavalli opted to remain in the boutique amp business delivering a CNC machined case with milled aluminum front panel, internal LPS and charged $10K for the Liquid Platinum I believe it would have achieved Holy Grail status.
     
  11. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    I like that I'm getting free cap upgrade on mine.

    Also my office looks like an extremely messy warehouse, so I wouldn't be able to enjoy it for weeks anyway.

    Or so I keep telling myself.

    I'd tell you it's helping but then I look at the growing pile of tubes ...
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Oh no!

    I suspect this might have been the case when @brencho and I heard it. We replaced with a 12AT7 Brimar deal, and it sounded so much better and more lively. We thought it was the uber tube, but in retrospect, one of the provided stock tubes might have been bad. This makes all the more sense now. Tubes make a difference, but not that much of a difference.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  13. BillD

    BillD Rando

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    Picked up the T4 and Walnut X from Tom Tuesday morning and had two wonderful days with this Amp and DAC. I had previously auditioned the T4 prior to the Auricap modification.

    This revision definitely takes the T4 to another level. The music is much more organic sounding. I then connected the Walnut X which was simple with the supplied Amanero drivers and was blown away. I had previously stated that the HD800’s and T4 are a match made in heaven and can say the same with T4 and Walnut X combination.

    Can’t wait for this combo package deal to be available from Beezar/ ECP Audio!
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  14. brencho

    brencho Friend

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    @BillD what does more organic mean to you regarding the cap change in the t4?

    And what about the dac do you like, any chance for comparison to other dacs on hand?
     
  15. BillD

    BillD Rando

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    @brencho More organic as in more natural sounding or like vinyl. I compared the Walnut X to my Naim dac. It sounded better all around more dynamic, wider soundstage, etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
  16. sidq

    sidq Acquaintance

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    @BillD or anyone that has heard the T4 + DSHA 3F, does the 3F manage to capture that slight "holographic" midrange that I found even with my T3? I don't mind giving up a bit of resolution and speed for that. Ive heard the 3F still has that magic midrange but id love to hear a few opinions.

    Price isn't really an issue between the 2 but I do love a touch of liquidity. That being said having had tubes for ages the simplicity of SS would be a bloody boon.

    @TomB is the last preorder T4 still up for grabs?
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Without you further qualifying "holographic" or "liquidity", I can only guess what you mean: Go T4.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  18. sidq

    sidq Acquaintance

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    Fair enough. I’m at work but I’ll try to write a better explanation when I get home.
     
  19. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    Unfortunately, no. All 6 have now been reserved. However, I plan on starting on another 4 as soon as final payment and shipping is completed for these 6. The pre-order is still active on Beezar.com. I was hoping to change to stock sales, but you guys have reserved them faster than I can build them. I hope that will change in the future, though, now that we've worked out the manufacturing issues.

    The next 4 should go pretty quickly. The only reason I would do another 4 instead of 6 is that there are only 4 more PCBS on hand right now, but getting more should not take long. Bottom line, I hope to continue manufacturing the T4 on a regular basis.

    The Walnut DAC will continue to be pursued, too. I'm receiving the first volume casework manufacturing run in another week. However, the numbers of Walnut DACs planned will be at 1/2 the rate of the T4. Final fit-up with the casework still needs some additional work, though.

    I will be working most of this weekend getting the six T4s cased up and ready to ship.
     
  20. sidq

    sidq Acquaintance

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    I've listened to certain tube setups that seem to provide space around each instrument or sound while at the same time giving them a specific location in the audio "space". I guess you might call it imaging or soundstage depth? Guitars for instance seem to have texture and crunch, I can feel the guys hands on the strings. Perhaps sounding more musical and spacious while giving up a bit of neutrality.

    By the same token I've heard SS amps that have loads of power and control over the whole frequency range but just sound a bit flat, like everyone is playing in a straight line.They can have brilliant technicalities but I just don't enjoy them. I know you like Fuji cameras so illl liken these amps to the Sony A7R line. Technologically brilliant while providing no joy in use.

    I use the term holographic because sometimes I feel like i'm surrounded by the instruments, all slotted nicely into their spots and I find the effect addictive.
     
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