Ferrum OOR / HYPSOS Headamp Review: Girl You Know It's True

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by purr1n, Dec 27, 2023.

  1. YMO

    YMO Chief Fun Officer

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2018
    Likes Received:
    10,579
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Palms Of The Coasts, FL
    Maybe is my forceful personality (also doesn't help that I am a people manager at work), but if you got something to say, say it.

    My work-side is not best side.
     
  2. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania
    Question somewhat unrelated to the amp... and I'm sure I'm showing my extreme ignorance when it comes to the EE side of this kind of stuff (which usually flies way over my head)... but if the hypsos is being touted as a better PSU, then why is the mains noise so bad?

    Does this mean its even worse without the Hypsos in the loop? If I'm way out in left field, then please tell me and I'll just go back to lurking on this one...
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 3
    • List
  3. lagadu

    lagadu Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2019
    Likes Received:
    239
    Trophy Points:
    45
    Location:
    PT/DK
    To add a few of my impressions of the Oor:

    While I don't have enough confidence to say that it sucks with dynamics but excels with orthos in general, it does fit my experience. For reference I have the Oor and a starlett. Compared to the starlett the verite open sounds boring and the utopia is weird: it sounds like the music is very "rushed" out of it, the starlett is much much better on both counts.
    However the Lcd-r sounds so much better out of the Oor than it does from the jot-a, the difference is stark. Most importantly for me though, and the reason I still have it: the lcd-4z sounds fantastic out of it, not as magical as the utopia does out of the starlett (with a very different sound of course) but I've yet to be as impressed by the 4z with any other amp.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    89,962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Three things:

    I would hope we'd be mature and know each other well enough that if I or anyone else says something sucks, we can get over it. It's known that I love Grados, especially the RS1X (with the Gerrod pads). When I read comments on the RS1X thread of people on the loaner going "WTF!@$!%@" I could not help but laugh, that is laugh hard. I get it. I love thinly sliced beef tongue meat and I get why others don't.

    I dislike being the guy who has to deliver the bad news seemingly all the time. That's fine. I know many of you look toward me for this bearer-of-bad-news function as it's largely why I have been silently banned at Head-Fi by Jude (account is active, but all permissions turned off).

    I'm still a little bit back and forth on the Ferrum Oor. Yes, I would not recommend this amp to people with large collection of dynamics. This amp truly sucks with dynamics. I applaud @netforce for serving his customers right. However, I'd be hard-pressed to find more suitable amps specifically with Susvara, HEK, Empyrean knowing how they sound. Whether the two darlings, the latest FOTM Pietus and Mjolnir 3 made the grade with them is to be seen. If it's two wrongs make a right, then so it be. I myself use this method all the time. The worse feeling is when something falls below expectation. The high-cost, coupled with a build that really is no sexier than Schiit's bare bones approach (also the Massdrop THX789 ripoff), extremely subpar sound quality with something as basic as the HD600, and glowing praise from massive Internet marketing, really threw off my expectations. I don't like one-trick ponies. This isn't any different from my review of the Sonnet Paramecium DAC, which like the Oor had a specialist application.
     
    • Like Like x 10
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 4
    • List
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2023
  5. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2017
    Likes Received:
    11,021
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Philippines, The
    This is all relatively low-level stuff but the fact that there's not an insignificant amount of research looking into the deleterious effects of ultra-and-infrasonic noise on the human person does make me wonder whether this could all contribute to gradual shifting of mood towards "eugh" in the longer term.

    As was pointed out elsewhere it seems like ESS and other chipmakers have been taking strides towards improving ultrasonic performance with their newer releases, and I really rather doubt that this'd be something they'd invest money into solving were there not halfway decent reasons to do so.

    Also, while I do appreciate the reduced ringing on something like the FiiO BTR7's "fast" filter (linear phase IIRC), there's just way too much brightness with something like the Andromeda 2020 out of the Pentaconn jack; just going by measurements both should extend cleanly to 20kHz, so what's the big deal, right? I can't identify clean tones above 18kHz (SCREW YOU, MCCORMICK), but the fatigue is still there for longer listening sessions.
     
  6. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,247
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Palo Alto
    Home Page:
    My aggregated impressions (I own all of these)

    Caldera: Oor > MJ3 > Stellaris > DSHA-3F
    Atrium: Stellaris > DSHA-3F ~ (not the same, but different strengths) MJ3 > Oor

    Sources: HQPlayer DSD256 (poly-sinc-gauss family upsampling, ASDM7EC-super modulator) > Holo May KTE (Oor, MJ3, Stellaris #1) or Holo Sprint 2 KTE (DSHA-3F, Stellaris #2).

    I bought Oor (+Hypsos) on impulse because at the time I had nothing that worked well with Caldera. For that, and for the fact that it does not need N minutes to sound good, I'm still using the pairing. Some modern jazz and classical pieces still work best for me with the pairing. But realistically, with MJ3 I get >90% of what I want from Caldera, and with Stellaris or MJ3 (different moods), I get what I want from Atrium.
     
  7. lithium

    lithium Almost "Made"

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Likes Received:
    227
    Trophy Points:
    50
    Location:
    Northeast of somewhere
    With so many amps at the high end to compete with, perhaps it makes business and marketing sense for the amp manufacturers to have a specialist application.

    Will sound great in the demo and people are happy long enough with them.
     
  8. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,537
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Above a certain price point (or any price point really), I'm happy with a new piece of gear for precisely as long as it takes until I get (or set my eyes upon) my next toy.
     
    • heart heart x 2
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    89,962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    I'm going to take this approach from the top. There are several things I'd want answers:
    1. What is the extent of the AC mains hum, could it affect sensitive IEMs?
    2. Is the extent different of the hum different between balanced and SE output?
    3. Do the gain levels help?
    4. Is the hum a ground loop or from the power supply?
    Here is a -30dBu output (0.077Vrms) at 1kHz enough to make a Grado really loud. This is from the SE phono output using HYPSOS. Sure, the hum is quite visible, but there more than 70db to play with here. Assuming you where listening a rock concert levels (100db SPL), the hum would be like trying to make out someone whispering.
    upload_2023-12-29_9-45-51.png

    Here is the result from the balanced output (looks one blue channel got better but red channel worse)
    upload_2023-12-29_9-50-8.png

    Now I imagine that it would be possible to hear the hum from the Oor with a super duper sensitive IEM like the Ara, but totally wrong use case, so not even going to bother. Finally as I mentioned before, I personally do not care about AC mains hum because it's everywhere. We are already inundated with it (and more). This is a spectrum from my battlestation with the APx555 turned on and the headphone measurement microphone outside of the box and pointed towards me away from teh APx555. There is hum (and a lot of other crap)
    upload_2023-12-29_10-5-42.png

    Now, let's take a look at the AC mains with different gains next.
     
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 3
    • List
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2023
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    89,962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Below are the differences between low gain and high gain. For some reason low gain is worse with it comes the higher harmonics of the AC mains. We see the grass of 60Hz multiples continue well past 1kHz. It this the end of the world? Absolutely not. For me, it's more academic. There can be debate whether this has an audible effect. For sure it does affect SINAD. However, I am annoyed that a kilobuck power supply allows for stuff like this, but that is another topic we can discuss later.

    -30dBu 1kHz LOW GAIN HYPSOS
    upload_2023-12-29_10-17-46.png

    -30dBu 1kHz HIGH GAIN HYPSOS
    upload_2023-12-29_10-15-51.png

    We'll take a look at the cheapy switcher next.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2023
  11. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Likes Received:
    3,247
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Palo Alto
    Home Page:
    It may be totally irrelevant (different problem), but the Hypsos I got originally had substantial transformer hum even with a CMX-2 DC offset filter. After some back and forth I got a replacement that does not hum. Reason I'm noting this is that maybe their build quality or quality control are not commensurate with their pricing :eek:
     
  12. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

    Staff Member Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    8,146
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Exit stage left....
    IMO there are no "left field" questions here, as it allows us non-EE wizards to learn and understand more.

    and not being qualified to answer, am glad Purrin has already begun to break this down in a solid 4 step approach, I remain curious about potential H4-20 Sum changes in the following modes:

    1. not knowing how, or how well, Low and Medium Gain are implemented in the Oor
    what does medium gain look like?

    2. If the measurements were performed as the photo on page 1 might indicate, (stacked on top)
    separating the Hypsos away from the Oor may have minor effects in the low frequencies
    as mentioned here:
    https://headphones.com/blogs/reviews/ferrum-oor-hypsos-review-and-measurements

    3. Bypass Function
    a rotary switch on the back can bypass the Oor potentiometer,
    and full power of signal at input will be transferred to headphone outputs.

    Realizing that none of the above would significantly alter subjective or pairing spider charts....
     
  13. joch

    joch Friend

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,446
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    the other side of the big ocean
    I for one am grateful to learn about the hidden side of the OOR, because I thought it was something I should target for from what I’ve read. It would be great for that one special planar headphones that I have. The value goes way down if you have dynamics too and limited resources.

    I think the real disappointment is that some gears are just one trick ponies, but nothing wrong with that if it’s quite a trick and if you know what you’re getting into. Like those with Stax, Susvara, HE6 or Utopia…looking for the unicorn complement. You can’t expect an “energizer” to work well with anything other than Stax, or a Crack to work well with anything other high impedance headphones, or in the case of the OOR anything other than planars it seems.

    The real service here is knowing about the exceptional tricks an equipment can do, but also learning its serious limitations. The disservice is knowing only the good side, or only of the bad side.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 8
    • List
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    89,962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Here is the result on low gain for the cheap switcher. Whew!. I was afraid it could have been a ground loop. One thing is for sure, the HYPSOS is the cause of the AC mains noise.

    -30dBu 1kHz LOW GAIN CHEAP-SWITCHER
    upload_2023-12-29_10-50-59.png

    However, does this tell us the entire story? Let's increase the bandwidth to 1MHz. I thought we'd see some switcher spikes, but maybe Meanwell has improved their models with extra filtering.

    -30dBu 1kHz LOW GAIN CHEAP-SWITCHER 1MHz bandwidth
    upload_2023-12-29_10-53-20.png

    Now let's go back to the HYPSOS. Note the elevated noise from the AC hums (with 64k FFT bin size, we won't get good frequency resolution with a 1MHz bandwidth).

    -30dBu 1kHz LOW GAIN HYPSOS 1MHz bandwidth
    upload_2023-12-29_10-56-54.png

    I'll leave it at this. Those can have compared the switcher with the big HYPSOS supply can chime in about SQ differential. I can to limited extent, that with the HYPSOS, we have the ability to tweak to voltages to tweak for a more relaxed or more aggressive sound. The AC mains noise is academic to me personally, but I would have liked to see this filtered better given that this is positioned as a high-end product. Given the plethora of cheap amps using onboard linear power supplies that measure with barely any AC mains noise, I don't see why Ferrum could not have done the same with an expensive outboard supply.
     
    • Like Like x 6
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

    Staff Member Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    89,962
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    Finally, with the HYPSOS NOT stacked with OOR (three feet away)
    upload_2023-12-29_11-13-49.png

    donotstack.jpg
     
    • Like Like x 11
    • Epic Epic x 8
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
  16. Beefy

    Beefy Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2021
    Likes Received:
    1,742
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Canada
    Yikes. What's the case made from, papier mache? Because it sure as shit isn't doing any decent shielding.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 4
    • Like Like x 2
    • Epic Epic x 1
    • List
  17. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    May 28, 2017
    Likes Received:
    8,090
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Vancouver BC
    You call that ambient hum? Bah:

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Epic Epic x 2
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 1
    • List
  18. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

    Pyrate Contributor
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2018
    Likes Received:
    2,506
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania
    This was the genesis of my question... its a $1200 PSU that has less performance than a meanwell switcher? I guess the advantage of being able to somewhat tailor the sound of the amp via the voltage holds some advantage, but $1200? :eek:o_O:eek:
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
  19. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Pyrate BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    7,537
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    And if they really intended for them to stack, then an argument could be made that they could have gone with a more traditional EI core. From my (albeit limited) understanding, toroidal is efficient and doesn't emit much magnetic voodoo away from its axis which is great when it's close to other circuitry in the same box, but it does project the bad mojo along its axis which is where the stacking shenanigans come in.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 2
    • List
  20. Beefy

    Beefy Friend

    Pyrate
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2021
    Likes Received:
    1,742
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Canada
    At >$1000 for an 'audiophile' power supply, I'd expect a shielded toroid. There's just no excuse for magnetic hum to propagate through high end equipment.
     
    • Agreed, ditto, +1 Agreed, ditto, +1 x 7
    • Like Like x 5
    • List

Share This Page