The All Purpose Advice Thread

Discussion in 'Advice Threads' started by purr1n, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Hands, what did you think of the comfort of the new t50rps? I only got to hear them for about 10 minutes and did not take note of whether the screen hit my ears or not. Very temped to order them, but since you might, perhaps a micro meet.
     
  2. imac2much

    imac2much Friend

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    I am considering getting a DAC in the next year to bypass the DAC section of my Oppo HA-1. The HA-1 can accept both single ended and balanced inputs.

    XLR Balanced Audio Input
    Input Impedance 15k ohm
    Maximum Input Level 18 Vrms, +27.3 dBu (0 dBu = 0.775 Vrms)

    RCA Stereo Audio Input
    Input Impedance 10k ohm
    Maximum Input Level 9 Vrms, +21.3 dBu (0 dBu = 0.775 Vrms)

    Personally, I don't really understand what these specs mean, haha. I am considering a Multifrost (single ended), DAC-19 (single ended) or Gungnir Multibit (balanced). There is a lot of discussion in the Multifrost thread regarding burrito filters and NOS (Multifrost) vs OS (Gungnir Multibit) that honestly go right over my head. For those of you who have any experience with these DACs, what would you recommend for my setup?

    Also, eventually (maybe in 2-3 years time), I'd probably like to upgrade my amp section and get rid of the HA-1 entirely. I am eyeing the EC Black Widow but it only has single ended inputs. I asked this question in another thread but didn't hear any response: are the single ended outputs of the Gungnir Multibit still better than the outputs of the Bifrost Multibit? Like I said, I'm having trouble parsing people's impressions with all the talk of filters, taps and NOS.

    Thanks so much!
     
  3. TheFighter

    TheFighter Rando

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    I'm also looking for closed full sized headphone and narrow down to oppo pm3 but after read that paradox is better made me hesitate. I read from Tyll that pm3 has a really good vocal he rarely heard before and I love vocals, how will paradox compare with pm3?
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Hard to say unless you can tell us a little bit more what you have currently heard or like. Need some reference points.

    Singled ended Gungnir Multibit > Single ended Bifrost Multibit.

    As general rule, better gear is always better regardless of SE or balanced.

    Can you audition DAC19 easily in China? DAC19 has a lusher sound. The DAC in your HA-1 might actually be cleaner sounding. tonally Gungnir would probably be someone in between the HA-1 and DAC19, but with much more resolution, decay, sharper attack, better bass articulation than either one of them, especially the DAC19.
     
  5. Prydz

    Prydz Friend

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    After my HE-6's right driver failed, Ive been forced to use my LCD-3F (which currently is for sale, but no buyers after 3 weeks...). It sounds so bad tho, thru every amp I got. So I must thank changstar & marvs buying guide for guiding me away from bullcrap & headfi-bullshit. If I had just discovered this sooner id save alot of moneh.

    Hifiman HE-6 is truly an excellent headphone, especially if bought used.
     
  6. imac2much

    imac2much Friend

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    Hm... good to know. I guess Gungnir Multibit is more future proof then even if I plan to use single ended eventually with the BW.

    Unfortunately, I cannot audition the DAC19 here. Audio-GD products are actually not that common in China, at least in the northern parts of China. I didn't even see it at my regular audio shop in Beijing - they actually seemed to pride themselves on having lots of foreign DACs and amps actually. The only Chinese products they kept in stock were Hifiman...

    Another question: is there a reason why more companies don't allow universal voltage input for their gear? My Burson and Oppo units accept 110-240V but both Schiit and strangely Audio-GD do not. I'm not sure about most companies, but is there a reason for this other than cost? Do transformers create unnecessary problems for sound quality or is it just not space efficient?
     
  7. MPZ

    MPZ Rando

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    Hi everyone!

    First of all, I just want to say thank you purrin (presuming you are the same purrin as on "the other forum" lol) for being such an excellent resource for navigating headphone territory :)

    Anyways, to make a long story short, I am a college student taking lots of audio recording/production classes (alongside other things- my college lets you take whatever you want :), and have been in need of my own setup for awhile now (I have monoprice studio reference cans atm- that's it lol). When I first decided this, I went into a guitar center and listened to all of their studio montors. To make a long story short, my feeling on their monitors pretty much ranged from apathy to disdain... and as a student, I wasn't able/inclined to spend a few grand on better studio monitors. So I turned my attention to headphones and quickly discovered head-fi. About a month ago I finally got the chance to finish listening to pretty much every set of headphones I was considering (at one head-fi meet and various hifi shops)... except LFF's Paradox. Which I promptly ordered o_O (I fell in love with the T50RP driver after listening to Alpha Dogs and a diy-modded pair)- if LFF's original estimate was correct they should be done... within a week.

    Why the paradox? well, I listened to pretty much the full Audeze line, the Sennheiser 600 and 800, DT880 Pros, the PM2 and 3, the PSB M4U1, the abovementioned Alpha Dogs and DIY mod, the full ultimate ears IEM line (universal fit though- meaning i never got a good seal), and discovered I pretty much hate dynamic drivers. The hd800 literally gave me a headache in about 2 minutes out of the HDVD800/some cd player at a hifi shop. This was worse than the first time I heard it, but that setup still quickly caused ear fatigue. I suspect my preference for planar drivers is their tendency to have less Intermodulation distortion, but I can't be sure. Since I was shopping for closed headphones (for a number of reasons including studio use), this drastically limited my options- so after listeing to all the closed planars I know of (except some of the mods like Paradox, PMx2, Thunderpants, ZMF mods, etc- oh and the Ether C), I knew I wanted a neutral T50RP mod, so I decided to roll the dice and order a pair of custom paradox "blind".

    What i'm looking for advice about is actually amplification (I already plan to buy a Gungnir Multibit in the future). Since I like to do sound design, I'm actually looking for a monitoring chain- so accuracy is what I'm looking for (with perhaps some allowances to prevent listening fatigue). So far, my favorite headphone amp I have heard is the one in the Mcintosh D1000 (when paired with LCD3)- but then, that's purely from a pleasure-listening standpoint- I wouldn't spend my own money (even if I had plenty) on something that far from neutral. I haven't really heard all too many headamps actually... I heard 3 at the head-fi meet I went to, but I wasn't impressed with any of them and thus didn't ask what they were. Otherwise I've just heard the HDVD800, the Oppo HA-1, and the headphone amps on a few audio interfaces. The best reference point I have for quality amplification is actually probably the Rupert Neve Designs 5088 class A mixing console I get to use at school- the thing has insane dynamics (as it should with 90V of voltage swing), is relatively neutral (though a bit sweet sounding- but then every input and output is transformer-coupled), and generally pretty much gets out of the way of the music.

    So I guess when it comes down to it, what I'm trying to figure out is what kind of amplification circuits I should be looking for. Based on what I have read so far, I suspect I will prefer really high speed, wide-bandwidth amplifiers, possibly with current gain/feedback instead of voltage (thus limiting the time delay on the amp's negative feedback and hopefully improving time domain performance- which is really important to me). However, I'm no electrical engineer- I've just been reading a bit about audio amplifiers and cross-referencing reviews of equipment that seems to be designed with priorities similar to mine.

    So far when it comes to reviews (of both headphone and speaker amps) that describe the type of sound I am after, I have noticed they are all of amps that either amplify current (Questyle, Bakoon, probably etc.), or are extremely high (as in multiple megahertz at least) bandwidth (Job/Glodmund, Soulution, etc). Unsurprisingly, the literature coming from many of these manufactures about their technology emphasizes time domain accuracy, low TIMD (probably the main reason I chose planar headphones), high slew rates, etc. I haven't heard this type of amplifier before, but both said literature and the reviews I have read of these amplifies emphasize the same time domain priorities my ears seem to have. So where does that leave me when it comes to amp shopping?

    My initial setup for my paradox is actually pretty much already decided- the lure of a battery-powered dac I can use with my smartphones is too great, so I plan to pre-order a Geek Out V2+ (as soon as my paradox arrives and I test them with a regular V2 and make sure the combo works for me- but i don't see any reason it wouldn't). But I don't know what to buy in the future to pair with a multibit Gungir (or maybe even a used Yggdrasis... oh wait, those don't exactly exist lol)... or if there's actually a 3-4 hundred dollar amp that would suit me, which would allow me to consider starting with a multibit Bifrost. So far there are only really a couple of options that seem to fit this criteria...

    1. An Audio-GD NFB-3amp. Non-feedback class A current amplification sounds right up my alley... but opinions on Audio-GD seem severely mixed... what do you guys think?

    2. There's a headphone amp on diyaudio.com called The Wire... which, to quote the designer, "is basically an instrumentation amp using three LME49990 op-amps and an LME 49600 buffer nested into the last stage"... I haven't read much discussion of this kind of "composite amplifier" circuit in the context of a headphone amp- again I would love whatever thoughts anyone has...

    Hopefully that wall of text isn't too much to unravel, and TLDR is basically the last 2 paragraphs.

    Thanks,
    MPZ
     
  8. money4me247

    money4me247 Friend

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    hahah I think that is a pretty typical for Audio.GD. Chinese consumers greatly prefer foreign brands & there are no real strong chinese brands in China for any industry compared to foreign products. At the same or lower price, a wealthy Chinese customer will almost always buy foreign.

    Audio-GD actually is almost a fully exported product. Not going to find one in China (I had one of my Chinese friends asked around). Their customers are almost all foreigners who want to get a competitive price point on a product with similar specs (or positive reviews) as more expensive options on the market.

    For small boutique type manufacturers, I never see any options that both 110-240V.
     
  9. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I don't know where to begin. I am not a fan of the Questyle CMA800R (accurate without treble tizzies, but flat and boring), nor the Bakoon (too polite and forgiving - super high output impedance in current out mode) in respect to the prices they are asking for. The fact that they do pair well, at least tonally, with the stock HD800 (they are bright cans) tells me something about those amps.

    In terms of high-speed wide-bandwidth amplifiers, I will say that with the handful of opamps I've played with (I've made several opamp based headamps in the past on breadboards, which mostly ended up as trashed projects after I heard better stuff), high slew rate does seem to correlate with more natural treble rendering. BTW, I find it ironic the "Wire" amp is comprised of three opamps in the signal path (considering how many additional transistors in the signal path are in each opamp). However, the Wire does measure excellently along with the Objective 2 amp, so if these measurements are important to you, I would suggest that you consider these amps. Personally, I don't care about measurements below what humans can perceive. Keep in mind that distortion is several magnitudes (x10, X100, X1000, etc.) higher on transducers than from amps.

    As far as high bandwidth, how much bandwidth are we talking about? It's very difficult to properly assess this. Bandwidth will change depending upon loads. Manufacturer specs are sometimes not clear about this. Marketing materials and specs claiming great bandwidth may be incidental to the fact those amps are simply good sounding amps. Good designs may intentionally cap bandwidth too. Is amplifying AM radio really a good idea?

    As far the the Audio-GD stuff, only the higher-end models are well regarded here; and even then AGD seems to no longer be the value proposition it once was when no one knew about them. I also prefer to buy from USA or Canada if such options exist. This is a personal choice. It's more matter of serviceability and the "little things".

    If you like the Rupert Neve Designs 5088 class A mixing console, the closest affordable thing to it might be the Schiit Asgard 2. The Asgard isn't studio equipment, so the output won't be transformer coupled. Like the 5088, it's fully discrete Class A. There's no global feedback in high gain (recommended that you run at high gain) and it has bandwidth up to 400KHz.
     
  10. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Which would you recommend for a budget source set up?

    Option 1) Modi 2 (Desk - Magni 2 and HD600) and Fulla (portable laptop - ER4S)
    Option 2) Geek Out V2 (Desk and Portable, to ER4S). I guess I'm torn whether a portable, budget dac can outdo the Modi 2. But then I'm torn whether the Fulla or another $100-150 dac can out do the V2. I'd kind of like the best of both worlds.
    Option 3) Something I'm missing?

    I know that Fiio doesn't get recommended much here. Anyone know from experience if the Fulla is as good as/better than the X3ii?
     
  11. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    I'll just peanut gallery in here: IMO the Geek Out V2 outdoes the Modi 2/Modi 2 Über as a DAC. It's not even close. To my ears, it gets dangerously close to the DS Gungnir's performance.
     
  12. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    Wow... That's saying a lot. Thanks for the response...
    What about its output power for a HD600? I still need an external amp for a 300ohm though, right?

    And do you think the internal amp is clean enough that I won't need an additional amp with iems?
     
  13. AustinValentine

    AustinValentine Friend

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    I don't use IEMs, so someone else will have to field that one.

    V2 will handle an HD600 fine through its balanced output. You can DIY a balanced adapter, grab one from Amazon here, or probably get one through Lunashops.
     
  14. imackler

    imackler Key Lime Pie Infected Aberdeen Wings Spy

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    And is that because balanced increase the voltage swing of the USB? (I may be nuts...) To get that benefit, I don't specifically need to listen to the HD600 balanced, but there would be no reason why not to if I'm going to go through the work of using the balanced output anyways, right?
     
  15. MPZ

    MPZ Rando

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    Thanks for the input. Can you elaborate on your opinion of the CMA800R? Accurate without treble tizzies is extremely important to me, and Flat is desirable for production monitoring. I'm not particularly interested in the Bakoon- I think i needed to be more specific. As far as performance specifications/measurements go, I am of a similar mind as you I think- what matters to me (in an audio production context) is whether the end result of the entire chain is accurate, not fatiguing, and tells me what I need to know- and of course hopefully i like it as well.

    As far as bandwidth is concerned, I only mention it as it seems every amplifier design I find that appears to be focused on time-domain accuracy insists that it is important to avoid phase shift and propagation delay on negative feedback. I think I will e-mail Schiit and see if can get their perspective on this design consideration, and some more info on the Asgard 2. The funny thing is I don't particularly love the sound of my school's 5088- I just really appreciate its dynamics and what it doesen't do wrong. I suspect I will need to simply find an opportunity to listen to one of these time domain focused designs to discover if they are really what I am after.

    Thanks!
    MPZ
     
  16. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I wouldn't worry about time domain accuracy / phase shift / propagation delay of negative feedback. This simply is not an issue at audio frequencies (audio frequencies are slow relatively to their circuits) with almost any properly designed amp out there with the exception of transformer coupled (tube) amps which may have frequency dependent phase shifts.

    That being said, I am neither a no feedback or gobs of feedback kind of person. It's important not be to sucked in to certain kinds of beliefs on design.

    On the Questyle CMA800, I simply find that amp flat, boring, and dead, to the extent that it would render a bright energetic headphone like the HD800 somewhat not energetic (in this regard, the CMA800 is somewhat similar to the Vioelectric V200, but the CMA800 is actually more clear, precise, and faster sounding). The CMA800 seems to lack ultimately microdetail (important for HD800), macrodynamics and especially microdynamics (ability to distinguish small shifts in volume, render small volume changes instantaneously, etc.) That is, I don't want to listen to it because it I find not engaging. I like gear that will make it difficult for me to concentrate on actually doing work - to make it difficult for me to put the headphones down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  17. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Is there any reason to get the Gungnir DS with the availability of the of Bifrost MB. While the Gungnir DS justifies it's price with VCXO reclocking, balanced outputs, BNC input and separate power supplies for digital and analog, it's still a delta-sigma DAC while the upgraded Bifrost is a multibit. Sound wise does a Gungnir DS outperform a Bifrost MB as would be expected by the pricing?
     
  18. JewBear

    JewBear Almost "Made"

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    Ok guys,

    The time has come for me to purchase a closed back. I am preferential to dark, warm headphones. So I guess my top candidates are the DT1770, the Ether-C, the ZMF Blackwoods, JVC DX-1000, and ATH-A2000.

    Price being no object whatsoever, what is your recommendation for a dark, warm headphone that is foremost musical and engaging.
     
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  19. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    JVC HP-DX1000! I just put some Audeze LCD vegan pads and an HD600 headband pad on mine.

    Gorgeous, warm, zero treble fatigue (I get treble fatigue really quickly with many headphones), foot-tapping bass, and wood!

    I used to have the DX1000 and Fostex TH600, but had to sell both in a big liquidation of gear. The first thing I bought back was the JVC HP-DX1000 (in part because of treble fatigue from the Fostex). It's the perfect combination of euphonic musicality, extended bass, smooth (and rolled-off) highs, and legitimate isolation for me. I can (and do) listen to them all day long at work without fatigue.

    Most Audio-Technica headphones have fairly sharp treble, as do Beyerdynamics (some people say the 1770 has less).

    I've never really loved any of the Fostex TH50RP-based headphones, but I've never heard the Blackwood, nor have I heard the Ether-C.

    Here are my darlin' DX1000s:

    20151011_130812.jpg
     
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  20. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Dharma, Blackwoods should be on your audition list.
     

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