Rebel Amp

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by Azimuth, Nov 1, 2020.

  1. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    Anyone know about Rebel Audio?

    https://rebel.audio/products/amplifier

    I stumbled upon this from an ad from another site. It seems they have been around since May of 2020. Seems to be Yugoslavian.

    It also seems they copied Schiit's case design down to the placement of the front and back panels. At least it is in green. It also kind of reminds me of the GSX amp case. The logo even is kind of like Head Amp.

    rebelamp-front_1024x1024@2x.jpg
     

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  2. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    It's definitely an illegitimate child of Schiit and HeadAmp :D
     
  3. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    Yeah, looks seem to be lifted mostly from Schiit. Inputs are handled by opamps, output is discrete. Might not be horrible.
     
  4. monacelli

    monacelli Friend

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  5. DEATHxMACHINE

    DEATHxMACHINE Friend

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    Very interesting and neat amp but honestly its nothing really special. Very warm with good bass impact, rolled off highs, good seperation, and has above average soundstage with good layering. It pairs very well with bright headphones.

    It is a good amp to compliment a bright one but I wouldn't reccomend it as ones only amp. I think this amp and the gilmore lite make a good pair.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  6. PacoTaco

    PacoTaco Friend

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    I got a vastly different opinion than @DEATHxMACHINE on this amp.

    Having semi-recently heard the Asgard 3, Gilmore Lite mk2, BHA-1, and the Zen Can, this one was the second best amp by a good margin. It's not a BHA-1 or Blackwidow 2 by any means, but it's the closest anyone is going to at $500.

    The amp has great bass impact, but it's not warm. It's neutral (brighter than the Asgard 3 and Gilmore Lite mk2) and doesn't have rolled off highs at all.

    But that's not the highlight of this amp. Goddamn this thing is a lot more dynamic than I thought it was going to be. Super resolving in microdetail and hits really hard with the macrodynamics. Don't misunderstand me though, this isn't to the BHA-1 or Blackwidow 2 in macrodynamics. It gets close with resolution (far closer than I expected.) The soundstage is a lot larger on the whole than I expected, but it's still a solid state. Get tubes if you want to improve that part of the sound.

    The reason I say it doesn't have rolled off highs is simple: If it did, the HD800S would have been a better pair with it. That's not to say it's a good pairing with it, but there's a lot better in this price range (SW51+, Asgard 3, Jot 2, ect.) But as an solid state amp on the whole, I'd say it's probably the best I've heard under a grand.

    I paired the RebelAmp with a Bifrost 2 and a HD800S (which I've sold recently) and the Hifiman Ananda.
     
  7. Jh4db536

    Jh4db536 Friend

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    https://www.amb.org/audio/mmm/

    It looks to me like a 2channel AMB M3 (no active ground/boost) with maybe 2 sigma11 onboard (best case scenario but likely not).
    I wonder if he used the AD8610 in SOIC8 as the opamps for the gain stages.

    Would like to know how it compares with an OG AMB M3 + AD8610 + Sigma11. That configuration from memory is dynamic, overall laid back presentation (still one of the more aggressive configurations of this amp) and rolled off bass (clinically bright in my mind) and/or not very much bass resolution...with HD600
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
  8. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    1 Watt @ 32 ohms and power consumption is 35 Watts? How is this thing so inefficient?
     
  9. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Full class A, like Asgard 2.
     
  10. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    I forgot Asgard 2 was only a single watt. Was recalling Asgard 3 at 3.5W.
     
  11. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    Brief comparo of Roon->USB->Lynx Hilo->Line Out->BAL to SE->Rebel Amp VS. Roon->USB->Lynx Hilo->Phones Out

    HD600 and HD6xxMs

    PXL_20220604_003930832.jpg


    ;tldr It's huge! The Rebel Amp is a detailed, natural-sounding, spacious, fluid amp. Gain staging makes noticeable changes to its presentation: Hot source/amp set to low-gain = spacious, subtle, detailed, absorbing; low-level source/amp set to high-gain = slamming visceral rock machine. It is a good pairing with the Lynx Hilo, which is a nice-sounding professional DAC with gobs of detail and a flexible output stage.

    I have been rolling through DACs and amps for a few years now and want to stop (good luck, right?). At work, I have a bunch of monitoring needs and have been using a Rube Goldberg array of switch boxes and monitor controllers to build a useful configuration for work and pleasure. I'm tired of the mess and the expense.

    To this end, I consulted with some audio project-studio colleagues and SBAF threads about pro DACs and decided on a Lynx Hilo. It strikes the right balance of sound quality, routing flexibility, and price for me. The fact that it is an older design but is still considered their "flagship ADDA" is philosophically interesting to me, too.

    Unfortunately, the headphone amp is not a ton of fun to listen to for pleasure listening, so I set out to find something that would work with the Hilo for fun-time moments.

    The remarkable thing about the Hilo is the detail, tone and staging. With monitors, it's evident that this thing means business.

    When I received the Hilo, I had a JOT 2 that I had used previously with my Yggdrasil LIM and a Geshelli J2. The JOT2 was a great pairing with both of those DACs. With the LIM/JOT2 combination, I would get phantom bass sensations in my chest - even with the 600s. Super fun.

    With the Hilo, the JOT2 presented flat, a bit murky and missing detail in the treble. In hindsight, I should have tried some line-out trim levels from the Hilo with it before selling it.

    I also had a Geshelli E2, which I tried with the Hilo. It was a much better pairing in the treble region but presented a bit thin and less detailed than I would like.

    A while ago, I had a suped-up Mapletree Audio Design Ear+ that I loved and sold. I don't even want to start with how much I regret that. Ultimately given my tube lust proclivities, though, tubes are short road to hell for me.

    I decided to try a solid-state class A amp. On the list: Gilmore Lite, Asgard, Burson, Singxer, Bryston. They all had reported characteristics that would not suit my tastes, though. Then I discovered the Rebel Amp.

    The listening reports on the Rebel Amp around the internet seemed, in aggregate, to be my thing - lush but not bloomy, spacious, detailed, "fluid". To boot, GoldenEars did a measurement panel on the Rebel amp, and it looks pretty great, as far as I can read the graphs (I am no expert). Worth a try.

    I can't pretend to understand the amp circuit, but it is based on a DIY community design called the AMB M3 (or MMM) and was used, with permission, for the basis of the Rebel Amp.

    I contacted Artem at Rebel in Ukraine. He wrote back immediately, saying they were safe, had relocated, and were happy to be making amps. However, he said that shipping might take a while. It took two weeks to arrive. I've had Home Depot orders from Alberta to Ontario take longer.

    I've been casually listing to it on medium gain for a couple of weeks.

    The fancy line-outs with the dual DACs in the Hilo are only available on the balanced line-outs. The Hilo has a variable-gain output stage that is analog and relay based (like the ADI-2...but more bad-ass). Lynx provides a BAL to SE cable build in their manual in which you connect the shield to pin 1 on the XLR but leave it unconnected at RCA end. I had BJC make a pair up for me using Belden 1800F. This is the same cable I use throughout my work suite, including my AES feeds. I leave my cable-nervosa for my home system.

    I've had the Rebel Amp running for a couple of weeks and have not quite felt settled with it. Tonight I am listening with the 6xxMs and the 600s, which are probably the most helpful SBAF reference point. I'm happy to try a few things out and will hopefully learn some stuff about this amp and chain.

    I cut back my testing playlist as I had a whole pile of stuff I wanted to try out. These three tracks sit atop of my favourite types of recordings.

    Thom York, Not the News
    Brian Blade, Landmarks
    Songs: Ohia, Peoria Luch Box Blues

    Here are some standout notes from my listening:

    • It took me a while to realize that the gain staging makes character-level differences with the Rebel Amp. The short story is high output (+18) from the Hilo DAC with Low Gain on the Rebel makes for a more spacious, delicate and absorbing presentation. A low output from the Hilo (+0) and High Gain on the Rebel presents SLAM and a visceral rocking, albeit shallower-staged, sound.
    • Not about the Rebel amp. I accidentally had the "master" digital attenuation on the Hilo set pretty low for a listening pass with everything else turned up and things were claustrophobic/jangly. Friends don't let friends use big swings of digital attenuation.
    • For my comparos, I used medium-gain on the Rebel Amp and a trim of +6 on the Hilo.
    • The differences between the Hilo phones out and the Rebel Amp are not subtle. The Rebel presents a more expansive, deeper sense of space. The staging is subtly V-shaped with slightly recessed mids. The Hilo phones-out is more forward with less width and depth in the presentation.
    • The Rebel is lush without being warm.
    • The Rebel is dynamic - certainly more dynamic than the Hilo head-out. In high gain, it gets me tapping my feet and bobbing my head. In low gain it's less explosive but still gets me moving around.
    • In low gain, the Rebel Amp is rich, subtle and spacious. With the right material, I get drawn into the music and the production: the layers, the spatial cues, and the construction of the mix. I love this spot where the music and production speak to each other. Low gain subtleties.
    • In high gain, the Rebel is more forward. Pluck, strum, chunk, boop, and thump are more visceral. The staging still has relief, but it's more contained.
    • The Hilo head-out is more detailed overall. The Rebel amp is no slouch and despite it being "smoother", it does not present as lacking detail or bite when necessary.
    • There is no noticeable graininess on either amp.
    • The tone is good on both amps - the Hilo is a nice DAC. While it's not a Yggdrasil LIM, the Hilo->Rebel does bring some "inner glow" to the music. Piano and voice are pretty great.
    • Bass is super well controlled - there is nothing flappy or loose about the Rebel Amp at any gain setting.
    • After some back and forth, I preferred the HD600s with the Hilo>Rebel combo. The 6xxMs felt a bit congested compared to the 600s.
    • Given its range of presentations, the combination of a detailed DAC with good tone, adjustable output trim/gain, and the Rebel Amp is working for me. I will be holding onto this amp.


    Further investigation.

    I would love to try The Rebel Amp with my Yggdrasil LIM at home at some point. Stay tuned...
     
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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
  12. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    When I was quickly scrolling through this thread I thought the logo was a bad diagram of female anatomy... and now I can't unsee it.

    [​IMG]
     
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