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. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    Yeah, 24V is the suggested output from the Hypsos. If it was at 14V, I can imagine it sounding off.

    I can compare the Ferrum stack directly to the Enleum and SPL Phonitor SE I also have here, and unless one thinks those amps are god awful, too (and totally fine if you do; I'm definitely not here to tell anyone what to think), I don't hear *that* big of a performance delta.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2024
  2. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    That would also be a function of the amp being underpowered, I guess.

    I must have screwed up.

    I'm not sure, though, how the weirdness with the overtones would be explained by that, and they were among the worst facets of the amp's sound to me. But then I'm no electrical engineer, nor do I know enough about physics. Quite the opposite, I'm ashamed to say.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2024
  3. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    Oh, for sure, I'm no engineer either. To be fair, I've not played with the voltage range on the Hypsos yet, but I believe raising the voltage makes it sound more saturated? So maybe a much lower voltage would make it sound thin and limp?

    One of these days, I'll mess around with it.

    And, again, I'm not so invested in any piece of equipment I own to get defensive about it not working for others. It's just that I don't hear the Hypsos that way and suspect something might have been amiss.
     
  4. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    The Hypos was set to the Oor at 24V. I don’t think that changed when I sent it out. It would defaulted to the last setup. I did not find any of his impressions very off to me.
     
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  5. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    I’m next in line so will check the default voltage when I plug it in. I guess that will confirm the voltage @Tchoupitoulas used during his time with the amp.
     
  6. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    It takes a lot of effort to change the voltage. It's like not an accidental touch on the screen will make it 14V from the standard 24V.

    I do advise that folks crank up the voltage on the power supply to 26V. More energy and less sleepy.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2024
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    A "better THX789" is accurate, less depth, but more refined. As I mentioned, it sounded like super high gain amp with massive negative feedback. The description of the amp, i.e. discrete opamp would confirm this.

    It's possible this unit is defective. However this is doubtful because the few simple measurements I took, the spectrum analyzer views, are consistent with Golden's.
     
  8. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Hmm, if I wanted a better THX789, then I'd just go back to the Benchmark AHB2...



    Which I actually liked, though that probably puts me in the deep minority here.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 15, 2024
  9. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    @Tchoupitoulas the loaner unit is set to 24v out of box. So you had it with right voltage.
     
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  10. Tchoupitoulas

    Tchoupitoulas Friend

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    Thanks for checking. I've edited my impressions post in light of this. I've kept the relevant, original passages but have put them in strikethrough font.

    Sorry everyone for the confusion. I shouldn't have second-guessed myself.
     
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  11. Ksaurav402

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    Ferrum Oor + Hypsos Impression with Atrium

    Thank you, SBAF for the loaner.
    I spent around a week with Oor and Hypsos but I don’t own any Planar headphone which works better with this amp and I only have ZMF and Sennheiser. For this loaner, I used Atrium and occasionally an IEM from FiR Audio- XE6. The Hypsos was set at 24v and I didn’t play around with it at all. Overall, I am not as disappointed as reviewers before me but I’m not too impressed either.

    My Chain

    Roon + HQPlayer (Sinc-L, LNS15)-> UltraRendu + SU6(I2S)-> Sonnet Pasithea-> Freya + (KenRad VT231) -> Holo Bliss/EC ZDS

    Sound Impression -

    Please do note Freya + in tube mode was always on during this review.

    Bass - In comparison to Bliss, the bass doesn’t go as deep and lacks the impact although the delta to bliss is not big but it is there. I felt the decay in bass was getting truncated in Atrium out of Oor as if the music is in rush to finish. Decay is more natural in Bliss.


    Mid Bass - Leaner compared to Bliss and obviously in comparison to ZDS. There is slight warmth but both the other amp I have are warmer. Due to leaner nature of amp, the mids feels cleaner with complete pitch dark background. Very impressive. However due to slightly leaner mids combined with truncated decay in bass, the tube bloom effect that I like in my amps was missing to certain degree. May be a good thing to few as it keeps the amp very clean in mids.

    Mids - pretty good till we reach the upper mids because that’s where the difference between Bliss and Oor was apparent. Although there was energy in upper mids but felt as if Oor was filing off the rough edges that vocals should have in this region and hence making it sound extra smooth. I mean if a singer is at top of his/her voice then there is bound to be some roughness around it but it was coming as extra creamy vocals. I missed the roughness that should come across in such cases. So overall ultra silky smooth vocals

    Treble - there is definite lack of air around instruments. The extra crunch that one should get out of guitar plucks etc were missing out of Atrium with Oor and hence in busy passage there is tendency to loose some instrument in background as they don’t shine enough as they do with Bliss, which I feel has slightly more air around instruments.

    Soundstage - Width and depth is same as Bliss . ZDS goes deeper which both Bliss and Oor just can’t touch. Bliss, even though has same width and depth, gives more space to each individual instrument as compared to Oor and hence Bliss comes across as more layered amp in comparison to Oor. Again it is in comparison to other amp I had. Overall good width, decent depth for solid state but more space around instruments with dynamic driver would have been great.

    Layering is decent but ZDS has better layering due to greater depth it imparts.

    Final Thoughts -

    The physical dimension of this amp is perfect for desktop use.
    Pitch dark background and Silky smooth vocals is the bread and butter of this amp out of Atrium. Lot of power. I can see why ppl love it with Susvara. I personally would have loved some crunch in air and upper mids and slightly longer decay in bass with Atrium. Both macro and micro dynamics could have been better. Like the amp my review is neutral with some caveats.May be energetic DAC would go well with this amp.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2024
  12. HeyWaj10

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    After spending the last week with the Orr/Hypsos stack, I'm left feeling a bit at odds with it. Upon initial hookup, I confirmed the Hypsos voltage was set to the default (?) 24V, and initially stacked them together on top of each other (which I later realized is not the intended orientation of these things). Later on, I did end up putting them side by side on my small table, though I'm not sure that really changed much of anything sonically - I definitely couldn't perceive any noticeable difference.

    [​IMG]

    Note: all of my listening was via SE headphone output, as I do not own any balanced gear, so it's possible my impressions are limited due to not trying to full complement of its capabilities.

    On an initial, very high, level the Orr/Hypsos did a couple things better than my ACP+. However, by and large, there wasn't much different between the two amps. At first I was listening via the medium gain setting through the LCD-X, but that honestly sounded pretty flat and lifeless compared to the ACP+. Kicking the Orr into the high gain setting brought some extra energy, fullness, and the dynamics and impact improved a fair bit. So I lived in the high gain setting from there.

    Areas where Orr/Hypsos excelled:
    • Soundstage and image cohesiveness: instruments and effects track very clearly and easily when panning across the stage. This was such a nice improvement over the ACP+ that my stock LCD-X actually sounded more like RhythmDevil's RD-X from an image focus and cohesion perspective.
    • Very detailed and articulate: following the little instrumental intricacies was a breeze
    • Smooth treble response: absolutely nothing offended in the treble - this is very welcome to my sensitive ears. Comparatively, the ACP+ has a slight bit of grit to the treble.
    • Frequency response balance and refinement: really nothing stood out, offended, or drew unnecessary attention. Across the board, the sound was even, smooth, and nicely presented.
    • Soundstage width: compared to the ACP+, the headstage had more width and was readily discernible in hard panning tracks like Tool's Chocolate Chip Trip.
    Areas where ACP+ excelled:
    • Noise floor: no doubt about it. Regardless of whether using Hypsos or the standard switcher, the ACP+ had a lower noise floor.
    • Black background: further to the above, notes decayed longer and carried better presence with the ACP+
    • Bass Impact: ACP+ has more fullness and outright impact in the midbass, as well as low end extension/rumble. This was really apparent with Hans Zimmer / Man of Steel / Oil Rig. In this track, the low end rumble was more palpable, with greater midbass body and warmth, and presented the track's ominousness with the ACP+. With the Orr, everything was presented in a more clean, neutral, open nature – but was missing the gravity of the track’s purpose.
    • Harmonic overtones: possibly due to the blacker background and less smooth response of the Orr, the ACP+ rendered harmonic overtones with more clearly, also giving a greater sense of natural timbre to instruments
    • Soundstage depth: the ACP+ had more going on farther back in the stage, and with better instrument separation with it. Orr did have better instrument separation at the foreground, though.
    • Soul: not really sure what to say here, but the ACP+ just gave me more meat on the bones, whereas the Orr came off drier and leaner. A great example of this was with Zoe Keating / Into the Trees / Escape Artist. The weight and reverb of the cello renders with greater presence and emotion with the ACP+, and I could hear the texture of the bow running over the strings in a more natural sense. Ambient sounds of the track came through more crisp and lighter across the stage through the Orr/Hypsos, though.
    [​IMG]

    Before packing it all up, I did want to satisfy the curiosity of seeing how the standard switching power supply faired against the Hypsos connected.

    Hypsos Powered
    • More of an "energized" sound and presentation
    • The headstage moves more forward, images sharpen, and overall more fullness
    • Detail within the soundstage appears more prominent with a little more "pop"
    • Assuming due to the increased voltage, the Orr's sound is more powerful
    • All of the above comes at the cost of a raised noise floor
    Stock Switching PS
    • Noise floor drops a bit
    • Overall presentation is a bit softer, less forward, and relaxed
    • Image is not as sharp and takes some of that pop away from the vocals
    • Macrodynamics soften

    [​IMG]

    All in all, the Orr/Hypsos does a couple of things better, and they are definitely appreciated improvements/attributes. However, for the asking price, it’s really not doing anything earth-shattering and does not offer any significant “wow” factor. And especially when considering I’m comparing this stack to a ~$250 worth of components 1W amplifier. Don’t get me wrong, the Orr/Hypsos sounds very nice and does a lot right, but it by no means is performing in a way that I would assume an amplifier w/ dedicated PSU costing over 10x as much to perform. And knowing that, I’m even more content with my ACP+ for my LCD-X.

    Thanks so much for allowing me to spend some time with this stack!
     
  13. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Did the Hypsos move the needle at all on the ACP+ or not at all? I realize it sounds insane to buy a kilobuck LPS to power something like the ACP+, but might help others triangulate both if the Hypsos helps other gear and if the ACP+ responds to power “upgrades” (by buying something cheaper than the Hypsos).
     
  14. HeyWaj10

    HeyWaj10 Facebook Friend

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    I was not able to try that because, unless I missed an adapter hiding in the box, I did not have the appropriate umbilical cord that would attach to the ACP+. It’s definitely an interesting question whether that would help or not, but I was not able to try that for myself.
     
  15. Aklegal

    Aklegal Friend

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    I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in loaners. It is always a fun experience.

    NOTES: I increased the voltage to 26v per a suggestion earlier in this thread. This improved things over 24v. I used the my HD 650 for comparison because I found the Oor to be particularly bad with the Auteur Classic. I did not hear the amp with the smps because it seemed kind of pointless to do so given the MSRP of the the amps I was comparing it to.

    TLDR:
    Unremarkable sound. Not offensive and not memorable. Restrained dynamics because I am assuming that it would rather be Pierce Brosnan instead of Daniel Craig. Setting the Hypsos to 26v was better than 24v but it wasn't a game changer. A $3K setup that is far behind the $1,200 MJ3 and slightly behind the $1,400 (when I bought it) Master 9.

    Let us get this out of the way. I compared the MJ3 to the Oor for about 1 hour. About 50 minutes of that hour I spent just listening to the MJ3 through the HD650 and Auteur. I don't have any notes, I was enjoying music during those 50 minutes. The MJ3 is just better all the way around. Maybe the Oor had a blacker canvas. I shut the MJ3 down because having it and the Master 9 on at the same time is like sitting next to foundry.

    Oor positives:
    • Good blackground
    • smooth treble without loss of detail (BY FAR ITS BEST ATTRIBUTE)
    • good detail retrieval

    Oor Negatives:
    • Weak bass
    • weak - restrained dynamics
    Not alot of pros and cons because like I said, Unremarkable. Dynamics strongly remind me of the Denafrips Hestia preamp I reviewed on this site 4 years ago - very sleepy. I wrote of the Hestia at the time "It's competent and you hear those big moments, its just lazy AF." that applies to the Oor. The Oor doesn't lack for details or obscure them like the Hestia did but, nonetheless, I am getting serious deja vu.

    I fired up my largely retired Master 9. I have not used it as a speaker preamp for 2 years and not as a headphone amp since the MJ3 arrived. This is an older M9 from the times before Kingwa super Saiyan'ed his amps with 70+ gain settings in order to power all of the HiFiMans at once if you choose to do so. The M9 sounds fantastic with modded 6x0 headphones (particularly the JAR 650B) and this is the main reason I have kept it around. It falls apart with nearly every other headphone I have tried with it with the exception of the LCD2C (for pop music). Since the HD650 were my favorite and only headphones for years until my Auteurs took over, I never minded the M9's limitations. The M9 is just OK with the Auteur, hence the reason I thought that the Oor vs the M9 would be informative.

    Clarity/blackground. The Oor is clearer than both the MJ3 and M9. The M9 sounds a bit hazy compared to both the Oor and the MJ3. The M9 makes up a little ground in the midrange but I think that is due to the very slight v shaped and less rich mids (which coincidently makes the Master 9 a great match with the Yggdrasil OG). Despite, the Oor being the "clearest" amp I had on hand, I found it difficult to tell the difference between the Yggdrasil OG and GS while using it. Differences are readily apparent with the M9 and MJ3 and through my speakers. The reason? The Oor's weak plankton or microdynamics? Probably both in addition to the Oor's desire to make everything sound controlled.

    The M9 has better bass overall. The Oor has better bass detail and is more precise but not by much. The M9 hits alot harder. With the Oor the bass is there but it is just "there" not doing much.

    Dynamics again. Here is the difference in the simplest terms. With the Mj3 and the M9 to a slightly lesser extent, when the music reaches loud climatic peaks or crashes, you might instinctively reach for the volume to turn it down, but you don't because it was just that passage that was loud. Everything returns to normal. That is great, that is exciting. The Oor can play loud, but everything will be loud. Forget classical and hard bop jazz with robust brass sections with this thing. It does Laufey pretty well though (Don't come for me, I love Laufey. I did enjoy her album through the Oor lol).

    So $3k is way too much for this. I don't hate the amp, it is just undercooked and unremarkable. I don't know what price would make this performance acceptable. I don't know who this amp is for.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2024
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    $299.99?
     
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  17. AlPastor

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    What can I say that hasn't already been said. I think AK really did a good job summing up my thoughts above. My listening notes pretty much mirror his review.

    Chain for my session was Qobuz/Audirvana > Gungnir A2 > Oor xlr > LCD-3.

    Clean & quiet best describes this Hypos/Orr combo. Not quite sterile but really not much fun either. My daily driver is a MJ3 and back-to-back this combo really left me underwhelmed. You get to the point in the song where you expect and know the slam is coming, but it never happens. The lack of dynamics is really on display with familiar tracks. With an amp at this price point I was expecting superior separation at least - not the case. Bland, too even keeled. Doesn't sound bad, but flat-lined compared to MJ3. I think some people find value in these kinds of attributes, but I listen to music for fun. I thought to myself, even if I was working and just needed some background music on, I'd probably reach for the Piety before the Oor.

    24v vs 26v didn't make much of a notable difference for me. Will be interesting to see what direction Ferrum heads in future iterations.

    Really appreciate the opportunity to try out this stack. Thanks SBAF.
     
  18. Lickumms

    Lickumms Acquaintance

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    Turns out I made basically the same comparison as AKlegal. The Master 9 vs the OOR/HYPSOS. So I'm going to keep the review pretty short since I pretty much found the same things as AK did with Dynamic headphones. Might have to try out the MJ3.


    My set up was PC > R8MK2 > switcher box > Oor XLR/Master 9 XLR > Various headphones.

    Couple quick things to note. I primarily use the M9 as a pre-amp for my set up. I only used the the Oor stack for my listening session. I mainly listen on tube amps.


    Thoughts:

    1. The Oor stack's black-round is quieter than the M9. Not massively but definitely noticeable.

    Dynamic headphones:TLDR: Terrible never buy this amp for Dynamic headphones.

    2. Everything on the Oor is played at the same volume. So there is no hard hitting or deep reaching bass in songs. Every part of the song is played at the exact same volume. Everything playing at the same volume does mean that the stack does produce some pretty good detail but most songs sound quite congested and cramp since literally everything is pushed to the front.

    3. Dynamics pretty much come to die on Oor. There is no rumble on bass no sizzle on symbols every note is played very short and harshly. Which leaves most songs sound dead and lifeless.

    4. The HD800s sound stage sounds closed off and cramp on the Oor compared to the M9 which has a great air with the HD800s. The already weak bass on the HD800s basically disappears completely on the Oor. Don't get me wrong the M9 isn't great with dynamic headphones compared to my tube amps but is MUCH better than the Oor.

    5. HD650, the Oor Removes all the smoothness and laid back nature of the HD650 and makes them harsh.

    High end Orthodynamic headphones:TLDR: As good, or better than, the Master 9 in every way. Brighter overall sound compared to the Master 9.

    1. D8000 Pro: I really don't understand how the amp becomes so good with these headphones. Suddenly there is sound stage and incredible bass extension, fantastic separation, and imaging. The highs details and presence is a fair bit better on the Oor. The bass extension might be a little better on the Oor. Details and separation are basically the same on both amps.

    2. Thror: Improved the bass presence and reach. Pushed forward the mids. Though, with the improved bass and mids I noticed a decrease in sound stage and separation.

    3. Rognir: Strangely, sounds almost identical on the Oor as the M9.

    Final Thoughts:
    The Oor is a very picky amp that only sounds good with certain super high end Orthodynamic headphones. Even then it isn't a very large improvement, or is more of a change of focus, over the M9. The Oor sounds terrible with every dynamic headphone I own and I would never recommend it to people who only use dynamic headphones.

    The Oor stack is about 1/4 the size of the Master9 so it is much easier to use on a desk or in an office compared to the M9.

    The hefty, more than double, cost of the Oor doesn't make up for how picky the amp is and how much more versatility the M9 has.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 14, 2024
  19. CaptainCope

    CaptainCope Almost "Made"

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    My setup:
    Bifrost 2 -> Oor -> Mad Dog Pro and Modhouse Argon 2

    My listening sessions were effortless and pleasant.These headphones tend to sound closed in and in comparison SW51, they opened up wider.

    Using only my memory of the LauX, I couldn't imagine spending this much for a planar amp. I didn't appreciate the difference between the Oor and my memory of the LauX.

    It was a pleasant listen, a sit back in the chair as opposed to the lean forward listen.

    Thanks for sharing this out.
     
  20. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    Loaner Impressions

    Chain
    Roon->Ambre->SFD-2 MK 2

    Compared against a V3 Stratus.

    Listening Thoughts
    Looks like my taste differs from a lot of others here, I think it's a nice, polite amp and I like it. The Orr is subtly good rather than being in your face. I like the tone and timbre which, IMO, usually don't fare as well without tubes. The Stratus still wins on staging, resolution and general presentation. I tend to like more subtle or polite gear due to sensitivity issues. Fortunately the Orr doesn't trigger any pain or headaches.

    I like both the RD-4 and RD-X though I think the RD-X synergizes a bit better with the Orr. I was surprised to find I liked the Auteur Classic too considering the other impressions. I still prefer the Stratus (except the RD-X which has no Stratus synergy) but that's always true for me, nothing has unseated it as my endgame.

    Other Thoughts
    I like the small form factor and both boxes have a quality look and feel.
     

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