What i have ended up with

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Ant
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#1 What i have ended up with

Post by Ant »

Ive invested a bit of money in a little headphone system.

I was moaning and feeling sorry for myself a few weeks ago, whining about not being able to use the main system for various reasons. Oh waily waily, woe's me, isnt it terrible.

Tony very kindly lent me his wad hd83, and ed sent me some of the boards he had made for his headphone amp, which to my eternal shame, i still havent built.

I bought some b&w p5s, fretless from the hifi subjectivist forum sent me some p7s, i bought some fostex t50rp's, then dropped on some hifiman devas
Which were too big for my apparently tiny head... but sounded lovely.

Because i have been getting quite a bit of enjoyment from the headphones, and wanted to explore options i then bought a myryad z40 ss heaphone amp, which is a nice sounding device.

I have now bought myself another wiim mini streamer for upstairs, and upgraded to a pair of hifiman sundaras, based on rays, and a few others recommendation.

These actually fit in my head, and they do sound superb. Really really good.

What i also have, is simons headphone amp. Which is eds headphone amp. It needs a pre infront of it as it is configured as a line stage at the moment. I do have a pre which needs a potential divider taking off the output which again i havent got around to doing, so thats the next thing to get done. I also need to swap out the jvc tt for the oracle. Which i still havent got round to doing.

But the biggest takeaway is that although the focus has completely shifted, a little taste of that magic ive been missing is back.

I started thinking about using a pair of 45s for a headphone amp, pondering on where to get some output tansformers from. I havent had any thought of building anything in a long long time.

Onwards!
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simon
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#2 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by simon »

Funnily enough Ant, your last paragraph was where I started when I ended up with Ed's SS buffer. Turns out I didn't need any gain, and when you can draft a PCB the SS buffer was an easy build.

But how the SS buffer sounds compared to a nice triode HPA, or any other HPA for that matter, I don't know.
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#3 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ant »

I think the wad is has a triode/pentode in it, i think its an ecl88 or something but i forget, it is very good. Ive seen quite a few otl designs, but otls scare me :D, even though i think ray swears by his transcendent one

My line of thinking is that a low gain power type valve such as the 45 or a 2a3 would make a good hpa valve, but then my lines of thinking are rarely as simple as i think they are. The main thing that concerns me is the output transformer for such a design, the hifiman cans have a 32r impedance wheras something like a senny hd600 or beyers are 250 ish, so a transformer to cover that range wont be exactly cheap. So its a big initial outlay, the rest however isnt likely to be any different to a 'normal' amp build.

What has been floating around in my head is a buffer of sorts, unity gain into a 45, using the small gain number of that for the gain needed. But, im that far out of the game that my design skills are severely lacking
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#4 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by simon »

Yes I thought similar. But when I found I didn't need any gain adding a nice 45 or similar output stage seemed an unnecessary thing to do, adding complexity and cost for no obvious reason, other than potentially a bit of "valve flavour".

But I might be missing a trick, what do I know?
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#5 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ant »

Thats the same conclusion i keep coming to. I also keep wondering if i could rig a jack to the b1, but i dont know enough about it so see if thats a viable option
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Nick
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#6 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Nick »

But when I found I didn't need any gain
Just remember (in case you need to) that there is both voltage and current gain. Just because you have enough of the first doesn't mean...
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#7 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Mike H »

:D
 
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#8 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by simon »

Nick wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2024 6:50 pm
But when I found I didn't need any gain
Just remember (in case you need to) that there is both voltage and current gain. Just because you have enough of the first doesn't mean...
True. In my situation I don't need any voltage gain. But some current gain might be beneficial, I don't have the experience with headphones to know. That's why I took the headphone buffer thingy round to Ant to see what he makes of it. I'm very interested to see what he thinks of it.
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Dave the bass
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#9 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Dave the bass »

Nick wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2024 6:50 pm
But when I found I didn't need any gain
Just remember (in case you need to) that there is both voltage and current gain. Just because you have enough of the first doesn't mean...
Fat kid classroom back of.... blah blah perks up.

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Ray P
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#10 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ray P »

Ant wrote: Sat Jan 20, 2024 2:32 pm Ive invested a bit of money in a little headphone system.
Ant, taking this thread off the topic in the last few posts but I thought I would bring your attention to this;

https://www.diyaudio.com/community/thre ... ed.408080/

You could do a lot worse than the Noir HPA and it would be a relatively economical build. I have one - it's what i was using to demo the RTZ DAC prototype at Owston 2022 - and it works very well with my 37 Ohm Sundaras and 600 Ohm BeyerDynamics.
Sorry, I couldn't resist!
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#11 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ant »

I wouldnt mind a go at the noir, yours was very good, and actually one of the things that set me off with this in the first place. That rig was really very good, the beyers made me take a good look at open backed phones too.

Im not a member of diy audio unfortunately otherwise i would have been very tempted
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#12 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Greg »

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Ant
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#13 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ant »

Right. Eds/simons headphone amp.

Im listening to it now with the wiim mini plugged into it, the wiim can control volume itself if you set it to variable via its own set of outputs. I had set this to fixed to run it into the myryad, so just reset it rather than faffing about with the preamp i have somewhere that needs modifying.

Im listening to robby kreiger - the ritual begins at sundown, and immediately what pops out is that the bottom end on this one is phenomenal. The wad is pretty good, the myryad is very good indeed at the bottom. Kind of what you would expect comparing ss to valve.

this is better

Goes very deep and is very controlled and very nuanced, it just goes lower and lower and doesnt let go. A+. The mids are very good, not forward, not recessed, hang there nicely, balanced nicely with the bottom end. The myryad is maybe slightly forward compared to this but not so as you would notice unless listening back to back, and that one again seems well balanced against its own bass performance.

Top end performance is pretty good. The wad and myryad are very similar, the wad probably edging it very slightly, the wad is sweeter, the myryad drier, ed/simons is somewhere inbetween.

Detail wise, the most detailed is the myryad, the wad and ed/simons are much of a muchness.

The myryad is very well balanced overall, nothing stands out and there is no harshness anywhere. Really good bass performance, a slight hint of forward in the midrange, really good detail and a dry ish top end.. overall nice and clean from top to bottom, not really very characterful at all, it sort of disappears

The wad is sweet, good bass performance, a little emphasis in the midrange, not forward, just a bit or presence if that makes sense, and sweet top end without a hint of harshness.. overall, you know its a valve amp, has some character, and some fun to it, lovely and sweet

The ed/simon has phenomenally good bass, really deep, tight and subtleties are really well shown. Mid is pretty well balanced, not forward, not recessed and the top end has a hint of sweet to it.. overall, id say its bass qualities really stand out, the mid is balanced, the top is somewhere between the wad and the myryad.

I could listen to it all day.
So wad, marginally best at the top, a little character the myryad well balanced top to bottom, best detail and clarity, most open sounding, the ed/simon best bottom end and as good as in the mids and top as the other two. All three are slightly different flavours so pick your poison

This is all done with the sundaras, with different headphones it may be a bit different, but it grabs the sundaras by the scruff.

Nice one ed and simon!
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#14 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ant »

While i was writing the above i went over to a couple of tracks from in utero and then onto soundgarden - superunknown, the edsimon is great with this type of stuff

Oh and the tracks are being streamed using tidal, standard resolution so 16/44.1. Not hi res, whatever it is that tidal are using these days. Not sure what was happening with mqa
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Ray P
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#15 Re: What i have ended up with

Post by Ray P »

Ant wrote: Sun Jan 21, 2024 9:37 am Im not a member of diy audio unfortunately otherwise i would have been very tempted
Ant, the guy is based in the UK and is asking £25 (+ £3 postage) for a set of PCBs (main board and front/rear panels). I'll be happy to act as a go-between and deal with PMs etc. if it helps, along with downloading the build guide etc.
Sorry, I couldn't resist!
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